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Top 50 Transfers


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/ ... 058123.ece

The sun is out, the sky is blue and up and down the country managers are plotting transfer coups. Managers live and die by the decisions that they make in the summer and when it comes to buying the player who will transform their club?s fortunes they have to tread carefully. That East European forward that they have seen only on video could turn out to be as good as Dimitar Berbatov, or as bad as Florin Raducioiu. That skilful defender that an agent is talking up could be the next Alan Hansen, or the new Titus Bramble. If you are a manager with money to spend, put your feet up and seek inspiration in our list of the Top 50 Best Transfers ? it could save your job.

50 MICHAEL CHOPRA (Newcastle United to Cardiff City, ?500,000, 2006)

Did not make the grade at St James? Park but made up for lost time by scoring 22 times in his first season at Ninian Park, more than David Nugent managed for Preston. It is thought that David Jones could now get 12 times the fee that he paid Newcastle.

49 ZAT KNIGHT (Rushall Olympic to Fulham, 30 tracksuits, 1999)

Knight has played for England twice but seven years ago he was worth 30 tracksuits. Strictly speaking, Fulham were under no obligation to hand over the kit ? there was no fee due for the central defender ? but Mohamed Al Fayed was feeling generous.

48 BRAD FRIEDEL (Liverpool to Blackburn Rovers, free, 2000)

Graeme Souness has had his fingers burnt in the transfer market more often than most managers, but when it came to Friedel his judgment was spot on. The United States goalkeeper did not convince at Anfield but at Blackburn he has become one of the best No 1s in the top flight.

47 CHRIS COLEMAN (Blackburn Rovers to Fulham, ?2 million, 1997)

Eyebrows were raised when Coleman dropped two divisions to the third tier to play under Kevin Keegan at Fulham but the Wales defender can have few regrets about taking the plunge. As well as captaining the side up to the Premier League, Coleman replaced Jean Tigana as manager in 2003 and kept the club in the top flight on a tight budget for three seasons.

46 BILLY SHARP (Sheffield United to Sc**thorpe United, ?100,000, 2005)

Failed to impress Neil Warnock at Bramall Lane and was sold to Sc**thorpe for only ?100,000 in 2005. Scored 53 times in 82 league appearances at Glanford Park before United, now under Bryan Robson, realised the error of their ways and bought him back for ?2 million this summer.

45 FRANNY LEE (Bolton Wanderers to Manchester City, ?60,000, 1967)

Anyone who can inspire Manchester City to win the title has to be on this list. In 1971-72, ?Lee One Pen? scored 35 times, including 15 penalties, most of which he ?won?. Set up a successful toilet roll manufacturing business after he retired in 1976.

44 KERRY DIXON (Reading to Chelsea, ?150,000, 1983)

Terrible hairstyle, brilliant striker. Dixon was the heart and soul of Chelsea when Stamford Bridge was a dump and Roman Abramovich was selling toys on a market stall. Andriy Shevchenko needs to score another 180 times to overtake Dixon?s total of 193 Chelsea goals.

43 PHIL NEAL (Northampton Town to Liverpool, ?66,000, 1974)

Before Gary Neville, there was Phil Neal. The dependable right back, who was Bob Paisley?s first signing as Liverpool manager, won seven league medals, as well as four European Cups at Anfield, where he made more than 600 league appearances and won 50 England caps.

42 ROWAN VINE (Portsmouth to Luton Town, ?250,000, 2005)

?2 million may be loose change to most Premier League clubs but for the likes of Luton it can be the difference between survival and extinction. Vine moved to Kenilworth Road for ?250,000 and was sold 18 months later for ?2.5 million to Birmingham City. Kerching!

41 DAVID JAMES (Manchester City to Portsmouth, ?1.2 million, 2006)

Harry Redknapp has landed some notable gems in the transfer market and, according to the Portsmouth manager, James has been one of his best ever buys. Old Calamity may drop a few clangers but who can argue with his Premier League record of 142 clean sheets.

