Chelsea remain an attractive proposition to top talent, says Mario Melchiot, with the former Blues defender claiming “everybody wants to play them” after seeing the success delivered by Roman Abramovich.
A Russian billionaire took control at Stamford Bridge back in 2003.
Big money has been spent chasing down major honours, with there the promise of more investment to come – even with a two-window transfer ban taken into account.
The ambition shown in west London continues to appeal to those at the very top of the game, with Melchiot convinced that Chelsea will remain competitive for the foreseeable future.
A former Netherlands international that spent five years with Chelsea between 1999 and 2004 told the Daily Star of the impact made by Abramovich: “He said he wanted to win the Champions League and he won the Champions League. They won the league, he got everything that he said he was going to do. He did it for Chelsea football club.
“He said he wanted to bring the team to the next level, he brought it to the next level. Why is everybody around the world talking about this team? Why are we even talking about this team? Only because it’s a global team and everybody wants to be part of it, everybody wants to play for them.
“I remember the rumours were that he almost went to Tottenham to get that team and then he saw Chelsea, he knew they were in debt at that time and he bought that team and took it to the next level.
“We were like pop stars. We were treated like pop stars, even in the press. Everybody wanted to talk to us and it didn’t matter what player you were. Anything you said, you just had to be very careful because it would always be blown out of proportion.
“I had a couple of encounters with him and I sat down and had a chat with him. He was very open about what he wanted. The focus and the dedication that he brought to the team, I had no doubt that the guy would deliver and he did.
“So as a fan or someone that’s associated with the team, you can also be grateful of it regardless of what happens during the season when people complain. He told us what he wanted and he did it.”
Chelsea remain in the hunt for more silverware this season.
A Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City has already been suffered, in a penalty shootout at Wembley Stadium, but Maurizio Sarri’s side are in contention for Europa League glory.
They are also chasing down another top-four finish in the Premier League, with the sixth-placed Blues seeking to bridge the three-point gap which separates them from the Champions League spots.