Just how sensible have Chelsea been this silly season?

As we enter the final month of the 2021 summer transfer window, Chelsea are finally beginning to make some moves with the pursuit to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge looking increasingly more likely by the day. However, as silly season comes into full effect, just how sensible is Chelsea’s recent transfer activity?

As is the case with most high profile signings in contemporary football, the numbers involved are staggering. The widely reported €120m (give or take a few free unwanted players thrown in for good measure) would be a British transfer record, topping the recent £100m acquisition of Manchester City, Jack Grealish, by a mere £1-2m. Yet, at a point in time in which elite goal-scoring 9’s are at a premium, the signing of Lukaku, who put up 30 goals in 44 games as he spearheaded Inter Milan’s first title win in 11 years, was always going to be an expensive one.

With such a high transfer fee comes undeniable risk, at the age of 28, Chelsea is signing a striker in his prime with the returns on the investment being solely reliant on him being a blistering success in front of goal. Despite Chelsea being no strangers to expensive acquisitions, previous recent high profile signings of players like Werner and Havertz were made with the reassurances that whilst an immediate impact was expected, they were also signing players who would develop and contribute to the club over a long period of time with an asset value that could well increase. With Lukaku, there is no such safety net of retained value, Chelsea will need the Belgian to put up strong numbers for the majority of his contract to justify the expenditure. Additionally, the pressure will be on Chelsea’s young core to ensure their development continues at an exponential rate in order to maximise the peak of Lukaku’s powers.

A lot has been made of the lack of resell value, with comparisons being made to the acquisition of Didier Drogba, aged 26 for £24m, however, in truth, the most comparable signing of this profile is that of Fernando Torres in 2011. The Spaniard, despite rumours of injuries already taking hold, was signed for a record-breaking fee at the age of 27 with the hopes that he could push Carlo Ancelotti’s side to the next level. Despite a few unforgettable moments, El Nino’s time at the club was largely underwhelming, with the club struggling to move the player on when it became apparent to all parties that the desired outcome was likely never going to be achieved. This not only cost the club a lot of money but also restricted opportunities to implement alternative solutions, including a newly acquired Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht. Such an experience will have undoubtedly played a part in the club’s cautiousness to pursue a transfer of this profile up until now, an entire decade later.

In isolation, Lukaku the player is rightly a reason to be excited. A versatile, determined and effective leader of the attack, Lukaku will likely provide the clinical instinct and mentality that an all too frequent toothless Chelsea attack has lacked. However, what in a single moment in time is a very exciting prospect perhaps masks a much more worrying underlying narrative of how the club have got to this point. It’s hard to find a player who represents the ugly side of Chelsea’s mismanagement of assets more than Lukaku himself. Signed as a promising talent in the Summer 2011 window, Lukaku’s time at the Blues was largely spent on loan as he struggled to secure a spot ahead of the aforementioned Torres, in addition to the likes of Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o and Loic Remy before departing the club permanently in 2014 to Everton. 

The club were interested in bringing the Belgian back to Stamford Bridge in 2017 however the board, largely unconvinced by the reported transfer and agent fees, ultimately lost out to Manchester United and instead focused their attention to Alvaro Morata (although the less said about that, the better). In fact, it appears to have taken Lukaku finally playing under Antonio Conte, the exact manager they didn’t provide Lukaku to in 2017, to convince the club to part with even more money than they would have had to pay 4 years earlier. 

Whilst admittedly, it’s easy to call out these mistakes with the power of hindsight, there’s still plenty of signs to suggest that the club are arguably making the same mistakes this summer, partly to fund this deal. Before the excitement surrounding the opening of Roman’s wallet, the feeling around the club was one of frustration as a large number of highly promising Chelsea youngsters departed for a host of reasons, primarily centred around a lack of belief in first-team opportunities. Despite the inclusion of various clauses that may one day see those players return to the club, there should be no greater example for persevering with suspected elite talent as you never know, it might just save you £100m one day.

The sale of such assets has largely been inevitable when combined with the fact that the club is unable to shift a large number of ageing players with depreciating value, both on the pitch and financially. This pre-season specifically acting as a worrying representation of the ghosts of transfer windows past as the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta took to the field as the club struggle to find suitors. The positive for fans is that such transfers weren’t repeated last summer and show no sign of taking place this summer either (despite a brief flirt with Adama Traore), yet the presence of so many players, combined with a look at the talent that has departed, should act as a startling reminder of the damage that can be done if the club doesn’t correctly manage their assets. Ultimately, continued selling of your 19 to 23-year-old Lukaku’s will ultimately prevent you from signing your 28-year-old Lukaku’s eventually.

It’s not all doom and gloom, of course. Chelsea, as European champions, are on the brink of adding one of the best strikers in world football to their squad. A board that has been frequently guilty of failing to strengthen from a position of power, appear to have learned from previous lessons and wish to take the club to the next level. In Tuchel, we have a manager that deserves to be backed and whilst it’s undoubtedly a risk, if the club insists on releasing Tammy Abraham this summer then it’s hard to argue that the club hasn’t gone all-in on the best option available. It just so happens that Lukaku might not only be Chelsea’s most expensive signing, but also their most expensive lesson.

5th August 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Kurt Zouma

West Ham are exploring other options for a centre back and as of now there is no deal to sign Zouma. (Fabrizio Romano)

Kurt Zouma, Chelsea Agree to 6-Year Contract, Will Go to Stoke on Loan |  Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
Image Source : Bleacher Report

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello: “You’ll be able to listen to our reasons soon, however this turns out”.

Chelsea will have new direct talks with Inter board tomorrow – preparing the new official bid. (Fabrizio Romano)

Lukaku’s open to accept personal terms [€12m net] – if Inter and Chelsea will agree on fee/details. New official Chelsea bid coming soon – fee expected to be more than €110m. (Fabrizio Romano)

Chelsea are ready to offer up to €120m for Lukaku but want to include a player that isn’t Alonso. Inter Milan are wary of Alonso’s wages and this could rule him out of a move to Inter. (DiMarzio)

Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang is ‘thinking about what to do’ regarding the sale of Romelu Lukaku to #Chelsea following protests from supporters and people inside the club. He wants to ‘carefully evaluate the pros and cons’ before making a final decision.

Chelsea would like to secure the signing of Lukaku by Sunday at the latest as they want to be able to register Lukaku for the Super Cup Final against Villarreal on Wednesday 11th. (Gazzetta)

Some £10M Separate Inter & Chelsea From Agreeing Terms Over Romelu Lukaku,  UK Media Claims
Image Source : SempreInter

Tiemoue Bakayoko

A meeting will take place between Chelsea and AC Milan next week regarding Bakayoko.

Napoli are also interested in signing Bakayoko. (Napoli Report)

Chelsea set for £16m transfer boost after 'agreeing deal in principle' to  sell Tiemoue Bakayoko to Napoli
Image Source : The Sun

Ike Ugbo

Salernitana are in negotioanints with Chelsea for striker Ike Ugbo.

There is speculation that Chelsea would be willing to agree to a loan deal. (Alfredo Pedulla)

Chelsea have rejected at least three bids from Genk for Ike Ugbo.

Chelsea are holding out for £5m.

The two clubs will remain in talks and try to come to an agreement. (Simon Johnson)

Transfer News: Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo agrees personal terms with Genk
Image Source : A Stamford Bridge Too Far

Written by Frankie

31st July 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Jules Kounde

Chelsea are working to find a solution with Sevilla as soon as possible to sign Jules Koundé. He’s the priority after personal terms agreed, and Chelsea want him to join.

Kurt Zouma still discussed in the deal, but Chelsea want go through also if Zouma won’t be included.

Kounde is Chelsea’s number one target now this summer. (Fabrizio Romano)

Kounde already has everything agreed on a five year contract with wages of £65k a week. (ElDesmarque)

Jules Koundé is getting nervous about his move to Chelsea as they struggle to get a deal done with Sevilla for the defender. (SportWitness)

Tiemoue Bakayoko

Bakayoko has been offered back to Napoli on loan, completely free of charge. (DailyMail)

Bakayoko would like to return to Milan.

