Chelsea's 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese
  • 4 Feb 2024 20:37 GMT
  • 6 min read
Moises Caicedo, Chelsea, 2023/24

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.

Article continues under the video

That big spending continued under Abramovich's successor Todd Boehly, who spent over €1 billion during his first three transfer windows.

Below, FootballTransfers lists Chelsea's most expensive signings in history.

10. Christian Pulisic - €64m (from Borussia Dortmund, 2019)

Christian Pulisic was seen as Eden Hazard's replacement when he joined Chelsea for €64m in 2019.

The American had shown real promise at Borussia Dortmund, despite not always being a regular starter, and his first season at Stamford Bridge was immense.

Pulisic scored 11 goals and provided 10 assists in his debut campaign, but injuries soon took their toll and his form never recovered. The winger then joined AC Milan for €20m in 2023.

Christian Pulisic at Chelsea
© ProShots - Christian Pulisic at Chelsea

9. Marc Cucurella - €65.3m (from Brighton, 2022)

Chelsea were truly splashing the cash in their first summer under Todd Boehly's ownership and they spent €65.3m on Brighton left-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, with Blues youngster Levi Colwill joining Brighton on loan and Cucurella becoming the most expensive full-back of all time.

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

8. Alvaro Morata - €66m (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.

Alvaro Morata at Chelsea
© ProShots - Alvaro Morata at Chelsea

That forced Abramovich’s hand, even though Antonio Conte publicly stated he wanted Romelu Lukaku instead, and Morata joined Chelsea.

He scored 15 goals and assisted six in 30 starts during 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 before they signed him for €35m in 2020.

7. Mykhailo Mudryk - €70m (from Shakhtar, 2023)

Mykhailo Mudryk emerged as one of the most exciting wingers in Europe in 2022 and he was expected to join Arsenal during the 2023 January transfer window.

But, Chelsea hijacked Arsenal's deal and signed Mudryk for an initial €70m.

The Ukraine international failed to score during his first six months at Stamford Bridge, with his first goal for the club coming against Fulham in October 2023.

6. Kai Havertz - €80m (from Bayer Leverkusen, 2020)

Kai Havertz was one of the biggest talents in world football during his time at Bayer Leverkusen, which convinced Chelsea to spend €80m to sign him in 2020.

Like his compatriot Timo Werner, Havertz never managed to replicate his Bundesliga form in the Premier League, although he did score the winning goal in the 2021 Champions League final.

Kai Havertz
© ProShots - Kai Havertz

After a disappointing final season at Chelsea, Havertz join the Blues' London rivals Arsenal for €75m in 2023.

5. Kepa Arrizabalaga - €80m (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.

The Blues were forced to pay €80m to sign the Spaniard in 2018 - a world-record fee for a goalkeeper - and that investment has not paid off.

Under Maurizio Sarri, Kepa was average at best, but his second campaign at Chelsea was awful. He had the lowest save percentage of any goalkeeper in the league in 2019-20 and he was replaced by Edouard Mendy before the next campaign began.

Kepa then joined Real Madrid on loan in 2023 following a serious injury to Thibaut Courtois.

4. Wesley Fofana - €80.4m (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.

Just like Manchester United found out with Harry Maguire, Leicester weren't willing to offload Fofana on the cheap and Chelsea spent €80.4m on the Frenchman.

Wesley Fofana
© ProShots - Wesley Fofana

However, Fofana suffered with fitness during his debut season at Stamford Bridge before picking up a significant knee injury in pre-season ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, keeping him out for the entirety of the season.

3. Romelu Lukaku - €113m (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, 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.

However, despite a promising start to life back at Chelsea, an infamous interview with Sky Italy saw his career at Stamford Bridge grind to a halt. Lukaku re-joined Inter on loan in 2022 before signing for Jose Mourinho's Roma on loan the following year.

2. Moises Caicedo - €116m (from Brighton, 2023)

Chelsea's summer-long pursuit of Moises Caicedo finally ended with a €116m deal, with that fee due to rise even higher with potential add-ons.

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

Liverpool then submitted a bid that was accepted by Brighton, prompting Chelsea to better the offer in order to beat their rivals to the punch.

Moises Caicedo, Chelsea
© ProShots - Moises Caicedo, Chelsea

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

1. Enzo Fernandez - €121m (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 as they looked to rectify a dismal start to the 2022-23 season.

The 10 most expensive Chelsea signings of all time

1. Enzo FernandezBenfica€121m2023
2. Moises CaicedoBrighton€116m2023
3. Romelu LukakuInter€113m2021
4. Wesley FofanaLeicester€80.4m2022
5. Kepa ArrizabalagaAthletic Club€80m2018
= Kai HavertzBayer Leverkusen€80m2020
7. Mykhailo MudrykShakhtar€70m2023
8. Alvaro MorataReal Madrid€66m2017
9. Marc CucurellaBrighton€65.3m2022
10. Christian PulisicDortmund€64m2019

Never miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.