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Ranking Chelsea’s top 5 January signings of all time

Chelsea Stadium, Stamford Bridge
"Chelsea flag in the crowd at Stamford Bridge" by Ben Sutherland is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Chelsea fans have been blessed with a number of mid-season miracles since the introduction of the January transfer window in 2002.

As one of the main Premier League-era powerhouses, Chelsea have been regularly active in the January transfer windows.

Whether it’s unfinished business from the summer or an emergency signing for the second half of the season, a winter transfer is always exciting to the fans.

Let’s take a look at some of the best January signings in Chelsea’s history.

5- Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud - Chelsea
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Giroud ended his Arsenal spell after scoring 105 goals in 253 appearances for the Gunners.

The Frenchman made only one Premier League start during the first half of the 2017-18 season. But the Blues agreed to pay £18m to secure his services in the middle of the campaign.

At Stamford Bridge, Giroud found the back of the net 39 times in 119 games. He won the Champions League, Europa League, and FA Cup at the club.

However, his struggles to get regular game time convinced him to leave for Milan in July 2021.

4- Nemanja Matic

Matic joined Chelsea as a youngster in 2010, but the club sold him to Benfica for €5m only a year later.

By 2014, Matic had developed into one of the best midfielders in Liga Portugal.

Jose Mourinho convinced Chelsea to return the Serbian star for £21m in January 2014. The club paid Matic’s transfer fee with the money they got for selling Kevin De Bruyne to Wolfsburg.

Matic’s transfer raised serious questions over Chelsea’s transfer policies at the time. But the towering Serb managed to quickly establish his place in Chelsea’s midfield unit.

He won two Premier League titles at Chelsea before following Mourinho to Manchester United in 2017.

3- David Luiz

Carlo Ancelotti was facing a crisis at Chelsea when he asked the club to sign a new defender in January 2011.

The Blues paid a €25m fee to sign David Luiz from Benfica, hoping to stabilize their backline mid-season.

Luiz’s signing wasn’t enough for Chelsea to edge out Manchester United at the top of the league table. But he became a crucial player for the Blues by the time they played Bayern Munich in the Champions League final the next year.

Luiz played for 120 minutes at Allianz Arena before scoring a penalty for his side. Chelsea won their first-ever Champions League title as Luiz became a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge.

The Brazil international left Chelsea to join Paris Saint-Germain for €49m in 2014 but returned to the club two years later. He played for three more seasons at Chelsea before leaving again in 2019.

2- Gary Cahill

An impressive bargain deal in January 2012 saw Chelsea sign Cahill for only €8.4m.

The English centre-back joined the Blues from Bolton, who were struggling to remain in the Premier League at the time.

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Cahill made a fantastic start to his career at Chelsea as he soon formed a solid partnership with John Terry. The former Aston Villa star’s performance made him a regular starter at Chelsea while he secured a spot in England’s squad.

Cahill stayed at Chelsea until 2019, making 290 appearances for the Blues. He won the Champions League, the Europa League, two Premier League titles, and two FA Cups before moving to Crystal Palace as a free agent.

1- Branislav Ivanovic

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Ivanovic is the best January signing in Chelsea’s history. Like most success stories that begin with a winter transfer, Ivonvic’s move didn’t get much attention at the time.

Chelsea signed him for around €12m in 2008 as they searched for a new versatile defender after the injury of John Terry. Ivanovic, however, rarely played in other positions as he thrived under Jose Mourinho at right-back.

Ivanovic made a total of 377 appearances for Chelsea in his nine-year spell in west London. The Serbia international won the Champions League, the Europa League, three Premier League titles and three FA Cups during his time at Chelsea.