Chelsea's £1bn mistake? Ranking all of Boehly's transfers from Best Buys to Biggest Bloopers

Todd Boehly's best and worst signings as Chelsea boss | Imago

Chelsea's £1bn mistake? Ranking all of Boehly's transfers from Best Buys to Biggest Bloopers

Ayoola Kelechi 17:42 - 27.02.2024

Chelsea have signed a total of 24 players since Todd Boehly took over from Roman Abrahamovic, but how many of them have been success stories?

As Chelsea navigates the tumultuous waters of Premier League football, the magnifying glass is firmly placed on Todd Boehly's ambitious transfer strategy. With over £1 billion invested in new talent, the stakes couldn't be higher.

This reflection on Chelsea's recent transfer dealings under Todd Boehly reveals a mixed bag of strategic masterstrokes, potential yet to be fully realised, and ventures that veer towards fiscal folly. Which of Boehly’s dealings have been worthy of praise and which raise questions about his acumen in the transfer market? Let's unravel the narrative from the top performers to those who couldn't quite match the expectations set by their hefty price tags and the visionary's intent.

Todd Boehly’s Most Questionable Decisions

Kalidou Koulibaly (from Napoli for £33m)

Koulibaly's arrival at Chelsea was met with high expectations, given his reputation as one of Europe's premier defenders. Signing on a four-year deal in July 2022, he was anticipated to be a defensive stalwart.

Kalidou Koulibaly of Chelsea controls the ball in the English Premier League when Chelsea faced Brentford on October 19, 2022.
Kalidou Koulibaly of Chelsea controls the ball in the English Premier League when Chelsea faced Brentford on October 19, 2022.

However, despite featuring regularly in the lineup, Koulibaly succumbed to the financial lure of Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal in the following summer. His departure was marked by a poignant statement emphasizing his desire to be at the core of a project where he felt valued, highlighting a potentially mismatched expectation with Chelsea’s vision.

 Mykhailo Mudryk (from Shakhtar Donetsk for £62m)

Secured for a hefty £62m from Shakhtar Donetsk, Mudryk's promise to elevate Chelsea's attacking prowess has yet to materialize. A significant moment encapsulating his struggles came when he was outmaneuvered by Virgil van Dijk, leading to a goal that sealed Liverpool's victory at Wembley.

Mudryk's failure to ignite on the field has led to frustration among fans and speculation about the club considering offloading him to mitigate the financial and tactical fallout.

Denis Zakaria (on loan from Juventus)

Zakaria was brought in on loan to inject some much-needed steel into Chelsea’s midfield. However, his time at Stamford Bridge was characterised more by his absence from the pitch than by his contributions on it.

Zakaria found himself sidelined, becoming more of an observer in a squad filled with talent, which limited his opportunities to make a significant impact.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (from Barcelona for £10.3m)

Aubameyang's transfer from Barcelona was intended to address Chelsea's goal-scoring woes, but the move quickly became a subject of scrutiny. With only three goals to his name, his time at Chelsea fell well below expectations.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at Chelsea | Imago
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at Chelsea | Imago

His inability to adapt and overshadowing issues from his past stint at Barcelona culminated in his omission from the Champions League squad and subsequent transfer to Marseille, marking a swift and disappointing end to his brief Chelsea career.

Joao Felix (on loan from Atletico Madrid)

Joao Felix's loan spell was anticipated to be a fresh start for the young talent, but his debut was marred by a sending-off the very next day after joining. Throughout his loan, Felix managed to net four goals, but his performance was not compelling enough to convince then-manager Pochettino to secure a permanent move.

This lack of faith and subsequent return to Atletico Madrid underscored a loan spell that failed to live up to its potential.

 Signings That Raise Eyebrows

 Moises Caicedo (from Brighton for £115m)

The Ecuadorian midfielder's transition to Chelsea for a jaw-dropping £115 million set expectations sky-high. However, Caicedo has struggled to adapt to a Chelsea side experiencing broader functional issues, making his start less than ideal.

Moises Caicedo at his Chelsea unveiling | @FabrizioRomano/X
Moises Caicedo at his Chelsea unveiling | @FabrizioRomano/X

Notable poor performances, including an awful debut and recent struggles against Liverpool in the EFL Cup final, have only served to thrust him further under the microscope.

 Wesley Fofana (from Leicester City for £75m)

Arriving with a considerable transfer fee and expectations to match, Fofana's tenure at Chelsea has been plagued by injuries, notably a knee injury that significantly limited his participation last season.

These fitness issues have prevented him from consistently showcasing his ability and contributing to the team, leaving Chelsea and its supporters waiting for a return on their substantial investment.

Raheem Sterling (from Manchester City for £47.5m)

Sterling's move from Manchester City was seen as a coup for Chelsea, given his proven track record in the Premier League.

Raheem Sterling  | Photo Credit: Imago
Raheem Sterling | Photo Credit: Imago

While he has offered a respectable tally of eight goals and eight assists, his inconsistent performances have drawn criticism. Sterling's inability to consistently influence games, particularly in crucial moments, has made him a focal point for scrutiny, despite moments of brilliance.

Marc Cucurella (from Brighton for £60m)

Cucurella's transfer was meant to solidify Chelsea's defensive options while providing an attacking threat from the left. However, an ankle surgery and the resultant time on the sidelines have stymied his ability to fully integrate and make a significant impact.

Before his injury, he was beginning to find his place under Pochettino, but the expectation for more substantial contributions, especially given his transfer fee, remains unmet.

Enzo Fernandez (from Benfica for £107m)

Billed as the 'complete midfielder' upon his record-breaking transfer, Fernandez's performances have been under the microscope. While his defensive contributions and long-range passing have been positives, the lack of attacking output has been notable.

Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea midfielder || Credit: Imago
Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea midfielder || Credit: Imago

With the immense pressure of his World Cup winner status and record fee, Fernandez has shown glimpses of quality but has yet to fully meet the lofty expectations set

Emerging Talents and Potential Gems

Omari Hutchinson (Arsenal, free)

Omari Hutchinson's move from Arsenal to Chelsea on a free transfer was seen as a strategic acquisition for the future. At just 20 years old, Hutchinson has been making strides to impress Mauricio Pochettino, albeit from a distance.

Currently on loan at Ipswich Town, he's contributing to their push for promotion into the Premier League, showcasing his potential and work ethic. His development at Ipswich will be crucial in determining his readiness for Chelsea's first team.

Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa, £20m)

Chukwuemeka's transition to Chelsea from Aston Villa for £20 million has yet to fully take off, primarily due to injury setbacks. A knee surgery derailed his initial progress, and an ankle issue shortly after his return further hampered his ability to make an impact.

Despite these challenges, the midfielder's potential remains high, though his true value to the team is yet to be seen.

Cesare Casadei (Inter Milan, £16.8m)

The 21-year-old Italian midfielder, Cesare Casadei, joined Chelsea from Inter Milan for £16.8 million, carrying hopes of significant game time.

Cesare Casadei | Imago
Cesare Casadei | Imago

After being recalled early from a loan spell at Championship leaders Leicester City, Casadei's opportunities have been limited to brief appearances from the bench. His development is a work in progress as Chelsea evaluates his fit within the squad.

David Datro Fofana (Molde, £10m)

Datro Fofana's acquisition from Molde for £10 million was met with optimism, given his potential as a forward. On loan at Burnley, Fofana made headlines with a double against Fulham, sparking discussions among Chelsea fans about the team's need for a reliable goalscorer.

However, his future role at Chelsea remains uncertain as he continues to develop his game on loan.

Andrey Santos (Vasco da Gama, £18m)

The Brazilian teenager's move to Chelsea for £18 million was filled with anticipation about his potential impact. Santos has been on a journey of loans, returning to Vasco da Gama, barely featuring at Nottingham Forest, and most recently joining Strasbourg. His constant moves indicate Chelsea's search for the right environment for his development.

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig, £52m)

Nkunku's transfer from RB Leipzig for £52 million was highly anticipated, but a pre-season knee injury delayed his Chelsea debut. Despite this setback, his recent involvement in the team has shown promise.

Nkunku in action for Chelsea || Imago
Nkunku in action for Chelsea || Imago

Nkunku's adaptation to Chelsea's playstyle and overcoming his injury will be key to fulfilling the high expectations set upon his arrival.

Diego Moreira (Benfica, free)

Secured on a free transfer, Moreira is another young talent Chelsea has invested in for the future.

His lone appearance in a Carabao Cup tie and a subsequent loan to Lyon reflect Chelsea's strategy of gradually integrating young talents into the team dynamics.

Angelo Gabriel (Santos, £13m)

Gabriel's £13 million transfer from Santos to Chelsea underscores the club's investment in future stars. Currently on loan at Strasbourg, his development is being closely monitored.

The Brazilian winger's performance in the French league will be pivotal in determining his readiness for Chelsea's competitive environment.

Lesley Ugochukwu (Rennes, £23.2m)

At just 19, Ugochukwu's move from Rennes for £23.2 million highlights Chelsea's focus on young, promising talents. His limited appearances before a hamstring injury have yet to showcase his full capabilities. T

Lesley Ugochukwu was on the pitch for seven minutes against Luton. (Photo Credit:  DestinyCrystal (Epiphany)/X)
Lesley Ugochukwu was on the pitch for seven minutes against Luton. (Photo Credit: DestinyCrystal (Epiphany)/X)

he French midfielder's recovery and subsequent performance will be crucial for his future at Stamford Bridge.

Romeo Lavia (Southampton, £53m)

Lavia's transfer from Southampton for £53 million came with high expectations, but injuries have severely limited his playing time at Chelsea. His long-term potential remains significant, but his immediate impact has been curtailed by several injury setbacks.

Deivid Washington (Santos, £13.7m)

The young Brazilian's move for £13.7 million from Santos places him among the numerous talents Chelsea hopes to develop. With limited first-team action so far, Washington's primary contributions have been with the under-21 side, as the club looks to gradually integrate him into more competitive play.

Malo Gusto (Lyon, £26.3m)

Gusto's performance since joining Chelsea from Lyon for £26.3 million has been commendable, particularly in defensive duels and offensive contributions, evidenced by his six assists.

Chelsea’s Malo Gusto (X/@Chelsea)
Chelsea’s Malo Gusto (X/@Chelsea)

His adaptability and performance have made him a valuable asset to the team, especially in the absence of captain and first-choice right-back Reece James.

Djordje Petrovic (New England Revolution, £12.5m)

Petrovic has proven to be a critical acquisition for Chelsea, justifying his £12.5 million transfer fee with crucial saves and consistent performances. His ability to step up in key moments has solidified his position, possibly even securing his place as the first-choice goalkeeper.

Cole Palmer (Manchester City, £40m)

Palmer's transition from Manchester City for £40 million has been seamless, with his contributions of 12 goals and nine assists highlighting his impact.

Cole Palmer has been impressive since signing from Manchester City. (Photo Credit: Imago)
Cole Palmer has been impressive since signing from Manchester City. (Photo Credit: Imago)

His ability to meet and exceed expectations attests to his talent and Chelsea's foresight in securing his services.