Chelsea Transfers

Unlike most of the clubs we’re covering, Chelsea has already concluded their transfer business. Every team’s transfer news is available from our Premier League Team Primer! We’ll link to all our transfer write-ups and the latest Chelsea transfer news! If you believe the hype around this transfer window, you should probably visit often (nudge nudge).

Chelsea incoming transfers:

Matteo Kovacic ($59M from Real Madrid): So, despite technically being under a “transfer embargo,” Chelsea was able to bring in a new player. The Blues are technically only unable to “register new players” for two windows since Kovacic was already on loan (and registered) they made the move permanent. Kovacic had spent the last couple years with Real Madrid where he found himself on the periphery before being brought in by Sarri on loan. The midfielder found a home with Chelsea and Roman Abramovich (and supposedly “new manager” Frank Lampard) interested in making his stay permanent. Kovacic racked up 51 appearances for the London-based side. His job is not to score or assist on goals, but he still managed to be involved in a pair of goals. He was a big part of Chelsea’s 4-1 thrashing of Arsenal and their Europa League campaign. He averaged two fouls drawn per game along with nearly 2.5 successful tackles. He was brought into the team to boss the midfield, and he did just that.

Lewis Baker (return from loan/Loaned again to Fortuna Düsseldorf): Baker spent time with two separate Championship clubs, Leeds and Reading. He only made sparse appearances for Leeds totaling 11 appearances for 222’, which amounts to a mere 20’ each time. Obviously, he wasn’t really able to provide anything substantial for the club in that timeframe. To demonstrate his role (or lack thereof), he averaged only about 12 passes per game and one-half a shot per game. In the winter transfer window; however, he would go on loan to Reading, where he would play a much more substantial role. In the second half of the season, he would make more starts for Reading than he made appearances for Leeds. Baker started 17 games for them mostly as a pure midfielder, although he would occasionally appear as a defensive or attacking midfielder as well. At Reading, he would score one goal and one assist while increasing his shots per game from 0.4 to 1.2 and key passes per game from non-existent to 0.4 per game. Also, Baker would play seven times more minutes for Reading than he would in the first half. He contributed significantly on the defensive side with interceptions (0.7/game), clearances (1.6/game), and tackles (1.3). He also provided nearly 3 (successful) long balls per game along with consistently drawing fouls. Update: Lewis Baker has gone out on loan again, this time to Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Danilo Pantic (return from loan): Pantic returns from FK Partizan Belgrade where he played regularly for them in Europa League qualifying as well as the Serbian top-flight. Partizan managed a third-place finish; however, the place doesn’t accurately reflect the chasm between Partizan and the top place, 30 points. Pantic played well for the team all over the attacking midfield dimension, a position which he could plausibly be called in to play since the departure of Eden Hazard (depending on where Pulisic fits in). The transfer ban won’t allow Chelsea to sign any “new players” (expect for Kovacic), so he’ll be fighting for a place amongst the current players. At Partizan he made 45 total appearances accruing eight goals and a further eight assists. Either by scoring or assisting, he had a hand in 33% of their goalscoring. With both Pulisic and Kovacic, the odds are firmly stacked against Pantic for being a starter, but there may be an option for some time in the rotation. However, Partizan was a top club defensively; their shortage was on offense. They were the fourth-best club in terms of goals allowed; however, they were some way off that pace in terms of goals scored. Much of that is likely due to the surrounding cast and the first team players at Chelsea are a significant improvement over the majority of the Partizan players. If Pantic can get on the pitch, I would back him to get on the scoresheet either for scoring it or setting it up. Based on what I’ve seen of Pulisic, if he can get in a dangerous area, he might only have to lift his foot to score goals.

Nathan (return from loan): When Nathan was brought into the club, he was supposed to be the next Brazilian wonder-kid. However, he hasn’t been able to assume that mantle as of yet. He spent a few years in the Netherlands at Vitesse Arnhem, where he was reasonably successful earlier in his career. However, his opportunities have begun to dry up as of late. He opted to return to his native Brazil for a spell with Atletico Mineiro, but he would only make the pitch a handful of times. In the entirety of the season, he only made ten appearances with an average appearance of only 30 minutes. I think Nathan will be quickly sent out on loan again unless they opt to part with him entirely. After playing for the Brazilian youth sides, he has failed to receive a call up for the senior national team, which would also have a substantial effect on his ability to get a work permit to play for Chelsea in England. Nathan only has one year remaining on his contract, and unless there is a substantial improvement, I think it will likely be his final year with the club.

