On this day: Chelsea swoop for Joe Cole, Juan Sebastian Veron

Ten years ago today, Chelsea signed midfielders Joe Cole and Juan Sebastian Veron for a combined £21.6m fee.

There were few busier managers in the summer of 2003 than Chelsea's Claudio Ranieri.

By the end of the transfer window, the Italian 'Tinkerman' had managed to secure the services of Glen Johnson, Geremi, Damien Duff, Hernan Crespo, Claude Makelele and Wayne Bridge, as new Russian owner Roman Abramovich started to flex his financial muscle.

Ranieri did not stop there, though, and two more players were added to that list on this very day in the form of Joe Cole and Juan Sebastian Veron.

Claudio Ranieri stands between new Chelsea signings Joe Cole and Juan Sebastian Veron in 2003.© Getty Images

Cole, then 21, was signed from relegated West Ham United in a deal worth £6.6m, while Veron, then 28, was captured from Premier League rivals Manchester United for £15m. The midfield duo would go on to have very differing fortunes at Stamford Bridge.

Initially it appeared that Argentine international Veron was going to prove a shrewd acquisition when he scored on his debut during a 2-1 win away at Liverpool.

However, injuries set in, which in turn limited him to just 15 outings in all competitions that season. The following year he was loaned out to Serie A side Inter Milan, where he would spend two years in total before returning to his homeland with Estudiantes. It meant that the playmaker, who had also struggled to adapt to the English game at United, had cost Chelsea £1m for each appearance.

Joe Cole celebrates scoring for Chelsea against Aston Villa.© Getty Images

In contrast, Cole enjoyed his time down King's Road. He won back-to-back Premier League titles between 2004 and 2006, becoming a key part of Jose Mourinho's starting lineup and scoring 15 times in the process.

When his time at the Bridge ended in 2010, he would also have two FA Cup medals and one League Cup medal to show for his stint with the Blues.

Cole then went to Liverpool on a free transfer, but after just a season at Anfield, he was loaned out to French side Lille. He briefly returned to Liverpool, but is now back where it all started for him - at Upton Park.

Roman Abramovich
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