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Shocking Transfer in Football

Posted by horasio on July 4, 2009

Sol Campbell – Spurs to Arsenal (2001)
England international Campbell had spent his whole career at Tottenham and was a firm fans’ favourite. But it turned sour in the 2000-01 season with his contract expiring and the central defender cagey over his future. Despite saying he would never play for Arsenal, he signed for the Gunners as soon as his deal ran out and, despite making 255 Premier League appearances for Spurs, he remains hated at White Hart Lane to this day.

Mo Johnston – Celtic to Nantes to Rangers (1989)
The rivalry between Celtic and Rangers is like no other in the United Kingdom. Not only are they city rivals but their divide runs down strong religious lines. Johnston had scored 55 goals for Celtic before heading to Nantes for a two-year spell. It seemed certain he would return to Parkhead in 1989, proclaiming at a press conference that “Celtic are the only club that I want to play for…”. Two days later he signed for Rangers. It was a move which angered fans on both sides of the city, Gers fans not wanting a Roman Catholic in their team.

Luis Figo – Barcelona to Real Madrid (2000)
Figo’s move from Barcelona to Real Madrid for a world record fee of £37m was perhaps the most controversial in Spanish football history. Moving from the Catalan club to Madrid for such a star player was unthinkable, but Figo made the switch in 2000. The first time he returned to the Nou Camp you could say he received something of a frosty reception, which resulted in several objects being thrown at him… including a pig’s head.

Eric Cantona – Leeds United to Manchester United (1992)
There is no love lost between Leeds and Manchester United and few players have transferred directly across the Pennines. Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson made one of the worst transfer decisions ever when selling Cantona to Alex Ferguson in November 1992. At that point Leeds were the reigning English champions with Cantona their talisman. Wilkinson’s decision to sell the Frenchman for £1.2m led to Man Utd winning the title and heralded their 16 years of dominance.

Lee Clark – Newcastle United to Sunderland (1997)
A die hard Newcastle fan, Clark made the move from Tyneside to Wearside in 1997 and helped the club win promotion to the Premier League. He seemed to have shaken off his black-and-white colours but all that changed when he went to the 1999 FA Cup final to watch the Magpies…. wearing a “Sad Mackem B*****s” (Mackem refers to Sunderland) t-shirt. His photograph was plastered all over the press and he never played for the club again.

Julian Faubert – West Ham United to Real Madrid (2009)
A bit-part player at West Ham and seemingly more likely to play for Rotherham than Real Madrid, Faubert was handed a stunning move to the Bernabeu in January. Thankfully for the likes of Kaka, it was only a loan move. Faubert made just two appearances for Real and will be best remembered by all in Madrid for falling asleep on the bench at Villarreal as Real lost and handed the title to Barca.

Luther Blissett – Watford to AC Milan (1983)
Blissett’s move from Watford to AC Milan would not have been a contender for this list without its unique twist. The England international may have excelled in the English top flight, top scoring in the 1982-83 season, but few expected a club such as AC Milan would be interested. Blissett scored five goals at Milan, it’s just a pity for theRossoneri that they were expecting John Barnes to turn up.

Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano – Corinthians to West Ham (2006)
It’s August 2006 and it’s transfer deadline day. Most people are expecting a few surprise moves, though nobody thought West Ham would get hold of two of the most sought-after South American players. Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano both arrived with everyone wondering just how they managed to buy them. Everyone was right to wonder.

Ronnie O’Brien – Middlesbrough to Juventus (2000)
Once considered to be one of Middlesbrough brightest talents, this Irish midfielder failed to make the grade and was released at the end of his contract, aged 20. Rather than find himself on the footballing scrapheap, O’Brien was unbelievably signed by Juventus. It will come as no surprise to learn than O’Brien did not play a single minute and was released two years into a five-year contract, bound for the MLS. He was released by the San Jose Earthquakes recently.

Ali Dia – Southampton (1996)
Up there with the very best comedy transfers, Southampton boss Graeme Souness signed Ali Dia in 1996. You could hardly blame him, considering George Weah had called to personally recommend his cousin. Ali Dia was promptly handed a contract and made his debut as a substitute against Leeds United. After a performance Emmanuel Eboue would have been proud of he was hauled off after just 14 minutes. You see, it wasn’t Weah that phoned Souey but a random imposter. And Ali Dia was no better than a pub player.


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