CHELSEA certainly haven't been shy splashing the cash since Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.
The Russian's investment sparked a brand new era in the history of the Blues.
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In the summer of 2003-04, Chelsea made no fewer than 16 TRANSFERS – including the arrival of Joe Cole, Damien Duff, Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron and Claude Makelele.
Even then, none of those mega-money deals come close to their current level of spending.
Desperate to catch up to dominant forces Liverpool and Manchester City, Chelsea have time and time again smashed their transfer record.
We take a look at their top ten most-expensive signings in history, in reverse order…
10. Tiemoue Bakayoko – £40million (Monaco)
THE French midfielder joined Chelsea in 2017 after some impressive seasons at Monaco – including their Ligue 1-winning 2016-17 campaign.
But Bakayoko hasn't played for the Blues since 2018 – playing only in his debut season, where he failed to replicate his Monaco form in 29 Premier League underwhelming matches.
Bakayoko had been loaned to AC Milan and Monaco in the past two seasons.
And in 2020-21, he was shipped off again – this time to Napoli – in a desperate bid to get his career back on track.
But his Chelsea career appears to be dead in the water…
9. Mateo Kovacic – £40m (Real Madrid)
THE Croatian joined Chelsea on a year-long loan from Real Madrid for the 2018-19 season.
With the Blues hit with a transfer ban starting the following summer, the Premier League side quickly opted to make the move permanent.
Kovacic joined in a £40m deal, with Chelsea knowing they were unable to sign anyone else, despite an underwhelming debut season.
But last term, the ex-Inter Milan star was a revelation as he thrived in the heart of midfield.
Kovacic has found minutes hard to come by in 2020-21, with Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount all being preferred by Frank Lampard.
8. Timo Werner – £48m (RB Leipzig)
CHELSEA have been crying out for an elite striker since the days of prime Didier Drogba and Diego Costa.
Tammy Abraham acquitted himself well last season, but the lack of depth was a worry for Lampard.
So the Blues chief splurged £48m on German goal-machine Werner in the summer, bringing him in from RB Leipzig.
Werner has scored eight goals in 12 games for Chelsea in all competitions so far, including two in games against both Southampton and Rennes.
The German has often been played out of position on the left wing due to rotation and injuries.
But when given the chance through the middle, Werner has looked lethal despite still finding his feet in England.
7. Fernando Torres – £50m (Liverpool)
AFTER smashing 81 goals in just 142 games for Liverpool – and with a World Cup and European Championship medal under his belt – Chelsea moved for Torres in 2011.
The Blues splashed £50m to bring the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge on deadline day in January – despite him having struggled with injuries in the months leading up to the move.
Torres now features in every conceivable 'worst-ever transfers' list after struggling mightily in London… although he did help the club win the Champions League in 2012.
The Spanish star scored just 20 goals in 110 Premier League games and – after loans to AC Milan and Atletico Madrid – was sold to the latter in 2016.
Torres retired in 2019 after two years at Japanese side Sagan Tosu.
6. Ben Chilwell – £50m (Leicester)
LAMPARD had looked light at left-back before signing the former Leicester star.
Neither Marcos Alonso nor Emerson Palmieri appealed to the Blues boss – who was willing to spend big to land one of his top targets in the summer.
Chilwell has instantly become one of the first names on the team-sheet this season, scoring twice in just five Premier League games.
Still only 23 years old, the England star is not just one for now, but one for the future, too.
5. Jorginho – £57.4m (Napoli)
SINCE joining from Napoli a little over two years ago, Jorginho has already racked up 75 Premier League appearances.
Occasionally a divisive figure amongst fans, the Italian has impressed during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri even preferred Jorginho to superstar N'Golo Kante in a sold defensive midfield spot during his tenure.
But Lampard has often started a two-man defensive-midfield pairing, with the two thriving alongside one another.
4. Christian Pulisic – £58m (Borussia Dortmund)
IF it wasn't for injuries, the American international would arguably be the first name on the team-sheet.
Pulisic as been very impressive when fit and has scored nine times in just 28 games from the wing, including a hat-trick against Burnley last season.
The future is certainly bright for Pulisic – who will prove a bargain at £58m if he can stay fit for a prolonged period of time.
In a potential front-four alongside Werner, Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, Pulisic could help fire the Blues back towards the top spot.
3. Alvaro Morata – £65m (Real Madrid)
IN July 2017, Chelesa were desperately hunting a new striker, with both Morata and Romelu Lukaku linked.
Lukaku moved to Manchester United for £75m, with Morata the 'cheaper' option for Chelsea at £65m, with £59m of that paid up-front.
Having starred at Juventus and Real Madrid – the Spaniard managed just 16 Premier League goals in 47 games.
Morata was then shipped off on an 18-month loan to Atletico Madrid, where his deal became permanent in the summer of 2020.
He was immediately loaned back to Juventus after Los Rojiblancos signed Luis Suarez.
Morata recently revealed he wants to retire at Getafe – for whom he spent one season as a youth player.
2. Kai Havertz – £70m (Bayer Leverkusen)
DESPITE being linked with a £90m move at points during the summer, the German joined for 'just' £70m in the end.
That puts him just £1.6m away from being Chelsea's record signing.
Havertz has endured a hit and miss start to life at Stamford Bridge following his eagerly-anticipated move from the Bundesliga.
But the potential is unquestionably there and when Lampard finally plays him in his favoured No10 role for a string of games, he could be a superstar signing.
1. Kepa Arrizabalaga – £71.6m (Athletic Bilbao)
THE Spanish stopper arrived at Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2018 as the most-expensive goalkeeper in history.
Liverpool had signed Alisson for a then-record £67m, only for the Blues to splash out £71.6m on Kepa weeks later.
But since arriving, Kepa has looked a shell of his LaLiga self, making error after error.
Last season, he was dropped for 39-year-old veteran Willy Caballero – with Frank Lampard signing Edouard Mendy as his permanent replacement this season.
His Chelsea career appears to be over, with the club even naming technical director Petr Cech in their squad as back-up.
On top of his poor form, Kepa also controversially refused to be substituted late in the 2019 Carabao Cup final so he could be between the sticks for the penalty shootout.
An irate Maurizio Sarri – then Chelsea boss – stormed down the tunnel only to be held back by Antonio Rudiger on his return to prevent a confrontation.
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