By the time he was back for pre-season training, the place was brimming with new talent and megastars such as Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko were being linked.
This was pre-Financial Fair Play and Abramovich spent a staggering £290million on 19 new players in his first 15 months. Adjusted for inflation this is about £450m today, yet still Lampard flourished.
Who better, in that case, to be at the wheel when Chelsea complete the signing of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen for a club-record £90m and establish a new high for spending by a Premier League club in a single window?
Havertz follows Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell, four players recruited by the west London club at a combined fee of around £230m.
Throw in the acquisitions of Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr, signed on free transfers last week, and Abramovich is back in the realms of 2003. Chelsea have splurged on transfers at a rate of more than a million a day since Ziyech’s deal was struck with Ajax in February.
There are six more weeks before the market closes and there are live targets still in play such as Declan Rice at West Ham.
The club’s last accounts recorded a loss of more than £100m yet Chelsea are able to make financial sense of it.