Chelsea's disastrous season could cost Abramovich €140m
The cost of Chelsea's disastrous season could run to more than £100million for Roman Abramovich as the club's owner considers whether or not sacking manager Jose Mourinho will trigger a turnaround in fortunes.
That figure takes into consideration the fact that one of the top candidates to replace Mourinho next summer, Diego Simeone, would only accept the job if he could overhaul the current squad.
Abramovich and the Chelsea board have the international break to decide whether they can continue to stand by Mourinho after a seventh Premier League defeat of the season, away to Stoke City, left them three points above the drop zone.
The understanding has always been that Abramovich will make a change when he feels Chelsea's Champions League status is under serious threat, but sacking Mourinho and failing to climb into the top four would cost him a fortune.
Assuming the Portuguese accepted an immediate pay-out, rather than not working for the next three seasons and collecting the full value of his contract signed in August, Mourinho would be due £100m in compensation.
Failure to qualify for the Champions League is estimated to cost clubs at least £40m.
The significance of the extra revenue generated by competing in Europe's top competition for Chelsea is underlined by the fact they earn around £2m less in gate receipts than rivals Arsenal for each home game.
While Pep Guardiola remains Abramovich's ideal successor to Mourinho, and independent intermediaries have attempted to find out whether the Spaniard would consider a move to Stamford Bridge, Simeone is thought to be interested in the Chelsea post.
Simeone's prospects have been strengthened by the fact that, while he does not speak English, the 45-year-old's right-hand man German Burgos has learned the language ahead of a potential move.
But Simeone would represent an expensive option for Abramovich.
His Atletico Madrid buy-out clause is set at £15m and sources close to the former midfielder claim he believes the current Chelsea squad needs major investment.
Even accounting for player sales, Chelsea could not expect to make a net spend of less than £35m to add more star quality to their squad.
Two of Simeone's Atletico players, Antoine Griezmann and Koke, both have a buy-out clause set over £40m.
Brendan Rodgers, who started his coaching career under Mourinho at Chelsea, is the latest man to be linked with a caretaker role at the Bridge but a return is unlikely.
The Chelsea board were not impressed by the fact Rodgers brushed off links to the club while he was in charge at Swansea City by saying: "I am trying to build my career and not destroy it."
Rodgers also angered the Chelsea hierarchy by twice taking players on loan from them, Josh McEachran at Swansea and Victor Moses at Liverpool, but barely using them.
With most of his players away on duty with their national teams, Mourinho is expected to spend the majority of the international break in and around Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he looks for answers to the club's dire results ahead of the next game against Norwich City on November 21.
With Mourinho serving a one-game stadium ban and watching the Stoke defeat from the Crewe Hall Hotel, Chelsea captain John Terry delivered a rousing dressing-room team talk that inspired an improved performance - if not result.
But defeat against Norwich on Saturday week could well bring the Special One's reign to an end.