Chelsea: Grading the transfer window

Promised Ferraris, ended up with some Mercedes and a couple of Volkswagens. A solid if not unspectacular window from the Premier League champions.

As Chelsea entered the summer as Premier League champions, there was heavy optimism around Stamford Bridge that it would be one of the best transfer windows in Roman Abramovich’s era. 

Several months later, many targets crossed off and an Antonio Conte crisis later and the Blues exit the summer market with six new faces through the door.

With as much publicity on outgoings as with incomings, it’s been a strange old window for Chelsea and nobody quite knows what to think about the Blues’ business.

RealSport grades Chelsea’s window. 


  1. 1 Willy Caballero

    From: Manchester City

    Fee: Free

    Position: GK

    The first signing of Chelsea's new Nike era was for a backup goalkeeper. It may have faced dirty looks from fans who expected more, but it was a solid and necessary acquisition for the Blues.

    Previous backup Asmir Begovic left to Bournemouth for £10 million and was replaced by Caballero for nothing.

    Financially, it makes sense for Chelsea and brings a goalkeeper to Stamford Bridge that had a decent stint at Manchester City. 

  2. 2 Antonio Rudiger

    From: AS Roma

    Fee: £34m

    Position: CB

    In the ongoing game-show of 'Which Serie A defender will Conte sign?' it was the German international Rudiger who came out on top.

    With John Terry and Kurt Zouma both leaving the club, Chelsea were short at the back and the returning Andreas Christensen was not quite enough to fill the hole in Conte's squad.

    Despite the fee, many were unconvinced with Rudiger's signing and can't quite tell if he's good, average or terrible. Personally, I think he is capable of being all three.

    The jury is still out.

  3. 3 Davide Zappacosta

    From: Torino

    Fee: £23m

    Position: RWB

    When Chelsea received their first rejection of transfer deadline day - with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sealing his move to Liverpool - they needed to act fast to find competition for Victor Moses' at the right wing-back role.

    In another Conte related game-show 'Which random Serie A wing-back will Chelsea sign out of thin air?' Torino's Davide Zappacosta stepped up to take Marcos Alonso's 2016 crown in classic final-day fashion.

    At first glance, this is actually quite a decent buy for Chelsea. The money is good, the player is good and he will provide solid cover in an area where it is needed most.

  4. 4 Tiemoue Bakayoko

    From: AS Monaco

    Fee: £40m

    Position: DM

    In one of the early sagas of the summer, Blues fans were made to sweat as they dawdled over the signing of Monaco's title-winner Tiemoue Bakayoko. 

    The French international had been linked with Chelsea since January, but finally arrived at Stamford Bridge as a replacement for Manchester United-bound Nemanja Matic. 

    His full debut against Tottenham Hotspur was a positive early sign for Chelsea fans, but with Matic performing well at United the pressure is on for Bakayoko to impress.

  5. 5 Danny Drinkwater

    From: Leicester City

    Fee: £35m

    Position: CM

    From the first saga of the summer to the last. Danny Drinkwater's name was mocked by Chelsea fans when it was first suggested as a transfer target, yet, at 1:33am on Thursday night, his signing was confirmed. 

    The last time the Blues signed a Leicester City midfielder, it worked out pretty well, so Chelsea fans will hope that Drinkwater can follow in N'Golo Kante's footsteps. 

    The price is, undoubtedly, steep, but Drinkwater brings winning experience to a midfield that gravely needed depth. The 27-year-old is also homegrown, which is invaluable to Chelsea right now. 

  6. 6 Alvaro Morata

    From: Real Madrid

    Fee: £70m

    Position: ST

    Following a storm of striking chaos in SW6, with Conte's texts to Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku's decision to reject his old club to join Manchester United, Alvaro Morata's arrival was greeted with a sigh of relief.

    As with Rudiger, fans weren't sure if they'd signed the next Chelsea hero or the next Fernando Torres, but it was a striker and that was enough to return the Stamford Bridge faithful to resting heart rate.

    Early signs are positive; Morata recovered from a Community Shield penalty miss to score two goals and make two assists in his first two matches at Stamford Bridge. On track to become a Chelsea cult hero already. 


The biggest exit of the Blues' window hasn't actually happened yet. In an array of events that would feel more at home in a Netflix drama, Conte texted Costa that he was unwanted and triggered the Spanish striker to go AWOL into the depths of northern Brazil.

The 28-year-old has publicly swiped off all claims he could move anywhere that isn't Atletico Madrid, who are serving a transfer ban until January; the plot thickens. 

Whilst he has waited for this move to materialise, Costa has been spotted partying, playing football in the street and taking his dog jet-skiing.


With the Spanish window closing today, time is running out for Costa to seal his dream move back to Spain. If a deal can't be agreed, then Costa may be forced to face his nemesis, Conte, once more.

One player that has left Stamford Bridge for good is Matic, who was poached by ex-boss Jose Mourinho after being told that he was surplus to requirements at Chelsea. 

To sell a title-winning midfielder to Manchester United already appears to be a mistake - who would've known? - and if the Serbian can continue his good form Conte will be banging his head against the door of the Chelsea board room.


There was also an exodus of Englishman from the Blues this summer. Legend John Terry infamously bowed out at the end of the season and was followed out the exit door by Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace), Ola Aina (Hull City), Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) and Tammy Abraham (Swansea City).

Just in case this didn't jeopardise Chelsea's chances of meeting the Premier League's homegrown quota enough, the club also sold Begovic to Bournemouth - who qualifies as a homegrown player.  

Have Chelsea missed anything?

Chelsea have been rejected enough times this summer to write their own Taylor Swift album. There have been more respectable rejections, such as Dani Alves, Alex Sandro and Leonardo Bonucci, and then some more degrading declinations, like Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Romelu Lukaku. 

Either way, it's been a disappointing summer for Chelsea and has riled up frustrations in both Conte and the Blues fans.


For the Premier League champions to miss out on so many key targets is worrying for the club's reputation and the signing of Drinkwater, unfortunately, symbolised the path that the club have been led down this summer.

A lack of reinforcements at left wing-back and in the attacking positions has been disappointing.

RealSport Verdict: C+

The overall aim of the summer was to upgrade the quality of the squad to a level where it could compete with Europe's top sides.

When you compare those that left the club with those that joined the club, I don't think the squad is in a much better state now than before.GettyImages.689031384.jpg

Add to this the doubts planted in Conte's mind and the public humiliation of being rejected and hijacked on multiple occasions and it's been a poor showing by the Chelsea board.

Whilst the signings made are good players in their own right, it will be the failings that will linger in the memory and that could trigger the inevitable downfall of Conte's Chelsea.  

  1. POLL: How would you rank Chelsea's window out of ten?

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Jack Colman


I'm a 22-year-old Chelsea fan (since 2000, before you ask...) with a strong love of both Cesar Azpilicueta and Isco. I'm a student at University of Nottingham, studying English, Spanish and Portuguese, and spent last year living in Argentina and Brazil.