Out of the Blues: 5 of the Most Baffling Chelsea Signings of the Roman Abramovich Era

Over the years there has been some questionable business done in the Premier League, not least at Chelsea.

Despite their continued success, the Blues have on occasion left fans baffled by some of their transfer business since the arrival of Roman Abramovich, with the club having a particular penchant for panic buys and oddly random acquisitions.

Following the signing of Robert Green , here’s a run down of some of Chelsea’s other puzzling deals in recent years…

5. Tal Ben Haim

An uncompromising if limited defender, Tal Ben Haim began his career in English football with Bolton Wanderers and spent three years at the Reebok, before he made the surprising free transfer to Stamford Bridge.

With injuries to defenders like John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, the Israeli international became a semi-regular in the side for at least the first half of the 2007/08 campaign under Jose Mourinho. 

However, the Israel international found game time hard to come by under Avram Grant and was even fined £80,000 for comments about the new manager.

All in all, Ben Haim’s stay at the Bridge lasted just one season and he was sold to Manchester City for £5m in the summer of 2008.

4. Claudio Pizarro

In 2007, Claudio Pizarro became the first Peruvian player to sign for Chelsea. Known for his goal-scoring feats at Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, it was very much a case of too little too late as the South American hit man arrived in London with his best years already behind him.

His Chelsea career got off to the worst possible start when he missed a penalty in the Blues’ defeat to Manchester United in the Community Shield.

Despite scoring in Chelsea’s opening game of the Premier League season, Pizarro only managed to find the net once more in 2007/08. 

The signing of Nicolas Anelka in the January transfer window saw Pizarro surplus to requirements at the Bridge and was soon sent out on loan to Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen, where he amazingly returned to his previous goalscoring form and was re-signed by Bayern Munich. 

3. Steven Sidwell

After four impressive season’s under Steve Coppell at Reading, midfielder Steve Sidwell made the move to Chelsea in the summer of 2007 on a free transfer.

The surprise move was made even more unusual when Sidwell was given the number nine shirt.

Despite competition from the likes of Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack, Sidwell was adamant that wasn’t signing for Chelsea just to make up the numbers. However, with the majority of his appearances coming from the bench, Sidwell only featured 25 times in the 2007/08 season and at the end of the season he  was sold to Aston Villa for a fee in the region of £6m.

2. Pato

The erstwhile wonderkid, Alexandre Pato signed for Chelsea on loan in January 2016 from Corinthians. 

Plagued by injuries and already on the wane when he arrived in England, ‘The Duck’ spent his time at Stamford Bridge as a striker who promised so much but delivered so very little.

Admittedly, the Brazilian’s career in English football began brilliantly as he won a penalty and scored in his first outing against Aston Villa. However, despite the great start, Pato only featured once more for the Blues and went back to Corinthians still a striker out of form. 

1. Papy Djilobodji

Papy Djilobodji signed for the Blues on deadline day in 2015 for a fee in the region of £3m.

The signing of the Senegalese defender baffled fans up and down the country, with many claiming that the acquisition was a panic buy.

Indeed it turned out to be the case as Djilobodji made only one appearance for the Blues, coming on as a sub in added time against Walsall in the League Cup. 

In January of 2016, the defender was sent on-loan to Werder Bremen and just six months later signed for Premier League side Sunderland for a fee in the region of £8m hardly having kicked a ball for Chelsea.


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