Victor Moses has today completed a permanent transfer to Spartak Moscow.
The move brings to an end the wideman’s nine-year Chelsea career and returns him to the Russian Premier League club, where he made 20 appearances on loan last season.
Moses switched Wigan Athletic for west London in the summer of 2012, completing his transfer to the European champions just days after starting against us on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
In his first interview as a Chelsea player, he promised ‘there’s still more to come from me’ and that is exactly what he then proved over the coming years.
After making his Blues debut as a second-half substitute away at Queens Park Rangers, he then scored on his first start, capping a solid display by heading home to round off a 6-0 Carabao Cup victory over Wolves. A week later, he made his first Champions League appearance in another big win, this time in Denmark against Nordsjaelland.
A promising maiden season proved to be the best goalscoring term of Moses’s time at Stamford Bridge, with further strikes against Swansea City, Leeds United and Shakhtar Donetsk coming before Christmas, the latter a last-minute European winner. They each gave him the opportunity to perform the acrobatic celebrations he became renowned for.
Competition for places in the front three was tough, with Eden Hazard having also arrived that summer from Lille, but Moses was a regular throughout the campaign and finished with double figures for goals.
His most notable efforts during the run-in came at home and away in both the quarter-final and semi-final of the Europa League as we went on to lift the trophy in Amsterdam, the first of his four major honours as a Blue.
On the international stage, the Lagos-born winger headed to South Africa midway through his first campaign in SW6 to represent Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations and proved influential as his nation won the tournament for the first time since 1994.
Qualification for the knockout stage had been in doubt until his late intervention in the final group game against Ethiopia as he won and scored two late penalties, before playing a part in the only goal of the final. During his time at Chelsea, Moses also represented Nigeria at the World Cup in 2014 and 2018, scoring in the latter against Argentina.
A product of the Crystal Palace youth academy, Moses didn’t feature in any of the first four matches of the 2013/14 season as the arrival of Willian and Samuel Eto’o added to Jose Mourinho’s forward options. On transfer deadline day, he moved to Liverpool, the first of three consecutive season-long loan moves to Premier League clubs, with Stoke City and West Ham following.
Yet a change of manager in the summer of 2016, combined with Moses catching the eye in pre-season, saw Antonio Conte opt to keep him as part of the squad and that decision paid off to great effect in October when the Italian switched to a 3-4-3 system, utilising Moses and Marcos Alonso as wing-backs. In the first game starting with that shape, away at Hull City, his endless energy in a new role won individual plaudits in a 2-0 win.
The alteration coincided with our remarkable rise to the top of the Premier League table, with goals against champions Leicester City and a Stamford Bridge winner at home to Tottenham endearing him to the Chelsea faithful once again. However, it was not just his well-established attacking quality down the right flank that caught the eye, with Conte’s emphasis on tactical discipline forcing Moses to develop the defensive side of his game.
His rapid transformation from winger to wing-back paid huge dividends and Moses was widely heralded as one of the main reasons why the 3-4-3 shape worked so well for the Blues.
By the end of the season, he had made 40 appearances, playing in all but four of our Premier League games as the title returned to the Bridge once again. However, a fantastic individual and team campaign ended with a sour taste as Arsenal scuppered our hopes of completing the Double, with Moses sent off in a 2-1 FA Cup final defeat.
That setback was ultimately put right 12 months later as Moses featured throughout the 2018 final against Manchester United, in which Eden Hazard’s penalty proved the difference between the sides. Our title defence had ended some weeks earlier, despite the Nigerian continuing to perform well from wing-back, scoring most notably at Turf Moor to earn three points against Burnley.
Having featured only six times under Maurizio Sarri, Moses departed on loan to Fenerbahce in January 2019, though his early-season efforts did help us through the Europa League group stage prior to May’s triumph in Baku. After linking up with Conte again at Inter Milan, Moses then spent 2020/21 in Russia with Spartak, with one of his four goals earning a point that ultimately secured the Moscow men a place in the Champions League qualifiers.
Victor ends his time at Chelsea with 128 appearances and 18 goals to his name, as well as a Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League title. We thank him for his years of service and wish him the very best in his future career.