Marcel Desailly joined Chelsea in 1998 in a £4.6 million switch from Italian giants AC Milan. This was during a time when transfer fees were not as excessive as they are nowadays; Chelsea were managed by former player Gianluca Vialli.
So what makes Desailly a candidate to be the best bargain signing ever?
Desailly joined The Blues in a transfer that saw the club sign a player with two Champions League winners medals, two Serie A winners medals and a World Cup winners medal with France.
During his time at Chelsea he was a powerful player who formed a formidable partnership at the heart of the Chelsea defence with fellow countryman Frank Leboeuf. He went on to win the Super Cup in 1998 and the FA Cup and Charity Shield in 2000 in his six years at the club, before he left in the summer of 2004 to join Qatari side Al-Gharafa, where he won the Qatar league in 2005.
Desailly also had a glittering international career during these six years, winning Euro 2000 and the Confederations Cup both in 2001 and 2003.
What has been said about Marcel Desailly during his time at Stamford Bridge though, is that he passed on invaluable experience to a certain young player during the early 2000s. This player was Mr Chelsea himself – none other than John Terry.
Terry made his breakthrough in the 2000/01 season, making 23 appearances and being named player of the season. During this time, and the seasons to follow until Desailly’s exit, Terry formed a great partnership with the Frenchman learning how to be a world class centre back.
So is Marcel Desailly Chelsea’s best ever bargain signing for how he helped shape the club on the European stage, and would John Terry have been the same player that he turned out to be? We all know that Terry nearly joined Huddersfield on a permanent transfer.
One thing is for certain: Desailly was a fantastic player, and Chelsea are greatful for his service to the club.