Chelsea and strange transfers is a tale as old as time, the likes of Danny Drinkwater for £35m and Khalid Boulahrouz for £8.5m are just a few of the outrageous deals that have actually gone through in recent memory. However, today I’m going to be recapping over some of the weirdest potential transfers that could’ve seen the likes of Peter Crouch in a Chelsea shirt…
Ashley Barnes was one of the long list of target men Antonio Conte went after in his second season in charge. During the 17/18 season, Conte struggled tremendously with familiarity in his number nine role. Hazard was often deployed in the false nine and Morata made a promising start to the season but by late December his goal tally had dried up. Several poor performances leading up to January resulted in Conte’s search for a target man to provide some much needed goals and to utilise the excellent crossing that was produced from the five at the back formation. It was first reported by SkySports on the 21st January 2018 that Chelsea had expressed interest in the Englishman. A truly strange transfer target for a club like Chelsea considering Barnes had just 17 goals in 4 years for Burnley and just one international appearance to his name, for the Austria U20 side…
Chelsea were reportedly ready to fork out £40m for the Brighton centre-back last summer. Lewis Dunk’s name really appeared out of nowhere in the transfer window and an out of form defence inspired Lampard to try and spend big to tighten up at the back. Brighton finished 15th in the Premier League and had a goal difference of -15 which made this transfer even more peculiar to me. When this rumour came out many people criticised Lampard for being closed-minded about his transfer targets. A large portion of Chelsea fans said that Lampard had ‘English bias’ and although I don’t agree with this statement I really think Dunk was a strange option to go for and that there was many better and cheaper options on the market.
After our Champions League victory in 2012, Lucas Moura, Hulk and Hazard were among the names we were linked with. At 19-years-old Moura was one of the hottest prospects in South America and our offer of around £32m was denied by São Paulo. I suppose this is where hindsight kicks in regarding this transfer. The future of Chelsea could have been completely different in so many ways if we signed Lucas Moura. As our original offer for the Brazilian was denied, we decided to go forward with the 21-year-old Belgian named Eden Hazard instead. Just the year before, Hazard lead Lille to their first league title since the 1950’s and accumulated 7 goals and 11 assists in the league. Now in 2021, we can never speculate how the last decade would have panned out if we had signed Lucas Moura but I’m sure I speak for all Chelsea fans when I say it has not been too bad with Hazard…
Stevan Jovetic (Twice)
After battling back from an injury riddled 2010/11 season, Jovetic regained his striking prowess and scored 10+ goals in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 season for Fiorentina. A fee of around £20m was being discussed for the 22-year-old but a formal offer was eventually never put through. Manchester City purchased Jovetic after we had a little bit of interest and it didn’t turn out well for the Montenegro national. Never going above 10 goals a season at City resulted in Jovetic being loaned out to Inter Milan where his stock would rise ever so slightly to intrigue Antonio Conte. One of Conte’s first transfer targets at Chelsea would be the City flop Jovetic in April 2016 as Conte pursued him twice whilst manager of Juventus. This rumour would fizzle out eventually and his name was never mentioned regarding a Chelsea move ever again.
Chelsea actually agreed a fee for the Everton man for around £3m in January 2011 and Pienaar spectacularly chose Tottenham over us. The versatile South African had been at an array of high level clubs including Ajax and Dortmund, but his numbers in the Premier League had been disappointing for the amount of praise he had received in his early years. Before we were trying to sign Pienaar he had only 2 goals and 1 assist in 18 matches for Everton. For a player who played exclusively across the front line, these numbers were nowhere near good enough for a team challenging for a title.
Manchester City purchased Lescott for a whopping £24m in 2009 due to their influx of money that first started the year before. We were linked to the central defender in 2010 after his torrid time at City was looking like it would be coming to an end after just one year. Luckily we didn’t follow through on this transfer and Lescott’s market value would deplete rapidly over the years. Five years after City signed him, he was sold on a free to West Brom.
Several bids were reportedly made for Celtics first choice goalie in January 2017. Conte was unsure about the future of Asmir Begovic and was in desperate need of a backup goalkeeper. Among Premier League fans this name is relatively unknown as there is not much focus on the goalies of the Scottish Premiership. There’s no fee reported online for what we offered Gordon but it didn’t matter anyway, Celtic and Gordon denied the bids and it turned out well for Gordon as he went on to win an invincible treble that same season.
Islam Slimani (Twice)
The window of January 2018 produced another weird striker suggestion from Conte with Islam Slimani being targeted in a loan move. Slimani had a decent season for Leicester in 16/17 scoring 7 goals and getting 4 assist in 23 games, however the form a title challenging side was in need of was not possible by the Algerian. The second time we were linked with Slimani was in January 2020, with his agent searching endlessly for a big money move to a top European club. Luckily, Chelsea never got close to an agreed fee on both occasions that we were linked with the striker.
Daniele De Rossi
In the summer of 2013, Mourinho was after De Rossi for the third time in his managerial career. Mourinho and Chelsea were ready to offer De Rossi £200,000 a week to try and lure the midfielder to Stamford Bridge. This transfer would be extremely strange as De Rossi is known as a Roma man through and through. At Roma for 17 years and moving to Chelsea would solidify our right as one of the biggest clubs in the world in 2013. What’s also weird is that De Rossi was barely linked anywhere throughout his career and was deemed untouchable at Roma so the thought of someone of that stature coming to Chelsea seemed beyond belief.
Conte was yet again continuing his search for a classic English target man with his pursuit of Peter Crouch in mid January 2018. The BBC reported that Chelsea even contacted Stoke about the availability of the veteran. Crouch was still featuring reguarly for Stoke and had 3 goals in the League leading up to the January transfer window. Conte definitely had short term replacement in mind with this link to a 36 year old on the backstretch of his career. I can maybe see this being a Rob Green situation is what Conte had in mind. Crouch would have been able to fill in when needed and would provide his countless amounts of knowledge to the rest of the players in training. If this deal ever progressed passed us “making contact” with Stoke they probably would have made us pay an inexcusably large fee for a player with maybe a year or two left in his legs.
£20m. The fee that West Ham wanted us to pay for an injury riddled, subpar Premier League striker was indeed £20m. Marina and Abramovich must have just been waiting for an opportunity to get rid of Conte after hearing Conte’s transfer targets in January 2018. West Ham being stubborn is what made this transfer debacle even funnier than usual. They refused a 6 month loan offer, forcing us to make an enquiry for a permanent deal just to slap us round the face with a required fee of £20m! Whoever was handling their transfers must have been having a great chuckle when they sent that email.
Written by Frankie