BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — A pair of Chelsea players checked out the movers and shakers in the Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge early Thursday afternoon.

Down the hall Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko held up a blue Chelsea jersey for a mob of photographers at a news conference formally introducing the London club's latest mega-star.

"This one is better," Chelsea's media savvy coach Jose Mourinho said, turning the jersey around for photographers, revealing Shevchenko's name and No. 7.

It was official: Chelsea has gone Hollywood.

Chelsea is playing the Major League Soccer All-Star team in Chicago Saturday, but, following the lead of Manchester United and Real Madrid, is training in Los Angeles for a week in an effort to raise the club's profile in the United States.

"No other global team is (as) prepared to invest in U.S. soccer from top to bottom," said Paul Smith, Chelsea director of business affairs.

Spending money isn't a problem at Chelsea. Shevchenko's move from AC Milan to Stamford Bridge alone cost the club $57.2 million.

"A very important moment for English football," Mourinho said of the signing.

But not nearly as significant as Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich's July 2003 purchase of the club for $444.5 million.

"It's not about making money," said Abramovich, who is worth an estimated $12.5 billion. "I have many much less risky ways to making money than this. It's about having fun and that means success and trophies."

Having run away with the past two Premier League titles, Chelsea has added Shevchenko and Bayern Munich and Germany captain Michael Ballack to its roster in hopes of adding the UEFA Champions League to Abramovich's trophy collection.

"When you put this team together," Shevchenko said, "there's only one goal: the Champions League."

But with other top clubs unable to compete with Abramovich's deep pockets, critics charge Chelsea's three-year spending spree has threatened the competitive balance of the Premier League and even the Champions League.

Chelsea has more stars under contract than any of the studio or network executives that regularly do lunch at the Polo Lounge. The club since 2003 has spent $372 million more on signing players than rival Manchester United. This summer alone Chelsea has paid $96.3 million acquiring new players. And that doesn't include Ballack, who was a free agent. Two years ago it spent $171.45 million. Shevchenko and Ballack are earning reportedly more than $186,000 a week. Abramovich regularly treats players to "thank you" vacations on Le Grand Bleu, his five-bedroom yacht.

But Mourinho bristles at the notion the club has simply bought trophies.

"Chelsea has won championships because Chelsea is a team," said Mourinho, who came to Stamford Bridge in 2004 after leading FC Porto to the Champions League title, one Fleet Street tabloid announcing his arrival with the headline "The ego has landed."

But despite Mourinho and Chelsea's detractors, about the only place the club has lost is on the bottom line. Chelsea reported losses of $260.4million for the most recent fiscal year, $163.8million the previous fiscal year. The losses haven't stopped Abramovich from pouring $697.5million into the club.

"Short-term pain for long-term gain," say club officials. Chelsea recently signed a reported eight-year $178.5million deal with adidas and Chelsea officials vow the club will be self-sufficient by 2010.

In the meantime Abramovich will keep collecting stars.

"It's always like this, change every season," midfielder Frank Lampard said after training Thursday morning at UCLA. "When you play at Chelsea you get used to it, there's always an influx."