World Football's 15 Most Important Transfer Deadline-Day Deals of All Time
Although the transfer window is a time of great interest in its entirety, there’s something all the more satisfying about a transfer deadline day deal.
The sensation one feels when their club squeezes in that last-minute coup, prising away the valuable asset of a rival team is something that isn’t to be undervalued.
This list will chronicle the most important business to be conducted in the final 24 hours of any given transfer window, whether it be summer or winter.
Every club will look to take advantage of those two spaces in the calendar that allow them to beef up their ranks, but which players can really be counted as the biggest and best?
From: Tottenham Hotspur
To: Manchester United
After averaging over 20 goals per season in his two seasons with Tottenham Hotspur, Sir Alex Ferguson felt compelled to complete the £30.75 million signature of Dimitar Berbatov in the dying minutes of the 2008 summer transfer window.
Images of the Bulgarian forward walking the offices of Old Trafford went global as soon as he was spotted in the Theatre of Dreams, before it was announced that Berbatov was officially a Red Devil.
Despite the fact that his career with United didn't end in the most successful manner, Berbatov was one of Europe's most sought after talents upon his arrival at United.
If there's anything Roman Abramovich has at his disposal, it's money, and the Russia oil tycoon was reported to have used his wealth to wine and dine Ashley Cole before completing his transfer in 2006.
The English international was reportedly eager to leave Arsenal and finally got his way after months of speculation.
Whether you love him or hate him, Cole has established himself as one of the world's best left-backs and a glittering Chelsea trophy cabinet hasn't hurt those kinds of claims.
A part of the deal that saw the aforementioned Cole move to Chelsea, William Gallas moved in the opposite direction.
Reports at the time claimed that Gallas was just as eager to leave his former club before completing the move, with Chelsea going as far as to claim that he would score an own goal if he remained at Stamford Bridge.
As part of the old rules, Gallas' move officially went through on 1 September 2006.
From: Real Madrid
To: Manchester City
Generally looked upon as the signing that ushered in the moneybags ownership of Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City, Robinho's 2008 transfer was a major signal of intent for the current Premier League champions.
The Brazilian's time at the Etihad Stadium came to an unsavoury close in 2010, but Robinho played a huge role in City's eventual journey to their first Premier league title.
The first step in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's long path to being known as one of Europe's elite striking talents began with his move to Juventus.
The Italian club felt as if the Swede displayed enough talent in the Eredivisie to warrant his €16 million price-tag.
Ibrahimovic developed one of Serie A's most potent attacking partnerships with David Trezeguet and brought two league titles to the Old Lady.
The 2005-06 Serie A crown was revoked due to the match-fixing scandal of that year, but the marring doesn't take away from the forward's importance to Juve.
To: Manchester United
Manchester United's second entry on this list became the most expensive player under the age of 20 after the club paid a fee of £25.6m for Wayne Rooney.
The Everton prodigy drew massive plaudits for a player so young, and the Red Devils beat the heavy interest of Newcastle United to finally get their man on the last day of the 2004 summer window.
It's no secret that Rooney has since gone on to enjoy huge success under Manchester United and although he has brought about times of great controversy, the marksman has been a prolific scorer in his eight years with United.
To: West Ham
Alan Pardew's West Ham showed nothing if not great intent when they tied up the double deadline signatures of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Corinthians.
The Argentine duo were already major South American talents and nobody could quite believe it when the pair donned the claret and blue of West Ham.
Tevez eventually played a major role in keeping the Hammers in the Premier league, igniting a court case with relegated party, Sheffield United, who argued against the striker's eligibility to even play in the English top flight.
To: West Ham
As mentioned in the previous slide, Mascherano came to West Ham in 2006 as part of a double signing with Carlos Tevez.
Although his time at Upton Park was a forgettable one, Mascherano's signing was no less massive at the time, especially when you consider that the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona were being linked with the same transfer.
To: Real Madrid
No, Cristiano hasn't completed a transfer that you don't know about. We're speaking of the chubby Brazilian Ronaldo that brought huge success back to his nation at the turn of the 21st century.
Although injuries blighted his time with Internazionale, Real Madrid took a risk in 2002 by spending €46 million on the forward in the hopes that he might produce his best football at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo went on to net 118 in 194 games for Los Merengues during his four-year stay, and playing a major role in the dominance of the Galacticos era, so I guess you could say the risk paid off.
From: Deportivo La Coruña
Probably one of the biggest regrets in Deportivo's history is not placing a higher release clause in the contract of one of their biggest stars, Rivaldo.
Barcelona opted to trigger the €25m release fee that existed in Rivaldo's contract, signalling the start of a very successful five-year tenure at the Camp Nou.
Two La Liga crowns and a FIFA Player of the Year title are just some of the accolades Rivaldo earned during his time at Barça, and while the money was a huge amount at the time, the Spaniards will consider it cash well spent.
From: Standard Liege
A rare splurge for the usually conservative Everton saw Marouane Fellaini secure a last-minute move to Goodison Park in the summer of 2008.
Still a club record fee at £15 million, Fellaini is only improving as his Everton career goes on and is enjoying his best campaign yet in 2012-13.
The likes of Manchester United and Read Madrid were also rumoured to be interested in Fellaini at the time of his purchase, representing a major morale win for the Toffees.
After losing one of the world's best players in Ronaldo, Internazionale had to re-invest in their strikeforce in the summer of 2002, and wrapped up a deadline day move for Hernan Crespo.
The Argentine was prolific at the Italian club, but injuries held back his development and prevented the forward from living up to his high expectations.
From: Real Madrid
While Florentino Perez didn't value the loss of his asset, Chelsea will certainly be a tad more appreciative of the contributions that Makélélé made after completing a deadline day move from Real Madrid to Chelsea in 2003.
The £16.3 million man enjoyed a very fruitful five-year stay in his west London surroundings, winning two Premier League titles and an FA Cup crown.
The Frenchman made the anchorman role a position of his own, and is now looked upon as an icon to many prospective anchormen.
Rafael Van Der Vaart
From: Real Madrid
To: Tottenham Hotspur
Even with Harry Redknapp's tendencies to complete a savvy deal or two, the £8m signature of Rafael van der Vaart was seen as incredibly smart business for Tottenham Hotspur.
Bayern Munich were another club thought to be interested in the Real Madrid midfielder at the time, and the transfer was looked at as incredible value for money in the current market.
Van der Vaart may not have seen any silverware during his two seasons at White Hart Lane, but made his share of contributions to the north London side's hopes of cracking the Premier League top four.
His scoring habits may have taken a hit since moving to Chelsea, but it would be unfair to call Fernando Torres' £50m move to Chelsea anything but important.
A deadline day transfer triangle in January 2011 saw Andy Carroll make his way to Anfield in what was an incredible night for any fan of transfer business.
Torres may have seen a dip in scoring form at Chelsea, but a Champions League winners medal will tell you that his time at the club has so far brought about its share of success.
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