Christian Pulisic (return from loan): Technically Pulisic is returning from loan, but really he’s finally making his trek to Chelsea. As part of his transfer deal last year, he was to be loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the season. He’ll be joining up with the team after the CONCACAF Gold Cup where’s he’s been fantastic. I think it’s safe to say that Pulisic is a substantial reason that the United States has gone as far as they did. While he hasn’t scored a ton of goals in the Gold Cup, he’s basically served them up on a silver platter for those who did. Pulisic made 30 total appearances for Dortmund, although most came off the bench. I think Pulisic should fit in well to this team, especially in Hazard’s absence where I fully expect him to play. One interesting thing about this side is that they are quite limited at the striker position with Alvaro Morata having departed, along with Gonzalo Higuain. They will remain with Olivier Giroud, who hasn’t been the focal point for a team in a long time; however, I am interested to see what comes of it. Obviously, I don’t have any additional insight to the matter of Chelsea’s next manager, but I imagine they’ll effectively play a 4-3-3 with a combination of Pedro, Willian, and Pulisic getting the lion’s share of minutes. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Batashuyi and Abraham giving Giroud some reprieve.

Tiemoue Bakayoko (return from loan): Bakayoko is returning from a roughly $6M paid loan deal from AC Milan. He made 42 appearances across all competitions for the Serie A side. Despite the team finishing fifth in Serie A, they were mighty close to the top three and Champions League which they missed out on by a solitary point. Goal Differential would have still placed them in fifth without the absolute destruction of an opponent. However, this is not any fault of Bakayoko’s as he played well side. The only question I have regarding Bakayoko’s future with the side is Jorginho. I don’t doubt Bakayoko’s abilities as $6M+ wages assuaged that quite quickly. Chelsea was quite good defensively last year, and they’ll be looking for someone to score goals, which is one area I’m not convinced of his prowess. However, it’s still not outside the realm of possibility that Jorginho plays a defensive midfielder with Bakayoko only slightly higher. This would help get the attacking players even further forward without having normal defensive responsibilities. That said, if someone comes looking for a defensive midfielder and is willing to put out ten million or so, Chelsea could definitely consider another highly subsidized loan.

Charly Musonda, Jr. (return from loan): To say Musona had a rough season would be putting it really lightly. He spent almost the entire season out with a brutal knee injury after an attempted comeback (and injury) near the midseason mark. It sounds like he’s already preparing for a do-over after a horrendous season with Vitesse. Much like Nathan and Piazon, he was touted to be a star of the future, and due to various things all working against him that hasn’t materialized. Here’s to hoping that this season on loan is better than the last.

Abdul Rahman Baba (return from loan): Like Musonda,  Baba has had a really rough go after being stretchered off in an African Cup of Nations game two years ago with a severe cruciate ligament injury and only just now starting to work his way back to fitness. He spent a good bit of time with Schalke, but after running into difficulties finding game time, the left-back will likely take his talents back to Spain, where both Villareal and Girona are said to be seeking his services. The left-back looks to be set for a season far superior to the injury-laden ones of his recent past. Both he and Chelsea will be hoping that his injury woes are behind him and he can set his sights on returning to the world-class left back he was. If that’s the case, there’s a strong likelihood that the club will be looking in his direction for a successor to Marcos Alonso.

Kenedy (Return from loan): Kennedy went on loan to Newcastle last season, where he played consistently but with variable minutes. He went on to make 28 total appearances for the club, but keep in mind that loan players are ineligible to play against their own club (meaning he was forced to miss a minimum of two games). He has immense positional flexibility demonstrated by the fact that he played basically everywhere on the left side for Newcastle. Shockingly, even though he plays all over the pitch, his most significant contributions come on the defensive side of things. He recorded an average of more than one successful tackle, interception, and just shy of 1 clearance per game. Kenedy has been a member of the “loan army” since he arrived in 2015 and while his Premier League experience probably bodes well for his future, he plays in a position where they have substantial depth. As a result, he’ll likely either have to settle for a rotation spot, or he’ll go back out on loan.

Mario Pasalic (return from loan): Pasalic is another member of the loan army and has been since his arrival from Hajduk Split in 2014. He’s had spells on loan with Eiche, Monaco, and Spartak Moscow as well as paid ($1.3M) loan stints with Milan and Atalanta. Pasalic is also a current Croatian National team member, having received ten call-ups since he joined Chelsea. Pasalic’s most recent stint with Atalanta went very well with him making 33 appearances in Serie alone (42 total). He basically split his time between starts and being one of the first men off the bench, but he still averaged nearly 50 minutes per appearance. To go along with the game time, he would assist on six goals and score eight himself across all competitions. I’ve already discussed the situation for midfielders as a whole, and I think that Pasalic is likely to encounter difficulties finding substantial minutes in this time. He’s done well on loan, and I could see him going out on a paid loan as well as fighting for a spot with Chelsea. Update: Pasalic was sent on loan to Atalanta.

