The football transfer window for the major leagues around Europe will close soon. As major moves kick into high gear and potential deals go bust, it is a time to look back on some of the biggest football transfer shocks that occurred. Many of these have gone the way of the buffalo with football supporters forgetting just how massive these deals once were.
Denilson to Real Betis
Denilson debuted with Sao Paulo at the age of 17 and quickly made a name for himself as a rising star. He was a member of Brazil’s 1998 and 2002 World Cup teams, claiming the trophy in the latter tournament.
In 1998, following the World Cup in France and his impressive play in Brazil, Spain’s Real Betis paid £21.5 million for Denilson (£37.2m in 2018 money). It was a world-record fee at the time.
Although he played 186 ties in La Liga for Real Betis and scored 13 goals, the forward never truly panned out. He left in 2005 for Bordeaux before starting a journey around to smaller clubs around the globe.
Robinho to Manchester City
Manchester City’s first big player transfer after its take over by Sheikh Mansour came in 2008. At the time, Robinho was one of the rising stars in world football and his potential was high at Real Madrid.
The Cityzens paid just over £32m (£41m in 2018 money) for the forward’s services. Robinho played only 53 matches in all competitions for Manchester City before leaving. He tallied 16 goals but it wasn’t until after he left that Manchester City began to become the team we know it as now.
Eric Cantona to Manchester United
Without Eric Cantona, Manchester United wouldn’t have become the team they did in the 1990s. In turn, they wouldn’t be the team they are today in terms of worldwide popularity. Sir Alex Ferguson needed Cantona to be a success and once the club started winning, it was all downhill from there.
The Frenchman was sold to Manchester United by Leeds United in 1992 after helping them win the First Division. Amazingly, prior to Cantona joining Leeds United, French club Nimes offered him to Liverpool.
Manchester United paid just £1.2m for their most important player in history. With inflation, that is still just £2.45m in 2018.
Danny Dichio to Sampdoria
This will go down as one of the strangest transfers in Premier League-Serie A deals. Dichio scored 12 Premier League goals in 1995-96 as his Queens Park Rangers team was relegated. He didn’t play much the next season, but it didn’t stop Sampdoria from signing him.
The strange deal ended with Dichio playing just two times for Sampdoria, scoring two times, before he was shipped to Lecce on loan. Dichio’s best career move would happen in the noughties when he joined Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.
David Beckham to LA Galaxy
David Beckham is the reason people inside and outside North America care about soccer. His move to LA Galaxy in 2007 came out of nowhere. After being frozen out of Real Madrid’s side halfway through the 2006-07 season, Beckham brokered a free transfer to LA.
Madrid then realised Beckham was still a valuable player and reinserted him in the final weeks of the season. It only spurred Los Blancos onto win the La Liga title. Real Madrid realised their mistake but Beckham couldn’t get out of his deal. His first few seasons in LA weren’t great with Beckham working out loan deals back to Europe. He went on to win two MLS Cups and two Supporters’ Shields.