Joao Felix next? Five transfers Chelsea famously hijacked from Premier League rivals

Arsenal-linked Felix Credit: Alamy
Arsenal-linked Felix Credit: Alamy

When one hijack fails, try another. Mykhaylo Mudryk really doesn’t want to move to Chelsea, but Joao Felix does.

The Chelsea ‘project appealed’ to the Portugal international, who has apparently opted for the Blues over Manchester United and Arsenal, who looked for a while to be in a two-horse race to sign him.

Anyway, here are five players Chelsea have previously stolen from under Premier League rivals’ noses…

 

Arjen Robben
“Old Trafford is the only place he wants to play and if he can’t play there he would rather stay at PSV. In fact, he would rather play in their reserves than go to Chelsea. My son will not go to Chelsea. Over my dead body will he go there,” said Arjen’s father in 2004, the winger having been wined and dined by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Robben leapt over the lifeless form of his dad to accept a far more lucrative offer from Chelsea weeks later, before joining Real Madrid in 2007; Nostradamus Robben senior had earlier claimed his son “never liked” Los Blancos as he only had eyes for Barcelona.

 

Willian
Tottenham “bought his flight, but Willian he saw the light, he got the call from Abramovich, and off he went to Stamford Bridge.” Made more memorable through the chant that Chelsea fans sung to death during the Brazilian’s time in west London, Willian was indeed hours away from moving to Spurs from Anzhi Makhachkala.

“That’s the danger of medicals before contracts, the best thing is to do the medical in secret,” Jose Mourinho said after Willian had hopped across the capital to sign for Chelsea after their rivals had proudly announced that the winger had completed his medical ahead of the paperwork being signed.

 

John Obi Mikel
“It’s totally fantastic to come to a club like Manchester United,” said an 18-year-old John Obi-Mikel, adorned in the red of United upon his unveiling. “Not many players my age get that chance.”

Indeed neither did he. David Gill went on MUTV holding up the contract after they had agreed terms with Mikel and his Norwegian club Lyn Oslo, but Chelsea had simultaneously agreed a deal with Mikel and his representatives. FIFA had to intervene but Mikel wanted to join Chelsea, who ended up paying United £12m to go away.

“It’s the best decision I have ever made in my life,” said Mikel, who won ten major trophies in his decade at Stamford Bridge.

 

Mohamed Salah
Would Salah be a Liverpool legend if he had moved to the club in January 2014? He is now of course, having scored 172 goals and winning both the Premier League and Champions League. But he could have gone to Merseyside three and a half years before he eventually joined and ran down the wing at Anfield.

He certainly didn’t appear to be cut out for Premier League football when he joined Chelsea, but then we could easily reel off a fair few names who have had an unripe appearance at Stamford Bridge who have very quickly gone on to be global superstars after leaving.

 

Florent Malouda
Liverpool were very keen on Malouda in 2007, but as the Frenchman revealed, Rafael Benitez’s hounding got him nowhere. “Benitez called me several times and he is a good man, a good trainer, but we didn’t manage to find a way to make me join,” Malouda said.

It was former Guingamp teammate Didier Drogba – whom Malouda would later become a significant provider of goals for – that was successful in persuading Malouda to join him at Stamford Bridge, having “badgered” him since his own Blues debut.

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