N’Golo Kante is one of the great midfielders of the modern era and a player who will go down as one of Chelsea’s greatest-ever signings.
Antonio Conte brought the Frenchman to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016 off the back of Leicester City’s heroic Premier League triumph. The diminutive fan favourite was at the heart of a Chelsea team that returned to the summit of the top flight a year later, scooping the PFA’s Player of the Year award in the process.
But he was not the only player to arrive at the club that summer. We take a look at the seven other faces that joined the Blues in the same window as Kante and how they fared.
Castillo made the move to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016 after spending seven years in Ajax’s esteemed academy.
Still only 22, the defender is one of many players to have been repeatedly sent out on loan by the club over the last few campaigns, most recently with Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic in 2021-22.
Hopes for Batshuayi were high when the Blues threw £33million the way of Marseille for his services, but the Belgian striker struggled for game time under Conte.
Despite playing a bit-part role in his debut season, he did still score the title-winning goal away to West Brom in 2017.
The 27-year-old has since had loan spells at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia, Crystal Palace and currently Besiktas but chances of a revival at Stamford Bridge never looked likely. The Belgium international eventually left the Blues for Fenerbahce in September.
Michy Batshuayi with the only goal as the Blues beat West Brom 1-0 at The Hawthorns. pic.twitter.com/g2UDdNQUWh
— Chad ⭐⭐ (@ChelseaChadder) May 12, 2020
This transfer remains a stroke of genius from Chelsea. Luiz was sold to PSG in 2014 for £50million and then bought back two years later for just £30million. Wheeling and dealing that Harry Redknapp would be proud of.
After his return, the centre-back added an FA Cup, a Premier League and a Europa League to his already impressive trophy haul before moving on to Arsenal in 2019.
The youngster was signed from Ipswich Town in 2016 and can now be found plying his trade with Cheltenham Town, having spent a year on the periphery at MK Dons after moving away from the Bridge in January 2021.
Brown’s Cheltenham career amounts to just one league start so far.
Bulka joined Chelsea at the age of 16 and signed his first professional deal with the club a couple of months later. In his three years at the club, the closest he came to a first-team appearance was three call-ups to the bench.
The goalkeeper can now be found as part of the Paris Saint-Germain set-up. He made his Ligue 1 debut against Metz in the 2019-20 campaign, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 win.
Bulka found himself behind Keylor Navas and Sergio Rico in the pecking order, and spent the 2021-22 campaign on loan at Nice, where he barely featured beyond some cameos in the French cup. Still, that didn’t stop them signing him permanently in the summer.
Alonso was brought to London on transfer deadline day for £23million and it has been money well spent. He made 206 appearances for the club in the time since, scoring 28 goals and lifting five pieces of silverware.
A free-kick master and someone who new managers seem to love reverting to after taking over. Even if they do inevitably try to replace him. Alonso’s time at Stamford Bridge eventually came to an end in the summer when he left by mutual consent, allowing him to sign for Barcelona.
⏪ Marcos Alonso versus Tottenham:
📅 20th August 2017: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Chelsea
🏟 Wembley Stadium
🏆 Premier League
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) December 22, 2019
Eduardo is better known for his goalkeeping antics on an international stage, especially his resilient performance for Portugal against Spain in the last-16 of the 2010 World Cup.
Now 39, the shot-stopper was also part of the Portugal side that won Euro 2016, although he did not play a minute in the tournament.
Still, it will remain significantly more memorable than his time with Chelsea. In three seasons at Stamford Bridge, he did not make a single first-team appearance and didn’t even receive a Premier League winner’s medal in 2017.