Premier League Transfers: The 15 Most Shocking Premier League Moves Ever
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Since the Premier League was created in 1992, there have been many bizarre, unbelievable and downright crazy transfers.
As clubs in England's top flight become richer and more power-hungry, they often want to steal a march on their opponents as they look to fight off relegation, qualify for the UEFA Champions League or win the Premier League title.
And what better way of doing so than by nicking their rivals' best players, or stealing talent out of their hands?
Thus, as England's elite look to quench their insatiable thirst for success, here are the top 15 occasions in the Premier League era players and clubs have surprised us all.
David Bellion: Sunderland to Manchester United, £2 Million
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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, as we all know, has signed some great strikers down the years. Eric Cantona, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, the list is almost endless.
But as we all know, Sir Alex has also signed some great big flops, possibly none more so in the striking department than David Bellion.
Having suffered Premier League relegation with Sunderland in 2003, Bellion was snapped by United for a mere £2million. A bargain it would seem, unless one actually looked at his stats. In 20 games during the 2002/03 season, the then 20-year-old scored a colossal one goal. It was his first-ever goal in professional football at that point, despite his position.
The big question at the time was, what had Sir Alex Ferguson seen in David Bellion that persuaded him to sign the striker?
Four goals, three years, and two unsuccessful loan moves later, the main question was, as the French striker was sold to OGC Nice, what was Sir Alex smoking when he signed David Bellion?
Michael Owen: Newcastle United to Manchester United, Free Transfer
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Sticking with Manchester United strikers, another shocking move was the addition of Michael Owen, on a free transfer from relegated Newcastle United in 2009/10.
This was despite already having the likes of Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez within their ranks.
Owen, who had suffered another injury-plagued spell in his career, went from pitching his talent to the likes of Hull, Stoke City, Everton and Aston Villa, to being instantly snapped up by the mighty Manchester United.
It was shocking on two accounts: Owen wasn't exactly the marquee striker United fans were hoping for, having scored just 30 goals in four seasons at Newcastle; but more importantly, the former Liverpool legend decided to ditch his Anfield credibility to earn a few more pounds.
Carlos Tevez: Manchester United to Manchester City, £25.5 Million
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Speaking of shocking Manchester United strikers and players losing all credibility, Carlos Tevez surprised the football world, and made red Mancunians even more red-faced when he decided to ditch United and sign for their arch-rivals, Manchester City.
A player who had built a strong rapport with the United fans due to his excellent work rate and apparent love for the club lost it all when the pound notes at Man City came calling.
The signing of Tevez also marked the beginning of a new era for City, who finally proved they were serious about challenging the big boys at the very top of the Premier League.
Paul Konchesky: Fulham to Liverpool, £4 Million
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The highlight of Paul Konchesky's Liverpool career could well be this moment captured to the left of the screen, when he decked Manchester United winger Nani and left him crying on the floor.
Having moved to Anfield from Fulham along with manager Roy Hodgson, more than a few eyebrows were raised when such a prestigious, historic club like Liverpool, who desperately needed a marquee left-back to take them back to Premier League glory, turned to Paul Konchesky, of all people.
A shocking transfer to begin with seems even worse when considering the £4million wasted on a player who was so bad he had to be loaned away to Championship side Nottingham Forest.
Andy Carroll: Newcastle United to Liverpool, £35 Million
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Liverpool again proved their superb transfer acumen when they signed the big bloke on the left of the picture.
Andy Carroll, a 22-year old striker who was available for just £1million at the start of the 2009/10 season, became the eighth-most expensive player in football history when the Reds snapped him up for a bargain price of £35million at the end of the 2011 January transfer window.
So what persuaded them to pay so much for a player who until then had only been capped once for his country, and played only 41 Premier League matches?
11 goals in 19 games at the start of the 2010/11 season is the answer.
As of yet, the second-most expensive player in British football has still scored more goals in the Championship than he has the Premier League, having scored 17 goals in one season in England's second tier.
Fernando Torres: Liverpool to Chelsea, £50 Million
Carlo Ancelotti: Why the F**k Did We Sign Him?!
