For years, Stamford Bridge has been known to be the place strikers go to end their careers. Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres and now Falcao perhaps. What has been under less scrutiny is how high the turnover rate is for wingers at the club. Chelsea have recruited a significant number of wingers, usually young or with a burgeoning reputation on the continent, only to loan them out before selling them on. And this is not even counting the likes of Manchester United star Juan Mata and German winger Marko Marin, here’s seven who has came and failed to impress (and even left) in just a span of the last few years.
After two and a half impressive years at Wigan Athletic, Victor Moses finally secured his big move in 2012. He saw most of his action in Europe, especially in Chelsea’s run to the Europa League in 2013, where he scored four. However, then-Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez overlooked Moses for the final, and the signs were there as he was subsequently loaned to title rivals Liverpool for the 2013/14 season.
moses (r): gave nothing to liverpool
Even as Moses featured in 22 games for the Reds, starting 9 matches, he was utterly ineffective, scoring one goal throughout the whole season. Moses was so ineffective that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers preferred not to turn to him in an emergency during their vital, futile title run-in. The Nigerian international was then loaned to Stoke City for the 2014/15 season, where he fared only slightly better with a return of three goals.
He was part of the Nigeria side which triumph in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nation, and has a decent international record of 24 caps and 7 goals. Though Moses is back at Chelsea for the 2015/16 season, he has largely been anonymous throughout his Blues career so far, scoring once in 23 league games since joining. Moses has the pedigree to succeed, but with Eden Hazard, Willian and now Pedro ahead of him in the pecking order, it is likely Moses will never fulfil his potential at Chelsea and move on soon enough.
The Ghanian winger won the Portuguese Liga with Porto prior to his 2013 move to Chelsea for £3.5 million. Since then, however, it has been loan after loan for Christian Atsu. First, it was a loan spell at Chelsea’s Dutch feeder club Vitesse Arnheim, where he did decently well, with five goals in 30 appearances. Atsu then spent his first full season in England under Roberto Martinez at Everton, but was used sparingly in the league with no goals in five games.
For the 2015/16 campaign, Jose Mourinho will hope Atsu can make some sort of impact at newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth. The Ghana international won Best Player and Goal of the Tournament at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nation, and has scored 9 in 40 appearances for the Black Stars. Like Moses, Atsu has the international pedigree to succeed in the Premier League, but he seems to be just another transfer pawn for Chelsea.
Joining Chelsea at the same time as Atsu, the German international cost almost six times as much at £18 million. Andre Schurrle did contribute to Chelsea’s 2014/15 league triumph before leaving for Wolfsburg halfway through the season for £22 million. In total, he scored 11 goals in 44 league games for the Blues, and made his former club a decent-sized profit at the same time.
Schurrle was then part of the Wolfsburg team that won the German Cup in the same season, while scoring one goal in 13 league appearances, and has also started the 2015/16 season in similar triumphant style, helping beat FC Bayern in the German Super Cup.
The World Cup-winning winger has a staggering record for his country, scoring 20 goals in 46 games. During the World Cup, Schurrle was arguably the super sub of the tournament, scoring a total of three goals off the bench, and providing the assist for Mario Gotze’s winner in the final.
With such proven talent and winning record, it is a wonder why Schurrle failed to impress Mourinho at Chelsea. His pace and strength on the ball would be perfect for most teams in the Premier League, and it is likely Schurrle will return to England in the near future, and maybe come back to haunt his old boss in the process.
At FC Basel, Mohamed Salah won the Swiss League in 2013, and seemed to have a knack of scoring against English opposition, netting against Tottenham and Chelsea in the 2013 Europa League, and scoring against the latter in the following season’s Champions League group stage. The Egyptian international was close to joining a rampant Liverpool side in early 2013, before Chelsea swooped in to secure his signature for £11 million.
salah: would’ve got a better look-in at anfield
Since then, Salah must be regretting his decision, having only appeared 13 times for the Blues, scoring just two. Used sparingly, Salah was then used as a loan bait to Fiorentina in 2015, where he did shine with six goals in 16 games. Mourinho has still not been impressed with Salah, and for the 2015/16 season, Salah was loaned to Roma with an option for a permanent deal.
Salah has 37 caps and 21 goals for his country, but just can’t seem to fit into Mourinho’s plans. He has time on his side, and will be looking to rebuild his career in Italy. Salah would certainly have done better at Anfield, and might have been the last push needed for the Reds’ title bid in that 2013/14 season.
After an impressive time in Italy with Fiorentina, netting 20 in 85 league games, Juan Cuadrado joined Chelsea at the start of 2015 for £23.3 million, with Salah heading the other way on loan. Cuadrado spent the rest of the 2014/15 season on Chelsea’s bench, only appearing 12 times and never impressing.
The Colombian may just end up with the unwanted title of transfer flops who spent the least amount of time at Chelsea, with the signing of Pedro seeing him pushed out on loan to Juventus, and likely closer to a permanent exit from Stamford Bridge.
With 44 caps and five goals, Cuadrado did star at the 2014 World Cup, as he was the joint highest assist (4) with Toni Kroos. His talent has been proven in Europe with Fiorentina, and on the international level at the World Cup. Cuadrado also has the defensive abilities asked of Mourinho’s wingers, so it must be a huge wonder as to why Cuadrado has not been able to star for the Blues.
Kevin De Bruyne
Probably the biggest transformation among all of Chelsea’s failed wingers, Kevin De Bruyne has turned his previously faltering career around – once a Chelsea reject, most recently Germany’s Player of the Year.
will de bruyne haunt mourinho in the blue of city?
Having joined Chelsea in 2012 for £7 million, De Bruyne only made three appearances, before a loan to Werder Bremen. He waited a year to make his league debut for the Blues, before being sold to Wolfsburg a few months later for £18 million. Then it all took off for De Bruyne in his first full season at Wolfsburg.
The Belgian scored notable goals in Wolfsburg’s 4-1 home win over Bayern, and in the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund. De Bruyne ended the season with 10 league goals and a Bundesliga record 21 assists. He was crowned Bundesliga Player of the Year 2014/15, and made the Europa League and Bundesliga Teams of the Season. Following on this season, De Bruyne has already won silverware in the form of the German Super Cup, assisting Nicklas Bendtner’s late equaliser and helping Wolfsburg to a penalty shootout victory over Bayern.
De Bruyne is seen as a bigger star for Belgian than Chelsea’s Hazard, and with eight goals in 33 caps, it is easy to see why. How De Bruyne did not get close to the levels Hazard has achieved at Chelsea is one for pundits and Blues fans to debate and ponder, but his move to another team in blue, the Sky Blues of Manchester City, will see him get his chance to prove his old manager wrong.
What do you think? Will Pedro, and perhaps Bertrand Traore, succeed where many others have failed?