Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe 5 best and worst ways to spend an oil billionaire's money - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The 5 best and worst ways to spend an oil billionaire's money - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The 5 best and worst ways to spend an oil billionaire’s money

As Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich closes in on a decade at the helm at Stamford Bridge, here are the best and worst of the clubs dealings in the transfer market under the Russian’s stewardship.

5 Worst Signings

5. Adrian Mutu – £15.8 from Parma – August 2003 – Romanian international Mutu began life at Chelsea with much promise, scoring 4 goals in his opening three Premier League games.  A substantial dip in form affected the rest of Mutu’s first season in English football, scoring just twice more all campaign.  Mutu was eventually sacked by Chelsea in October 2004 having tested positive for cocaine.

4. Juan Sebastian Veron – £15m from Manchester United – 2003 – Following two relatively disappointing seasons at Old Trafford, Veron switched to London as one of Abramovich’s most early signings.  After a promising start to his Chelsea career, injuries limited Veron to just 15 appearances for the Blues in his first season.  Veron spent the remainder of his 4 year contract being loaned back to Italy (Inter Milan) and his native Argentina (Estudiantes) before being allowed to leave for nothing.

3. Andriy Shevchenko – £30.8m from AC Milan – May 2006 – With a big price tag comes big expectations and although most of Shevchenko’s handful of Chelsea goals came at crucial times in big games, he cannot be considered a ‘hit’.  This was a transfer which questioned just who at Chelsea was identifying transfer targets, Abramovich had been signing the cheques all along but was he starting to also act as chief scout?  A big name with a proven track record in Italy, Shevchenko just didn’t ever fit in at Stamford Bridge before firstly being loaned back to Milan, then joining another former club in Dynamo Kyiv on a permanent basis.

2. Hernan Crespo – £16.8m from Inter Milan – August 2003 – Crespo, like Veron, was an Argentinian, coming from Italian football that simply struggled with the pace of the Premier League.  Although Crespo averaged almost a goal every other game for Chelsea, the arrival of Jose Mourinho meant that Crespo was loaned back to Italy for the second season of his five year contract.  Upon being recalled to Chelsea for what turned out to be his final season with the club, Crespo spent much of the campaign playing second fiddle to preferred front man Didier Drogba.  Following another loan move to Italy, Crespo became another import allowed to leave the club for nothing at the end of his contract, having not provided sufficient return on Abramovich’s investment.

1. Fernando Torres – £50m from Liverpool – January 2011 – An obvious choice, but with good reason.  Like Shevchenko, this transfer stunk of Chelsea’s owner identifying players himself.  It is clear that Torres has failed to live up to this monumental price tag since arriving from Merseyside.  Torres has struggled for form and as a result goals during his time at Stamford Bridge but has continued to be selected by a succession of Chelsea managers, begging the question of just who is picking the team?

5 Best Signings

5. Michael Essien – £24.4m from Lyon – August 2005 – Powerhouse midfield player Essien became a real driving force in the Chelsea midfield since his 2005 transfer.  A real favourite during Jose Mourinho’s days at Stamford Bridge, Essien has made over 150 appearances to date for the blues and has scored several important goals along the way including a notable 30 yard thunderbolt against Arsenal at the bridge.  A succession of long term knee injuries have meant Essien has struggled to reach his early heights in recent seasons.

4. Juan Mata – £23.5m from Valencia – August 2011 – Former Valencia playmaker Mata was signed by former manager Andre Villas Boas to add creativity what previously was an industrious midfield.  Mata’s ‘Tika Taka’ style has taken the bridge by storm and led to the Spaniard becoming a European champion with Chelsea last season.  Mata is currently enjoying an excellent season where he sure to land himself onto all Player of the Year shortlists going.

3. Petr Cech – £7m from Rennes – July 2004 – Czech captain Cech is certainly one of the few diamonds in the rough of what was Abramovich’s early spending at Chelsea.  Cech’s commanding presence between the sticks has seen him never dropped and only ever replaced in the side in the event of injury.  Like Essien, Cech was prominent in all of Chelsea’s Premier League title wins, keeping 25 clean sheets in his debut season, earning him that season’s ‘Golden Glove’ award.

2. Claude Makelele – £16.8m from Real Madrid – 2003 – Not many players make a position such their own that it is named after them, proof enough that the Frenchman’s impact at Chelsea.  The ‘Makelele’ role, was the defensive midfielder who was unassuming, would break up the play and distribute short and simple to a team mate.  Makelele allowed others around him such as Lampard, Duff and Robben the freedom to go and express themselves and really was the first of his kind in the Premier League.

1. Didier Drogba – £24m from Marseille – July 2004 – The man that both scored the late equaliser and decisive shoot-out penalty in Chelsea’s historic 2012 Champions League Triumph, Drogba will never be forgotten at Stamford Bridge.  Often the man that would grab the headlines, not always for the right reasons, Drogba’s powerful, athletic style meant any defenders facing him were never in for an easy 90 minutes and was almost unplayable at times.

Aaron Sharp