7 transfer targets Chelsea missed out on in the summer & how they’ve fared this season
Chelsea underwent one of the most comprehensive squad rebuilds in Premier League history over the summer, but we wanted to know what’s become of the players who didn’t end up moving to Stamford Bridge.
No less than 14 first-team players left the club following their disappointing 12th-place finish last season, while Mauricio Pochettino bought in the likes of Cole Palmer, Moises Caicedo and Christopher Nkunku to bolster his side.
But what became of the players they missed out on in the summer? We’ve checked in on seven players that they reportedly targeted signing – and assessed how they’ve fared elsewhere.
Balogun was linked with a surprise move from Arsenal to Chelsea over the summer, as the Blues scrabbled to reinforce their attack after an injury to Nkunku during their pre-season tour of the United States.
Eventually, the 22-year-old moved to Monaco in a deal worth €40million and he has made a fine start for his new club, with three goals in Ligue 1.
“He didn’t really say much, when I came back he just said well done, and he encouraged me to keep going,” Balogun said when asked about Mikel Arteta’s role in the move.
“Then me coming back in a pre-season, it was just more about me seeing whether I fit into his plans and seeing if I can continue to play some games.
“He said that he would try to get me involved as best as he could, but of course he also told me that the people higher up were making decisions on me and seeing what would be best for me.
“So the conversations between me and him were good, but it was more about the club, what they wanted to do.”
It was always clear that Kudus was set to leave Ajax in the summer after rejecting a new contract. Arsenal and Brighton were interested and Chelsea reportedly agreed personal terms with the Ghana international before the deal fell through.
Kudus did eventually arrive in England in late August, joining West Ham on a five-year deal for a £38million transfer fee.
David Moyes has bedded the 23-year-old in slowly, but he’s already shown glimpses of what he can offer with some stonking goals for the Hammers.
Mohammed Kudus, that is sensational! ✂️ pic.twitter.com/wyCrhe7A8P
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 8, 2023
Olise was reportedly on the verge of joining Chelsea until he surprisingly signed a new contract at Crystal Palace.
The exciting winger has been on the sidelines with injury, but appeared in the recent defeat to Everton and will be confident of firing the south London club back up the Premier League table.
Captain of the USMNT, Adams was never likely to play Championship football for Leeds United this season and came agonisingly close to a move to Stamford Bridge in July at the height of the Caicedo saga.
The midfielder was all set for a medical before the move fell through and ended up joining Bournemouth instead. He’s made a single League Cup cameo for the Cherries, but is currently sidelined until January with a hamstring injury.
Chelsea were reportedly in talks with Montpellier for Wahi at the start of July after the striker bagged 19 goals in Ligue 1 last season, but he instead made a €30 million move to Champions League-bound Lens.
Wahi later admitted that Chelsea were interested in him but says that he was actually closer to moving to Eintracht Frankfurt instead.
“Chelsea? I didn’t want to go there,” he told L’Equipe. “Frankfurt were close – closer than Chelsea.
“I spoke with the coach there. He speaks French, which was important for me. But we had to wait for the departure of Randal Kolo Muani and waiting for his move was too complicated. I have no regrets.
“My first objective was to stay in France, so I think I made the right choice. At the very beginning, there were no French clubs, only a few contacts from Monaco. Over time, Lens came and we managed to get along.”
The 20-year-old has scored three goals in nine appearances for his new club.
Elye Wahi opens the scoring in brilliant fashion with his first Lens goal! 💥 pic.twitter.com/VjBue5tt65
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) September 29, 2023
Cherki has long been linked with Chelsea, who are seemingly in the market for every footballer under the age of 25, and is a talented attacking midfielder who loves to get fans off their seats.
But the 20-year-old is enduring a tough season with surprise strugglers Lyon, having notched just one assist in 10 appearances in the 2023-24 campaign so far.
He is also a regular feature for Thierry Henry’s France under-21 side and has grabbed four goals and three assists in their last three qualifiers.
Cherki is out of contract at Lyon in June 2025 and a move could be on the cards sooner rather than later.
As Romelu Lukaku looked increasingly unlikely to leave at the start of August, Chelsea hoped to bait Serie A giants Juventus into signing him by proposing a swap deal also involving Vlahovic.
Strong, quick and deadly in front of goal, the Serbia international is one of Europe’s best strikers but had fallen out of favour in Turin. Alas, a deal couldn’t be struck and Lukaku moved to Roma instead.
Vlahovic has scored four times in 10 appearances this season, but is still being linked with a move away from Juventus as he is yet to cement his status as the club’s main striker.