Chelsea fans don’t remember Andre Villas-Boas’ spell as manager with much fondness.
There was great fanfare surrounding his appointment in 2011, with many fans drawing parallels between the Portuguese’s similarities with Jose Mourinho who remained a cult hero at the club.
Villas-Boas had worked under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ in west London before and was coming off a wildly successful season with FC Porto that saw him win the treble.
However, things didn’t work out for Villas-Boas and he was eventually sacked in March with Chelsea out of the title race and facing Champions League elimination.
The club experienced a renaissance after his departure with Roberto Di Matteo inheriting the reins, winning the FA Cup and Champions League.
The players Villas-Boas sold
He would go onto manage in the Premier League again with Tottenham but his career never carried the same anticipation again amid spells with Zenit St. Petersburg and Shanghai SIPG.
One thing Villas-Boas could be praised for, though, was his skills in the transfer window with Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Juan Mata and Thibaut Courtois all arriving during his reign,.
However, what about the players he sold? Well, no less than 14 players were axed upon his arrival in 2011 and its fair to say they’ve experienced mixed fortunes ever since.
Careers don’t come much stranger than Borini’s and he’s experienced a rollercoaster ride since leaving Chelsea in 2011. He’s played every position barring centre-back and goalkeeper this season with AC Milan after spells with Parma, AS Roma, Liverpool and Sunderland.
The young English talent only made six appearances for Chelsea before being snapped up Hamburg that summer. He spent three years in Germany before returning to England with Nottingham Forest and crossing the pond this year to join New England Revolution.
Now here’s a prime example of a career going downhill after time with a top club. The Kenyan talent was let go by Chelsea in 2011, prompting a three year spell in footballing obscurity before going Enfield Town and moving to Welling in the sixth tier of English football.
So, technically Villas-Boas had nothing to do with his deal but Matic didn’t leave Chelsea until the summer despite being involved in David Luiz’s January arrival. The Serbian eventually returned to Stamford Bridge before switching to Manchester United in 2017.
The young midfielder eventually waved goodbye to the Blues after failing to make a single appearance, signing for Sheffield United and spending two years with the Blades. The 27-year-old made over 100 outings for Oldham Athletic until a recent Blackpool transfer.
Still very young upon his departure from Chelsea, Rodgers slotted immediately into the youth academy at Brighton. However, he failed to make the breakthrough on the south coast, too, and recently failed a trial with Falkirk after leaving non-league Hungerford Town.
Another player to leave for Hamburg upon his departure in 2011, Sala enjoyed success in Germany and garnered caps for Italy’s under-21 side. He has since returned to his native Italy and currently plies his trade with Sampdoria after three years with Hellas Verona.
We could list every club Sampayo has played for since facing Villas-Boas’ axe but we’d be here forever. The defender has tumbled down the non-league pyramid ever since his exit and now turns out for Aveley FC in the seventh tier of English football.
What could have been? Sebek was considered a promising goalkeeper having played for his country’s youth squad and held his own in the Chelsea reserves. However, his career would fizzle out upon a return to the Czech Republic and he’s been without a club since 2013.
One of the highest profile departures in the summer of 2011, even if Tore never made the breakthrough at Stamford Bridge. Despite a disappointing loan spell with West Ham recently, he’s procured 26 caps for Turkey and played for Besiktas since 2014.
Leaving Chelsea for Yeovil Town is quite the tumble, that’s for sure. Woods failed to succeed in Somerset and would eventually fall down to the sixth tier with Harrogate Town before enjoying a mini renaissance with Hartlepool Town prior to their League Two relegation.
Although didn’t make it at Chelsea, he has become a solid Premier League player since Villas-Boas showed him the exit. He amassed over 100 appearances for Southampton, spent time with Swansea City and now plays for Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
Things never really worked out for Zhirkov at Chelsea and he became one of the marquee signings of Anzhi’s remarkable spending spree. The Russia didn’t stick around for long, though, signing for Dynamo Moscow before upgrade to Zenit St. Petersburg.
Remember him, Chelsea fans? The chances are unlikely, even if the Serbian was yet another player to move to Hamburg during the eventful summer. The 29-year-old gathered 42 outings in the Bundesliga, a handful of caps for Serbia and moved to Palermo in 2016.
So, although Villas-Boas delivered so many exits, he got it right on the whole.
The exit of Matic was out of his hands and other than that, it just goes to show that Villas-Boas was once again incredibly adept in the transfer window if nothing else.
Do you think Villas-Boas was wrong to sell any of these players? Have your say in the comments section below.