The Premier League recently published the amount of money each club has spent on agents' fees during the most recent reporting period (October 2012 through September 2013), and Chelsea sits at the top of the table, having spent £13.7m.
The 20 clubs combined to shell out nearly £100m in agents' fees, up from £77m during the last reporting period. Similarly, Chelsea's payments increased this year, having more than doubled from the £6.5m it paid last year. For reference, it also paid around £6.5m during the 2010-2011 reporting period.
The always-excellent Sporting Intelligence put together a table of each club's summer 2013 transfer spending, and unsurprisingly the agents' fees spending essentially correlates to the clubs' respective levels of transfer activity during the reporting period (the Newcastle disparity is due to the fact that the agents' fees reporting period includes the January 2013 window in which the Magpies added a new squad to its Armee Toon).
In a period where Chelsea brought in Samuel Eto'o, Willian, André Schürrle, Demba Ba, Marco van Ginkel, Cristian Atsu, and Wallace among others (it's difficult to imagine the folks who represent the Christian Cuevas' and Stipe Perica's, for example, could command hefty agents' fees), it is not surprising that Chelsea sits at the top of this table.
While £13.7m isn't exactly an insignificant sum, these payments are factored into the cost of doing business, and it is extremely unlikely that these payments will affect the club's ability to meet the break-even requirements imposed by UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations.
That said, Chelsea spent more on transfer fees during the 2011-2012 reporting period than it did during the 2012-2013 period, but as mentioned, the club's payments to agents more than doubled. Without researching the issue extensively, the only reasonable conclusion I can reach to explain this accounting curiosity is that different agents have different fee structures in their contracts with the player they represent. That is, whereas some agents are paid by the club for brokering the transfer, other agents are paid by the player via commission payments. Perhaps during this most recent reporting period, Chelsea simply dealt with more agents who were owed payments directly from the club. If anyone else has any insight into this, your comments below would be much appreciated!