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With the season nearing its end,'s Alan Dawson assesses how Chelsea's new signings fared in their first season, and whether the club got it right or wrong in the transfer market...

Chelsea have been - at least since the Roman Abramovic era got underway - the busiest and most fiscally flambouyant spenders of each season over the last five years. The past summer and winter transfer windows, though, have been uncharacteristically quiet at Stamford Bridge.

There were cries that the club's Russian wealthy sponsor had seen his mountain of moolah dwindle considerably, due to the plight of the stock market in his homeland. There were criticisms that he had fallen out of love with the club. And, then, there was a stark realisation that he may never have trusted former manager Luiz Felipe Scolari's player recommendations in the first place. But it did cost Abramovic over £10 million just to release the Brazilian coach from his contract and bring in ally Guus Hiddink, so the money - contrary to rumours- appears to be there.

However, the quartet of incomings at the Fulham Road outfit are still notable, despite the club's highy-publicised failure to land samba striker Robinho. Incidentally, all of the Blues' captures this season have been Portuguese-speakers, with Deco and Jose Bosingwa both brought in on a permanent basis, then supplemented in January with the loan recruit, Ricardo Quaresma. Brazilian international Mineiro completed the splurge.

IN: ; Jose Bosingwa (FC Porto); Deco (Barcelona); Mineiro (Free transfer); Ricardo Quaresma (Inter - loan).

OUT: Ben Sahar (Portsmouth - loan); Hernan Crespo (Released); Ryan Bertrand (Norwich - loan); Steve Sidwell (Aston Villa); Claude Makelele (PSG); Tal Ben Haim (Manchester City); Claudio Pizarro (Werder Bremen - loan); Andrei Shevchenko (AC Milan); Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City); Jack Cork (Watford - loan); Wayne Bridge (Manchester City); Carlo Cudicini (Tottenham Hotspur).

Bosingwa: B-

The free-flowing, touchline-hugging, offensively-minded full-back seemed like a breath of fresh air when September sun shone at the start of the season. His willingness to get forward provided Chelsea with both width and acceleration, which were two qualities that they had long been lacking, due to their one-paced midfield.

The right-back seemed to enjoy playing under Luiz Felipe Scolari. His running and direct play was a mirror to that of Ashley Cole at his best, yet the Portuguese international does suffer from an anonymity that can dog his game. His final ball is also often inconsistent.

However, something he did to perfection, was containing Ashley Young during the club's last bout with Aston Villa. Bosingwa forced him into uncomfortable positions, and the relentlessly fleet-footed Englishman  failed to make any kind of impact. There is much promise, so the pivotal second season could be crucial in discovering whether this generous B- mark is warranted, or if he did indeed deserve no more than the standard C.

Ricardo Quaresma: C+

After failing so spectacularly in Spain's Primera Division and Italy's Serie A, England's Premier League remains Quaresma's last shot at the big-time and, surprisingly, he has not been too bad. His crossing has been good, he hasn't overdone his trickery, and he has directly contributed to some of the Blues' goals in the short space of time that he has been in west London. A thumbs-up.

Deco: D

His Chelsea career got off to the brightest possible of starts with a scorching 40-yard drive against Portsmouth. It was an exemplary strike. In August and September, the midfielder tried to bring another dimension to the one already provided by either Michael Ballack or Frank Lampard.

But that strike was to prove the zenith of his Stamford Bridge season. Deco fizzled out, drastically, and it may be no coincidence that the 31-year-old, who has played in only the warm climes of Portugal and Spain, lacked form as the English weather took a turn for the worse.

Injuries have also blighted his Blues career but the player refuses to use this as an excuse.  "I don't want to make an excuse, 'I was injured.' I will try to show the real Deco for the rest of the season. But it's important to be without injury and then I can play better."

Mineiro: E+

To say that he has featured only intermittently this season, would be an exaggeration. The 33-year-old Brazilian made one of his only showings for the first team when he replaced hat-trick hero Nicolas Anelka during his side's 5-0 thrashing of Sunderland in November.

He was brought in as the club's third choice defensively-minded midfielder, but saw minimal pitch-time despite the long-term injury to Michael Essien. He barely even makes the bench.

Had he cost the club money from an initial transfer fee, then he may have been handed an F, but he still costs £30,000-a-week from his contract so he gets an E, but with a + for effort.


For one major reason; the failure to sign Robinho. Considering some of his performances for Manchester City, Chelsea fans must be reeling as he could have proved to be the missing link between midfield and attack, that much-needed injection of pace, the flair player with the youthful exuberance. He could have contributed to an altogether different league position.

The SW6 click, though, assumed the deal would be sealed, and their decision to sell shirts prematurely with the Sao Vicente-born forward's name on the back ultimately cost them the player, as Real Madrid bluntly refused to do business, opting to sell to Manchester City instead, who coughed up a British-record £32.5 million.

Alan Dawson