English Premier League: 5 Biggest Cross-City Transfers in 21st Century

Stefan GouyetAnalyst INovember 12, 2011

English Premier League: 5 Biggest Cross-City Transfers in 21st Century

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    Switching teams can be difficult for a player in modern-day soccer (football), but it's even harder when you transfer to your city rivals.

    On countless occasions in the past, great players have made cross-town moves, switches that made them instant villains in the eyes of their former fans. These transfers are conducted for money, for more playing time, or for fame (and other less common reasons).

    Here's a list of five players who transferred from one side of the city to the other:

    (Note: this article focuses on more recent switches)

Carlos Tevez

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    Year: 2009

    Teams Involved: Manchester UnitedManchester City

    In July 2009, Carlos Tevez made the cross-city transfer between the two Manchester clubs. After making 99 appearances for the Red Devils in two years, the Argentinian chose to switch sides and join the Citizens.

    It was believed that the 27-year-old had finally found a permanent home at Manchester City but that doesn't look to be the case anymore. Tevez's refusal, or at least alleged refusal, to play against Bayern Munich in the Champions League has made the fans (and coaches) angry.

    This cross-town transfer annoyed many Manchester United fans at the time, but it's the City fans who are angry at Tevez now. 

Ashley Cole-William Gallas

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    Year: 2006

    Teams Involved: ChelseaArsenal

    In September 2006, Chelsea and Arsenal reached an agreement for Ashley Cole and William Gallas to make cross-town switches.

    At that time, it was unclear which team had made the better deal. Chelsea got a 26-year-old left back while Arsenal received £5 million plus a 29-year-old center back.

    Both players have made more than 100 appearances with their respective clubs but few people would argue that Chelsea were at the better end of this transfer. Ashley Cole has been invaluable to the Blues with his marauding forward runs and strong defense.

    Gallas has been good, but not as great as Cole. After four seasons at the Emirates Stadium, the Frenchman made another rival switch, moving to Tottenham Hotspur.

Liam Ridgewell

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    Year: 2007

    Teams Involved: Aston Villa - Birmingham

    Since joining Birmingham City in 2007, Liam Ridgewell has established himself as a fan favorite at St. Andrews. So much that many people have forgotten that he used to play for Birmingham's rivals Aston Villa.

    Ridgewell made the cross-town transfer back in August 2007 after finding playing time limited. As it usually is for these sort of switches, Birmingham fans weren't too happy that they had just signed an Aston Villa player.

    However, it didn't take too long for the St. Andrews' faithful to get behind the English man, who began to captain the side after just three weeks with Damien Johnson injured.

    Since then, Ridgewell hasn't looked back and has kept his starting spot in defense (at both center and left back). The 27-year-old has played over 150 league games for Birmingham. 

    Though the transition from red to blue in Birmingham ended up running smoothly, Ridgewell's transfer was still a controversial and rare one.

Nick Barmby

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    Year: 2000

    Teams Involved: Everton - Liverpool

    After four great seasons with Everton, Nick Barmby made a £6 million move to Anfield. 

    This was the first time in 41 years that Liverpool were buying a player from Goodison Park. And no Everton fan ever forgave the Englishman.

    Barmby made well over 100 appearances for Everton but didn't have such a great career on the other side of Stanley Park. He had a good first season with the Reds, in which he even scored against Everton, but had a poor second year and was promptly sold to Leeds United.

    Even though Barmby was, in the end, unsuccessful with Liverpool, he was hated tremendously by Everton fans. So much so that, nine years later, in the Everton-Hull City Premier League match, Toffees supporters were still booing the midfielder (who played for Hull).

Sol Campbell

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    Year: 2001

    Teams Involved: Tottenham Hotspur - Arsenal

    This is considered by many as the worst cross-city transfer of all time. 

    After nine seasons and 315 total appearances for Tottenham, Sol Campbell moved from one end of North London to another with a highly controversial transfer to Arsenal.

    Since this switch, Campbell has been denounced in abundance, mainly by Tottenham fans. The center back has been called "Judas" many times and has even been given first place on the list "Football's Biggest Traitors."

    Campbell may have received immense amounts of criticism for his move but, in truth, he made a good decision and had a superb career at Highbury. The English defender won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups in just five years with Arsenal (he was also a Champions League finalist).


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