Chelsea’s 10 Biggest Transfer Flops: See Full List
Here’s a list of some of Chelsea’s worst-ever signings, with the transfer market still open. Since billionaire owner Roman Abramovich assumed ownership of Chelsea in 2003, the club has been a major player in the transfer market. Chelsea has risen to become one of the most powerful clubs in the world because of Abramovich’s money and his brutal yet successful method of selecting and firing managers. And, after winning his club’s second Champions League trophy last season, he appears to be eager to spend big money once more in order to reclaim domestic dominance.
However, while many of his purchases have proven to be successful, others have not, and the club has squandered a significant amount of money as a result. So, without further ado, here are the Blues’ worst signings in recent times.
Adrian Mutu (2003-2004)
Mutu joined Chelsea from Parma in 2003 for a fee of £15.8 million, making him one of the worst Chelsea signings ever. Although his on-field record isn’t bad (ten goals in 27 games), he failed a drugs test for cocaine in 2004 and was sacked by the club. The situation became more complicated after Chelsea filed a 10-year legal action against Mutu for breach of contract. He was found guilty and sentenced to reimburse the club £14.5 million.
Veron Juan Sebastian (2003-2007)
Veron’s ability was undeniable when he moved from Lazio to Manchester United for the most expensive deal in English football history. However, he struggled to adapt to the English game and only made 15 appearances for the Blues in four years, during which time he was loaned out twice.
Parker Scott (2004-2005)
Parker’s situation was made much more difficult by Jose Mourinho’s arrival at the club, especially after he bought Tiago, who was favored to the Englishman in Chelsea’s midfield. More was expected of him during his 18-month stay with the Blues, but the way he conducted himself off the field demonstrates why he will always be revered as a professional.
Del Horno Asier (2005-2006)
Del Horno appeared to be a good buy after joining Athletic Club for £8 million in 2005. The left-back arrived with a reputation as a tough, powerful defender, but he struggled under Mourinho. Del Horno moved to Valencia for £4.8 million after only one season with the club, less than half of what they spent for him.
Jiri Jarosik (2005-2006)
Jarosik was an odd addition who never seemed to fit in with Claude Makelele, Michael Essien, or Frank Lampard. Following his £3 million transfer from CSKA Moscow, he made just 14 appearances before being loaned out to Birmingham for the remainder of the 2005-06 season, where he got more regular playing time. After that, the Blues sold him to Celtic.
Andriy Shevchenko (2006-2009)
Mourinho never seemed to desire Shevchenko, and the media chastised Abramovich for bringing in an aging striker who is 30 for such a big fee (£30 million) without consulting his manager. Unfortunately, Shevchenko’s demise was largely due to his age, as he was no longer the player he once was.
Rajkovic Slobodan (2007-2011)
Chelsea paid £3.8 million for one of the top defensive talents in the world to join them at Stamford Bridge. However, Rajkovic’s misery began when he was unable to obtain a work permit. For the 2007-08 season, he was loaned to PSV Eindhoven, followed by a two-year stint at FC Twente. Even after obtaining his work visa, he was loaned out to Vitesse once more. The Serb eventually decided to leave Chelsea and secured a contract release without making a single competitive appearance for the club.
Yuri Zhirkov (2009-2011)
The Blues paid £18 million for an injury-plagued Zhirkov. Even when he was fit, he was unable to challenge Ashley Cole for the starting left-back position and was poor in the attacking third. Chelsea, on the other hand, was able to recoup part of the money they spent on him when they agreed to a £13 million agreement with Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011.
Alvaro Morata (2017-2020)
Morata was signed from Real Madrid for £60 million in 2017, yet he is undoubtedly the biggest disappointment on this list. The Spanish striker showed flashes of his ability with the ball at his feet, but he was ultimately inconsistent, which has been his tale throughout his career. After one injury, he slumped and was later dropped from Maurizio Sarri’s starting lineup. Due to his poor play, the club was compelled to sign Gonzalo Higuain on a season-long loan in 2019. The next summer, Morata was sold to Atlético Madrid, a local rival of Los Blancos.
Arrizabalaga Kepa (2018- present)
While it’s perhaps unfair to label Kepa a flop while he’s still at the club, it’s more than justified after Chelsea paid £71.6 million for his services. No one will forget Kepa’s defiance in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City when Sarri attempted to substitute him and he refused to comply. Despite recovering his spot in the team, he has since lost his number one shirt to Edouard Mendy, and it will take a lot for Thomas Tuchel to choose Kepa above Mendy after the Senegalese international helped the Blues win the Champions League for the second time last season.