55 shocking football transfers that shook the world: 40-31
Words: Ben Clark, Alex Hess, Greg Lea, Adam Digby, Seb Stafford-Bloor, Jon Spurling, Joe Brewin
40. David Luiz (PSG to Chelsea, 2016)
Having chased Alessio Romagnoli and Kalidou Koulibaly for large amounts of the summer, Blues fans were somewhat baffled by Antonio Conte's decision to bring David Luiz back to west London.
Here was a player routinely mocked for his bizarre defending style, with many onlookers believing that Chelsea always looked better defensively the further away that the Brazilian was from his own box. A speedy £34 million deal was rubber-stamped on deadline day, though, in a move that screamed ‘fall-back option’.
But so far, Luiz’s signing has been a revelation. Playing at the heart of Conte’s brilliant back three, the 29-year-old is being showered with praise having played a huge role in Chelsea's stroll to the Premier League summit. Luiz claimed that he came back to Stamford Bridge with one target – winning the title – and he's well on his way to achieving it. BC
39. Bebe (Vitoria to Man United, 2010)
The player who Alex Ferguson famously signed having never seen him play. Bebe’s employment at Old Trafford was sealed by a startling fee of over £7m, just 12 months after he was being touted around Europe for £125,000. It ended, four years and two Premier League appearances later, as one of the most ignominious and inexplicable transfers of the modern era.
United bought Bebe from Vitória at a time when he had only played six pre-season friendlies for the Portuguese club, having just signed for them. Bebe had also tied himself to a new agent by the name of Jorge Mendes days before United made their move. Before that, the striker’s only competitive football had been a single season in the Portuguese third division, during which he scored four goals in 26 games.
Ferguson claimed that the striker had come recommended by his assistant Carlos Queiroz (also represented by Mendes who, according to Vitoria’s directors, landed 30% of the transfer fee as part of the deal). The transfer was subject to an investigation by Portuguese anti-corruption police in 2012, though no party was ever charged with wrongdoing. AH
38. Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich, 2013)
Despite being born in Bavaria, the future World Cup winner joined BVB at the age of eight and went on to play a starring role in their Bundesliga triumphs in 2011 and 2012.
In April 2013, though, it was confirmed that Gotze was Bayern-bound after die Roten triggered his release clause. Dortmund fans didn’t take the news particularly well, while the attacking midfielder – now back at Signal Iduna Park – struggled to nail down a regular first-team spot under Pep Guardiola. GL
37. Gigi Buffon (Parma to Juventus, 2001)
While many of these deals saw one side steal a great player from one of their rivals, Gigi Buffon’s move from Parma to Juventus is one that truly benefited both teams. The Stadio Tardini outfit were struggling financially, but collected a cool €53 million fee that remains a world record for a goalkeeper even today.
Juventus didn't do badly out of the deal, however, signing a 23-year-old who became arguably the finest player ever to stand between the posts.
Nine Serie A triumphs (two of which were revoked) and a Serie B title in 15 seasons has proved a fine return, while he also played a major role in helping the Bianconeri reach two Champions League finals. AD