Best of the January Blues
Inside Blue Sun 4 Feb 2018
Three new players joined Chelsea this month but they are far from the first exciting arrivals in January. Here are six of the best to sign up since the transfer window began.
From Scott Parker, who became our only signing of the very first January transfer window in 2003 when the midfielder arrived from fellow London Premier League side Charlton Athletic, to the latest Olivier Giroud, another who completed a move across the capital, from Arsenal on the final day of this year's window, there have been plenty of new signings to get Blues fans eager for the second half of the season, including 2018's other new boys Ross Barkley and Emerson Palmieri.
Many of them have gone on to win silverware at Chelsea and here are some of the most successful Blues to have joined the club during a January transfer window...
The longest period in one place of Anelka's career began at Stamford Bridge in January 2008, when he arrived from Bolton Wanderers. Over the next four years he formed a deadly strike partnership with Didier Drogba, as well as showing his very best when the Ivorian was out injured at the start of the 2008/09 campaign, leading the line admirably and finishing the season as the Premier League's top scorer with 19 goals. He contributed another 15 in arguably his finest year with the Blues, as our high-scoring 2009/10 campaign saw us claim the club's first-ever domestic Double, by pipping Manchester United to the league title on the last day of the season before beating Portsmouth in the FA Cup final, the second time the Frenchman had won the latter with Chelsea.
Chelsea signed Ivanovic from Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2008, but it wasn't until the next season that the Serbian defender got the chance to show what he could do in a Blues shirt. However, that testing start to life in London was soon put behind him as he became one of the first names on the team sheet, at right-back or centre-back, for the best part of a decade. His strength, aerial ability and man-marking all contributed to the team lifting no less than 10 trophies during his time at the Bridge (three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and one Community Shield, as well as both the Champions League and Europa League). Although he was primarily signed for his defensive qualities, it is perhaps his contribution at the other end of the pitch which is most fondly remembered, especially in Europe, including his brace against Liverpool in the 2008/09 Champions League quarter-finals, the winner against Napoli in the last 16 of the same competition in 2011/12 and the decisive injury-time goal of the 2013 Europa League final win over Benfica.
The Brazilian's first spell with Chelsea began when he signed from Benfica in January 2011. Despite giving away in a penalty in his first start, a 0-0 draw with Fulham, he was named Man of the Match and became an instant hit with the Blues fans. That status was only enhanced when he scored vital goals in wins over Manchester United and Manchester City on his way to being named the Premier League's Player of the Month for March. In his first full season with the club an injury suffered in the FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham saw him miss both our successful final in that competition and both legs of our Champions League semi against Barcelona, but he was back for the European final to play a key part, scoring confidently with his spot kick in the triumphant shoot-out. He was at the centre of more continental glory in our next campaign, scoring in both legs of the semi-final as we defeated Basel on our way to lifting the trophy. He left for Paris Saint-Germain in 2014, but was back two years later to win the Premier League under Antonio Conte.
Shortly after David Luiz arrived at Stamford Bridge, he was joined by Torres following the striker's move from Liverpool. He endured a difficult start to life in west London, but things improved after he found his first goal for the Blues in a rain-soaked match against West Ham at the Bridge in April, even if he never quite hit the heights of the earlier years in his career. He still created some great memories at Chelsea, though, primarily his breakaway goal against Barcelona at the Nou Camp to put our place in the 2012 Champions League final beyond doubt. There was also an injury-time winner against Manchester City in 2013, but his best work was again reserved for continental competition, scoring nine European goals as we won the Europa League in 2012/13, impressively finding the net in seven different competitions during that campaign.
Not only has Cahill enjoyed a fine Chelsea career so far, being appointed club captain this season, but he made arguably the best start of any January signing. Having joined the Blues in search of his first piece of silverware, within four months he had winner's medals from the FA Cup and Champions League. He missed the final of the former, having picked up a hamstring injury in the second leg of the European semi against Barcelona, but along with David Luiz returned to fight through the pain to put in a heroic performance as we defeated Bayern Munich in the final of the latter. He wasn't finished there, going on to win two Premier League titles, the Europa League and the League Cup with Chelsea, as well as being named in the PFA Team of the Year no less than three times.
The Serbian midfielder had already spent one spell as a Chelsea player, in his younger years between 2009 and 2011, before returning to Stamford Bridge a more complete player in January 2014. His time in Portugal with Benfica had helped mature him into the mature holding midfielder who would make a great start to his second Chelsea career, helping us beat Manchester United 3-1 in his first appearance before being named Man of the Match in a 1-0 win at Manchester City on his first Premier League start. Matic's first full season would see him for a key part of the midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas which helped us take the 2014/15 Premier League title, although he missed our successful League Cup final due to suspension. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for his performances during that campaign, and added another Premier League winner's medal in 2016/17 before leaving for Manchester United last summer.