Chelsea supporters will have flashbacks to 2003 given current transfer rumors involving the club.
Declan Rice, Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski have all been linked with moves to west London, while Eden Hazard is believed to have been offered a return to Stamford Bridge.
Yes, it’ll be a crazy summer, much like Window 2020 was when Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, and Ben Chilwell were among a slew of new additions.
But it might not be as crazy as it was in 2003, when owner Roman Abramovich arrived at Chelsea and sparked a spending spree that doesn’t seem to have stopped.
At the time, Chelsea were on the verge of a financial abyss, deeply in debt and praying that Champions League football would help the club stave off oblivion.
Then Russian billionaire Abramovich came to the rescue. He is said to have been convinced to buy the club from Ken Bates after the Blues clinched the final Champions League qualifying spot at the expense of Liverpool with a 2-1 victory.
He got out of debt and suddenly, not only were the Blues spared from the wall, but the club launched an unprecedented spending frenzy which heralded an era of success to compete with the biggest clubs in England and France. Europe.
Now fans who had given up on supporting the club during its darkest years were returning to Stamford Bridge and, as one would expect, the success has also attracted new supporters.
Take a look at the incredible list of players they signed in 2003…
Jürgen Macho – free
The Austrian goalkeeper arrived shortly before Abramovich’s takeover, at a time when Chelsea were on the brink financially.
Macho was the second goalscorer at the Stadium of Light and had made 22 Premier League appearances for the club, although he did not appear in a single game for the Blues before leaving in 2004.
Little did Chelsea fans know that Macho’s low-key arrival was about to be overshadowed by a glut of super signings.
Macho was signed on July 1, 2003 from Sunderland on a free transfer[/caption]
Marco Ambrosio – free
Another goalkeeper who arrived before Abramovich officially took over, Ambrosio had been selected at the Under-21 level by Italy and was destined to be the understudy of his compatriot Carlo Cudicini.
He only lasted one season at Bridge, but played in the memorable 2-1 Champions League quarter-final win over Arsenal at Highbury.
Glen Johnson (West Ham) – £ 6million
Johnson was just 18 when he signed on the dotted line from relegated West Ham and became a key player in the 2004/05 title-winning campaign.
He finally played for Portsmouth, Liverpool, Stoke.
Geremi (Real Madrid) – £ 7million
The Cameroon international was signed after a season on loan in the Premier League with Middlesbrough.
He had a lot of playing time, but never quite turned out to be someone fans particularly liked.
Wayne Bridge (Southampton) – £ 7million
Like Johnson, but on the opposite flank, Bridge was a much-appreciated young full-back when Chelsea rushed in.
He scored one of Chelsea’s most famous goals, against Arsenal in the Champions League in 2004, and enjoyed a regular place in the squad until the arrival of Ashley Cole two years later.
Damien Duff (Blackburn) – £ 17million
Now the big expenses have shifted into high gear, as talented striker Duff has been lured to the Bridge for a hefty sum.
The Irishman has become a fan favorite and a crucial player, especially under Jose Mourinho who replaced Claudio Ranieri as manager in 2004.
Joe Cole (West Ham) – £ 6.6million
Everyone was thrilled with Cole when Chelsea signed him, and many believed he would become England’s next big talent.
Although he never really realized that potential, he enjoyed a trophy-rich career at Stamford Bridge, spanning seven years at the club.
Cole signed on August 6, 2003, from West Ham for £ 6.6million[/caption]
Juan Sebatian Veron (Manchester United) – £ 15million
Double whammy, Veron and Cole arrived on the same day Chelsea simply ran out of days to announce their many signings.
While clearly talented, the jury was still out on Veron, and he didn’t do much at Chelsea to change that.
Adrian Mutu (Parma) – £ 15.8million
Then Chelsea signed a Serie A-ripping striker but the move was a disaster.
A controversial figure off the pitch, Mutu left the club in disgrace after testing positive for cocaine in 2005.
It started with a smile and ended with a tear for Mutu[/caption]
Alexey Smertin (Bordeaux) – £ 3.45m
One for Romain? Russia international Smertin was signed as the month drew to a close.
But there was more to come …
Hernan Crespo (Inter Milan) – £ 16.8million
World-class striker Crespo has arrived to bolster the Blues’ attack.
However, despite having spent five years at Chelsea, he really only played two seasons.
Three years were spent on loan at Inter and Milan, before finally being sold to Inter in 2008.
There was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding Crespo’s signing in August, joining Inter for £ 16.8million[/caption]
Neil Sullivan (Tottenham) – £ 500,000
Another keeper! Sullivan was tempted from Tottenham to compete with Cudicini.
Soon, all would be surplus to needs with the arrival of Petr Cech in 2004.
Neil Sullivan signed on August 29, 2003, from Tottenham, for £ 500,000[/caption]
Claude Makelele (Real Madrid) – £ 16million
And finally, Madrid man Makelele arrived on the last day of August, bringing Chelsea’s spending to over £ 110million, which was a huge sum in 2003.
Makelele is one of the few men in football to be honored with his own post – “the role of Makelele” rose to fame while he was at Chelsea.