10 Flawed Transfer Deals
A DEAL WAS AGREED BETWEEN THE CLUBS TO SWAP THE DEFENDER FOR 15KG OF SAUSAGES
Sausage-seeking Romanians, defective fax machines and a player escaping via an actual window – not every transfer deal is entirely straightforward...
Peter’s extremely public Partridge-esque pratfall
The meltdown by which all others must be judged: Only Alan Partridge driving barefoot to Dundee comes close. After accusing West Brom of betraying him in a superb Twitter rant, striker Peter Odemwingie motored to Queens Park Rangers, but was ignominiously locked out of Loftus Road – despite doing a TV interview outside the ground in which he expressed his desire to seal a move. “I was laughing and crying all at the same time,” the striker later confessed about the January 2013 tomfoolery.
“You’re selling me for some sausages?”
Hoping to offload defender Marius Cioara in January 2006, Romanian second division side UT Arad agreed a deal with Regal Horia in return for 15kg of sausages. Cioara didn’t want just to be a piece of meat, however, and decided to retire instead. “We lost a very good player and we lost our team’s food for a whole week,” rued a hungry Horia spokesman.
With Liverpool inexplicably keen to sign West Ham’s Carlton Cole back in 2010, Ryan Babel was bundled towards Tottenham on what became known as ‘the Babelcopter’. “I hate flying and the ride was very bumpy,” bemoaned the Dutch forward. But the deal eventually fell through: Babel got put on a train home, his agent took the chopper, and all that remained of the renowned rotorcraft was a dreadful parody Twitter account.
“What do you mean, the fax machine’s broken?”
Why facsimile machines still exist in a world where you can bluetooth your fridge is beyond us, but old-school telephonic printers are still somehow central to transfer deadline day – and the fact that faulty kit scuppered Spain goalkeeper David de Gea’s proposed 2015 switch to Real Madrid means that August 31 is now celebrated as ‘Fax Machine Day’ by very relieved supporters of Manchester United.
A man that’s just trying to do his job…
With Sky Sports’ johnnies-on-the-spot increasingly surrounded by gurning mobs of urchins, the gentle nuzzling of a reporter’s ear with a sex toy was only a matter of time. Alan Irwin was the unfortunate recipient at Everton in 2014: to his great credit, he unflappably continued his natter regarding Tom Cleverley as the dildo probed his lobe.
Wake up, Benji!
Fuel was added to the ‘lazy footballer’ fire when, in January 2008, Benjani Mwaruwari decided on having a nap instead of jetting to Manchester to join City. “In his own wonderful way, he missed two planes,” said Pompey CEO Peter Storrie, but Harry Redknapp claimed the Zimbabwean didn’t want to leave. The deal was done anyway.
Mears’ great escape
We’ve heard about transfer windows closing – but this was ridiculous. Keen to leave Derby for Marseille in 2008, Tyrone Mears clambered through an actual window and crawled past boss Paul Jewell’s office before nipping off to meet the Ligue 1 club’s representatives.
“Remind me, which club have I signed for again?”
“Chelsea made me a great offer, and I ended up accepting it,” said Robinho at a presser to discuss his position as Manchester City’s most expensive signing in 2008. “I don’t think he knew what was happening,” said his mum, Marina. Robinho later claimed Chelsea had upset Real Madrid – and confused him – by putting his picture up on their club website (they hadn’t). A baffler.
Are the ‘bright lights’ of cosmopolitan north London that scary? The Spanish schemer Miguel Angulo thought so in 2004: he took a medical ahead of a mooted move to Arsenal, but was later “overcome with fear” about the prospect of living in the capital, worried that he “couldn’t fit in with the English lifestyle.” He stayed at Valencia.
George Boyd’s proposed move from Peterborough to Nottingham Forest in January 2013 fell through thanks to an “inconclusive eye test”. Unfortunate for Boyd, but worth it for Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s rant that soon followed: “Total disgrace… he scored from the halfway line the other month.”
Tino says no-no to Darlo
“Faustino has f***ed off,” said a Darlington spokesman. It was an odd end to an even odder 2002 saga. Colombian forward Tino Asprilla had apparently promised to join Darlo for $27,000 a week, but claimed to be jetlagged and left for the Middle East. Still, they’d probably have gone bust even sooner if they had signed him.