AC Milan would like to acquire Bakyoko on loan with an option to buy. (Tuttosport)Tammy Abraham

Chelsea have told Abraham that he is available for transfer. The Blues will now accept offers of £30m for the striker. (ExWHUemployee)

Chelsea have lowered their asking price by £10m to try and entice teams into buying Tammy Abraham this summer.

Kurt Zouma

Kurt Zouma has made it ‘very clear’ that he wants to join West Ham this summer, with the Hammers set to offer closer to Chelsea’s valuation. (ExWHUemployee)

The French defender has made it clear that he does not wish to be a part of the deal to bring Jules Kounde from Sevilla to Chelsea, and will instead be joining West Ham United instead.

The French international does not wish to depart the Premier League, which has since given West Ham the impetus to make a move for him. (TheHardTackle)

Lucas Gourna-Douath

Chelsea have asked for information about Saint-Ettiene midfielder Lucas Gourna-Douath.

Dortmund and Leverkusen have also enquired for the youngster and it will take a lot of trying to lure the midfielder to West London. (TeamTalk)

30th July 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Kurt Zouma

Another player that West Ham are interested in is Kurt Zouma. Chelsea are believed to value the Frenchman at £30million but that is a figure that West Ham are unlikely to be able to afford. (Football London)

Tino Livramento

Livramento is expcted to leave Chelsea “imminently”. (Football London)

Jules Kounde

Chelsea are prepared to do whatever it takes to sign Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde this summer.

Kounde’s France team-mate is of more interest to the La Liga club but there are still complications in this regard. The 26-year-old Zouma is settled in London and is now subject of interest from West Ham.

“Chelsea want Kounde no matter what. He has been earmarked as a player they have been wanting to buy for the past two years. Zouma is the player that is being looked at to go the other way, but Chelsea are going to try and find a way to get this done regardless.” (The Athletic)

Ian Maatsen

Ian Maatsen has joined Coventry City on loan for the upcoming season.

Maatsen impressed in League One at Charlton and has now stepped up to the Championship with Coventry.Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher has completed a move to Crystal Palace that will see him spend the 2021/22 campaign on loan at Selhurst Park.

In a relatively young Palace side, Gallagher will provide youthful experience to the side from South London.

Image Source : Crystal Palace

Hakim Ziyech

AC Milan have maintained contacts with the entourage of Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech and the player seems tempted by a new experience, a report claims.

AC Milan seemingly have good relations with Chelsea after quick and swift moves with Giroud and Tomori. (SempreMilan)

Andreas Christensen

It is also understood that Sevilla are admirers of Christensen, but Chelsea are looking to keep the Denmark international.

Chelsea have opened talks over a contract extension following the 25-year-old’s fine form in 2021.

Christensen can discuss a pre-contract with foreign clubs from January and leave on a free transfer next summer. (The Athletic)

Antonio Rudiger

Rudiger can discuss a pre-contract with foreign clubs from January and leave on a free transfer next summer.

Rudiger wants to be made one of Chelsea’s highest-paid players. He was also not prepared to hold new talks until he returned from his break following the European Championship with Germany. (The Athletic)

Written by Frankie

28th July + 29th July 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Tammy Abraham

Chelsea are preparing to slash their asking price for Tammy Abraham by at least £5m.

Arsenal, West Ham and Aston Villa are all interested in the 23-year-old but every club listed here is unwilling to pay the £40m asking price Chelsea have set at the moment. (The Sun)Jules Kounde

Chelsea and Sevilla are discussing to reach an agreement for Jules Koundé/Kurt Zouma swap deal. Talks progressing – Chelsea now offering around €30/35m (£26m/£30m) and Zouma included in the negotiation.

Personal terms will never be a problem for Kounde and Chelsea, he wants to play Champions League football and likes the idea of a Chelsea transfer. (Fabrizio Romano)

The deal could be completed in the coming days. (DiMarzio)

Sevilla have told Chelsea to increase their offer for Jules Koundé, and the deal could run into further complications after West Ham entered the race to sign Kurt Zouma from their London rivals.

Chelsea have proposed paying €35m (£30m) for the French centre-back and including Zouma on top of that. Sevilla have made it clear they want at least €45m in addition to Zouma.

Sevilla like Zouma and would be open to signing him as part of a deal. (The Guardian)

Koundé agreed personal terms with Chelsea two days ago – he’s buzzing to join Chelsea. (Fabrizio Romano)

Kurt Zouma

Crystal Palace have reportedly joined the race for Kurt Zouma as personal terms seem an issue for Sevilla regarding a Kounde, Zouma swap deal.

It is claimed Palace have made contact with the Frenchman as they look to completely renovate their back-line this summer. (SportWitness)

West Ham have entered the race for Zouma. They are willing to pay £20m, which is unlikely to convince Chelsea to sell. (The Guardian)

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher will have a medical at Crystal Palace later after opting for the Eagles on loan over Leeds.

Thomas Tuchel has been really impressed by the midfielder in pre-season but can’t guarantee him regular PL minutes, which is what Gallagher wants. (Sam Inkersole)

Romelu Lukaku

Inter star Romelu Lukaku has reportedly snubbed a potential return to Chelsea, despite being offered a higher salary.

However, Lukaku wants to stay at Inter and refused to continue negotiations with the Blues. (Football Italia)

They approached him, who thanked the Blues for their interest, but he ‘politely said no’. Thomas Tuchel’s side tried to convince him by offering over €10M per season. He wants to stay at Inter Milan. (Gazzetta)Marquinhos

Chelsea have no chance to sign Marquinhos this summer. (Fabrizio Romano)

Marcus Bettinelli

Bettinelli (29) has signed a two-year contract with Chelsea as he becomes third choice goalkeeper for the upcoming season.

This is a free transfer as his contract ran out at Fulham recently.

Erling Haaland

“In the conversations with Mino Raiola about the Malen transfer, I did not have the feeling that we would have to meet again soon about Erling. And we have already emphasized 1000 times that we do not want to give it up.” – Sebastian Kehl

Sebastian Kehl was also asked if Haaland would stay at Dortmund and his reply was simply, “Yes”. (BILD)

Ann-Katrin Berger

Berger has signed a contract extension to keep her at the Blues until the summer of 2024, with the club having an option to extend for a further 12 months.

Written by Frankie

Kurt Zouma’s Time At Chelsea Coming To An End? And His Special Relationship With Jose Mourinho

According to Téléfoot Kurt Zouma is expected to leave Chelsea this summer. Wolves, Tottenham, his former club Everton and Roma are all interested in signing the Frenchman. No potential fee has been reported by any trusted sources but we can expect Chelsea to demand quite a large sum of money for the 26-year-old. Zouma’s age means by typical standards he is just entering his prime which increases his stock quite a fair bit. His contract also lands Chelsea in a great place in terms of demanding a higher fee as his current deal is signed until 2023.

Kurt ‘Happy’ Zouma arrived at Chelsea from Saint-Étienne for a fee of around £13m. However, this fee was quickly justified with loan spells to Stoke and Everton which come with fees adding up to around £14m. Frank Lampard utilised Zouma especially well in his back four approach where he become a great goal threat from set pieces. Unfortunately Zouma has found it hard to find a regular starting spot under Thomas Tuchel. Kurt has been able to step in whenever injury occurs to Tuchel’s favoured back three and this is a testament to his skill and ability as he has been able to perform at the highest level without a lot of minutes to his name.

Zouma has reportedly declined Wolves approach and that leaves possible moves to Everton, Tottenham and Roma still on the table.

Everton have been interested in Zouma ever since his 2018/19 loan spell at Goodison Park. Zouma featured in 32 Premier League games for The Toffees and has been liked by the club ever since. The opportunity for Everton to snatch up the centre back has now arrived and Everton are definitely interested. No official bid has been recieved yet from Chelsea but due to their previous knowledge of Zouma’s ability we can assume Everton will be ready to splash the cash. A partnership with Ben Godfrey and Zouma is a top class defensive pairing that would cause any striker in the world a few problems and could be the answer to Everton’s defence that conceded 48 goals last season.

