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Former Manchester United and Liverpool stars, plus Champions League winner – Roman Abramovich’s worst signings at Chelsea

The Roman Abramovich era at Chelsea has brought at lot of success to the club since his takeover in 2003.

This has included five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and two Europa Leagues.

Roman Abramovich has helped bring success to Chelsea
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Some brilliant signings were made during this time including the likes of Dider Drogba, Michael Essien and Cesar Azpilicueta.

They’ve made some real shocking signings as well, though, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of players and money they’ve spent over the years.

Here at talkSPORT.com, we’ve put together an XI of the worst signings made during Abramovich’s reign at the club.

Goalkeeper – Kepa Arrizabalaga

Chelsea have been blessed with some top class goalkeepers during the Abramovich era in Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois.

They paid a world-record fee of £71.6million for Kepa in the summer of 2018 and he’s been far from convincing.

He had a very public row with Maurizio Sarri during the League Cup final penalty shootout and has been dropped for several games this season by Frank Lampard.

Expect him to be sold in the summer with the Blues reportedly on the lookout for a new goalkeeper.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper
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Right-back – Khalid Boulahrouz

The versatile defender, nicknamed the ‘Cannibal’, signed for Chelsea in 2006 for a staggering £8.5m.

He was quickly dropped from the side due to poor performances and was sold to Stuttgart two years later for only around half the fee they paid.

Right-back: Khalid Boulahrouz (Chelsea)
Khalid Boulahrouz made just a handful of appearances at Chelsea

Left-back – Asier Del Horno

The Spaniard cost £8m in 2005 but lasted just one season at Stamford Bridge with some shaky performances.

His worst moment came in the Champions League against Barcelona when he was sent off in the first half for a foul on Lionel Messi.

They went on to lose the tie and went out of the competition as a result.

Asier Del Horno failed to impress at Chelsea
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Centre-back – Tal Ben Haim

Initially signed as a back-up in 2007, Ben Haim found himself as a first team regular thanks to injuries to John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho.

Mourinho unexpectedly left Chelsea just months after Ben Haim joined and he did not get on with his replacement Avram Grant.

The Israeli claimed he was signed to be a first-choice player… even though he was really fourth choice.

Jose Mourinho left shortly after signing Tal Ben Haim
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Centre-back – Papy Djilobodji

Signed by Mourinho in his second spell at Chelsea, the Senegalese defender cost around £2.7m from Nantes.

He clearly was not up to scratch as he made just one substitute cup appearance before being sent on loan to Werder Bremen.

Just a year after they signed him, Sunderland, for some reason, paid £8m for the defender and were lumbered with him until 2018 when he was sacked for breaching his contract and failing a fitness test.

Papy Djilobodji was sold to Sunderland after failing to impress at Chelsea
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Midfield – Maniche

A UEFA Cup and Champions League winner with Porto under Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese midfielder was signed on loan from Dynamo Moscow in 2006.

Sadly, he had a nightmare first start for the club against West Ham, smashing an easy chance against the crossbar from six yards out and then getting sent off in the 17th minute.

Chelsea won the title that season but he did not play enough games to get a medal and the club did not pick up the option to make his transfer permanent.

Maniche had a nightmare debut at Chelsea
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Midfield – Juan Sebastian Veron

Veron had struggled at Manchester United following his £28.1m signing from Lazio and Sir Alex Ferguson allowed him to leave for Chelsea just two years later for £15m.

It was hoped he would find the form which made him a hit in Italy but he again failed to impress in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

He played just 14 times before being loaned out to Inter Milan and then Estudiantes.

Juan Sebastian Veron played just a handful of games for Chelsea
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Midfield – Steve Sidwell

A strange move from Mourinho in 2007. Sidwell signed as a free agent from Reading and insisted he was not there to make up the numbers but felt he could compete with Frank Lampard and Michael Essien.

He struggled to establish himself in the side and was sold the next season.

Steve Sidwell was a surprising signing for Chelsea
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Forward – Fernando Torres

Torres joined Chelsea for £50m from Liverpool in January 2011 breaking the British transfer record.

Even though he helped the Blues win the Champions League and Europa League, including the memorable goal against Barcelona on their way to the final, he will always be remembered – rightly or wrongly – as a flop as he could never recapture the form he showed at Liverpool.

He scored just 20 times in 110 league appearances before being loaned out to AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

Even Jamie Carragher, Torres’ former Liverpool teammate, was stunned when the Blues came calling.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he told Sky Sports. “What I mean by that was I knew we had kidded Chelsea. I’d played with Torres, for the last 12 months, he was a shadow of his former self.

“I think for 18 months at Liverpool he was the best striker in the world. And I think he had such a good record against Chelsea that it obviously stuck in the owner’s mind.

“Not so much a manager because the manager changed so often at Chelsea. At that stage, Chelsea were still a club where the owner was buying players who he wanted.

“What happened for us, and was very fortunate for Liverpool, was we played Chelsea that season, we weren’t having a great season, Torres having a really poor time but he scored two against Chelsea and I think we won 2-0 or 3-0 under Roy Hodgson at Anfield. And I think the decision was probably made then for Roman Abramovich, ‘as soon as January comes we’re going for Fernando Torres’.

“Now £50million was major money at that stage and we were all in a state of shock. Listen, gutted that Torres was gone but I think we all knew he was never going to be the same player. I was not surprised at all it didn’t go well for Fernando Torres at Chelsea.”

Torres left Liverpool for Chelsea in 2011
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Forward – Andriy Shevchenko

The Blues had long been pursuing Shevchenko and eventually landed their man for £30.8m in 2006.

He failed to provide the prolific goalscoring record he had shown for AC Milan and Dynamo Kiev earlier in his career.

He netted just nine goals in 48 Premier League games for the club before eventually rejoining Kiev.

Andriy Shevchenko struggled to score at Chelsea
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Forward – Ricardo Quaresma

Mourinho signed the midfielder for Inter Milan in 2008 from Porto but he was less than complimentary about him.

“He is a great talent, but the joy I have at seeing the way Ibra works for and with the team I do not yet have with Quaresma,” said the Special One.

“He will have to learn, otherwise he won’t play, and I am sure he’ll change and become more tactically disciplined. He likes kicking the ball with the outside of his foot, but if you ask me about him in a few months’ time, we’ll be talking about a different Quaresma.”

Mourinho managed to offload him to Chelsea on loan in January and he made just four appearances in the Premier League before returning to Internazionale in the summer of 2009.

Ricardo Quaresma’s loan to Chelsea was not a successful one
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The worst XI of signings at Chelsea under Roman Abramovich
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