There are some players rejected by Chelsea for reasons well known while there are some players rejected by Chelsea for ridiculous reasons. It is quite common for football clubs to sign players based on specific qualities, but what you may not hear so much about is the weird but funny reasons why they turn down some really good players.
Players rejected by Chelsea
In this article, we talk about Chelsea Football Club and the six times they have rejected players for ridiculous reasons.
1. Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe, currently one of the best wingers in the world, is renowned for his pace, skills, and goal-scoring ability and essentially embodies everything one would desire in a winger—well, apparently not everything if you’re Chelsea FC.
At the age of 13, Mbappe underwent a trial at Chelsea, where his abilities on the ball impressed the club. However, they ultimately decided against signing him, citing the fact that he couldn’t defend. Yes, that’s correct! Despite his prowess with the ball, Chelsea declined the opportunity to sign the current best young winger in the world for a nominal fee due to his perceived deficiency in defensive capabilities.
His mother was quite upset about the outcome, and needless to say, Chelsea’s request for a second trial was swiftly declined. Considering Mbappe’s remarkable achievements since that time, it’s evident that he made the right choice.
2. Sergio Aguero
In December, Aguero announced his retirement from football, leaving behind a legacy as a Manchester City legend and one of the greatest strikers of all time. But did you know he could have become a Chelsea legend instead? Here’s the story.
In 2009, while playing for Atletico Madrid, Aguero faced Chelsea in the Champions League and scored two goals, catching the attention of the English club. His impressive performance, coupled with his high reputation as a young talent, led to Chelsea expressing interest in signing him the following summer, but ultimately they decided against it.
Former Chelsea winger Joe Cole later disclosed that Chelsea opted not to sign Aguero due to concerns about his body shape. Quite perplexing, isn’t it? Well, it seems Chelsea underestimated his potential future impact and paid the price in the years that followed.
Aguero would later join their English rivals, Manchester City, and go on to score even more goals against Chelsea. In fact, during his 10-year tenure at City, he set a new record for the highest number of goals scored by a single player against Chelsea. Talk about the past coming back to haunt them.
3. Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo, the veteran midfielder, is another player who could have been signed by Chelsea but wasn’t. However, unlike Mbappe and Aguero, who were turned down as youngsters, Pirlo was turned down because he was considered too old.
Well, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Technically, both Pirlo and Chelsea opted against each other. The player wasn’t ‘too old’ in the literal sense. To understand it better, here’s a quick backstory.
In 2009, manager Carlo Ancelotti departed AC Milan for Chelsea and expressed interest in bringing Pirlo, who had just turned 30 at the time, to Stamford Bridge.
Initially, all parties were amenable to the transfer, until Chelsea stated that they could only offer him a one-year deal due to their policy against offering longer contracts to players in their 30s.
As expected, Pirlo wasn’t willing to accept the offer. Chelsea remained firm in their belief that 30-year-olds were considered old players, leading to the collapse of the deal.
Pirlo continued to play for six more seasons before retiring at Juventus in 2016, culminating his successful career with the Champions League final.
4. Declan Rice
Declan Rice, unlike the first three on the list, was a player Chelsea previously owned but released, and here’s the surprising part—it was for free. The West Ham midfielder was once part of Chelsea’s academy but was let go at the age of 14 due to concerns about his physicality.
Yes, the club chose to release him because they deemed him not tall enough compared to his peers in the academy. And just to clarify, it was indeed an academy for football, not basketball or wrestling.
It’s a decision they likely regret now, considering their current interest in reacquiring him. His transfer value is estimated at around 100 million pounds, meaning they would have to pay that amount to regain the player they once released for free.
With such a substantial asking price, we could say it’ll be a ‘tall order’ to bring back the player they previously didn’t consider ‘tall’ enough.
5. Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne, currently regarded by many as the best player in the Premier League, often referred to as KDB was a Chelsea player for two years, during which he played only a few games for the club.
De Bruyne joined Chelsea in January 2012 from Genk but spent the next one and a half seasons out on loan before returning to the club. Upon his return, he anticipated ample playing time, but that wasn’t the case. He ended up playing fewer than five games in six months and was subsequently sold in January 2014 due to what was described as a personality clash with coach Jose Mourinho, stemming from his desire for more playing time.
Imagine this: KDB walks into Jose’s office one morning in December and says, “I want more playing time.” Jose responds, “You can’t have more time.” KDB insists, “I deserve more playing time.” Jose replies, “No, you don’t. You’re not that good.” End of meeting. Well, at least we’re speculating that’s what a personality clash looked like back in 2013.
Following that conversation, communication between them dwindled, KDB’s playing time decreased, and by January, he departed for Wolfsburg.
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He was later signed by Manchester City and has since scored no fewer than five goals against Chelsea in the league, the highest number scored by any of their former players against them. Two of those goals turned out to be match-winning goals. It seems KDB might have taken that personality clash a bit too personally. Seriously, KDB, not cool.
6. Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah, much like De Bruyne, is also considered by many as one of the best players in the Premier League, but that’s just one of the few things the two have in common. In addition to being compared as the “best player,” both played for Chelsea under Mourinho and were coincidentally released for similar reasons.
Upon Salah’s arrival at Chelsea in 2014, he aimed to secure a regular spot in the starting lineup. However, after a year, that objective wasn’t materializing, leading to a decline in his relationship with Mourinho.
Subsequently, he was sent out on two loan spells before eventually departing the club on a permanent deal in 2016. He returned to England a year later when Liverpool came calling.
Since his return, Salah has scored four goals against Chelsea so far and seems poised to score even more in the future
Are there any other players who faced even more absurd rejections? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!