20 Things You Need to Know About Transfer Deadline Day
Here are 20 things you need to know about transfer deadline day.
Whether it is the most expensive transfer deadline-day deals ever, how superstar footballers coped on transfer deadline day or transfers gone terribly wrong, this slideshow will cover a variety of transfer deadline-day situations that have occurred in the past.
Statistics via WhoScored
Leading into Transfer Deadline-Day Madness
The Economist provided a profound quote: "Football's transfer window might almost be viewed a sport in its own right."
Since UEFA mandated "harmonised transfer periods" for the summer and winter windows from the 2002-03 season, European football's wealthiest 1 percent have further monopolised the transfer system, a "sport" within a sport.
Neil Warnock, a blue-collar manager, preferred the previous "mid-March deadline."
He referred to the inequity of competing with "big clubs" in a restricted time period.
Europe's elite "can afford to stack their 25-man squad with top quality players" leaving smaller clubs fighting over crumbs, per The Gaffer: The Trials and Tribulations of a Football Manager.
This is the context leading into the frenetic, newsworthy and random madness that is transfer deadline day (September 1).
Top 5 Most Expensive Transfer Deadline-Day Moves
- Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, £77M (2013, Summer)
- Fernando Torres, Liverpool to Chelsea, £50M (2011, Winter)
- Mesut Ozil, Real Madrid to Arsenal, £42.5M (2013, Summer)
- Andy Carroll, Newcastle United to Liverpool, £35M (2011, Winter)
- Robinho, Real Madrid to Manchester City, £32.5M (2008, Summer)
On deadline day, clubs tend to have a "playing with house money" mentality, which fosters extravagant signings.
Afonso Alves Fiasco
It is not just big clubs that make regrettable last-minute signings, as smaller clubs can overreach on transfer deadline day.
This was evident when Middlesbrough secured prolific No. 9 Afonso Alves in 2008.
At the time, he was one of the best finishers in Europe.
Yet Middlesbrough did not have time to comprehensively vet Alves' personality.
How was he as a team-mate? How mentally tough was he? Would he sulk?
After years of grafting in Sweden and the Netherlands, Alves just wanted to get paid.
Once Qatar came calling, Alves threw in the towel and left Middlesbrough hanging.
Deals at the 11th Hour
Transfer deadline day tends to throw curve balls, so expect serendipitous deals to be completed at the 11th hour.
One such deal was Rafael van der Vaart transferring from Real Madrid to Tottenham Hotspur in 2012.
Van der Vaart said, per De Telegraaf (h/t Chris Burton at Sky Sports):
The interest from Tottenham came very quick and I did not have much time to think. Whether it suits my style remains to be seen, but I think a good footballer can adapt and I am very proud of this transfer.
The transfer was so hastily arranged that there were "technical difficulties" when it came to getting the paperwork filed on time.
The Panic Signing
Manchester United chief executive officer Ed Woodward had a horrendous debut transfer window.
He failed to secure any of his primary summer transfer targets.
Therefore, he turned to Marouane Fellaini in 2013.
Woodward signed Fellaini for £27.5 million, an additional £4 million more than what United would have paid if the club had signed him prior to July 31, per Jamie Jackson at The Guardian.
Fellaini is the archetypal transfer deadline-day panic signing.
To make matters worse, his security blanket in David Moyes got fired.
Fellaini's United career is now in limbo.
Transfer deadline day facilitates bizarre loan deals.
- Arsenal signed an injured Kim Kallstrom from Spartak Moscow as an injury-replacement player in 2014.
- Needing a break from Liverpool, Joe Cole took a career detour and made a left-field decision to sign with Lille in 2011.
- A transfer bust at Inter Milan and needing game-time, Ricardo Quaresma was offered to Chelsea in 2009. Why go to another big club if you need playing time?
The out-of-Shape Signing
Every transfer window deadline day, there is generally one club that makes a marquee signing, only to find out he is not fit to play immediately.
That was the situation Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp had with Christopher Samba in 2013.
It was a big signing on paper, but he was a flop on the field, per Always Managing: My Autobiography:
It was a shame that it didn't work out with Chris.
I still think that when he is right and fit he is up there with any central defender in the Premier League.
But he was unfit when he came to us, and after one very poor performance, his confidence completely fell apart.
The Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano Saga
Extraordinary circumstances enabled West Ham United to sign two world-class prospects in Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano on transfer deadline day in 2006.
Per BBC Sport, the rights to the two players were owned by Media Sports Investments (MSI).
Their report goes on: "According to reports MSI were headed until June by Kia Joorabchian, who resigned but retained an investment in the two Argentines."
There is another extraordinary situation you should know about.
The socio-political instability in Ukraine has given Joorabchian leverage over several Shakhtar Donetsk players, as pointed out by manager Mircea Lucescu, per Canal+ (h/t ESPN).
Joorabchian will be looking to wheel and deal, so could there be another West Ham-like situation at another unfancied club?
Unsatisfactory Squad Signings
Major European clubs often look to bolster their squad with additional signings on transfer deadline day.
Santos was one of the worst performing Brazilian national team members in recent memory, so it was obvious he would flop.
Konchesky was a modest professional, but he was out of his depth at Liverpool.
Don't Give Away World-Class Prospects
In an attempt to close the David Luiz transfer, Chelsea threw in world-class prospect Nemanja Matic.
Meanwhile, Matic blossomed into a world-class midfielder.
Three years later, Chelsea signed Matic back from Benfica for £21 million.
Lesson learnt: Do not give away assets.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Transfer Deadline-Day Experience
It has been a decade since Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a defining solo goal for Ajax filled with a multitude of fake shots against NAC Breda.
What spurred Ibrahimovic to score that goal was two-fold: An attempt to force Juventus to sign him and also a way of hushing his critics.
- His relationship with manager Ronald Koeman had deteriorated. Ibrahimovic wanted the Juventus move while Koeman blocked it.
- Losing a cold war, Ibrahimovic was public enemy No. 1 among Ajax fans, while team-mate nemesis Rafael van der Vaart could do no wrong.
Even after a wonder goal against Breda, Ajax and Juventus were playing first one to blink loses.
It dragged on until transfer deadline day.
Ibrahimovic was left procrastinating on his Xbox and recounted how Juventus director Luciano Moggi brazenly played mind games with Ajax, per I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
I wonder if that wasn't another trick, another negotiating bluff?
Juventus was one of the biggest clubs in the world, and ought to be able to come up with the money.
Without a bank guarantee, though, Ajax refused to sign anything, and more time passed.
It was hopeless, and sure enough, Moggi sat there in his chair puffing on his fat cigar, and people thought he had things under control, as if he was saying: "This will sort itself out, I know what I'm doing.
Juventus signed Ibrahimovic on the summer transfer window deadline day in 2004.
Ashley Cole and Tapping Up
Chelsea systematically worked on tapping up Ashley Cole.
Cole began asking himself valid questions surrounding his worth at Arsenal.
If Arsenal really rated him, why didn't they show him the money?
"When I heard [my agent] Jonathan [Barnett] repeat the figure of £55,000 [per week]. I nearly swerved off the road," Cole said, per My Defence (h/t Marina Hyde at The Guardian). "I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn't believe what I'd heard."
Cole's relationship with Arsenal was irreconcilable.
A stand-off was resolved on transfer deadline day when Chelsea paid Arsenal £5 million plus want-away William Gallas in 2006.
It was one of the rare times that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lost out big time.
Cole went on to become one of the greatest left-backs in Chelsea's history, while Gallas' tenure at Arsenal was blighted by leadership problems.
Ronaldo Luis' Bitter Transfer Deadline-Day Exit from Inter Milan
Then-Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti waited patiently paying "Ronaldo's salary and medical bills through three years when he barely set foot on the field," per Rob Hughes at the New York Times.
After staging a legendary comeback winning the 2002 FIFA World Cup for Brazil, a fit and in-form Ronaldo Luis was insistent on joining Florentino Perez's Galaticos era at Real Madrid.
Moratti felt betrayed.
Striking back, Moratti forced Ronaldo to reimburse Inter before authorising the Brazilian international's transfer deadline-day move to Real Madrid in 2002.
"In economic terms Inter came out of the whole deal very well," Moratti said, per ESPN Soccernet (now ESPN FC). "Ronaldo had to pay $5 million out of his own pocket in order to compensate us for lost sponsorship money."
