The new transfer deadline? Why June 30 matters for Chelsea, Barcelona and more

It’s not the transfer deadline that calls for countdowns on scrolling news pages. Nor is it one with the potential to irrevocably shape a season.

Yet June 30 has quietly become a date of growing importance on the football calendar – for some in the industry it is beginning to feel akin to a third transfer window; one that requires attention like those at the end of the summer and winter windows. It has become a “game-changer,” as one agent put it.

Friday is the last opportunity for some clubs to improve their accounts for the 2022-23 season through the sale of players, and in this era of financial fair play (FFP) it is a point of increasing relevance across European football.

There’s a reason why talks over Mason Mount’s potential move from Chelsea to Manchester United, for example, have kicked into high gear this week. Completing transfers before the end of the month is important for those who have flown close to the sun. This can be a definitive understanding of FFP compliance when failure to complete the required business may have consequences.

The one-window deadline helps explain why, in part, the 20 Premier League clubs have already raised £250 million ($317 million) in player sales before anyone has even returned to pre-season training. Need must.

Chelsea’s garage sales account for half of that amount, but the club, who broke records for Premier League spending last season, have not been alone in pushing for deals this month to straighten out the balance sheet before the financial year ends end.

The pattern also extends to the continent. Barcelona, ​​the La Liga champions, would dearly love to do business before the end of the month, as would Roma, who were one of eight clubs fined by European football’s governing body UEFA for breaching financial rules in September. Reports in Italy suggest that €30m (£25.9m; £32.8m) needs to be raised before June is out or there will be trouble ahead.

It is the clubs that have overstretched themselves that typically face these new pressures. Those who see too much red on their books and those who are aware that accounts would benefit from some late window cleaning before a new financial year begins.

Financial rules vary, but in the Premier League clubs are restricted to not losing more than £105 million in a three-year rolling period. The total losses in the financial statements are offset by infrastructure expenditure and until the end of the next season there is also the possibility of writing off losses attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Football’s financial year typically runs from July 1 to June 30, and completing business before that cut-off point could benefit those in a bind, such as Everton last summer and now Chelsea. For others, it may be more about future planning than compliance, giving themselves greater opportunities to spend in the coming summers.

Tottenham were only too willing to sign the £40m signing of James Maddison this week too. A club with no FFP concerns were content to quickly agree an attractive deal with Leicester City, who will face pressure of their own after relegation to the Championship was confirmed last month.

(Photo: Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Any sense of urgency is felt by the clubs rather than the players and their representatives. There are another 63 days after this artificial cut-off point, and proposing a deal at this point requires cooperation.

For Chelsea, as much as any club, June 30 has been a lingering consideration. Athletics detailed in April that an emphasis would be placed on striking deals before the end of this month after the first two transfer windows for owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali ended with a remarkable net spend in the region of £440m.

An expensive recruitment drive, led by the £107million signing of Enzo Fernandez from Benfica, has demanded balance before the end of Chelsea’s financial year and has yielded early business out of Stamford Bridge this summer.

The last five days have seen four high-profile sales, with Mount potentially following soon. Central defender Kalidou Koulibaly was the first to leave, completing a £20m move to Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal, before Mateo Kovacic completed his move to Manchester City – worth an initial £25m.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy became the third player to formally leave on Wednesday, joining Saudi club Al Ahli for a fee believed to be in the region of £16m. Within hours came the biggest deal of them all: Kai Havertz’s long-awaited move to Arsenal secured a guaranteed £62m return for Chelsea, covering the outlay that had brought the midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020.

Four players gone, over £120 million banked. And there are probably more to come.

A quick deal to sell Mount is also favorable for Chelsea – for the right price, of course. But Manchester United have the opposite problem: the reason for their refusal to budge much beyond paying £55m for Mount is that FFP rules limit what they can spend before June 30. United made a £115.5m loss for the 2021-22 season due to playing games behind closed doors during the pandemic and overspent their signing budget last summer by more than £100m.

But Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the former England international, is another heading for a Chelsea exit after a £15m move to AC Milan was agreed, while winger Hakim Ziyech is close to a Saudi move after a deal was entered into with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al. Nasr. It could be worth £8 million.

Loftus-Cheek is on his way to Italy (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

It is a timely move for Chelsea, with the potential for somewhere close to £150m to be added to the 2022-23 accounts, which are unlikely to be published until early next year. It won’t prevent heavy losses for the first full season under Roman Abramovich, nor will it make up for the deficit that comes with missing out on European football, but it will help improve Chelsea’s financial health in the eyes of those who will evaluate them.

Tellingly, Chelsea’s only summer recruit so far, former RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku, will not formally begin his six-year deal until July 1. The £52m transfer, although completed last week, will instead be included in the club’s 2023-24 accounts.

Everton have been here before. There was pressure to sell players before June 30 last year, knowing they had made a loss of £373m in the previous three financial years.

They would ultimately make a pre-tax loss of £45m for 2021-22, but that would have been far higher without the sale of prized asset Richarlison, whose first £50m move to Tottenham was agreed on June 30. Everton had no choice but to cash in before July – and a new financial year – arrived.

However, that was not enough to stop the Premier League referring Everton to an independent commission for an alleged breach of its profit and sustainability rules in the season ending 2021-22. Everton, who were charged in March, said they “strongly dispute the allegation of non-compliance.”

Everton sold Richarlison to Spurs on June 30 last year (Photo: James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Everton have reined in their spending since last summer and the sale of Moise Kean, whose loan to Juventus turned into a £25m permanent transfer in March, has eased the urgency last summer.

On the continent, Barcelona are in the same position they were in last season, with a need to act before June turns to July. The business they did before 30 June 2022 determined the salary cap imposed on them by La Liga for last season. The same was true of Atletico Madrid, whose CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin agreed that his club should raise 40 million euros by the end of June last year. Valencia and Espanyol were another two under the pump.

Barcelona are again trying to move players out before the end of the game on Friday, with Samuel Umtiti, the France international, at the top of the list. There is a willingness to let Umtiti leave as a free agent, but his wages, believed to be €20 million per season, are problematic. Clement Lenglet, Sergino Dest and Alex Collado have also said to be available for transfer before the end of this month.

Roma, who have known their FFP issues with UEFA for the past decade, are another up against the clock. Their need to generate revenue for FFP compliance has been well-publicized in Italy, with Cristian Volpato and Filippo Missori in line for late moves to Sassuolo. Roma were fined €35m by UEFA in September after failing to meet a break-even requirement.

June 30 may be a time when the biggest names in European football are still recharging their batteries, but as this week’s business has shown, it’s a date that demands the attention of the financially stretched.

(Top photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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