10 strangest football transfers of all time

Andriy Shevchenko
Andriy Shevchenko's move to Chelsea is one of the worst transfers of all time.
Modified 29 Mar 2021

The history of football is replete with player transfers that didn't make sense from any perspective.

Usually, teams bring in new players to bolster their rosters or address a deficient area. At other times, they attempt to raise their profile/marketability by bringing in a big-name player. However, some player transfers do not fit any of the two criteria.

On that note, let's have a look at arguably ten of the strangest transfers - in no particular order - in the history of the game.

#10 Ricardo Quaresma to Barcelona (2003)

Ricardo Quaresma
Ricardo Quaresma

Touted as the next big thing in football, Ricardo Quaresma instead became the proverbial journeyman.

After winning the double with Sporting Lisbon, Quaresma was shipped to Barcelona in the summer of 2003. However, the move apparently came too soon for the mercurial Portuguese.

Scoring just once in 28 games, Quaresma largely cut a frustrated figure at Camp Nou and was nowhere near his Sporting Lisbon self. Things hit nadir when he refused to play under then-Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard.

He left Barcelona the following season and has gone on to play for a number of clubs since then; Vitoria being his current one.

#9 Ciro Immobile to Borussia Dortmund (2014)

Ciro Immobile
Ciro Immobile

Ciro Immobile is a rather surprise inclusion in this list. That's because, after winning the Capocannoniere with Torino, Immobile made a surprise move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2014.

But far from being a like-for-like replacement for the prolific Robert Lewandowski, who joined Bayern Munich, the Italian striker struggled to get going.

Despite scoring four times in six Champions League games, Immobile netted only thrice in 24 Bundesliga outings as Dortmund finished a lowly seventh. The Italian, expectedly, left the German club at the end of the season.

Immobile would later open up about his struggles at Dortmund, saying:

"(We received) no help, neither me nor my family. "We must share the blame. I did not know German and I expected more help from my team-mates. But hey, you cannot expect to change the culture of a country. You feel bad if you're not used to a certain lifestyle. And German is an impossible language to learn."

After a short loan spell at Sevilla, Immobile rediscovered his mojo at Lazio, for whom he has scored 144 times in over 200 appearances and won the Capocannoniere award last year.

#8 Fernando Torres to Chelsea (2011)

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres was one of the red-hot strikers on the planet when he made a surprise move from Liverpool to Chelsea on the final day of the 2011 winter transfer window.

However, this signing can be termed a poor one, as Chelsea failed to foresee Torres' slump and the fact that he had considerably slowed down after an injury. Nevertheless, they dished out a whopping £52.7 million for his services, but Torres was never his free-scoring Liverpool self at Stamford Bridge.

A return of 45 goals in 172 games wasn't poor by any stretch of imagination. But the then 27-year-old Torres had set the bar incredibly high at Anfield, seemingly scoring goals for fun, with Chelsea themselves being the unfortunate recipients on a few occasions.

Although Chelsea fans will forever remember Torres for his winner at Barcelona that sealed the Blues' place in the 2013 Champions League final, Torres was never the same prolific scorer he was at Liverpool.

The player eventually moved on to AC Milan and Atletico Madrid before hanging up his boots at Sagan Tosu in 2019.

In a later interview, Torres said about his underwhelming returns at Chelsea:

“Maybe, when you arrive at a club like that which is full of stars, in the middle of the season, it’s difficult to fit in. In the next season, it’s because I had a very, very bad first six months which everyone was remembering. Even if I was playing good and maybe scored a goal, all the blame was still on me."

#7 Andy Carroll to Liverpool (2011)

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll was a panic buy by Liverpool in the truest sense of the term following the shock departure of Fernando Torres.

Carroll had a modest stint with Newcastle, helping the club win promotion to the Premier League, before the shock move to Anfield.

Unsurprisingly, the move turned out to be a £35 million disaster, as Carroll scored just six times in 44 league games before West Ham arrived to end his misery.

The lanky striker was a misfit in Liverpool's passing style of football and struggled for chemistry with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.

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Published 29 Mar 2021
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