5. Allan Simonsen – Barcelona to Charlton Athletic, 1982.
When Barcelona signed Argentinian forward Diego Maradona in 1982, Spanish league restrictions meant that only two places allowed for foreign players in each starting line-up. Simonsen compete with Maradona and Bernd Schuster, and asked Barcelona for his contract to be cancelled. Cue a shock move to Second Division side Charlton Athletic for £300,000. The Danish striker’s massive wages meant he only stayed for one season before returning back to his homeland.
4. Jonathan Woodgate – Newcastle United to Real Madrid, 2004.
Real Madrid’s galactico policy was in full swing with players such as Ronaldo, Figo, Beckham and Zidane when, in 2004, the club very strangely paid Newcastle £13.5 million for defender Joanthan Woodgate. Woodgate did not make any appearances in his first season in Spain, eventually making his debut on 22 September 2005 – a game in which he scored and own goal and was sent off. He only made nine appearances for the Spanish giants.
3. Andy Carroll – Newcastle United to Liverpool, 2011.
£35 million is an awful lot of money. By any clubs standards – it’s even more than what PSG recently paid for prolific striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. In the final stages of the January transfer deadline day in 2011, it’s exactly what Liverpool paid for Andy Carroll who, at the time, was considered merely a good young striker with potential. Carroll, at the time of writing, has only scored 6 league goals for the Reds.
2. Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea, 2011.
Probably the main reason behind the panicked but of Andy Carroll, was the departure of their much-loved striker Fernando Torres on the same day to league rivals Chelsea for a whopping £50 million. The news sickened Liverpool fans. But Torres lost his appetite for goalscoring and found his place in the Spanish national team selection being questioned. He’s only scored just one more league goal than Andy Carroll. But he will test the old football saying – form is temporary, class is permanent.
1. Mo Johnston – Nantes to Rangers, 1989.
Celtic legend Mo Johnston had spent three years with the Bhoys, scoring 52 goals in 140 games, before departing for Ligue 1 side Nantes. In 1989, he announced that he would be returning to his former club. In July of that year, Johnston had appeared at a press conference at Celtic Park where he declared that “Celtic are the only club that I want to play for”. Then the Scot did the unthinkable and joined fierce rivals Rangers much to the disgust of both sets of fans. He became the most high profile Catholic to play for the blue half of Glasgow.