Eight Chelsea transfer targets shamelessly pursued after interest from Premier League rivals

Jason Soutar
Chelsea transfer targets Tosin Adarabioyo, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Michael Olise and Paulo Dybala
Chelsea transfer targets Tosin Adarabioyo, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Michael Olise and Paulo Dybala

Just when you think your team is set to land a new signing, Chelsea swoop in and steal them from under your nose. And sometimes they don’t even need that player…

There is a running ‘joke’ that Behdad Eghbali and Todd Boehly’s transfer shortlist derives from social media rumours and we are totally on board with this being their legitimate philosophy in the market. Banter or not, they definitely have Fabrizio Romano‘s notifications turned on.

Following Chelsea’s (reported) successful hijacking of a Newcastle United target, we have looked at other examples of them registering an interest in a player, seemingly because a Premier League rival is interested.

Eight times shameless Chelsea have tried to hijack a Premier League rival

Tosin Adarabioyo
Poor Newcastle. Closing in on the signing of a player in a position in which they desperately need reinforcements, and on a free, bloody Chelsea swoop in and agree a deal to sign them. The Magpies are the latest club to be left peeved by Boehly’s transfer philosophy, missing out on Fulham centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo on a free transfer.

They have suffered fitness problems in that position but Chelsea have copious central defenders already at their disposal. Wesley Fofana will be fit for the start of next season and Trevoh Chalobah is arguably better than Tosin. We completely understand the financial logic of signing Tosin for nothing and selling Chalobah for pure profit, but that doesn’t mean it can’t p*ss us off. Because it has.

Newcastle should absolutely go in for Chalobah if their financial situation allows.


Mykhaylo Mudryk
Mykhaylo Mudryk to Arsenal was the story of the 2022 January transfer window; those rumours fed families for months before Chelsea decided they wanted a piece.

The Gunners have been very reluctant to pay over the odds for players since Mikel Arteta’s arrival in 2019 and with Mudryk they came nowhere near to meeting Shakhtar Donetsk’s asking price. Chelsea met it at the first attempt, such is their newfound stupidity and naivety ruthlessness.

Arsenal’s top transfer target had been taken away from them in the blink of an eye. But they got Leandro Trossard instead. For a third of what Chelsea paid for Mudryk. They won.


Marc Cucurella
Manchester City have tricked Manchester United into buying players before and looking back, they might have pulled the same stunt on Chelsea in Boehly’s first summer at Stamford Bridge.

How would Marc Cucurella have even fitted in this City team? Would he have fallen out of favour by January or been the difference between a treble and quadruple? Could he have been the clutch player against Nathan Jones’ side on that November evening? Maybe City would have won the Premier League more comfortably. He would have played left-back at Nottingham Forest, for a start.

Anyway, we digress. City’s reported interest in Cucurella was thwarted after Chelsea joined the race out of the blue, spunking more than £60m on the Spaniard when they already had Ben Chilwell as their first-choice left-back/left-wing-back. Lewis Hall and Ian Maatsen – who proved he is good enough at Borussia Dortmund in the second half of 2023/24 – were also right there.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Cucurella has flopped at Chelsea and was the first of many rash signings Boehly nabbed from a Premier League rival.

👉 Is Man City new boy Mateo Kovacic the luckiest footballer alive? What a result he’s had here
👉 Christopher Nkunku has all the tricks to stand out in the Chelsea circus…


Michael Olise
Clearly a terrific player who would improve the squad of any Premier League club, Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise is reportedly a transfer target for Chelsea, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.

There is no doubt that he would be a solid addition to the Chelsea attack but that is an attack that is currently overflowing. In these trying times with financial rules constantly breathing down necks, is it worth splashing £60m-plus on Olise when Cole Palmer, Noni Madueke, Raheem Sterling, Mudryk, and others are already there? Probably not.

It’s tricky to justify making a signing just to block another club, but we kind of understand it here. He walks straight into the starting XIs of Man Utd and Newcastle, while he would thrive working under Mikel Arteta or Pep Guardiola. A direct rival becoming stronger is far from ideal, but is it so difficult to fathom that Boehly should splash out £60m? We will let you answer that question…

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Should Chelsea splash the cash on Michael Olise? Join the debate here.


Tino Livramento
Chelsea were eager to re-sign their former youth product after Newcastle registered an interest but Tino Livramento ended up joining the Geordies from Southampton for around £30m in August 2023.

Irked by the previous regime’s decision to let Livramento join Southampton in 2021, Boehly joined the race for the full-back’s signature despite recently signing Malo Gusto to provide competition for Reece James at right-back. And on the other side Chelsea had Cucurella, Chilwell, Maatsen and Hall. Talk about pointless.


Romeo Lavia
It was Liverpool’s turn to be left stunned by Chelsea’s transfer window brashness last August when the Blues beat them to the signatures of both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia. The former was also linked with Arsenal before they signed Declan Rice but Chelsea’s interest was long-standing and they were desperate for a midfield player of that calibre and profile.

Lavia, though? Not so much. Yes, he has great potential. Yes, he proved at Southampton that he can rock it with the big boys in Our League. But this deal felt like another case of Chelsea flexing their financial muscles at the expense of a rival, rather than vastly improving the squad.

At least Lavia fits the profile that aligns with Boehly and Eghbali’s *genuine* transfer philosophy.

The Tyler Adams saga is worth a brief mention. Liverpool were also reportedly in for him before Chelsea agreed to sign him from Leeds United. When it became clear they could land Caicedo and Lavia, the Londoners uncharacteristically showed some restraint and backed out of a deal.


Elye Wahi
You can almost justify this one given Chelsea’s need to sign a striker. But they had just landed Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson, meaning another incoming No. 9 would have to be in the world-class bracket. Your Victor Osimhens of the world. Or at least someone with the potential to be world class. Wahi, with all due respect, does not fall into either category. He actually occupies a similar bracket to Jackson.

Anyway, enough about brackets. London rivals West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham were all interested but it was Chelsea who appeared the closest to landing Wahi last summer.


Paulo Dybala
We are most certainly entering a different category of players now. Links to Roma superstar Paulo Dybala were fairly brief but they did exist. Tottenham and Man Utd were keen and the signing of Nkunku was clearly ignored when the Blues registered an interest of their own. Dybala is pretty much the same player but left-footed.


Ibrahim Adel
You can be forgiven for not recognising the name of young Ibrahim Adel but he gives us an even eight. Chelsea were linked with Mohamed Salah’s Egypt teammate last July amidst interest from seven Premier League rivals. Seven? That’s insane. No wonder Boehly was keen…

More: Chelsea transfer news | Five-year net spend in Premier League | Chelsea’s last 50 signings ranked