Chelsea's 5 Most Expensive Transfer Deals of the Roman Abramovich Era

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2013

Chelsea's 5 Most Expensive Transfer Deals of the Roman Abramovich Era

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    There are three things that are inevitable in life: death, taxes and Roman Abramovich's Chelsea making a big-money signing.

    The abrasive, impatient owner of Chelsea Football Club has a propensity for getting rid of managers at a fast pace, as well as signing flashy superstars to make the product on the pitch better than the season before. 

    The 46-year-old oil-rich Russian billionaire took over the London club during the summer of 2003 and has revolutionized the transfer business, splashing out tons of cash to bring in the world's best players to Stamford Bridge. 

    While there are plenty of noted transfers already from the Abramovich era, only five players can say that they rank in the top five most expensive signings in Chelsea history.

5. Michael Essien

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    Transfer Fee: £24.4 Million

    Club Acquired From: Lyon 

    Just a year after Chelsea broke their club record by signing Didier Drogba to a £24 million deal from Marseille, they dipped into Ligue 1 again to sign their new record signing, Michael Essien (via Daily Mail)

    Before trading in the Stade Gerland for Stamford Bridge, Essien marveled the French fans with his display of talent in the Lyon midfield. 

    Along with winning two Ligue 1 titles at Lyon, the Ghanian midfielder also won the 2005 Ligue 1 Player of the Year award before he left for Chelsea.

    When he joined Chelsea, Essien became one of the most valuable players in the squad. 

    The 30-year-old was a constant force in the Blues midfield before he ran into injury trouble last season. 

    After failing to break back into the Chelsea lineup this season, Essien was loaned to Real Madrid in August for the entire season. 

4. Oscar

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    Transfer Fee: £25 Million

    Club Acquired From: Internacional

    Oscar was one of the stars of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but before he shined across Great Britain, he signed with Chelsea (via Reuters). 

    The 21-year-old was signed during the summer of 2012 as Chelsea looked to rebuild their attack after a Champions League-winning campaign saw older stars like Didier Drogba depart the club. 

    Since he joined the Blues from Brazilian club Internacional, Oscar has made 47 appearances in all competitions and has scored nine goals.

    Five of the nine goals scored by the young Brazilian came in the group stage of the Champions League, where the Blues finished third in Group E behind Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk

3. Andriy Shevchenko

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    Transfer Fee:  £30.8 Million

    Club Acquired From: AC Milan

    By the time Andriy Shevchenko arrived at Stamford Bridge, Roman Abramovich already had brought in two club-record signings in Essien and Didier Drogba. 

    Shevchenko became the third club-record signing made by Abramovich when he was brought in from AC Milan during the summer of 2006 (via BBC Sport). 

    The Ukrainian star forward caught the eye of Abramovich during his brilliant goalscoring span from 2003 to 2006 at the San Siro. 

    Unfortunately for Abramovich and Chelsea, Shevchenko could not discover the same goalscoring form he had at AC Milan.

    After two full seasons and 22 goals in all competitions, Shevchenko was sent back to AC Milan on loan in 2008.

    Just a year later, Shevchenko left Stamford Bridge for good, joining Dynamo Kiev for three more seasons before he retired after the 2011-12 season.  

2. Eden Hazard

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    Transfer Fee: £32 Million

    Club Acquired From: Lille

    The prized player on the transfer market during the summer of 2012 was Eden Hazard, who was swept up by Chelsea before any other club could lay their hands on him (via The Guardian)

    Hazard had a marvelous five-year tenure with Lille in Ligue 1, but it was only a matter of time before the Belgian winger made a move to a bigger club.

    The 22-year-old Belgium international has fit right in at Stamford Bridge by playing in 28 of the Blues' 30 EPL matches this season.

    In those 30 matches, Hazard has scored eight goals and provided eight assists. 

    Luckily for Abramovich and Chelsea, Hazard should turn out to be one of Chelsea's best players in recent memory, unlike Shevchenko or the player who sits atop this list. 

1. Fernando Torres

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    Transfer Fee: £50 Million

    Club Acquired From: Liverpool

    The much maligned Chelsea career of Fernando Torres began with loads of promise in January of 2011, when he was acquired from Liverpool for a club-record transfer fee (via ESPN). 

    At the time, Torres was one of the most coveted goalscorers in the world. 

    Since his move to Chelsea, the Spaniard's struggles have been highly documented, and he has left many people questioning his abilities. 

    After a season-and-a-half of poor form, Torres has potentially turned a corner in his career this season with the Blues. 

    Under the managerial duo of Roberto di Matteo and Rafa Benitez, Torres has scored 16 goals in all competitions.

    Whether or not he can reach his goalscoring form from the past is still to be seen, but as of now, the Torres transfer can be labelled as a major bust. 


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