Top 10 Weirdest Ever Football Transfers
With the Premier League transfer deadline just days away, and Chelsea seemingly trying to sign any centre forward they can over 6ft 4″, we thought we’d celebrate our favourite silly season with a list of some of the most bizarre transfers in the history of English football. Enjoy!
10) Youri Djorkaeff – Kaiserslautern to Bolton – Free
For a transfer to be considered ‘weird’, either a rubbish player has to go to a great club or a great player has to go to a rubbish team. For French World Cup winning midfielder Youri Djorkaeff it was the latter with his move to proverbial ‘yoyo club’ Bolton Wanderers.
The Premiership strugglers signed Djorkaeff after he was released from his contract with Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. As weird as it was, the transfer worked out well for both parties with Djorkaeff scoring 20 goals in 75 appearances and being part of an international ‘dream-team’ alongside Jay-Jay Okocha and former Real Madrid midfielder Iván Campo.
9) Tyrone Mears – Derby to Marseille – Loan
While we’re incessantly told it’s not, a transfer should be a fairly simple business. All you need is a team to want you, you wanting said team, and your current club willing to sell. For Derby County’s Tyrone Mears, a fairly unexpected advance from Marseille was naturally too good to turn down in 2008. The only issue was the Derby full-back only had two of those ingredients in place.
Derby labelled an offer from Marseille as “completely and utterly unacceptable – it’s laughable.” Luckily for Tyrone and unfortunately for Derby, the banker disagreed and a season-long loan followed, which saw Mears inexplicably take the No.8 shirt and score against Ajax in the UEFA Cup.
8) Luther Blissett – Watford to AC Milan – £1million
Believe it or not, back in 1983, £1million was a serious amount of money. Which is why it raised some serious eyebrows when Italian supergaints AC Milan went and bought an English centre forward from Watford who had only scored five goals in 30 appearances.
The centre forward in question in Luther Blissett and legend has it that Milan had confused him with fellow Watford team-mate, and infinitely better player, John Barnes. While in Italy Blissett famously complained, “no matter how much money you have here, you can’t seem to get Rice Krispies.” Having scored just five times in 30 games, Blissett was sold back to Watford for just over half what Milan paid.
7) Carlos Tévez & Javier Mascherano – Corinthians to West Ham – Undisclosed
During the summer of 2006, both Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano had been touted for big moves, with a transfer to a top side in the Prem highly likely for both players. However, thanks to complicated ownership rights and astronomical transfer fees, most clubs passed on the Argentinians. That is until they were unveiled at lowly West Ham just hours before the transfer window shut to a shocked football world.
Tevez ended up essentially keeping West Ham in the Prem at the expense of Sheffield Utd, who then ended up suing West Ham following a breach of third party ownership rules. Nobody actually knows the exact fee West Ham paid for the duo but their agent is quoted as saying in the summer of 2006, “Tevez will leave Corinthians if a team pays the contract’s release clause, which is between £69m and £83m.” Ouch!
6) Fabrizio Ravanelli – Juventus to Middlesbrough – £7million
In May 1996, Fabrizio Ravanelli won the Champions’ League with Italian giants Juventus in Rome. Somehow just three months later, the ‘White Feather’ as he was dubbed, would be lined up in the Premier League for Middlesbrough.
Apparently the transfer came around as Juventus refused to sell Ravanelli to a rival European club and Middlebrough were the only club who showed real interest. Ravanelli linked up with Brazilian’s Juninho and Emerson to add some glamour to Boro’s line up, but despite scoring a hat-trick on his debut, Ravanelli and co lost two cup finals and were relegated at the end of 2007.
5) Kevin Keegan – Hamburg to Southampton – £500,000
Trading Hamburg for Southampton might not seem like a step down these days, but back in 1980, Hamburg were a European giant having just won the Bundesliga and having reached the European Cup final, where they lost to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.
Kevin Keegan was their star man and had just won his second consecutive Ballon d’Or. But rather than trying to win that illusive European Cup, Keegan decided to head to the south coast and mid-table obscurity at Southampton. It turned out to be relatively successful, however, with the free-scoring team scoring 76 times and finishing 6th, a club record.
4) Allan Simonsen – Barcelona to Charlton – £300,000
You may not have heard of Allan Simonsen but that’s probably the way he’d have it. Simonsen is arguably the most influential player in Danish football history, and is also the only footballer to have scored in all the European Cup, UEFA Cup, and Cup Winners’ Cup finals. Simonsen won European trophies at Borussia Mönchengladbach and had just scored the winning goal to bring Barcelona their biggest continental crown, the Cup Winners’ Cup. Hoewever, he was allowed to leave Barca as they’d just signed some fella called Diego Maradona.
But rather than taking offers from Real Madrid or Tottenham, Simonsen was more in favour of a move to second division Charlton. Simonsen claimed it was because he wanted to play for a club with less stress and attention. Unfortunately Charlton had trouble funding his transfer and wages, so Simonsen was put up for sale after just three months despite scoring nine times in 13 games.
3) Ronnie O’Brien – Middlesbrough to Juventus – Free
While Ronnie O’Brien had been a promising youngster having done well in the Irish youth set-up, he didn’t perform well enough for lowly Middlesbrough to offer him a contract, let alone afford him a first team appearance. But rather amazingly, Juventus saw something in O’Brien Boro clearly didn’t and snapped him up on a five-year deal much to the bemusement of everyone, including O’Brien.
The winger spent three years with the Italian giants, playing only occasionally for the first team. During his time, he was loaned out to Lugano in Switzerland, Dundee United in Scotland, and lower division Italian clubs Crotone and Lecco. He left Juve in 2002 and spent the rest of his career in the MLS, where he was named in the MLS Best XI in both 2004 and 2005.
2) Edgar Davids – to Barnet – Free
We mentioned incredible players going to rubbish teams and nothing on our list fits that description more than Dutch footballing legend Edgar Davids heading to bottom of League Two, Barnet FC. Having starred for Ajax, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona and Inter Milan, Davids had settled in North London with his partner after retirement when Barnet offered him a player-coach role in 2012.
Davids’ stint at Barnet was eventful to say the least with the player-manager picking up three red cards in the first eight games he played. On one occasion following a defeat at Accrington Stanley, Davids sent the Barnet team coach back to pick up 36 supporters whose coach had broken down on the motorway. His Barnet tenure ended when he resigned after a year and three months in charge.
1) Julien Faubert – West Ham to Real Madrid – Loan
But our ultimate weirdest ever football transfer has to be the genuinely awful Julien Faubert heading from West Ham to Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid. Faubert left East London in January 2009 on loan until the end of the 2008–09 season for a reported fee of £1.5 million with an option for Real to purchase him outright at the end of the season
Unsurprisingly, Faubert’s loan with Real was underwhelming to say the least with the Frenchman only playing two games. Faubert may have played more had he not missed training when he mistakenly thought he had the day off, or if he wasn’t pictured asleep on the bench during a game against Villarreal. Faubert was released from a contract at Kilmarnock in May earlier this year.