Chelsea transfer ban: What Roman Abramovich sanctions mean for player deals at the club

The March 10 sanctions faced by owner Roman Abramovich could have significant ramifications for Chelsea as far as the transfer window is concerned.

Abramovich’s assets have been frozen by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A special football license was issued by the government in conjunction with the sanctions in order to allow Chelsea to continue to operate as a club, but those come with significant restrictions.

The club is not able to produce or benefit from any revenue streams, stopping all merchandise and ticket sales. Any expenses that were agreed before the March 10 sanctions will need to continue to be paid by the club, but any revenue, including from media rights deals, will have to be frozen.

The same principles will apply to the player transfer market. Here’s an assessment of what the situation could mean for Chelsea with regards to transfers.

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Can Chelsea sign players?

As things stand Chelsea will be under what is essentially a transfer ban with the inability to sign new players or transfer out existing players.

The situation will remain in place until the sanctions are lifted or there is a new owner who takes over the club.

Chelsea are also hopeful of having discussions with the UK government on potential changes to the football license “to allow the club to operate as normal as possible.” It remains to be seen whether transfers will be part of those talks.

In the interim, the club will not be able to buy or sell any players in the upcoming 2022 summer transfer window.

The situation could change, but at present Chelsea will have to make do with their existing squad and they also won’t be able to offer any new contracts.

Chelsea players out of contract in summer 2022

Chelsea have several high profile players out of contract this summer and if the situation persists then they won’t be able to replace them.

  • Cesar Azpilicueta
  • Andreas Christensen
  • Charly Musonda
  • Saul Niguez
  • Antonio Rudiger

Andreas Christensen’s contract expires at the end of June and the defender has been heavily linked with a switch to Barcelona.

Antonio Rudiger is highly coveted and is the subject of interest from clubs including Real Madrid and Newcastle, as reported by The Telegraph.

Furthermore, Cesar Azpilicueta is also out of contract at the end of the season, with the 32-year-old, like Christensen having been linked with Barcelona.

If Christensen, Rudiger and Azpilicueta all leave then Chelsea could be somewhat short of high-quality defensive options if they aren’t able to sign any other players. They do, however, have some players due to return from loan such as Ethan Ampadu and Matt Miazga.

Saul Niguez is set to return to Atletico Madrid following the conclusion of his loan spell and Charly Musonda Jr. will also depart.

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Rumored Chelsea summer transfer targets

Before this transfer ban, Chelsea were rumored to be preparing for a very busy summer transfer window.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Sevilla defender Jules Kounde were among the players linked with the club.

There had also been suggestions of a possible move for Borussia Dortmund star forward Erling Haaland.

MORE: Who is Roman Abramovich? Story of his rise to Chelsea owner

Last time Chelsea were under a transfer ban?

In 2019 Chelsea were given a two-window transfer ban following 150 rule breaches involving 69 academy players over several seasons, as reported by BBC Sport.

However, Chelsea only ended up serving a ban for one transfer window after they appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

They were not allowed to sign new players in the summer of 2019, but Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic still joined the team based on deals with terms in effect prior to the ban.

Pulisic was signed in January 2019 from Borussia Dortmund and Kovacic returned to Chelsea as part of a loan deal arranged with Real Madrid.

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