History

January transfer window signings - Parker the pioneer

The Blues head to Craven Cottage today to face a Fulham side managed by Scott Parker, who was Chelsea’s first-ever January transfer window signing. Here’s a reminder of some of the other mid-season arrivals since then.

On 30 January 2004, a short chapter of Chelsea history was written when the club signed Scott Parker from fellow London side Charlton Athletic.

The previous season the Premier League had joined the rest of Europe's top divisions in adhering to a transfer window which opened for two months in the summer and then again midway through the campaign in January.

Considering the amount of activity which takes place nowadays during what has become a huge event in the calendar, the first January window came and went without Chelsea signing anyone – and the same thing almost happened again in 2004.

However, the Addicks finally succumbed to Parker's wish to join a club which was competing for the Premier League title and in the Champions League, and so he became our first-ever signing in the January transfer window.

At the end of that season he achieved another Blues first when he was named PFA Young Player of the Year, an award which had never before been lifted by one of our players.

Since then, our January transfer window signings have, by and large, been relatively successful, with players going on to win silverware and, in some instances, establishing themselves as Blues favourites in the process.

Although Jiri Jarosik and Maniche, two understated but apparently necessary midfield additions in 2005 and 2006 respectively, both did the former without achieving the latter, it was not until the 2008 window that we truly cracked it.

Nic up front and Brana at the back

The two signings in that month, during a season in which we reached the Champions League final for the first time, were Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic, both of whom went on to play a big part in some major triumphs for the club.

In the short-term, the business looked lousy; Ivanovic didn’t play a first-team game until the following season, while Anelka’s biggest contribution was to miss the decisive penalty in the  shoot-out to decide our Champions League final against Manchester United.

However, the French striker went on to finish the next campaign as the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner and he was a key player in our Double success the following season, as was Ivanovic.

In fact, the Serbian defender became a cult hero with the supporters and continued to excel, helping us to a pair of European triumphs – including scoring the last-minute winner in the 2013 Europa League final. Goals were a big part of Ivanovic’s time at the Bridge, particularly against Liverpool.

 

Two together

In 2011, on the day the transfer window was shutting, Chelsea made arguably the biggest double-signing the Premier League has seen in the same 24 hours. First, we brought in David Luiz from Benfica and then, as the clock ticked ever closer to midnight, Fernando Torres arrived from Liverpool for a club-record fee.

While David Luiz was an instant hit with the fans, Torres didn’t quite manage to live up to his price tag in terms of the number of goals scored, although vital strikes on the road to Champions League and Europa League glory – most notably against Barcelona in 2012 – meant he won the silverware he so desired when he joined the Blues.

The Brazilian defender, meanwhile, played through the pain barrier to help us win the Champions League final and then he came back to the club, following two years with PSG, to become a Premier League winner.


He would win it all

Perhaps the best value for money signing we’ve made in the January transfer window was Gary Cahill, who arrived for a small fee from Bolton and went on to win the lot at Chelsea. Indeed, within six months he’d gone from fighting a relegation battle to starting – and winning – a Champions League final.

Gaz went on to captain the club after John Terry’s retirement and as well as lifting numerous trophies in his time here, he was also a regular in the PFA Team of the Year and for England, which reflected his status as one of the top centre-halves in the country.

The arrival of Demba Ba in 2013 didn’t quite give our campaign the shot in the arm we had expected, considering his prolific form for Newcastle, but the Senegalese striker did score a couple of spectacular acrobatic goals in the FA Cup that term against the two Manchester clubs.


In the middle of our pitch

A year later, Nemanja Matic was the big-name signing, as he rejoined the club from Benfica and promptly laid down a marker with a dominant display against Yaya Toure of Manchester City, as we beat the champions elect in their own backyard. He went on to win a pair of Premier League titles in our midfield, under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

Matic was joined at the Bridge that January by Mo Salah, who only appeared fleetingly over the next 12 months in a frustrating spell as a Blue – although he did open his account for the club in our famous 6-0 win over Arsenal.

There was mixed success over the next few years, as Juan Cuadrado, Matt Miazga and Pato were among the new January arrivals, but we cracked it in 2018 by signing Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri.

The latter was pivotal in helping us lift the FA Cup in his first few months, scoring a quite brilliant semi-final goal against Southampton with a slaloming run, and then top scoring on our run to Europa League glory a year later.

Two members of the current Chelsea squad, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic, were technically both January transfer window signings, although both players subsequently spent the remainder of the season with the clubs they had signed from.

Zouma was bought from St Etienne in 2014 and has gone on to become a mainstay of our backline over the past two seasons, following a serious knee injury and a series of loan moves, while former Borussia Dortmund forward Pulisic is shownng the talent that has marked him out as one world football’s leading young attackers.

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