During Roman Abramovich’s early years, Chelsea were known for their fantastic work in the transfer market. Though, admittedly, they could freely spend millions more than their rivals, the Blues had very few misses during their early years – with top players like Arjen Robben, Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele all moving to Stamford Bridge.
In recent years, the Blues have continued to spend, albeit with a little bit more decorum, but it’s fair to say that relatively little of what they’ve spent has gone to good use.
Indeed, the club have become infamous for their wasted expenditure, particularly over the last 2 or 3 years, with a number of players coming in with very little success.
Take Danny Drinkwater, for example. Signed for a whopping £34.1 million, according to Transfer Markt, the Englishman has been frozen out at Chelsea this season, and he made relatively little impact at Stamford Bridge last term. His signing may well go down as one of the worst in recent memory.
Another example is Tiemoue Bakayoko. He was brought in for a whopping £36 million, according to Transfer Markt, with the midfielder impressing over in Monaco. However, after a terrible season in England, he’s since been shipped off to Milan – and he seems to be a much better fit for the Italian giants.
Davide Zappacosta is another example. Since arriving from Torino for £22.5 million, as per Transfer Markt, he’s done next to nothing. In fact, he’s yet to start a single Premier League game this term – and that’s simply not good enough. He’s not helping anyone.
This approach to the transfer market can’t continue, and fortunately, there is a sign that the club could be changing their policy. A recent report from the Evening Standard has highlighted that Reece James may be considered for a first-team role at the end of the season, thanks to his success on-loan at Wigan this term. Interestingly, a similar report emerged earlier this year, with the Telegraph suggesting that the club wanted to cut back on the spending in order to give chances to young players like Mason Mount.
A few years ago, as their transfers highlight, this wouldn’t have happened at Chelsea. The summer that Danny Drinkwater was signed, for example, Nathaniel Chalobah left for Watford – despite being more than good enough to fill the same gap as Drinkwater. Similarly, Michy Batshuayi was brought in instead of giving a chance to someone like Tammy Abraham. Unsurprisingly, both of these decisions have proven to be unsuccessful.
So is something changing at Chelsea? Well, it’s too soon to say. The Blues have had opportunities to use young players before, but they haven’t taken them. The latest update on Reece James, though, is a good sign – and it bodes well for the future.
Either way, something needs to change – and fast.
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