Chelsea have interest in Everton and England center back John Stones. After the events of the past two days, this is something that we know with 100 percent certainty. As a target, he makes perfect sense, being young, homegrown, composed beyond his years, physically gifted, and excellent with the ball at his feet. Regardless of whether or not Chelsea have other options at the position, they should be looking to add as many players of that profile as they can afford and convince to move.
Therein lies the issue with many Chelsea fans...the expected cost of a move for the center back. The Blues reportedly made an initial bid of €28.8 million (£20 million)* for the player, something that was dismissed immediately by Everton. While it's unclear whether or not the club wearing blue further to the north will be willing to listen to offers at all, logic suggests that if Stones would prefer a move to Chelsea, the Blues will be able to land the player.
*I'm going to use Euros for the bulk of this article, as figures from Deloitte are reported in that manner. Feel free to convert as you wish.
Early rumors are suggesting that such a move would cost Chelsea more than Manchester United paid for Rio Ferdinand many years ago, or about €45 million (£31 million). That's got many fans up in arms, as admittedly, that's a lot of money. I believe it's foolish to compare the two transfers in that manner, however, as the financial landscape in England is nowhere not even remotely comparable to what it was in 2002, when Ferdinand joined United.
Following the 2001-2002 season (when Ferdinand signed for United), the Manchester club were THE financial powerhouse in European football. The club recorded a turnover of €229.5 million for the 01/02 season, tops in Europe by over €50 million. Ironically, Chelsea were the 6th highest earners in Europe that season (€143 million), one spot ahead of lowly Arsenal, even before Roman Abramovich ruined the game.
How does that compare to the current Chelsea? Frankly, it doesn't. 2013/14 Chelsea recorded a turnover of over €387.9 million, a full 59.1 percent higher than the turnover United recorded 12 seasons prior. Conservatively, I'd expect to see that number jump to close to €415 million for 2014/2015, following another season with large profits from player sales, along with increased revenue from both advertising and television.
Just looking at those figures, it's quite clear that there's not much of a comparison to be made between the transfer of Rio Ferdinand over a decade ago, to the potential fee involved with a John Stones transfer in 2015. Is John Stones expensive? Sure. Should pundits be comparing his potential transfer to that of Rio Ferdinand (as they're already doing)? No, unless they're honestly convinced you're no better with your finances than Harry Redknapp and his dog. John Stones may not be worth anywhere near what Everton value him at, but it has nothing at all to do with the price paid for Rio Ferdinand over a decade ago.