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Crossing the divide: five players who switched sides in London

Unlike hostile northern peers Manchester United and Manchester City, and Everton and Liverpool, rival London clubs have traditionally been much more likely to exchange players. Some deals have, however, caused much more controversy than others.

In the wake of former Arsenal (20/1 with Coral to win the Premier League), Chelsea (odds-on at 1/2) and Tottenham (3/1 for a top four finish) defender William Gallas’ retirement, Coral take a look at the most contentious capital transfers and club-hoppers.

Sol Campbell
Campbell, one of England’s unluckiest international players, famously earned the eternal ire of Tottenham fans by swapping Spurs to join Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal Invincibles.

The huge centre half progressed through the Tottenham’s academy, also spending a portion of his youth career with West Ham United, and spent nine years at White Hart Lane before making the infamous switch in 2001.

His defection enraged supporters due to the fact that Campbell had been Spurs’ skipper and left the north London club for their bitter rivals on a free transfer, reportedly rejecting a contract that would have made him Tottenham’s highest paid player ever.

Ashely Cole
Current Roma left back Cole found himself as persona non grata with Gunners fans after being involved in a transfer tapping-up drama with Chelsea.

The talented defender, an Arsenal academy product, further sullied his status amongst the Emirates faithful a year later, by criticising his boyhood club over their handling of the affair ahead of an eventual move to the Blues.

Despite winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with Wenger’s team, Cole’s time at Arsenal will likely be remembered for his acrimonious exit and quotes from his autobiography in which he stated his anger at supposedly ‘only’ being offered £55,000 a week.

William Gallas
The recently retired centre half finished his career relatively quietly with Australian club Perth Glory, but had previously club-hopped indiscriminatingly between capital competitors Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

A former France international, Gallas struggled to compete with John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho for a place in the Blues’ starting XI, so was included in a part-exchange deal that saw Cole head to Stamford Bridge.

Gallas eventually became Arsenal’s captain but, following a series of controversial incidents and failure to agree a new contract, he left on a free transfer to join Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, becoming the first ever player to represent the Blues, Gunners and Spurs.

Scott Parker
Parker is without doubt the biggest London-based journeyman on this list, having scaled almost the entirety of the capital, with stints at Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, West Ham United, Tottenham and Fulham.

The 34-year-old still plies his trade at Craven Cottage, but has somehow managed to avoid the stigma often received when crossing between local rivals. Parker has probably earned his reprieve due to his attitude and work-rate, and the fact that he never swapped directly between any particularly bitter rivalries.

Gus Poyet
Chelsea legend, and current Sunderland coach, Poyet, is one of few recent players to swap west London for north, having traded Stamford Bridge for White Hart Lane back in 2001.

An FA Cup winner with the Blues, Poyet found his place under threat when Claudio Ranieri arrived, and promptly requested a transfer to Tottenham, rejecting a potential switch to Liverpool.

The Uruguayan celebrated in front of the Chelsea bench, but is still a hero for fans of the current Premier League leaders. His son Diego is now also embarking on a promising footballing career, and has already followed in his father’s footsteps by jumping London clubs, moving from from Charlton to West Ham this summer.