Ashley Cole would go on to establish himself as one of the best left backs in world football during his time at Chelsea, but many people still hold the way he moved to the club against him.
Cole was one of the earliest reported examples of 'tapping up', with the defender famously caught having a meeting with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in 2005 despite still being an Arsenal player. He would go on to move to the club a year later.
Much was said at the time about Cole's motivation for the move being a financial one, but he would go on to win an impressive haul of trophies at Stamford Bridge. During the same period Arsenal would regress at a frightening rate.
Speaking on BBC, Cole said that the dipping standards at Arsenal was the main reason for his move across London:
Ashley Cole says he saw the winning culture at Arsenal "falling apart", which is why he left to join Chelsea in 2006.
Cole was speaking to @GaryLineker for Match Of Their Day. Catch up here: https://t.co/ZTOIDtjgHW pic.twitter.com/QalmoOXKQR
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 24, 2020
At the time when I first started at Arsenal, that was the core: Seaman, Keown, Vieira, Henry, Adams. When they started to leave, and this is just me personally, I felt there were holes in the culture of what it was before, the demands on training.
I just felt it was falling apart a bit, or there were gaps missing and they weren't filled. So that transition in terms of finding myself in a different culture and the willingness and want to win, I went to Chelsea and I had that.
Despite the fact that he was proven correct in his assessment that things were beginning to slip at Arsenal, the player does admit that he regrets the way the transfer took place:
I think when you look back there was probably mistakes for sure on both sides. It wasn't entirely my fault and it wasn't entirely their fault.
I was probably a bit too stubborn at the time, felt a little bit hard done by and was a little bit babyish to be honest. But some of it I will never regret and I wouldn't ever change that situation. It was just something that happened, maybe it was meant to be, who knows?
I definitely feel unjust by it because it wasn't what people think in terms of money. It's crazy, but that was probably the last thing on my mind.