corssing lines

5 players who have switched allegiances between Chelsea and Arsenal

Players who have crossed the London divide have enjoyed considerable success in the past.

PETR CECH WILL cross the divide that not many players have crossed throughout the history of both clubs when he eventually signs for Arsenal. However, it is a path that has been laden with trophies over the years, as well as plenty of controversy.  

John Hollins

SOCCER Remember Hollins had two stints at Chelsea either side of a spell at Arsenal. PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Hollins began his career at Chelsea in 1963, and made 436 appearances in 12 years for the Blues in a central midfield role. Despite winning the FA Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup four years previously, Chelsea were relegated in 1975 and he jumped ship to QPR.

Hollins eventually wound up at Arsenal in 1979, where the 33-year-old made 127 appearances for the Gunners in four years, helping them to the Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1980.

In 1983 he decided to return to Stamford Bridge in a bid to help his boyhood club gain promotion back into the first division. Chelsea went back up, and Hollins retired at the end of the season before going on to manage the club in 1985.

George Graham

Soccer - Football League Division One - Arsenal Photocall Graham went on to manage Arsenal when he finished playing. S&G and Barratts / EMPICS Sport S&G and Barratts / EMPICS Sport / EMPICS Sport

Graham’s career path took in consecutive spells at Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United over the course of 10 years, but he enjoyed his greatest success at Highbury.

After falling out with Chelsea manager Tommy Docherty, Graham was offered the chance to join Arsenal who were being managed by Bertie Mee at the time. Graham enjoyed a reasonable amount of success in North London, winning an FA Cup and a First Division title during his 227 appearances there.

His greatest success at the club came when he returned as a manager in 1986 as he led them to seven trophies in a managerial career that has only been bettered by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Tommy Baldwin

Soccer - Football League Division One - Chelsea v Arsenal Tommy Baldwin, left, in action against his former team, Arsenal. EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

Despite losing George Graham to Arsenal, Chelsea’s blow was somewhat softened by the arrival of Baldwin in part-exchange. Baldwin was an instant hit at Stamford Bridge, scoring 17 goals in his debut season as he helped his new team reach the FA Cup final.

A haul of 16 goals in each of his next two seasons saw him become a fan favourite on Fulham Road and helping Chelsea to the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971, beating Real Madrid, ensured his name would be written into the Blues folklore.

Baldwin was eventually allowed leave for Millwall in 1974 on loan after a number of off-field issues caused the club to lose patience with him. Spells at Gravesend & Nothfleet and the Seattle Sounders saw him finish his career in underwhelming style.

Ashley Cole

Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Chelsea v Arsenal - Stamford Bridge Cole shakes hands with Robin Van Persie following his first game against his former team. PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

One of the most infamous transfers in English football history took place when Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea in 2006. The wheels of this particular saga were set in motion in 2005 when Cole and his agent, Jonathan Barnett, met José Mourinho and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon at a hotel to discuss a possible transfer.

Cole claimed he almost crashed his car when he found out that Arsenal’s new contract offer was only worth £55,000 per week after his fine season in 2005/2005, leaving Arsenal fans resenting him ever since he left the club.

His move was eventually finalised in the summer of 2006, with William Gallas joining the Gunners and Chelsea also parting with £5 million. Cole went on to capture a vast array of trophies as well as plenty of personal accolades.

William Gallas

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Birmingham City v Arsenal - St Andrews Gallas throws a strop following Arsenal's draw with Birmingham. PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

He was one of the finest defenders in Europe during his five seasons with Chelsea, forming a formidable partnership with John Terry in the heart of the Blues defence.

Gallas eventually became frustrated when he was constantly pitched to the left side of defence following an injury to Wayne Bridge, and he turned down the offer of a new contract.

Used as a make-weight in the deal to prise Ashley Cole from the Gunners, the signing of Gallas seemed a decent piece of business for Arsenal. The French defender was instilled as club-captain in his second season but incidents throughout his time at the Emirates grated Arsenal supporters.

Throwing a strop after conceding a penalty against Birningham in a vital league game in 2009, before criticising some of the clubs younger players in an interview and refusing to sign a new contract because of money issues saw him finish with the club. He then committed the ultimate sin by joining arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

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