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The pick of the bunch

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Since the turn of the century, especially since a certain Russian billionaire decided to get his hands on running a football club, Chelsea have been a dominant force in both Europe and England. But sadly for the Blues fans, all this has to come to an abrupt end, as Abramovich has decided to sell the club after 19 successful years at the helm.



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Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003 for around £150m, and since then the West-London outfit have racked up numerous honours and firmly etched their names as one of England’s best clubs. Since the Russian took over, the Blues have won 21 major trophies, which includes 2 Champions League titles and 5 Premier League titles.



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A key part of that has been the additions of some top signings that have helped propel the club to its current status. While the club has recently turned more towards its impressive academy to provide first-team players, that hasn’t traditionally been the case, hence why so many players have been brought in.

Honourable mentions – Branislav Ivanovic, Joe Cole and Edouard Mendy


1. Didier Drogba – £24m (Marseille, 2004)

Narrowly pipping Cech to the top spot is, of course, the main man himself: Didier Drogba.



Without the Ivorian striker, it’s safe to assume that Chelsea wouldn’t have won the 2011-12 Champions League. It was his famous header that forced extra-time against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. He then stepped up to convert the decisive spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out.

Drogba enjoyed two successful spells with Chelsea and scored a total of 164 goals for the club.


2. Petr Cech – £7m (Stade Rennais, 2004)

When Petr Cech moved to the Blues in 2004, it felt somewhat of a risk given the other options that were available at the time. Cech was also just 22 years of age and relatively unproven on the big stage, but there can be no denying that the deal represents one of Chelsea’s best pieces of business of all time.

For £7m, Chelsea got 492 appearances out of Cech, the most by an overseas player. The Czech Republic stopper kept clean sheets in 46% of those matches, and went 1024 minutes during the 2004-05 Premier League campaign without conceding a goal.



Cech contributed to 14 pieces of silverware during his time at Chelsea, most notably four Premier League titles and the Champions League triumph of 2012.

However, Cech should also be remembered for overcoming adversity having sustained a depressed skull fracture after a collision with Reading winger Stephen Hunt. Cech spent 10 days in the hospital and three months on the sidelines before playing the rest of his career wearing a headguard.


3. Ashley Cole – £5m plus William Gallas (Arsenal, 2006)

The transfer is still regarded as one of the most controversial sagas in Premier League history as Arsenal and Chelsea were embroiled in a bitter battle over Ashley Cole.

Chelsea were accused of making an illegal approach to the representatives of Cole who met with Jose Mourinho and the Blues’ chief executive Peter Kenyon, which resulted in a £300k fine to the club and a £75k fine to the Portuguese manager.



The saga ended with Cole moving to Stamford Bridge for a mere £5m fee and William Gallas who moved in the opposite direction.


Cristiano Ronaldo when questioned on his toughest opponent. 

Despite the fines and criticism that followed, the move proved to be worth it as the England international continued his sparkling form from his Arsenal days to quickly become arguably the greatest left-back to play in the Premier League.

Cole ended his Chelsea career with countless honours, winning the Premier League, League Cup, Europa League, Champions League and four FA Cups – going down as a legend at Stamford Bridge and vital Chelsea signing under Abramovich.


4. Eden Hazard – £32m (Lille, 2012)

Despite not being part of the famous Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti days, Hazard is one of the first names on the teamsheet of the all-time Chelsea XI.



Hazard won the Players’ Player of the Year award a joint-record twice, the Player of the Year a record four times, and by winning the Premier League Player of the Season in 2015 and the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year three years later, the Belgian became the most successful Chelsea man from an individual standpoint in the Abramovich era.

Hazard won the Europa League twice, the Premier League twice, and scored 110 times across 352 games in what is one of the greatest seven-year stays in Premier League history. The winger absolutely embarrassed defenders at times, and his Chelsea highlight reel is about as good as it gets in the past decade of Premier League action.


5. Cesar Azpilicueta – £7m (Marseille, 2012)

A one of a kind signing for Chelsea, Cesar Azpilicueta was not one of Abramovich’s glamour signings when he first joined the Blues, but he’s undoubtedly one of their finest purchases now and has literally ‘won it all’ after lifting the Club World Cup recently.



The versatile Spaniard has won the lot as a Chelsea player, filling in in almost any position he’s asked, and showing great leadership. A real fan-favourite who will be missed if he leaves at the end of his contract this summer.


6. N’Golo Kante – £32m (Leicester, 2016)

Makelele’s style paved the way for his fellow Frenchman to amaze supporters as a holding midfielder. Kante joined the Blues after having played an integral goal in the fairytale Leicester City Premier League title win and since then he has won every trophy available to him apart from the League Cup.



The amount of work he gets through on the field has always been described as though he is playing for two and his reading of the game has acted as a catalyst for Chelsea in their recent years of success. Another excellent piece of business.


7. Ricardo Carvalho – £20m (Porto, 2004)

Ricardo Carvalho’s 2004-10 partnership with John Terry was the catalyst for all things positive in West London.

The centre-back’s pairing was a thorn in the side of all opposing offences, and led to the acquisition of back-to-back league titles.



Nearing the end of his time at Chelsea age became a factor in his production levels, but when he was on his game, the other teams’ striker surely wasn’t.


8. Michael Essien – £24.4m (Lyon, 2005)

Chelsea’s most expensive signing ever at the time, Michael Essien joined the Blues as the reigning Ligue 1 Player of the Year, and carried on his form in England.

A powerhouse next to Lampard, Essien became a key part of Chelsea’s second Premier League winning side, making 31 league starts during the season. He won Chelsea’s Player of the Season award for the 2006/07 campaign, and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or for the third consecutive year.



He became a rotation option at Chelsea after several injuries, and left permanently in 2014 after winning nine trophies at the club.


9. Claude Makelele – £17m (Real Madrid, 2003)

One of Abramovich’s first signings as Chelsea owner was Makelele, who arrived in the summer of 2003 with a lofty reputation after winning two Spanish titles and the Champions League with Real Madrid.

By the time he left Stamford Bridge five years later, the £16.8million Frenchman had made such a lasting impression that the deep-lying midfield role he made famous in west London was named after him.



While in the ‘Makelele role’, he racked up 217 appearances for Chelsea, playing an integral part in back-to-back Premier League title wins under Jose Mourinho and also getting his hands on two League Cups and the FA Cup.

Makelele also helped the Blues reach their first Champions League final in 2008, where they suffered an agonising penalty shootout defeat by Manchester United, before leaving to bring the curtain down on his legendary career at Paris Saint-Germain.


10. Gary Cahill – £7m (Bolton Wanderers, 2012)

Brought in for from bottom-of-the-league Bolton midway through the 2011/12 season, Cahill had to convince fans that his former side’s struggles were not his fault, and he managed exactly that.



He formed a superb defensive partnership with John Terry and wasted little time in racking up the silverware. He won every trophy available to him apart from the Club World Cup, but fans will still happily sing about how he’s ‘won it all’.

Cahill took the captain’s armband in the immediate aftermath of Terry’s departure and served with real class. His departure in 2019 was a little ugly through no fault of his own but fans have not let that tarnish his legend.


Arnold Lewis
A hardcore Chelsea fan, who is often found playing football on the weekends. He has an exceptional voice and his rendition of old Hindi classic songs will make your heart melt. He is the man with the funky hair.

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