Tottenham supporters like to poke fun at the seemingly amicable relationship between their two fiercest foes.
While Spurs’ rivalries with both clubs are fierce, such animosity doesn’t appear to be quite so prevalent between Chelsea and Arsenal, especially off the pitch. While the thought of dealing with the Blues (and vice versa) is enough to make Daniel Levy heave, those upstairs in west London have been very content exchanging personnel with Tottenham’s north London rivals over the past 20 years.
Kai Havertz, signed by Chelsea for £75m from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020, has become the eighth player to move directly from the Blues to Arsenal. Here’s a reminder of the rest.
Gallas became the first to switch Stamford Bridge for the Emirates in the Premier League when he was included in a part-exchange deal that saw Ashley Cole move in the opposite direction.
The Frenchman made over 100 appearances for the Gunners over a four-year spell and captained the club for much of his tenure, but he’d never come close to reaching the heights that Cole achieved at Chelsea.
A move to Tottenham in 2010 did little to enhance Gallas’ legacy at Arsenal.
There was little to suggest Diarra would go on to make over 100 appearances for Real Madrid during the formative stages of his Premier League career.
The French midfielder barely featured for Chelsea before joining Arsenal on deadline day of the 2007 summer transfer window. His fortunes, however, failed to improve in north London as he lasted just five months at the club before leaving for Portsmouth midway through his debut season.
The Israeli superstar had developed into quite the Premier League journeyman by the time he wound up at Arsenal in 2011.
Benayoun became known to Premier League audiences during an impressive two-year spell at West Ham which saw him earn a move to Liverpool in 2007. He then joined Chelsea in 2010, but a ruptured Achilles meant he found it tough from the outset to establish himself at Stamford Bridge.
Thus, he was loaned out twice during his three-year spell with the Blues. Benayoun spent 2011/12 at Arsenal, where he proved a serviceable option for Arsene Wenger. The crafty winger scored four goals in 19 Premier League games.
Cech’s brilliance between the Stamford Bridge sticks had seen him cement himself as one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever shot stoppers. The Czech goalkeeper won the lot with Chelsea and there’s no denying he was well beyond his best by the time he was sold to Arsenal in 2015.
Nevertheless, Cech started strong in north London and won his fourth Golden Glove in 2015/16. However, his flaws (sub-par in possession) started to manifest during year two and it was evident by year three that retirement was imminent.
After becoming the first goalkeeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets in March 2018, he was usurped by Bernd Leno as the club’s number one and eventually hung up his gloves at the end of the 2018/19 season.
The most chaotic of characters. The very best and worst of David Luiz manifested at Chelsea and Arsenal supporters were treated to more of the latter, although there were some bright moments and stout runs of form.
While the Brazilian played an instrumental role in ensuring Mikel Arteta’s side were able to play out from the back, he was never a long-term solution for the new Arsenal boss and left the club after just two seasons in 2021.
After enjoying an excellent 2019/20 campaign in a youthful Chelsea side hamstrung by a transfer ban, Willian opted against extending his stay in west London and instead opted to join Arsenal on a three-year deal.
The Brazilian’s acquisition was regarded as savvy and astute by many at the time, but Willian’s spell at Arsenal couldn’t have gone much worse.
The player would later say that, despite his initial excitement, he was “never happy” in north London, describing his season with the Gunners as “the worst time that he had lived as a professional”.
Arsenal’s project under Arteta has evolved considerably since they were first dealing with the likes of David Luiz and Willian.
The club wanted to add Brighton’s Moises Caicedo to their ranks midway through the 2022/23 season, but the Seagulls’ monster valuation forced them to change tack.
The Gunners pivoted to the accomplished Jorginho in a deal worth £13m and despite the mixed reception at the time of his arrival, the Italy international enjoyed a promising start to his Arsenal career. He added stability in midfield, arguably enhancing their build-up, and scored a dramatic late winner in a 4-2 win over Aston Villa.
Havertz is the latest to swap west for north London and many are excited about his prospects under Arteta.
The German’s spell at Chelsea was indifferent despite scoring the winner in the 2021 Champions League final and, in all honesty, most Blues supporters are content with seeing the back of him.
The wunderkind that broke through at Bayer Leverkusen was rarely seen at Stamford Bridge, with Arteta now being tasked with squeaking every ounce of talent out him.
The Gunners’ willingness to spend £65m to bring him to the Emirates suggests Arteta fancies of chances of overseeing a major resurgence.