Chelsea appear set to conclude the signing of Roma left back Emerson Palmieri in short order, but the second half of the supposed double-deal that we were going for with the Giallorossi has hit a few snags (...[FUNNING] finally).
According to Gianluca Di Marzio, who’s been on the forefront of this wave since the beginning, negotiations are still ongoing between Roma and Chelsea over Dzeko, with various financial aspects (total price, bonuses, any loans the other way?) still very much up for debate. Di Marzio claims that the “next few hours” will be crucial, which possibly means that a decision one way or another will be made soon. That follows more dubious sources from the weekend, which claimed that the Dzeko track may have even “cooled”.
Similar reporting comes from Matt Law, who writes in the Telegraph that the club must decide whether to break with long-standing policy regarding players aged 30 and over — finally someone in the media addressed this issue! — or to grant Dzeko (and, by extension, Conte) something that wasn’t afforded even to John Terry or Frank Lampard. If Chelsea spend £20-30m on Dzeko, he would most certainly command a multi-year contract (at least 3, possibly 4). Signing him for just one year or 1.5 years is a non-starter, including from an FFP amortization perspective. He is currently signed through 2020 at Roma, but Chelsea simply do not sign players of Dzeko’s age to anything more than 1-1.5 year contracts (or extensions).
Deciding whether to buy a 31-year-old Dzeko is a big issue for Chelsea in terms of fee and wages. Remember, they wouldn’t even give Terry more than one year and they have Fabregas, Pedro and Luiz (all aged 30) approaching the last year of their contracts— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 22, 2018
If two of the club’s biggest legends were not given multi-year contracts after turning 30, are Chelsea that desperate for a backup striker as to break that rule? It’s one thing to support the head coach with the (types of) signings he wants; it’s another thing to break the rules established for ourselves, and in the process burden the club’s future with an albatross contract. That’s a situation that’s likely to end in ignominy (see: Florent Malouda).
Regardless of how long Conte ends up sticking around — which in reality is probably closer to six months than, say, six years as he once alluded to by saying that he’d want to be here when Chelsea move into the new stadium in 2024 — the ultimate decisions for transfers must rest with the club. At Chelsea, that’s where the “stability” is (or should be), just as it is at most modern clubs. Whether it’s Granovskaia or Abramovich or the new CEO Laurence who fulfills that role now that Emenalo’s gone is unclear, which makes this a dangerous time ripe for bad decisions, but if Conte’s idea of “building something important” (another thing he likes to say) is to bring in the likes of Carroll or Llorente or a 31-year-old Dzeko (on multi-year deals!), then he needs to be told the folly of his ways. Chelsea stood firm in this regard before (Llorente choosing Spurs after they gave him a two-year deal, for example), and they need to do so again.
Fortunately, based on Law’s report, Chelsea are finally realizing that Edin Dzeko is too old and too expensive to be the sort of smart signing we need to stay truly competitive (and not just in the immediate term). Sure, Manchester United just spent record amounts on Alexis Sanchez, but they can actually afford to do that. Chelsea cannot. Chelsea cannot afford to throw away half a million a week for the next four years on a player who might only make significant contributions for half that time like United can. And Chelsea certainly cannot afford to throw away even a quarter of that amount on a supposed backup who’s already on the downward slope of his career trajectory.
Signing Dzeko makes sense only because of the assumption that Conte might trust him more readily than Batshuayi, and perhaps because of a vague hope that he’s another Ibrahimovic or Drogba, even — though in that case a multi-year contract still doesn’t make much sense, if any.
Basically, this is a stupid deal and we should not do it.