Chelsea's 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese
  • Updated:
  • 7 min read
Moises Caicedo, Chelsea
© ProShots

Only a handful of clubs in all of world football can lay claim to spending as much money as Chelsea over the course of the last 20 years.

After previous owner, Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, they went on to become a major power in European football, mostly due to the billions that have been invested in the playing squad.


That big spending continued under Abramovich's successor Todd Boehly, who splashed out close to £250 million in the summer of 2022 and then £320m in January 2023.

Here are their biggest deals ever, based on their value in pounds at the time they were concluded.

So who are their most expensive transfers ever?

10. Romeo Lavia - £58m (from Southampton, 2023)

Chelsea were made to fight hard to sign Romeo Lavia from Southampton, paying a fee generally considered above the odds to beat Liverpool to the signing of the Belgium international in the summer of 2023. The Blues paid an initial £53m for him, with another £5m to follow in bonus payments, knocking Christian Pulisic out of their top 10 deals of all time.

Lavia has joined the club as a player expected to make an impact immediately in the first team, but also someone who can flourish in the years ahead.

Chelsea's faith in the player is clear. Despite Lavia having made just 34 appearances for Saints, he has been given a seven-year deal by the Stamford Bridge side.

Romeo Lavia
© ProShots - Romeo Lavia

9. Alvaro Morata - £60m (from Real Madrid, 2017)

Alvaro Morata was never a consistent regular at Real Madrid, but the form he displayed on loan at Juventus, and during his fleeting appearances for Los Blancos, suggested that he was a talismanic figure with expert instincts in the box.

That forced Abramovich’s hand, even though Antonio Conte publicly stated he wanted Romelu Lukaku, and Morata was signed. It started so well for the club-record signing (at the time), he netted once and grabbed an assist, as well as scoring a disallowed goal, as he almost inspired a comeback off the bench against Burnley on his Premier League debut.

He scored 15 goals and assisted six in 30 starts in all competitions in his first season, but poor finishing in his second year, and just five Premier League goals in 2018/19, saw him loaned to Atletico Madrid for £16m, before they signed him for just over £30m as was agreed.

8. Marc Cucurella - £62m (from Brighton, 2022)

Chelsea were truly splashing the cash in the first summer under Boehly and they spent £62m on Brighton wing-back Marc Cucurella, beating off interest from Man City and Barcelona in the process.

The deal was complicated, with sources prematurely claiming the move was complete, prompting Brighton to release a statement quashing the speculation.

However, a deal was eventually struck for an initial £55m with £7m in add-ons and Blues youngster Levi Colwill joining Brighton on loan, making Cucurella the most expensive wing-back of all time.

His first season was a disaster, if truth be told.

7. Wesley Fofana - £70m (from Leicester, 2022)

After spending much of the summer chasing Wesley Fofana, Thomas Tuchel finally got his man on the penultimate day of the 2022 summer transfer window. The German was made to spend big on the young Frenchman, though with Fofana becoming one of the most expensive centre-backs in the history of the game thanks to the move.

Fofana signed a seven-year contract with the Blues, underlining his desire to play for the club, which was under little doubt as he pushed Leicester to allow him to make the switch.

However, Fofana has suffered with fitness throughout his time at Chelsea, picking up a significant knee injury in pre-season of 2023, keeping him out for the entirety of the season.

Wesley Fofana
© ProShots - Wesley Fofana

6. Kepa Arrizabalaga - £71m (from Athletic Bilbao, 2018)

Due to their policy of only fielding players from the Basque region, it’s extremely expensive to pry players away from Athletic Bilbao, as Chelsea found out with Kepa Arrizabalaga.

A world-record fee for a goalkeeper was agreed as the club needed a replacement for the Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois, but it’s not gone to plan.

Under Sarri, Kepa was average at best; he wasn’t awful, he looked promising, but certainly not world class. In 2019/20, however, it was another story.

He had the lowest save percentage of goalkeepers in the league, conceding 47 Premier League goals whilst making just 1.7 saves per 90, the least of any ‘keeper with more than one appearance in the league.

He subsequently lost his place in the team and was an expensive backup in 2020/21 and 2021/22, although he returned to the first team in 2022/23 before joining Real Madrid on loan in 2023.

5. Kai Havertz - £72m (from Leverkusen, 2020)

Kai Havertz
© ProShots - Kai Havertz

Though it was not seen as a gamble of sorts when Chelsea made Kai Havertz their most expensive signing at the time, the fee was seen as exorbitant for a 21-year-old.

Like Werner, Havertz took a while to find his feet at Stamford Bridge.

He grew into things in the latter part of his first campaign and it actually doesn't even really matter how he does in the rest of his career with the Blues as he has already written himself into the history books.

In the Champions League final against Manchester City in 2021, he scored the only goal of the game to bring the trophy back to London, so Chelsea will consider this deal as money well spent indeed.

Havertz went on to join London rivals Arsenal for £65m in 2023.

4. Mykhailo Mudryk - £89.1m (From Shakhtar, 2022)

Mykhailo Mudryk became the second player in Chelsea history to transfer for €100m or more during the January 2023 transfer window.

Mudryk became the latest big-money signing in an incredible 2022-23 season of spending.

Arsenal hijacked Mudryk from Arsenal
© ProShots - Arsenal hijacked Mudryk from Arsenal

The Ukrainian had emerged as one of the most exciting wingers in Europe in 2022 but had been expected to join Arsenal.

But Chelsea hijacked Arsenal's deal to secure Mudryk on a deal until 2030. He has struggled so far.

3. Romelu Lukaku - £97.7m (From Inter, 2021)

While it may have seemed odd on paper for Chelsea to spend so much money on a player they once had on their books as a young prospect, the signing of Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2021 was undoubtedly a statement transfer from the club.

After dominating Italian football with Inter with 64 goals in 95 games over the course of two seasons and helping the club win their first Serie A title in 10 years, Lukaku returned to English football as one of the best strikers in world football and with a new point to prove.

He took just 15 minutes into his second debut to find the back of the net, away against Arsenal.

Lukaku's performances fell away disastrously as the season went on and he scored just eight Premier League goals before returning to Inter on loan after just one season.

2. Enzo Fernandez - £107m (From Benfica, 2023)

Enzo Fernandez broke Jack Grealish's record to become the most expensive British transfer of all time upon moving to Chelsea in January 2023.

Chelsea agreed to pay the release clause for Enzo in his Benfica contract, just six months after he had joined the Portuguese club.

Enzo enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2022, and his brilliant performances in midfield helped Argentina win their first World Cup in 36 years. This convinced Chelsea to pay a club record fee for him.

1. Moises Caicedo – £115m (From Brighton, 2023)

Seemingly not content with breaking the British transfer record in January 2023, just a few months later Chelsea were at it again by signing Moises Caicedo from Brighton for £115m.

Chelsea had identified the Ecuadorian as their top target but, despite having agreed personal terms with Caicedo for months, the Blues failed to meet Brighton's asking price in excess of €100m.

However, Liverpool submitted a bid of around €125m for Caicedo, prompting Chelsea to better the offer in order to beat their rivals to the punch.

Caicedo finally got his move in August 2023, signing an eight-year deal, with the option of a ninth.