From Eden Hazard to Mo Salah: The best and worst Chelsea transfers under Roman Abramovich

During the summer of 2003, a Russian billionaire named Roman Abramovich took over the management of Chelsea Football Club.

In the years since it’s been fair to say the club has had a lot of success. Notably, two Champions League wins are great moments, while the Blues have also won the Premier League on five different occasions.

Abramovich’s wealth has allowed the club to go out and buy some of the world’s greatest talents.

Behind every lever, there were some great players. Some, of course, came through the club’s academy – like John Terry – while others were carefully revealed and picked up cheaply.

Though, that doesn’t mean there weren’t quite a few failures either; Some who were of the variety were a bit pricey.

With all that in mind, here football. LondonBest and worst transfers during the Abramovich era (in no particular order).

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Didier Drogba

To start things off, it’s hard to get past the club’s famous striker. The Ivory Coast international arrived in London a year after Abramovich arrived for £24m.

He played 381 games, scored 164 goals and made 87 assists. But that’s not just what he’s achieved as an individual, it’s the consistent level of success that the club has helped maintain.

During his time at Chelsea, he racked up four league victories, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Community Shields and a Champions League trophy.

£24m was a high price to pay at the time, but it was worth every penny.

Ashley Cole

In 2006, when the Blues discovered Cole was facing some contractual issues at Arsenal, they transferred them. An offer of £5 million plus William Gallas was enough to make the trade-off.

The Englishman has very likely been the best left-back in the world for nearly a decade. He has proven a lot, winning countless titles with the club in an eight-year span.

Not only was Cole a great signing, he stole it from Arsenal, and the deal strengthened Chelsea and weakened one of their biggest rivals.

Eden Hazard

Since his move to Real Madrid, fitness issues have prevented the Belgian from playing at his best. However, Chelsea fans will not quickly forget the levels of talent he regularly showed for their club.

You can talk about goals, assists, and trophies – which he had in abundance at Chelsea – but Hazard is a very interesting player for simple stats like those.

With a glint in his eye, the Belgian would pick up the ball from anywhere on the field, drop his shoulder, and slip easily past his opponents. In terms of Chelsea players who have managed to convince fans to get back on their feet, very few compare to Hazard.

Claude Makelele

Another player with links between Real Madrid and Chelsea, but unlike Hazard, Makelele was a gem for both teams. Although all Galacticos At Madrid, the midfielder was widely felt to be an integral part of Madrid’s success.

He came to Chelsea in 2003 and helped the Blues win the Premier League title on two occasions. He also won the FA Cup, as well as three League Cups during Makelele’s tenure.

If you are looking for influential midfielders not only at Chelsea, but in the modern game, the Frenchman must be good and genuine in any conversation on the subject.

peter sich

Costing just £7m, the Czech goalkeeper arrived from Stade Rennais in 2004 and is currently a key member of the club as a technical and performance advisor.

He has 228 clean sheets under his belt with the Blues. To put that in context, Makelele played just 217 games for the club!

Of course, Cech doesn’t deserve credit just for his longevity. He also stepped up in some big moments, such as the 2012 Champions League final, when he saved three penalties.

Petr Cech with the Premier League Cup
Petr Cech won a lot during his time at Chelsea

the worst

Torres Fernando

Let’s start with the Spanish. He sure had some great moments (just ask Gary Neville) but they were few and far between.

For the price he has cost – £50m – and what he has achieved at Liverpool, he has never come close to living up to expectations.

And who can forget that the open goal misses Manchester United?

For these reasons, he made this list.

Danny Drinkwater

When you have a lot of money, there can be a tendency to overspend, or even squander it at times. It’s fair to say that this may have been the case when Chelsea gave Leicester £35m for Drinkwater.

Sure, he just won the league with the Foxes. He looked excellent too, but maybe that was all due to N’GHaving Ulu Kanti by his side. At least the Blues had the wisdom to sign the Frenchman, too.

He is still a Chelsea player but is currently out on loan with Reading.

Mohamed Salah

Now, obviously, there have been much worse players who have played for Chelsea lately, but Salah belongs on this list because he is a huge mistake by the club.

Signed for £11m, he played only 19 times, scoring only two goals. He was then loaned to Fiorentina before later signing with Roma.

As a result, the success he had at Liverpool made him one of Chelsea’s worst signings. It seemed unbelievable that he was undervalued by the club. The same can be said about Kevin De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku too at one point!

Andrey Shevchenko

The Ukrainian falls into the same category as Salah: a great player, not just for Chelsea.

Unlike the Egyptian, though, Shevchenko for the club mouth-watering sum of money. Apparently, it was Abramovich’s personal goal, the Blues paying Milan a record £30m fee to sign the striker in the summer of 2006.

Things did not go as planned. Shevchenko scored only nine league goals and was allowed to return to Milan in 2008.

Alvaro Morata

It may be a little harsh, but again you have to take financial matters into account.

Sure, Adrian Mutu, Alexandre Pato, Mateja Kezman and Radamel Falcao weren’t much better (if any), but at the end of the day Chelsea paid the Spaniard a £70m fee.

For this price, you expect quality. Morata, unfortunately, fails to deliver them on a regular basis. The striker soon seemed elusive in England and returned to Madrid (this time Atletico) some 18 months after signing for the Blues.


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