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It’s that time of year again. When the yellow ties are grabbed from the back of the wardrobe and when social media becomes a never-ending whirlpool of speculation and conjecture. Tomorrow is transfer deadline day.
Decision-making isn’t always at its best on this day, as has been demonstrated through the years. Panic buys are a staple of the final day of the transfer window. Here are seven of the most shocking transfer deadline day transfers ever made.
Liverpool transfer target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly isn’t the first player to consider crossing the London divide between Arsenal and Chelsea. Indeed, Ashley Cole went through with it in 2006 in what was one of the most controversial transfers in British football history.
The England international wrote in his autobiography how he nearly “swerved off the road” upon hearing that Arsenal were only willing to offer £55,000-a-week. With just a year left on his contract, rivals Chelsea swooped to sign Cole for a cut-price £5million, and William Gallas, with the left-back going on to become a key member of the Blues’ title-winning side.
No one signing has ever embodied so much. The deadline day signing of Marouane Fellaini for £27.5million represented a failure of a summer for Manchester United and their new manager David Moyes. Having chased of Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fàbregas, the Old Trafford side ended up with Fellaini for a hugely-inflated fee. He didn’t exactly whet appetites.
In truth, Fellaini’s reputation has never really recovered from this transfer, even as he has proved himself as a valuable member of Manchester United’s squad over the past four years. The Belgian was the epitome of Moyes’ ill-fated reign at the club. Who knows how things would have turned out had he been able to sign the players he wanted.
There weren’t many shocks on transfer deadline day last summer, but the return of David Luiz to Chelsea raised more than a few eyebrows. New manager Antonio Conte had scrambled for central defenders all summer long, but had been left frustrated. And so he turned to a familiar face in the Brazilian to help ease his defensive woes.
Many assumed Luiz wouldn’t be the kind of centre back to thrive under Conte, but Chelsea went on to win the title in the Italian’s first season in England, with the former Paris Saint-Germain man a key member of the starting lineup. This is a deadline day deal that despite initial misgivings worked out.
Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez
Nobody expected this one. Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez were regarded two of the brightest young players in the game at the time, with some of Europe’s biggest and best clubs monitoring the two Argentines. So it was somewhat surprising when completed a deal for them on deadline day in 2006.
Mascherano and Tevez themselves looked bemused as they were unveiled to the press. On the field, they were a resounding success for the Hammers, but off the field the club was fined £5.5million for breaching rules on third party ownership, not to mention the £20million in compensation they were forced to pay to Sheffield United after they argued Mascherano and, in particular, Tevez had helped relegate them.
This was the quintessential transfer deadline day deal. The transfer was conducted so quickly even Robinho himself didn’t know exactly who he was signing for, admitting that he thought he was joining Manchester United and Manchester City.
But the £32.5million capture of the Brazilian, then considered one of the best players in the world, was a watershed moment for a future Premier League powerhouse.
Of course, Robinho made no real impression on the Premier League, despite a brilliant start, leaving Man City just two years later. But the precedent his signing set put the club on course to becoming the force they are today. Without Robinho it might have taken much longer for City to establish themselves as a power.
While this deal was completed on the very last day of the 2004 summer transfer window, it had been expected for quite some time.
Ferguson chased Wayne Rooney, the then teenager who had just lit up the European Championships for England, all summer long, finally getting his man for a then record £26.5million. The rest was history, quite literally.
Rooney went on to become the most prolific goalscorer in Manchester United’s history, winning everything there is to win in the sport at the club. He came to define an era at Old Trafford, even if he outstayed his welcome before returning to Goodison Park this summer.
Fernando Torres/Andy Carroll
This was complete and utter transfer deadline day madness. In fact, we perhaps have this double deal to blame for the frenzy that now surrounds the final day of the transfer window. This was the moment during which Jim White became a household name.
First of all, Fernando Torres Newcastle United’s Andy Carroll.
The move didn’t work out for Carroll, though, scoring just six goals in 26 league appearances for the Merseysiders. Meanwhile, Torres struggled to find his groove, but won league titles and the Champions League in 2010. Swings and roundabouts.