Omari Kellyman joins Chelsea: historic transfer finalized

Omari Kellyman joins Chelsea: historic transfer finalized


Todd Boehly’s at it again. The Chelsea owner is the master of the transfer loophole, and in completing a deal to sign Omari Kellyman from Aston Villa for a relatively modest €22.5 million, the American may just have triggered another watershed moment in Premier League history.

The top flight moved in December to shut down his ploy of amortising the transfer fees of players over hyper-long contract terms, which was a plan that allowed the Blues to spend big money in the short term.

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‘Loophole Boehly’ has now moved to beat the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules, albeit amid a warning that he could breach legislation relating to Fair Market Value (FMV).


Kellyman’s outsized transfer fee

The Blues are known for their big spending on young players, but the gamble they are taking on Kellyman is enormous even by their standards.

Although an England young international, the 18-year-old made only six top-team appearances for Aston Villa, combining to a total of just 148 minutes. He has only 35 minutes of experience in Premier League football.

The €22.5 million (£19m) deal comes amid the backdrop of a threat from PSR, which state that clubs cannot make a loss of more than £105m across a rolling three-year period without punishment.

After Everton and Nottingham Forest were punished by the loss of points last season, this has provoked a scramble from teams potentially facing a similar fate to make sales. Chelsea and Villa are two of the teams implicated.

Omari Kellyman, Chelsea's new signing
© IMAGO – Omari Kellyman, Chelsea’s new signing

The Premier League have warned clubs over making transfers to massage their financial figures to allow them to fall in line with PSR.

There is a suspicion that teams are doing just that. Kellyman’s move to Chelsea might just be the starkest example yet, with the teenager joining the Stamford Bridge side for a fee well in excess of his worth.

Indeed, FootballTransfers pegs Chelsea’s purchase price for the youngster at nearly 30 times his value.

Kellyman’s Estimated Transfer Value (ETV), which is calculated using a formula unique to FootballTransfers based off more than 600,000 historical deals, is only €800,000. Chelsea have paid a sum more than 28 times greater than that.

There are three other transfers that have set alarm bells ringing, including Ian Maatsen’s move in the opposite direction for around €44.3m. The Dutchman, though, has an ETV of €32.1m. His price does not seem entirely unreasonable.

Fee vs Estimated Transfer Value (ETV)

Name To From Fee (€m) ETV (€m)
Ian Maatsen Aston Villa Chelsea 44.3 32.1
Omari Kellyman Chelsea Aston Villa 22.5 0.8
Lewis Dobbin Everton Aston Villa 11.8 2.6
Tim Iroegbunam Aston Villa Everton 10.6 3.5

The other deals also involve Aston Villa. They sold Lewis Dobbin to Everton for €11.8m, a fee 4.5 times greater than his valuation, and signed Tim Iroegbunam for €10.6m, approximately three times his ETV.

Nothing comes close to the outsized nature of the Kellyman deal, though.

The Premier League can now investigate the move in terms of FMV, which it uses 18 factors, including the player’s age, position, playing statistics, honours and injury history, to make a judgement.

What is the PSR loophole and how is it exploited?

In short, football clubs record sales as one bulk sum. Chelsea’s 2023/24 accounts, which finish on 30 June, will therefore have had a €44.3m profit added to them with the Maatsen sale.

Signings, though, are amortised over the duration of the player’s contract up to a maximum of five years. This means that on their 2023/34 accounts, Kellyman is a liability worth only €4.5m.

Equally, Aston Villa record an outgoing of around €9m on Maatsen but have an incoming of €22.5m from Kellyman – a profit of €13.5m.

The loophole is that both teams can record a profit, at least in the short term, which is vital for both while battling PSR.

Even if Chelsea and Villa escape punishment for the agreement – it would likely be a financial penalty – this is a transfer that should offer a reckoning to the Premier League in terms of how it closes a major PSR loophole.


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