Nuno Espírito Santo’s arrival at Spurs has come with a lot of noise around potential strengthening of their defence. Tottenham have been linked with Maxence Lacroix, Takehiro Tomiyasu and now Kurt Zouma this summer and it seems apparent that Nuno will be backed leading into the upcoming season. As Chelsea fans we would like to assume that Zouma would not transfer to North London and to a direct rival of Chelsea’s.

Roma are also in the mix for a Kurt Zouma deal, with their approach seemingly centered around a Gianluca Mancini swap deal. Marina Granovskia is reportedly a big fan of the £27m rated defender and is hoping to pounce upon Roma’s financial troubles by bringing the 25-year-old in. The express has also reported Jose Mourinho’s stance on Chelsea potentially making a move for Mancini by saying “Jose Mourinho will request Kurt Zouma + £10m” for the Italian.

Another report surrounding Zouma is from RMC Sport who say that Roma want Zouma on a loan with an option to buy, but Chelsea have absolutely no intention of loaning him out. This same source claims that Chelsea want €30m (£25.6m) outright for Zouma. Italian clubs and asking for loans before a permanent deal is a tale as old as time and was also present in the Fikayo Tomori deal.

Mourinho has been a long time admirer of Zouma since 2014. Zouma was played in numerous positions in the 14/15 and 15/16 campaigns, including centre back, right back and defensive midfield. Mourinho brought 19-year-old Zouma to West London and didn’t hold back in his criticism of the promising youngster.

Zouma benefiited massively from Mourinho calling him “rubbish” in a private chat after a 3-1 defeat. Many youngsters complain about being used incorrectly by Mourinho and complain about his brash and brutally honest approach to trying to win, however Zouma refused to fall into this category.

In 2015, Zouma called Mourinho “the best coach in the world”. Mourinho’s high expectations for such a young man trying to adapt to the ways of English football propelled Zouma into the player he is today.

Kurt Zouma featured in 49 games in 2 seasons under the tutelage of the ‘Special One’. The trust Mourinho put in Zouma was exemplified when he was utilised as a defensive midfielder in a League Cup final against Spurs in 2015. Zouma even managed to register an assist in this game, leading Chelsea to their first trophy of the season.

Many people may remember John Terry and Kurt Zouma’s partnership throughout the 15/16 season and although it was Chelsea’s worst season in a long while, it showed the beginning of a great defender only just entering his 20’s.

After the transfer ban scandal when Frank Lampard and the club were scrambling about to find a defensive solution, Mourinho chimed in on the debate and spoke well of Kurt Zouma. “I just give an example: Chelsea needs a centre-back – Kurt Zouma! You don’t need to buy, you don’t need to spend. Zouma!”

Zouma going to Serie A would follow in the footsteps of his former teammate Fikayo Tomori and would immerse the Frenchman into a defence orientated league. Zouma is just entering his prime as a defender and Serie A + Mourinho would only help to enhance his defensive capabilities.

Zouma has found himself out of favour towards the ending of the 20/21 season, but the selling of Zouma would be very saddening to many Chelsea fans that have seen him grow as a young teenager into a top centre half.

The biggest catalyst to Zouma leaving Chelsea is not apparent yet but a deal could be on the cards if Chelsea formally approach Roma for Gianluca Mancini.

Written by Frankie

26th July 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Henry Lawrence

Henry Lawrence completed his season-long loan deal to AFC Wimbledon today.

Lawrence will be put straight into contention for the starting lineup.Armando Broja

Chelsea have reportedly rejected several loan advances for Armando Broja. That either means the right offer hasn’t been made or they plan to make him third choice ST next season. (Kristian Sturt)

With Chelsea set to play an unholy amount of matches this upcoming season, a young striker raring to make an impact with a burst of pace and power could be set to feature in League Cup and FA Cup games.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland ‘loves’ playing at Borussia Dortmund and ‘doesn’t seem to want to leave’ this summer amid Chelsea interest. (Jesco von Eichmann)

As of today Dortmund have not received a bid for Haaland. (Fabrizio Romano)

Lukaku is staying at Inter Milan. I see Lukaku staying. (Fabrizio Romano)

Jamie Cumming

Jamie Cumming has joined Gillingham on a season-long loan deal.


Chelsea and Flamengo continue with their talks regarding the future of Robert Kenedy.

It’s said there’s a mood of ‘optimism’, even though the negotiations are considered to be ‘complex’.

Chelsea want a permanent deal whereas Flamengo would prefer a loan deal. (Sport Witness)

Saúl Ñíguez

Chelsea and Liverpool have been in contact with Saul’s agents over a potential summer move.

Thomas Tuchel is said to be behind the interest of the Spaniard. (Sport Witness)

Kurt Zouma

Tottenham could look to Kurt Zouma as a plan B if they cannot sign Cristian Romero.

Tottenham would be willing to pay €25m for the Frenchman

Written by Frankie

22nd July 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Timo Werner

Chelsea are not expecting to sell Timo Werner this summer. (Kevin Palmer)

His name has been mentioned in a potential swap deal but this is apparently fake news.

Sasa Kalajdžić

Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat isn’t worried about the latest rumours of Chelsea and other sides looking at Kalajdžić.

“Sasa still has a two-year contract with us and feels right at home. You can see that. He’s been training in VfB clothes all summer. I’m not that worried about that, to be honest,” said Mislintat. (portWitness)

Michy Batshuayi

Inter Milan see Batshuayi as an option in terms of bringing in a new striker.

Batshuayi does not ‘warm’ Inters management.

If Inter progress with the deal they see Giroud’s transfer as the perfect layout for their swoop on the Belgian. They would hope the deal would only cost a few million. (SportWitness)

Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski has long been in Chelsea’s thoughts and interest could be revived as Chelsea continue their search for a goalscorer.

The 32-year-old could be tempted with a move away this summer for a new experience. (Goal)

Harry Kane

Harry Kane will assess his future when he returns from holiday.

However, Daniel Levy makes the club extremely hard to work with, which could hinder the potential of Kane joining Chelsea. (Goal)

Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger

The defensive pairing have just one year left on their deals and talks around new contracts for the two have not progressed. (Goal)

Emerson Palmieri

Chelsea have the option to extend Emerson’s contract by a year.

This helps to justify the Blues asking price of around £22m. (Nizaar Kinsella)

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham is admired by several influential voices inside Arsenal, including Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal see Abraham as a potential target this summer.

Abraham is understood to be aware of Arsenal’s interest, and would be open to the prospect of a move across London.

Arsenal have the preference of a loan deal with an option to buy. If this kind of deal were to go through, Chelsea would put the fee at around £40m.

Tammy Abraham moving to Arsenal is reliant on outgoings from the Emirates.

The transfer of Alexandre Lacazette away from Arsenal would make the signing of Tammy Abraham more likely and more logical. (The Athletic)Declan Rice

“The more you talk to people about the Declan Rice situation, the more you think a move could still happen in this window. He has made it very clear to West Ham that he won’t sign a new deal & as reported elsewhere, wants to be kept informed of any bids. Would clearly favour Chelsea over any other club.” (Simon Johnson)

Eden Hazard

There is nothing in regards to a potential move back to West London for Eden Hazard. (Simon Johnson)

Lewis Bate

The deal between Leeds and Lewis Bate was confirmed today.

He’ll join their U23’s for this upcoming season.

It is possible Bate was lured away due to the project that Leeds are undergoing as of this moment, with signings like Sam Greenwood, Crysencio Summerville and Joe Gelhardt all on the brink of first team chances.

Sergio Romero

Chelsea are stepping up their search for a third-choice goalkeeper and have Sergio Romero on their list of candidates. (The Telegraph)

Romero is a free agent and would sign for Chelsea in a free transfer.

The 34-year-old Argentinian is the perfect player to bring in as a third choice. He has a lot of experience that can be passed down to his younger counterparts and he is perfectly capable of stepping in when needed.

Written by Frankie

Andriy Shevchenko : A Chelsea Diary

On Saturday night, England (containing three current Chelsea players) will take on a well organised Ukrainian side managed by a man whose time at Chelsea contained bad timing, injuries and a few underwhelming years , that man is Andriy Shevchenko.

