Football can be quite a funny sport at the best of times. We all know it as the beautiful game because it inspires, invigorates and excites with unrivalled elegance (for the most part).
Every fan has their prized memories, whether it's a thrilling victory by one's favourite team over a fierce rival on derby day, a thunderous volley from a star player or an ingenious piece of maverick skill from a tricky playmaker.
These souvenirs form the foundations of many fans' love for the most popular sport in the world, but what about the other side of it all? Let's face it, for every moment that makes a supporter smile and celebrate with pure joy there's a handful that invoke frustration, disbelief and sometimes even pure anger. Indeed, no aspect of soccer can chip away at our positivity and belief in our best-loved team than an ill thought-out transfer.
Of course, some unbelievable signings delight, excite and give hope by adding something new to a team's chemistry, and while not all deliver on their promise, they give fans an opportunity to dream of better futures - even the already successful clubs. However, then there are the signings that do nothing but disappoint.
More entertaining still, though, are the deals that simply baffle and confuse and there have been more than enough to ponder down through the years. You know the ones. You're sitting on your couch on transfer deadline day when a random headline flashes across the screen announcing a trade you never thought would ever come to fruition...because it's just so utterly outlandish.
In truth, they provide a bit of amusement for the neutrals and many of them have an interesting back-story, but it's still difficult to get past the fact they are just so odd. With that, let's take an in-depth look at some of the most bewildering transfers in the history of world football - and remember to have your say in the comments section.
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15 Sol Campbell to Notts County
Just over a year prior to the move, Sol Campbell had helped Portsmouth win the FA Cup and was widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the English game. A pillar of Pompey's rearguard, he was pivotal in the back-line that ensured the club staved off relegation in the 2008/09 campaign too. However, in a bizarre development, he opted to join forces with none other than League Two outfit Notts County.
It was a really odd transfer that had many rubbing their eyes in disbelief, but the five-year deal was ratified, signed and Campbell was ready to go. Things were to get even more weird when the experienced central defender left the club after having played just the one match, a defeat to Morecambe FC, citing 'broken promises' as his reasoning. A return to the Premier League soon followed but the now retired star's best days were clearly behind him by then.
14 Claudio Caniggia to Dundee
A football club normally needs to have a certain level of prestige, or at least a decent stash of millions, to attract the talents of a World Cup legend but Scottish club Dundee, who hadn't won the Premiership in nearly 40 years before his arrival from Atalanta, managed to pull off a major coup when they brought Claudio Caniggia on board in 2000. It was a transfer made in heaven for the Dees supporters, but it was a head-scratcher for everyone else.
His surprising career with the club got off to an ideal start as he scored on his debut in the dying seconds of a clash against Aberdeen and, although his stay was short-lived, it brought a great element of romance and fun to proceedings at Dens Park. Nevertheless, it will always go down as one of the strangest transfers ever to occur.
13 Julien Faubert to Real Madrid
He might well be on the books at Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership, but Julien Faubert once found himself kitted out in the dazzling white of Real Madrid in sunny Spain after snagging a 2009 loan move from West Ham United. The confusion was widespread because although Faubert had the potential to grow into a good player, he was nowhere near the levels expected by the Santiago Bernabeu faithful.
Sure enough, the former France international's stint with one of La Liga's biggest clubs turned sour quickly and the infamous snap of him snoozing soundly on the bench really summed up just how ill thought-out the move was. In fairness to him, he didn't let the disastrous transfer perturb him too much and he's moved on with a decent career since.
12 Steven Fletcher to Marseille
Scotland internationals don't often make their mark abroad with big clubs, but that's precisely what Sunderland loanee Steven Fletcher attempted to do when he made the move from the Black Cats to Ligue 1 outfit Marseille. The Scottish forward's move baffled many pundits and fans when he switched on transfer deadline day at the start of 2016, not least Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani who was said to be very surprised with his appearance in a match against them.