40 CHRIS WADDLE (Newcastle United to Tottenham Hotspur, ?590,000, 1985)

Forget ?Diamond Lights? and the missed penalty in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, in his pomp at White Hart Lane Waddle was arguably the best winger in the world. Not bad for someone who used to work in a sausage factory. He was sold to Marseille for ?4.5 million in 1989.

39 DAVE MACKAY (Heart of Midlothian to Tottenham Hotspur, ?32,000, 1959)

Scottish left-half and sweeper whose determination and skill inspired Spurs to the Double in 1961 and the FA Cup again in 1962 and 1967, although he missed the Cup Winners? Cup triumph in 1963 through injury.

38 RUUD VAN NISTELROOY (PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United, ?19 million, 2001)

Arsenal had Henry, United had Van Nistelrooy. Selfish and single-minded, the predatory Dutchman was only interested in scoring goals. Luckily for him, he rarely missed and his record of 150 goals in 219 appearances is awe-inspiring.

37 DENIS LAW (Torino to Manchester United, ?115,000, 1962)

After failing to settle in Italy, Law moved back to England and set about becoming the King of Old Trafford. Scored 237 times in 409 appearances alongside George Best and Bobby Charlton.

36 PETER SHILTON (Stoke City to Nottingham Forest, ?250,000, 1977)

Shilton was playing away at Mansfield Town when Brian Clough decided to snap him up. Forest had just been promoted to the top flight, but with Shilton in imperious form, Clough?s side won the title in 1978 and the European Cup the following two seasons.

35 JIMMY GREAVES (AC Milan to Tottenham Hotspur, ?99,999, 1961)

It?s a funny old game. Greaves scored a club record of 266 goals in 380 matches for Spurs to become arguably the most lethal striker in English football history. His record of being the top-flight?s leading goalscorer for a total of six seasons has never been matched.

34 ALAN SHEARER (Southampton to Blackburn Rovers, ?3.6 million, 1992)

Read it and weep: Shearer scored 112 Premiership goals for Blackburn in just 138 appearances and the Ewood Park coffers swelled by ?15 million ? a profit of more than ?11 million ? when he was sold to Newcastle United in 1996. Oh, and he helped to win Rovers the title.

33 BRYAN ROBSON (West Bromwich Albion to Manchester United, ?1.5 million, 1981)

Ron Atkinson never won the title as United manager but he did sign Captain Marvel for a record fee. During the dark days of the 80s Robson was Mr United. Made more than 460 appearances and scored 98 goals ? from midfield. Determined, skilful, uncompromising and arguably one of the best midfield players in United?s history.

32 ALAN HANSEN (Partick Thistle to Liverpool, ?100,000, 1977)

Never ask this man to show you his medals. Arrived at Anfield as a raw Scottish defender and left in 1990 after winning the league eight times and the European Cup three times.

31 DAVID PLATT (Crewe Alexandra to Aston Villa, ?200,000, 1988)

Rejected by Manchester United as a schoolboy, Platt took it on the chin and set about making himself one of the best midfield players in the world. Hit the headlines by scoring a last-gasp goal for England against Belgium in the 1990 World Cup finals and was sold to Bari for ?5.5 million a year later.

30 PAOLO DI CANIO (Sheffield Wednesday to West Ham United, ?1.75 million, 1999)

Manhandling referees, making fascist salutes and scoring spectacular goals was all in a day?s work for the forward with the shortest fuse in Italy. West Ham fans adore him, the rest of us worry about his fascination with fascism ? ?I am a fascist, not a racist,? Di Canio said. That?s all right then.

29 NEVILLE SOUTHALL (Bury to Everton, ?150,000, 1981)

The Welshman worked as a binman, a hod-carrier and a waiter before finding his true vocation in life between the sticks at Goodison Park. Made more than 750 appearances ? a record - and won two league titles, two FA Cups and the European Cup Winners? Cup. Also won a record 92 Wales caps.