Kenneth Omeru (return from loan): Omeruo joined up with Chelsea back in January 2012, and he has been on loan ever since. His most recent loan spell was with Leganes in La Liga, where he made 31 appearances. The center back was ever present for his loan side, going the full 90 more often than not. Although Leganes ended up with a mid-table finish, it wasn’t due to Omeruo or the defense. They allowed the fifth-fewest goals in La Liga; their issue was on the offensive side. They ended the season with a -6 goal differential due to being tied for the second-worst goalscoring record in the league. Of all the loan prospects, I think this is one of the more likely ones to stay with the club (along with the next individual I’ll discuss). I don’t believe that David Luiz’s position is under threat, but I think the other position will be wide opening in training. I also think that David Luiz might get more rest than he previously has due to his advancing years, which I think will open up some competition. There are several good young center backs on this side, and I think whoever the next manager is, they’ll be apt to give these guys an excellent opportunity,

Matt Miazga (return from loan/Loaned to Reading): Miazga spent the two halves of the season on loan at different clubs, the first with Nantes and then later, with Reading. Miazga was a regular starter for Nantes starting with week two until his international call up around week 10. After his international call up, he would not see the pitch again with Nantes, which probably had a lot to do with his switch to Reading. During his time at Reading, he not only started every game, but he also would go on to play the full ninety minutes each time. Of the 18 games he played in for Reading, 5 of them ended up being clean sheets, and they would only lose four times. I don’t think the latter portion of his first loan spell will help his chances of making the first team, but I also don’t think he’ll be written off for it. His lack of recent appearances for the United States National Team might be a far greater concern as he’s only appeared in one of the Gold Cup matches so far (the 1-0 win over Panama). Update: Miazga has been sent on loan to Championship club Reading for the season.

Michy Batshuayi (return from loan): Batshuayi is another of the two-team loanees for Chelsea this season. He spent the first part of the season on loan at Valencia where he appeared in five of their six Champions League group stage matches and made fifteen appearances in La Liga. In the second half of the season, he spent time on a paid loan with Crystal Palace where he made 11 appearances. Batshuayi has plenty of talent, but my concern is that despite making 36 appearances (including Cup ties), he managed nine goals and six of those 9 came in the second half of the season. Chelsea needs a pure goal scorer, and I think Batshuayi will get serious consideration. However, my concern is about his form in the first half of the season where he made 23 appearances for Valencia, and only provided three goals throughout that time. One of those goals was against a top-four opponent (at the time) in Celta Vigo, another came against BSC Young Boys in the Champions League, and the final goal came against CD Ebro (a Tier three Spanish side). Chelsea is definitely short goal scorers, but they’ve been disappointed with far more prolific goalscorers than Batshuayi has so far shown. If he doesn’t manage an improvement, he’ll likely be among the first casualties when Chelsea can register new players.

Chelsea outgoing transfers:

Eden Hazard ($130M to Real Madrid): This isn’t a surprise to anyone, Hazard has been a well-known transfer target for Real Madrid for a couple of years now. Madrid is definitely paying a hefty price to bring him across the Channel though. Zidane came back for a rebuild likely under the assumption of substantial transfer funds (although, that’s probably obvious with $130M spent on one player…) Hazard has gotten a lot of harassment in the media for not putting up the same numbers he has in the past, but the team itself hasn’t been nearly as prolific, either. Regardless, his overall performance for the club has been fantastic with a goal or assist every 133 minutes. He appeared 245 times for Chelsea, scoring 85 goals and providing 61 more assists. While I think the price is probably right for Chelsea to let him go, he can’t be replaced for the next two windows either. Any team would miss a player of Hazard’s ability, but having cashed in on him, Chelsea can’t use any of those proceeds toward a new player. Hazard will have a significant role going forward at Real Madrid and will be a cornerstone piece of the new-look side.

Ola Aina ($13M to Torino): Aina spent the prior season on loan to Torino and was exceptional, so much so, that Torino exercised their option to buy him outright rather than return him to Chelsea. Although they managed just a seventh-place finish in the Serie A, it’s been their best outcome in several years. The negotiated option to purchase price seems very reasonable for a right back of his caliber anyways. He made 32 appearances for the side across all competitions and was only maintained on the bench for two games; the others were injury (or card suspension) related. Not only did he help shore up the defense, but he also provided a goal and a trio of assists. I think Torino has done fantastic with this deal, and with both Azpilicueta and Zappacosta in front of him (along with fellow returnee Abdul Rahman Baba) I don’t seem him making the first team consistently anyways. I think this will end up being a positive transfer for both teams.  

