As Barcelona maintain their 11-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga, it has been revealed that at the start of the season, the Catalans strongly considered adding to their record-breaking strike force. Not with Neymar, the prodigiously talented Brazilian forward, but with Birmingham’s Nikola Zigic, the lumbering forward with two goals to his name in the Championship.
Disappointingly for the Serb the move never materialised. There are plenty of other examples where logic did go out of the window. Often such moves cause a stir in the football community because of the amount of money involved. Andy Carroll’s transfer to Liverpool is a case in point. In the five transfers below, it wasn’t the money involved that shocked fans, but the club’s interest in the player in the first place.
Ronnie O’Brien (Middlesbrough to Juventus, free transfer, 1999)
After sitting in the Middlesbrough reserve team for two years, O’Brien started looking for a new club. He spurned the traditional route of joining a lower league club to prove his worth, and instead went straight to a European giant. Surprisingly, he didn’t fit into a midfield already laden with the gifts of Pavel Nedved and Zinedine Zidane.
Gary McAllister (Coventry to Liverpool, free transfer, 2000)
Although he ultimately became a success at Liverpool, eyebrows were raised when Gerard Houllier gave the 35-year-old one last shot at European glory.
Andy Goram (Motherwell to Manchester United, loan deal, 2001)
United were short of back-up goalkeepers and Sir Alex Ferguson appeared unwilling to take a risk on a young player for a couple of games. So in comes a forgotten 37-year-old at the tail end of his career.
Jean-Alain Boumsong (Newcastle Utd to Juventus, £3.25m, 2006)
Despite being hopelessly out of his depth at Newcastle, Juventus had clearly seen enough to convince them to buy a player described by journalists as “not so much a weak link at the back, as an extra attacker for the opposition”.
Julien Faubert (West Ham to Real Madrid, loan deal, 2009)
After failing to make an impact at West Ham, the French winger was suddenly regarded as the final piece of the jigsaw to return Madrid to greatness. It didn’t work out.