Chelsea 2021/22 season player ratings: Mason Mount 9, Thiago Silva 8, Romelu Lukaku 4

Third place in the Premier League, both domestic finals, and the Club World Cup represent a good season for the Blues

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It was a season quite unlike any other in Chelsea's recent history. Basking in the glow of last year's superb Champions League triumph - achieved five months after Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager with the club ninth in the Premier League table - all Chelsea seemingly needed to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool for the title was a proven, prolific goalscorer.

In came Romelu Lukaku, fresh from firing Inter Milan to the Serie A title, for his second spell at Stamford Bridge, ready to prove wrong the doubters and finally stake his claim to be Chelsea's main man, seven years after leaving the club due to a lack of opportunity. The Belgian may have cost a club record £97.5 million ($122.5m) but was considered as close to a guarantee as they come.

And how well it all started for player and club. Lukaku scored four goals in his first four games, slotting seamlessly into Tuchel's system and living up to the widely predicted 'final piece of the jigsaw' claim.

But the good times wouldn't last: Lukaku went 10 games without a goal, spent six weeks sidelined with an ankle injury, and conducted an explosive interview which criticised Tuchel's tactics and expressed a desire to one day return to Inter.

For a while, Chelsea managed to soldier on in the absence of Lukaku and his goals, and sat top of the table after 14 games while making comfortable progress in the Champions League. Yet, even as their title challenge began to falter, Lukaku largely remained sat on the bench, with Kai Havertz preferred to spearhead the attack.

The former Everton and Manchester United striker did make a telling contribution in Chelsea's one major trophy of the season, scoring in both games at the Club World Cup, but his form in Abu Dhabi was not maintained, with just five goals in 17 appearances across all competitions until the end of the season.

Regardless of Lukaku's own contribution, it was a satisfactory season for Chelsea, who finished best of the rest in the Premier League and reached both domestic finals, losing twice to Liverpool on penalties in the League Cup and FA Cup. Their European Cup defence ended in the quarter-finals but not before a rousing fightback against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Chelsea win Club World Cup

However, it was the developments taking place off the pitch for which this season will be best remembered for Chelsea. After 19 years of ownership, and bankrolling the club's most successful era, Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, before the UK government imposed sanctions on the billionaire for his alleged links to Russian president Vladamir Putin.

Those sanctions included severe restrictions on Chelsea's ability to operate, preventing the club from offering new contracts to players, limiting their travel expenses, and blocking ticket sales.

After a long and protracted process, Chelsea will soon have new owners in place, with a consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly set to complete a £4.25 billion takeover. A busy summer is expected as the new owners take their place in the boardroom and Tuchel and his staff get to work rebuilding a squad losing several first team players.

Before looking ahead to the future and a new era, check out the player ratings from the 2021/22 season in the photo gallery above. To move on to the next photo, click on the arrows or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

Updated: May 27, 2022, 7:47 AM