28 LARRY LLOYD (Coventry City to Nottingham Forest, ?60,000, 1976)

Popped up on our list of the worst 50 players in the world but Lloyd has the medals to prove that he was more than a one-dimensional defender. Won league championship medals with Liverpool and Forest and has two European Cup winner?s medals which he can polish at home.

27 STEVE BULL (West Bromwich Albion to Wolverhampton Wanderers, ?65,000, 1986)

Mr Wolves began his career at arch-rivals West Brom but hit his stride at Molineux. Left The Hawthorns for just ?65,000 and finished his career 13 years later after a club-record 306 goals, including 52 in the 1987-88 season. Also scored 18 hat-tricks and played for England 13 times (eight as substitute).

26 MICHAEL ESSIEN (Lyons to Chelsea, ?24 million, 2005)

Not cheap at ?24 million but arguably the best midfield player at Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard may score more goals, Michael Ballack may earn more, but Essien is irreplaceable. According to Jose Mourinho, he has ?incredible physical power and unending tactical abilities?.

25 WAYNE ROONEY (Everton to Manchester United, ?30 million, 2004)

Once a blue, always a Red. Rooney may be Public Enemy No 1 at Goodison Park, but the England forward has not looked back since joining United. Scored a hat-trick on his debut against Fenerbahce and will wear Denis Law?s No 10 shirt next season.

24 CARLOS TEVEZ (Corinthians to West Ham United, 2006)

Only a forensic accountant ? and Kia Joorabchian ? would be able to unravel the details of the Argentina forward?s move to England but his impact at Upton Park was, eventually, breathtaking. Scored seven times in the last 10 league games of the season to save West Ham from relegation before packing his bags for Old Trafford ? once those contract issues have been resolved.

23 TONY CASCARINO (Crokenhill to Gillingham, training equipment, 1982)

Cascarino has learned to live with the rumours that he was sold to Gillingham for a job lot of corrugated-iron, but, according to the former Ireland forward, his transfer was facilitated by the handing over of ?some training equipment, tracksuits, stuff like that?. He was sold to Millwall for ?250,000 five years later.

22 DIMITAR BERBATOV (Bayer Leverkusen to Tottenham Hotspur, ?10.9 million, 2006)

The Bulgaria forward was not cheap when he swapped the Bundesliga for Spurs last summer but he looks a bargain after catching the eye with impressive displays in his first season in the Premier League. Now valued at about ?25 million and attracting interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.

21 MARC OVERMARS (Ajax to Arsenal, ?7 million, 1997)

Another Arsene Wenger masterstroke. Bought for ?7 million, sold to Barcelona for ?25 million three years later. He loved scoring against Manchester United. And he was useless in Spain.

20 DARREN BENT (Ipswich Town to Charlton Athletic, ?2.5 million, 2005)

Ipswich?s decision to sell their star striker in the summer of 2005 did not cause a stampede. Charlton were in pole position and tied up a deal for ?2.5 million. Two years and 31 Premier League goals later, the England forward was sold to Spurs for ?16.5 million ? a profit of ?14 million. Of this Ipswich receive about ?2.5 million through a wise sell-on clause.

19 ROY KEANE (Nottingham Forest to Manchester United, ?3.75 million, 1993)

Nearly joined Blackburn Rovers before setting his heart on a move to Old Trafford. Kenny Dalglish?s loss was United?s gain. Anyone who doubts just how good he was should watch a video of his performance away to Juventus in 1999. ?It was the most emphatic display of selflessness I have seen on a football field,? Alex Ferguson said. ?Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.?

18 DAVID NUGENT (Bury to Preston North End, ?100,000, 2005)

Failed to make the grade at Liverpool and had to go back to basics before earning himself a move to Preston North End for just ?100,000. Two years and a goal on his England debut later, the forward is close to sealing a ?7 million transfer to Portsmouth.

17 IAN RUSH (Chester City to Liverpool, ?300,000, 1980)

His name still turns the stomach of Manchester United fans, but who can argue with his scoring record. Scored for fun ? except against United and when playing for Juventus. Never mind the quality, stand back and admire the stats - 346 goals in 658 games, five titles, three FA Cups, one European Cup, five League Cups and four Charity Shields. Not bad for an Everton supporter.

