As things stand, Chelsea stand accused of breaching transfer regulations when signing young players from overseas following a FIFA investigation. The club was banned from registering new players for two transfer windows and has already seen an appeal rejected by FIFA.
Chelsea have taken the case to CAS, as did Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid when they were previously hit with similar sanctions, but the Daily Telegraph has now reported that the London club have not yet asked CAS if the ban can be suspended while it is under review.
Barcelona and Atletico both failed in their attempts to have a ban overturned when CAS upheld FIFA’s punishment, while Real only succeeded in having it shortened.
The Telegraph notes that the thinking at Chelsea may be that it is ‘better’ to start serving the ban if the club’s lawyers do not believe there is a chance it will be overturned.
In a sense, why delay the inevitable, rather than get it over and done with?
But that would only be an agreeable idea if the club believes itself to be in a strong enough position to be able to ride out two transfer windows next season without bringing in new players, especially as Eden Hazard looks almost certain to leave for Real Madrid.
It has been established that Chelsea would be allowed to confirm the permanent signings of loan players Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain if they wish, even while banned, although it was rumoured earlier this week that Chelsea have no plans to keep the latter.
There is also the fact that David Luiz has recently signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge, while Chelsea have access to plenty of players on loan at other clubs. That includes the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James, all of whom are aged 21 or younger.
On top of that, Chelsea already secured the £58m signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January, with the American a player who could potentially serve as a direct replacement for Hazard as the team’s chief creative force and attacking outlet.
What’s more, if the individuals that Chelsea would want this summer are not on the market, it makes no sense to have the ban frozen to then not use the opportunity to sign players to improve the squad, especially if there is a chance the ban will later be enforced anyway.
If Chelsea believe they can survive next season by using players already available to them, it may the smart thing to do to just get the ban over with as soon as possible rather than pushing it back, only to have to serve it eventually, because CAS isn’t in the habit of overturning.