£600m buys you a 12th-placed Premier League finish and a further £400m of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake money – spent on talented children, but children all the same – currently has Chelsea languishing in 14th.
We’ve ranked the members of Boehly’s nursery at Chelsea from best to worst. Those who are yet to endure the pain of pulling on the blue shirt have been spared.
17) Enzo Fernandez (£107m from Benfica)
Probably the only Chelsea signing any other team in the world would welcome in a heartbeat. He’s got the ball on a string, a la Cesc Fabregas; just needs someone to pass to.
16) Carney Chukwuemeka (£16m from Aston Villa)
It was a wonder he didn’t play more last season given his impressive cameos and his injury against West Ham – after his brilliant goal – was a big blow for Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino, who had spotted the qualities Graham Potter and Frank Lampard seemingly failed to.
15) Raheem Sterling (£50m from Manchester City)
He was way down this list when we last did it in April, but you can’t keep a good man down. And given he’s one of very few players with any experience whatsoever, his value to Chelsea is massive.
Sterling has comfortably been Chelsea’s greatest attacking threat this term having looked as fed up as anyone last season. As quick as ever, the Pep Guardiola-induced decision-making seems to have returned. The final product isn’t always there but it never has been. Given better support from his fellow forwards, he will score a hatful.
14) Robert Sanchez (£25m from Brighton)
He’s been the best Brighton acquisition which could easily be damning with faint praise but he’s an upgrade and has made some big saves while looking comfortable with the ball at his feet.
13) Axel Disasi (£39m from Monaco)
The fourth oldest of 17 outfield players to feature this season at the age of 25, and it’s shown – the defence hasn’t been a problem. Wesley Fofana may well struggle to displace Disasi if he ever climbs off the treatment table.
12) Malo Gusto (£31m from Lyon)
If there’s any position in which Chelsea need a solid backup it’s at right-back given Reece James’ injury woes and they’ve found one in Gusto.
11) Benoit Badiashile (£33m from Monaco)
Badiashile has all of the typical physical qualities required to be a top Premier League centre-back, along with the composure reserved for the very best. There should be quite the battle for the left centre-back spot when he returns from injury and Pochettino stops p*ssing about with Levi Colwill at left-back.
10) Nicolas Jackson (£32m from Villarreal)
He’s got a bit of Didier Drogba about him – the powerful runs with and without the ball, the hold-up play – and actually, Drogba had a pretty slow start to his Chelsea career and was guilty of the odd howler. Jackson is very raw but is also capable of making very good defenders look rather silly. He probably didn’t expect to be Chelsea’s first-choice striker and probably shouldn’t be, but there’s something there.
9) Noni Madueke (£31m from PSV Eindhoven)
“I’m absolutely buzzing to be a Blue,” the poor b*stard said on his arrival. He was one of the few players to come out of last season with any credit and yet he’s seen just 43 minutes of Premier League action so far. Madueke must be wondering just how ineffective his competition has to be to be given a decent chance.
8) Lesley Ugochukwu (£23m from Rennes)
He went under the radar amid the Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia scramble, and probably didn’t expect to play all that much – if at all – but needs must. He looked perfectly capable against Bournemouth.
7) Cole Palmer (£40m from Manchester City)
A weird transfer on all fronts: weird that Chelsea paid so much; weird that Man City let him go; weird that Palmer wanted to leave; weird (but not surprising) that Pochettino had no idea about it. He’s technically the joint top scorer at Chelsea this season with Raheem Sterling, with goals in the Community Shield and Super Cup for City.
Despite his undoubted ability and Chelsea’s desperate need for a player like him to open defensive doors, it’s a big ask for someone with such limited experience to thrive without wiser heads around him. The same goes for 90 per cent of players on this list.
6) Moises Caicedo (£115m from Brighton)
He had a bit of a nightmare debut conceding the penalty against West Ham and he’s not looked anything like his dominant self in any of the games he’s played in as yet for Chelsea. Surely he has to come good though – someone so clearly brilliant at football should be resistant to the Chelsea curse that appears to have spread from the forwards back through the whole team under Todd Boehly’s mismanagement.
5) Wesley Fofana (£71m from Leicester City)
The worry has got to be that the 22-year-old’s peak is already behind him after an horrific run of injuries. Chelsea didn’t see anything close to that peak last season.
4) Mykhaylo Mudryk (£62m from Shakhtar Donetsk)
To expect a young man to arrive from a war-torn nation into a sh*tshow and shine is unreasonable, particularly given the attention his transfer received. If Chelsea were any good, Mudryk would be good. If Mudryk had gone to Arsenal, Mudryk would be good.
He does the fast running thing and there’s the occasional clever pass or nice touch, but the lack of confidence – even given the caveats – is staggering.
3) Kalidou Koulibaly (£33m from Napoli)
He wasn’t good, but to entirely discount signing experienced players on the back of his lacklustre performances has proven to be an incredibly short-sighted – or rather long-sighted – decision that hasn’t paid off, and probably won’t for a couple of seasons at least.
2) David Datro Fofana (£10m from Molde)
If Jackson is raw, this guy is yet to be culled. He’s gone on loan this season, to Union Berlin, and on the evidence of his brief appearances last season, they may be his last in Chelsea blue.
1) Marc Cucurella (£58m from Brighton)
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and simply by not playing this season his stock has risen, but the stock was comically low.