With the January transfer window just around the corner, Chelsea, along with a number of other Premier League clubs, may well be active in the market, hoping to strengthen their squad with a judicious signing or two.
Nowadays a lot of consideration is involved before a club decides to bid for a player. They will be scouted, in person and by video, and teams of analysis will pour over their statistics, with data science an increasingly powerful tool.
Conversations will also take place with players, managers, agents and the like about a person’s character and background, and their social media history will be analysed to ensure there are no embarrassing past incidents that could come back and cause a scandal now.
But, however much due diligence is involved, the reality is that transfers are a hit and miss affair, and that a player who has been a star for another club may just not fit in with hs new team. It can be for a mixture of cultural, social, linguistic, or family reasons, or their style of play may not fit or be adaptable to an unfamiliar environment.
And, in some cases, it may just be that the player was never that good in the first place.
Every club has its share of transfer flops, but, when you are a team like Chelsea, failures in the market are magnified because of the sums involved.
Here are some of the worst acquisitions that Chelsea have made in the Premier League era.
Adrian Mutu 2003
When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea I 2003, he immediately set about transforming the club both on and off the pitch.
That summer he sanctioned a £111 million spending spree as Claudio Ranieri was tasked with assembling a squad capable of toppling Arsenal and Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.
Adrian Mutu, who was bought from Parma for £15.2 million, was set to be one of the jewels in the crown. He had scored 22 goals in 36 appearances in his one season with the Serie A club, and it was hoped that the Romanian international would replicate that form in England.
However, after a modest first season in the Premier League, Mutu fell out with new manager Jose Mourinho at the start of the next campaign with questions over his fitness. He subsequently tested positive for cocaine, and was handed a seven month suspension from the game.
Chelsea began legal proceedings alleging breach of contract against the player, which eventually led a FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber to order the player to pay €17.17 million (£14.7 million). Various appeals by Mutu failed and, in 2018, the European Human Court of Rights upheld Chelsea’s case.
It is has never been revealed how much of the money Chelsea have ever got back, but Mutu went on to rebuild his career back in Italy, but his reputation was sullied again when he served another ban, this time for nine months, after he was found to have taken the banned appetite suppressant sibutramine.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.