Three Chelsea disappointments feature in 2022/23 transfers already filling players with regret

Jason Soutar
Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Man City's Kalvin Phillps

Including three Chelsea disappointments, here are seven Premier League players who already regret their summer 2022 transfers.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Barcelona to Chelsea)
Can I just shock you…there will be a few Chelsea players on this list.

Former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the Premier League after spending eight months with Barcelona, joining Chelsea to reunite with his former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel.

Shortly after the striker’s arrival, Tuchel was sacked and alarm bells began to ring. Graham Potter came in and gave Aubameyang a chance to impress; he scored in his first Premier League start for the Blues but that was exactly as good as it would get for Aubameyang at Stamford Bridge.

Potter was given eight new players in the winter transfer window and the 33-year-old fell out of favour as a result. He was left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad for the knockout rounds and has played seven minutes in the league since the start of February.

If Aubameyang is a Chelsea player next season I would be absolutely stunned. I’m sure it’s nothing personal, though, eh, Auba?


Lewis O’Brien (Huddersfield to Nottingham Forest)
Not so long ago, Lewis O’Brien was one of the best central midfielders in the Championship. His terrific form for Huddersfield saw Leeds take notice, but they could not agree a deal with their Yorkshire rivals. Following Nottingham Forest’s promotion to the Premier League, the Englishman got his big move to the top flight. There was a slight issue, however…he was one of 22 summer signings. Competition was going to be fierce.

O’Brien started all five of Forest’s opening fixtures in the league but quickly fell out of favour. His last start in the top flight came in the 4-0 defeat at Leicester on October 3. Falling out of favour was only the beginning for the 24-year-old.

Asked if he had agreed a deal to join Blackburn Rovers on deadline day in January, O’Brien replied: “Yes. I’d undergone all my medical testing and had signed everything by 10.20pm, then did all the interviews and pictures ready for the announcement.”

The loan move inexplicably collapsed and O’Brien wasn’t included in Forest’s 25-man Premier League squad going forward. He was not allowed to join another UEFA club so made the move to MLS side DC United – where he will be managed by Wayne Rooney until July. “It’s definitely been the toughest part of my career so far,” O’Brien recently told iNews.


Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa to Chelsea)
We couldn’t stay away from the shambles at Stamford Bridge for too long. Last summer, Carney Chukwuemeka joined Chelsea from Aston Villa for around £14million after snubbing interest from a host of top clubs, including Borussia Dortmund. This was seen as a big coup and Villa were happy to get a respectable fee for a player in the final year of his contract. Every party looked like a winner.

Chukwuemeka has 12 first-team appearances this season, which is pretty disappointing. He wasn’t expected to play a lot, but I think he hoped for rather more than that. Unfortunately for him, the Blues were knocked out of the FA and Carabao Cup at the earliest opportunity. Had they progressed, the 19-year-old – who has failed to make his Champions League debut this term – would have some more minutes under his belt.

Playing a bit less than expected isn’t the main reason Chukwuemeka will regret this transfer; that will be the club’s business since his arrival. They have bought player after player, sliding him further down the pecking order. Chelsea’s January business included the signings of only young players, which doesn’t help his cause. I fear the teenage midfielder won’t get the chance to show Chelsea what he is made of and will waste valuable years warming the bench. I’d be very happy to be proved wrong.

Chelsea Chukwuemeka


Billy Gilmour (Chelsea to Brighton)
Brighton boss Graham Potter landed Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour for a measly £7m and many thought this was a match made in heaven. A few weeks later, Potter was gone and Gilmour was left in limbo. A report from The Athletic said Tuchel urged Gilmour to go to the Amex as ‘Potter would be perfect for his career development’, though Todd Boehly hinted that change was coming. ‘Chairman Todd Boehly is thought to have suggested Gilmour wait for his opportunity at Stamford Bridge and implied, without going into detail, the situation could soon change,’ the report stated. If only he knew.

Well, Gilmour’s time with Potter was short-lived and that would have also been the case had he stayed at Chelsea as the 47-year-old was relieved of his duties on Sunday.

The Scottish international can barely get a sniff under current Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi, which is a huge shame considering the potential. A Moises Caicedo departure this summer could do Gilmour’s career the world of good, even though he is not yet on the same level as his Ecuadorian teammate.


Kalvin Phillips (Leeds to Manchester City)
Kalvin Phillips is a player that I very much appreciate. He played a huge role for England as they reached the final of the European Championships in 2021 and his time with Leeds was nothing short of spectacular. He was obviously ready to make the next step at the end of 2021/22 after helping his boyhood club maintain their Premier League status. Phillips made the interesting move to Manchester City, where he would make their brilliant midfield even more brilliant while competing for a starting berth with Rodri.

I think Phillips might have underestimated how difficult it would be to usurp Rodri, who is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the world.

The 27-year-old England midfielder has only made two starts across all competitions this season thanks to Rodri’s undroppable form. Phillips did begin the season requiring shoulder surgery that he didn’t undergo until September, just in the nick of time to make England’s World Cup squad. He returned to his club “overweight”, according to Pep Guardiola, and has been an unused substitute in the Premier League in 10 of his side’s 14 matches since the domestic season resumed.

Fair play to Phillips for making the leap to a big club, where he will undoubtedly win trophies, but he would have been better suited to Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal than City. He would be perfectly suited to Manchester United, but we all know that won’t happen in a million years.


Djed Spence (Middlesbrough to Tottenham)
Antonio Conte never seemed happy with the signing of Djed Spence. The young right-wing-back was apparently a ‘club signing’ as Conte is not the sort of manager known for nurturing young talent. He is a win-now manager, which clearly didn’t go to plan at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spence was fantastic for Nottingham Forest last season as they gained promotion to Our League. He returned to his parent club Middlesbrough – who received lots of enquiries about the young defender. Arsenal, Forest and Spurs were all reportedly interested and Spence ended up moving to the white half of north London, where he would surely go on to become a regular starter at some point this season, right? Wrong.

Conte preferred Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty, handing Spence a grand total of five minutes of playing time in the Premier League before he was shipped out on loan to Rennes in the winter transfer window.

In the same window, Spurs signed right-wing-back Pedro Porro, who will be the club’s first choice in that position for years to come. Spence will probably leave in the summer, and you really cannot blame him if he does.


Omari Hutchinson (Arsenal to Chelsea)
Like Chukwuemeka, Omari Hutchinson joined Chelsea hoping to get some valuable minutes in the Premier League while eyeing an important role in the future. Chukwuemeka might still be a big player for the Blues, but it is hard to imagine that being the case for Hutchinson.

The 19-year-old winger was highly rated at Arsenal before he decided to join their London rivals in July 2022. He moved to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer because he still hadn’t made a senior appearance for the Gunners and clearly believed that would be more likely at Chelsea. He wasn’t wrong, to be fair to him. The teenager has played twice for the Blues big boys this season. Both of his appearances came in defeats to Man City.

In January, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Joao Felix and Noni Madueke all joined a club that already employed Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kai Havertz. If Hutchinson – who hasn’t made a Premier League matchday squad since January 5 – plays again this season I will be pretty surprised.

READ MORE: Two Chelsea flops to blame for Potter sacking as they join Liverpool trio in worst XI of the weekend