The Transfer From The Rossoneri to West London

Chelsea purchased Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan for a fee around £30m-£40m on July 1st 2006 after the Ukranian talisman endured a dream-like 7 year stint at the Rossoneri. Just two years before in 2004, he had won the Balon d’Or however his longevity was a big concern surrounding our record transfer signing. At age 29 Shevchenko was entering the twilight period of his career and his ability to compete in the best league in the world was questioned heavily and many pondered the idea that he was too late in his career to adapt to the ways of the Premier League.

Mourinho was quoted as saying “Andriy has always been my first choice for Chelsea since I arrived”. The special one’s words were not believed by some Chelsea supporters as they felt Roman Abramovich had forced Mourinho to put up and shut up regarding the record signing of his 29-year-old close pal. Mourinho would dispute these claims heavily and I presume we’ll never know Mourinho’s true views on the matter.

As for Shevchenko, he was quoted as saying “I am here for the challenge and the excitement of playing in the Premier League”. Shevchenko seemed optimistic about his spell at Stamford Bridge but everyone soon come to the realisation that his dream move to England was not what he had thought it would pan out to be.

Season 1 : 2006/07

Shevchenko’s first season at Chelsea started well with 2 goals in his first 3 matches, including his first goal for the Blues in a losing effort in the Community Shield against Liverpool. However, a 2 month goalless stint in all competitions would downplay his promising start and set the tone for his goal scoring form throughout the 2006/07 campaign.

19th March 2007 was one of Shevchenko’s finest moments in a Chelsea shirt when he scored a beautiful screamer with his weaker left foot against Spurs.

Drogba and Shevchenko were often utilised up top together but the partnership didn’t really work out in favour for Shevchenko. Didier would go on to record 33 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. Shevchenko’s inability to play with Drogba up front raised concerns as at AC Milan he had featured in double striker formations regularly. Most noticeably he played in a 4-3-1-2 formation with Hernan Crespo in the infamous Champions League final against Liverpool. Crespo and Drogba are obviously different players, however this raised eyebrows about his fitness and his place in the starting eleven.

Shevchenko and Timo Werner’s first seasons for Chelsea are quite similar in the fact that their goal scoring threat decreased but their assist total stayed at a high level. In total, Andriy Shevchenko played 51 matches in his opening season, scoring 14 and assisting 10. The Ukrainian excelled in the FA Cup and the League Cup where he scored 6 goals and 2 assists in 10 such matches. Shevchenko would play 3,442 minutes in all competitions which means Sheva averaged a goal every 246 minutes… To put this into perspective, his Ivorian counterpart averaged a goal every 148 minutes whilst playing 1000 minutes more.

It would be unfair not to mention the first of Shevchenko’s injuries that occurred late on in the season on the 29th April 2007. Shevchenko missed the Semi-Final 2nd leg against Liverpool and the FA Cup final against Manchester United. This added to the slice of disappointment that was Shevchenko’s first season in West London.

Season 2 : 2007/08

Shevchenko fell out of favour with Jose Mourinho and was not featured in the first five matches of the Premier League campaign. Even when he was in the squad, he rarely played a full 90 minutes and this trend would continue with the arrival of Avram Grant. Abramovich and Grant are well known to be close friends but Grant refused to play the now out of form striker. Avram Grant preferred a one man strike force and in the Premier League, Drogba wins that battle every single time.

On the 26th December 2007, Sheva had one of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt in a blockbuster 4-4 game against Aston Villa. The Ukrainian scored 2 and assisted 1 in 82 minutes in a main highlight of this season. This day was a complete juxtaposition for Shevchenko as this is the day his Herniated Disc was diagnosed. The second injury in two years for Andriy and this injury would be much more serious than his first, he would miss 12 matches and 50 days of action. Many attribute Shevchenko’s demise at Chelsea to this injury and his game time would decrease even more rapidly after his return.

Shevchenko would only manage 25 matches in all competitions and would barely just reach over 1,000 minutes on the pitch. Just 8 goals and 1 assist in all competitions would sum up his disappointing second season slump in form. Highlights of his season were few and far between, especially after returning from his serious injury.

His £120,000 a week wage was extremely high for the output of goals and minutes played and after this season is where many Chelsea fans demanded he was given the boot. He would never play a full 90 minutes in the Premier League again…

Season 3 : 2008/09

Speculation surrounding a move back to AC Milan had followed Shevchenko throughout his time at Chelsea and a year-long loan move was granted on the 23rd August 2008. Sheva had already achieved legendary status at the Rossoneri but was going back to try and find his shooting boots to try and emulate his success during his infamous 7 year stint at Milan and then bring this success back to Stamford Bridge.

This loan move was a disaster from the word go as AC Milan quickly realised his pace and striking prowess was no more and he was just not adequate enough at a high level anymore. Shevchenko would play 3 full matches but apart from that he was used off the bench. For a man who had scored 127 goals in 208 league games in his previous tenure at the club, it was an even bigger shock than being left on the bench at Chelsea. His lack of playing time only decreased his chances of finding goal scoring form or regaining a bit of pace.

Shevchenko’s shortage of minutes was portrayed in his statistics from the 2008/09 season, just about mustering 2 goals and 4 assists in 26 matches. He featured in 18 Serie A matches for the Rossoneri, scoring 0 goals and assisting 1. His confidence was shot from the last two seasons and his once world class finishing was nowhere to be found.

Season 4 : 2009/10

Andriy Shevchenko arrived back at Stamford Bridge after a torrid loan spell at the San Siro on the 30th June 2009. Ancelotti was now Chelsea manager and he quickly made it apparent that Shevchenko would not be in his plans for the upcoming season. At 32-years-old, Shevchenko’s departure was announced surprisingly by Ancelotti himself in a press conference on the 28th August 2009. Carlo could not promise Shevchenko regular first team football and he was allowed to leave.

Just before Sheva’s departure was announced he played his last minutes in a Chelsea shirt in a 4 minute cameo against Sunderland in a 3-1 win on the 19th August. This short cameo perfectly echoes his quick and unfortunate time at Chelsea.

Despite claiming he wanted to stay at Chelsea throughout June, Shevchenko would join his boyhood club Dynamo Kyiv on a free transfer a day after Ancelotti announced his departure.

He would find form in the Ukrainian top flight, scoring 7 and assisting 8 in 21 appearances for Dynamo Kyiv. Sheva would continue with the side until after the 2011/12 season where he retired at the age of 35 to pursue a politics career. I’m not sure if the politics career of Shevchenko went very far but I do know that he became Ukraine national team Assistant Manager in February of 2016 and was promoted to actual Manager of the national team in July of that same year.

Why Did Shevchenko’s Dream Move To The Premier League Not Work Out As Expected?

There are many reasons as to why Shevchenko didn’t live up to his early promise in England. When he signed for Chelsea he was 29, this age is relatively fantastic for most of the top strikers in Europe. Strikers nearing that age today are Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku and they are nearing the peak of their powers in some of the top leagues in Europe. His age really shouldn’t have been a problem with this move but every player is different in terms of their prime and peak and Sheva definitely peaked in 2004.

Serie A and Premier League are very different in terms of defensive structure and patterns of play, where Serie A is more notorious for their defensively superior teams than that of Premier League sides. This would leave Chelsea fans to presume Shevchenko would be banging in the goals in England but this was not the case. Maybe the physicality took a toll on the Ukrainian and his age limited the time he had to adapt to the ways of the Premier League. Many strikers have failed to adapt to the defensive patterns and physical play style of English central defenders and this definitely effected the goal scoring prowess of Shevchenko.

The playing time Shevchenko got in his early 30’s really signified the ending of his career. The 2007/08 and 2008/09 campaigns must have negatively affected his confidence drastically. Coming off the bench is not an easy thing for many strikers and Shevchenko was the kind of striker that needed to ease into the game. Playing constant minutes is essential for most players let alone a striker and Shevchenko just could not achieve the playing time needed to excel.

