British transfer record hits and misses as Chelsea fans pray flop curse ends

Chelsea fans are hoping that the curse of British record transfers will end following the signing of Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.

The Argentine midfielder joined the Blues on Deadline Day following a month-long transfer saga, arriving at Stamford Bridge for a British record fee of just over £105million. Fresh from winning the World Cup, Fernandez will head to England after Chelsea agreed to pay his release clause across several instalments.

However, the large fee is a cause of concern for supporters due to Chelsea's poor record with previous big money signings and the history of past British record transfers.

READ MORE: Chelsea finally confirm £107m Enzo Fernandez deal after hours of leaving fans worried

With that in mind, here is how every British record signing of the Premier League era has fared in the past.

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish was the British record signing for just 18 months, having completed a move from Aston Villa to Manchester City for £100million in the summer of 2021.

Despite winning the Premier League in his maiden season with the club, his performances came under fire. Grealish has since improved this term, with six goal contributions already, compared to 10 in the whole of the 2021/22 campaign.

Paul Pogba

Four years after leaving the club for free, Manchester United re-signed Paul Pogba for £89million from Juventus in 2016.

During his second spell at Old Trafford, the Frenchman made 226 appearances, scoring 39 goals and providing 53 assists. Although he won the Europa League and League Cup in 2017, his time at United generally underwhelmed fans ahead of his exit last summer after failing to sign a new deal.

Fernando Torres

Having impressed with his finishing in front of goal for Liverpool before suffering a series of knee injuries, Fernando Torres swapped the Reds for Chelsea for £50million in January 2011.

However, Torres was unable to recapture the form he had shown in his early days at Anfield, despite scoring a number of important goals for Chelsea. In four years, he scored 45 goals in 172 appearances across all competitions.


It does not bode well for a new signing when they thought they had joined a different club instead, with Robinho infamously mistaking Man City for their neighbours United on Deadline Day in the summer of 2008.

A positive start in England soon fizzled out for the Brazilian winger and he was leaving on loan for Santos less than two years after completing his £32.5million transfer. He departed City with a record of 16 goals and 12 assists in 53 appearances.

Andriy Shevchenko

Chelsea first broke the British transfer record in 2006 as they signed Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan for £30.6million. The Ukrainian had been prolific in Italy, winning multiple golden boots and had just top scored in the 2005/06 Champions League.

Shevchenko struggled to adapt to English football, though, scoring just nine league goals in 48 Premier League matches. He was loaned back to Milan in 2008 before departing on a free transfer the following summer.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand twice became the British record signing during his career, with the second instance coming in 2002 as he swapped Leeds United for Manchester United for £29.1million.

The former England centre-back went on to make more than 450 appearances for the Red Devils and won 15 major trophies, including the Champions League and six league titles.

Juan Sebastian Veron

Just a year before signing Ferdinand, United smashed the record twice in the space of two weeks, with Ruud van Nistelrooy's arrival followed by Juan Sebastian Veron arriving from Lazio for £28.1million.

The two transfers would have contrasting levels of success, with Veron's value having halved by the time he was sold to Chelsea in 2003. He failed to start more than 25 league matches in either of his two seasons at Old Trafford but did win a solitary league title.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

As for Van Nistelrooy, the Dutch striker had much more success in England after arriving from PSV Eindhoven for £19million. He won the Premier League golden boot in his second season with 25 goals to fire United to the title.

Overall, Van Nistelrooy found the back of the net 150 times across 219 appearances, with 95 of those goals coming in 150 Premier League matches. His performances for United ultimately earned a move to Real Madrid in 2006.

Rio Ferdinand

Prior to joining United, Ferdinand had been involved in a record move as he joined Leeds from West Ham United in 2000 for £18million.

His performances at Elland Road went on to earn a move to Old Trafford and helped establish Ferdinand in the England squad. Ferdinand was also a member of the Leeds squad that reached the Champions League semi-finals in the 2000/01 season.

Alan Shearer

Like Ferdinand, Alan Shearer was twice involved in a British record transfer and returned to boyhood club Newcastle United for £15million in 1996.

Shearer went on to become the club's all-time top scorer with 206 goals in 405 appearances up until his retirement in 2006. His goals for the Toon Army also helped him become the Premier League's record goalscorer.

Stan Collymore

Stan Collymore had less success at Liverpool after breaking the record a year earlier when he signed from Nottingham Forest for £8.5million.

35 goals in 81 matches followed across the next two seasons, but Collymore was unable to help the Reds win any silverware before being offloaded to Aston Villa.

Dennis Bergkamp

The summer of 1995 proved a busy time for transfer business in England as Arsenal had earlier spent a then record £7.5million on Dennis Bergkamp.

Arriving from Inter Milan, Bergkamp went on to spend 11 years in north London before ending his career in 2006 as an Arsenal legend. He scored 115 goals for the Gunners and won three league titles as well as four FA Cups with the club.

Andy Cole

Bergkamp's move to Arsenal cost just £500,000 more than Andy Cole's controversial transfer from Newcastle to Manchester United in January 1995.

The sale caused protests from Newcastle fans, such was his form at St. James' Park and he continued those performances for the Red Devils. In seven years, Cole scored 121 goals in 275 matches for United, winning five league titles and one Champions League.

Chris Sutton

One half of Blackburn Rovers' prolific title-winning strike partnership set the club back £5million in the summer of 1994 as Chris Sutton arrived from Norwich City.

The goals of Sutton and Shearer would help fire Rovers to the title in the following season, as they scored a combined 49 goals. Sutton would later top score on his own in 1997/98 before leaving Ewood Park a year later for twice as much as he signed for.

Roy Keane

£3.75million was enough to set a new British transfer record in 1993, with Roy Keane joining Manchester United from Forest after three years at the City Ground.

Keane would go on to have a trophy-laden career at United, where he would go on to become club captain, making 473 appearances for the club. He won seven league titles in 12-and-a-half years as well as the Champions League and four FA Cups.

Alan Shearer

Prior to the Premier League's first season, Blackburn signed Shearer from Southampton for £3.5million to set a new British transfer record.

He went on to score a staggering 123 goals in just 162 appearances over the course of the next three years, with 34 of those goals coming in the title-winning league campaign of 1994/95 alone.


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