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The transfer which sparked the one in the previous slide, Fernando Torres' move from Liverpool to Chelsea caused shock waves across the Premier League and the football world.
Always one to think outside the box, Roman Abramovich sprung a surprise on everyone, including his manager Carlo Ancelotti, when he added yet another striker to his already loaded attacking department, at a cost of £50million.
A totally unnecessary signing, Torres has since gone on to become a great flop at Chelsea, scoring a colossal one goal in 18 appearances so far.
To put the signing of Fernando Torres into perspective, up until his 14th game for the Blues, this writer had scored the same number of goals in all competitions for Chelsea, while the club could have had 294,117,647 Freddo bars (chocolate) instead of Torres, which at this rate, would've added up to a much better value for the money.
Jordan Henderson: Sunderland to Liverpool, £20 Million
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Judging from the picture to the left, it seems Jordan Henderson can't believe his luck he has landed a lucrative contract worth £60,000 per week with Liverpool (who are all over this article like a swarm of locusts).
And Sunderland probably can't believe their luck that they got £20million for the 21-year old midfielder.
Henderson has failed to shine on the international stage yet, and he hasn't been a very consistent player this season. Henderson doesn't find the net as often as he should, and either Henderson or Sunderland worked miracles raking up £20million for his signature, or Liverpool have again proved their "superb" transfer acumen.
At the moment it would have to be the latter, as this move proves that passports are currently mroe important than talent in this summer's transfer market.
Chris Sutton: Blackburn Rovers to Chelsea, £10 Million
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Even in the pre-Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea knew the fine art of how to waste big money in the transfer market.
The West London club raised several eyebrows when they signed striker Chris Sutton from relegated Blackburn Rovers ahead of the 1999/00 season.
The fact they signed him wasn't necessarily surprising, rather the fact they bought him for £10 million, despite the fact he only scored three goals and played only 17 matches in an injury-hit 1998/99 campaign.
And of course, he went on to be an even bigger flop in his one season at Chelsea, managing one goal in 29 Premier League appearances.
He was subsequently sold to Celtic, with Chelsea taking a £4 million hit on the player who failed to even make the bench for their FA Cup Final against Aston Villa.
Juan Sebastian Veron: Manchester United to Chelsea, £15 Million
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When thinking of piss poor Premier League players, one name immediately springs to mind: Juan Sebastian Veron.
Subject of ridicule from football fans across England, Veron will be remembered as one of the most expensive flops ever, and not just because he absolutely sucked for Manchester United following his £28.1 million move from Lazio in 2001.
He will also be remembered because he somehow fooled Chelsea into paying £15 million for him, before again being a massive flop and eventually getting dumped off to Inter Milan.
Wayward passing, hugely inconsistent performances, and a hugely consistent knack of losing possession was the end product of Chelsea's £15 million investment in the player, a man who was the opposite of a fine wine: he got worse and worse as time went on.
Andy Cole: Newcastle United to Manchester United, £7 Million
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When a club has a star striker who is courting the interest of their Premier League rivals, having scored 68 goals in 84 games, the last thing one would think they'd do is accept the first offer which came their way.
Unless of course that club is Newcastle United, who shocked everyone in 1995 when they bowed down to Manchester United and accepted their £7 million offer (£6 million cash plus £1 million-rated winger Keith Gillespie).
In all fairness, it was big money at the time, and set a new British transfer record, but it nonetheless forced manager Kevin Keegan to address angry fans on the steps of the main entrance at St. James' Park, pleading with them to maintain their trust in him and Newcastle United.
But in all fairness to the fans, Andy Cole went on to win five Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies and the UEFA Champions League in six seasons at Old Trafford. In the same time period, Newcastle won nothing.
Eric Cantona: Leeds United to Manchester United, £1.2 Million
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Voted by readers of the official Manchester United magazine as the club's greatest ever player, Eric Cantona became a legend at Old Trafford following his surprise move from Leeds United in 1992.
It was a move which actually started with Leeds ringing up the Red Devils, inquiring about the possibility of signing full-back Dennis Irwin.
