Chelsea's record of buying players from their rivals is hit and miss, but many have achieved cult status in some way or the other. The 'Big 6' of the Premier League are intense rivals, but it is not uncommon to see players move between these clubs. The west London club, too, aren't strangers to buying players from other potential title-challengers.
The club bought some of the best players in the league when Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. Players like Ashley Cole and William Gallas, among others, have left teams like Arsenal to sign for Chelsea.
Mentioned below are the last five players to make such a move to the club.
#1 Yossi Benayoun - Liverpool
Yossi Benayoun signed for the Blues from Liverpool during the summer of 2010 for £6.3 million. He made 24 appearances for the club, scoring one goal and providing two assists. Benayoun went on several loans before leaving the club permanently in 2013.
At Chelsea, he won one Europa League title in 2013, although he was not an active part of the team.
Benayoun was a stop-gap signing, and at the age of 30, no one expected him to leave a great legacy at the club. The player moved to Queens Park Rangers for a season before returning to his home country of Israel and retiring in 2019. Benayoun is currently the Sporting director for the Israel national team.
#2 Fernando Torres - Liverpool
Fernando Torres divides opinion, but for many Chelsea fans, he is a cult hero. El Nino signed for the club as a deadline day signing during the January transfer window in 2011. The club paid Liverpool £52.65 million for Torres, then a club-record fee.
He made 171 appearances for the club, scoring 45 goals and providing 35 assists.
Torres struggled to regain his Liverpool form in London but tried hard and enjoyed a successful season during the 2012-13 campaign. He won one FA Cup, one Champions League, and one Europa League before leaving the club permanently in January 2015. When Torres scored the winning goal at the Camp Nou to take the Blues to the Champions League final, he secured his status in the fans' eyes.
Torres signed for AC Milan after leaving London and was loaned to Atletico Madrid. He spent the 2018-2019 season playing for Sagan Tosu in the J1 League in Japan before retiring from football. The Spanish legend is currently the manager of Atletico Madrid Juvenil A, the club's under-19 team.
#3 Raul Meireles - Liverpool
Chelsea seemed to like buying players from Liverpool in 2010 and 2011. Raul Meireles signed for the club during the summer of 2011 for £12.15 million and played a key role as the club went on to win the Champions League that season. Meireles only spent 18 months in London, making 48 appearances for the club, scoring six goals and providing six assists.
The Portuguese player won an FA cup and a Champions League over 10 months and left the club for Turkish side Fenerbahce. He retired from football in 2016 and is currently enjoying said retirement.
Blues' fans will remember him for his combative nature and that outrageous strike against Benfica enroute lifting the 2012 Champions League. A fighter and an important player during a historic season.
#4 Olivier Giroud - Arsenal
It took Chelsea some time before they bought another player from their rivals, but in January 2017, they bought Olivier Giroud from Arsenal. Chelsea paid Arsenal £15.3 million, and it is safe to say Olivier Giroud was well worth the money.
He made 119 appearances for the club, scoring 39 goals and providing 14 assists. Giroud was a big-game player and scored goals in key moments for the club.
A pivotal figure in Chelsea's FA Cup winning run in 2018, he was also the Europa League's top scorer as Chelsea won the competition in 2019. In 2020 he helped the team seal a top-four spot when football returned after the Covid-19 break. His final contribution came during the 2020-2021 season, when he scored key goals to help the club win the Champions League for the second time.
Giroud came to the west London club as an Arsenal player, but left with hero status and also won the World Cup as a Chelsea player. The Frenchman currently plays for AC Milan, whom he helped win the Scudetto in his first season. A brilliant player and a reliable striker.
#5 Raheem Sterling - Manchester City to Chelsea
Raheem Sterling became the first Chelsea men's team signing of the Todd Boehly era, with the club paying Manchester City £50.58 million for his services. Sterling is 27-years-old but has been a constant in Premier League football over the last decade.
Starting off at Liverpool, he signed for City as a 20-year-old. He made 337 appearances for City, scoring 131 goals and providing 94 assists.
Sterling decided he wanted a bigger role than he had in recent seasons under Pep Guardiola, and Thomas Tuchel made the player a priority signing.
A four-time Premier League winner who will add experience and exciting football to an attack that can be goal-shy. He is a statement signing from Todd Boehly and the first of many for the club this summer.