16 PETER WITHE (Newcastle United to Aston Villa, ?500,000, 1980)

Aston Villa?s record signing when he moved south, Withe justified his transfer fee by scoring 20 times as Ron Saunders?s team won the title in 1981. Also scored Villa?s winning goal in the 1982 European Cup final against Bayern Munich.

15 NICOLAS ANELKA (Paris St-Germain to Arsenal, ?500,000, 1996)

Arrived at Highbury as a moody 17-year-old and threw his toys out of the pram two-and-a-half years later before Arsenal accepted Real Madrid?s ?23 million offer. Could anyone else but Arsene Wenger make a ?22.5 million profit on a 17-year-old in such a short time?

14 GIANFRANCO ZOLA (Parma to Chelsea, ?4.5 million, 1996)

Won trophies at Stamford Bridge before Roman Abramovich?s millions transformed the club?s fortunes and all because he spent hours watching Diego Maradona in training while they were team-mates at Napoli. ?He?s a clever little so-and-so,? Sir Alex Ferguson said. Thousands of defenders would agree.

13 KEVIN KEEGAN (Sc**thorpe United to Liverpool, ?35,000, 1971)

Forget the dodgy perm, the Brut ads and the England job, Keegan is the only Englishman to have been voted European Footballer of the Year twice. After 323 appearances and 100 goals, he said goodbye to Liverpool with a European Cup winner?s medal in 1977. ?When they start singing, ?You?ll Never Walk Alone?, my eyes start to water,? Keegan said. ?There have been times when I've actually been crying while I've been playing.?

12 PETER SCHMEICHEL (Brondby to Manchester United, ?550,000, 1991)

Sir Alex Ferguson has signed some dodgy keepers but he made no mistake when he bought Schmeichel. The Denmark goalkeeper was a key member of United?s all-conquering sides of the 90s and Ferguson described him as ?the bargain of the century?.

11 CRISTIANO RONALDO (Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, ?12 million, 2003)

Love him or hate him, the Portugal winker looks a bargain at ?12 million. Sir Alex Ferguson was unconvinced about his talents until Ronaldo tore apart United?s defence in a pre-season friendly for Sporting Lisbon. Loves himself a little too much, otherwise would be in the top five.

10 PETR CECH (Rennes to Chelsea, ?7 million, 2004)

Jose Mourinho is convinced that Chelsea would have won the title for a third year in a row if the Czech Republic goalkeeper had not missed three months of last season, and who can argue with the Chelsea manager? If it wasn?t for Gianluigi Buffon, who cost Juventus ?32 million, Cech would be the best goalkeeper in the world.

9 DENNIS BERGKAMP (Inter Milan to Arsenal, ?7.5 million, 1995)

Bruce Rioch is remembered by Arsenal supporters for two things: signing Dennis Bergkamp and being a rubbish manager. Edged out by Thierry Henry as Arsenal?s best ever player, Bergkamp?s defence-splitting passes stunned Highbury regulars. ?It's a miracle,? one admirer said. ?One moment the pitch is crowded and narrow, then suddenly it is huge and wide.?

8 PAUL MCGRATH (Manchester United to Aston Villa, ?400,000, 1989)

McGrath liked a drink, Alex Ferguson did not like drinkers. McGrath was shown the door at Old Trafford and went on to prove that he was the best defender of his generation. Admitted in his autobiography that he often played while drunk. Frightening to think how good he would have been without dodgy knees and the refueling problem.

7 JOHN BARNES (Sudbury Court to Watford, set of kit, 1981)

Graham Taylor, he did not like managing England but nearly everything he touched at Vicarage Road turned to gold. Barnes was 17 and playing for Sudbury Court when Taylor gave him a chance in the Watford reserve team. Barnes repaid the faith by scoring 92 goals before joining Liverpool for ?900,000 in 1986.