Mourinho had a factor in Shevchenko’s demise at Chelsea. Mourinho played Shevchenko the most of any Chelsea manager and Jose said that “He (Shevchenko) was like a prince in Milan and at Chelsea our philosophy was different, we had no princes. Everybody needs to work like everybody else and everybody needs to prove he deserves to play”. This suggests that Shevchenko’s attitude was poor towards training and earning a right to play week in and week out. Sheva may have thought because of his Balon d’Or he had earned a pedigree to start in the Premier League and Mourinho being Mourinho did not feel the same.

Shevchenko’s injuries tarnished his playing time and contributed to his poor stint at Chelsea. Sheva claimed he had two serious operations and a serious back injury (Herniated Disc) during his time in England. Back injuries can ruin running patterns and mobility overall which is essential for a goal scorer to succeed. Psychologically it could have affected his willingness to challenge for headers which is essential for a Premier League striker. His pace decreased rapidly seemingly as soon as he stepped onto the Stamford Bridge grass and the constant injuries that plagued him throughout his Chelsea spell definitely didn’t help.

Written by Frankie

Some Of The Weirdest Chelsea Transfer Rumours Ever

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

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…

Lewis Dunk

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.

Lucas Moura

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…

Soccer Series Wallpapers: Lucas Moura : Sao Paulo FC
Image Source : Soccer Series Wallpapers

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.

Steven Pienaar

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.Joleon Lescott

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.

Craig Gordon

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.

Peter Crouch

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.

Andy Carroll

£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.

Team news: Carroll starts for Hammers at Bournemouth | West Ham United
Image Source : West Ham United

Written by Frankie

Every Portuguese Chelsea Signing Ranked From Worst to Best

There is a plethora of talent from Portugal that has played in England and most predominately the premier league. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Nani are just a small account of Portuguese nationals that have proved their worth and showcased their talent in the Premier League. We have signed 14 Portuguese players over the years and I have judged and ranked these players in terms of their time at Chelsea and not success related to other clubs they may have played for.

14 = Eduardo

In the summer of 2016, Eduardo Carvalho was signed on a one-year deal. The experienced goalkeeper was brought in to slot in as the 3rd choice behind Courtois and Begovic. Eduardo played a grand total of 0 senior matches for Chelsea and therefore did not receive a Premier League winners’ medal due to lack of games. During his 3 year stay at Chelsea, Eduardo only went out on loan once to Vitesse in the Eredvisie. On 1st July 2019, Eduardo finally parted ways with Chelsea with even some diehard Chelsea supporters having absolutely no idea who the man was. He joined Braga in his home nation of Portugal and only featured 9 more times before announcing his retirement from professional football.

13 = Filipe Oliveira

The relatively unknown teenager ‘Filipe Oliveira’ was signed to Chelsea for a relatively large sum of £500,000 in 2002. Featuring for just one minute in his debut against Manchester United and only accumulating 77 minutes of playing time throughout his whole career at Chelsea, Oliveira fell victim to the Chelsea loan cycle where he would be trapped for 4 years. A loan to Preston North End and Marítimo followed and a mutual agreement for him to be released occurred. A player who could play in virtually any position on the pitch, it was a true shame that Filipe Oliveira never achieved anything of substance as he failed to register a single goal for the whole time he was at Chelsea. Oliveira eventually signed for Marítimo and immediately began to play first team football again.

12 = Fábio Paím

When Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United in the early stages of his career, he uttered the words to the media “If you think I’m good, just wait until you see Fábio Paím”. Fame and especially fortune got to the young talents head and the player contracted to Sporting would join Chelsea on a short term loan deal in 2008. Lasting little over 4 months in West London, Paím’s loan spell was over and he had little to show for this stint. According to many websites, Paím featured for the Chelsea reserves but there is not much proof of this even happening. By December rolled around, the 20 year old was shipped back to Portugal and his career entered turmoil. Various loan spells and short term deals at low level clubs meant the supposed wonderkid would never reach anywhere near that standard ever in his career. Fábio Paím is now 33 years old and his footballing journey ended in 2018 with the reserves of Leixoes B.11 = Nuno Morais

The defensive midfielder was signed from the Penafiel Youth setup in 2004 after a successful trial period. Nuno’s career went down a similar path to that of Filipe Oliveira, as they would only be given minimal minutes in the league and would sometimes feature as a rarity in cup competitions. The main highlight of Nuno’s time at Chelsea would have to be a 90 minute performance against the mighty Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup. 2 years later in 2006, Nuno joined Oliveira on loan in Marítimo. Returning from the loan in 2007, Morais was still not getting the minutes he desired and was consequently granted a move to Cyprus powerhouse Apoel FC on a free transfer.

10 = Ricardo Quaresma

The eloquent skillful player we have all come to know in Quaresma was not what we got in 2009. A ridiculous decision in 2009 saw us signing Quaresma from Inter Milan on a short term loan deal, just a season after he was awarded with the notorious ‘Bidone d’oro’ which translates to the ‘Golden Bin’… This was an award given out to the most dissapointing player in the Serie A for the 07/08 season. Quaresma only ended up playing 5 games for Chelsea in all competitions (4 appearances in the Premier League and 1 appearance in the FA Cup). During his one and only FA Cup appearance, Quaresma provided his only assist in a Chelsea shirt to Alex against Coventry.

9 = Fabio Ferreira

Ferreira was a part of Sporting CP’s youth academy and when he was 16, he had allegedly trained with Chelsea illegally. The 2005 training session hosted by Chelsea included the 16-year-old Ferreira and Sporting CP made a formal complaint to FIFA regarding the issue. Nothing ended up happening about the complaint and the right sided attacker joined Chelsea for free the next year after the incident. Ferreira played 12 times for our reserves, netting himself 8 goals. Despite the opposition, Fabio Ferreira looked like quite the prospect as 0.66 goals per game as a right winger was quite an impressive number. Still just a teen when he was in the reserves, Ferreira was sent out on loan to Oldham Athletic on a one month deal that was later extended to two months. Fabio only made one appearance for the Latics and was sent back to the Bridge following a disappointing two-month stint. This loan spell sent alarm bells
ringing at Chelsea about if his performances in the reserves were a fluke and Chelsea decided to release Ferreira in the summer of 2009. He went for a trial at league two side Gillingham and was turned away, this lead the once promising talent all the way back to his home nation and into the Portuguese 3rd division with Esmoriz.

8 = Maniche

A 28-year-old central midfielder by the name of Maniche was loaned from Dynamo Moscow in January 2006 to the Blues. The Portuguese connection to Mourinho was a driving factor related to this transfer and the midfielder in his late 20’s was brought in quite questionably due to the strength already present in the rock-solid midfield. Despite being part of the 05/06 Premier League winning squad, Maniche had a nightmare start to his Chelsea career and that foreshadowed the rest of his time in West London. His first league start came against West Ham United in April of 2006 and he made his mark immediately in the league by smashing a wayward shot from 6 yards out against the crossbar in the opening minutes of the London derby. Missing an open goal was not the most of his worries, as in the 17th minute Maniche was shown a straight red card, no doubt leaving Mourinho in a blistering fit of rage. Battling with the likes of Frank Lampard and Makelele for a starting spot, Maniche only played 8 league games during his tenure at the Bridge and Chelsea denied the offer to sign him for £5m after the loan period was up and Maniche returned to Dynamo Moscow.

7 = Hilario

Hilario was another Portuguese goalkeeper that was signed, but this time it was under his former Porto boss Jose Mourinho. In the summer of 2006, Hilario was signed to be the 3rd choice goalie under Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini. Due to injuries sustained to both goalkeeper’s in front of him against Reading (Petr Cech’s injury that lead to him wearing a protective helmet for the rest of his career), Hilario was handed a starting spot in the Chelsea line-up. His competitive debut for Chelsea came in a 1-0 win against Barcelona of all teams at Stamford Bridge. Hilario made 18 appearances that season and kept a clean sheet in 8 of those matches. After Cech recovered and was back to full fitness, Hilario would only find himself in the starting line-up if it was truly needed and spent a lot of his time on the bench from here on out. In June 2011, 35-year-old Hilario was granted a one-year contract extension. Hilario miraculously survived so long at the club that when his contract was finally due to run out, Mourinho returned for his second tenure at the club and somehow Hilario signed yet another contract extension. On 23rd May 2014, 38-year-old Hilario was finally released from Chelsea. 8 years at the club, only left him with 39 senior games played. Just 2 years later, Hilario was back at Chelsea, this time enjoying the role of assisting goalkeeping coach. When Lampard took over, he kept Hilario as part of the staff and Thomas Tuchel has followed the trend and decided to also keep Hilario at Stamford Bridge.

