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Four signings Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool missed out on because of Roman Abramovich

Chelsea are preparing to undergo a period of transition in the near future after Roman Abramovich confirmed that he is looking to sell the club in a statement on Wednesday evening. The Blues supremo has come under fire in recent days as a result of his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who ordered his troops to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and transformed them into one of European football’s biggest powerhouses with his big-spending habits before deciding to step down amid the ongoing military situation in Ukraine.

He has been largely responsible for shaping the west London club’s fortunes over the last two decades, winning five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues in the process.

A number of world-class managers have been snapped up by Abramovich during his time at Chelsea, with the likes of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel all enjoying success in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

He also managed to recruit some of the world’s best players on a regular basis, often snatching them from under the noses of Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool.

Express Sport takes a look at four Chelsea signings that were successfully poached by Abramovich in this way after initially holding talks with their Premier League rivals.

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John Obi Mikel

Chelsea pulled off a surprise coup by landing Obi Mikel from Norwegian club Lyn after he had signed a contract with United back in 2005.

The Nigerian midfielder even held a press conference with the Red Devils before he was whisked off to Stamford Bridge to sign for the Blues at the eleventh hour.

The club were eventually forced to pay £12million to United plus the original £4m fee to Lyn after a long and drawn-out legal process a year later.

Obi Mikel went on to establish himself as a legend at Chelsea, making 372 appearances in all competitions over the course of an 11-year spell in West London.


Timo Werner

Werner was snapped up by Chelsea as part of a mega-money summer rebuild in 2020 but was almost tempted by the prospect of joining Liverpool before making the switch.

The Reds were said to be keen admirers and held talks with his representatives with a view to bringing him from RB Leipzig to Anfield.

However, the German forward eventually decided to sign for Chelsea after Leipzig accepted a bid of around £47m for his services.

Werner is yet to reach his full potential with the Blues, though, and will be looking to stamp his authority on the club before the expiry of his contract in the summer of 2025.


N’Golo Kante

Kante has emerged as one of the world’s finest midfielders since helping Leicester City to win the Premier League title in remarkable fashion back in 2016.

He was targeted by Arsenal shortly after the Foxes’ domestic triumph but ultimately decided to join Chelsea despite holding talks with Arsene Wenger.

“[We tried to sign Kante] when he was in France and when he was at Leicester,” the former Gunners boss told a press conference a year later.

“I cannot explain everything but it is quite obvious when you look where he has gone.”

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Eden Hazard

Chelsea signed a real gem in 2012 when they struck a deal with Lille for Hazard, who went on to terrorise Premier League defences for seven years before leaving the club to join Real Madrid.

The Belgian was, like Obi Mikel, heavily pursued by United and even met with Sir Alex Ferguson before turning down their advances in order to play for the Blues.

“I spoke with Abramovich, he is very simple and loves football,” explained Hazard at the time.

“There was a struggle between Chelsea and United, but according to me Chelsea has the best project.”



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