While Falcao to United and Chelsea doesn’t count, there have been some really strange and bizarre transfers that have taken place in the beautiful game.
Ahead of the winter transfer window, and as clubs’ scouts continue to search for the next “big things” and better additions to their ranks, here is a reminder of some of the worst, shocking and most surprising football switches that have ever happened.
PLAYER : Ali Dia
YEAR : 1996
CLUB : Southampton
All he took for this Senegalese striker to move to the EPL was a prank phone call from one-time Ballon d’Or winner George Weah.
The AC Milan African legend put a call through to Saints boss Graeme Souness, waxing lyrical of how his cousin Dia, was the best thing to happen to football after Pele and Maradona.
Dia was instantly thrown into first team action on the back of Weah’s praises, but he turned out to be the greatest scam in EPL history as he played only 14 minutes of football for the team before his contract was cancelled almost immediately.
Turned out the call wasn’t from the original Weah, and Dia who should have had no business whatever playing football was only some ambitious “professional” player hoping to make a miracle out of his “career”.
PLAYER : Al-Saadi Gaddafi
YEAR : 2003
CLUB : Perugia
The third son of the late north African dictator decided to hang up his guns and grenade for a football career years ago. A one-time commander of Libya’s Special Forces, he somehow secured a transfer to the then Serie A side with his father’s influence.
And boy, the unsuspecting world couldn’t wait for his debut having employed Diego Maradona as his technical consultant and former Olympic gold medalist and sprinter Ben Johnson, as his personal trainer.
This quote summed up the career of Gaddafi junior who appeared as a sub just once before failing a drug test,
“Even at twice his current speed he would still be twice as slow as slow itself.”
The maligned striker and daddy’s boy still made something worthwhile of his career, though, captaining both the Libya national football team and his home club in Tripoli before eventually becoming president of the Libyan Football Federation.
PLAYER : Luis Figo
YEAR : 2000
CLUB : Real Madrid
Imagine Messi moving to Real Madrid next summer.
Well, akin to that is the Portuguese’s world record £40million switch to the bitter rivals from Barcelona back then, which almost resulted to World War III, at least in Camp Nou during Figo’s return for a Classico clash.
Perez had activated his buyout clause, and it further irked the Barcelona faithful someone regarded as an icon after half a decade in the Catalan club would sure to cross such a line.
His 2nd return was much worse, with the centre ref having to suspend play for about 20 minutes as everything was hauled at Figo, including the head of a pig.
Neymar sure can learn a thing or two from that infamous transfer, though.
PLAYER : Robinho
YEAR : 2008
CLUB : Manchester City
Up until the eve of summer transfer deadline day, the Brazilian was a Chelsea player in the making after the London club and the representatives of the Real Madrid forward had agreed to finalize a deal.
However, Manchester City, who just got bought by the Arabs the next day piped the Blues to the race. That didn’t stop Robinho from thinking he had eventually signed for Chelsea though with him stating upon signing,
“On the last day, Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted.”
And only a “You mean Manchester, right?” comment from a journalist spared Pepe’s heir apparent’s blushes.
PLAYER : Sol Campbell
YEAR : 2001
CLUB : Arsenal
North London fans couldn’t believe this free transfer back then.
Tottenham fans didn’t expect their captain to reject a contract renewal which would have seen him become the club’s highest paid player for a switch to the Emirates, free!!!
Nor were the Arsenal faithful expecting to see the centre half, who had sworn never to play for Arsenal arrive the Emirates.
Turned out to be a great move for the soulless Sol though, as he won every England trophy with the Gunners and came an inch to adding the Champions League. But his Arsenal days came with years of abuses from Spurs fans, and a lot are yet to forgive him.