Three of the 10 most valuable players in the world currently ply their trade at Stamford Bridge, according to a new study from the CIES Football Observatory.
Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Francesc Fabregas are all named in the top 10, alongside Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. No other club in Europe has as many players in the top 10 as the Blues.
However, reigning European champions Real Madrid and German giants Bayern Munich share with Chelsea the accolade of having 11 players in the 100 most valuable list.
The Premier League has more players in CIES Football Observatory list than any other league in the world. A total of 49 players from England's top tier make an appearance compared to 25 from Spain, 19 from Germany and Italy respectively and eight from France (seven of which play for Paris Saint-Germain).
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard who is considered the Premier League’s most treasured asset, according to the study, with the Belgian winger given a valuation of €99m (£77.6m).
However, it is Lionel Messi who is football’s most valuable player, with an eye-popping valuation of €220m (£172.43m).
The Football Observatory is a research group at the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), based in Switzerland. Their transfer values are based on an econometric algorithm that takes into account player performance, age, position, contract duration and results achieved by their team.
If speculative internet rumours are to be believed, the football's MVP could be on his way to Stamford Bridge in the near future. Fans were sent into a frenzy after a reportedly disaffected Messi failed to turn up for the Barcelona’s open training session and and followed Chelsea’s official account on Instagram.
Although Uefa’s Financial Fair Play restrictions would almost certainly require Chelsea to sell before they could splash out on such a high-profile player, and Barcelona are unlikely to cash in while under transfer embargo in 2015, the Blues do have previous for spending big in the January transfer window.
Since it first came into play in the Premier League in 2003, no one has spent more in January than the West London club who have shelled out a total of £217.54m across 12 windows.
The biggest January deal of all time came when Chelsea bought Fernando Torres for £51m in 2011.
Explore our interactive below to see how much each individual club has spent in January windows over the years.
Now 12 years old, the January transfer window has evolved into one of the most important months in the football calendar, and the source of frenzied excitement for fans.
Approximately £1.3bn has been spent in January windows by Premier League clubs since Fifa legislation shut off teams from buying new players from September to January and February to June. When once clubs could add new recruits at any stage during the season, they must now wait for their month-long Black Friday every January when players once again become available.
More money was spent last summer than in any previous transfer window, as Premier League clubs splashed almost £1bn on new players ahead of the current season. Never before has so much been spent across a full season, never mind a single window.
With more time to plot, plan and purchase during the summer, it should be no surprise that on average only 19 per cent of transfers take place during the January window.
Yet that doesn't mean big deals shouldn't be expected this month. In the last two seasons over £100m has been spent in January. Furthermore, two of the 10 biggest January deals came last season (Nemanja Matic was a £22m buy for Chelsea, who sold Juan Mata to Manchester United for £39.4m), even after what was then the biggest summer window of all time.
- José Antonio Reyes (2004)
- Andrey Arshavin (2009)
- Theo Walcott (2006)
- Nacho Monreal (2013)
- Emmanuel Adebayor (2006)
Not a fan of the January window, Arsene Wenger has often been more reluctant to spend as much as his contemporaries in the period. Since the window came into existence, seven clubs have spent more in January than the Gunners.
Perhaps it’s no wonder Wenger is cautious in the market at this time of year. His two biggest January window signings - Jose Antonio Reyes and Andrey Arshavin - enjoyed patchy Arsenal careers at best.
Arsenal have already spent around £90m this season - their biggest transfer outlay ever - but as they still look in need of reinforcements at the base of midfield and in defence, Wenger may feel the need to increase that total during the window.
- Darren Bent (2011)
- Ashley Young (2007)
- Jean II Makoun (2011)
- Emile Heskey (2009)
- Eric Djemba-Djemba (2005)
Since the January window of 2011, when Aston Villa made Darren Bent the club’s record purchase, American owner Randy Lerner has reined in the spending at Villa Park.
Villa are unlikely to return to the high-spending approach that defined Lerner’s early years at the club, yet as the lowest scorers in the league so far this season, they may well be on the lookout for increased firepower up front. Just so long as it comes at a cheaper cost than Darren Bent.
- Danny Fox (2010)
- Leon Cort (2010)
- Charlie Austin (2011)
- Andy Gray (2006)
- Ade Akinbiyi (2007)
In their entire history, Burnley have spent £45m on transfers. Chelsea spent more than that on Fernando Torres in January 2011. So don’t expect too many explosive deals to emerge from Turf Moor this month.
