Written by M. Botham (@FIBeefy)
The end of the 2018/2019 season is almost upon us and a post season of real intrigue and transfer excitement awaits for football fans across the country as the Summer Transfer Windows opens and the annual scramble for players signatures begins.
Whether it be the hometown favourite signing a contract extension or the wonderkid from South America signing on the dotted line, there is nothing like transfer activity and indeed transfer speculation that gets a football fans heart pounding as hundreds of news articles are read and social media profiles updated as the transfer window get into full swing.
However, one set of fans are probably going to be sitting watching the TV through their fingers and looking at their mobiles with one eye squinted this Summer with the fast approaching window potentially leaving an ill wind blowing in for the faithful at Stamford Bridge.
Already seemingly under an embargo that will leave Chelsea unable to register any players of their own for the new season they also face the prospect of an exodus of the frontline of their current playing squad. No fewer than five first team members who play in advanced positions are either out of contract this summer or entering their final year.
Step forward; Eden Hazard, Callum Hudson Odoi, Willian and Pedro all entering the final year of their contract. These join Olivier Giroud, (contract expires this Summer) and Gonzalo Higuain whose permanent move remains in doubt.
In terms of Football Index Value, we have already seen an injection of cash pumped into Eden Hazard following the enhanced Media Buzz announcement. The brilliant Belgian talisman registered a 47 pence value increase on the day of the announcement, this represents the biggest rise on the day as traders recognise that a Summer of unrelenting transfer speculation is inevitable.
The only way isn't up though, and the one player I was surprised to see decrease in value following the announcement was Callum Hudson Odoi (£3.70) Hudson-Odoi's price has very recently been under the microscope after a cruel and significant season-ending injury and many will say that perhaps the recently capped England star's price was already inflated by his astronomical rise over this season, but this is a player who is even in a state of recovery, still surely in for a Summer of concentrated transfer interest. Further fuel is added to this fire given his reluctance, so far, to pen a new deal and with some of Europe's biggest clubs already making their interest clear.
One of those clubs, Bayern Munich already had bids rebuffed in January and this saw Hudson-Odoi win the Media Buzz dividend on two occasions during the transfer window. Add into this the inevitable injury news updates and you have a blend of coverage on a player whom in addition to the two dividends he won in January has collected eight media dividends since the turn of the year. Surely there is more to come from the player whose star, once his injury woes are behind him, is only going to shine brighter.
If Hudson-Odoi or Hazard are going to stretch the purse strings a bit too far then cheaper options could be Willian (£0.85) - collected the Media Buzz dividend no fewer than 11 times last Summer, or Olivier Giroud (£0.46) whose move from Arsenal in January 2018 saw him pick up a Media Buzz dividend four times in the build-up to and during the 2018 winter window. Both players are of course entering the twilight of their respective careers however they still carry a star quality name. If they manage a move away from the Bridge, and if their heads are not turned by the bright lights and dollar signs of the Chinese Super League or MLS, and remain in the Matchday dividend leagues, these two could be shrewd trades and decent short term holds. Both players are still eligible and have been selected for their international teams even in their advancing years so a move to the USA or China would surely not make sense for either player if they wish to prolong their international status.
It's not all doom and gloom at the Bridge however, one player that they secured before the embargo Christian Pulisic (£1.78) remains one of Europe's brightest prospects and surely represents tremendous long term value at his current price - which I believe is deflated in the post share split market because of his lack of game time at Dortmund since his announcement to move to the English Premier League.
Pulisic in top form is an exciting player to watch and will surely become a regular for Chelsea given his undoubted talent, the competitions Chelsea will be involved in next year and the situation with player contracts as discussed earlier plus the unknown fitness of Hudson-Odoi.
Pulisic only turned 20 in September and in his limited playing time, this season of six starts in the Bundesliga has scored two and provided three assists. His past match points for the index when he was a regular in the first team have seen his matchday score into three figures on ten occasions so far with a high-matchday score of 175 which is impressive given his lack of game time and the fact that his best days are surely to come.
Whichever way you decide to invest, keep your eyes on Stamford Bridge this Summer and transfer embargo or not you will surely not be bored!