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Chelsea most expensive player sales - How Blues made over €1.3 billion in outgoing transfers

8:09 AM EDT 7/14/22
Transfer Guru; Chelsea FC
Chelsea have proven to be shrewd players on the transfer market

Chelsea, a traditional powerhouse in English football, are known for buying star footballers. The Blues do not think twice if the opportunity presents itself to snap up a talented footballer, as they have shown many times in the past – be it splashing out £50 million ($60m) on Fernando Torres in 2011 or £97.5m ($116m) on Romelu Lukaku in 2021.

And while their expensive strikers have often struggled at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's bold approach to the transfer market has paid off in titles. They are one of the most successful English clubs in the 21st century, winning five of their six league titles since 2005.

When you add two Champions Leagues and a couple of Europa League titles into the mix during that time, you see why they've had to expand the trophy cabinet quite a bit in recent years.

However, Chelsea are not simply a buying club. They are shrewd operators and make quite a bit of money through player sales too.

Indeed, the Blues have a well-earned reputation for acquiring young talented players on the cheap and then selling them for a massive profit much later on.

Indeed, Chelsea have raked in over €1 billion (£840m/$1.01bn) in transfer sales since the turn of the century...

Chelsea biggest transfer sales by season


Biggest sale


Total sales


Timo Werner




Tammy Abraham




Alvaro Morata




Eden Hazard




Thibaut Courtois




Diego Costa












David Luiz




Juan Mata




Daniel Sturridge




Yuri Zhirkov




Ricardo Carvalho




Claudio Pizarro




Wayne Bridge




Arjen Robben




Damien Duff




Tiago Mendes




Jesper Gronkjaer




Mikael Forssell

£675k (loan fee)



Samuele Dalla Bona




Jon Harley




Tore Andre Flo




£1.26b (Approx)

*All figures are taken from Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise

Chelsea top 10 most expensive sales

  • HD Alvaro Morata Chelsea unveiling 21072017

    Alvaro Morata | £31.5m | Atletico Madrid | 2020

    Alvaro Morata's time at Chelsea can be classified as forgetful. The Spanish centre-forward arrived from Real Madrid amid much fanfare in the summer of 2017.

    He was Chelsea's record buy at the time, having cost the Blues €66m (£60m). But Morata failed to live up to the expectations, managing just 16 league goals in 47 appearances. In January 2019, he ended up returning to Atletico Madrid on an 18-month loan deal.

    However, Chelsea did manage to recoup £31.5m ($37m) from their outlay on him when Atletico made the loan move permanent in July 2020.

  • Thibaut Courtois Chelsea Premier League 23082015

    Thibaut Courtois | £31.5m | Real Madrid | 2018

    Thibaut Courtois is one of those players scouted by Chelsea at a very young age. Having signed the Belgian from Genk as a 19-year-old, Chelsea sent him on loan to Atletico Madrid for three consecutive years.

    Once he returned to West London in 2014, it did not take him long to dislodge Petr Cech as the club's first-choice goalkeeper. He would go on to establish himself as one of the best goalkeepers during his time at Chelsea, helping the Blues win two Premier League trophies.

    And, after Courtois sparked rumours of being unsettled at Chelsea with his comments, it was no surprise to see Real Madrid spend £31.5m ($37m) for his services in 2018.

  • Romelu Lukaku Everton Chelsea Premier League 30082014

    Romelu Lukaku | £31.8m | Everton | 2014

    Lukaku was yet another potential star Chelsea's scouting network picked up. The striker was brought in from Anderlecht at the age of 18. Though highly regarded, Lukaku failed to make an impression despite getting a few first team chances in his debut season in 2011-12.

    The imposing Belgian did sparkle at West Brom on loan next season. Another loan spell to Everton followed in 2013-14. An impressive season for the Toffees, however, was not enough to convince Chelsea and the club sold him permanently to Everton in the summer of 2014.

    Although he left Chelsea without scoring a goal for them, Lukaku would return in 2021 to West London as the club's most expensive player ever.

  • Tammy Abraham Chelsea 2021-22

    Tammy Abraham | £36m | Roma | 2021

    A Chelsea youth product, Tammy Abraham was a regular for the club in the 2019-20 season under Frank Lampard. He had earned the chance after impressive loan spells at Bristol City and Aston Villa. However, despite scoring 18 goals that season, Abraham never convinced anyone at the club.

