Chelsea’s five biggest summer spending sprees – how does 2020 rank?

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Since Roman Abramovich completed his takeover of Chelsea in 2003, they haven’t exactly been known for their thriftiness in the transfer market.

Backed by the Russian oligarch’s investment, Chelsea have won the Premier League title five times in the last 17 years. No club has won more over the same period of time. 

And it’s set to be another big season at Stamford Bridge with Frank Lampard backed by substantial funds in the transfer market. But where does 2020 (so far) rank in their biggest summer transfer windows? Here’s the top five.

2003 – £111m

The Abramovic revolution begins as Claudio Ranieri is backed to the tune of £121million, back then a truly mindblowing amount of money for a Premier League side to spend in one summer, not least perennial also-rans Chelsea.

Damien Duff was the most expensive signing of them all at £17million, while a further nine players arrived for at least £6million apiece: Joe Cole, Scott Parker, Claude Makelele, Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu, Juan Sebastian Veron, Wayne Bridge, Geremi and Glen Johnson.

Ranieri would take the Blues to their then-highest Premier League finish of second that season, runners-up to Arsenal’s Invincibles, as well as the Champions League semi-finals. But the new owner had a different idea of who he wanted to take them that one step further – successor Jose Mourinho was backed by a further £94million the following year.

READ: Where are they now? Chelsea’s first starting XI under Roman Abramovich

2016 – £118m

Antonio Conte’s reign at Chelsea began with over £100million spent on four senior additions – Michy Batshuayi from Marseille (£33million), N’Golo Kante from then champions Leicester (£32million), Fiorentina’s Marcos Alonso (£23million) and the returning David Luiz (£30million).

The Italian led them to the title and, while Michy Batshuayi hasn’t gone on to hit the heights some hoped he might, Luiz and Alonso were perfect fits for Conte’s back three system and Kante was named the Premier League Player of the Season. Money well spent.

2018 – £118m

Only two first-team players were signed in the summer of 2018. But they cost a pretty penny.

Jorginho followed Maurizio Sarri from Napoli to the tune of £51million and, just days after Liverpool set a new world record fee for a goalkeeper, Chelsea broke it again by spending £72million on Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga to replace Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois.

We’ll leave Chelsea fans to make up their minds on this one.

2020 – £128m

After being hamstrung in the market by their transfer ban last summer, Chelsea are making up for lost time as the most willing spenders in European football this summer

So far their spending stands at £128million, with £36million on Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech, £47million on Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and £45million on Leicester’s England international left-back Ben Chilwell.

And counting. It doesn’t even include the reportedly imminent £72million on Bayer Leverkusen starlet Kai Havertz, with rumours of a new goalkeeper and West Ham’s Declan Rice to potentially follow.

Ben Chilwell

READ: What does Ben Chilwell bring to Chelsea? Strengths and weaknesses

2017 – £185m

Not their finest work in the transfer market. In fairness, they’d recouped over £100million, with Nemanja Matic (£50million) to Manchester United, Nathan Ake (£20million) and Asmir Begovic (£10million) to Bournemouth, and Juan Cuadrado (£17million) to Juventus the most lucrative departures among others.

But that money wasn’t reinvested especially wisely as Conte’s Premier League champions seemed to take a major step back. £23million on Davide Zappacosta, £29million on Antonio Rudiger, £40million on Tiemoue Bakayoko (ouch), £58million on Alvaro Morata (ouch) and £35million on Danny Drinkwater (ouch).

They even went and spent a further £50million on Ross Barkley, Emerson and Olivier Giroud midway through the season, but failed to secure Champions League football with a poor fifth-placed finish, although Conte did get to leave on a high note, delivering the FA Cup.


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