It’s fair to say Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have made an impact at Chelsea as we approach the first anniversary of their takeover.
It’s also fair to say it’s not been the impact most hoped for. The Americans have been brash and bold with their spending, splashing almost £600m on new additions in a simultaneous show of ambition and naivety.
The scattergun approach to recruitment has seen 17 new faces arrive, but a lack of direction has left the west Londoners facing their lowest Premier League finish since the mid-nineties.
Naming even one of those signings as an unequivocal success would be a stretch, but there’s no doubt some who have disappointed more than others. We’ve decided to look at that latter category.
Here are five of Todd Boehly’s worst performing signings for Chelsea this season.
Raheem Sterling became the first signing of the new era, with Thomas Tuchel calling the winger the club’s ‘number one transfer target’.
Sterling had won four Premier League titles during a decorated career at Manchester City and arrived having scored more than a century of goals in the division. Still just 27-years-old and a crucial figure for England, it was viewed as a coup for Chelsea who had capitalised on his lack of minutes last season to sign the winger.
Raheem Sterling had to give his former teammates a guard of honour 😬 pic.twitter.com/A6rNjBLIYr
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 21, 2023
Sterling has struggled to make an impact under four different managers this season, with Graham Potter even utilising the £47.5m recruit in an unfamiliar wing-back role on occasion. The winger had scored an average of 15.6 goals per season across the last five Premier League campaigns, but has found the net just six times for Chelsea in a team that has struggled badly for goals.
Only once before, Sterling’s breakthrough season at Liverpool in 2012/13, has he scored less goals in a Premier League season. Much more was expected from a signing readymade to make an impression at Stamford Bridge.
Marc Cucurella’s impressive debut season at Brighton turned the heads of England’s elite, with Chelsea winning the race to sign the Spaniard after Manchester City deemed his £62m price-tag too expensive.
Cucurella made the move to Chelsea after winning a clean sweep of Brighton’s Player of the Season awards last season, but has failed to make the desired impact. The left-back has struggled to settle and has looked short on confidence this season, with even the arrival of former Brighton boss Potter failing to bring the best from him.
— Marc Cucurella (@_cucurella3) May 22, 2023
Cucurella ranked among the Premier League’s top three full-backs for both chances created from open play and tackles won during the 2021/22, but his numbers for crosses, dribbles, average passes and key passes per 90 minutes have all dropped from last season.
The decision to spend such a significant sum on Cucurella, given the needs of the squad elsewhere and presence of Ben Chilwell, Lewis Hall and Ian Maatsen as left-back options, has not been a wise one in hindsight.
Kalidou Koulibaly was linked with the Premier League’s elite every transfer window for what felt like forever, before finally making the move from Napoli to English football last summer.
The Senegal international had been one of the most dominant defenders in the division in Serie A, but has had a challenging time adapting to the demands of the Premier League. He marked his home debut with a stunning strike against Spurs, but that has been about as good as it’s got for the centre-back.
Koulibaly has looked ill-equipped to deal with the pace of the Premier League and leggier than most expected when the 31-year-old made his £33m move to Stamford Bridge. On the evidence of this season, he looks far more suited to the slower pace of Serie A.
Chelsea spent £12m to bring the former Arsenal forward back to the Premier League last summer, as Thomas Tuchel got the band back together following their success at Borussia Dortmund.
Much has changed since Aubameyang was racing past the Bundesliga’s best defences however, and the Gabon international’s impact at Chelsea has been minimal to say the least.
In fairness, Aubameyang did not expect Tuchel to be sacked just a week after his arrival and when new manager Graham Potter failed to take a shine to the striker, the writing was on the wall.
Even as Chelsea stuttered in front of goal the 33-year-old spent most of the season on the sidelines, while his sporadic opportunities failed to indicate he could be the solution to the club’s goalscoring woes.
Aubameyang has made only five league starts and scored just once in the Premier League, with much of the last six months spent pining for a return to Barcelona.
Chelsea fans were celebrating when it was confirmed the club had won the race for Mykhailo Mudryk in January, with Arsenal having viewed themselves as frontrunners for the Ukrainian winger.
Mudryk announced his arrival at the top level with a run of impressive performances in this season’s Champions League, tormenting the likes of RB Leipzig and Celtic in the group stage.
The deal to sign Mudryk could reach £88.5m with add-ons, but there has been precious little signs of return on that investment to date. The 22-year-old excited with an electric debut off the bench against Liverpool, but has since been underwhelming and ineffective.
Mudryk has failed to score in 16 appearances in all competitions and has provided just two assists, a meagre return given the size of the fee and excitement that greeted his arrival.
Mudryk has talent and time to evolve into the player Chelsea anticipated when securing his signature, but will need to significantly improve on his current contribution if he is to be a long-term part of the club’s rebuild.