Nominations for the best football transfers ever

Date published: Tuesday 31st August 2021 9:03 - Editor F365

Thanks for your e-mails on transfers and more. Send ideas and thoughts as ever to


Greatest transfers ever?
A few thoughts on the greatest transfers ever question from yesterday. There are two things to consider when assessing a transfer. What was the fee and what was the impact of the player? The fee is important, because otherwise greatest transfers of all time and greatest players of all time would be the same conversation.

There are some players, where the business is the most impressive thing. Consider the transfers of Neymar, Coutinho and Dembele. All were sold for £100m+ profit and were a great bit of business for Barcelona, Liverpool and Dortmund.

However, football is not about business only. You’ve got to factor in the impact. Some players don’t just play well, but they transform the club they play for, and usher in an era of success. There are a few great transfers in history you could consider. I’ve only gone from my own experience, so later 80s onwards. There’s many I’ve missed out, but among them I’d put Maradona, Cantona, Ronaldo (to United), Lampard, Ramos, Buffon, Henry (to Arsenal), Zidane, Shearer, Keane. However, there is one that tops them all: Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

Not only did he have an extraordinary impact on the club, helping them to numerous trophies, including four Champions League titles, but they actually made a profit on him! Bought for £85m then sold for £100m as his form had just begun to dip (to a level still far ahead of most players). 438 appearances. 450 goals AND you make a profit on the transfer. Hard to beat that.
Mike, LFC, London


…What a question from Wigan Dave, not only is it such an interesting question to ponder with many a variable that can decide how important or team changing a signing was it will certainly cause many different opinions within the mailbox, each one will be correct in their own way too, so here are my “Three Best Ever Signings”.

1. Frank Lampard from West Ham United to Chelsea for £11m

Starting off with a Chelsea player because as a host of a Chelsea podcast I cannot do any sort of this list without including one Stamford Bridge legend in the mix, he goes down not only as one our greatest ever players of all time, he is our record goal scorer and was one of the key players in Jose Mourinho’s side that delivered our club’s first title in 50 years, he won 3 League Titles, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and 1 Champions League & Europa League, English trophies completed right there.

Not only was he key to Mourinho’s Chelsea side, but without him being signed from West Ham then he would naturally not have become a legend of the club resulting in him unlikely taking the helm as manager, irrelevant of what happened toward the end of his tenure, you have to look at the long term of his appointment, which was bringing through many of the youth including two key players in the side Mason Mount & Reece James.

2. Johan Cruyff from Ajax to Barcelona for $2m

Icon, simple as that, one of my idols in the world of football, his death was one of those that comes first to mind when someone on social media asks about a death of a famous celebrity/athlete etc who hit you hard, he left Ajax after winning 8 league titles and 3 European cups with the Amsterdam side and then became one of the most influential players in the history of Barcelona, after leading the club as a player to multiple honours he returned as a manager and did the same all over again with his tactics, he not only changed the way we see the game but how the game is played, he made the La Masia academy what it became, he demanded the academy was changed, the culture where the academy players are treated the same as the first XI, in both respect but also training, his principals and ideas brought through many a star, you can see his influence on that iconic Barcelona side of the 00’s and into the 10’s with Lionel Messi, then of course that influence impacted the Spanish National side, you could argue with strong conviction that if Cruyff does not join Barcelona then Spain may not win that World Cup, Guardiola may not become the manager he is today, La Masia does not produce the talented team for Barcelona.

Of course if Johan Cruyff joined another club perhaps that side grows to become what Barcelona were, with that theory you could suggest if Cruyff had moved to an English side instead then England may have won the 2010 World Cup instead of Spain, that would have resulted in Michael Dawson and Peter Crouch becoming World Cup winners, okay maybe not.

3. David Beckham from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy

One of the greatest players of all time, now some may raise an eyebrow for his inclusion in my “Three Best Ever Signings”, after all he left Real Madrid to join an MLS franchise which went on to win 2 MLS Cups and 2 Supporters’ Shields in his 6 seasons in America, but it is what the transfer meant for not just “soccer” in the USA but also for the MLS as a whole, when he was brought to Los Angeles it was such an ambitious move by the MLS franchise and league as a whole with a lot of money tied up in the deal, one reported figure was $250m in total when his wages, revenue and endorsements were added all up, his signing lifted the league onto the global stage just because of the star power that having David Beckham play at your club brought.

His signing did not just benefit one side but an entire league, an entire country for that matter, we all know that in the USA the sport we call football, well it was not on the top of most fans agendas during the 00’s, the top sports were Basketball, Baseball and Gridiron Football, with David Beckham now in the league it brought more fans to the games, inspired a generation to become football players and laid the foundations for many a star name to take a look at the league as a potential destination toward the end of their careers such as Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kaka, nowadays it has to a point moved away from the retirement home for veterans many a pundit used to call it and has become a hotbed for the next generation of talent.

