Examining every acquisition made by Chelsea since Boehly took charge

Feb 25, 2024

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LONDON, England – While Raheem Sterling and Enzo Fernandez may be two of Chelsea’s best acquisitions since Todd Boehly came over as manager, the majority of the team’s 28 new additions during Boehly’s tenure have been flops in one way or another. 

It certainly appeared as though the Todd Boehly-led ownership group was assuming control of one of the top five teams in the world when they formally acquired Chelsea from Roman Abramovich in May 2022.

Before Boehly & Co. took charge, Chelsea made it to four cup finals in the two years before. They had won the whole competition the year before, and they had qualified for the Champions League in both seasons. Even though they weren’t nearly as good as Manchester City and Liverpool in 2022, they fell to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals in extra time after mounting a strong comeback in the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu. No other European team could legitimately claim to be ahead of Chelsea in the European rankings, save for those three and maybe Bayern Munich.

Since then, Chelsea has signed 28 new players to seven-year contracts and paid over €1 billion in transfer fees under Boehly’s leadership. This is an unprecedented amount of money given the number of players that Chelsea has added in just eighteen months. They finished 12th in the Premier League last year and are now 10th this season after making all of that investment in what was already one of the top teams on the globe.

At last, they will face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday (live broadcast available on ESPN+). However, Boehly and the other members of the ownership group have obviously failed to live up to their lofty expectations for Chelsea, even after spending a record amount of money on player acquisitions.

Now that the team is just one win away from their first title under the new ownership, let’s reflect on those 28 additions and pose a straightforward query: How many of them have truly succeeded? Going a step further, how many of these offers were truly beneficial?

In what ways and to what extent has Chelsea spent? Chelsea has reportedly paid €1.1 billion in transfer fees since the summer of 2022, according to the website Transfermarkt.

That’s a lot of money, but you don’t need me to tell you that—though I will. It would be more than 150 times taller than Mount Everest if all of the money that Boehly and the other Chelsea owners have invested in just the fees required to convince a player to sign a contract with a different team was converted into pennies and then stacked on top of each other.

In terms of soccer, Chelsea has spent more than twice as much money on transfer fees as any other team, with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain, who are controlled by a trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund and have spent €537 million on fees since the summer of 2022.

Let’s analyze Chelsea’s recent signings from a subjective standpoint, categorizing them based on their performance and impact. Excluding loans, the 28 signings can be broadly classified into five distinct categories.

In the first category, we have signings where it’s too early to make a definitive judgment. These players are still in the early stages of their Chelsea careers, and it remains uncertain how their contributions will shape up in the long run.

Moving on to the second category, there are signings that, at present, don’t seem to be living up to expectations. This group includes players whose performances have fallen short of the initial optimism surrounding their acquisitions.

The third category comprises signings that were deemed as bad moves from the start, and unfortunately, they have turned out as such. These players have not delivered as expected, confirming the negative outlook that initially surrounded their transfers.

In the fourth category, we find players who are on expensive contracts but have managed to secure playing time. While their contracts may be a point of contention, their on-field contributions have given them a role within the team.

Finally, in the fifth category, we have signings that have proven to be genuinely successful moves. These players have made positive impacts on the team, validating the club’s decision to bring them in.

Subjectively evaluating Chelsea’s signings through these categories provides a nuanced perspective on the diverse outcomes and performances within the squad.

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