World Football: 5 Most Confusing Transfers so Far This Summer
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With most European sides having commenced pre-season training, the summer’s transfer activity is reaching its typical feverish pace.
There are fans who read articles with a little glint in their eye pleasantly dreaming what may lie ahead next season. Equally there are others totally baffled by their clubs' or players' actions.
Third party ownership has always caused considerable confusion. When Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano transferred to West Ham United from South America, their complex transfer situation resulted in an out-of-court settlement.
Historically one of the most confusing, yet comical, transfers was that of Ali Dia.
Having played lower league football in France and Germany, Dia followed his dreams and moved to England in 1996. After failing in trials with a handful of lower division English clubs, his friend telephoned Graeme Souness impersonating Milan star and reigning World Player of the Year George Weah.
Acting on the Liberian's recommendations, Souness promptly signed him on a one-month contract.
Dia is not alone in embarrassing transfers. In January 2013, Peter Odemwingie drove to QPR on transfer deadline day and practically chained himself to the Loftus Road gates.
His futile attempt at a transfer bemused his club West Bromich Albion; mystified his potential employers QPR; entertained fans up and down the country; and last but not least, puzzled himself. Unsurprisingly, he did not receive a hero's welcome on his return to the Hawthorns.
Whilst this summer's transfers to date contain no such calamities, some deals have left many scratching their heads.
Honourable Mention: Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona to Bayern Munich for €25m)
Thiago Alcantara holds the Under-21 European Championship trophy aloft
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In early July, Spanish Under-21 captain Thiago Alcantara left Barcelona to join his former mentor Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
Initially, The Guardian reported a likely transfer to Manchester United. After all, it made sense. Although the Red Devils cantered to the league title last season, their midfield requires an overhaul. With Paul Scholes retiring and the evergreen Ryan Giggs inching closer to the big 40, a transfer to Manchester was a no-brainer.
Sky Sports then threw a spanner in the works by revealing that Guardiola was in hot pursuit of the La Masia graduate. From there on, the youngster's destination was a foregone conclusion and Bayern Munich clinched another high profile summer signing.
Martinez, a fellow Spaniard, was purchased by Bayern for £35m (€40m) only 12 months ago. Schweinsteiger is a loyal Bayern servant and, at 28, is at the peak of his powers. Luis Gustavo, who recently aided Brazil's Confederations Cup win, makes up an existing dynamic midfield trio.
Certainly, Guardiola is within his right to create his own Bayern but the sheer number of quality players at his disposal can only serve to complicate things—particularly at a club who in the past has been renowned as FC Hollywood.
5: Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal to Zenit St Petersburg, Free Transfer)
Arshavin in action for Arsenal
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In some quarters it would be considered criminal to not write Andrey Arshavin and confusing in the same sentence.
The undeniably gifted Russian forward, who showcased his talents on a global scale during the 2008 European Championships by guiding his nation to the semi-finals, has effectively warmed the Arsenal bench for the last two years of his lucrative £5m per year contract—starting only eight league matches during that time.
In fact, during his final season at the Emirates, he managed a whopping 80 Premier League minutes, and £5m still found it's way into the luckiest of lucky bank accounts.
Do they know something Arsenal don't?
4: Mark Schwarzer (Fulham to Chelsea, Free Transfer)
Mark Schwarzer training with new club Chelsea
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According to the Daily Mail, he reacted to the Stekelenburg acquisition by declaring, “It's no great surprise and I'll be looking for another club.”
Understandably, the Socceroos' stopper did not want to play second fiddle—particularly during a World Cup year. Admirable stance from the 40-year-old, fanning the flames that there may still be a few footballing romantics out there.
No chance. Schwarzer merely packed his bags, walked the one and a half miles separating Craven Cottage and Stamford Bridge and signed for Chelsea.
Presumably he will be delighted to be second choice goalkeeper to Petr Cech.
3: Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid to Monaco for €60m)
Radamel Falcao in the Madrid derby
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Furthermore El Tigre has fuelled Colombia’s charge towards Brazil 2014 with 12 goals during the South American qualifiers. So with Colombia sitting pretty in second position, the world waited with bated breath to hear which colours Falcao would be wearing next season.
Theoretically at the peak of his powers (aged 27) Sky Sports reported Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid as probable destinations for one of the world's most prolific goal machines.
Moneybags Paris Saint-Germain typically flashed a keen interest but surprisingly, and rather audaciously, it was Monaco, returning to Ligue 1 after a two-year absence who lured him with their promise of lavish riches.
Although Monaco are likely to finish in a Champions League spot this coming season, for a player who has accumulated transfer fees of approximately €100m (including €40m moving from Porto to Atletico Madrid) in the last two years and never played Champions League football is somewhat bewildering.
At his first Monaco press conference, Falcao did his best to confuse the media by saying, “Many people think that coming here may be an error and perhaps they are right. But when we win a trophy, I'll know it was the right decision.”
2: Marc Muniesa (Barcelona to Stoke City, Free Transfer)
Marc Muniesa’s transfer to Stoke City from Barcelona has certainly raised a few eyebrows
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Back in May, Marc Muniesa was publicly sweating, awaiting Barcelona's decision on his future. As per an interview with Marca, the 21-year-old made his intentions clear that he wanted to remain at the Camp Nou.
The fact is that I know nothing. I would like to stay, I have always said that. But here they haven't told me anything. I live in hope. If I am not here, I'll play somewhere else, but my future is uncertain. It's the people upstairs who will decide, the coaching staff and the board. I always say that I want to play here, it's been my dream since I was a little boy. And I'll do everything right up to the end to try to convince them.
Barcelona let his contract expire and there was speculation that Ajax would be interested in the Spanish Under-21 international defender. Many thought, from one great European club to another—a silver lining perhaps?
Unfortunately not. Recently appointed Stoke City manager Mark Hughes got stuck in and must have mentioned his playing career at Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on more than one occasion.
It can only be assumed that much of what was discussed was lost in translation as Muniesa promptly signed at Stoke—on a free transfer.
After training daily with star-studded players like Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou and winning the Under-21 European Championships with Spain, the BBC quoted Muniesa as saying, “I can't wait to get started for Stoke. I would start tomorrow if the club asked me to."
He'll be performing the robot with Peter Crouch in no time.
1: Bojan Krkic (Barcelona to Ajax, Season Loan)
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Undivided attention is required here. Get a notepad out, sharpen the pencils and ensure the erasers are handy.
Upon Bojan Krkic’s breakthrough into the Barcelona first team, he was a record breaker. At 17, the son of Bojan Krkic Snr. (Red Star Belgrade) became youngest Barcelona player ever to score in La Liga. The plaudits came thick and fast but his potential was halted when Frank Rijkaard was sacked and replaced by Pep Guardiola.
The Catalans inserted a now fashionable buyback clause into the two-year transfer agreement. Essentially they hedged €1m that if Krkic lived up to his potential, only €13m would be required to re-sign him. Alternatively Roma could outlay an additional €28m to make Krkic's transfer permanent—seemingly a win-win situation for the Catalans.
Confused? It gets worse.
At the end of his Milan stay, ESPN stated Milan could have purchased Krkic for €15m but were only willing to offer €5m. Krkic then returned to Barcelona with no reports of Roma receiving a fee.
Clear? Thought so.
In the land of the living, it is true that Bojan Krkic has signed to Ajax for the entire season. What happens 12 months down the line is anyone's guess.