6 = Tiago

Tiago arrived at the club with a hefty price tag of £15m, Mourinho continued his outrageous spending spree that was the 04/05 summer transfer window, and this marked his sixth signing of that year. Tiago only spent one season at the club but was a regular starter during his time in West London. 51 appearances in one season for the central midfielder saw his Chelsea career flash by as the next season the arrival of Michael Essien thawed his chances of being in the starting line-up. Tiago amassed 7 goal involvements in the 04/05 season in the league and was a key part of what led Chelsea to one of the greatest Premier League title wins ever. Only losing 1 game the whole of the 04/05 Premier League season saw Tiago leave the Bridge with a 97%-win percentage in the league. In August 2005, Tiago joined Lyon and was a part of their league winning side of the 05/06 season. Short and sweet is the perfect way to explain Tiago’s successful Chelsea tenure.

5 = Raul Meireles

Due to an injury sustained by Michael Essien -that would side-line him for a long stretch of time- Raul Meireles was signed on a 4-year deal from Liverpool for a fee of around £12million. The Premier League experience that Meireles possessed would come in handy as we waited for Essien to return to full fitness. Occupying the number 16 shirt, Meireles chipped in with numerous important goals in big matches. He would score his first league goal against Manchester City in December 2011, scraping us to a 2-1 win. One of his best performances in the blue came against Leicester in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. In the thumping 5-2 win at Stamford Bridge, Meireles contributed 2 assists and scored a goal himself to carry us forward and eventually win the competition. Of course, his most memorable moment in a Chelsea shirt was on an April night against Benfica. That legendary counterattack that eventually led to Meireles scoring an absolute screamer in front of the Shed End in the last minute to help us continue in the Champions League. Although he missed the Champions League final through suspension (just like John Terry and Ivanovic), he would receive a winner’s medal after the best moment in Chelsea history. Meireles’ ability to score clutch goals and step up in the biggest of occasions truly encapsulated his stint at Chelsea. Every team needs a player to show up in the big moments and Meireles turned out to be that player in that infamous 2011-12 season. Although he only spent a year and a bit at Stamford Bridge, he will always be remembered by the Chelsea faithful for his important goals and contributions throughout that time.

4 = Deco

Luiz Felipe Scolari (through his connections with the Portuguese national team) signed the former Porto and Barcelona midfielder for £8million in the summer of 2008. Surprisingly, this signing happened 4 years after this exact transfer was almost set-in stone with even Deco announcing on a radio station that he would be signing for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. Unlike Maniche, Deco had a blinding start to his Chelsea career, with a 30-yard screamer to help the side to a 4-0 whitewash of Portsmouth. A free kick stunner against Wigan accumulated in Deco being awarded the coveted player of the month award for the month of August. All was going well until the start of February 2009. Scolari was sacked after 7 months in charge and a few poor performances found Deco left out of the starting 11. In the June of that same year, Deco announced “I do not want to say”. Frequent radio appearances and controversial quotes left Deco unfavourable to be picked anytime soon in the starting 11. It was Carlo Ancelotti who completely changed the mindset of the midfielder in his early 30’s. Injuries hindered Deco becoming an even better player at Chelsea but despite the reoccurring injuries, he was an integral part in Chelsea winning the double in 09/10. Deco and the club itself came to an agreement to let Deco move to Brazilian club Fluminense on a free transfer. In an interview with the Sun, Deco said, “I want to go back to Brazil” and “I want to be near to my kids”. I believe that if Deco had stayed longer in West London that he would be higher on this list but due to the short extent of his career at Chelsea he is ranked 4th.

3 = Jose Bosingwa

Luiz Felipe Scolari yet again decided to splash the cash on another player he was familiar with, this time being a Champions League winner in Jose Bosingwa. The experienced right back, who was still only entering his prime, was brought in for a fee of around £18 million. Bosingwa signed a three-year deal and was signed at the same time as fellow countryman Deco. He also made his debut alongside Deco in the 4-0 win against Portsmouth. A few months after signing, Bosingwa was involved in a collision with Benayoun where Bosingwa intentionally kicked him with his studs up directly into his back. Controversy and injury ruled Bosingwa out for a long stretch of time and consequently meant he would not be able to compete at the 2010 World Cup. One of Bosingwa’s greatest moments in a Chelsea shirt was the great performance he put in against Barcelona in the semi-final of the 11/12 Champions League campaign. Bosingwa replaced Gary Cahill after a matter of minutes and had to slot in at centre back. Some people claim that the defensive performance displayed that night was the “biggest bus ever parked” and Bosingwa dealt with the Barcelona team rifling with talent such as Messi, Iniesta and Fabregas seamlessly. Another impressive defensive performance occurred in the Final against Bayern Munich in their own backyard also. Bosingwa played in his natural position of right back in this game and kept Franck Ribery quiet on the left flank. 120 minutes of solid defending and Chelsea were rewarded with the greatest achievement in all of football, a Champions League trophy. Strangely, Bosingwa would leave the club for free as Chelsea told him he could leave when his contract was up. There was never really a reason as to why Bosingwa was given permission to leave and why he was not given another contract as a reward for his excellent service in two monumental games. Bosingwa will never been forgotten for his impressive performances against two of the biggest clubs in world football and just like Meireles, he performed when his team needed him most.

2 = Paulo Ferreira

In the summer of 2004, Mourinho decided to bring the 25-year-old who he had managed at Porto to Champions League triumph, over to West London. The fee of around £13million was a record at the time for a right back in English football and Mourinho thought that Ferreira was the man to help him achieve success in England as they had in Portugal. In his first season at the club, Ferreira was introduced to the starting 11 where he would join the likes of John Terry and William Gallas in the greatest defence in Premier League history. His 29 appearances helped Chelsea to only concede 15 goals all season. Not the kind of attacking full back we are used to seeing in football nowadays, Ferreira only scored 2 goals over his entire Chelsea career and assisted 7 times. Never exactly the standout player, Mourinho credited Ferreira as “a player who will never be man of the match but will always score 7/10 for his individual display”. Ferreira only managed to feature in two matches in the legendary 11/12 Champions League campaign and was an unused substitute in the final against Bayern Munich. The summer of 2013 spelt the end of Ferreira’s time at Stamford Bridge as the club and himself agreed to let the contract run out. In the last few years of his time at the club, Ferreira was rarely featured in the starting line-up and was used as a senior player for the dressing room. However, this does not distract us from the plethora of silverware Ferreira accumulated over his 9 seasons at the Bridge. 3 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League, 3 FA Cups and 2 League Cups. Ferreira will be deemed as an important servant in Chelsea’s history as he was there throughout many great times at the club and always put in a great performance when he was granted the opportunity. The sheer amount of time he spent at the club grants him a high place on this list as he continuously gave his all when needed and truly loved the club. Ferreira retired after a standing ovation at Stamford Bridge on 19th May 2013 and will be remembered for generations to come.

