A genuine fear of relegation was one of the main reasons why Chelsea officials agreed to part ways with Jose Mourinho. Dropping out of the Premier League the season before the £5bn TV deal becomes active would be as big a financial disaster as it would a football disaster for the Blues.
According to the Times, the situation will be made even worse by the fact that none of the Chelsea players have relegation clauses in their contract.
That goes against the precedent set by other Premier League clubs, like Tottenham and Manchester City, who have assured they will be able to cut their wage bill significantly should the worse happen.
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The clauses dictate that players will take mandatory pay cuts if they fall into the Championship, but it is a safeguard that Chelsea have chosen to ignore.
As they sit just three points above the relegation zone going into the new year, it is starting to become a real concern for the powers that be at Stamford Bridge.
Of course, Roman Abramovich's billions mean the club is unlikely to ever come under financial pressure, but succumbing to relegation this season would likely see Chelsea miss out on around £100m in revenue.
Not only that, but their failure to add relegation clauses to contracts means they would have to sell a significant number to high-earning stars. Their wage bill currently stands at around £200m with Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa all earning £150,000-a-week or more.
And it is those three who are likely to be the first in a mass exodus if Chelsea finish in the bottom three. To make things even worse, their desperation to sell will mean they won't get their true value in the transfer market.
Luckily, they still have plenty of time to turn things around and it would still be a major surprise if they fall down a division.
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