Mudryk D, Aubameyang F: Grading every Chelsea signing this season

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 9 May 2023 19:38 BST
  • 8 min read
Mykhailo Mudryk, Chelsea, 2022/23
© ProShots

Chelsea have spent over €600 million on transfers over the past year, with 16 new players coming through the door at Cobham since Todd Boehly replaced Roman Abramovich as the club’s owner.

The American billionaire’s arrival has signalled a period of change at Stamford Bridge, with four managers taking charge since he took over the club and countless different players used across the campaign.

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His financial efforts have not been rewarded on the pitch, however, with Chelsea languishing in the bottom-half of the English top flight table. The Blues are set to record their lowest ever points tally since the Premier League began in 1992 are also extremely likely to finish the season in the bottom-half for the first time since 1996.

READ: Chelsea's INGENIOUS trick to beat Man Utd to Osimhen signing

But, how have each of their 16 new arrivals fared this season? FootballTransfers takes a look.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (€12m from Barcelona) - Grade: F

The Gabonese striker was handpicked by Thomas Tuchel as the man to spearhead Chelsea’s attack after Romelu Lukaku was loaned back to Inter Milan.

However, the former Arsenal star had barely been welcomed at his new club before Tuchel was sacked and Graham Potter was appointed as his replacement.

REVEALED: Pochettino wants three key Chelsea signings

Aubameyang has struggled ever since and has netted just three goals in all competitions this season - with only one coming in the Premier League. He has featured more regularly since Frank Lampard became interim boss in April, but a return to Barcelona just one year after he left is looking increasingly likely.

Marc Cucurella (€65m from Brighton) - Grade: E

Alarm bells should’ve been ringing when Manchester City pulled out of the race to sign Marc Cucurella when they realised that Brighton would not accept anything less than €35m.

Marc Cucurella, Chelsea
© ProShots - Marc Cucurella, Chelsea

However, Chelsea decided the Spaniard was worth a whopping €65m and splashed the cash on the defender as they looked to repair the holes left by Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.

But, Cucurella has failed to impress at left centre-back, left-back or left wing-back. Bar his opening few appearances and a stellar performance against Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge, Cucurella has been erratic and reckless.

His decision-making against Real Madrid led to both Ben Chilwell’s red card in the first-leg and Rodrygo’s opening goal in the second-leg, while he hasn’t looked comfortable in any position, despite the versatility he displayed at Brighton.

Raheem Sterling (€56m from Man City) - Grade: D

Although he wasn't the out-and-out number nine Chelsea needed, Raheem Sterling was seen as a step in the right direction last summer. The Englishman has been a reliable Premier League goal-scorer for nearly a decade and possesses experience of winning the division on multiple occasions.

But, it hasn’t quite worked out at Stamford Bridge. Sterling is Chelsea’s second top scorer in the Premier League with four goals, but his run of five consecutive seasons of hitting double digits in the league is set to end. In fact, he is on course to record his lowest goal-scoring campaign in the English top flight since his first season at Liverpool, back in 2012/13.

Raheem Sterling, Chelsea
© ProShots - Raheem Sterling, Chelsea

Chelsea needed Sterling to step up and help fire them to the next level, but he’s been unable to do so. The England international is still a class act, but things haven’t quite gone to plan in west London.

Kalidou Koulibaly (€38m from Napoli) - Grade: D

The Senegalese defender was identified as the perfect replacement for the departed Antonio Rudiger last summer, with his style of play expected to provide great balance next to Thiago Silva.

However, Kalidou Koulibaly has been slightly error-prone at Chelsea and has never looked completely comfortable with the pace and physicality of the Premier League.

The 31-year-old has looked best in the middle of a back three, but standout performances away from that role have been almost non-existent. With competition for places set to increase even more next season with the return of Levi Colwill, Koulibaly has already been linked with an exit.

He’s not been a disaster, but more was certainly expected from a player who was arguably the best defender in Serie A for half a decade before he joined Chelsea.

Mykhailo Mudryk (€70m from Shakhtar Donetsk) - Grade: D

Signing Mykhailo Mudryk was seen as a huge coup for Chelsea when they snatched the Ukrainian away from the clutches of London rivals Arsenal in January, but he’s been unable to display consistent form since his arrival.

Mykhailo Mudryk, Chelsea
© ProShots - Mykhailo Mudryk, Chelsea

Mudryk has been in-and-out of the Chelsea starting XI and has rarely been able to show the flashes of brilliance he produced on his Blues debut against Liverpool.

He is still yet to score his first goal for the club, but he has registered two assists and his blistering speed means he is a danger when given space to operate in.

At 22 years old, Mudryk has time to develop, but he’s not yet justifying his immense price tag.

