As Chelsea's veteran right-back, Jose Bosingwa finally left the club, the search was on for Michael Emenalo and his scouting staff to find a suitable replacement, as well as long-term investment to bolster their defence in that position.
In a rather quiet transfer, the Blues funded a £6.5m purchase of Marseille's Spanish right-back, Cesar Azpilicueta. The man who started his career at Osasuna found it quite the task to shake Branislav Ivanovic from the prized spot on the right of Chelsea's back four in his initial weeks in the squad.
However, injuries to members of the defence and a congested fixture pile-up caused Ivanovic to revert to centre-back to cope with the demands of a lengthy season for the then-European champions.
The Serb's position change gave Azpilicueta the chance to blossom and consequently become a key member for the club from West London, with the no.28's admirable work-rate, coupled with an excellent tactical knowledge and defensive solidity.
The man nicknamed 'Dave' - due to the difficulties pronouncing Azpilicueta - quickly became a fan-favourite, earning his starting debut against a strong Liverpool side at Stamford Bridge; producing a stand-out performance in a seemingly drab 1-1 draw against the Reds.
Azpilicueta went on to enjoy a consistent starting berth during the reign of fellow Spaniard - but not as popular among the fans - now-Napoli boss, Rafael Benitez. The 24-year-old's performances even earned him a maiden national team call-up to become a long-term part of Vicente Del Bosque's set-up.
Azpilicueta will be made to work even harder to nail-down his position during this season, with Jose Mourinho revealing that he sees Branislav Ivanovic as a right-back rather than a centre-half, in addition to the Serb, Mourinho has retained youngster Tomas Kalas - who also operates at right-back as well as the centre of defence - to increase the competition for places in a strong Chelsea squad.
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