From Lukaku to Kepa - Who are Chelsea's worst signings?

Lukaku Kepa

Romelu Lukaku had a torrid time upon his return to Chelsea in 2021-22 after the Blues paid £97.5m for his services to Inter. The Belgian striker scored just 15 goals in 44 appearances and struggled to impress German manager Thomas Tuchel.

Moreover, his off-the-pitch antics also antagonised the Chelsea fans as he expressed his regret over leaving Inter in an interview with an Italian media outlet. However, his wish has been fulfilled as he is set to complete a €8 million loan transfer back to Inter.

In the early hours of Wednesday, June 28, Lukaku touched down at Linate Airport in Milan with his entourage. The Belgium international will undergo a medical before signing for Inter on loan for the duration of the 2022-23 campaign.

Lukaku told reporters upon his arrival in Italy: "I'm so happy!"

However, Lukaku isn't the only one to struggle at Chelsea after a big-money move. It seems that the No.9 seems to carry a curse as his predecessors also failed to impress wearing that number on the back. Tony Cascarino, between 1992-1994, scored just six league goals across two seasons, while Chris Sutton netted just once after arriving in a £10 million move from Blackburn Rovers.

Not just strikers, Chelsea have signed quite a few superstars who fizzled out after arriving at the Bridge. Goal takes a look at some of them...

  • Romelu Lukaku ChelseaGetty Images

    Romelu Lukaku (2021-22)

    Lukaku at £97.5m was a club-record signing and viewed as a huge statement by the Champions League winners.

    Eight goals in 26 Premier League games later, it is still hard to fathom just how badly things have gone. Injuries, loss of form, lack of interest, ill-advised media interviews - all have been blamed for Lukaku's lacklustre return to England.

  • Alvaro Morata Chelsea 2017Getty Images

    Alvaro Morata (2017-18)

    Chelsea went without a No.9 in 2016-17, before attempting to remedy their striker woes with another big-money Spanish signing.

    However, Morata, who cost £70 million and signed a five-year deal, never fully impressed at Chelsea and was allowed to leave on loan after just 18 months.

    He returned for the 2019-20 season, but then wore the No.29 as he attempted to escape the 'cursed' jersey. Overall in 72 appearances, he scored just 24 goals.

  • Fernando Torres Chelsea Crystal Palace Premier Leaguegetty images

    Fernando Torres (2011-14)

    Fernando Torres joined from Liverpool for a then-British-record £50 million amid much fanfare, but his move is now regarded as one of the great flops in Premier League history.

    High points such as the goal which sealed Chelsea's place in the 2012 Champions League final are balanced out by going 903 minutes without scoring after first joining, or his abysmal open goal miss against Manchester United in September 2011. In 171 appearances, the Spaniard scored 45 goals.

  • Shevchenko Chelsea Getty

    Andriy Shevchenko (2006-2009)

    Andriy Shevchenko arrived from AC Milan after Chelsea paid £30m for his services. Jose Mourinho did not give his consent but Roman Abramovich admired the forward so much that he went ahead to sign a 30-year striker.

    He was a massive disappointment for Chelsea fans as he managed to score just 22 goals in 77 appearances for the club.

  • Juan Sebastian Veron Chelsea

    Juan Sebastian Veron (2003-2007)

    Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron was another flop at Chelsea after he was signed for  £14m from Manchester United. He had a dream debut against Liverpool scoring in a 2-1 win but soon he struggled to adapt to Mourinho's methods.

    He was also unfortunate to get injured which further did not help his cause. Following his return from the sidelines, Mourinho remained unimpressed and he was sent on loan to Inter for two years before returning to Argentina with Estudiantes.

  • Timo Werner (2020-Present)

    Timo Werner signed a five-year contract worth £170,000 per week with Chelsea in the summer of 2020. The Blues paid £47.5 million to RB Leipzig but the German has failed to realise his potential. He has been inconsistent and has scored just 19 goals in 81 appearances.

    He has been linked with a move away from Chelsea this summer and Serie A could possibly be his next destination.

  • Adrian Mutu ChelseaGetty

    Adrian Mutu (2003-2005)

    Adrian Mutu was signed for £15.8m from Parma. He started his life in England in the best way possible as he scored four goals in his first three matches.

    But soon he lost his Midas touch, got into a feud with Mourinho, and was banned from football for seven months after he was found guilty of consuming cocaine. The club sacked Mutu and started legal proceedings against him at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In 2018, the player had to pay Chelsea £15.2m in compensation for a breach of contract.


    Michy Batshuayi (2016-Present)

    Chelsea signed Batshuayi for a fee of £33m from Marseille. Apart from scoring the title-winning goal against West Brom in 2016- 17, the Belgian has massively underperformed at Chelsea, netting just 25 times in 77 appearances. He has had several loan spells since then and is currently with Besiktas in Turkey.

  • Tiemoue Bakayoko Chelsea

    Tiemoue Bakayoko (2017- Present)

    Bakayoko was brought in to add steel in midfield and was part of the Monaco squad that won the Ligue 1 title. The Blues paid £40m as he appeared to be the perfect replacement for Nemanja Matic who had signed for Manchester United.

    He started well with an impressive performance against Tottenham but soon lost his mojo. A 30-minute red card in a humiliating defeat to Watford was the final nail in the coffin. And with the arrival of Jorginho, his services were deemed redundant. Since then, he has had quite a few loan spells and is currently with AC Milan.

  • Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea Getty Images

    Kepa Arrizabalaga (2018-Present)

    Chelsea paid £72m for Kepa and it made him the costliest goalkeeper in the history of football. He had big shoes to fill in as he was replacing outgoing keeper Thibaut Courtois. But he failed to meet expectations and committed one howler after another. He had the lowest save percentage in the league in 2019-20 and made just 1.7 saves per 90, the least of any ‘keeper with more than one appearance. His form kept going south and Chelsea had to sign Edouard Mendy to make amends.