He has only made selective appearances in the French top flight this season, netting a single goal, so it's not been a super success for him on a personal level (one might even say he has been a flop), but there has arguably been less pressure on him to perform than there would have been had he stayed with relegation-threatened Sunderland for the remainder of the Premier League season.
11 Juninho to Middlesbrough
It was a transfer that had so many questioning the sanity of the move, but it also turned into one of the most romantic signings in the history of the Premier League as the famous Brazilian would go on to become a cult hero with the Smoggies in the mid-1990s. Joining at just 22 years of age from Sao Paulo, it was certainly a big decision to make for the then Brazilian Footballer of the Year, but the gamble really paid off for him.
Having signed him for just under £5 million in the October following their promotion from the old First Division in 1995, it really was a massive coup and would be the equivalent of, well... the current Middlesbrough team signing the latest samba sensation ahead of the rest of Europe's big-money behemoths. He scored 12 goals in his first full top-flight campaign with the club and although he would have two further stints, it was his first spell that really caught the eye.
10 Allan Simonsen to Charlton Athletic
Forced out of the Camp Nou by the arrival of Diego Maradona at Barcelona, anyone with a passing interest in football might have been forgiven for thinking that Danish star Allan Simonsen wasn't up to the Blaugrana's usually high standards. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was a guy who beat Johan Cruyff and Kevin Keegan to the European Footballer of the Year gong back in 1977. However, things were to take an even more surprising turn in Simonsen's career as he wound up with the Addicks in London.
At the time, Charlton were in the old Second Division (the equivalent of a former great teaming up with a club in today's Football League One) which is quite a step down. What's all the more mind-boggling is the fact the club were able to beat Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid to his signature. Simonsen didn't stay long, but he netted nine goals in 16 games and was hailed as a success before eventually returning to play in Denmark.
9 Alberto Tarantini to Birmingham City
How could everything turn out so catastrophically for a World Cup winner? Having played as a full back in Argentina's 1978 triumph, Alberto Tarantini soon found himself turning out for Birmingham City in England. His stint was a terrible one and the Argentine defender misfired badly on a regular basis. Perhaps the British game didn't suit him, but he certainly didn't make it easy on himself.
Having played for Boca Juniors before this, it was a real surprise to see him team up with such a different club. A player who wasn't afraid to get up close and personal with his opponents, he knocked out an opponent during his spell with the Blues and even climbed into the stands to confront a fan who had been heckling him during a match. Fiery.
8 Carlos Tevez to West Ham United
Carlos Tevez teamed up with West Ham United to save them from relegation in the 2006/07 Premier League campaign with a string of memorable performances. Before that, though, the Hammers had to fend off some rather stiff competition from the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal and ultimately came out on top in the hunt for the World Cup star as they struck a deal with a company who owned his rights (as well as signing Javier Mascherano).
Joining from Brazilian club Corinthians, the pair were a genuine coup for the club and while they both provided the team with a real boost, it was Tevez who really stole the show with a gob-smacking seven goals in their final 10 games of the season. Almost single-handedly dragging them away from the drop zone, the then 22-year-old became an instant West Ham legend and remains fondly remembered for his heroics that season.
7 Bebe to Manchester United
Bebe's arrival from Vitoria de Guimaraes as a 20-year-old was a bolt from the blue nobody could have predicted. Unlike some of Sir Alex Ferguson's deals involving mysterious potential such as the one he hammered out to bring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on board, this turned out to be a real howler on the manager's part - although former Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz probably had more of a hand in pushing for his signature.
Bebe's rise from a nobody to become a striker at one of England's biggest clubs was a charming tale at first, but it soon descended into a foul fable. Nowadays, fans consider him to be one of the worst signings the club have ever made. At the end of the day, Bebe was overawed by the experience and got fast-tracked into a high intensity world he couldn't handle. It was a transfer that should never have happened, but he has made the most of the experience and remains in the professional game.
6 Joey Barton to Marseille
It's a rarity for English players to join any club in the French top flight. For starters, Ligue 1 clubs pay more income tax than their Premier League counterparts and the wage demands of many of the division's top stars often make for an insurmountable obstacle. So, when Joey Barton made the loan move from Queens Park Rangers to Marseille, more than a few heads turned in intrigue.