After winning promotion last season, the club decided to keep things low-key in the transfer market, limiting spending to under £10m. After a tricky opening spell, the club have now pulled themselves to within sight of an unlikely survival. Could the Clarets go for broke in January?
- Fernando Torres (2011)
- David Luiz (2011)
- Nemanja Matic (2014)
- Nicolas Anelka (2008)
- Mohamed Salah (2014)
The biggest January spenders in Premier League history, Chelsea have spent a massive £271.54m since 2003.
Some of those signings have been undoubted successes; David Luiz, Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, and some high-profile failures; Scott Parker, Mohamed Salah and, of course, Fernando Torres.
Chelsea usually spend biggest in January when they’ve not been at their best in the half of the season leading up to it. The Blues could do with another striker in the summer to replace the aging Drogba, but for now Jose Mourinho’s squad looks pretty well-stocked all over.
- Wayne Hennessey (2014)
- Joe Ledley (2014)
- Jason Puncheon (2014)
- Scott Dann (2014)
- Paul Ifill (2007)
Palace obliterated their January spending record last season, forking out £9.84m having only once before spent more than £1m in the window after years of dipping into and skirting around administration.
New manager Alan Pardew will undoubtedly want a repeat this year, with Palace currently languishing in the relegation zone. Yet as the South London club have already spent around £2m to poach Pardew from Newcastle, he may not find he has too much to play with.
- James Beattie (2005)
- Nikica Jelavic (2012)
- Tim Howard (2007)
- John Stones (2013)
- Lee Carsley (2003)
The Toffees smashed their transfer record in the summer with the £31m purchase of Romelu Lukaku.
Yet both the player and the team have failed to progress as expected this season - Everton are currently positioned in the bottom half of the league.
Chairman Bill Kenwright has been reticent to spend in January in the past, and may prove even more unwilling to do so after their biggest-ever outlay in the summer.
- Shane Long (2014)
- Nikica Jelavic (2014)
- Jimmy Bullard (2009)
- Robbie Brady (2013)
- Kamil Zayatte (2009)
Hull have only spent three full seasons in the Premier League since 2003, yet have spent more in the January window (£31.3m to be precise) than some of clubs who have been in the top tier every season.
In fact, of clubs not involved in European competition, only Southampton have spent more than Hull since they won promotion in 2013. Yet despite the £64.37m spent, the Tigers are currently only teetering above the relegation zone.
- Steve Howard (2008)
- Chris Wood (2013)
- Wes Morgan (2012)
- Ben Marshall (2012)
- Danny Drinkwater (2012)
After winning promotion last season, Leicester’s Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha said he wanted the Foxes to be a top five club within five years and was prepared to spend £180m to get there.
Nigel Pearson will be hoping for an advance on some of that cash this January, with his side cut adrift at the foot of the table. Leicester spent just £12.24m to reinforce their squad in the summer.
- Andy Carroll (2011)
- Luis Suárez (2011)
- Daniel Sturridge (2013)
- Martin Skrtel (2008)
- Coutinho (2013)
Last season’s runners up spent a gargantuan £133m in the summer, yet have regressed since. The market nous of Brendan Rodgers and the club's “transfer committee” has been criticised, with many of the new signings such as Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli having failed to improve the first team.
The question this January is to what extent Rodgers and co will be entrusted to spend further in January in order to fix the team’s ailments.
- Edin Dzeko (2011)
- Nigel de Jong (2009)
- Craig Bellamy (2009)
- Wayne Bridge (2009)
- Robbie Fowler (2003)
In the last three seasons, City have spent just £2.9m in the January window. After making big purchases every summer, the club has rarely looked in need of reinforcements come the midpoint in the season.
The Premier League holders’ most expensive January actually came back in 2009, when £45m was spent on players such as Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bridge and Shay Given. The calibre of City’s transfer targets have improved a bit since.
- Juan Mata (2014)
- Louis Saha (2004)
- Wilfried Zaha (2013)
- Nemanja Vidic (2006)
- Patrice Evra (2006)
United spent £170m this summer - more than any English club has ever spent in a single window. That followed United’s biggest January ever, when they made Juan Mata the second-biggest January signing in Premier League history with a £39m fee.
After all that, they surely can’t be expecting to buy more players this month, can they?
According to recent share prospectus issued by the Glazers, they may be planning to do just that.
