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The best and worst transfer deadline day deals

Alex Perry
August 30, 2013
Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano look utterly bemused as they show off their new shirts © Getty Images

Love it or loathe it, transfer deadline day is always entertaining. So ESPN has delved in to the archives to bring you ten of our favourite 11th hour signings and whether or not they were worth all the fuss. Is your club renowned for a bit of last-minute bargain hunting, or a sucker for an expensive panic buy?


Real Madrid to Manchester City, £32.5m, September 1, 2008

City's Arab owners took over on the 2008 summer deadline day and took just hours to entice the Brazil forward to abandon a move to Chelsea and choose their new project instead. Robinho repaid their faith by stating that "Chelsea made a great proposal on the last day and I accepted". When asked if he meant Manchester City, Robinho replied: "Yeah. Manchester. Sorry!" His first season went well, with dazzling performances and plenty of goals, but Second Season Syndrome set in and a run of injuries and poor form saw him shipped off to Santos on loan in 2010 before signing with AC Milan for £15 million on, you guessed it, transfer deadline day.

Hit or Miss? To City's owners, losing £15 million is akin to you or me dropping a tenner in the street. But you simply cannot justify that kind of layout for one good season. Miss.


Deportivo La Coruna to Newcastle United, £5.7m, September 1, 2008

On the very same day City were breaking the British record transfer fee for Robinho, Newcastle were putting together a deal for Spaniard Xisco. Problem is, they did not tell manager Kevin Keegan they were signing the striker. The following morning, the media was rife with reports that the former England manager had walked out on the club (again) - rumours which were confirmed some 48 hours later. Xisco stayed at St James' Park for five seasons, playing nine times and scoring just a single goal, prompting Keegan to send Mike Ashley a card with "I told you so" written on it. (Maybe.)

Hit or Miss? Miss. But at least Newcastle are not the lauging stock of the Premier League any more. Oh, wait...

Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano

Corinthians to West Ham, undisclosed fees, August 31 2006

Not so much desperate as downright bizarre, this one. In a nutshell: West Ham unveiled a bemused-looking pair of 22-year-old Argentinians to the press on the morning of transfer deadline day. Striker Tevez - courted by Chelsea all summer - and midfielder Mascherano came from Brazilian club Corinthians, which was owned by MSI, an international fund of investors who remained in control of the players' contracts. As a result, the transfers were deemed illegal and the relegation-threatened Hammers were fined a world-record £5.5m in April 2007. By then Mascherano had left Upton Park to join Liverpool, but Tevez had stayed and scored West Ham's vital winner against Manchester United on the last day of the season - his seventh in 10 games - to keep the side up at the expense of Sheffield United. Cue Blades fan Sean Bean leading a march on parliament, West Ham agreeing to pay £20m in compensation to the relegated side, MSI front man Kia Joorabchian entering a long-running dispute with the Hammers and Manchester United swooping to snap up Tevez for £2m.

Hit or Miss? Both. Tevez kept West Ham in the top flight, Mascherano could hardly get in the team. Still, thoroughly entertaining for everyone watching on.

Ashley Cole

Arsenal to Chelsea, £5m, August 31, 2006

Ashley Cole moved to Chelsea so he could wear a shirt that fits... © PA Photos

One of the most controversial transfers in the Premier League era. Cole wrote in his autobiography that he nearly "swerved off the road" when he heard Arsenal were only prepared to offer him £55,000-a-week. Cole's relationship with Arsenal ended very sourly, and on his return to the Emirates was welcomed with a flurry of fake banknotes with his face on them. Since swapping North London for West London, Cole has won the league, four FA Cups, a League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League. In the same time, Arsenal have won the Emirates Cup.

Hit or Miss? Hit. Has gone on to become one of the most decorated left-backs in the English game, earned more than 100 caps for his country and married pop star Cheryl Tweedy.

Andre Santos

Fenerbahce to Arsenal, £6.2m, August 30, 2011

The left-sided defensive position has been a problem for Arsene Wenger since Cole's departure - summed up perfectly by the Santos debacle. Arsenal fans had just witnessed their team humiliated 8-2 at Manchester United. They then watched on aghast as Wenger reacted by splashing out more than £6m on a left-back. Santos made just 25 appearances for the Gunners in 18 months - including a match at Old Trafford last season where he incensed the Arsenal faithful by swapping shirts with former team-mate Robin van Persie at half time. Santos was shipped out to Gremio on loan before signing for Flamengo.