A mixture of puzzlement and excitement greeted the news in August 2012 as the tough-tackling, wise-cracking midfielder swapped the struggle of relegation battles for something a little more exotic. Indeed, the player himself voiced his own awareness at just how unusual the deal was at the time when he said: "This move to l’OM feels perfect for me and where I’m at, right now. It feels strange and exciting." In the end it worked and he played well for them.
5 Geoff Hurst to Cork Celtic
Still the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, Sir Geoff Hurst is a legend of the English game. Another World Cup winner to grace our list, his exploits for the Three Lions will always be fondly recalled by young and old alike, particularly the majestic feat he helped his team achieve in 1966.
A West Ham United icon for over a decade where he won the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup among other titles, he also enjoyed success with Stoke City. However, it was his switch from West Bromwich Albion to League of Ireland outfit Cork Celtic that really caught the eye. True, it wasn't totally unheard of for big stars to come to the Emerald Isle for short stays, but it was nevertheless strange to see him tog out for such a European minnow.
4 Edgar Davids to Crystal Palace
He had won the Champions League, Eredivisie, Serie A and so much more, but in August 2010, the Dutch maestro completed a shock move to underdogs Crystal Palace. It would have been an odd enough destination for a legend of the game to find themselves ordinarily, but it was made all the more out of the ordinary due to the fact it had been more than two years since his last professional match.
Undoubtedly one of the coolest-looking footballers to ever grace the game (despite the fact he wore his trademark eye-wear for medical reasons), he didn't stay long with the London club, ending his pay-as-you-play deal just four months after signing for them.
3 Ronnie O'Brien to Juventus
The year 1999 is best remembered by football fans as the time Manchester United won the treble, but it also harbours some pretty whirlwind memories for the little-known Ronnie O'Brien in what is perhaps the most curious transfer ever involving an Irish footballer. Let go by Middlesbrough as the tail-end of the season came into sharper focus, he immediately snagged a move to none other than Italian Serie A giants Juventus.
At the time, he became only the second-ever Irish player to ply his trade in Italy, following in the footsteps of Green Army legend Liam Brady. It was a strange turn of events for a player that had struggled to get a look-in at Boro - it didn't really add up. Sure enough, he found it difficult and was soon shipped off on loan. Even more extraordinary than this was that, at around the same time, he was nearly voted Time Magazine's 'Person of the Century' after a flood of votes put him ahead of the likes of Martin Luther King and Elvis Presley. True Story.
2 Socrates to Garforth Town
Brazil international legend Socrates played for his country at the World Cup in 1982 and again in '86, he won the South American Footballer of the Year Award in 1983 and he was a football icon in the land of samba. Nicknamed 'Doctor Socrates' for his political activism (as well as his doctorate in medicine), he was a fan favourite and a cult icon who is widely considered one of the best players of all time.
Bizarrely, though, a full 14 years after he had retired the former Selecao captain turned out for Garforth Town. A lower-league club based in West Yorkshire in England, it was a really eccentric move from both parties. At the incredible age of 50, he joined the club for a one-match appearance, and although he only played for 12 minutes, his "transfer" can surely be regarded as one of the oddest ever seen.
1 Ali Dia to Southampton
His story is the stuff of legend and Ali Dia's attempts at blagging his way to the top of the beautiful game have piqued many football fans' interests. That said, when someone rings you up claiming to be George Weah's cousin in order to join your team, it's probably a good idea to dig a little deeper and make sure of it before offering them a decent contract.
Graeme Souness was the manager at the Saints when Dia's move was sanctioned and the hoaxster only played 53 minutes for the top-tier outfit after his performance belied his embellishments. Eventually, after stints with a number of lower-league teams, he wound up vanishing from the face of the football earth. Not only was this weird for the club, but it was a unique one across global football. Had anyone else lied their way into a big club like like this before?
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