Tomas Kalas ($12M to Bristol City): Despite Kalas only recently signing a new multi-year deal (in 2017) with the Blues, he will instead depart to Bristol City. Chelsea bought Kalas back in 2010, and throughout those nine years, he’s made only two Premier League appearances. It seems like both player and club have realized that he is unlikely to make it into the Blues side. I think this is a good move for everyone involved, the player because he has some certainty, Chelsea because they were able to sell the player for more than they paid ($8M), and Bristol because they’ll get a shiny, new starting center back.

Ethan Ampadu (Loan $750k, Chelsea to RB Leipzig): Ampadu joined this Chelsea team from the Exeter youth system for a little over $3M.  In his first season with the club he spent most of it out of the squad, he would make the squad sheet twelve times, only appearing once. He also suffered an ankle injury at the end of the season. His second season with the club would find him even less involved, only making the team four times over the course of the season. After this, he would go on loan to the Bundesliga side, RB Leipzig for a fee of $750k. Ampadu is under contract for one more year with this Chelsea side, and his performances at RB Leipzig might have a lot to do with the outcome.

Eduardo (Free Transfer): The 35-year old goalkeeper couldn’t be expected to wait in the Blues’ wings forever. Since joining the club he has done nothing but be a part of the loan army, and this departure allows him to find his own place. He’s immediately taken an offer to join Braga in the Portuguese top-flight team where I anticipate he’ll actually get to play between the sticks. If so, I think this will be an excellent pick up for Braga for free (that’s the best possible price, especially if it works out).

Todd Kane (Released to QPR): Kane effectively spent just shy of twenty years with the Blues after coming up through their youth system until he joined the loan army in 2012. After that, he would spend every season away from the club on loan, mostly to Championship clubs, before ultimately being released. Kane never made it into the first team for Chelsea, and continuing his contract without the likelihood that he’ll break into the first team isn’t ideal for either party. Ultimately, I think this is for the best and allows Kane to find a team of his own where he can have some stability and consistent game time. Update: Kane has moved to Championship side QPR.

 

Gary Cahill (Released): Gary Cahill has been a critical cog at Chelsea since his arrival in 2012 where he nearly reached 300 appearances. Cahill provided solid defensive play, along with 25 goals and seven assists across his tenure with the club. Recently though, he’s found it harder and harder to get back into the first team consistently culminating with two Premier League appearances in the recently concluded season (both off the bench). While Cahill is no spring chicken at 33-years old, I think he could continue to play for a while if he wants. This action makes me think that he will end up playing again; otherwise, I would have expected the club to allow the long-time Chelsea player to go out on his own terms at the club. This might be their own way of allowing him to move on to another club and get back to playing regularly, but Chelsea fans won’t be quick to forget the impact he’s had on the team.

Rob Green (Retired): Green had a good career amassing over 630 appearances with 182 clean sheets. Although, he never appeared for Chelsea after spending the majority of his career amongst West Ham United, Norwich, and Queens Park. At 38-years old his career was running down no matter how you look at it, so now it’ll just be onto the next chapter. This really won’t affect Chelsea because they have a queue for backup goalkeepers already.

Gonzalo Higuain (End of Loan): At first glance, I was a little shocked that Chelsea let Higuain return to Juventus even if the transfer ban motivated it. And then I saw how much Chelsea paid to get him on loan last season for five goals. I think this is the right move because I think Chelsea is more likely to get five goals with an attacking midfielder replacement from the loan army, for free. Comparatively, I think that they could slot in Batashuyi or Abraham and likely get at least five goals and probably for substantially less than his loan fee (or wages). Yes, it was likely a down year for Higuain, but you give players that perform deals, and he didn’t step up enough in my eyes. There’s a better use of $11M (plus wages).

Lucas Piazon (return from loan/released): Piazon’s story sounds a lot like Nathan’s, huge expectations and an early transfer for the youngster. He joined Chelsea in 2011 for about $9M from Sao Paulo. Since that time he has been away from the club on loan for almost the entirety of his time with Chelsea including Malaga, Vitesse, Eintracht Frankfurt, Reading, and Fulham. He’s been unable to nail down a consistent position within any side. His time with Fulham was somewhat fruitful; however, he had an early end to the season due to injury. He has appeared sparingly for the Brazil youth sides outside the U17 team where he made 15 appearances and nearly ten goals. Piazon didn’t even make the game day roster for the Blues while he was with them the first part of last season and only made four appearances for a grand total of eighty minutes. I can’t imagine he’ll seriously challenge for meaningful minutes with the team in the upcoming season either. Honestly, I think he’ll add another loan move to his belt. Update: Chelsea has officially released Piazon as of 7/2.

Last Updated: July 29, 2019