Hit or Miss? Remember Ronny Rosenthal's extraordinary miss in the game between Liverpool and Aston Villa? This is the transfer equivalent of that.

Andrey Arshavin

Zenit St Petersburg to Arsenal, £15m, January 31, 2008

Another Wenger deadline day capture - but there was nothing but rejoice for this one. Arshavin had just spent Euro 2008 tearing apart Europe's best defences before turning up at the Emirates and, when thrust in front of the cameras, declared: "I am Gooner!" It all started so well for the Russian - including scoring all four in a 4-4 draw at Liverpool - but form and fitness spoiled his final two years in North London. The fact Arshavin's Wikipedia page dedicates a whole paragraph to him winning the Man-of-the-Match award in a pre-season friendly against League 2 Barnet in 2011 says everything you need to know.

Hit or Miss? It was a hit for a while. But ultimately Arshavin will join the likes of Karel Poborsky in the ranks of players who sealed a move to the Premier League on the back of a good European Championships campaign only to ultimately struggle.

Marouane Fellaini

Standard Liege to Everton, £16m, August 31, 2008

Fellaini reportedly snubbed a place on the bench at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for the starting XI at Goodison Park. It proved to be the correct decision to join the David Moyes revolution on the blue half of Merseyside as he became a cult hero thanks to commandeering performances and his huge afro hairstyle. Incidentally, Fellaini could be the subject of another deadline day move come Monday after new United manager Moyes made it clear he wants the Belgian to follow him along the M62.

Hit or Miss? Hit. Both general and cult.

Wayne Rooney

Everton to Manchester United, £20m, August 31, 2004

Wayne Rooney immediately set about paying off the record transfer fee splashed out on a teenager © Getty Images

Having burst on to the scene as a 16-year-old, Rooney signed for United in a £20 million switch on deadline day in 2004. And his life in red could not have started better, scoring three and setting up one on his United (and Champions League) debut in a 6-2 win over Fenerbahce. The match also saw him become the youngest player to score a hat-trick in Europe's premier competition, aged 18 years and 335 days. Rooney has gone on to become United's fourth highest goalscorer of all time, with 197 goals in 404 appearances. The last few months have been sour, however, with the England forward heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Hit or Miss? When you consider that United only paid £20 million and what Rooney has gone on to achieve for the club since. Hit. Huge hit.

Christopher Samba

Anzhi Makhachkala to Queens Park Rangers, £12m, January 31, 2013

QPR manager Harry Redknapp is the king of deadline day deals. In fact, he could have his own Top Tens. But not many stand up to the stature of Samba in January. With his side leaking goals and falling further adrift at the foot of the Premier League, Redknapp convinced owner Tony Fernandes to part with a whopping £12 million and £100,000-a-week wages for the Congolese defender. The former Blackburn star arrived in West London and announced he was only "40% fit" and - rather unsurprisingly - played just 10 games as the club slumped back into the Championship. Slightly more surprising, Anzhi bought Samba back for the same amount at the end of the season.

Hit or Miss? Miss. A miss so bad it's laughable. Oh, Harry.

Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll

Liverpool to Chelsea, £51.5m (Torres); Newcastle to Liverpool, £35m (Carroll), January 31, 2011

In what can only be described as the most bonkers of transfer deadline days, two records were broken as midnight edged closer. Torres swapped the Capital of Culture for the Capital of England in a deal worth a little more than £50 million - at the time a transfer record involving a British club. Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish needed a replacement. And fast. He turned to Carroll, splashing out a record fee for a British player on Newcastle's pony-tailed forward. At the time, Carroll had just half a season's Premier League experience under his belt and notched 14 goals. It proved an expensive price to pay, not just financially. Dalglish lost his job and Carroll was not fancied by new boss Brendan Rodgers. The result? Just six goals in 26 league games and a loan move to West Ham, for whom he has now signed a permanent deal. Torres remains a Chelsea player - for now - but has failed to recapture the sparkling form he showed for Liverpool, attracting endless criticism for his lack of form. Will he be the subject of another deadline day deal on Monday? Do not bet against it...

Hit or Miss? Miss. Something Carroll and Torres have done a lot of since their moves...

Alex Perry is assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk and tweets at @AlexPerryESPN

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