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Grading Chelsea's 2016 summer transfer window

The good, the bad, and the inconsequential.

Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Most clubs do Transfer Deadline Day; Chelsea do Transfer Deadline Last 48 Hours.

The madness began on Tuesday, with loan moves confirmed for three players, Kenedy, Loïc Rémy, and Patrick Bamford, all of whom joined Premier League sides.  But that was just the appetizer for Wednesday's main course, which saw a whopping eleven further loans arranged, bringing the grand total of Chelsea players spending at least the next half-season on temporary assignment away from the club to a record 38.

For a full list of the 38, be sure to check out's's loan watch central page.

A couple notable absentees on that list include Marco van Ginkel and Todd Kane, both whom are recovering from major injuries and thus were never considered for assignment this summer.  Youngsters Nathaniel Chalobah and Dominic Solanke have also stayed with the club and perhaps continue to harbor hopes of making a few first-team apperances, even.

Chelsea ended up selling no one in the final week of the transfer window (even relative oldies like Juan Cuadrado just ended up going on loan instead), but we did make two massively important signings on the last day, bringing in left back Marcos Alonso and the incomparable David Luiz.  They join third-string goalkeeper Eduardo, backup striker Michy Batshuayi, and arguably the Premier League's most important player last season, N'Golo Kanté as new arrivals.  Young prospects Juan Familia-Castillo, Charlie Brown, and Marcin Bułka were signed as well.

The Blues managed to sell four players for a grand total of almost £30m.  The included Stipe Perica, Mohamed Salah, Papy Djilobodji, and Marko Marin.  Big name loanees Falcao and Pato were released as well, as was veteran goalkeeper Marco Amelio and a trio of prospects, Kevin Wright, Reece Mitchell, and John Swift.

All-in-all, Chelsea made no less than 56 moves over the summer.  Think of what you want of Emenalo (& Co), but the man and all the rest of the movers and shakers in the back room are certainly keeping themselves busy!

For me, the window was basically an instant success with the signing of N'Golo Kanté, but David Luiz just put the sweetest icing on top of it all.  The only way this could've been better is we didn't wait until the last minute (though that did make for amazing excitement) and if we managed to land another holy grail target, like, say, a Leonardo Bonucci.  As it stands, I rate the summer as a solid A.

As one of our guest contributors, @BlueYonderCFC put, the Chelsea Board needed to redeem themselves in these final couple days.  They did just that.

Let's see what the others thought.


N'Golo Kante alone is enough to deserve this grade. Chelsea's problems last season came from the core of the pitch, and addressing them changes the whole complexion of the team. The Blues grabbed the best defensive midfielder available for relatively cheap, added him early and have reaped the rewards. Kante's addition to the squad gives Antonio Conte ridiculous flexibility in midfield. We're better in possession and no longer getting mauled in transition. His signing makes us look competent again.

The supporting cast isn't bad either. Michy Batshuayi is one of the finest prospects in Europe and has already started banging in the goals for us. Marcos Alonso is a versatile left back who is not Baba Rahman. David Luiz, cult hero status aside, is a clear upgrade on the centre back pairing who can also help in midfield if required. But really, it's all about Kante. Never has a need been more obviously filled by one man.


I'm having a hard time not loving the summer transfer window at this point. At this far too early to judge juncture, Kante looks like the best signing of the summer and Batshuayi is showing signs of being an absolute steal.  Meanwhile, David Luiz is a known commodity who ought to provide an immediate upgrade to the starting eleven and give Conte the option to try a three center back system if the situation warrants it while also providing some cover for the midfield.

I'm not nearly as excited about Alonso or Eduardo, but a third choice keeper probably isn't even worth this sentence, while the former Bolton and Sunderland man is a useful squad player, even if he was a bit of an overpay. All in all, the Blues did a nice job of addressing their short term needs, and are probably legitimate title contenders this season because of it.


