Hidden Raheem Sterling truth, Koulibaly fear: Rating Chelsea summer signings from best to worst


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Chelsea spent an estimated £250m across a chaotic summer window that saw many twists and turns. The club’s new owners were not shy about investing quickly and in an eye-catching fashion.

Although targets were lost to Barcelona in Raphinha and Jules Kounde, a number of big deals still got over the line. Given the downbeat mood of supporters at the current moment going into the World Cup off the back of three consecutive defeats, it has been easy to glance back at the summer business and cast it all in a negative light.

As a part of’sBig Club Forum before the end of this year, we felt it appropriate to take a look at the players who joined and how they have fared.

READ MORE: Todd Boehly must solve Chelsea transfer window dilemma to strengthen Graham Potter project

Worst – Marc Cucurella

Things started well for the left wingback, who has actually played more as a centre-back since his £62m switch from Brighton in August. And maybe that is the crux of the problem, Cucurella was bought to compete with Ben Chilwell and mainly offers a suitable profile to rotate with.

He has looked erratic and overwhelmed in certain games, struggling to offer the composure needed on the ball, and also failing to justify the high fee paid for him. Worst of all, a poor display coming against his old club in an embarrassing 4-1 defeat in October.

Disappointing – Kalidou Koulibaly

Koulibaly, like Cucurella, started life at Chelsea well but soon suffered a downturn in form. The first knockback was a second-yellow in the horrendous 3-0 loss to Leeds in August, whilst also looking ragged in Tuchel’s final game at Zagreb.

Not jumping for the free-kick that gave Manchester City the lead against Chelsea earlier this month in the League Cup only further intensified the criticism, whilst looking ragged and unprepared for the speed of the Premier League.

Undecided – Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Denis Zakaria

Wesley Fofana’s knee injury suffered against AC Milan in October cut short his start to the season, making any grand assessment of his performances void. Signed late in August, Fofana did show good signs in a number of games, although suffered some criticism in the Zagreb loss.

Chukwuemeka is also a tough one to judge, not gaining a full start yet despite some encouraging cameos from the bench under Potter in the Premier League. Denis Zakaria has only made two appearances, albeit one encouraging one against Zagreb, still to small a sample size to judge.

Aubameyang started life at Chelsea well, scoring in three consecutive games at the start of October. He hasn’t scored since then, highlighting the fears that were had before he arrived from Barcelona. There are worries his output might be limited and his performances have not been overly emphatic, but there is still evidence he can be productive if good service is provided.

Best – Raheem Sterling

Even being the best on this list does not mean you escape criticism. The £45m forward is Chelsea’s top scorer so far this season with five to his name, but three of those came in August.

His different positioning and form have been a big topic so far, struggling to have the dominant impact many anticipated when he joined from Manchester City back in July.

There have been glimpses of the attacking quality seen at the Etihad since 2015, but being deployed as a more central figure has not always suited him. But that cannot cancel out some frustrating displays, the worst coming in a dismal 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at home. Read more – Football.London

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