There are many, many more signings that could and I am sure will be mentioned but these are my three and hopefully we will see a variety of names brought up in the Mailbox from the readers, my money is on Eric Cantona to United to be mentioned at least twice.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod


Willian at Arsenal: A case study in PR
Bear with me here a second. Willian, 32 years old, was signed by Arteta in August, 2020 to build his team around on a “free”. Arteta was able to wheel and deal and manoeuvre this “brilliant” move by “convincing” Willian they would win the CL within three years. If we dig a little deeper we see that the deal worth £35M over 3 years included a massive £14.4M signing bonus. On top of that a salary of around £100k a week totalling approximately £220,000 a week with bonuses (source football365). Stay with me here…

Since signing he has gone on to play 37 games and score 1 goal. He arrived overweight and unfit and showed little to no interest. He failed to even make the match day squad against Brighton…again I repeat, Arteta’s star man who he wanted to build his philosophy around did not even make the bench! According to the dailycannon William claimed he was taking a pay cut. Just for good measure Arsenal added an option for a 4th year which would kick in when Willian is 36 yrs old (Edu working his magic). With his 100k a week salary and £4.8M signing bonus (plus whatever agent fees were paid to Kia) Arsenal have already paid out well over £10M…and now sold him for FREE!!! What is going on with this club???

I am now seeing comments like “pure class from Willian” (, “Willian saves Arsenal £20.5M” (skysports), “Best of luck Willain” (Arsenal twitter) etc. etc….nonsense! This man has just been paid almost a million pound a month for the longest vacation in history and basically sat around eating bbq and we are supposed to be grateful? Are you king me??? Wenger purchased Anelka for 500k, played 90 games, scored 28 goals, and was sold to Madrid for £23M. My question to you all…is Willian the worst high profile signing in the history of the PL? Can’t think of another case this disastrous. Amazing how the press and Arsenal PR machine have spun this story and actually have Arsenal fans thanking Willian! Bloody hell…what has the once might Arsenal Football Club become?!?!

Oh btw, we did get an apology…thank you for that Mr. Willian…good riddance…hope you enjoyed your free ride at the Arsenal…please never come back!
Zed Jones (did I mention recently he has also been on Insta clicking away and “liking” Chelsea posts?)


Who will play on the right for Man United now?
If United do shift Dan James will it be Henderson or Phil Jones that Solskjaer plays on the right instead of the best young right winger in the world?
Tim Sutton (United will win nothing with Solskjaer)


First time writer

One thing I have noticed about Ole is that he is learning very fast in the game and I do think he is better getting tactically.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd

I know ye all thinks Ole is not going to win the EPL for us this season but I do think he could win us the Champions League someday or more importantly any trophy this season. ..Last season he wasn’t relying much on counter attacks to win matches against the big teams in constrast to 19/20 season

When Ole was employed Manutd were behind 5 teams in the epl Chelsea, Liverpool Tottenham Mancity and Arsenal but now Manutd is only behind one team and that is Mancity…we are a point ahead of city as it stands and with Mctominay ( potentially Ndidi and kante combined someday) back from injury and rashford, be sure we are going to be perform better than we did against wolves and Southampton. How many matches does a team have to perform better in and gets to win the league? 30? 20? And then win 10 with lucks?.. Ole could win as many as 30 matches this season( luck included)…we won 21 matches last season(20/21)..we lost just 6 matches the same as City but have 11draws twice as much as city and with Cr7 in this team to dribble and score astonishing goals and good crosses from Shaw for cavani to nod in be sure we are not finishing below second position. Right now we are above Chelsea two season (3rd and 2nd) running and about to complete the third time…

What i would like is manutd sacking ole and regretting they do so only to Sign him again after they have realized their mistake of signing another top flight manager that the Oleout thinks would win us the league but would not lol hahahaha.

Let me stop here and wait your replies (My first time writing on this website that I love with all my heart that i read always.
My name is Michael Pashamiimo a die hard utd fan since 92) Akure


On Klopp, Tuchel and Arteta
Watching the match between Liverpool vs Chelsea, I think Jurgen Klopp should have refreshed his team by recruiting new players. Last year by giving excuse of injury problems, Klopp probably forgot to identify his team’s weakness. Klopp must think that development is a continuous problem.

On the other hand, Tuchel successfully applied his playing philosophy at Liverpool. Even with 10 men, Chelsea looked dangerous on the break.

If I look at Arsenal, I still couldn’t identify the tactics or philosophy of Arteta. Every successful coach has his own style or philosophy. But what philosophy Arteta cherishes, I don’t know. If he dreams of tiki taka style like Guerdiola, he has to carefully recruit players that suit the system like his Ex boss. Arsenal must also identify what they actually want to achieve. Their recruitment is horrendous. They sign mediocre players paying excessive price. Pepe is not a player of his price. In all department, they haven’t quality players that can compete against top six of premier league. So sacking Arteta wouldn’t solve the Arsenal problem unless quality signings aren’t made.
Mohammad Shohel


…I am a most boisterous and ardent football fan. I like to keep the players and coaches accountable for their end of the overall team performance. However, I can’t understand why as fans we are so fickle and unwilling to give our supported team and manager the sufficient opportunity to do their best before turning on them like a pack of wolves.

