It would not be wrong to say that Chelsea changed the face of the transfer market completely in the early 2000’s under the new ownership of the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Since his takeover, Chelsea have consistently signed big-name players for huge amounts of fees on their way to four Premier League titles among a host of other successes.
There have been quite a few hits during this period for the Blues, but there have been equal number of misses, if not more. For every Didier Drogba they signed, there was a Mateja Kezman and an Andriy Shevchenko. For every Branislav Ivanovic, there was a Khalid Boulahrouz and a Papy Djilobodji.
With the January transfer window open, amidst all the transfer fever among the fans, we at SoccerSouls give you two of the best and the worst transfers made by current Premier League leaders in the last decade:
The Belgian was being chased after by a host of top Premier League clubs when leaving Lille in 2012 but he opted to join Chelsea for a fee of £32 million and judging by his performances over the years, Chelsea would definitely feel like they got him at quite a bargain, given the current state of transfer market.
Hazard hit the ground running for the Blues, playing a crucial role in the 2012-13 as Chelsea went on to win the UEFA Europa League. He continued his great start with another excellent campaign the subsequent season when he scored 17 times in all competitions under Jose Mourinho and was the undoubted star of the Premier League title victory in 2014-15. His performances dipped last year, but now under new manager Antonio Conte, Hazard seems to have rediscovered his touch and looks determined to add another Premier League winners’ medal to his tally.
228 appearances, 62 goals, Hazard has gone on to win many individual honours in his four and a half seasons at the Stamford Bridge and looks set for much more in the years to come.
Chelsea signed Juan Mata from Valencia for £23 million in August 2011 and upon his arrival, he became one of the finest creative players in the English top-flight who also chipped in goals from the midfield.
Soon he became the heartbeat of the Chelsea midfield, with everything positive in the attacking third for the Blues coming through the Spaniard. He played an important role in Chelsea’s first ever Champions League victory in his debut season along with an FA Cup, helping himself to 6 goals and 14 assists.
The following year, Chelsea won the UEFA Europa League, where again he played a pivotal role. It was Mata who set up Didier Drogba in the Champions League final from a corner the previous year, and he repeated the feat again, with Branislav Ivanovic at the end of his corner in the Europa League final. With the win, Mata, along with teammate Fernando Torres became the first-ever player to hold the Champions League, Europa League, World Cup, and the European Championships simultaneously.
Having won the Chelsea Player of the Year twice in his two seasons at the Stamford Bridge, his time as a Blue was cut-short upon Jose Mourinho’s arrival, who sold him to Manchester United in the winter window of the 2013-14 season. Despite staying with Chelsea for just two and a half years, the impact he had there makes him one of their best signings in recent times.