Ranking every striker Chelsea have signed under Roman Abramovich
Chelsea may have benefited from some of the best strikers of the Premier League era, but their recruitment of goalscorers has traditionally left a lot to be desired.
We’ve ranked every striker signed by Chelsea since Roman Abramovich bought the club – which excludes homegrown talents such as Tammy Abraham.
Note: We’re talking about proper strikers here, not forwards like Salomon Kalou who generally played out wide, and we’ve also excluded youngsters signed for Chelsea’s academy sides. Sorry, Daniel Philliskirk.
23. Franco Di Santo
Look, we understand how this happened. We signed Di Santo from Audax Italiano on Football Manager too, and he promptly banged them in for our West Ham side in the Premier League.
But it was still less embarrassing for Chelsea to let Steve Sidwell and Khalid Boulahrouz wear the No.9 shirt than Di Santo.
22. Radamel Falcao
We’re not sure why Chelsea signed Falcao after he had failed so miserably at Manchester United, but sign him they did.
One goal in a dozen appearances, only one of which came after October due to fitness issues. If only they’d been warned.
21. Alexandre Pato
If the signing of Falcao was weird, Pato’s arrival on loan to essentially replace the injury-stricken Colombian was the equivalent of Chelsea shrugging their shoulders and mouthing ‘f*ck it’ as their title challenge crumbled around them.
Still, one goal in two games is not to be sniffed at, even if it was a penalty against an absolutely rancid Aston Villa side.
I have absolutely no memory of Alexandre Pato playing for Chelsea. https://t.co/5LPabbzElX
— Ankit (@ankitpathak04) August 12, 2018
20. Claudio Pizarro
Signing a 28-year-old Pizarro, with over 100 Bundesliga goals to his name, on a free transfer from Bayern Munich sounds like a shrewd piece of business.
But a debut goal against Birmingham City was followed by just one more strike, coincidentally in the return fixture against Birmingham.
Birmingham were relegated from the Premier League that season.
19. Romelu Lukaku
“I dreamed to play here since I was 10 years old. It was just what I was searching for,” Lukaku said upon joining Chelsea as an 18-year-old from Anderlecht, citing Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink as one of his favourite strikers.
When the Belgian joined the first time, it should have worked. But it didn’t. Fifteen appearances. Zero goals. A decisive penalty miss in the shoot-out defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup. Two seasons out on loan in which he scored more Premier League goals than any Chelsea player. At least they made a profit.
“It was my dream. Since I was 11 I have waited for this moment and worked hard for this moment,” Lukaku said after scoring against Aston Villa following his return to the club as a 28-year-old, citing Didier Drogba as one of his favourite strikers.
When the Belgian joined the second time, it should have worked. But it hasn’t. Thirty-nine appearances. Twelve goals. A badly misguided interview about returning to Inter. A performance at Crystal Palace where he touched the ball seven times. This time they won’t even make a profit.
18. Mateja Kezman
There’s something about a move to Stamford Bridge that can somehow suck the goals out of a striker, with Kezman a case in point.
In the Serbian’s five seasons prior to joining the Blues, he scored 35, 31, 20, 40 and 38 goals. In his solitary campaign in west London, he scored seven, and his career never truly recovered.
He does, however, deserve credit for notching the winner in the League Cup final win over Liverpool, playing his part in the 4-2 thriller against Barcelona, and having a weirdly satisfying name.
17. Andriy Shevchenko
A proper, bonafide, world-class centre-forward, signed to huge acclaim from one of the biggest clubs in Europe in a British record transfer. This is what Abramovich wanted when he took over Chelsea.
Sadly, it turned out Sheva was actually a bit sh*t by the time he arrived in London. That’s probably not what Abramovich wanted.
16. Alvaro Morata
Antonio Conte falling out with Diego Costa to sign Morata for £60million was probably a bad idea, but there was that period when he first moved to Stamford Bridge and looked genuinely quite good.
But that was quickly forgotten as the Spain international struggled up front, with every miss becoming an instant meme on social media. It was hard not to feel sorry for him.
His January 2019 move to Atletico Madrid was in everyone’s best interests, although we cannot forget the savage tweet from Chelsea’s official account when he departed *chef’s kiss*.
More good news…
✍️ @rubey_lcheek has signed a new long-term contract with the Blues! 🙌
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 6, 2019
15. Gonzalo Higuain
Two goals on his Stamford Bridge debut, albeit against a Huddersfield side that played with all the co-ordination of 11 Theresa Mays, and not a whole lot else.
14. Loic Remy
Remember when Remy was a really good Premier League goalscorer?
The £10.5million signing bagged 12 goals in 47 games for the Blues while being used as a backup option, including crucial strikes against Manchester City, Stoke and Hull, to help Jose Mourinho’s side win the title in 2014-15.
13. Daniel Sturridge
Chelsea went to a lot of trouble to sign Sturridge from Manchester City, when the left-footed front-man was still just 19. The eventual fee had to be decided at a tribunal, which set the striker’s value at £8.3million.
