Prior to this summer’s transfer ban, Chelsea have traditionally been one of the bigger spending clubs in the Premier League; even before billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the London-based side in 2003, they were willing to spend big money on world-renowned players.
Of course, while the Blues have made plenty of signings who worked out greatly – Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Eden Hazard to name three – they’ve also had a lot of misses in the transfer market too, often spending huge fees on players who simply didn’t work out at the club.
Here are the 5 worst signings in Chelsea’s history – with a handful of honourable mentions.
#1 Radamel Falcao
Colombia’s Radamel Falcao was once one of the world’s most feared strikers, as he plundered a crazy amount of goals for Porto and Atletico Madrid before making a big-money move to Monaco in 2013. But a serious knee injury derailed his career there and a loan move to Manchester United in the 2015/16 season failed miserably.
That’s why it was a massive shock when Chelsea decided to take him on loan for 2016/17, and while there was no transfer fee paid, they did pick up his eye-watering wages of around £140,000 per week. Falcao went on to make just 12 appearances for the Blues and scored just 1 goal, making his move an unmitigated disaster.
#2 Papy Djilobodji
Senegal’s Papy Djilobodji was always a strange signing for Chelsea; the Blues paid Nantes somewhere between £2.7m and £4m for the defender in 2015, but bizarrely, as soon as he’d signed then-boss Jose Mourinho admitted he’d never heard of the player.
Evidently he wasn’t convinced by his talents either, as just one day later he was left out of the Blues’ Champions League squad, and after making his debut as a substitute in an EFL Cup match with Walsall – in added time – he would never play for Chelsea again, as he moved to Werder Bremen on loan just months later before making a permanent move to Sunderland the following summer.
#3 Juan Sebastian Veron
Manchester United broke the British transfer record to bring Juan Sebastian Veron to Old Trafford from Lazio in 2001, paying £28m for the Argentine midfielder. It quickly became clear that his style simply wasn’t suited to the Premier League, though, and he was largely labelled as a flop.
Chelsea surprisingly decided to part with £15m to bring him to Stamford Bridge two seasons later as Roman Abramovich bought the club, but Veron’s time at Chelsea was equally underwhelming; he made just 14 appearances at the club due to injuries and struggles to fit in, and quickly moved back to Italy one season later.