- Jonathan Woodgate (2003)
- Papiss Demba Cissé (2012)
- Jean-Alain Boumsong (2005)
- Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (2013)
- Mathieu Debuchy (2013)
The Magpies’ third-biggest January under the notoriously thrifty Mike Ashley actually came in the January transfer window (2012/2013) when then-manager Alan Pardew was allowed to spend around £20m to fix a severely depleted squad.
With Newcastle currently sitting comfortable in mid-table, Pardew’s replacement is unlikely to be permitted such a big kitty this year. Fans will arguably be more concerned with holding onto Moussa Sissoko than any potential additions this January.
- Christopher Samba (2013)
- Loïc Rémy (2013)
- Bobby Zamora (2012)
- Djibril Cissé (2012)
- Nedum Onuoha (2012)
Two years ago QPR spent £22.44m in a desperate bid to secure survival in the Premier League. It didn’t work, and cost the club dearly after relegation to the Championship.
Will chairman Tony Fernandes be so cavalier this January? He will likely be given a number of targets from manager Harry Redknapp, who has spent over £100m in January windows since they were introduced in 2003.
- David Prutton (2003)
- Vegard Forren (2013)
- Nigel Quashie (2005)
- Grzegorz Rasiak (2006)
- Danny Higginbotham (2003)
The Saints’ biggest January outlay came in the first ever window in 2003, when £5.28m was forked out on Danny Higginbotham and David Prutton.
The club has not topped that since, but may be tempted into bringing extra bodies into a stretched squad that may find it hard to maintain the form from the first half of the season in the new year.
- James Beattie (2009)
- Jack Butland (2013)
- Asmir Begovic (2010)
- Brek Shea (2013)
- Matthew Etherington (2009)
Since the departure of Tony Pulis and the arrival of Mark Hughes in the summer of 2013, Stoke’s transfer spending has become far more restrained than in their first few seasons in the Premier League.
Don’t expect that to change much this month. The Potters have spent just £8.84m since Hughes has been in the dugout and have not traditionally been tempted into shopping sprees in January. Their biggest winter window signing came in their first season in the Premier League when James Beattie was bought for £3.52m.
- Stéphane Sessègnon (2011)
- Andy Reid (2008)
- Danny Graham (2013)
- Alfred N'Diaye (2013)
- Mart Poom (2003)
Manager Gus Poyet will surely want to improve the players at his disposal ahead of what looks to be another battle with relegation.
Yet the club has often struggled to find value in this window. Over £40m has been spent yet few players, with the exception of record January signing Stephane Sessegnon, have made a prolonged impact.
- Luke Moore (2011)
- David Cotterill (2010)
- Ashley Williams (2008)
- Nathan Dyer (2009)
- Darryl Duffy (2007)
Swansea are the only Premier League club to have never spent more than £1m in the January window.
Yet that hasn’t prevented them from finding exceptional value during the month. Ashley Williams and Nathan Dyer, players who have made 265 and 200 appearances respectively were signed for £528,000 each.
- Robbie Keane (2009)
- Jermain Defoe (2009)
- Wilson Palacios (2009)
- Alan Hutton (2008)
- Jonathan Woodgate (2008)
Tottenham have been the Premier League’s third-biggest spenders in January since the window first opened in 2003, having splashed out £123.81m in that time (£52m more than North London rivals Arsenal).
Spurs’ most costly January came in 2009 - Harry Redknapp’s first season at the club - when £45m was spent on Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe, Wilson Palacios and Pascal Chimbonda.
- Luke Moore (2008)
- Liam Ridgewell (2012)
- Richard Chaplow (2005)
- Nigel Quashie (2006)
- Geoff Horsfield (2004)
Not often tempted into a big January shop, the Baggies have spent just £12m in the window since it opened - less than they spent this summer alone.
New boss Tony Pulis may want to change that as he looks to lift West Brom away from relegation trouble. The former Stoke manager has spent over £27m in January windows at Stoke and Crystal Palace.
- Matthew Upson (2007)
- Dean Ashton (2006)
- Savio Nsereko (2009)
- Luís Boa Morte (2007)
- Calum Davenport (2007)
West Ham have spent a chunky £53.6m in the 12 January windows so far, although a large portion of that came in 2007 when then-owner Eggert Magnusson released £24.7m for new recruits in an ultimately successful bid to stave off relegation.
Having already spent around £30m this summer, and with the team comfortably in the upper echelons of the table, a repeat of that is unlikely this January.
All data courtesy of transfermarkt.co.uk