9 big moves for English forwards that resulted in shock or awe – take note Danny Ings
From Lottery winner Michael Carroll to Tony Montana in Scarface, the rags-to-riches tale as told through popular culture is generally a cautionary one. Danny Ings might want to take note, because the same rule often applies to Premier League football when a low-key striker – Ings being the latest – earns himself a giddily high-profile transfer, before paying the price in reputation and dignity. But for every few Montanas and Carrolls, there’s an Eliza Doolittle: a striker who takes to his newly upmarket surroundings like a duck to water and the goals continue to flow freely, no questions asked. Here's a run-down of nine English forwards from recent history whose big moves began a story of glory, horror, or something in between.
Ian Wright (Crystal Palace to Arsenal, £2.5m, 1991)
It bodes well for Ings that Liverpool have a rather romantic mini-tradition of fruitfully plucking players from lower-league clubs: Ian Rush (Chester City), John Toshack (Cardiff City) and Kevin Keegan (Scunthorpe United) were lured to Anfield and prvoed themselves very capable of making the step up.
Such rabbit-from-a-hat gaieties may, however, belong to a bygone era; the only wildly successful such example from the modern age occurred nearly three decades years ago. Ian Wright was playing amateur football and unable to even pay his parking fines when Crystal Palace took a punt on him in 1985. Six years, 100 goals and an FA Cup final brace later, Arsenal were suitably convinced to shell out a club record £2.5m.
It might have seemed a rash outlay for a player who was unproven at the very top and – rather staggeringly – just two months short of his 28th birthday, but the risk paid off abundantly: Wright wrote himself into Arsenal history with seven years’ service, 221 games and 185 goals.