Zola, Lampard, Hazard: Chelsea’s 10 best transfer decisions of the Premier League era – Football.London

Chelsea have been big players in the transfer market ever since Billionaire owner Roman Abramovich took control of the club in 2003.

Abramovich’s money, as well as his ruthless yet successful approach to hiring and firing managers, has helped to put Chelsea on the map as one of the biggest club’s in world football.

And after his club won their second Champions League title last campaign, it seems as though he’s willing to splash the cash once again in order to re-establish domestic dominance.

Although some of his signings over the years haven’t worked, he’s also brought in an amazing amount of talent.

And even before Abramovich took charge, Chelsea had occasionally signed some bargains.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Blues’ best signings since the Premier League began.


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Gianfranco Zola (1996-2003)

In 2003, in the months prior to Abramovich’s takeover at the club, Zola was voted the club’s greatest ever player, winning five major honours at Stamford Bridge, including the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

He became the first Blues player to win the FWA’s Player of the Year award following a fantastic individual 1996-97 season, and Zola was ultimately the star man within a talented group of players who first attracted Abramovich to invest in the club.

Marcel Desailly (1998-2004)

Desailly joined Chelsea from AC Milan in a £4.6m deal.

The legendary French defender arrived at the club as a World Cup and Champions League winner, and even went onto win Euro 2000 with France whilst contracted to Chelsea.

Although he only managed to win one major honour in six years at the club as he lifted the FA Cup in 2000, his calming influence over the club’s greatest ever defender, John Terry, has often been quoted.

Frank Lampard (2001-2014)

Some pundits believed Chelsea paid West Ham too much money for Lampard in 2001 as they signed the Englishman for £11m.

He went on to become the club’s highest ever goal scorer, finding the net an incredible 211 times in 13 years at Stamford Bridge as a player.

His managerial stint wasn’t as successful but Lampard will always be loved by Chelsea fans and rightly so.

Ricardo Carvalho (2004-2010)

Carvalho formed arguably the best ever Premier League centre-back partnership as he and Terry made the Blues a defensive force.

The duo were the key in the Blues’ title winning side conceding just 15 goals in the 2004/05 season.

He may have cost £20million in 2004, but Carvalho repaid every penny as he helped Chelsea to win the Premier League three times in his six years at the club.

Didier Drogba (2004-2012) (2014-2015)

Drogba is remembered as the ultimate big game player as he scored nine times in 10 cup finals.

Most memorably, he scored the equaliser in the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich before going onto convert the winning penalty in the shootout.

That was going to be his eleventh and final major honour with Chelsea but after Jose Mourinho asked for him to return to the club, he helped the Blues win another Premier League title in 2014-2015.

Petr Cech (2004-2015)

Petr Cech is Chelsea’s best ever goalkeeper.

After arriving from Rennes for £7million in 2004, Cech went onto win every domestic major honour, a Champions League and a Europa League in his 11-year stay at the club.

He was a giant in the 2012 final against Bayern Munich, saving Arjen Robben’s penalty in extra-time before then stopping two more spot-kicks in the shootout.

Cech is still involved at Chelsea and is now the club’s technical and performance advisor.

Michael Ballack (2006-2010)

German born Ballack cost Chelsea nothing in 2006 which is precisely why he makes the list.

Although he was often behind Lampard in the rotation, he helped the club win five major honours in his four-year spell in England and was always well respected.

Ashley Cole (2006-2014)

The Arsenal graduate’s transfer to Chelsea was full of controversies, but it eventually ended with him making a switch to West London for £5million plus William Gallas.

It proved a bargain, as Cole won every major honour during his time at the club.

He’s also largely considered to be the best ever Premier League left-back, if not one of the best of all time.

Eden Hazard (2012-2019)

Hazard demanded a hefty fee in 2012 but £32million looks like nothing in hindsight.

He scored 85 goals in 245 Premier League appearances as he inspired the Blues to two Premier League titles in 2014-15 and 2016-17.

Because of injury, he hasn’t found that same form at Real Madrid yet, but there’s no doubting the talent of the man who so frequently brought smiles to Stamford Bridge.

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Cezar Azpilicueta (2012-present)

With 429 appearances and counting, Chelsea’s club captain is already a legend at the club.

He cemented that status when he lifted the Champions League in May, and he’ll be hoping that he can get his hands on domestic glory once again as Thomas Tuchel’s Blues aim to replace Manchester City as England’s best.

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