Since the takeover of Chelsea by Roman Abramovich in 2013, the owner has sanctioned a whole of Chelsea transfers. Some of them were not successful, but some of those expensive Chelsea transfers turned out to be big on-field failures.
It is a prove of the statement that money does not buy love. Some of the marquee signings will later be moved on after a short stint at the club. For example, Morata, an expensive flop from Madrid will spend only one season and a half before being shipped to Atletico Madrid.
For all the problems of signing players that failed to justify their price tags, Chelsea has found some joy in free transfers. Some of these players have proven to become some of the best Chelsea transfers.
Best free Chelsea transfers
Thiago Silva is the true definition of a world-class player. The center-back is one of the best in his position. Even at 36, there has been an almost unnoticeable sign of decline in his performance. Though at his age, Thomas Tuchel has used him sparingly to keep him fit for the big events.
Deemed surplus to requirement at PSG after the Champions League heartbreak loss to Bayern Munich, Thiago Silva moved to Chelsea for free. He will slot into Frank Lampard’s team, and still maintained his status in the team with the arrival of Thomas Tuchel midway through the 2020/21 season.
He had the last laugh as he lifted the Champions League with Chelsea in his debut season. He started the final and performed admirably limiting Pep Guardiola’s attacking machine. An injury in the final led to his eventual substitution but Christensen continued where he stopped.
He is arguably top of the list in the best Chelsea transfers.
Widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, Ballack was an amazing player. He has wonderful shots, good technique, and passing range. Brazilian legend, Pele rated him as one of the 100 Greatest Living Player.
The three-times German Footballer of the Year left Bayern Munich for Chelsea in May 2006 on a free transfer.
Though often criticized for weak performances in crucial matches, Ballack will help Chelsea to win a Premier League, three FA Cups, and a Carabao Cup to become one of the best Chelsea transfers.
He was particularly unlucky in the 2007/18 season where Chelsea lost the Champions League and Premier League titles to Manchester United. He also lost the Euro 2008 final to Spain.
It was a surprise when Didier Drogba, a bonafide Chelsea legend decided to return to the club.
After a memorable winning performance in the Champions League triumph against Bayern Munich in May 2012, Drogba decided to move on.
He will spend six months at Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League, before moving to the Turkish outfit, Galatasaray.
Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea and decided to bring back Didier Drogba, a player that typified his winning mentality.
On his second coming, Drogba will help to lessen the goal burden on Diego Costa, and Loic Remy. Chelsea won the Premier League and Carabao Cup in his one and only season before he departed again for Montreal Impact in the MLS.
A player capable of playing in a number of positions. He played in in the defense, the midfield, and attack. Dutch legend, Ruud Gullit helped the Netherlands to the Euro trophy in 1988.
After moving from PSV to AC Milan for then the world record transfer fee, he will take his game to the next level. He won the three Serie A and the Champions League.
Gullit moved to Chelsea in July 1995 on a free transfer after a brief stint with Sampdoria.
After an initial struggle under Glen Hoddle, he will adapt later and was named the runner-up to Cantona as the Footballer of the year.
Gullit showed his managerial credentials at Chelsea when Glen Hoddle left as the coach. Ruud Gullit will lead Chelsea as player-manager. They won the FA Cup victory in 1997.