Concluding the series looking at players who pulled on first the blue of Chelsea and later the red and white of Arsenal.
In 2004, Chelsea paid what was then a record fee for a goalkeeper to buy Petr Cech from French club Rennes for £7 million.
Many would argue that they got a bargain as the Czech international developed not only into one the best keepers in the Premier League, but in the whole of world football.
He had a massive part to play in the club’s success over the next 12 years, including the vital saves in the penalty shoot-out that saw them win their first Champions League final in 2012.
During his time as a player in West London, in addition to that success, the team won five league titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and the Europa League.
He still holds a number of Premier League records – the fewest appearances required to reach 100 clean sheets, the most clean sheets n a season, and the most clean sheets in Premier League history.
That was despite suffering a head injury in a league match with Reading in 2006 which left him with a depressed skull fracture, and forced him to wear a protective head covering for the rest of his career.
Cech them moved to Arsenal in 2016, their only signing of that summer window, with manager Arsène Wenger promising that he would save them between ten and 15 goals a season. He won the Golden Glove for the league’s best goalkeeper in his first season at the club, but it turned out that Chelsea had chosen the right time to sell him.
His powers were waning, the mistakes began to creep in, and he proved uncomfortable with the ball at his feet playing out from the back. He eventually lost his place in the team to Bernd Leno, playing his last competitive game against Chelsea in the Europa League final of 2019.
He returned to Chelsea where he is now their technical and performance advisor.
David Luiz is a free agent having left Arsenal at the end of last season.
He had been signed from Chelsea in 2019, for a fee initially reported at £8 million, although some well-connected sources argue that it much higher than this, initially for a year, with an option for a further year, which was later taken up.
His career at the Emirates was mixed to say the least. On the positive side, the central defender was praised for his ability to play the ball out from the back, and for his positive influence in the dressing room on the younger players, But, on the flip side, there were the three red cards he picked up, the five penalties he conceded, and the other mistakes that he made.
Those mistakes were present also in his time at Chelsea, but arguably because he was part of a better team, they were not so costly.
Luiz first arrived at Stamford Bridge from Benfica, and during his first spell with the club they won the Champions League and the Europa League.
In 2014, he moved to PSG for £50 million and enjoyed more success there, including being part of the side that won a domestic treble in the 2015 – 2016 season.
Chelsea paid £34 million to bring him back to West London in 2016, and he helped them win the league title the following season, the FA Cup, and the Europa League again.
Willian left Arsenal by mutual consent just before deadline day in the last transfer window, with hs three year contract terminated after just 12 months.
However, in his short tenure at the club he had become emblematic of what was wrong with the club’s transfer policy. He had been signed a year previously from Chelsea having failed to receive he offer of the new three year contracted that he wanted,
A free transfer, he was nevertheless on wages in excess of £200,00 a week, and was meant to bring all his Premier League experience and guile to Mikel Arteta’s team. However, after impressing in his first game against Fulham, he struggled after that, and was criticised for his lethargy on the pitch and lack of contribution, He scored one goal only and many felt that he took first-team minutes that should have gone to younger players. Few at the Emirates were sad to see him go.
All this was by way of comparison to his Chelsea career. The Brazilian winger was signed from the Russian club Anzhi Makhachikala in 2013, and would go on to make 330 appearances for them, scoring 63 times.
He won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the Europa League with them and was Chelsea’s Player of the Year in the 2015- 2016 season, whilst their own players voted him Player of the Year in two successive seasons.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.