Chelsea vs. Luton: Biggest Premier League transfer mismatch

Chris Wright, Toe Poke writerAug 24, 2023, 09:00 AM ET

Chelsea welcome newly promoted Luton Town to Stamford Bridge on Friday night in what might just be the biggest mismatch in Premier League history — at least in terms of the amount of money spent assembling each club’s respective squad.

Totalling up the fees for the players registered in their 2023-24 Premier League rosters (via Transfermarkt), the clash pits a Chelsea side that cost over €1 billion against a 32-man Luton Town outfit assembled for a mere fraction of that sum.

Indeed, Luton — whose 10,300-capacity home stadium of Kenilworth Road is still undergoing renovations to make it fit for hosting top-flight games — have only paid actual monetary transfer fees to sign seven members of their current Premier League squad.

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The Hatters’ club-record signing (Ryan Giles, €5.85 million from Wolverhampton Wanderers) still cost less than half of what Chelsea shelled out to sign Andrey Santos — who, at €12.5m, is the least expensive of the dozens of acquisitions made to build the Blues’ 2023-24 first-team squad.

Of course, Chelsea have broken the British transfer record twice in the space of just six months, first by signing World Cup-winner Enzo Fernández from Benfica in a deal worth €121m back in January before eclipsing their own high-water mark by bringing Moisés Caicedo to Stamford Bridge from Brighton & Hove Albion in exchange for a princely €133m.

While Chelsea have been giddily splashing out nine-figure sums this year, Luton are able to call on Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, who originally signed for the club during the 2013-14 season when they were still languishing in non-league football. The 29-year-old midfielder has since enjoyed a meteoric rise, becoming the first player to appear in the top five divisions of English football for the same club.

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Chelsea have broken the British transfer record twice this year, while Luton have a player who has been with them since they were in non-league. Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea’s five most expensive signings (all fees in euros, via Transfermarkt)

At the top of the order for Chelsea are the two players they have signed this year that each broke the British transfer record set when Jack Grealish moved to Manchester City for €117.5m in August 2021.

Also included in the top five is Romelu Lukaku, who has been effectively frozen out of the first-team frame since returning from his season-long loan back at Inter Milan and hasn’t made a Premier League appearance for Chelsea since May 2022.

5. Mykhailo Mudryk (€70m from Shakhtar Donetsk, January 2023)
4. Wesley Fofana (€80.4m from Leicester City, August 2022)
3. Romelu Lukaku (€113m from Inter Milan, August 2021)
2. Enzo Fernandez (€121m from Benfica, January 2023)
1. Moises Caceido (€133m from Brighton, August 2023)
Total: €517.4m

Luton Town’s five most expensive signings

All five of Luton’s most costly squad additions were made within 31 days of each other this summer, arriving at Kenilworth Road between July 3 and Aug. 3 in preparation for their first campaign the Premier League and first in the top flight since 1991-92.

Versatile left-sided midfielder Ryan Giles became the Hatters’ all-time record signing when he joined from Wolves last month. Prior to July 2023, the club’s transfer record had stood at €2m, which was paid to sign forward Carlton Morris from Barnsley the previous summer.

5. Thomas Kaminski (€2.9m from Blackburn, August 2023)
4. Marvelous Nakamba (€2.9m from Aston Villa, July 2023)
3. Mads Andersen (€3.5m from Barnsley, July 2023)
2. Tahith Chong (€4.7m from Birmingham City, July 2023)
1. Ryan Giles (€5.85m from Wolves, July 2023)
Total: €19.85m

Chelsea’s current playing squad cost more than €1 billion in transfer fees to assemble. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images for Premier League

Chelsea 2023-24 Premier League squad

Robert Sánchez: €23m
Marcus Bettinelli: Free
Lucas Bergstrom: Academy

Benoit Badiashile: €38m
Marc Cucurella: €65.3m
Thiago Silva: Free
Ben Chilwell: €50.2m
Trevoh Chalobah: Academy
Malo Gusto: €30m
Reece James: Academy
Wesley Fofana: €80.4m
Levi Colwill: Academy
Malang Sarr: Free
Bashir Humphreys: Academy
Ian Maatsen: Academy
Axel Disasi: €45m

Enzo Fernandez: €121m
Mykhailo Mudryk: €70m
Conor Gallagher: Academy
Carney Chukwuemeka: €18m
Andrey Santos: €12.5m
Lesley Ugochukwu: €27m
Moises Caicedo: €133m
Romeo Lavia: €62.1m

Raheem Sterling: €56.2m
Armando Broja: Academy
Noni Madueke: €35m
Christopher Nkuku: €60m
Nicolas Jackson: €37m
Romelu Lukaku: €113m
Callum Hudson-Odoi: Academy
Mason Burstow: Academy

Total: €1, 059.7bn

Luton Town spent a little over €20 million on transfer fees for the players in their 2023-24 squad. JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Luton Town 2023-24 Premier League squad

James Shea: Free
Matt Macey: €0.115m
Thomas Kaminski: €2.9m
Tim Krul:: Free

Dan Potts: Free
Tom Lockyer: Free
Reece Burke: Free
Amari’i Bell: Free
Gabriel Osho: Free
Glen Rea: Free
Aidan Francis-Clarke: Academy
Mads Andersen: €3.5m
Issa Kaboré: Loan

Luke Berry: Free
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu: Free
Jordan Clark: Free
Louis Watson: Free
Allan Campbell: Free
Luke Freeman: Free
Alfie Doughty: Free
Dion Pereira: Free
Tahith Chong: €4.7m
Marvelous Nakamba: €2.9m
Ryan Giles: €5.85m
Ross Barkley: Free

Carlton Morris: €2m
Cauley Woodrow: Free
Elijiah Adebayo: Free
Admiral Muskwe: Free
Chiedozie Ogbene: Free
John McAtee: Free
Jacob Brown: Free

Total: €21.97m


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