Chelsea under the rule of Roman Abramovich has been typified by a revolving door of managers.
With no head coach lasting longer than three seasons, you know the regime is ruthless at Stamford Bridge and 14 bosses – including caretaker appointments – have chanced their arm since 2009.
The likes of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti were lucky enough to leave with their heads held high, while others such as Luiz Felipe Scolari and Maurizio Sarri departed on frostier terms.
But perhaps no manager has disappointed more in west London than Andre Villas-Boas, who was hastily appointed after the aforementioned Ancelotti was nonsensically sacked in 2011.
In hindsight, the selection of an undercooked Porto boss who just happened to fit the career path of Mourinho looks a little ham-fisted and the results during his tenure were certainly damning.
Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea signings
But there was one area in which Villas-Boas actually shone at Stamford Bridge and it’s something that Chelsea fans, believe it or not, should actually be grateful for: transfers.
The Portuguese’s background in scouting and research seemed to give him an eye for the right players to sign and a total of 12 acquisitions were made during his nine-month reign.
And although some of the signings didn’t make an instant impact at the club, let’s just say there are a few names that you might recognise for having shone in the nine years since.
So, without further ado, check out the 12 players in question and what’s happened to them since:
What a start to proceedings. Courtois won two Premier League titles with the Blues after three seasons on loan with Atletico Madrid and has since bagged himself a move to Real Madrid as well as a World Cup Golden Glove.
Romeu looked a top, top player in flashes, but was never cut out for the Champions League standard and has spent the last five years at Southampton after loan spells with Valencia and Stuttgart.
The big Belgian was never given a fair crack of the whip with the Blues, eventually thriving at Everton and embarking on a highly underrated Manchester United spell. He’s now scoring on the regular for Inter Milan.
Prematurely chucked overboard by Mourinho, Mata was voted the club’s Player of the Season during both of his full campaigns with the Blues – scoring 33 goals from midfield – and hasn’t left United ever since his 2014 move.
The first real clanger of Villas-Boas’ tenure. A youngster dubbed the ‘Mexican sensation’ was never good enough for his Chelsea debut and can now be found plying his trade in New Zealand with Wellington Phoenix.
A one-season wonder for Chelsea in the year they won the Champions League, Meireles is another player who left a little soon and hung up his boots in 2016 after four years with Fenerbahce.
Re-signed by Villas-Boas in December 2011 after returning from a premature retirement due to injuries, Hutchinson only managed six senior appearances for the Blues and moved to Sheffield Wednesday, for whom he still plays.
Astonishingly, Omeruo didn’t leave Chelsea until 2019 despite not making a single appearance in the famous blue jersey, but he’s still managed to make a living in La Liga with Leganés after six loan spells across the continent.
Another brilliant coup from Villas-Boas, Cahill went on to make 290 appearances for the club, won two Premier League titles, bagged the Champions League and Europe League titles and lifted the FA Cup as captain.
Piazon is STILL at Chelsea, seriously. Despite appearing in just one Premier League match for the Blues – in which he missed a penalty, naturally – Piazon remains on their books after seven loan spells of varying quality.
Kevin De Bruyne
Villas-Boas gifted Chelsea with one of the biggest talents in the world and they blew it. De Bruyne is now a bona fide PFA Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or contender with Manchester City having thrived since his Wolfsburg spell.
You’d be mistaken for thinking that Chelsea had their next number nine after Bamford thrived on loan at Middlesbrough and although things never worked out, he’s ticking over just fine with promotion-chasing Leeds United.
Some impressive buys
Imagine being that bad in the role and managing the club for such a short period of time, but somehow managing to pull off such an incredible list of signings.
If Chelsea had shown the sort of patience towards De Bruyne and Lukaku that they did with Courtois, they could have entered the middle section of the decade with an insane team.
Just imagine Mourinho barking orders to a midfield of Cesc Fabregas, De Bruyne and a prime Nemanja Matic with Diego Costa and Lukaku causing mayhem up front. Not bad, huh?
But even if we put the ‘maybes’ aside for a second, Mata and Cahill were also inspired signings by Villas-Boas and two players who are considered Chelsea cult heroes at the very least.
So, yes, Villas-Boas wasn’t cut out for the Chelsea job like his old boss, but there’s no denying that he has an eye for a good signing. Maybe he should have stuck to scouting…