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10 for 20: Chelsea's track record in big money transfers

The paint hasn't even begun to dry on Chelsea's season - or on the new home kits, for that matter - yet the summer transfer window engine of fun has already started warming up.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Surely it's just a matter of time and a few dotted i's, crossed t's, and undecided Kevin De Bruynes before Andre Schurrle is a Chelsea player. No, there's nothing official and no, I'm not Daily Mailing here. But if I were a betting man, I'd consider this one a safe bet.

Schurrle's price is likely to be in the region of £20 million pounds. A hefty sum for many, Roman Abramovich probably spends more than that weekly on yacht fuel alone. That being said, in the age of FFP, it's not an insignificant amount.

Should it come to fruition, Schurrle will probably be the 11th player who cost at least £20 million pounds in Chelsea history. When I put it that way, it makes me even less of a fan of this transfer ... but that's beside the point.

It should be acknowledged that I'm ignoring any and all effects of inflation here. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink cost a "mere" £15 million in 2000. In today's money that would most likely be over £21 million and that's without taking into effect any "Chelsea tax" or the methodical and unstoppable Zerg-creep of ever increasing transfer prices in general.

In addition to JFH, players such as Jose Bosingwa, Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka, all the big names from Abramovich's first season, and perhaps even Frank Lampard would surely cost over £20 million today. Surely? Schurrle.

Anyway, here's a quick survey of the 10 for 20, in descending order because we shouldn't mess with Fernando's confidence by not having him go first:

FERNANDO TORRES, £50 million (2011)


The transfer window closed half an hour ago, and we have quite the haul. Spanish striker Fernando Torres is Chelsea's new number nine, and although they had to break the British transfer record to do it, the combination of Torres and Didier Drogba is going to strike fear into the heart of every defence on the planet.

- Graham MacAree, Jan.31, 2011

What we didn't realize at the time was that Graham, sleep-deprived and delirious, meant this quite literally. "Every defense," including the Chelsea defense. Because the only way Chelsea were ever going to win anything while relying on Fernando Torres - striker-like substance optional - was by setting all sorts of defensive and clean sheet records.


That fee was always going to be beyond ridiculous and many realized that there was absolutely no way for Torres to ever live up to the expectations that it created.


Few expected such hilarious ineptitude. I remember being glued to Chelsea TV, watching him sign the contract, imagining hat-tricks for each stroke of the pen. We're going to be unstoppable!


With Zorres's help, Fernando hit his 20th goal this season in all competitions last week versus Rubin Kazan. Of course, it may actually just be his 19th, depending on whom you credit for that goal versus Middlesborough. Nothing's ever simple and easy at Torres FC.

With that goal, he now has 32 tallies in 123 career Chelsea games. 32 is also the total number of Chelsea goals scored by the triumvirate of Chris Sutton, Mateja Kezman, and Andriy Shevchenko. It took them 157 matches combined.

Advantage Fernando, Chelsea's number nine.

EDEN HAZARD, £32 million (2012)


Were you expecting Shevchenko here? I know I was. In fact, let's move on. Hazard's still brand new. There's still some packing peanuts stuck in his hair, for crying out loud.

ANDRIY SHEVCHENKO, £30 million (2006)


Before there was Zorres, before there was Torres, there was Shevchenko. Oh, Shevchenko; oh, Shevchenko.

Memories fade. Nowadays, the only thing I remember not liking about Shevchenko is the "Sheva" nickname. The facts remain crappy though: 22 goals in 77 appearances in about a season and a half's worth of matches and a starring role in Jose Mourinho's eventual departure.

That being said, I like Andrij. He was signed way too late and for way too much, but he'll always be a legend of the game.

MICHAEL ESSIEN, £24.4 million (2005)


In the history of football and the universe, there are few things as awe inspiring as The Bison, at the top of his powers, ripping the opposition midfield to shreds. It's no wonder that Chelsea had to submit no less than six different bids for him although one must say that the £10 million opener was a laughable lowball.

Sadly, opposition midfielders weren't the only things unable to stand up to Essien. His own body, particularly his knees, have robbed him of much of his game, though he is enjoying a bit of a revival with his "Daddy" at Real Madrid and looks on track for 30+ appearances for just the second time in the last five seasons.

He's under contract until 2015 and I hold out hope that we'll see him score a few more stunners yet for the Blues.

DIDIER DROGBA, £24 million (2004)


You know what to do.

Although rather than just watching that penalty kick again, I'd spent the 55 minutes and watch all 157 career Chelsea goals on Chelsea TV (go to the 'Catch Up' section, first video on page #4), which is good enough for fourth all-time for the club. "They've been booing him all game..." says the commentator on goal number two.

He certainly showed us.

JUAN MATA, £23.5 million (2011)


Years from now, we shall call him the first of the new era. For now, let's just call him the best.

DAVID LUIZ, £21 million (2011)


Years from now, we shall call him Captain, Geezer, Legend. For now, let's just call him the best.

SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS, £21 million (2005)


Here's something I did not know, Wright-Phillips has over 300 Premier League appearances to his name. About a quarter of which came with Chelsea and I think we'd all rather just forget that those ever happened.

What were we ever thinking?

OSCAR, £20 million (2012)


That there's oodles of talent in this one, it's clear.

That there's plenty of room for improvement in this one, it's clear.

That it was money well spent ... well ... YES, it's clear. Just his title of Brazil's #10 carries enough cachet on its own to justify the purchase. Throw in a dash of good looks, a seemingly wonderful personality, and all the Brazilian bromance and it's been worth every single penny already.

RICARDO CARVALHO, £20 million (2004)


As years go by, it becomes more and more criminal just how underrated Carvalho was while still at Chelsea. Perhaps it was his transfer fee, seen as parting gift from Mourinho to his old club FC Porto, but without Carvalho, Chelsea would've won absolutely nothing.


So, what have we learned?

Chelsea's track record is actually not too bad at all. Sure, two of the three most expensive ones weigh heavy on its perception, but except for those two strikers, the only other flop was Shaun Wright-Phillips. Three flops out of ten: a 70% strike rate, many of whom have become or can easily be envisioned as club legends.

Schurrle for £20 million? Still not a fan. But if the club deems him worthy enough of such a fee, there just might be something to it.

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