However, Cole believes Chelsea’s Russian owner is now relying on more than just money to reassert the club’s dominance. And he is confident the foundations are being laid for a decade of success.
Crucial to that is Frank Lampard, who represents the soul of club.
The Stamford Bridge legend represents a line of continuity in Chelsea’s Roman empire — a symbol of Abramovich’s reign coming full circle.
He is steeped in the traditions of the billionaire owner’s era, yet also a pointer to a future full of potential — placing his faith in the youth of Mason Mount, Reece James and Billy Gilmour as well as high profile signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
“What Frank has done is recognise all the good things over the last 17 years that have helped the club,” says Cole, who was part of Abramovich’s first wave of spending in 2003 and won three titles in his time at Stamford Bridge.
“Roman has been the key, there’s no doubt about that, having an owner with the purse strings he has. He wants to spend his money and wants to see the best players at his club.
“What Frank has done is see all of those great things, but he wants to underpin it with organisation and continuity coming through.
“You get the great players coming in but you’ve also got the players coming through the youth system who understand the morals of the club, and they are gelling well.
“I have no doubt Chelsea will be massively successful over the next 10 years because of that. You take a look at all of the components and they are all there at Chelsea.”
Lampard’s appointment represented a gamble after just one year of management at Derby. Yet he looks at home in one of the most demanding jobs in world football, mixing it with managerial greats like Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
His team face Leeds tomorrow on the back of a 15-game unbeaten run that has led them to within two points of leaders Tottenham, while qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League has also been secured.
Cole adds: “When he took the job people were talking about inexperience. Frank was born into a footballing family. He played football at the highest level for a long time.
“A lot of people will tell you things can get done through statistics, analysis, learning in the classroom. But the wisdom from being on the pitch and knowing how a footballer thinks, we can’t disregard that.”
The most impressive aspect of Chelsea’s flying start to the campaign has been the speed with which six signings have been integrated. Cole believes that factor is down to giving Lampard a major say on recruitment.
“The biggest thing is that the players who have come through the door are all Frank’s players,” he adds. “If that trend continues and he has the final say, Chelsea will continue to make the right choices. That is vital.
“You wouldn’t commission an artist to paint you a picture and then tell him what colours he’s got to use.
“He’s painting the picture. Bringing in (Edouard) Mendy, Thiago Silva, (Ben) Chilwell, (Hakim) Ziyech. They’ve all been good because they’ve all gone through the rigorous process of ‘Do they tick boxes as a Chelsea player, as a Frank Lampard player?’
“They do and that’s why they’ve all been successful.”
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