Chelsea is one of England’s top clubs, with the ability to spend a lot of money on players. Every season, the North London Club sets a record for recruiting the top players, causing them to spend a lot of money on them.
Chelsea has invested a lot of money into the squad throughout Roman Abramovich’s tenure as owner, and they are currently one of the best teams in Europe.
Some of the players Chelsea has paid a lot of money to have failed to justify their high salaries, while others have proven that they are worth it.
So, have a look at these six players who Chelsea paid a lot of money for yet failed to deliver.
6. Andriy Shevchenko (£31m from AC Milan)
Shevchenko joined at Chelsea in 2006 with a high reputation as one of the best strikers in the world, making him the poster boy for Roman Abramovich’s big-money misdeeds.
The Ukrainian scored 173 goals in 296 games for AC Milan, helping them win both the Serie A and the Champions League. In England, though, his ominous aura faded soon.
There were doubts if Shevchenko had reached the pinnacle of his skills at the age of 29, but that didn’t stop Abramovich from smashing the English transfer record to sign him for £31 million.
Sadly for the Russian and Chelsea, their suspicions were realized when he only scored four goals in his first 30 league outings.
Mourinho, the club’s then-manager, never warmed up to his pricey signing, and after another disappointing season in 2007/08, Shevchenko returned to Milan on loan.
After that ended, Chelsea decided not to offer him a new contract and instead released him on a free transfer, despite the fact that he only scored 22 goals throughout his time in west London. Disastrous.
5. Fernando Torres (£50m from Liverpool)
Not many moves have been more anti-climactic than Torres’ spectacular £50 million departure from Liverpool to Chelsea. The Spaniard earned everlasting villain status at Anfield on deadline day in January 2011, when he left to join a direct competitor whose British record bid was simply too good to pass up.
He had developed a reputation as possibly Europe’s best out-and-out centre-forward in three-and-a-half years with the Reds, scoring 81 goals in 142 games. Torres had begun to show signs of deterioration following a catastrophic knee injury before to his move to Chelsea, and that decline quickly turned into disaster when he arrived at Stamford Bridge.
It took him 14 games and 903 minutes to score his first goal for the Blues, which came in a 3-0 victory over West Ham at the end of April.
El Nino’s fortunes improved during the next couple of seasons, as he won the Champions League, FA Cup, and Europa League, as well as making some important contributions. Who can forget Gary Neville’s spectacular goal against Barcelona that put him into orbit?
Torres’ three-and-a-half-year Chelsea stint was not a complete failure, but he never regained the fast pace and clinical touch that set him apart from the competition at Liverpool, resulting in an overall tally of 45 goals in 172 games.
4. Alvaro Morata (£60m from Real Madrid)
When Morata joined Chelsea for £60 million from Real Madrid in 2017, he was given the unenviable task of replacing Diego Costa at the heart of Chelsea’s attack.
He had scored 20 goals for the first time the previous season, indicating that the 24-year-old was on the rise.
And Morata made an immediate impact at Chelsea under Conte. With Costa a distant memory, he scored seven goals in his first seven appearances, including a magnificent hat-trick away at Stoke.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard, that first flurry was the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak period at the Bridge. He scored just eight more goals in his next 41 appearances, earning criticism from supporters for his lack of toughness. Costa’s boldness and aggression had abruptly vanished.
Sarri attempted to restore Morata’s faith the next season, but a return of five goals in 16 league games caused him to lose patience and loan him out to Atletico Madrid in January 2019.
In the summer of 2020, Atletico Madrid bought him outright, and one bright spot for Chelsea was that they were able to recuperate the entirety of their club-record transfer fee. Morata, on the other hand, has been one of the most underwhelming transfers in the Blues’ history.
3. Timo Werner (£53m From RB Leipzig)
Chelsea believed they had just gotten their hands on one of the top forwards in European football when they beat Liverpool to the signing of Werner in 2020, with his return of 34 goals for RB Leipzig in the previous campaign enticing them to pay £53 million for his services.
He got off to a good start under Frank Lampard, scoring eight goals and providing five assists in his first 17 appearances. However, in his following 72 games, he only managed 15 goals and 16 assists.
After two complete seasons at Stamford Bridge, the Germany international has only 10 Premier League goals to his name, indicating that he has so far fallen short of expectations.
Having said that, Werner did play a significant role in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph last season under Tuchel, scoring in their semi-final victory against Real Madrid.
And, at 26, he still has plenty of opportunity to show that his inclusion on this list was premature.
Werner’s time at Chelsea, though, is likely to be remembered as a big disappointment unless his fortunes dramatically improve in the coming years.
2. Kepa Arrizabalaga (£72m from Athletico Bilbao)
Chelsea’s choice to invest a record £72 million for the Spanish goalkeeper gets increasingly perplexing with each passing season.
Kepa was clearly considered as a long-term investment for the club at the age of 24, and his high price tag did not appear excessive following his first season.
As the Blues won the Europa League and advanced to the League Cup final, he was heroic in two penalty shootouts, though his infamous refusal to be substituted by Maurizio Sarri in the latter was a harbinger of things to come.
Kepa’s form and overall standing in European football declined considerably the following season. Chelsea’s season was marred by a series of high-profile gaffes, forcing Lampard to alternate him with backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero on many occasions.
Lampard brought in Edouard Mendy from Rennes in the summer of 2020 after his No. 1 had the second-lowest save percentage in the Premier League, and Kepa hasn’t been able to reclaim his starting spot since.
There have been a few highlights, such as when he came off the bench to lead his team to a Super Cup shootout triumph last season. Nonetheless, in February, Kepa had his lowest point as a Chelsea player when he fired a penalty kick into Row Z, costing them a place in the Carabao Cup final.
His contract has three years left on it, and at 27, he may yet reach his prime. However, as things are, Kepa is destined to be a costly failure for the Blues.
1. Romelu Lukaku (£97.5m from Inter Milan)
Tuchel appeared to have discovered the final piece of his Chelsea jigsaw when he marched back into Stamford Bridge with a commanding stride last year. Even if it is a bit costly.
Lukaku started his second term with the club with four goals in as many games, albeit he only scored eight more goals entire season, discounting the Club World Cup.
He struggled to reclaim his spot in Tuchel’s side after returning from an ankle injury at the end of November, leading in the sensational Sky Italia interview that shook Chelsea’s season shortly before the New Year.
Tuchel benched Lukaku for the following match against Liverpool, but restored faith in him following the 2-2 draw. His big-money signing, on the other hand, went 10 games without scoring in the league.
Lukaku ended the season on a good note, scoring three goals in two games against Wolves and Leeds, but his future in west London appears to be bleak.
Inter are set to re-sign him on a season-long loan deal this summer, with Chelsea seeking a fee of £20 million to do so.