This time last year, no one would’ve expect that we had just witnessed the final summer transfer window of the Roman Abramovich era, which, despite breaking the club transfer record, was a relatively quiet one, with Chelsea almost breaking even in terms of net spend.
There was no danger of that happening this year, despite dire prognostications that the new, and excuse the bad word that’s about to follow, “American” owners will just look to take and not give anything back. As it turned out, despite a late start due to government restrictions, despite the upheaval of an historic ownership transition, despite various people in various interim roles — or perhaps precisely because of all that — we managed to have ourselves one of the most dramatic and hectic transfer windows in living memory. And that’s saying something after nearly two decades of The Roman Era.
The net number, as it stands right now give or take all the undisclosed fees, is almost exactly £200m, which is what our reported budget was going to be for the summer. Impressive by the bean-counters! (Though as eye-watering as that number is, it’s still only about half of what Abramovich had spent in today’s money in his first window, just to put that summer and Roman’s impact into perspective.)
But how good was the window? True evaluation will of course need the unfair advantage and clarity of hindsight, but let us review and vote, as usual, to see where we think we are. (Last year, 95% where happy or very happy with the business, for what it’s worth, so don’t take this too seriously.)
Raheem Sterling, 27 (from Manchester City) — £47.5m
Kalidou Koulibaly, 31 (from Napoli) — €40m (£33m)
Carney Chukwuemeka, 18 (from Aston Villa) — £20m
Marc Cucurella, 24 (from Brighton) — £55m+
Wesley Fofana, 21 (from Leicester City) — £70m
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 33 (from Barcelona) — €12m + Marcos Alonso
Denis Zakaria, 25 (from Juventus) —
$FREE with £30m €3+1m with €28m buy-option
We scrambled hard at the end, but did address just about every position that needed addressing, from center back (Fofana, Koulibaly), left wing-back (Cucurella), midfield (Zakaria), and attack (Sterling, Aubameyang). Chukwuemeka is more for the future than the present, but he is nominally with the first-team.
And he’s just one of several very highly rated teenagers who joined, some for significant transfer fees, even:
Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina, 18 (from Chicago Fire) — $10m
Cesare Casadei, 19 (from Inter Milan) — £13m
Omari Hutchinson, 18 (from Arsenal) — unk.
Eddie Beach, 18 (from Southampton) — unk.
Zak Sturge, 18 (from Brighton) — $FREE
Very highly rated Tyler Dibling, 16, also joined briefly from Southampton but that got rolled back after the young man failed to settle here. That can happen. We wish him all the best back with Saints.
On news of Tyler Dibling going back to Southampton, lots of moves don't work out, and when young people move clubs things can be a lot harder. Good to see the clubs co-operating to ensure he's in the best place on and off the pitch, and good luck to him with his development.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) September 1, 2022
A grant total of 21(!) players who were on the books in 2021-22 are no longer on the books in 2022-23. It wasn’t quite the culling that some had expected, but the squad did get de-bloated noticeably. A few departures were of course less welcome or needed, but not everything can be in the club’s control.
Antonio Rüdiger, 29 (to Real Madrid) — $FREE
Andreas Christensen, 26 (to Barcelona) — $FREE
Marcos Alonso, 31 (to Barcelona) — $FREE
Timo Werner, 26 (to RB Leipzig) — £20-25m
Emerson, 28 (to West Ham) —£15m
Billy Gilmour, 21 (to Brighton) — £7.5+2.5m
Kenedy, Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater, Matt Miazga, and Charly Musonda, all players with first-team appearances to their names, also left.
The curtain also fell on the careers of several youth products and Loan Army explorers, most leaving for free or simply released, such as Edwin Andersson, Luke Bradley-Morgan, Jake Clarke-Salter, Xavier Mbuyamba, George McEachran, George Nunn, Josh Tobin, Karlo Žiger.
LOAN ARMY 2022:
FIFA’s new loan regulations were announced with great fanfare, though not quite as much impact. Still, the focus was on younger players and loans within the English pyramid, which are not part of those regulations — except of course when dealing with the Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi, or Malang Sarr.
Romelu Lukaku, 29 (to Inter Milan) — £7m (loan fee)
Malang Sarr, 23 (to AS Monaco ) — £1m (loan fee)
Callum Hudson-Odoi, 21 (to Bayer Leverkusen)
Gaga Slonina is technically on loan at the Fire right now. More traditional recruits to the Loan Army include:
Prince Adegoke (Welling United)
Ethan Ampadu (Spezia)
Tino Anjorin (Huddersfield Town)
Baba Rahman (Reading)
Nathan Baxter (Hull City)
Lucas Bergström (Peterborough United)
Levi Colwill (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Jamie Cumming (MK Dons)
Bryan Fiabema (Forest Green Rovers)
Joe Haigh (Derby County)
Henry Lawrence (MK Dons)
Ian Maatsen (Burnley)
Sam McClelland (Barrow)
Xavier Simons (Hull City)
Dujon Sterling (Stoke City)
Harvey Vale (Hull City)
Ethan Wady (Woking)
Jayden Wareham (Leyton Orient)
Tiémoué Bakayoko remains on loan at AC Milan despite strong suggestions of both he and the club were ready to end things and move on. He may yet find a different solution, as could Michy Batshuayi, who’s currently stuck in limbo with the Chelsea reserves.
Some, who may have been hoping to leave did not get to leave, such as Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic. Some, who may have been targeted, did not get to arrive, such as Frenkie De Jong or Cristiano Ronaldo. We may or may not have gotten gazumped a couple times along the way as well (Raphinha, Jules Koundé, Ousmane Dembélé in a way).
This summer's transfer window was wild pic.twitter.com/Z0ISbwrvMX— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 1, 2022
Dynamo Moscow prodigy Arsen Zakharyan looked set to join but Chelsea were unable to navigate the murky waters of doing business with a Russian Premier League club in time, shelving that €15m deal until January, probably. Chelsea also made a flashy approach for RB Leipzig’s Joško Gvardiol in the last week, and that may have laid the groundwork for a future big-money deal.
How do you rate Chelsea’s 2022 summer transfer window?
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