1 = Ricardo Carvalho

Carvalho was another Portuguese national brought in by Jose Mourinho alongside Paulo Ferreira. The fee of around £20million was fully justified by his prior performances in the Champions League winning campaign in 03/04 and was rated as one of the best centre backs at Euro 2004. His first season was immaculate by all standards and adjusted greatly to the ways of the Premier League. Carvalho was an integral part of the legendary 04/05 Premier League team and his partnership with Englishman John Terry will forever be known as one of the greatest centre back pairing in Premier League history. In 2007, Carvalho was rewarded with a 5-year contract which was fully justified with his outstanding performances that helped Chelsea achieve two Premier League titles in two years. Regardless of Mourinho leaving in the 07/08 season, his stellar performances continued to reign supreme as he was a main factor in Chelsea getting to the Champions League final, that we eventually lost on penalties. He was awarded Chelsea’s Player’s Player of the year for his incredible work during that season. Injury and a suspected move to Inter Milan to reunite with Mourinho nearly halted his Chelsea career. However, the defender (now in his 30’s) decided to stay at Chelsea under new boss Carlo Ancelotti. Carvalho’s career was given an extra spark due to the new management as he made an impeccable start by contributing with a goal in the Community Shield against Manchester United. Chelsea went on to win this game on penalties and it added to the abundance of silverware already in his collection. More injuries later in that season unfortunately spelt the end of his time at Chelsea as he went on to win his third Premier League title in the year we won the double. In his 6 year stay at Chelsea, Carvalho played 210 matches in all competitions and achieved a staggering 2.20 points per game over this period. To add to his 3 Premier League trophies, Carvalho also won 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and a Community Shield. The combination of raw strength and spectacular technical ability meant Carvalho was destined for success in the Premier League and he certainly exceeded expectations. Hard hitting with a tremendous footballing IQ, Carvalho always wore his heart on his sleeve and gave his all for the team. Whenever Carvalho was playing, you knew not to expect many opposition goals and he kept numerous legends of the Premier League quiet in front of goal. Carvalho is an unsung hero of the club as his ridiculous number of trophies and winners’ medals is not nearly spoken about enough. A classic centre back that was tough as nails alongside the great John Terry led to Chelsea only conceding 15 goals in 38 games. Whether he was alongside Terry or not, you could always expect a tough night for strikers when they came up against Ricardo Carvalho.

Written by Frankie.

Podcast: Chelsea Transfer Window Special w/ @MishraAbhiA (Data Analyst)!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and special guest Abhishek (@MishraAbhiA ) discuss the Chelsea transfer window and talk about Ziyech, Werner and potentially Havertz, the kind of profiles we need at LB and CB and the big question of whether we need another winger.

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Could Abraham and Werner be the new Drogba and Anelka?

When Nicolas Anelka arrived at Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window of 2008, it seemed to the world that he was joining as competition to – or potentially as a replacement for – the great Didier Drogba. With the Ivorian forward sulking after the departure of his mentor, Jose Mourinho (even going so far as to tell France Football Magazine that he wanted to ‘leave Chelsea’), it seemed inevitable that in the summer of 2008 he would join the ‘special one’ at Inter Milan. However, Drogba stayed and, after the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti in 2009, formed a lethal partnership with Anelka, one which would fire Chelsea to the first league and cup double in the club’s history. With Timo Werner set to join the Blues this summer, and with new number 9 Tammy Abraham stalling on signing a new contract, we now have a similar situation on our hands. Will Tammy be replaced and shown the exit door, or will he push his game on to new levels and form a deadly duo with his new German teammate, just as Drogba and Anelka did just over a decade ago?

Tammy and Timo could prove to be a deadly duo

The similarities between the situations in 2008 and the present don’t end at a potentially disgruntled Chelsea striker being joined by a world class forward. Much has been made this season of Tammy’s likeness to his hero, Didier Drogba. Both are able to lead the line on their own magnificently well, use their 6 foot plus frames to bully defenders and play superbly with their backs to goal. They both hold up and link play with ease as well. The other half of both partnerships also bear a resemblance, with Werner and Anelka both possessing extraordinary speed and looking to cut in from the wings to attack opposition defences. Surely it is written in the stars that Tammy and Timo can emulate their great predecessors?

Before Chelsea fans can even comprehend a long-lasting partnership between Tammy and Timo, there is the small issue of the former’s contract quickly running down. With 2 years left on his current deal and negotiations between him and the club coming to a stand-still, this is a potentially pivotal period in Tammy’s career. Inheriting the Chelsea number 9 shirt following a long list of disappointing predecessors – with the last great striker to don the shirt arguably Jimmy Hasselbaink in the early noughties (sorry Fernando!) – Abraham has been able to banish the supposed ‘curse’ that haunted those before him, netting 13 goals and providing 3 assists in just 23 league starts! Lampard knows how crucial a player like Tammy is to Chelsea: someone in the Drogba and Costa mould is hard to find and, now that we have someone who fits the bill, the manager surely won’t be looking to let him go. But whether Tammy feels valued by the club due to a refusal to match his wages to the currently much less impactful Hudson-Odoi, or whether he feels threatened by Werner’s arrival in his position, it could prove difficult convincing him to stay on at Stamford Bridge.

When Anelka joined a Chelsea side in chaos following the departure of legendary coach Jose Mourinho, he was played out of position as first Avram Grant and then Luiz Felipe Scolari persisted with the 4-3-3 formation which had served Chelsea so well, with Anelka crowbarred in on the right wing. The Frenchman was able to play in his natural centre forward berth for much of the 2008/09 season, with Drogba missing 13 league matches through injury and suspension, and duly netted 19 goals to secure the Premier League golden boot. It took a brave man in Carlo Ancelotti to pair the clearly formidable Anelka and Drogba up front together – in a 4-4-2 diamond formation – and Chelsea went on to win the league title, scoring a league record 103 goals in the process, of which 29 were struck by Drogba and 11 by Anelka. So, will Lampard follow Ancelotti’s lead and play a centre forward duo next season?

How Chelsea could line up next season, with Tammy and Timo in a centre forward duo. Photo credit: LINEUP11

In the decade following Ancelotti’s tenure at the Bridge, the English game has noticeably moved away from 2 striker formations, with a lone striker and inverted wingers being preferred by almost every club in the league. In fact, this season only Everton (with Ancelotti at the helm), Burnley, Bournemouth and Brighton tend to play with two centre forwards regularly. It could be an option, however, if Lampard decides to pair Tammy and Werner together. The German has played in a centre forward duo in 25 of his 32 league games this term, often playing with Yussuf Poulson, the 6 foot 3 Danish international, or more recently Patrick Schick. Poulson is similar to Tammy in that they’re both the same height, and use their physical advantage to win aerial duels regularly, the difference being that Poulson is played in order to facilitate his more talented teammate. Should Tammy play alongside Werner, he could hold up the ball before linking with his teammate to deadly effect. The Poulson-Werner duo has worked remarkably well, with 31 league goals between them this season so far. Playing with a much more able partner in Tammy Abraham could push this goal output to extraordinary levels.

However, it is more likely that Werner will be direct competition to Tammy, or that he will play off his left, in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation. This would allow the rapid German to cut inside from the wing either with the ball or to latch onto a defence splitting pass. Having previously been a solely counter-attacking option, he has improved his game to break down low-block defences under the tutelage of RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann. The young manager is keen to play a possession-based brand of football, with Leipzig averaging 53.7% of possession in the league this season (roughly the same as Chelsea’s 57%), forcing Werner to alter his game suitably. He now drops deeper to win possession before building up steam on a characteristic dribble or playing a quick pass, bypassing the opposition press. To demonstrate the changes made to his game we can look at his statistics: he has doubled his chance creation (key passes) numbers from 0.8 in 2017/18 to 1.6 per game this season and more than doubled his dribbles in the same time period from 0.8 to 1.8 per game. This makes Werner a more rounded threat than he was a couple of seasons ago, as he can add creativity and dynamic dribbles to his already superb finishing (his shot conversion rate is currently at 27.6% compared to the mighty Lewandowski’s 22.3%) and electric pace. Thanks to Nagelsmann’s input and Werner’s work ethic, Chelsea are buying one of the most complete forwards in Europe. 

How Chelsea could line up next season in Lampard’s preferred 4-2-3-1, with Timo cutting in from a wide left position. Photo credit: LINEUP11

Werner may occupy the opposite flank to Anelka naturally, cutting in off the left as opposed to Anelka’s favoured right, but given the two share similar skill sets it is easy to compare them. Anelka managed 10 assists in the 2009/10 campaign when paired with Drogba, whilst completing 1 key pass on average per match. Given Werner’s superior chance creation skills it is easy to see that the German could provide Tammy with a deluge of incredible chances. Abraham has demonstrated his phenomenal footballing intelligence this season, making incredible runs into dangerous areas, and so he is the perfect foil to Werner, latching onto his teammates pinpoint passes. However, the 22 year old has missed 17 big chances this season (most memorably against Liverpool in our 2-1 home defeat when one-on-one with Adrián), the third most in the league. With some finishing practise with the clinical Werner and goal-scoring icon Frank Lampard in training, Tammy could easily double his goal tally next season as he is driven on to greater heights by his illustrious teammate!

