The Roman Abramovich era looks set to be coming to an end at Chelsea, so we thought we’d take a look back at the ten best signings delivered by the club’s wealthy Russian owner.
Abramovich had a huge impact on English football when he bought Chelsea in 2003, immediately turning them into a major force in the transfer market, and changing their fortunes with a host of big-name signings and managerial appointments in nearly 20 years at Stamford Bridge.
Here’s our attempt at ranking Abramovich’s ten most influential signings for the Blues, though some quality players narrowly miss the cut…
10) Arjen Robben
One of the first real statement signings of the Abramovich era, Arjen Robben added world class flair and goal-scoring ability to Chelsea’s attack, giving them that much-needed X-factor as they secured their first Premier League title victory in 2004/05. Jose Mourinho’s side could occasionally be a little functional and defensive-minded, but Robben was a joy to watch and scored some stunning solo goals. Even though he ended up enjoying his peak years elsewhere, he still deserves a place in the modern history of Chelsea FC.
9) Ricardo Carvalho
There have been plenty of top defenders to play for Chelsea in the Abramovich era, and Ricardo Carvalho is right up there. The Portuguese centre-back may not quite be in the John Terry mould, but he formed a great partnership with the former Blues captain and helped make them the meanest back line in Premier League history with just 15 goals conceded in that 2004/05 title win.
He might not be the flashiest on the ball, or the type to make crunching tackles in protection of his defence either, but anyone who’s played alongside Jorginho knows his immense quality. The Italy international has been a part of some hugely successful CFC sides and will also always be fondly remembered for his cheeky penalty kicks.
7) Branislav Ivanovic
Not the biggest name when he joined, but Branislav Ivanovic left Stamford Bridge a legend. The Serbian star was a rock-solid defender at right-back, and also had the knack of getting forward to score plenty of goals, including one or two in some very important games, most notably his late winner in the 2013 Europa League final.
6) Cesar Azpilicueta
Like Ivanovic, 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. 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.