6 GARY PALLISTER (Billingham Town to Middlesbrough, set of kit, bag of balls and a goal net, 1984)

Daisy, as he was known to his team-mates at Old Trafford, won four Premier League titles and three FA Cups at Manchester United. In 1984, the 19-year-old central defender was playing for Billingham Town when he caught the eye of Middlesbrough scouts and was snapped up in exchange for a set of kit, a bag of balls and a goal net. Was sold for ?2.3 million in 1989.

5 IAN WRIGHT (Greenwich Borough to Crystal Palace, set of weights, 1985)

Wrighty had resigned himself to a career as a plasterer in 1985 playing part-time for Greenwich Borough when Steve Coppell offered him a trial and, impressed by what he saw, decided to swap the raw striker for a set of weights. Scored 117 goals in 277 appearances before he was sold to Arsenal for ?2.5 million in 1991.

4 THIERRY HENRY (Juventus to Arsenal, ?10.5 million, 1999)

Juventus fans were glad to see the back of the moody French winger who scored only three times in the 1998-99 season but little did they know that they were saying goodbye to one of the best players in the world. Skill, pace and good looks ? some guys have all the luck.

3 KENNY DALGLISH (Celtic to Liverpool, ?440,000, 1977)

Eat your heart out Fernando Torres. Bought by Bob Paisley to replace Kevin Keegan, Dalglish scored 31 times in his first season including the winning goal in the 1978 European Cup final. Came top in a poll of more than 110,000 Liverpool supporters on 100 Players Who Shook The Kop.

2 DIXIE DEAN (Tranmere Rovers to Everton, ?3,000, 1925)

The forward who became the most prolific goalscorer in English football history cost Everton just ?3,000 ? or about what Andriy Shevchenko earns in an hour these days. Still the only player to score 60 league goals in a season in England, his record of 383 goals for Everton in 433 appearances astonished even Bill Shankly. ?Those of us privileged to see Dean play talk of him the way people talk about Beethoven, Shakespeare or Mozart - he was that good,? the former Liverpool manager said.

1 ERIC CANTONA (Leeds United to Manchester United, ?1.2 million, 1992)

He came, he turned up his collar, he conquered. Howard Wilkinson rang Alex Ferguson to ask him if Denis Irwin was for sale, Ferguson put in a cheeky bid for the Frenchman and the rest is history.

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which he used on pires and henry for less than the recouped fee of ONE of those players.

but the list is really strange... ronaldo and essien so high up for example, after one great season each, and yet lampard, who cost less than both, is nowhere for example.

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That's quite a list, but not necessarily an accurate one - but then it's all a matter of opinion I suppose. Some transfers don't appear to be so good, until seen with hindsight many years later.

