So the January transfer window is over again and it turned out to be a fascinating one, as Phillipe Coutinho became the most expensive January signing yet; we saw big moves like Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, Lucas Moura to Tottenham and Olivier Giroud to Chelsea, and overall more money was spent this January than any previous year.
With that said, though, none of the moves made were major shocks - they were expensive, for certain, but they were also largely to be expected, big money moves between big clubs with most of the transfers being logical.
Football history though is littered with plenty of transfers that did shock the football world to its core – whether they were record-breaking fees or a case of a player moving from his club to their most bitter rivals. Here are five of the most shocking transfers in football history.
#1 Neymar to Paris St. Germain, 2017
Since the mid-2000’s, two clubs have dominated the world of football more than any others – Spanish giants Real Madrid and their rivals Barcelona. And during that time period, it was basically a given that if one of those clubs wanted a player, that player would end up there, and the only way they’d ever get rid of a player would be if they became surplus to requirements. And so everyone from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas fit into the pattern.
That was until the summer of 2017 when out of nowhere, the power apparently shifted to France and to Paris St. Germain more specifically. When PSG – rich beyond their wildest dreams thanks to some Qatari investment in 2011 – were rumored to be attempting to sign Brazilian star Neymar Jr from Barca, it seemed like simple paper talk that wasn’t true. After all, Neymar had only been at the Nou Camp for four seasons and it felt like he was the natural successor to the legendary Lionel Messi.
But soon all of the rules would be out of the window. It was in early August when Barca announced that PSG had decided to pay Neymar’s release clause – somewhere over the figure of £200m, shattering the world record transfer fee – to take the Brazilian to France. And so it felt like the power no longer lays with the Spanish giants but with the nouveau riche, oil-minted Parisians. Neymar has proved a success in France – 26 goals in 25 games thus far – but his move may be looked back at in years as a major turning point, and it certainly rocked the football world to its core.