10 Biggest Dodged Bullets In Chelsea Transfer History
8. Gregory van der Wiel
Dutchman Gregory van der Wiel was hot stuff at Ajax, considered one of the finest prospects to emerge from the club's legendary academy at the time. He was picked up in 2012/13 by the ambitious Paris St Germain, whose Qatari owners were seeking to make their new club a footballing giant to be reckoned with in the same way Abramovich had done with Chelsea eight years earlier. Chelsea had been linked with van der Wiel on numerous occasions in the past, enjoying a wealth of Dutch contacts courtesy of Abramovich's personal advisor and legendary scout, Piet de Visser, and nascent affiliation with Vitesse Arnhem. Their interest never quite materialised into a concrete offer, although 2012 was the year when the club came closest following the departure of squad player Jose Bosingwa. Van der Wiel went to Paris instead for a surprisingly low reported fee of around 6 million. Since then, his form has been decent but hardly exceptional, leading to his being dropped from Louis van Gaal's Dutch squad for the 2014 World Cup. Chelsea wouldn't have got a bad player had they nabbed him and the price would've just about been a bargain, but they instead opted for Marseille's Cesar Azpilicueta, signed for an undervalued £7 million. The Spaniard quickly established himself as one of the best young full-backs in the game, able to play on either side with equal efficiency and even giving a decent performance when Mourinho gave him a try further forward as a defensive winger last season. He's a firm fan favourite at Chelsea and missing out on him for a decent but distinctly lesser player would've been a great shame.
28-year old English writer with a borderline obsessive passion for films, videogames, Chelsea FC, incomprehensible words and indefensible puns. Follow me on Twitter if you like infrequent outbursts of absolute drivel.