Chelsea spent 28 million pounds ($45 million) on firing manager Carlo Ancelotti and hiring Andre Villas-Boas, an outlay that does not appear to be paying off with the team performing worse in the English Premier League this season.
Ancelotti was ditched in May after failing to win a trophy in his second season at Stamford Bridge, prompting owner Roman Abramovich to take a costly gamble on luring the inexperienced Villas-Boas from Porto.
With the team a point worse off than at this stage last season and just clinging onto the fourth Champions League place, Abramovich has been a regular presence at training sessions during the past week.
But Chelsea has moved quickly to insist that the notoriously impatient Abramovich had positive talks with Villas-Boas during visits to the training ground.
Chelsea made its worst start to a Premier League since Abramovich’s takeover in 2003 and the team blew a 3-0 lead against Manchester United on Sunday to draw 3-3.
Abramovich took a major risk in hiring the 34-year-old Villas-Boas as his seventh manager in eight years after firing Ancelotti, despite the Italian coach winning the league-FA Cup double in his first season.
The 28 million pound cost of “changes in the first team management structure” last summer is revealed in Chelsea’s accounts for the year to June 30, which were published on the British company registry on Wednesday.
Chelsea has spent 64 million pounds ($102 million) in the last four years on managerial changes, according to football finance analyst Andy Green - a result of Abramovich making ruthless calls if managers can’t meet his high expectations.
Jose Mourinho, who replaced Claudio Ranieri in 2004, was ousted by Abramovich in 2007, despite presiding over the most successful period in the club’s history in his three years in charge - winning two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and one League Cup.
Villas-Boas is expected to deliver a trophy this season despite overseeing a season of transition and Chelsea trying to comply with new financial regulations, which the club calls a “significant challenge.”
But the west London club announced losses of 67.7 million pounds ($109 million) in the year to June 30, down slightly from the previous year but higher than the two years before that.
The wage bill for players and coaches, though, dropped from 75 million pounds to 69 million pounds.
“The football club needs to balance success on the field together with the financial imperatives of this new regime,” company secretary Alan Shaw wrote in the directors’ report.
Clubs are set to be barred from the Champions League if they breach the “financial fair play” rules.
In an initial two-year monitoring period that started in July 2011, UEFA’s rules allow clubs to make a total loss of €5 million ($6.5 million) in the first assessment period or up to €45 million ($58 million).
Shaw insisted that Abramovich has “sufficient funds ... to finance the business for the foreseeable future.”