On this day: Chelsea spend big on Andriy Shevchenko

Andriy Shevchenko in action for Chelsea on September 23, 2006.
© Getty Images
Eight years ago today, Chelsea sign Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko for a reported £30.8m.

Over the years, foreign players have arrived in the Premier League and exceeded expectations, while others have surprisingly flopped.

Unfortunately for Chelsea and Andriy Shevchenko, their £30.8m purchase of the Ukrainian striker from AC Milan eight years ago today falls into the latter of those two categories.

On the face of it, the transfer couldn't fail. At the age of 29, Shevchenko was at the prime age for a centre-forward, having arrived in West London with a record of 175 goals from his 322 outings for Milan.

His stint started positively as he scored during the 2-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool, before going on to find the net against Middlesbrough. However, the goals soon dried up and he ended the campaign having found the net on just four occasions in the Premier League and a total of 14 times in all competitions.

The following season proved to be even less successful, with injuries and a loss of form limiting the frontman's starting opportunities. He scored in the 1-1 draw with Rosenborg, which turned out to be Jose Mourinho's final game in charge of the club, while the subsequent appointments of Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari and his former Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti failed to reignite Shevchenko's clinical touch.

He spent the 2008-09 term on loan back at the San Siro, before he departed Chelsea on a permanent basis in the summer of 2009 for Dynamo Kiev - the club where his career began.

Speaking about Shevchenko's arrival recently, Mourinho, in his second stint in charge of the Blues, confessed that Ukraine's leading goalscorer of all time was not his preferred choice to partner Didier Drogba.

"Shevchenko? It's not true the owner forced him on me. Never, never during my time did the owner interfere in the basic things of the manager – training sessions, team selection, the profile of player I want to bring. Do you want to know the truth about Shevchenko? I hope the board is not upset with me. We wanted to buy Samuel Eto'o, he was our target. We wanted Eto'o and the owner was more than ready to do ­everything to bring Eto'o here," he said.

"He was the player I wanted. Why? Because Eto'o was the only player I could play with Didier Drogba, changing the system for two strikers. He was also ready to play with Drogba with the system we had at the time, with three ­attacking players with Eto'o ­coming from the sides. I did the same with him at Inter Milan. We wanted Eto'o and the boss did everything to bring Eto'o and Peter Kenyon did everything.

"In the end, Barcelona said, 'We don't sell, forget it, forget it. Not any price'. The owner did everything to get him, but it was not possible. After that, we went to other options and got to Shevchenko. I was happy with him. Even with the top dogs – when you buy for £30m, £40m, £50m, or £60m – sometimes it doesn't work. It doesn't mean you or the club made a big mistake. It just doesn't work."

A general view of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza taken on November 03, 2010
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