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They Played for Both Clubs (Part Two)

Continuing the look at players who first appeared for Arsenal, before later in their careers pulled on a Chelsea shirt.

For Part One plwase click here.

Ashley Cole

Few transfers between the clubs have attracted such controversy, and rarely has a former club favourite come to be held in such disdain as Ashley Cole is by Arsenal fans.

He joined the club he supported as a child and progressed through the academy system, before establishing himself as left-back, wining three FA Cups and two League titles. A key members of the Invincibles side under Arsène Wenger, he was well on his way to becoming a club legend.

However, then he was approached by Chelsea without Arsenal being informed, and he and the West London club were found guilty of “tapping-up”.  What infuriated Arsenal fans was when Cole released an autobiography, alleging that he almost crashed hs car when he heard the pay increase that the club were prepared to offer him to sign a new deal, a figure that was a king’s ransom to most of them.

He was eventually transferred to Chelsea, with William Gallas coming the other way as part of the same deal and he went on to enjoy a hugely successful career with the Blues. He won the League title, the FA Cup four times, the League Cup, the Champions League, and the Europa League during his time in West London.

However, for those of a red and white persuasion, he continues to be known by the moniker “Cashley”.

Cesc Fàbregas

There is a lot more residual affection for Cesc Fàbregas, mainly because he wanted to come back to Arsenal and Wenger decided against it.

The Spaniard came through the famous La Masia academy system at Barcelona, but was signed by Arsenal as a 16-year old, and became the club’s youngest ever first team player, and one of their youngest ever captains.

He won the FA Cup in 2005, but the team was in transition, and the move to the Emirates meant that there was not the money to spend on investing in the team. Nevertheless, he  played over 300 times for the Gunners, scoring 57 times.

When he was offered the chance to sign for his boyhood club again, Fàbregas could not resist it, and he moved back to Barcelona. But he found it hard to establish himself in a team that already contained the likes of Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, and found himself surplus to requirements.

Arsenal had the right of first refusal to sign him again, but Wenger, hurt by how Fàbregas had left the first time, declined to exercise it.

Instead, he signed for Chelsea, winning League titles under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, and also picking up FA Cup and League Cup winners’ medals.

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud is the most recent man to make the journey from North to West London. Signed by the Gunners from French side Montpellier in 2012, he would spend more than five and a half years with Arsenal, scoring 106 goals in 253 appearances and winning the FA Cup three times.

Following the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he was surplus to requirement at the Emirates, but it was still something of a surprise when he joined Chelsea. Whilst never a regular at Stamford Bridge he scored some important goals for them, including against Arsenal in the Europa League in Baku in 2019.

In May he picked up a Champions League medal in Portugal, although he did not get on the field in the final against Manchester City. In July, he moved to AC Milan on a  two year deal.

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