Chelsea have been frequent buyers in the January transfer window, but who has been their best winter purchase since 2010?

As a club consistently fighting for trophies, Chelsea have viewed January as a chance to purchase players to give themselves an edge over their closest rivals.

We’ve ranked all 18 of their January acquisitions over the past decade, from worst to best. We’ve only included players to make a first-team appearance for west Londoners, and a big thank you goes out to guys at the At The Bridge Podcast for their help with the order (in other words, don’t blame us if there’s something you disagree with…).

18. Lucas Piazon

Chelsea’s longest-serving player currently at the club, sort of. He’s now onto his seventh loan spell away from Stamford Bridge and, at the age of 26, we’re starting to suspect the Blues aren’t all that keen on the forward…

17. Matt Miazga

He joined, he played twice, he’s been out on loan ever since. Still less confusing than signing Michael Hector at least.

16. Juan Cuadrado

Eyebrows were raised in January 2015 when Chelsea splashed out £27million to sign Cuadrado amid concerns that the winger was not exactly a ‘Jose Mourinho’ player.

The doubters were proved correct as the Colombia winger made just 14 appearances before joining Juventus on a two-year loan deal, which was made permanent in 2017.

Just to rub salt into the wounds, the deal to sign Cuadrado saw a certain Mo Salah leave Stamford Bridge to join Fiorentina on loan, paving the way for the forward to shine in Serie A before earning a move to Liverpool. We don’t need to tell you what happened next.

15. Alexandre Pato

A deal which smacked of ‘good agent’, Pato was already sadly on the decline by the time he joined Chelsea on loan from Corinthians in 2016.

The former Brazil international was injured for the majority of his time in the Premier League but did at least help himself to a goal against Aston Villa, one of only two appearances he made for the Blues.

14. Bertrand Traore

Traore was rumoured to have joined Chelsea as early as August 2010, when he was still just 14, but the Blues insisted the forward had only been on trial.

The Burkino Faso international officially joined in January 2014 and was handed more opportunities than most Chelsea youngsters at the time, scoring four times in 16 appearances in all competitions.

After shining at Lyon, prompting some suggestions that Chelsea should activate Traore’s buyback clause, he joined Aston Villa in the summer of 2020 and currently sits above the west Londoners in the Premier League table. Bit awkward.

13. Gonzalo Higuain

“I could have done better. But I think what I did is not bad and then we managed to win the Europa League and reached the Champions League, so they were good results,” Higuain told The Telegraph earlier this year. “People expected more from me, but I think the goals were fine in that short time.”

Two goals against Huddersfield and a minuscule contribution afterwards does not make a legend out of anybody. At least he was only on loan, mind.

12. Kevin de Bruyne

The one that got away.

11. Mo Salah

The other one that got away.

10. Emerson Palmieri

Emerson has made 63 appearances for Chelsea, but we’d be damned if we can remember a single one.

That is no reflection on Emerson – you don’t want a maverick at the back and the Italy international has performed solidly since arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2018.

In short, he’s been a decent player to have around. No more, no less. Admittedly, we probably won’t notice when he leaves.

9. Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley played exactly like Ross Barkley, and you were an idiot if you expected any different.

8. Demba Ba

If we were ranking these players based solely on the chants they’ve inspired, then Ba would win by a country mile.

Nevertheless, the strawberry syrup addict still scored many crucial goals during his time at Chelsea, including strikes against Manchester United, PSG and Liverpool.

He didn’t stay for long, but he didn’t have to.

7. Fernando Torres

Torres is a tricky one to rank – a monumental flop by common perception, the Spain striker actually played a crucial part in both the Champions League and Europa League successes.

He never lived up to his £50million price tag, but he’ll always have that night in Barcelona and Gary Neville’s goalgasm.

READ: Fernando Torres: The Chelsea ‘flop’ who still stole fans’ hearts

6. Christian Pulisic

He’s good, really good, but we don’t know just how good he’s going to be yet.

5. Kurt Zouma

With a smile wider than the Thames, Zouma been a pretty solid defender when called upon, cementing his place in the side under Frank Lampard.

We were tempted to rank him top for this alone.

4. David Luiz

Re-signed from Benfica by Jose Mourinho in 2014, Matic is the type of player you only notice if he’s having a bad game.

Frankly, that wasn’t too often at Stamford Bridge, as he won two Premier League titles and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2015.

3. Olivier Giroud

To quote, erm, ourselves: “Olivier Giroud is f*cking brilliant and you’re a f*cking idiot if you disagree.”

Olivier-Giroud-Chelsea-Arsenal-celebrates

READ: Giroud recreated his finest Arsenal moment for his finest Chelsea moment

2. Nemanja Matic

Re-signed from Benfica by Jose Mourinho in 2014, Matic is the type of player you only notice if he’s having a bad game.

Frankly, that wasn’t too often at Stamford Bridge, as he won two Premier League titles and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2015.

1. Gary Cahill

There couldn’t have been many Chelsea fans who expected too much from a £7million purchase from relegation-destined Bolton in 2012.

But Cahill became the bedrock of the Chelsea defence throughout the decade, ending his first half-season at the club with a heroic display in the Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich while only-half fit.

Making 290 appearances, he was afforded an emotional send-off when he joined Crystal Palace in 2019.

A worthy winner.


More Chelsea

Fernando Torres: The Chelsea ‘flop’ who still stole fans’ hearts

A forensic analysis of the Battle of the Bridge: ‘The most shameful game’

Jiri Jarosik on Jose’s funny videos, dining on boxes and JT’s ripped jeans

Can you name Chelsea’s top Premier League goalscorer for every initial?



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