Since the turn of the century, football transfers have cost a ridiculous whole lot of cash, with clubs having to pay through their nose to get the best players available in the market.
Every other transfer window, clubs compete with one another in order to land a choice targets, and more than often, the club which tables the most money and the best deals get to win the battle of the signatures.
Chelsea have always done big business since Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich took over in 2003. To date, the club’s record signing is Spain international Fernando Torres who cost the club £50million pounds.
However, the 32-year-old doesn’t cut across as a Chelsea legend. Ironically, some players that cost way less do. Many have arrived Stamford Bridge on a bargain, and if their contributions to the club’s cause are to be retrospectively considered, they would have commanded very hefty transfer fees.
Here are 3 of such players who represents the most shrewdest of businesses Chelsea have ever done.
Back in 2003, while Claudio Ranieri was Chelsea’s manager and Carlo Cudicini was the undisputed number 1 in between the sticks, Petr Cech had a trial with the club.
His displays convinced the Italian manager enough to land him as Cudicini’s understudy and Rennes agreed to a £7million transfer fees, with Cech joining Chelsea in July 2004.
9 months later, the then 22-year-old Czech international had gone from understudy to setting a Premier League record of going 1,025 minutes without letting in a goal.
That season, Chelsea won its first ever Premier League title, with Cech’s 21 clean sheets and goalkeeping heroics saw him concede only 15 league goals in the entire season playing a huge part in that monumental success.
The following season in 2005-06, the heroics of the £7million man continued, and he shut the door against the goals on 22 occasions in 34 Premier League appearances as Chelsea won a consecutive title.
Cech added another EPL winners medal to his trophy cabinet in the 2009-10 season and helped the club secure its first ever Champions League in the 2011-12 season, and a Europa League the season after.
After losing his spot in the 2014-15 title-winning season to Thibaut Courtois, the ex-Czech international called time on his glorious Chelsea career, joining Arsenal in the summer prior to the start of the last campaign.
He might have suffered a dip in form so heavy that he might never be able to recover, but in his hay days, the 32-year-old Serbian international was one of Chelsea’s most important defenders.
Branislav Ivanović arrived from Lokomotiv for £9million in January 2008, and could only appear twice for Chelsea’s reserve team for the remainder of the season, as a result of a lack of match fitness, with the Russian league having been concluded many weeks before winter.
A shaky start to life in the EPL and lack of consistency saw him hold down a decent number of first team appearances only for few games. He was on and off until the 2009-10 season, when 1st choice right-back José Bosingwa, sustained a long-term injury.
Ivanovic took his chance, and his performances saw him earn the right-back spot in the PFA 2009-10 Team of the Year. He has since helped Chelsea to 2 Premier League titles, 2 F.A Cup wins, a Champions League and Europa League victories, with him being the mainstay at right-back for the Blues.
If you think Chelsea’s run of 6 games without conceding a goal looked impressive and praiseworthy, what about 16 consecutive games?
Some 15 years ago, the much-maligned William Gallas arrived from Marseille for just £6.2 million. And he quickly established a solid partnership with John Terry at the heart of Chelsea’s defence. First under Ranieri, and later under Jose.
Under his watch, Chelsea’s defence became the best in the land, and the Blues won back to back EPL titles in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, conceding just 37 goals in total for both seasons.
Perhaps, if the goal-line technology existed back in 2005, then maybe Chelsea would have gotten to their first ever Champions League final that season.
Against Liverpool in the 2nd leg and following a goalless 1st leg, Gallas cleared a ball off the line, but the centre ref adjudged it to have crossed the line and allowed the goal to stand. Chelsea were ousted from the competition as a result.
He might have left Stamford Bridge for The Emirates outfit in controversial circumstances in 2006, but the 2-time PFA Premier League Team of the Year member sure made his mark with the Blues and remains one of the best bargains they have ever made in a transfer window.