With rumors swirling that Chelsea are looking to replace Andre Schurrle with Juan Cuadrado in Jose Mourinho's squad, there has been much debate over whether or not this sort of move makes sense for the Blues. We took a closer look at what Cuadrado brings to the table from a playing perspective at an earlier time, and while there's seemingly very little consensus about whether or not this is an upgrade, downgrade, or simply a lateral move from a performance perspective, the purpose of this exercise is simply to look at what sort of impact this move will have on Chelsea's FFP books going forward.
Using the Chelsea FFP database so meticulously maintained by Jake Cohen*, it's pretty easy to figure out exactly where we would stand financially after making this deal. For Andre Schurrle, we're working on the assumption that his transfer fee was £19.5 million, and that he's on a weekly wage of £78,000. This gives us an annual FFP hit of £7.956 million which Schurrle counts against the Chelsea books.
*I hope you're having fun shoveling snow, Jake
So what happens if we sell Schurrle to Wolfsburg for the rumored £23 million? First and foremost, Andre's wages would come off of any FFP calculations. We'd take the remaining book value of the German's £19.5 million transfer fee, in this case, £13.65 million, and subtract it from the £23 million we just received. This gives us a one-time profit of £9.35 million which will show up on the 2014/15 books, and therefore be helping Chelsea out in each of the next three UEFA monitoring periods.
So what would Cuadrado do to Chelsea's books if signed? Ideally, the Blues would keep his FFP hit as close to Schurrle's as possible. At this point, we need to make two assumptions. The first one I'm going to make is that Fiorentina don't negotiate, and force Chelsea to meet the full buyout figure in the Colombian's contract. The second is that Chelsea agree to a five and a half year deal with Cuadrado, something which would make sense based on past January transfer dealings.
Making both of the above assumptions, Chelsea would need to agree a wage of about £62,000 per week in order to match Schurrle's annual FFP hit. Matching Schurrle's £78,000 per week would increase the Blues' annual FFP expenditure to £8.783 million, while giving the Fioretina man a (frankly ridiculous) £100,000 per week would bring the annual hit all the way up to £9.927 million. Even with that final scenario, which Chelsea will almost certainly never agree to, Chelsea would still be basically breaking even from an FFP perspective over the five and a half years of this contract, while being ahead in each of the next three monitoring periods.
If you're of the opinion that Cuadrado would be a greater asset to Jose Mourinho's side than Schurrle on the pitch, the financial implications of a January transfer make this deal a no-brainer. If you think that there wouldn't be much of a dropoff from Schurrle to Cuadrado, it probably makes sense to want to wait to do this deal in the summer, if possible, but the FFP implications still probably make the deal worth doing in January if forced, especially given the form the German forward has been in this season. The only time the financial benefits of this sort of move don't make any sense is if you rate Schurrle quite a bit higher than Cuadrado, in which case it would make sense to simply maintain the status quo.
Regardless of what happens in this particular instance, I think Chelsea fans should all probably get used to seeing the club making changes to their squad depth frequently going forward, as doing so will provide them to have a little extra money to spend while remaining compliant with FFP.