Chelsea spent £7 million on Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer of 2012 and some Stamford Bridge supporters may have raised a few eyebrows at the size of that fee.
After all, here was a defender who had previously graced the books of Osasuna and Marseille and had failed to force his way into the senior Spain squad.
It is fair to assume that those doubts are long gone, with the 25-year-old now a full international and a key component in the Blues’ plans.
He may still be something of an unsung hero, but he appears to revel in that role, with it up to the array of world-class talent around him to make the headlines.
Azpilicueta, a right-back by trade, has already seen off competition from England stalwart Ashley Cole on the left of Chelsea’s back four to become a mainstay in the side and is now keeping Filipe Luis on the fringes of the Premier League fold.
Jose Mourinho splashed out close to £16 million on the Brazilian full-back in the last transfer window, as he was lured away from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid alongside Diego Costa, but a man worth less than half that amount continues to shine brightest in west London.
|Won Tackle GAME||Total Clearance GAME||Duel Won GAME||Aerial Won GAME||Interception GAME||Total Contest GAME||Total Att Assist GAME||Accurate Cross GAME||Appearances||Mins Played|
Azpilicueta tops his rival in all of the defensive areas highlighted above.
He is pipped slightly on the offensive side of things, but he still offers enough in final third to suggest that he is more than capable of getting up and down the flank.
Chelsea need him to do that, with there few wingers on Mourinho’s books, and he can be expected to continue doing his bit for the collective cause after earning a reputation as one of the finest and most reliable operators in the English top-flight.