Gerrard the Liverpool turncoat joins five Brazilians in Chelsea transfer legends XI

Date published: Sunday 31st July 2022 10:26 - Will Ford

Kaka Gerrard Chelsea

Chelsea have missed out on at least two of their top transfer targets this summer – bloody Barcelona – but neither Raphinha nor Jules Kounde would get anywhere near this legendary XI of players once thought or confirmed to be close to a move to Stamford Bridge.


GK: Gianluigi Buffon
Juventus immediately snubbed a £40m offer from Chelsea for Buffon in 2003, believing it would be daft to sell the world’s best goalkeeper whom they’d signed for nearly £30m from Parma two years before. Good call.

Buffon went on to make a mammoth 682 appearances for the Old Lady, winning ten Serie A titles in the process, but unlike Petr Cech – the alternative Chelsea plumped for a year later – the Italian does not have a Champions League win to his name. It’s got to hurt.


RB: Dani Alves
‘Chelsea capture Alves in £21.5m deal’ was The Guardian headline in August 2007 after the Blues had beaten Real Madrid to his signature, only for Barcelona to swoop in at the last minute. Typical then, even more so now.

Chelsea signed Juliano Belletti instead.


CB: Alessandro Nesta
Chelsea spent £153m on 11 new players in their first transfer window under the ownership of Roman Abramovich back in 2003. Hernan Crespo, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole and Juan Sebastian Veron were among the stars signed as they splashed the cash under Claudio Ranieri.

The only position they didn’t strengthen was at centre-back, but not for the want of trying. The club reportedly tabled a £35m bid for Nesta – who had just been crowned Serie A Defender of the Year for the fourth season in a row – which would have seen him become the most expensive defender in history. But having just won the Champions League with Milan, Nesta decided to stay put.


CB: Fabio Cannavaro
Having won his second Serie A title in two years with Juventus and captaining Italy to World Cup glory, Cannavaro moved to Real Madrid for just £6.3m in the summer of 2006, winning the Ballon d’Or soon after. But he revealed this year that he was “close” to joining Chelsea instead. He knew of interest from Jose Mourinho but instead opted to join Fabio Capello at Madrid, with whom he won consecutive La Liga crowns.


LB: Roberto Carlos
Chelsea already had arguably the best left-back in the world in Ashley Cole in 2007, but they wanted the man he had taken the title from as his understudy at Stamford Bridge.

The Brazilian admitted that he met Abramovich in Paris to discuss the move after 11 years with Madrid, but a few “small factors” stopped the deal from getting over the line, and the 34-year-old joined Fenerbahce instead.


CM: Steven Gerrard
It’s always worth reminding Liverpool fans that arguably their greatest club legend of all time handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Chelsea in 2005, immediately after having won the Champions League for the Reds.

Jose Mourinho was very keen on playing the turncoat and Frank Lampard together and England would almost certainly have a couple of major trophies had it happened. But Gerrard eventually signed a new Liverpool deal, while Chelsea instead signed Michael Essien who – fun fact – has two Premier League titles to Gerrard’s zero.

Steven Gerrard is dejected after his slip costs Liverpool against Chelsea in 2014.


CM: Andrea Pirlo
The Italian maestro very nearly followed Carlo Ancelotti to Stamford Bridge in 2009, and has revealed since that he had agreed the move before Milan blocked his exit as Kaka left for Real Madrid.

Chelsea won the league and cup double that year with John Obi Mikel pulling the strings Pirlo-like from the base of midfield.


AM: Kaka
Ancelotti hampered Chelsea’s chances of landing Ballon d’Or winner Kaka in 2008 before the manager ironically became the new Blues boss a year later. AC Milan had reportedly accepted Chelsea’s world-record £79m bid for the Brazilian, who had been persuaded to move to Stamford Bridge by newly-appointed boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, before Ancelotti pulled the plug.

The Italian manager then tried to bring Kaka with him to west London in 2009, but Kaka opted to move to Real Madrid for £56m.


RW: Robinho
Chelsea were printing shirts of the man dubbed the new Pele in the summer of 2008. Robinho was thought to have significant untapped potential after three so-so years with Real Madrid and everyone thought he was off to Stamford Bridge, including – infamously – the player himself.

“On the last day, Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted,” Robinho said on his move to Manchester City. He was accused of moving for money over football as the president of former club Santos described his decision as “disgraceful” and Pele claimed Chelsea were “lucky” to avoid him.


ST: Sergio Aguero
Having lost the battle with Madrid for Kaka, Ancelotti was very keen on bringing Aguero to Chelsea in 2009. They had even agreed a fee for the then 21-year-old, who had starred for Atletico Madrid as they won the Europa League, before balking at his wage demands.

The Argentine reportedly wanted £220,000 a week, which would have made him the highest-paid player in the Premier League by some distance. Chelsea instead signed Daniel Sturridge, who barely played as Didier Drogba scored 29 of 103 goals for Chelsea on their way to the Premier League title. Aguero joined City two years later and also scored a few.


LW: Ronaldinho
Roughly two years after he embarrassed Chelsea and Cech with the greatest toe-poke in football history at Stamford Bridge in one of many titanic battles between the two sides around that time, the Blues made an approach to sign the best footballer in the world.

Abramovich reportedly wanted to make a bold statement in the summer of 2007 having surrendered the Premier League title to Manchester United, but the Blues were priced out of a move by Barcelona, who were understandably unwilling to sell their talisman.

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