Denis Zakaria (€3m loan from Juventus) - Grade: D

Following the World Cup break, Chelsea looked as though they’d finally found their long sought after Nemanja Matic replacement. Denis Zakaria slotted in seamlessly in defensive midfield and began rediscovering his Borussia Monchengladbach form.

But, a hamstring injury in mid-January curtailed his progress and he has started just one Premier League game since then. He had also not played a single league minute before the season was stopped for the World Cup.

In total, the Swiss international has played less than 600 minutes for Chelsea and despite providing evidence of his talent, it’s unlikely his loan deal will be made permanent.

David Datro Fofana (€12m from Molde) - Grade: C

David Datro Fofana simply hasn’t been given enough opportunities. His goal-scoring form in Norway was impressive and while he looked incredibly raw during cameo appearances in January and February, the misfiring nature of Chelsea’s other forwards means he should have received more chances.

David Datro Fofana, Chelsea
© ProShots - David Datro Fofana, Chelsea

Having only made three appearances for Chelsea’s first-team so far, the Ivorian is hard to judge.

Carney Chukwuemeka (€18m from Aston Villa) - Grade: C

Similar to Datro Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka has not been handed too many chances to impress since swapping Aston Villa for Chelsea last summer.

England’s U19 European Championship star has dazzled on occasions when given brief cameo appearances, but those have been few and far between, especially in recent weeks.

He hasn’t played since March and hasn’t been included in a single matchday squad since Potter was sacked. Prioritising his integration into the first-team is a must next season.

Joao Felix (€12m loan from Atletico Madrid) - Grade: C

Joao Felix’s first 45 minutes in a Chelsea shirt was arguably the best half of football by any Blues player this campaign. However, he’s been unable to replicate that form since.

The Portuguese starlet arrived with big expectations on his shoulders and a hefty wage in his pocket, but has ultimately been more smoke than fire. His incredible close control and skilful feet have caught the eye, but his final pass has often been extremely disappointing.

He evidently does possess quality and his two goals so far, against West Ham and Bournemouth respectively, were both excellent finishes, but he’s not done enough to justify a permanent deal.

Joao Felix, Chelsea
© ProShots - Joao Felix, Chelsea

Wesley Fofana (€80m from Leicester) - Grade: B

Wesley Fofana became the fourth most expensive defender in history when Chelsea paid €80m to sign him from Leicester City last summer, and he certainly has the potential to become one of the world’s best.

His first few games in a Chelsea shirt were excellent too, but a knee injury kept him out of action from early October until the middle of February.

The young Frenchman has been slightly inconsistent since returning, but he has shown glimpses of his immense potential in recent weeks. Having only amassed 12 Premier League starts this term, Fofana hasn’t repaid the transfer fee just yet, although time is certainly on his side.

Noni Madueke (€35m from PSV) - Grade: B

Noni Madueke has sparkled in recent games, although he has taken a while to finally push his way into the starting XI at Stamford Bridge.

The young Englishman bagged his first Chelsea goal against Arsenal and looks a real threat down the right flank. The next step is to ensure he is a regular starter, but Lampard appears to have liked his recent displays in training, which is a positive step for the former Spurs academy star.

At just 20 years old, Madueke is a future star and given his relatively cheap transfer fee, this move feels like one that will work out.

Enzo Fernandez (€121m from Benfica) - Grade: B

Enzo Fernandez has been one of Chelsea’s best players since arriving in January, but he has not been flawless. The World Cup winner is susceptible to being played through quite easily and his lack of speed means he is sometimes caught out defensively.

Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea
© ProShots - Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea

However, his ability in possession is unquestionable. His assists for both Joao Felix against West Ham and Kai Havertz against Leicester were sublime, and with a more defensive midfield partner next to him, Enzo will be even better next season.

Finding the right player to sit alongside the Argentine will be pivotal in Chelsea’s summer recruitment, in order to enable Enzo to push forward and impact things in the final third. A good start, however.

Benoit Badiashile (€38m from Monaco) - Grade: A

After he was bizarrely dropped for five of the previous six Premier League games, Benoit Badiashile returned to the Chelsea starting XI against Bournemouth and marked the occasion with his first goal for the club.

The Frenchman has undoubtedly been Chelsea’s best signing of the 2022/23 season and has slotted in seamlessly in England. His physicality and aerial prowess has been a major factor in his easy adaptation to life away from Ligue 1, and the next step is for him to rediscover the effortless switches of play he regularly pulled off in the French top flight.

But, so far, Badiashile has been excellent and has already proven to be a shrewd signing at just €38m. He will provide brilliant competition for Levi Colwill next year and ensure the Blues have two top class left-footed centre-backs in their squad.

Malo Gusto, Gabriel Slonina and Andrey Santos have all not yet appeared for Chelsea's first-team, so haven't been graded.

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