A league title, two FA Cups and a Champions League (albeit as an unused substitute in the final) represent the only silverware of his career, and a record of a goal every 188.9 minutes is a decent return for a backup forward.
12. Michy Batshuayi
A young Belgian striker signed for a big fee who has shown good goalscoring instincts despite concerns about his all-round game. Sound familiar?
Unlike first-spell-at-Chelsea Lukaku, Batshuayi has actually scored for the club, at a healthy rate of one goal every 97.1 minutes in fact, and he even bagged the winner which clinched the 2016-17 Premier League title.
Remarkably still on Chelsea’s books despite five loan spells away since his title-winning goal at the Hawthorns and it’s hard to see him ever becoming a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge.
They’ve had worse, mind.
11. Adrian Mutu
Technically, this is almost a free transfer for Chelsea: they paid Parma £15.8million to sign the Romanian in 2003, but the player was later ordered to pay the Blues £15million in damages after being banned and then sacked having being caught taking cocaine.
Admittedly, as of October 2018, Chelsea were still waiting to be paid by Mutu, who has continued to fight the decision.
He was quite good on his day though.
On this day: 2003 – Adrian Mutu scored on his @ChelseaFC debut. #CFC #Chelsea pic.twitter.com/hV4OPQmSz2
— Chad ⭐⭐ (@ChelseaChadder) August 23, 2018
10. Timo Werner
Yes, his all-round game is excellent and it’s encouraging that he consistently gets himself into the right positions to score.
What’s less encouraging is his tendency to miss those chances in increasingly creative ways.
Signed for £47.5 million in 2020, Werner hasn’t really justified his price tag yet, scoring just 10 Premier League goals since his arrival.
But Chelsea fans are largely still behind him and there’s still potential for improvement… right? Right?
9. Samuel Eto’o
Scored a hat-trick against Manchester United and took the piss out of Jose Mourinho for suggesting he was actually 35, not 32 years old, by celebrating a goal against Spurs by pretending he was an old man.
A solid season from Samuel. Well done everybody.
8. Fernando Torres
Not quite the flop of popular wisdom. (Still a bit of a flop though.)
READ: Fernando Torres: The Chelsea ‘flop’ who still stole fans’ hearts
7. Demba Ba
On the face of it, 14 goals in 51 games is hardly anything to write home about, but look at the finer details and a different picture becomes apparent.
A winner against Manchester United in a quarter-final of the FA Cup, a winner against PSG in a Champions League quarter-final, the opener against Liverpool at Anfield after that Steven Gerrard slip.
Not bad value from a £7million signing from Newcastle United, all in all.
6. Hernan Crespo
It’s a damning indictment of Chelsea’s striker recruitment that a man who spent three of his five seasons at the club out on loan can be argued to be their sixth-best signing in that department.
5. Kai Havertz
Havertz arrived in 2020 for *a lot* of money. If we are to be precise, £72million plus some hefty add-ons. And at first, he struggled.
“People expect you to be the new Cristiano Ronaldo,” Havertz told Suddeutsche Zeitung in June 2021. “But it won’t be that fast, everything is new and I really didn’t play my best football at the beginning.
“I felt a completely different pressure than before in Leverkusen.”
But he scored the goal that won Chelsea the Champions League and then told a reporter who was asking him about his transfer fee that he “couldn’t give a fuck about that” as he’d just “won the fucking Champions League.” We liked him a lot after that.
🔵 Kai Havertz's first Champions League goal ⚽️🏆@kaihavertz29 | @ChelseaFC | #UCL pic.twitter.com/cc6TpzflbU
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 2, 2021
4. Olivier Giroud
He came, he looked handsome, he won a shitload of trophies.
Giroud’s persistence must be applauded. Throughout his three-year spell at Chelsea, various managers would relegate the World Cup winner to the bench in favour of their latest shiny attacking toy.
But Giroud could always be counted upon when called into the starting line-up and delivered some iconic moments in Chelsea blue.
Who could forget that hat-trick in Seville or the moment of unorthodox genius to beat Southampton in the 2018 FA Cup semi-final?
He’ll be remembered as a cult hero at Stamford Bridge, no question.
3. Nicolas Anelka
Yeah, he missed that penalty in the Champions League final, but he also won a title, two FA Cups and the Golden Boot.
Only eight players have scored more Premier League goals for Chelsea, six of whom made at least 50 appearances or more than Anelka.
READ: Nicolas Anelka: ‘Le Sulk’ who inspired plenty of smiles at Arsenal & Chelsea
2. Diego Costa
A nasty, hilarious, brilliant sh*thouse of a striker. Mint.
1. Didier Drogba
It was always going to be him, wasn’t it? The undisputed king, for this moment alone.
On this day in 2012, Didier Drogba's late equaliser and winning penalty helped Chelsea to their first Champions League trophy…
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 19, 2017