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Chelsea Transfer Flops (Part Three)

Continuing the series looking at some of the forays made by Chelsea in the transfer market during the Premier League era which did not work out for either club or player.

For Part One please click here; and Part Two please click here.

Andriy Shevchenko 2006

At his peak Andriy Shevchenko was one of the top strikers in European football, particularly with AC Milan for whom he scored 173 goals in 296 appearances, helping them win Serie A and the Champions League. The Ukrainian also won the Ballon d’Or in 2004.

However, by the time that Chelsea paid £30 million for him in the summer of 2006, he had turned the wrong side of 30, and he was signed by Roman Abramovich against the wishes of his manager at the time, Jose Mourinho.

It turned out that the Portuguese was right and, even when Mourinho was replaced by Avraam Grant, the Ukrainian was a player in decline. He managed just nine league goals in 48 appearances in a Chelsea shirt, and, after two seasons, returned on loan to Milan.

Alexei Smertin 2003

That was not the first time that Abramovich had been the driving force behind a transfer, and it seemed that he did not learn his lesson either.

Having just assumed control of the club, one of the first transfers he sanctioned was Alexei Smertin, having known the midfielder when he played in Russian football for Lokomotiv Moscow.

Manager Claudio Ranieri was less convinced by him and, within  months of his arrival in West London, he was loaned out, first to Portsmouth and then Charlton Athletic.

He spent three years on the Chelsea payroll, but, despite making enough appearances, mainly as a  substitute, to pick up a  winners’ medal in the 2004 – 2005 league campaign, he was never more than a bit part player he returned to Russia and Dinamo Moscow in 2006.

Juan Sebastián Verón 2003

Despite being one of the finest midfielders that Argentine have produced in recent years, Juan Sebastián Verón is best remembered in England as a player who flopped with two Premier League clubs.

In the summer of 2001, Manchester United paid Lazio £28 million for his services, but, after a bright start, his performances soon trailed off and it was clear he was struggling to cope with the pace of English football.

After two years, United decided to cut their losses and sold him for half of what they paid for him, Chelsea snapping him up determined that they could succeed where their rivals had failed.

Injury limited his appearances to just seven in his first season when the club, but, even fully fit the following campaign, it was clear that he  was fundamentally unsuited to the speed of the English game, and that he needed to play in a  league where he was allowed more time on the ball.

He was lent to Inter Milan for two years and then Estudiantes, before returning to Argentina on a  full-time basis.

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