And after the Elland Road club were told "no chance", United boss Sir Alex Ferguson thought he'd play Leeds at their own game, and inquire about star striker Eric Cantona.
Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson laid down the price, £1.2million (big money at the time), Manchester United agreed to pay it, and as the cliché saying goes, the rest is history.
Francis Jeffers: Everton to Arsenal, £8 Million
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Described as a "fox in the box", Francis Jeffers was anything but that following his big money £8 million move to Arsenal from Everton in 2001.
Perhaps sparking Arsene Wenger's phobia of signing British talent, Jeffers was a complete flop for the Gunners, scoring four goals from just 22 Premier League games in three seasons.
In fact, he was so bad, Arsenal had enough of him after a while and sent him back to Everton.
Plagued by injury, failing to live up to expectations, delivering consistently poor performances, and being outshone by Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord, Jeffers' Arsenal experience was the nightmare that ultimately ruined his career.
Wayne Rooney: Everton to Manchester United, £25.6 Million
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After doing battle with Newcastle, Manchester United shocked the Premier League when they landed England's answer to Pele, Wayne Rooney, back in August 2004.
Signing an 18-year old kid for £25.6million was considered a massive gamble, considering he had only scored 17 goals in 77 appearances. Impressive stats for a teenager, but not exactly the most prolific of statistics.
But being the magical player he is, Wayne Rooney surprisingly justified his huge price tag, scoring the most memorable of hat-tricks in his first ever game for Manchester United, as he helped his team defeat Fenerbahce 6-2 in a UEFA Champions League group game.
147 goals from 322 United games later, Rooney has justified what was quite possibly the most shocking Premier League transfer ever at the time.
William Gallas: Arsenal to Tottenham Hotspur, Free Transfer
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When William Gallas turned his back on Arsenal, the club he once captained, not only did he anger the Emirates faithful, but he was also met with hostility by the fans of Tottenham Hotspur.
A player solely concerned with which club offers the most money it seems, Gallas ignored team rivalries when he arrived at White Hart Lane, becoming the first ever footballer to play for Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp described the transfer as a "no-brainer" from his club's point of view, with Tottenham bowing to Gallas' ridiculous £80,000-a-week wage demands, despite his lack of form in the 2009/10 season for Arsenal.
In a transfer that certainly wasn't a "no-brainer" to the rest of the football world, Gallas surprised a lot of people when he made the four mile trip from Highbury & Islington to Seven Sisters.
Ali Dia: N/A to Southampton, Free Transfer
Playing for Blyth Spartans in the sixth tier of English football, having had failed trials at Football League clubs Port Vale, Gillingham and Bournemouth, Ali Dia was determined to one day live the Premier League dream.
But instead of training harder and improving his fitness and technique, in 1996 Dia got a friend (who had several contacts in football) to ring up Southampton manager Graeme Souness, pretending to be FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah, persuading the Saints boss to sign up this Senegalese star named Ali Dia.
Dia was subsequently invited to train with Southampton, and pretended he was a Senegal international, earning 13 caps for his country, and having just scored for his country two days prior to linking up with Southampton for training, when in fact his best footballing career achievement at that point was having made one substitute appearance for lowly Blyth Spartans.
He didn't impress in training, with many players commenting on how lazy he was in training and the fact "he didn't look very good". Souness put this down to the fact he was acclimatising to life and football in England, and so wanted to test him out in a reserve match against Arsenal.
However, that match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, and due to severe injury problems in the first-team, Souness decided to gamble on him a few days later by putting him on the bench for a Premier League match against Leeds United.
And when Matt Le Tissier came off injured after 32 minutes, Ali Dia was given his taste of Premier League football.
53 minutes later, Dia himself was substituted, as his chronic lack of fitness and skill was embarrassingly evident.
As Le Tissier later said: "It was unbelievable. He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very, very embarrassing to watch."
Two weeks later, Dia's contract with Southampton was terminated, and the player went on to play eight more games in football, for non-league side Gateshead.
After that, he graduated with a degree in Business Studies from Northumbria University.
It wasn't technically an in-league transfer, but the signing of Ali Dia was without doubt the most shocking Premier League transfer of all-time.