Today, August 31 2015, is your last chance to register your team for the UK Team Challenge. You may want to think of it in the same terms as the deadline day on the football calendar! Who are you going to sign?
With it being the UK Team Challenge deadline day, we thought we’d take a look at some of the biggest and best deadline day transfers in British football. Do you agree with them?
To football fans, it can be as exciting as Christmas Day but without the pine needles. The drama of a deadline day deal for anyone’s football team is tantamount to hitting running cards to bust an opponent in a bounty tournament. The waiting for the crucial fax to pronounce your new hero fit while he wanders casually around in the glass-fronted boardroom? Priceless.
Over the years, there have been hundreds of weird, wonderful and downright wacky transfers that sent shockwaves across football. So with the Team UK Challenge right around the corner, we thought we’d remind you of five of the best players to swap teams at the eleventh hour!
Wayne Rooney – Everton to Manchester United (£25.6 million)
We kick off with one of the biggest transfers in football history. Since entering the Premier League stage as a 16-year-old Evertonian who looped a stunning goal over David Seaman’s head, Rooney was fan folklore in waiting. Remember the name? Everyone wanted him, especially after he burst onto the world stage at the 2004 European Championships, perhaps only his injury stopping the footballer with the boxer’s build dragging England all the way. Before we knew it, a young fan’s placard in the Old Trafford implored Sir Alex Ferguson to stump up a king’s ransom for the prodigious teenager and history was made. A hat-trick on his competitive debut, multiple league titles and a European Cup followed, until the gloss came off Rooney’s lustre when he apparently asked to leave the club… twice! Somehow, he survived both headline-grabbing storms to rise again as United’s talisman and captain of both his club and country.
Where Are They Now? Rooney remains at Old Trafford, but after an inauspicious start to the season in front of goal, has never been under more pressure since his arrival 11 years ago.
Ashley Cole – Arsenal to Chelsea (£5 million plus gift-wrapped William Gallas) 31st August, 2006
We continue with the ultimate in turncoat behaviour from that player we all love to hate really – Ashley Cole. Having achieved measurable success at Arsenal, the club where he cut his teeth, ‘Cashley’ – as Arsenal fans would grow to nickname him – nearly crashed his car when he heard Arsenal’s contract offer would only see him banking £230,00 per month. Without long to go, negotiations between Arsenal and their London rivals Chelsea for the left-back’s transfer were never going to be easy. In the end, it didn’t come down to money, but a player – Frenchman William Gallas. Chelsea nabbed the ‘best left-back in the world’ as Mourinho pronounced him, and Arsenal got a centre-back who would eventually go and sit on the half-way line in a huff in a game against Birmingham City. Cole won 9 trophies in 8 years for The Blues… and never crashed his car.
Where Are They Now? Cole swapped the West End for the Colosseum when he signed for Roma in Chelsea for Roma, where he has lost his place. Could a return from the Giallorossi to the Premier League be on the cards?
Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano – Corinthians to West Ham United (£? million) 31st August, 2006
What a fun-packed day that was! With the two mercurial Argentinians technically owned by MSI & Global Soccer Agencies and presented by the mysterious Kia Joorabchian, this transfer was a shock in the way it went ahead. Plenty of clubs were interested in the pair, yet the controversy that followed Tevez throughout his career was certainly related to his representation. When the TV cameras at Upton Park revealed the scoop, for an undisclosed amount which has never been truly discovered, shockwaves reverberated around the game. What a pair they turned out to be, though. Tevez may have been more likely to go on tilt than any Premier League player since Eric Cantona away from the pitch, but once he was playing football, he was tough to stop. Mascherano began as a talisman, turned into a pantomime villain at Liverpool under Ringmaster Rafa, then was brilliantly converted into a centre-back for Barcelona. We’re still not sure who exactly owns the pair of them, but they were pure entertainment while in England. They also kept West Ham up in one of the most controversial and dramatic final day escapes in recent years when Tevez scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford (his eventual destination that summer) in 2007.
Where Are They Now? After being ignored by his country for three years, Carlos Tevez returned to his native Boca Juniors … and the national side. Mascherano is still plying his trade at Camp Nou, with numerous Champions League and La Liga medals in his safe.
Dimitar Berbatov – Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester United (£30.75 million) September 1st, 2008
The mercurial Bulgarian forward and self-styled Andy Garcia lookalike arrived at Old Trafford on Deadline Day in 2008 after one of the most protracted transfers in Premier League history was almost hijacked at the last-minute in an action packed plot that included helicopters, underhand neighbours and a denouement in a tall building. Basically, the drama of 2008’s summer Transfer Deadline Day will probably be copied for the script of Taken 4.
Berbatov, who had enjoyed a fruitful White Hart Lane partnership with Robbie Keane in the preceding season, was hot property. Rumoured interest from Manchester United had been ongoing throughout the summer, but at the last-minute, newly cash-rich neighbours Manchester City entered the fray, their bid being accepted by Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy. But United wanted their man, and got him at the eleventh hour, the now-infamous sight of Berbatov smiling as he walked out of the United boardroom as details were confirmed summing up Transfer Deadline Day.
Where Are They Now? Having enjoyed stints at both Fulham and Monaco, the Bulgarian is available, with classic Italian side Sampdoria the latest hot tip for his signature. Yet to star in an Ocean’s Eleven franchise movie.
Mesut Ozil – Real Madrid to Arsenal (£42.5 million) September 2nd, 2013
It hardly seems two years since the party-loving German arrived at The Emirates amid deadline day delirium the like of which we haven’t seen before or since. Hailed as the final piece of the jigsaw by many, the now-World Cup-winning midfield dynamo slotted into The Gunners side perfectly, enjoying a superb start. Playing with aplomb and a fan of the London lifestyle, Ozil settled in brilliantly in the first six months, but either side of his World Cup-winning campaign, there have been a few question marks about his fitness or ability to shine in the cauldron of the English Premier League. Undoubtedly a player of immense talent, can he provide the ammunition for an Arsenal title challenge? After being part of two F.A.Cup-winning squads, the mercurial German may need to.
Where Are They Now? Still plying his trade in North London, desperate to cement his place in Arsenal history by helping them to a first title in twelve seasons.
Don’t forget to register your team before midnight on August 31, 2015 and see if you could be one of the best deadline day deals ever!