We are so quick forget that especially in Mr. Jurgen Klopp case when winning was second nature to Liverpool and the coach could not get his line up wrong even if he tried. Now that Liverpool is going through a rough patch, not to forget this is only after 3 games. Those supporters calling for a change and willing to throw the coach under the bus. I would kindly remind that we have not had the pleasure of seeing our favourite teams in person for over 18 months. Therefore, patience and understanding would go a long way in making sure our favourite team get back to winning ways.

Give the players, coaches and your team a break and the onfield support they all deserve in order to get their best effort week in and week out.
A Fan of Football ⚽️ David


Arsenal fans, have some perspective please
We live in an era of instant gratification and knee-jerkism, so perhaps I am expecting too much, but Arsenal fans (especially the AFTV lot), get some perspective PLEASE. These were the same shameless folk who were screaming #TrustTheProcess and “Artekkers” after the FA Cup win but changed their tune to #FuckTheProcess last season. Aubama-“bloodclaat”-yang whose contract had to be renewed AT ALL COSTS after the FA Cup win became an expensive MISTAKE etc. etc.

Now I am not saying Arteta should not be criticised; he has made his fair share of mistakes. Yet, the following facts need to be considered:

1) Manchester United currently have *checks notes* 12 (world-class and highly paid) midfielders. This is in addition to Cavani, Martial and Cristiano in attack.

2) I am not even considering young promising players like Diallo who is, I am led to believe, on loan. Now, Diallo alone cost about 37 million pounds whereas our MAIN signing before this window was Partey for about 45 million. I know who represents better value there. Do you?

3) Despite being able to field a team of 11 world class midfielders and still have some left on the subs bench, man utd fans are screaming from the rooftops for … take a guess… ANOTHER midfielder.

Despite the massive financial disparity these dealings represent, what is the score in terms of trophies between the two clubs since the appointment of Ole and Arteta?

Arsenal 1 (FA Cup) – Man Utd (Zilch, Zero, Nada)

Yet Man Utd fans are giddy with excitement while Arsenal fans are crying into their sleep.

This lack of perspective is not exclusive to Arsenal fans, mind you. For Manchester United themselves, they won the first game of the season 5-1; cue celebrations of a title triumph in the mailbox. They draw their next game, and fans scream #OleOut.

Now, what Man Utd fans expect or don’t expect is not my concern; it’s their club, they can do as they please (to be read in Bane’s voice). But this AFTV bandwagon of jokers, which has been rightly criticized in the past few mailboxes, need to take a long hard look at themselves and should perhaps listen to their own statements after the FA Cup win. A bigger and quicker about-turn by entitled self-serving maggots, I have never before seen.

In a similar vein, I now see one Pablo Mari being meme-ified and called a ‘joker’ by certain Arsenal (cough AFTV cough) fans. For those with short memories, Gabriel was out for significant parts of last season and Mari filled in with aplomb. For those with gold-fish memories, Arsenal were the 3rd best defensive side last season. Now we see Mari tumbling against a barge by Lukaku (it could happen to any defender, mind you) and he has become the joke of the year?

Arsenal no longer has the financial reach of old; if anything, it never did even under Wenger. So we need to take a breath, accept that this is a young team and a young project that has been plagued by a Covid-19 outbreak before the first game, and get with the programme. The club needs your support in these, admittedly, very dark moments. Rats always leave a sinking ship, men try to save it.
Shahzad, Pakistani Gooner in Dublin, Eire


Fantasy football update
Following the completion of Gameweek 3 and now that we’re in to the international break, I wanted to give an update on the FF.

98 teams in total have entered the league which is fantastic. The leading score is 259 (for context the global lead is 306 so 259 is an impressive haul), with a low score of 86.

The top 10 is as follows:
1. Shearer_is_KJAERing, managed by Paul Onminyi on 259 points

2. 2 Goats 1 Car, managed by Dave Graham on 253 points.
2. Blameitontraore, managed by Noel Comer on 253 points.

4. Swede, Carrot, Lime, managed by Mat Baker on 247 points.
4. LetTheGamesBegin, managed by Cathal Whel on 247 points.

6. Nimbus FC, managed by Nishant Bihani on 246 points.

7. Ally FC, managed by Ally Johnson on 245 points.

8. Yonger, managed by Alexander Chernyshkov on 244 points.

9. Little Ron Corbette, managed by Martin McLaren on 242 points
9. La Real Social Dad, managed by Michael Odeku on 242 points.

Good scoring folks, in particular Paul who is our leader coming in to the break. The teams from 11th down are, more or less, just increments of one further back so it’s a tight league and the order can change significantly, as has happened, week on week.

Thanks to everyone that entered a team. Going forward I’ll send monthly updates, next one will be sent at the end of Gameweek 7 ending with Liverpool v City on October 3rd.

Until then best of luck to all.

More Related Articles