Jorginho next: Ranking every player that Arsenal have signed directly from Chelsea in the Premier League era
Arsenal and Chelsea have a bitter rivalry but that hasn’t stopped a number of players from making the switch from west to north London.
Jorginho has become the latest player to leave Chelsea for Arsenal, joining the Gunners in a £12m deal after four-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge.
We’ve taken a look at the other six players that Arsenal have bought from Chelsea and ranked them by how they fared in north London.
Note: we’ve only included transfers in the Premier League era so that omits George Graham and Billy Dickson.
Willian enjoyed a successful seven-year spell with Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the Europa League.
He wanted to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the 2019/20 season, but the Blues would not sanction a new three-year deal.
The former Brazil international then left Chelsea on a free transfer and found the three-year deal he was after at the Emirates.
His Arsenal career got off to an excellent start as he registered two assists in a 3-0 victory over Fulham on the opening day of the 2020/21 season.
But that’s as good as it got for the winger, who suffered a woeful drop in form and finished the 2020/21 season with just one goal in 37 appearances in all competitions.
Willian became a much-maligned figure at the Emirates and agreed to terminate his three-year contract in August 2021 – just 12 months after arriving at the club.
“Yes it did,” he told Rio Ferdinand’s Five show when asked if hateful messages from Arsenal fans influenced his decision to leave.
“I received a lot of messages on social media from them, but also because I came from Chelsea I think if I came from another club maybe the fans would be better.
“But because I come from Chelsea and I didn’t perform well and because of them, I think about that and I have to go.”
5. Lassana Diarra
Despite winning Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year award in 2005/06, Diarra failed to usurp Claude Makelele and made just 31 appearances for the club.
The midfielder decided to leave Stamford Bridge in search of more first-team football and joined Arsenal on transfer deadline day in 2007.
But he was also unable to establish himself at the Emirates, featuring only 13 times in all competitions before joining Portsmouth in a £5.5m deal in January 2008.
“I did not learn anything from [Arsene] Wenger,” he later told El Pais when reflecting on his unhappy four-and-a-half-month stint at Arsenal. “He just taught me to doubt everything. The relationship I had with him was not good.
“You cannot understand the whole world. I respect the way you train, but I learned more with [Jose] Mourinho. Mourinho taught me to fight. I spoke looking into his eyes.
“If you had a problem, it would be discussed. Wenger never addressed me until I told him I was going. He talked to others, but not me. I feel like I never played for Arsenal. If people do not remind me of them [Arsenal], I forget about them. It’s erased from my memory.”
4. Yossi Benayoun
The only loan move on this list, Benayoun spent the 2011/12 season at Arsenal after being deemed surplus to requirements by Chelsea.
“I first heard about the interest from Arsenal eight days before the end of the window and when I knew they wanted me it was an easy choice,” Benayoun told The Athletic. “I had a few good options from clubs in England and outside but as soon as I heard about Arsenal my mind was made up.”
The former Israel international initially struggled to break into Arsene Wenger’s team but ultimately proved to be a useful addition for the Gunners.
He produced his best performances in an Arsenal shirt during a 5-2 win over Tottenham and a 1-0 win over Manchester City. His displays in both games saw him receive standing ovations from the Emirates faithful.
The winger also scored in a 3-2 win over West Brom on the final day of the Premier League season, which helped Arsenal finish above Tottenham and secure Champions League qualification.
But his overall record of six goals and three assists in 25 appearances in all competitions wasn’t enough to earn him a permanent deal at the Emirates.
3. David Luiz
Luiz was a divisive figure at Chelsea and Arsenal’s decision to sign him for £8m on transfer deadline day in 2019 raised a few eyebrows among fans.
His two seasons at the Emirates were punctuated by a catalogue of errors, most notably in that cameo performance away at Manchester City in the first match of project restart.
Remarkably, the centre-back earned three red cards and conceded six penalties during his 53 Premier League appearances for the Gunners. In comparison, he received just one red card and gave away three penalties during 160 league games for Chelsea.
But Luiz did play a key role in Arsenal’s FA Cup success in 2019/20, producing a Man of the Match performance against Manchester City in the semi-final before helping the Gunners beat Chelsea in the final.
The former Brazil international also brought a wealth of experience into the dressing room and some of the young stars at Arsenal have praised him for assisting their development.
Bukayo Saka says David Luiz made the most impact on his career so far:
🗣 “David did so much, he went out of his way for us [Young players], advice on and off the pitch. He was a really good guy.” [@sportbible]. pic.twitter.com/txdGOX3QoK
— Connor Humm (@TikiTakaConnor) November 26, 2021
2. Petr Cech
During his 11 years at Chelsea, Cech established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world and won 15 trophies, including four Premier League titles and the Champions League.
After he lost his place in the Chelsea team to Thibaut Courtois in 2014/15, the Gunners offered him a chance to stay in London.
“He [Roman Abramovich] wasn’t too happy, and didn’t want to see me in that [Arsenal] shirt, but he knew I’d done everything for his club,” Cech told the Guardian.
“I expressed the reasons why, and he kind of closed his eyes and said: ‘OK, you can go.’ I was nervous because I didn’t have a plan B.”
He enjoyed an impressive debut season at Arsenal, keeping 16 clean sheets in the Premier League and winning the Golden Glove as the Gunners finished second.
The former Czech Republic international added another FA Cup and two Community Shields to his CV but errors began to creep into his game as his time at Arsenal wore on.
He also struggled to adapt to Unai Emery’s style of playing out from the back and was eventually usurped by Bernd Leno during the 2018/19 campaign.
Cech’s final game for the Gunners was the 2019 Europa League final against Chelsea but his old side put four goals past him to win the trophy.
1. William Gallas
Alongside Cech, Gallas played a key role in Chelsea’s early success under Jose Mourinho but things eventually turned sour.
After reportedly threatening to score an own goal if he was selected for Chelsea’s first game of the 2006/07 season, the centre-back then moved to Arsenal as part of the deal that saw Ashley Cole go in the other direction.
His time at the Emirates is best remembered for that strop on the pitch at Birmingham in February 2008 but, while he was never captain material, Gallas did a decent job for the Gunners.
The former France international made 142 appearances in all competitions and scored 17 goals, including a winner against Chelsea in December 2007.
He left on a free transfer at the end of 2009/10 and joined Tottenham Hotspur – making him the first man to have played for Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs.
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