World Football: 10 Most Sensational Transfer Deals of All Time

Craig DaviesContributor IIIJuly 18, 2012

World Football: 10 Most Sensational Transfer Deals of All Time

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    Sensational is a word that has many connotations, but how is it judged?

    Is it through impact at club or simply through price?

    Here are 10 transfer deals that have had a huge impact for entirely different reasons; some have had a huge impact on the game as a whole and some simply on a single club.

    If it wasn't for some of these individuals though, the game as we know it today would be very different indeed.

    Have the look through the following names and let the world know your views on these contained within the following slides and those that aren't but you feel should be.

Diego Maradona to Napoli

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    Despite already being a household name worldwide, it was perhaps a touch surprising that the mercurial Argentine chose to join Napoli from Barcelona.

    It is purely for impactful reasons that he is included in this list, thriving in Italy and helping bring a first Serie A title to the club.

    Maradona seemed to hit his peak during his time in Italy, and he has since been quoted as saying:  "I am still in love with Naples and the Napoli jersey.

    "And what I wish for all the fans is that they will soon be celebrating another title. [The 1987 championship win] seems like only yesterday.

    "It was a unique emotion and my heart is there now, where, in every corner of the city, they will be recalling that first Scudetto."

    The near £7m fee paid at the time now seems like a bargain.

Jean-Marc Bosman

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    Maybe a name that is not so well known throughout the world of football, but has formed the basis of one of the corner-stones of the game.

    The Bosman ruling.

    Let's set our minds back to 1990. Belgian side Standard Liege have fallen out with a signing they had made two years previous.

    Despite this and despite the player himself expressing a desire to move across the border to France, Liege wouldn't budge from their proposed evaluation.

    Desperate to get away, Bosman turned to the law. Cue a five-year legal battle that eventually resulted in a win and players moving freely from one club to another.

Kenny Dalglish to Liverpool

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    A near half-million-pound signing from Celtic, Kenny Dalglish quickly became a legend for Liverpool and eclipsed his star status at Celtic.

    The £440,000 fee involved didn't prove to be a distraction and neither did the fact he was taking over the number seven shirt from another Liverpool legend, Kevin Keegan.

    In his first season at Anfield Dalglish netted 31 times, including the winning goal in the 1978 European Cup final against FC Brugge,

    He followed this up with 21 goals in his second season, and became player-manager in 1985.

    In total, Dalglish secured more than 15 trophies during his time at the club.

Gre-No-Li Combo for Milan

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    AC Milan could be one of the most celebrated clubs in world football and have had a plethora of talent contained within their ranks during different periods.

    The Swedish trio of Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm though are often overlooked for the Dutch contingent we often hear so much about.

    Olympic gold with Sweden was won in 1948 shortly after which Nordahl made the move to Italy, followed by Gren and Liedholm twelve months later.

    Despite a sticky period in the league they quickly turned around the club's fortunes, winning the title in 1950/51 and going on to enjoy years of success.

    Gren was the first to leave in 1953 and was followed by Nordahl in 1956, a man who finished top scorer in all seven full seasons he was at the club.

    Liedhold, however, stayed at the club until 1961, got offered a job as assistant boss immediately and enjoyed the club's first European success two years later.

    One particular rumour, true or not, states it was two years before Liedholm misplaced a pass whilst playing for Milan.

Johan Cruyff to Barcelona

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    The Dutchman enjoyed huge success in his native Holland, seemingly winning everything he possibly could before moving to Barcelona in 1973.

    Here he joined former manager Rinus Michels for a little less than £1m and quickly set about making his impact.

    Inspiring a 5-0 victory away at fierce rivals Real Madrid is just about the perfect way to endear yourselves to the Catalans and scooping the first La Liga title for the club since 1960 will also help.

    He returned to manage the club in 1988 and enjoyed huge success once again in the early 90's.

    Amongst the haul were four consecutive league titles from 1991-1994 and a first-ever triumph in Europe in 1992.

Alfredo Di Stefano to Madrid

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    A man who is ingrained in the fabric of Real Madrid was very nearly a Barcelona player once upon a time.

    It's 1953 and Di Stefano has left Colombian club Millionarios to sign a deal with the Catalan club, cue problem number one.

    FIFA signed off on the deal and decided not to recognise the transfer, urging the Spanish FA to sort it out.

    Madrid director Santiago Bernabeu took advantage of the confusion and convinced the player to sign for his side, but it was far from that simple.

    The federation decided Di Stefano was to stay for four years, which would be still between the two clubs.

    It's safe to say that didn't go down well and Barcelona quickly dropped their side of the deal and the rest as they is history.

    He went on to enjoy over a decade of success in Spain, scoring 307 goals, winning five European cups in a row and enjoying eight La Liga title successes amongst others.

Giuseppe Savoldi to Napoli

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    The first million-pound transfer did not take place on the English shores like so many believe; the Italians actually beat the English to the punch.

    Napoli were the ones who splashed the cash, ending Savoldi's stay at Bologna where he averaged nearly a goal every two games.

    It can be argued the £1.2m fee in 1975 set a precedent that we are seeing continue to rise these days, something we will see featured later on.

Dixie Dean to Everton

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    Signed for £3,000 from neighbours Tranmere Rovers in 1925, Dixie Dean is one the greatest goal-scorers the English game has ever seen and widely believed to be the best Evertonian.

    From the moment he scored 32 goals in his first full league season at the club they must have known they were on to something special.

    The 1927/28 season in which he hit 60 league goals is still an English record and is still talked about and revered today.

    In total Dean made 433 appearances for the club, scoring 383 times.

Eric Cantona to Manchester United

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    Perhaps one of the more surprising transfers on the list, given that he wasn't exactly a failure at Leeds United when they decided to sell.

    Sir Alex Ferguson brought the Frenchman to Old Trafford for £1.2m in late November 1992 and, during his four-and-a-half years at the club, a lot was achieved.

    He netted 82 goals in 185 games, secured four Premier League crowns, two FA Cups and two Charity Shields, whilst also hitting the headlines for a number of other reasons.

    Most notably a kung-fu style kick aimed at a Crystal Palace fan which earned him a nine-month ban.

    Recently he has been voted as having the best celebration of the 20 seasons of the Premiership, with his slow pirouette with arms outstretched following his burst forward and chip against Sunderland.

Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid

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    For pure monetary terms this is simply an incredible transfer.

    The £80m Real Madrid paid Manchester United was simply stunning and some say marked the start of the second Galacticos era.

    Since the 2009 transfer he has gone on to score 112 goals, winning the Golden Boot in two different leagues—not to mention the numerous assists.

    He also led the side to the La Liga trophy last season.

Best of the Rest

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    There have been numerous high-impact transfers throughout the years and many people will have their own views on who should be contained within the previous ten slides.

    Real Madrid have repeatedly been at the centre of the transfer storm, with Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo in particular proving to be of high impact.

    Robinho was the first stellar name to Manchester City under the new regime, while David Beckham's transfer to LA Galaxy is of huge importance due to what is trying to be achieved within the MLS.

    Thierry Henry at Arsenal and Gianfranco Zola at Chelsea are considered greats, while Newcastle paid a world-record fee once upon a time for Alan Shearer.

    And let's not forget that Lionel Messi hasn't always been at Barcelona.

    Whoever you feel should be included don't hesitate to get in contact.