The Best Premier League Transfers Ever: Frank Lampard to Chelsea (2000/01)
It’s hard to imagine a time when Frank Lampard wasn’t synonymous with Chelsea Football club.
Not only is the English manager now pulling the strings and calling the shots on the sideline at Stamford Bridge but for over 13 years he was doing the very same thing in the middle of the pitch in the dark blue of Chelsea.
This article is part of FootballTransfers’ greatest-ever Premier League deals. We have selected just one standout transfer from every season of the Premier League, including two honourable mentions. This list will then be gathered to provide a definitive list of the best pieces of business in the Premier League era.
Frank Lampard, West Ham to Chelsea, £11m
Despite Lampard’s obvious success in London, it’s easy to forget that his move to Chelsea was far from written in the stars. After breaking through at West Ham, Lampard eventually left the club under a cloud of doubt, when he followed his uncle and father out the back door and almost signed for Aston Villa, if not for the West London club declining the offer.
Yet Lampard eventually joined Chelsea in June 2001 and immediately became an integral part of the team. In his first season he played in all of the club’s Premier League matches and scored eight goals, however it was the following season that really showed what Lampard could do.
Although Chelsea finished second behind Arsenal’s invincibles, the attacking midfielder pushed his goalscoring into double figures. That not only earned him a spot in the Premier League Team of the Year, but also second only to the all-conquering Thierry Henry for the Footballer of the Year award.
New heights with Chelsea
As well as improving on an individual level, Lampard helped pull Chelsea to new heights in the Premier League as Jose Mourinho’s side won back-to-back Premier League titles between 2004 and 2006.
In the first league campaign Lampard managed 13 goals from midfield and finished the season as the Premier League’s top assist creator with 16. As well as a further six goals and five assists in other competitions.
Lampard once again played in every league game over the course of the campaign and even scored a brace on the day Chelsea won their first title in 50 years in a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
The following season saw Lampard once again improve on his goal scoring to reach a career high of 16 Premier League goals and 20 in all competitions, as Chelsea once again proved they were the best in England.
Although the season drew an end to the midfielder’s consecutive league matches record of 164 matches (five better than previous record-holder David James) when he was forced to sit out a clash with Manchester City through illness, it only underlined the player’s remarkable consistency for Chelsea. That season he finished second only to Ronaldinho in the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
Runner-up: Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV to Manchester United, £19 million)
Despite concerns over his fitness when he moved to England, Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy proved to be an exceptional forward for Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side. Over the course of five years at the club, Van Nistelrooy scored 95 goals in 150 games and won a Premier League title, an FA Cup and an English League Cup.
Runner-up: Kolo Toure (ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal, £150,000)
Plucked from Ivorian football, Kolo Toure goes a long way to characterize the out-of-the-box thinking that made Arsene Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal so successful for such a long period of time. In seven years at the club, Toure made over 200 appearances for the London club has a stalwart defender as Arsenal picked up a Premier League title, an FA Cup and reached the finals of the Champions League.