Chelsea’s vivacity in the summer transfer window has been well-documented in recent weeks, as manager Roberto Di Matteo looked to reinvigorate his side (despite having won the Champions’ League and FA Cup last season).
A number of new faces were brought in over the summer, though naturally this rebuilding process had a knock-on effect on the rest of the squad.
Whether it was to cash in on a player’s value, to shave off a portion of the wage bill, or to simply free up some valuable squad space, a total of six players secured permanent transfers away from Stamford Bridge in the close season.
From the young and the old, from the stars to the surplus, this article takes a closer look at the summer departures and reflects on the effect that these moves may have on the team.
We start with possibly the most low-key sale of all.
Taylor in fact never played a first-team game for Chelsea, having spent the last couple of seasons on loan at Crewe Alexandra and Rotherham United in League Two.
Though a promising youngster, one has to feel that if the 22-year-old was ever going to break into the Blues’ first team he would have already done so by now. His former manager, Avram Grant, didn't even know his name, such was his fringe role at the club.
Thus, the Welsh under-21 international was released on a free transfer, before spending his preseason on trial at Southend United.
A deal that suited both parties, and one that will have little, if any, effect on Chelsea’s campaign.
Having arrived from Porto for a lofty £16.2 million fee, Bosingwa left for nothing when his contract expired in the summer.
Although a knee injury tarnished his 2009/10 campaign, the Portuguese still managed to win a Premier League title, three FA Cups and another Champions League medal during his four years at the Bridge.
But having slipped behind Branislav Ivanovic in the pecking order in recent years, his move to local rivals QPR was not particularly surprising.
With the acquisition of the highly-rated young Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta, I don’t envisage the Blues suffering from the loss of Bosingwa; another good deal for both the player and the club.
He played his part in last season’s Champions League victory, featuring in the final from the start and setting up Chelsea’s victory over Benfica in the quarters with the winning goal in the first leg in Lisbon.
Nonetheless, he was allowed to leave for nothing this summer, and was soon snapped up by former French champions Lille.
Much like Bosingwa, the signings that Chelsea have since made will make his absence far less noticeable, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and Marko Marin more than accommodating for his departure.
One of the lesser known names on this list, the 20-year-old was released on a free transfer this summer and joined Italian side Brescia in Serie B.
At the age of 17 he managed to score the equaliser in the 2010 FA Youth Cup final as Chelsea went on to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on aggregate, but he never really pushed on from there.
Like the aforementioned Rhys Taylor, Mitrovic never made a first team appearance for the Blues.
Even with the club fairly understaffed in the central striking positions, it seemed unlikely that Mitrovic would make the jump to the first team this season. Thus, this represents another logical bit of business from Di Matteo.
Arguably the biggest departure of the summer, Drogba’s contribution in a Chelsea shirt has been significant to say the least.
At 34 years of age, questions were raised over his ability to perform week in and week out in the Premier League, and his record of just five goals in 24 games reflects this.
But despite his age, the Ivorian still had the wonderful habit of saving his best performances for the big game, as last season’s FA Cup and Champions League finals proved. Furthermore, of the six domestic cup trophies that Drogba won at Chelsea, he scored crucial goals in each and every final that he played in.
Though he may have been past his peak, Drogba still had plenty to offer Chelsea. An influential figure both on and off the field, I personally feel that Chelsea will indeed miss their talismanic former striker this season.
I recently discussed the sale of Meireles in another article, so I’ll cut to the chase for the benefit of those of you who read it.
Chelsea should have kept Meireles.
Though they have strength in numbers in midfield, the Blues are lacking a direct replacement for the outgoing Portuguese.
He gave the club options in both defence and attack; tracking back and safeguarding the back four whilst also providing a creative edge.
While Ramires and Frank Lampard are capable of filling his position, they are perhaps more effective further up the field. Oriol Romeu lacks any real first team experience, and John Obi Mikel is defensively solid enough but less productive than Meireles when going forward.
Perhaps Di Matteo has a plan for January to replace the former Porto star, but if not, then I believe it was a fairly careless decision to part ways with Raul Meireles.
While many of the departures were perfectly justifiable, I can’t help but think a couple of stars should have remained.
Sure, Chelsea have strengthened the squad with the likes of Oscar, Hazard and Marin, but none of the new signings can be regarded as direct replacements for Drogba or Meireles.
Di Matteo may be hoping to atone for the loss of such players by implementing a new style of play at the club this season, and the new flair players will most definitely help to facilitate a higher tempo and more sprightly approach.
But for all this flair and creativity, Chelsea may still be lacking that final touch in front of goal that Drogba so often provided, or the tireless and uncompromising presence that Meireles brought to the table.
One is left to wonder if their involvement in the UEFA Super Cup could have saved Chelsea from such a heavy defeat.
But what do you guys think? Will Chelsea continue their fine domestic start to the campaign? Or will they live to regret allowing certain players to move on?
Comment below with your thoughts on Chelsea’s summer sales.