For me, the best Chelsea transfers are: -


Eddie McCreadie - East Stirling - ?6,000 - April 1962

Marvin Hinton - Charlton ?30,000 - Aug 1963

Charlie Cooke - Dundee ?72,500 - April 1966


David Webb - Southampton ?40,000 + Joe Kirkup - Feb 1968

Ian Hutchinson - Cambridge Utd ?2,500 - July 1968

John Dempsey - Fulham ?70,000 + Barry Lloyd - Jan 1969

John Phillips - Aston Villa ?30,000 - Aug 1970

Micky Droy - Slough Town FREE (?) - Oct 1970


David Speedie - Darlington ?70,000 - June 1982

Joey Jones - Wrexham ?34,500 - Oct 1982

Eddie Niedzwiecki - Wrexham ?45,000 - June 1983

Joe McLaughlin - Morton ?95,000 - May 1983

Nigel Spackman - Bournemouth ?40,000 - June 1983

Pat Nevin - Clyde ?95,000 - July 1983

Kerry Dixon - Reading ?175,000 - Aug 1983

Mickey Thomas - Stoke ?75,000 - Jan 1984


Dennis Wise - Wimbledon ?1,600,000 - July 1990


John Spencer - Rangers ?450,000 - Aug 1992


Ruud Gullit - AC Milan FREE - July 1995

Mark Hughes - Man.Utd ?1,500,000 - July 1995

Dan Petrescu - Sheff.Wed ?2,300,000 - Nov 1995


Gianluca Vialli - Juventus FREE - July 1996

Roberto Di Matteo - Lazio ?4,900,000 - July 1996

Gianfranco Zola - Parma ?4,500,000 - Nov 1996

Gus Poyet - Real Zaragoza FREE - July 1997

Tore Andre Flo - Brann Bergen ?300,000 - Aug 1997


Marcel Desailly - AC Milan ?4,600,000 - Jul 1998

Albert Ferrer - Barcelona ?2,200,000 - Aug 1998

Carlo Cudicini - Castel di Sangro ?160,000 - Aug 1999

Eidur Gudjohnsen - Bolton ?4,000,000 - July 2000


William Gallas - Marseille ?6,200,000 - July 2001

Petr Cech - Rennes ?7,000,000 - July 2004


Lassana Diarra - Le Havre ?2,800,000 - July 2005

Then there are the transfers that could and probably would have been excellent value, but for injuries ending the players' careers prematurely - like David Hay, Paul Elliott and Pierluigi Casiraghi.

I'm sure there'll be plenty of differing opinions on this subject, knowing you lot on here! icon_lol.gif

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Wouldn't argue too much with that, but surely Gullit rates a mention as one of Hoddle's buys?

That list shows what a fantastic transfer dealer John Neal was.He really did turn the team around as well as any manager we've ever had.

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what about leboeuf?

Leboeuf cost ?2,500,000, which I think was about right at the time, so although he was a very good player for Chelsea I wouldn't necessarily say he rates as one of the top value signings. That's just my opinion though, I know plenty of people will disagree with me (as usual) icon_lol.gif

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i still cant believe we got desailly for less than ?5 mill. and franco for similar. tihs was around the same time john hartson moved for about ?7 mill. puts it into perspective.

And Di Matteo. We got an Italian international in his prime for less than ?5m. He didn't do too.

If I remember rightly, we got Joe Cole for about ?6m, a real bargain considering some of the extortionate prices we were paying that summer.

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You should move Cech to CR for the sake of accuracy

I wasn't sure whether it was Ranieri or Mourinho who signed him - he arrived in June 2004 which was around the time Ranieri left (I think). I bow to your superior knowledge though, Tim, and have changed it icon_lol.gif

I've also sneakily added a couple more that I'd forgotten about, Ian Hutchinson (possibly bargain of the century at ?2,500) and Micky Droy. I'll probably keep remembering others as time goes by, senile dementia is setting in nicely now I'm in my 50's icon_rolleyes.gif

Shouldn't IP be credited with a few more good buys - considering Bates only gave him 2 bob and an old Wrigley's wrapper to buy with?

What, like Joe Allon, Robert Fleck, Tony Cascarino and Mal Donaghy? icon_wink.gif

Admittedly, Ian Porterfield did sign Dmitri Kharine for ?400,000, but I'd say that was a good signing rather than a great signing. Mick Harford, Clive Allen & Vinnie Jones also fall into this category in my humble opinion, but I acknowledge that others might well disagree.

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What about Tommy Baldwin who we got as part of the deal of George Graham going to the Arse !!!!

I was going to add Tommy Baldwin, as he was one of my favourite players of the time, but I'm not sure what the exact transfer deal was. As far as I can find out, we gave Arsenal George Graham and ?25,000 for Tommy, but it's unclear how much George Graham was valued at.

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What about Tommy Baldwin who we got as part of the deal of George Graham going to the Arse !!!!

I was going to add Tommy Baldwin, as he was one of my favourite players of the time, but I'm not sure what the exact transfer deal was. As far as I can find out, we gave Arsenal George Graham and ?25,000 for Tommy, but it's unclear how much George Graham was valued at.

I thought it was the other way round, i.e. they gave us ?25,000 plus Tommy Baldwin for George Graham? At that time Graham was highly rated but Tommy was still comparatively unknown.

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