Chelsea’s Worst Signings Under Roman Abramovich

Chelsea’s Worst Signings Under Roman Abramovich


Chelsea have made approximately 50 signings since the take-over of Roman Abramovich. About £470 million (and William Gallas) has been spent on these players – that averages out at just over £9 million (and one of Gallas’ hands) per player.

In this time Chelsea have had some really disappointing players, especially when you consider how much have been spent on some of these players. The likes of Quaresma and Mineiro will not be considered for this list because they have not taken up much time, not money.

Del Horno's challenge on Messi which saw him sent from the pitch and straight to this list

Taking money spent, time consumed, bad memories and general disappointment into account, here is a list of the 10 worst signings of Abramovich’s ownership:

10 – Neil Sullivan. He was free, he was only at the club for a year, he only played a handful of games, he was better than Ambrosio but he was also not very good. His inclusion in this list may seem a bit harsh but most of what I remember about Sullivan at Chelsea is his letting in of Reyes’ second goal in this clip.

9 – Asier Del Horno. This one is also mainly based on a bad memory (right). Leaving aside his red-card against Barcelona (which may have been unlucky, but was still stupid), he still was really not worth £8 million. Despite the fact that most of this money was paid back to the club when Valencia signed him a year later, he still must go down as a bad signing.

8 – Steve Sidwell, Claudio Pizarro and Tal Ben Haim. All of these players came on free transfers to Chelsea in the summer of 2007 and it was not really a surprise when none of them did too well. They were soon out of the door and forgotten. Things may have been different if Mourinho, the manager who signed them, had remained at Chelsea, but he didn’t, and they soon followed.

7 – Glen Johnson. His inclusion is slightly higher than it may have been mainly because he now plays for Liverpool. All the same, Glen Johnson was a defensive liability  for Chelsea – as he often is for Liverpool and England nowadays. He scored a few good goals for Chelsea and seemed like he might have a good future because of his age. This hope soon flew out the window along with Johnson’s starting-place when the reliable Paulo Ferreira took his place.

6 – Deco. Deco had a fantastic start to his Chelsea career but this was, by far, his peak for Chelsea. He had his moments even after the initial promising first month, but these moments were rare. The fact that we all knew what he was capable of made it even more disappointing and frustrating.

5 – Mateja Kezman. Number 5 is £5.5 million Mateja Kezman who was lucky to score more then 5 goals for Chelsea. He had a most unremarkable season for Chelsea; luckily for him, this was forgotten because Chelsea won the Premier League. He came with a lot of expectation; his scoring record in the Netherlands was about the same as Ruud Van Nistelrooy. The highlight of his career at Chelsea was scoring the winner in the League Cup Final; nevertheless, he was gone a within a year after arriving.

4 – Juan Sebastian Veron. The excitement surrounding his transfer to Chelsea was not as large as the anticipation of Manchester United supporters when they signed him 2 years earlier for £30 million. Claudio Ranieri was probably the most excited about the signing. After scoring on his debut, and Ranieri describing him as the best midfielder in the world, excitement grew. He, like many others in this list, lasted for 1 poor season.

3 – Adrian Mutu. Nearly £16 million was spent on this Romanian. He had a really good start for Chelsea but, after scoring 4 goals in his first 3 games, his form dipped considerably. The next season the club sacked him after he was found cocaine-positive. He is not higher in this list because of the fact that he has since been ordered to pay Chelsea Football Club back most of the money that was spent on him.

Only one man can save SWP's blushes

2 – Shaun Wright-Phillips. If SWP had broken through the youth system or been signed for a couple of million pounds from a lower league then he wouldn’t be in this list. The fact was that he was being chased by some of the biggest clubs in Europe and he cost £21 million. Despite lots of expectation and excitement, SWP’s Chelsea career, a bit like his England career, never really took shape.

1 – Andriy Shevchenko. He’s a predictable number 1, but you just can’t argue with it. He was expensive, there was so much hype over his arrival, he’d been, reportedly, courted by the club for years, he stayed for a bit too long and, at £30 million, he remains Chelsea’s record signing. Also, like Mutu, he actually had an acceptable start – scoring on his debut in the Community Shield. If you forget forget his previous reputation, the transfer fee and the hype surrounding his arrival, his Chelsea career wasn’t too dreadful. Take background information away and he was just an average player who just couldn’t quite cut it at Chelsea… comparable to Franco di Santo or Scott Sinclair.

You can’t though. Shevchenko has been Chelsea’s worst investment since Roman Abramovich took over the club… most probably Chelsea’s worst investment of all time.

Also See: Chelsea’s Greatest Signings Under Roman Abramovich.

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  1. Putting Shevchenko at #1 is predictable. Actually look at his contribution he scored goals for the club, fantastic goals for the club and important goals for the club too. Was he the Sheva that was at Milan? Certainly not. Was he more than a good player at Chelsea? Absolutely yes. Comparing him to Franco di Santo is so far way off the mark it’s like a Paul Furlong shot. I’d spend another £30million just to see another goal like Sheva scored against Spurs. Mutu, Deco and Del Horno are questionable too, you’ve said it yourself Mutu was good at the club, his form didn’t really dip either it was a case of when Jose turned up he wasn’t in his first team plans as he wanted the front three of Drogba, Duff and Robben. Deco was very good most of the time he was fit, some of his performances were mercurial like Sunderland away and del Horno whilst no Ashley Cole was still one of the best left backs in the Premier League during his time, in fact as far as going forward and delivering a deadly cross Asier was much better than Ashley Cole is.

  2. Knucklehead – Chris Sutton, Winston Bogarde and a few more would have been on the list except for the fact that the list concerns players purchased after Roman Abramovich took over (sorry, the title does not make this clear).

    Barryisland –

    I do make this point about Shevchenko. He wasn’t a bad player but he was by far the biggest let-down from this group. He was supposed to be scoring 20+ goals a season and still going strong to the present day and beyond. He is a lot better than di Santo but they are comparable in terms of being disappointments.

    Adrian Mutu was a £16 million striker and, after his initial 4 in 3, he scored 6 more goals – averaging about a goal every 6 games. That is not worth £16 million and a high salary.

    Deco was okay. But a huge let-down when considering his reputation and the way that he started. He played well against Sunderland, certainly, he also played well in a few other games but not enough games. His injury didn’t help but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a poor signing for us.

    Del Horno was quite low in the top ten. He was a good left-back. But he was only there for a season and who knows what might have happened in the ECL that season without him being sent-off. This is not an attack on him personally – he shouldn’t have been sent-off – but it did happen – and that means that he was a bad signing for Chelsea.

    There may be some inclusions which seem a little harsh, so I welcome others to make their own lists here…

    • Hilario was brought in as a 3rd choice goal-keeper and has done far more than was ever expected of him.

    • He didn’t set the world on fire, but no one had really heard of him before he came so expectation wasn’t high. He was still a part of the title-winning side and he did absolutely nothing wrong. And he was cheap.

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