15 Biggest Transfer Steals of All Time

Thomas Atzenhoffer@socceratzCorrespondent IIJanuary 19, 2012

15 Biggest Transfer Steals of All Time

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    Transfer steals can be thought of in two different ways. One: They can be a club stepping in at the last minute to pry a player out from under the other's nose. Two: They can be players that moved for low prices and came to be amazing members of a club's success.

    Either way, they can be considered a steal, and the players mentioned here are from either side of the tracks. Some deals were shocking, others were simply smart business turned into great business. Here are the 15 biggest transfer steals of all time.

Tim Cahill

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    Everton manger David Moyes singed Tim Cahill from Millwall for only £1.5 million. Since then, the Australian has become a legend in the middle of the park and in the attacking third for the Toffees, scoring 65 goals and adding another 37 assists while at Goodison Park.

Sami Hyypia

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    Liverpool then-manager Gerrard Houllier made perhaps his best move for the club when he brought in Sami Hyypia for £2.6 million from Willem II in 1999.

    Hyypia would go on to be perhaps the greatest Finnish player in the history of Anfield.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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    In 1996 Sir Alex Ferguson purchased Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from Norwegian club Molde for a fee of £1.5 million.

    He would go on to more than repay the club for his fee as he remained in red for 12 seasons before finally hanging up his boots.

Kevin Keegan

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    Liverpool make another stop on the list with the signing of future two-time Ballon d'Or winner Kevin Keegan.

    A fee of only £35,000 was all it took in 1971 to bring Keegan to Anfield and he would repay the fee with 100 goals in 323 games for the Reds.

    A small price to pay for one of the club's most influential strikers of all time.

Peter Schmeichel

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    Manchester United prised away keeper Peter Schmeichel from Brondby FC for only £500,000.

    During his time at Old Trafford, the talented Dane was part of 10 pieces of silverware and was coveted by many.

    In 1993 he was fourth in the FIFA World Footballer of the Year award as a goalkeeper, which is pretty much unheard of.

Ian Wright

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    Crystal Palace secured the signature of Ian Wright from Greenwich Borough with only a set of weights and a piece of paper making the deal official.

    Wright would score 117 goals in 277 appearances and was named to Crystal Palace's Team of the Century while also being named as the club's "Player of the Century."

Nicolas Anelka

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    Nicolas Anelka's time at Arsenal was one of many ups and few downs as the 17-year-old had moved to the club for a fee of £500,000 and he scored 28 goals in 90 games.

    However, the real kicker of this steal was when the Gunners turned him into a £21.5 million profit only two years later in a deal with Real Madrid.

Roberto Baggio

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    Roberto Baggio became famous for his exploits at Juventus and AC Milan, but his move for only £1.5 million to mid table side Bologna was a shocker.

    However, it was a steal for the less popular club as Baggio scored his largest haul of a season in his career in that first year ,netting 22 goals and reclaiming a place in the Italian national side.

Alan Shearer

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    Before he became the legendary No. 9 of Newcastle United, Alan Shearer had humble beginnings at Southampton until his £3.6 million move to Blackburn Rovers in 1992.

    However, under the leadership of former Liverpool striking legend Kenny Dalglish, Shearer would score 112 goals in 138 appearances for Rovers and help fire them to the 1995 English Premier League title as one of only four teams to have won the EPL since it began.

Thierry Henry

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    Juventus sold French forward Thierry Henry to Arsenal for only £10.5 million in 1999 in what would come to look like a foolishly-cheap parting.

    Henry would go on to become perhaps the second-most prolific striker in the history of the EPL behind Alan Shearer by scoring 174 goals in 254 games while leading the Gunners to two league titles and three FA Cups.

Johan Cruyff

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    It's hard to imagine that Johan Cruyff was a world-record transfer fee at only about £1 million, but that was the case in 1973.

    However, it is perhaps the greatest of Barcelona's history as the Dutchman has become known as the father of the modern pass-and-move playing styles and led Barca back to their first league title for 13 years in 1974.

Dixie Dean

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    Tranmere Rovers sold Dixie Dean to Everton for the fee of £3,000 and would go on to be the only player in the history of the English game to score 60 goals in a single season, which he did in 1927-28.

Eric Cantona

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    Sir Alex Ferguson only paid £1.2 million to rivals Leeds United for the services of midfielder Eric Cantona.

    By the time he was finished as a Red, Cantona was instilled as an all-time legend.

    When Sir Alex looks back at the minimal price tag he will wish he could get another steal like that in the English Premier League sometime soon.

Ian Rush

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    Liverpool paid only a fool's ransom of £300,000 to Chester City for Ian Rush in 1980. It would be perhaps one of the most shrewd piece of business in the history of the club.

    Rush went on to score 346 goals in 658 games for the Reds and won five league titles, three FA Cups and one European Cup.

Alfredo Di Stefano

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    There is no greater transfer steal than that of Real Madrid taking Alfredo Di Stefano from Barcelona for what would equal about £30,000 today. A drawn-out transfer saga saw Stefano set to play two seasons each for both Barcelona and Real Madrid but boardroom troubles for the Catalans allowed Real to take advantage.

    Stefano would do on to win eight La Liga titles as well as five European cups with Real Madrid and remains their greatest striker to ever wear the all white.

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