Timo Werner’s 2019/20 heat map illustrates his preference to cut in from the left wing, perhaps indicating that he’d be comfortable playing on the left wing at Chelsea. Photo credit: totalfootballanalysis.com

With two elite forwards pushing each other to be the best they can be, comparisons between Tammy and Timo with Anelka and Drogba are inevitable. Whilst Lampard must still convince Tammy to sign a new long-term deal, this partnership could be one of the greatest in Premier League history. A two centre forward formation could be bought back to facilitate the duo, but even if Chelsea line up with Tammy as a number 9 and Werner playing off his left – cutting in to create chances, making runs in behind the defence, and finish opportunities – we could still see this partnership blossom. With Hakim Ziyech also arriving to add to our wing options of Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea arguably have one of the best attacking units in Europe, and key to it will be the linkup between Tammy and Timo. With memories of the 2009/10 season fresh in Chelsea fan’s hearts, it is time to make room for a new attacking duo as we watch our new forwards tear up the league and hunt much sought after silverware for Chelsea!

Written by Daniel New

The Chelsea Spot Podcast #1 – Transfer Targets

Episode 1 – Transfer Targets

In our very first episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Dan (Host – @danbarkzr), Orlando (@0rland1nho) and Danny (@danny_new_) go through every single transfer target and give their opinion on each one, as well as the likelihood of some of them in Part 1 of the podcast.

In Part 2 of the podcast, Dan shoots some quickfire questions at our two podcasters including: ‘Who would you rather hire as manager – Sarri or Emery?’

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Dwight McNeil – an alternative solution to Chelsea’s left back problem

The general consensus amongst Chelsea fans is that left back is a priority position to improve come the summer, but there is a lack of standout options in the market. Ben Chilwell is thought to be Frank Lampard’s priority signing, but his late season form and the extortionate price tag it would command makes him a much less attractive proposition. Alternatives such as Alex Telles and Alejandro Grimaldo are also very unknown entities, and despite their undoubted technical ability there’s a very big question as to whether or not they could succeed in the Premier League. The lack of clear solutions on the market prompted me to look outside the box for alternative options – up steps Burnley’s Dwight McNeil.

A standout performance of McNeil’s showing his offensive creative ability and his defensive potential. Source – Squawka

McNeil plays as a very traditional left midfielder for Sean Dyche’s Burnley side, focusing his game largely on beating his man and crossing the ball. The player’s talent is clear to see, and at just 20 years old he is clearly a level above his teammates from a technical point of view. He has the talent to play for a top team in the future, but his game doesn’t suit that of a modern winger, especially for a top side. Instead, if McNeil is to make it at the top level, he needs to become a left back.

McNeil’s strengths very much suit that of a modern-day fullback. He’s very tidy in possession and is rarely dispossessed, lending his skillset nicely to a side who like to keep hold of the ball. Being good in possession is crucial for a left back at a top side because the defence needs to be able to control the ball when playing out from the back, especially coming up against an aggressive pressing side like Liverpool when the defenders are put under a lot of pressure, big games like this are where McNeil’s press resistance would be very useful. 

Another strength of McNeil’s is his dribbling, completing 2.17 per 90, better than 96% of fullback’s in Europe’s top 5 leagues (according to “Organized Chaos”). Dribbling as a fullback is a huge strength, and it’s a big part of why Alphonso Davies has been such a success as a left back. When Chelsea came up against Davies his dribbling ability was a big part of his game as he dominated our right-hand side, McNeil could look to replicate this and have the same dominating effect as a left back. 

This combination of dribbling and being good in possession means that McNeil as a left back would be a great outlet for ball progression, especially when you consider the long cross-field ball he loves. Having players able to progress the ball from defence to midfield and then further forward into the attack is crucial for a big side. It makes it a lot harder just to man-mark the key man and limit a team’s entire game plan, like we’ve seen in the past with Jorginho getting marked out of a game. Having Reece James and Dwight McNeil at full back as options to progress the ball as well as the whole midfield would make moving up the field light work for Chelsea.

The biggest strength of McNeil though, is his crossing. His delivery from crosses is phenomenal boasting a 27.46% completion rate, comparable to the 20.77% of Trent Alexander-Arnold, 19.79% of Andy Robertson and 24.04% of Reece James (again courtesy of Organized Chaos). Stats never show the full story with crossing though, but from watching the player it’s clear that his crossing is a huge strength. He’s a left footed dead ball specialist, can hit the low driven square ball across the box, the high loopy cross and the more aggressive whipped cross. Reece James has shown us this season the benefits of a fullback who can cross, having someone like McNeil on the other side would make us so much more dangerous offensively. 

However, there is obviously a lot more to life as a fullback than just the offensive ability, and this is where the biggest questions lie with McNeil, but playing as a left midfielder for Burnley is a much more defensive role than the majority of wingers have to play, and that defensive nous will have developed a lot already. He also havs the physical traits to do the defensive work of a fullback, standing at 183cm (according to whoscored) he’s tall enough to win aerial duels an defend balls over the top and crosses into the box. Positionally there will need to be work done, but at 20 years old there is a lot of time to learn and he’s at an age where he can be easily moulded and will pick things up quickly, just as Bukayo Saka and Alphonso Davies have done to great effect this season already. Fortunately, he’s not a slouch either, so whilst he’s still learning the positioning he should have sufficient recovery pace to bail himself out of the mistakes he makes early on.

Source – Lancs Live

Moving McNeil to left back would be a very bold move from the club, but one I believe they would reap the rewards of long term. An excellent crosser of the ball, who is tidy in possession and can beat a man, and with more defensive work in training could train his already developed defensive abilities to become a very complete fullback. In my opinion, Dwight McNeil will never become a top winger, but as a fullback he could go a very long way. 

Let us know what you think – Tweet us @TheChelseaSpot

Kepa: From hero to scapegoat

Since his move from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 for a fee of £72m, Kepa Arrizabalaga hasn’t convinced the fans that he was worth the money. After a solid first season with Chelsea, he hasn’t been able to build on the strong performances of last season. So it’s no wonder that some of the fans are criticizing him. Nevertheless, many supporters are very harsh and seem to forget what he is capable of.

It’s legitimate to criticize a player but fans often scapegoat him and blame him if the results aren’t going the way they should. For example, Kepa was held responsible for the last-minute goal against Newcastle or the goal against Arsenal (Bellerin), where I personally think he had no chance of saving these shots. Of course, he has made mistakes and had weak games, but this is no reason to turn against him. It appears that this season he has lost the self-confidence that he once had and the defence doesn’t help him either, especially with the frequent rotation of personnel. Obviously you can’t ignore his mistakes and I think a new goalkeeper should compete with him in the summer.

Kepa had solid first season. (image source: CTV News)

However, he has often shown his class, I remember the fantastic performance against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League Semi Final, where he was the hero or the away game against Brighton in this season, where he saved us one point. But he lacks consistency and that’s why you can understand why he is so strongly criticized. So it was no surprise that Lampard put him on the bench for a few games. Against Liverpool (FA Cup) he got the chance to make his case to Lampard for the starting spot and he took the opportunity with a great performance. He has the potential, but with the inconsistent performances, it would be no surprise if Chelsea would strengthen the goalkeeper position in the summer. With Caballero probably leaving (contract expires in summer) Kepa would be the only experienced keeper at the club. A new goalkeeper could put pressure on Kepa which could lead to his performance improving and becoming more constant. It’s up to Kepa if he has any future at Chelsea.

However, Kepa doesn’t deserve to be treated badly by the fans or to be blame for every poor result in recent months. It simply is not fair when we celebrated him last season. Constructive criticism yes, but no scapegoating.