10 of the most short-lived transfers ever

Kevin Grosskreutz has returned to Germany with Stuttgart without making a single appearance for Galatasaray. He's not the only one to leave before he's even started, though, as FFT's Chris Flanagan attests...

1. No goals in pre-season? You're sold!

English football's first £1m signing Trevor Francis scored the winning goal in the 1979 European Cup Final for Nottingham Forest, but the first teenage seven-figure signing made much less of an impact at his new club.

Clive Allen was 19 when Arsenal boss Terry Neill spent £1.25m to sign him from QPR in the summer of 1980. He'd scored 32 goals in 49 appearances for Rangers, but after none in three pre-season games for his new club the young striker was moved on to Crystal Palace in a swap deal with Kenny Sansom and Paul Barron.

There were suggestions that the Gunners had wanted Sansom all along, and this had been their plan to get him, but Allen wasn't convinced. "Several different theories were put forward," he said. "There was no foundation to any of them. I mean, if Arsenal wanted Kenny, why didn't they just buy him from Palace?"

Clive Allen, Arsenal

Don't get too smiley Clive

2. "The English, what have they won?"

Stephane Guivarc'h shot to fame as the striker who somehow couldn't score in the France team that was busy winning the 1998 World Cup.

Those were presumably the credentials that Newcastle thought would be perfect for them when they signed Guivarc'h shortly before the tournament from Auxerre. Perhaps they hoped the frontman and his knack of failing to score would turn the rest of the Newcastle team into Zidane, Djorkaeff and Henry.

Unfortunately, though, it didn't quite work out that way. He did net on his debut against Liverpool but made only four appearances before Ruud Gullit, in as manager for Kenny Dalglish, sold him to Rangers for £3.5m.

He was later named as one of the Premier League's worst ever strikers in a national newspaper survey, to which Guivarc'h later retorted: "This survey, I don't give a damn about it. It was done just to tease and mock me. What a story - a truly pointless stunt. But let's get to the point. The English. What have they won since the World Cup in 1966?" Charming.

3. Bebe steps

Portuguese forward Bebe was happy enough when Europa League regulars Vitoria Guimaraes signed him on a free transfer from cash-strapped Estrela da Amadora in 2010. So he presumably couldn't believe his luck a few weeks later when, before he'd even played a game for Vitoria, Manchester United made their move... for £7.4m. Bebe certainly must have been something special in pre-season – so much so that Vitoria had swiftly increased his previous buyout clause of €3m.

But that form swiftly evaporated and he made only seven appearances for United, spending time on loan at Besiktas, Rio Ave and Paços de Ferreira before joining the former permanently in July 2014. After playing once for the Eagles he was shipped off on loan again to Cordoba, then Rayo Vallecano for the 2015/16 campaign. Perhaps he just doesn't like the cold. 

Bebe, Manchester United

Bebe was delighted to pitch up at Old Trafford

4. Notts the perfect move


Sol Campbell spent longer as a potential candidate to be London Mayor than he did as a Notts County player.

Amid talk of a Middle East takeover and ambitions to reach the Premier League, the League Two club appointed Sven-Goran Eriksson as director of football and then lured Campbell to Meadow Lane on a five-year deal in 2009 after the defender had left Portsmouth.

Despite dropping down three divisions, Campbell had a nightmare debut in a defeat at Morecambe and left Notts County days later after becoming increasingly concerned that the club might not have the bright future they believed. "Sven still hasn’t said sorry for getting me involved," Campbell told FFT last year.

5. "Will he return? I hope he doesn't"

The notoriously hard-to-handle Kevin-Prince Boateng spent so little time at Genoa that he didn't even have the opportunity to fall out with anyone. The Serie A side paid Portsmouth £5m for the midfielder in August 2010, only to immediately ship him out to Milan on loan with a view to a permanent deal.

"Genoa were following Boateng before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa," said club president Enrico Preziosi. "Milan have an unusual situation, as they have many players in the last year of their contracts and are keeping an eye on the balance sheet. 

"Instead we had more of an opportunity to move for Boateng. For now he is joining the Rossoneri on loan. If Milan buy him outright then it'll mean we both saw this is a great player and Genoa will have made a healthy profit. Will he return to Genoa? He could do, but in a way I hope he doesn't."

Well, there's nothing like making your new signing feel wanted. And no, he never did return.