    Thomas Tuchel who took over in 2020-21 season was also not impressed by Abraham. Struggling for gametime, Abraham ended up moving to Roma for €40m (£36m) in the summer of 2021. However, Chelsea did include a buyback clause.

  • Nemanja Matic Chelsea Schalke 17092014

    Nemanja Matic | £40.2m | Manchester United | 2017

    As far as trusted lieutenants of Jose Mourinho go, Nemanja Matic is right up there. The Serbian midfielder, who joined Chelsea as a 20-year-old in 2009, was the cornerstone of Mourinho's Premier League-winning Chelsea side in 2014-15.

    Interestingly, he had returned to Chelsea after being sold to Benfica in 2011. In his second spell at Chelsea (from 2014-2017), Matic helped them win two Premier League titles.

    By 2017, Mourinho was at Manchester United. Desperately seeking reinforcements in midfield, the Portuguese manager turned to Matic, shelling out £40m ($47m).

    Interestingly, Matic left United and joined Roma in the summer of 2022, reuniting with Moutinho.

  • Juan Mata Chelsea

    Juan Mata | £40.3m | Manchester United | 2014

    Juan Mata had a sensational start to his career at Chelsea. After moving to Stamford Bridge from Valencia in 2011, Mata was an instant hit. He played a key role as the club won the Champions League (2012) and Europa League (2013) in back-to-back seasons.

    But Mourinho's arrival in 2013 derailed Mata's Chelsea career. The Portuguese was not impressed by the Spaniard and Mata eventually became a bit-part player under him. And, in January 2014, when Manchester United came calling, Mata was quick to grab the opportunity.

  • David Luiz Chelsea Premier League

    David Luiz | £44.5m | PSG | 2014

    The eccentric centre-back, who joined Chelsea from Benfica in 2011, became the costliest defender in the world (at the time) when PSG splashed the cash on him in 2014.

    David Luiz, who had a penchant for scoring goals, was a popular figure at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian was part of the Chelsea side that won the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League in 2013.

    Though he moved to PSG in 2014, Luiz would return to Chelsea in 2016 for a second stint.

  • Oscar Chelsea FA Cup 2015-16

    Oscar | £54m | Shanghai SIPG | 2020

    When the diminutive Brazilian joined Chelsea from Internacional in 2012, it seemed the Blues had acquired a potential superstar. Such was his impressive start to his Chelsea career.

    The playmaker became an integral part of Chelsea very quickly, his guile, trickery and tendency to score outrageous goals vowing everyone.

    He made more than 200 appearances for the Blues but saw his stock fall towards the end of the season. Even then, to the shock of many, Oscar joined Chinese outfit Shanghai SIPG for £54m ($64m) – a record for an Asian club.

  • Diego Costa Chelsea Premier League

    Diego Costa | £54m | Atletico Madrid | 2018

    Diego Costa left Chelsea in January 2018 amid acrimonius circumstances. Despite the issues, Costa would end up as one of Chelsea's biggest transfer sales.

    Having joined in 2014, Costa took to Stamford Bridge like a duck takes to water, scoring 21 goals in his first season, helping the club win the Premier League. Despite a dip in form next season, Costa had a fantastic 2016-17 campaign, scoring 22 goals and helping the club win another Premier League title.

    But the issues had begun in Janaury 2017 when Costa fell out with Antonio Conte after interest from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian. It escalated in the summer of 2017 when Conte informed Costa that he was not part of his first-team plans anymore. Costa wanted a move back to Atletico but Chelsea wanted a significant transfer fee.

    After a legal battle, it was announced that Costa would return to Atletico Madrid in January 2018. Costa never made an appearance for Chelsea in the first half of the 2017-18 season.

  • Eden Hazard Chelsea

    Eden Hazard | £103.5m | Real Madrid | 2019

    Eden Hazard became Chelsea' biggest transfer sale when he joined Real Madrid in 2019 for a whopping sum of €115m (£103.5m/$122m). But Hazard left Chelsea as a certified club legend.

    Having joined the Blues as a precocious talent in 2012 from Lille, Hazard was considered a potential star. The Belgian winger went on to realise his potential at Chelsea, morphing into a world-class forward who was feared by the opponents.

    He made more than 350 appearances for Chelsea, scored 110 goals, and helped them win two Premier League titles and two Europa League trophies.

    He was the Premier League Player of the Season and PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2014-15. Hazard was part of the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on four occasions. He might not have been able to replicate his performances at Real Madrid but he will always be a beloved icon for Chelsea fans.