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5 of the strangest football transfer tales

John Obi Mikel
John Obi Mikel
Sourya C
Modified 28 Sep 2020, 00:26 IST

Football can be thrilling, heart-stopping, a matter of life and death (and even more if you go by the words of Bill Shankly) and bizarre. The beautiful game can be the most serious thing on the planet for many, but it can also get strange, and sometimes even humorous.

Often, football tends to enter the realm of the bizarre when it comes to transfers, especially when two (or more) clubs desperately want the same player, and that player ends up making weird choices. From John Obi Mikel to Emmanuel Petit, we have some of the strangest football transfer stories.

5 strange football transfer stories

#5 Emmanuel Petit gets paid by Tottenham Hotspur to play for Arsenal (not literally, but yes)

Emmanuel Petit in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup final
Emmanuel Petit in action during the 1998 FIFA World Cup final

We start with a funny one. World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit, who netted the third goal to rub salt into Brazilian wounds in the 1998 FIFA World Cup final in Paris, signed for Arsenal in 1997. But the bizarre bit is that Petit actually met Tottenham Hotspur (Arsenal's bitter rivals) chairman Alan Sugar who made him an offer.

In secret, Arsene Wenger had said Petit should meet the former before making a final decision. So Petit said he would think about the Spurs' offer, and Tottenham reportedly paid for a taxi to take the player to his hotel. But naughty Petit diverted the cab to a meeting with Wenger where the Gunners vice-chairman David Dein was also present.

Petit promptly signed up with Arsenal following the second meeting, meaning Spurs actually ended up paying the taxi fare that took Petit to the meeting that helped the future world champion sign up for their fiercest rivals!

#4 Carlos Tevez (sinks his own club and a rival together by scoring a goal)

Carlos Tevez (left) and Javier Mascherano (right) signed for West Ham United.
Carlos Tevez (left) and Javier Mascherano (right) signed for West Ham United.

In what is still the most controversial transfer saga in English football, the unthinkable happened when two of the hottest Argentine prospects, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, moved to England in 2007 to sign for West Ham United. Everyone, including the Hammers coach Alan Pardew, were taken aback.

But the bizarre saga had just begun. While Mascherano contributed little in his seven games before moving to Liverpool, Tevez also struggled to get goals even though his strike helped the embattled side (who had finished ninth in the previous season) to stay up. That's when all hell broke loose.

Tevez had found his feet and form late in the season, but his and West Ham's redemption meant Sheffield United were relegated.

Sheffield lodged a protest. West Ham were subsequently found guilty of breaching third-party ownership rules and were fined £5.5 million by the league.

It was a move that would have wide-ranging implications in the game, especially for West Ham who had reached an FA Cup final the previous season but plunged into a financial crisis after what had appeared a dream signing.

Sheffield, however, could not save their Premier League status and still remain bitter about the whole saga.

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Published 28 Sep 2020, 00:26 IST
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