EPL

Shevchenko's struggles and El Nino's nightmare – Lukaku the latest high-profile striker to flop at Chelsea

By Sports Desk June 29, 2022

Romelu Lukaku's second spell with Chelsea lasted just one season.

Inter have confirmed the return of Lukaku in a season-long loan deal just 321 days after selling him to Chelsea for just under £100million.

It reunites Lukaku with the club with whom he won the Scudetto in 2021 and writes another chapter in the history of the Blues signing a high-profile striker, only for them to fail to produce.

As the London club perhaps wonder what might have been with Lukaku, Stats Perform looks back at the string of forwards who saw their goals dry up after moving to Stamford Bridge.

Mateja Kezman

Kezman did not arrive for big money by today's standards, joining from PSV for a £5.3m fee in 2004, but he came with significant expectations after a goal-laden spell in the Eredivisie in which he plundered 105 in 122 league appearances and won the title twice.

However, he came nowhere close to living up to the billing in his sole season in the Premier League, finding the net seven times in 41 games in all competitions. His most important goal was the ultimately decisive third in Chelsea's League Cup final win over Liverpool as the Blues did the double, going on to claim a first Premier League crown under Jose Mourinho.

He was subsequently sold to Atletico Madrid and had spells with Fenerbahce and Paris Saint-Germain that delivered more trophies, though he never managed to recapture his PSV form.

Andriy Shevchenko

Few strikers in world football were as feared as Shevchenko during his golden years at Milan, for whom he remains the second-highest goalscorer in the club's history with 175.

Chelsea's £30.8m move to lure him from San Siro in 2006, then a record fee paid by an English club, reflected his reputation. Yet Shevchenko's transition to the Premier League did not go to plan.

In his final season in Serie A, Shevchenko averaged a goal every 116 minutes. Across two seasons with Chelsea, that dipped to one every 284 minutes in the Premier League. He netted 22 in 77 games in all competitions, with the appointment of Avram Grant as Mourinho's successor in 2007 limiting his game time. Shevchenko won the FA Cup and League Cup with the Blues but was an unused substitute as they lost the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United.

He was sent back to Milan for an unsuccessful loan spell before finishing his career back at boyhood club Dynamo Kyiv.

Fernando Torres

Torres' 2011 move from Liverpool to Chelsea was one of the most famous January transfers in Premier League history. As with a lot of January moves, it did not have the desired impact.

In his final two full seasons with Liverpool in 2008-09 and 2009-10, 'El Nino' scored 32 Premier League goals from 166 shots that had an expected goals (xG) value of 13.3. In 2010-11, he scored nine for Liverpool from an xG value of 8.5. Across three and a half seasons with Chelsea, Torres scored 20 league goals from 217 shots with an xG value of 26.5.

In terms of silverware, Torres was still successful with Chelsea, winning three trophies. His crowning moment came as he scored the decisive goal at Camp Nou against Barcelona to send the Blues into the Champions League final, where they beat Bayern Munich on penalties.

But his overall output was never close to good enough, and he too had a brief spell at Milan before heading back to where it all began with Atletico Madrid.

Alvaro Morata

Of all the players on this list, Morata's relative lack of goalscoring success was the least surprising given he made the move to Stamford Bridge having never scored more than 15 league goals in a single season in his career.

Moving from Real Madrid on the back of that career-best campaign in 2016-17, Morata was unable to live up to his reported £60m fee, scoring 11 goals in 31 games in his first season and five in 16 in the first half of his second before being loaned to Atletico, who he then joined on a permanent basis having won the FA Cup and Europa League with Chelsea.

Timo Werner

Werner still has the chance to turn his Chelsea career around, but the former RB Leipzig striker's time at Stamford Bridge has followed a very similar trajectory to Chelsea's high-profile misfires.

Having scored 95 goals in 159 games for Leipzig, Werner has netted only 23 in two seasons for Chelsea since his £47.5m move, with his 191 shots carrying an xG value of 33.7, illustrating just how poorly the Germany international has performed in front of goal.

He has brought value in other areas, serving as a high-energy focal point of the Chelsea attack, but Thomas Tuchel will surely want to see more in terms of end product for Werner to free himself from the 'flop' tag.

Romelu Lukaku

Unable to cement a place in the Chelsea first team during his first spell with the club, Lukaku's second act at Stamford Bridge was expected to be much more profitable.

Chelsea forked out a club-record £97.5m on that proving to be the case but have now moved to cut their losses and allow Lukaku to return to Inter, if only on loan.

Lukaku scored a goal every 120 minutes in helping Inter to Serie A glory in 2020-21 but managed just eight in the Premier League at one every 198 minutes.

Between Werner and Lukaku, Chelsea could not afford to carry two struggling strikers, with the latter becoming the latest in a long line of misguided attacking investments to make a swift exit.

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