Ever since the takeover from Roman Abramovich, Chelsea have been a big-spending club capable of buying almost anybody in the transfer market. And because of this, the Blues have cemented themselves as one of the most successful Premier League clubs during the past decade.
Even before the Abramovich era, Chelsea had some smart purchases which propelled them to FA and League Cup successes.
However as we enter the new season with Jose Mouinrho already spending over £70million for Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, and Filipe Luis… which previous signings went on to bring success and go down in the Stamford Bridge history books as Chelsea legends?
Here are the TOP 5 Best Chelsea Signings in Premier League History…
Although the young Belgian only spent two seasons at the Bridge, Hazard has already established himself as the star player in Chelsea’s first XI.
Bought from Lille on a £32million fee, Hazard came as one of Europe’s best young talents and didn’t need any time getting used to the Premier League… winning three consecutive Man of the Match awards in his first three appearances.
Hazard is almost the complete attacking player, able to use both feet and when combined with immense speed and dribbling ability, is extremely hard to stop in and around the penalty box. The past two seasons Hazard scored 30 goals from midfield, as well as providing an astonishing 34 assists.
The 23-year-old is definitely going to get better, and will sooner or later become the legend the club brought him in to be.
During Abramovich’s first season after taking over as Chelsea’s owner, he gave coach Claudio Ranieri the license to go out and purchase a host of star names.
Along came Juan Sebastian Veron, Damian Duff, Joe Cole, and of course the infamous Adrian Mutu… but his best signings was the £16million capture of France international Claude Makelele.
The holding midfielder was looking for a new contract along the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, and Ronaldo at Real Madrid, but the Spanish club didn’t value Makelele’s abilities, allowing him to leave to the Blues.
But Madrid’s loss was Chelsea’s gain, because after a season at the Bridge Jose Mourinho came in and transformed Makelele into the world’s best defensive midfielder, in which the Blues won the Premier League and Makelele recognized as the club’s Player of the Year.
The Frenchman was so good in his position that even today, the nickname for the defensive midfielder is known as the “Makelele role.”
Frank Lampard is so synonymous with Chelsea that people tend to forget that the English legend was an £11million purchase from West Ham United, and only because the Hammers decided to part ways with then manager and Lampard’s uncle Harry Redknapp.
Lampard didn’t take long to establish himself as a Chelsea starter but it took the arrival of manager Jose Mourinho before Lampard became a world class goalscoring midfielder.
With the protection of Makelele in front of the back four, Lampard had the liberty to make late runs into the penalty area which resulted in goal after goal after goal… and of course trophies.
And on May 2013, Lampard broke the club’s all-time goalscoring record of 202 goals to cement himself as Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer.
And he’s a midfielder… making any goalscoring record the more impressive.
Zola may have not won any Premier League titles during his time with Chelsea, but Blues fans and neutrals alike have considered the diminutive Italian as one of the best players to ever wear the Chelsea jersey.
Zola arrived from Parma for just £4.5million as one of the few expats from Italy to play outside the Serie A, and it proved to be quite the capture.
During his time Zola helped Chelsea to two FA Cups, a League Cup, and a UEFA Cups Winners Cup, but more memorable was the way Zola played the game.
The Italian drifted past players with ease, his ball control un-matched and possessed the precision to curl the ball into the top corner while dribbling or from a free-kick.
Zola was inspirational in his last season with Chelsea, as his 14 league goals and performances brought the Blues back into the Champions League. And it was because of Chelsea’s fourth place finish that gave Abramovich the incentive to buy the club to compete in Europe’s elite competition. Zola later earned the title of Chelsea’s Greatest Ever Player that year, capping a great end to his Stamford Bridge career.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
If there was ever a player that symbolized Chelsea’s success over the past decade, it has to be Didier Drogba.
He may have not scored as many goals as Frank Lampard or was as part of many games as John Terry, but when the Blues needed inspiration in an important game there was nobody better than the powerful Ivorian.
Drogba was purchased from Marseille by manager Jose Mourinho for £24million in the summer of 2004, and the striker helped the Blues to their first league title in 50 years.
Drogba was twice the Premier League Golden Boot winner (2007,2010), but it was his knack of scoring in cup finals that make him stand-out amongst the best in the world of football. When the last game of a competition came about, you can bet Drogba will be there to win Chelsea the cup.
His best however was in his last game in his previous stint for Chelsea, when he scored an 87th minute equalizer in the 2012 Champions League final before scoring the final penalty to win Chelsea their first ever Champions League trophy.
Drogba is undoubtedly Chelsea’s best ever transfer in Premier League history, and we hope to see him continue scoring now that he is back.