How Newcastle United Inflated Andy Carroll's Transfer Stock
Then-Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias bluffed his way during negotiations with Liverpool on transfer deadline day in 2011.
This inflated Andy Carroll's transfer stock to the nth degree.
Llambias said, per the Daily Mirror:
So £30 million for [Carroll]? [Expletive] off. Don't waste my time [Liverpool] and I slammed the phone down,"
£35 million? Everybody including [manager Alan Pardew] all agreed. We got it all up front and then they never paid us on time and we charged them 12 grand [expletive] interest.
In reality, Llambias believed Carroll was "worth [expletive] all."
Carroll was a square peg in a round hole at Liverpool.
He scored six goals in 44 Premier League games for the Reds.
Attempted Hijacked Bids
Manchester United signed Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur for £30.75 million on transfer deadline day in 2008.
But do you remember which club almost hijacked United's bid for Berbatov?
It was Manchester City, per Steve Wilson at The Telegraph:
With just hours left before the transfer window closes, Manchester City have launched a bid in excess of £30 million to hijack Dimitar Berbatov's expected move to local rivals United.
Robinho Forgot He Signed for Manchester City
Slated to join Luiz Felipe Scolari's Chelsea, Robinho had still not come to the realisation that he transferred to Manchester City from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day in 2008.
At City's press conference, Robinho talked about how "Chelsea made a great proposal" to which he accepted, per BBC Sport.
In hindsight, Robinho felt he was too big for City, a team attempting to transition from mediocrity to Europe's elite.
Robinho is a prime example of a rushed transfer.
Why AC Milan Signed Alessandro Nesta on Transfer Deadline Day
In 2002, AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi was reluctant to spend big on Lazio's world-class centre-back Alessandro Nesta.
Berlusconi only pulled the trigger on transfer deadline day out of pragmatism.
"I never made an offer for Alessandro Nesta who was the Lazio standard-bearer," Berlusconi said, per Radio Globo (h/t Milan's official website). "It was only when it looked as if he was going to Juve that I intervened."
Nesta went on to become one of Milan's greatest-ever defenders helping the club win two UEFA Champions League titles.
Peter Odemwingie's Desperation
Peter Odemwingie was so conceited that he drove to Queens Park Rangers in order to force a transfer deadline-day move away from West Bromwich Albion in 2013.
Then-West Brom manager Steve Clarke said, per Stuart James at The Guardian:
I've seen situations where players have tried to engineer a move out of a club, of course, but never to the extent with the media coverage this whole episode has attracted.
It is total lunacy because he didn't have permission to be at QPR.
Odemwingie later left for Cardiff City and now plays for Stoke City.
He has yet to replicate his West Brom form where, for parts of his spell, he was one of the best players in the Premier League.
Prising Away a Teenage Prodigy on Transfer Deadline Day
Everton were hardly awash with money.
The official price was just over £25 million with add-ons. Everton needed that injection.
When the tears had dried and the talking was over, Wayne signed on the line seven hours short of the deadline on 31 August 2004.
By the time he joined us, he hadn't played for 40-odd days and had trained for only a couple of sessions.
Paris Saint-Germain's 19-year-old Adrien Rabiot, a midfielder with a complete playing style, could be another teenager prised away on transfer deadline day, per Ian Holyman at ESPN FC.
The Devious Side of Transfer Deadline Day
The Secret Footballer, believed to be journeyman centre-forward Dave Kitson, discussed the importance of having a "sharp agent" on transfer deadline day.
Without a scrupulous agent on top of his or her game, footballers have been swindled by clubs during the rush to sign a contract before the deadline, according to TSF, per The Guardian:
My new employers tried on the age-old tactic of unnecessarily leaving things until the last possible moment, meaning that the final contract was faxed over with roughly half an hour to spare in the hope that I would sign it hurriedly and fax it back.
The contract was missing all of the previously agreed bonuses and, if I had put pen to paper, I would have been worse off than when I started.
This is such a common practice when time is short that I am almost embarrassed to mention it, yet a few players have had their fingers burned over the years because their agents missed a trick.
This story is a reminder that for every Wayne Rooney, who has an inordinate amount of leverage, there are hundreds of players like TSF backed into a corner.
It is like playing poker—if you do not read and react to the situation, you get screwed.
Hence the need to have a great agent.