Chelsea agree £60m-a-year kit sponsorship deal with Nike
Chelsea have agreed a stunning £60 million-a-year kit deal with Nike that will help the club to continue to compete at the top end of the transfer market, despite failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Telegraph Sport understands the deal with Nike is worth double to Chelsea than their current £30m-a-year sponsorship deal with Adidas, which the club last week confirmed will come to an end next season.
Chelsea’s decision to part company with Adidas six years early will cost the club £40m in compensation, but the Nike agreement makes it worth their while to get out as quickly as possible.
Manchester United still have the most lucrative kit deal in Europe, £75m-a-year with Adidas, but Chelsea have landed the second-highest deal – at least until Real Madrid negotiate a new agreement with either Adidas or Nike.
In the Premier League, Chelsea’s Nike contract is twice what Arsenal are paid by Puma and is more than three times what Manchester City earn from Nike, although City’s deal is due to expire in 2019 and could soon be renegotiated.
It is believed Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia negotiated the new Nike sponsorship, which is the latest in the line of big commercial deals the club have struck – following the £40m-a-year Yokohama partnership and the £10m-a-year training kit deal with Carabao.
Chelsea refused to comment on their lucrative new Nike agreement, but most big kit contracts usually now run for at least 10 years which would make the deal worth a total of £600m.
Doubling their kit sponsorship income will give Chelsea an extra £30m-a-year in Financial Fair Play leeway from next summer, which could not have come at a better time following the club’s failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Uefa Financial Fair Play limits are calculated over a three-year assessment period, with clubs currently allowed to spend around £23m more than they earn for 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League will cost Chelsea at least £40m, but that does not have a significant impact on their spending power for this summer.
And with the extra £30m coming in from the Nike contract from the start of the 2017/18 season, together with the new Premier League television deal that kicks in next season, Chelsea do not need to be too worried about the current three-year assessment period.
Incoming manager Antonio Conte wants to sign at least three first-team players this summer, with Chelsea expecting to be in the market for one or two marquee names to help the club achieve its aim of immediately returning to the Champions League.
One of those signings will be a forward with Chelsea currently exploring the options to sign Gonzalo Higuaín or bring Romelu Lukaku back to the club and either transfer would have to exceed the club record £50m they paid for Fernando Torres in 2011.
Other than a forward, Chelsea want midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who Roma value at £32m, and a central defender, with Leonardo Bonucci and Everton’s John Stones two top targets.
It seems increasingly likely captain John Terry will accept the one-year contract offer he was made last week, even though he will have to take a substantial pay cut and will start next season as the club’s fourth-choice central defender behind a new man, Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill.
Terry is in talks with Chelsea about committing himself to the club for next season, with insiders hopeful that an announcement could be made soon.
Chelsea will sell players this summer to help balance the books, but Eden Hazard will stay at Stamford Bridge. Diego Costa is wanted by Atlético Madrid and is the shock omission from Spain’s provisional Euro 2016 squad.
Oscar wants to leave Chelsea and Thibaut Courtois is keen on a move to Real Madrid, but could be priced out of a return to Spain this summer.
Should Courtois stay, then Asmir Begovic may leave Chelsea and has attracted the interest of Crystal Palace, while striker Loïc Rémy will be sold and the future of Nemanja Matic is in doubt.
Chelsea are currently locked in a battle with the Brazilian Football Federation over their desire to call up Willian for the Olympics. The player is understood to be keen to represent his country in Rio this summer, but the Blues have so far been resistant to his participation.
Playing in both the Copa America and Olympics for Brazil would result in Willian missing pre-season and the start of next season’s Premier League.