I was worried that Chelsea would fail to address their needs for a second consecutive summer. Gladly the club and the Board proved everyone wrong, even if leaving it all to the last day of the window is bound to get people a bit too agitated.

Chelsea did marvelously in acquiring the best midfielder of the entire league, and instantly addressing many of the problems that kept us down last season, as well as adding one of the best young prospects of Europe to our attacking front. The Spanish guy from Fiorentina might not be on the same level as Ricardo Rodríguez, but he may be at the very least a serviceable backup to Azpilicueta and fill in as a centre back who actually knows what he's doing — unlike our lord and saviour John Obi Mikel — if needed.

And do I need to say more about bringing back David Luiz?  Just enjoy the life, geezers.


Hard to argue with the addition of Kante as anything but the signing of the summer (big money moves for Pogba, et. al notwithstanding). With N'Golo among the ranks, Chelsea at last have a defensive-minded midfielder with the tenacity and motor to shield the back line while disrupting opposition attacks. Thus far, Michy is looking like an inspired bit of business, and his penchant for social media is proving a delight among fans. Elsewhere, adding steel to the defense in the form of Alonso and Luiz certainly gives Conte the type of flexibility he covets. While neither were first-choice targets, they add a level of quality to the squad and enhance Conte's ability to rotate. Failing to move players knocks this down a half-letter grade (we should have done more to sell Pedro) but it's hard to look at this summer as anything but a success, particularly when compared to last season's debacle that was the Michael Hector/Papy D experience.

On Luiz, it's hard to look at this deal as anything but a referendum on the Mourinho era. His return offers Conte a playmaking defender who, on his day, can do things with his feet that very few in the world can replicate. He possesses glaring deficiencies as a 'true' defender, but as a player who can spring counter-attacks with his distribution from the back, Luiz significantly improves the squad's ability to challenge for silverware. Alonso seems more of a rotation option, but his pedigree suggests he'll do a lot better than Baba Rahman serving as cover. All told, Chelsea fans have plenty to be pleased with — the squad is a much better one than at the end of last season, and there's every indication the club hierarchy are willing to put the resources in play to ensure Conte has the personnel he desires to implement his brand of football.

RAM:  B+

If you would've asked me two months ago to name the one signing who could best mitigate our midfield issues, it would have been N'Golo Kanté. What do you know, we signed N'Golo In adition: Kanté! Michy Batshuayi is a top striking talent and a more than able deputy to Costa at his current level, Marcos Alonso is solid depth who could possibly transition into a starting option and David Luiz is, well, David Luiz. He's not quite Kalidou Koulibaly but definitely an upgrade over our current starting pair and strong presence in the dressing room.

Most of the loan destinations picked for our 38-man loan army seem in good stead too, although potentially worrisome ones are Ake to Bournemouth and Kenedy to Watford.  All-in-all, some good decisions have been made by the club this window. I'd grade it B+.


We will likely look back at the securement of N'Golo Kante - an elite anchor and the best midfielder in England - for a relative pittance in what frankly is an absurd market as the finest deal of this window. Michy Batshuayi is the type of burgeoning young talent Chelsea should be targeting.

Chelsea acting with intent to bag both, the latter amongst interest from Spurs, so early in the window was exceptional.

Meanwhile, the defense. Well then. The signing of Marco Alonso did little to spur excitement, while my feelings about David Luiz are well documented. Objectively, I do not see how either were among the club's top 3-5 targets at either position, and Luiz screams panic buy of the most surreal order. Still, Alonso provides utlity and, hopefully, reliability, while Luiz is a clear upgrade on current central defensive options not named John Terry. The Brazilian's versatility - imagine a Kante-Luiz midfield axis - may also come in handy.

So, not great, but a very good window of business from the club. I'm here for more Bob screamers.

JAKE: #EmenaloIN; no grade given.

(This list will be updated when/if I get responses from the remaining writers.)

Now, it's your turn.

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