Derby County

Derby County slideshow

Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Kasey Palmer’s part in helping Huddersfield win promotion to the Premier League may explain why Chelsea’s decision to send him out for another spell on loan during the January transfer window had a number of Championship clubs jostling to add him to their squad. On Wednesday evening, the 21-year-old underlined his potential by coming up with a stoppage-time goal to salvage a point for Derby, although it was a slightly bitter-sweet moment for the attacking midfielder after Leeds had threatened to steal a smash-and-grab first win for new head coach Paul Heckingbottom. The second Leeds goal with 11 minutes that looked to have made it a sour night for Gary Rowett’s team came on a breakaway following a poorly executed free kick by the youngster with Derby players loading the opposition penalty area. It led to Leeds substitutes Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski combining to punish the home side, Saiz supplying the pass as Alioski ran into unguarded space. Scott Carson narrowed the angle to block as the Macedonian shot for goal only to beaten as Alioski headed home the rebound. Although they have suffered only one defeat in 14 matches in the Championship, Derby’s last six matches have produced only one win and Rowett admitted to feeling frustrated. Pierre-Michel Lasogga puts Leeds ahead for the first time Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images “We played as well in the first half as we have at home for a long time and earlier in the season we would have taken our chances and won the game,” he said. “But we are just lacking a bit of composure at the moment and the way we conceded the goals was disappointing. At this stage of the season a draw feels like a defeat.” Leeds rode their luck at times, but having fought back from 2-0 down to salvage a point against Bristol City last Saturday they had enough self-belief to disregard the moments they might have been punished. Derby went behind after 34 minutes when Pierre-Michel Lasogga punished them for switching off at the back, the striker running into a gaping hole in the home side’s back four to nod home a Stuart Dallas cross. They warranted the equaliser they grabbed just before half-time, when Andreas Weimann took advantage of a poor header by Liam Cooper, but it was the only opportunity they made to count among a host of chances until Palmer’s rescue act. “We made it hard for ourselves in the first half but I felt we grew into the game and after the second goal I couldn’t see Derby scoring,” Leeds boss Heckingbottom said. “But we didn’t deal with a ball into the box at the end and those are the kind of things we need to iron out.”
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Kasey Palmer’s part in helping Huddersfield win promotion to the Premier League may explain why Chelsea’s decision to send him out for another spell on loan during the January transfer window had a number of Championship clubs jostling to add him to their squad. On Wednesday evening, the 21-year-old underlined his potential by coming up with a stoppage-time goal to salvage a point for Derby, although it was a slightly bitter-sweet moment for the attacking midfielder after Leeds had threatened to steal a smash-and-grab first win for new head coach Paul Heckingbottom. The second Leeds goal with 11 minutes that looked to have made it a sour night for Gary Rowett’s team came on a breakaway following a poorly executed free kick by the youngster with Derby players loading the opposition penalty area. It led to Leeds substitutes Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski combining to punish the home side, Saiz supplying the pass as Alioski ran into unguarded space. Scott Carson narrowed the angle to block as the Macedonian shot for goal only to beaten as Alioski headed home the rebound. Although they have suffered only one defeat in 14 matches in the Championship, Derby’s last six matches have produced only one win and Rowett admitted to feeling frustrated. Pierre-Michel Lasogga puts Leeds ahead for the first time Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images “We played as well in the first half as we have at home for a long time and earlier in the season we would have taken our chances and won the game,” he said. “But we are just lacking a bit of composure at the moment and the way we conceded the goals was disappointing. At this stage of the season a draw feels like a defeat.” Leeds rode their luck at times, but having fought back from 2-0 down to salvage a point against Bristol City last Saturday they had enough self-belief to disregard the moments they might have been punished. Derby went behind after 34 minutes when Pierre-Michel Lasogga punished them for switching off at the back, the striker running into a gaping hole in the home side’s back four to nod home a Stuart Dallas cross. They warranted the equaliser they grabbed just before half-time, when Andreas Weimann took advantage of a poor header by Liam Cooper, but it was the only opportunity they made to count among a host of chances until Palmer’s rescue act. “We made it hard for ourselves in the first half but I felt we grew into the game and after the second goal I couldn’t see Derby scoring,” Leeds boss Heckingbottom said. “But we didn’t deal with a ball into the box at the end and those are the kind of things we need to iron out.”
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Kasey Palmer’s part in helping Huddersfield win promotion to the Premier League may explain why Chelsea’s decision to send him out for another spell on loan during the January transfer window had a number of Championship clubs jostling to add him to their squad. On Wednesday evening, the 21-year-old underlined his potential by coming up with a stoppage-time goal to salvage a point for Derby, although it was a slightly bitter-sweet moment for the attacking midfielder after Leeds had threatened to steal a smash-and-grab first win for new head coach Paul Heckingbottom. The second Leeds goal with 11 minutes that looked to have made it a sour night for Gary Rowett’s team came on a breakaway following a poorly executed free kick by the youngster with Derby players loading the opposition penalty area. It led to Leeds substitutes Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski combining to punish the home side, Saiz supplying the pass as Alioski ran into unguarded space. Scott Carson narrowed the angle to block as the Macedonian shot for goal only to beaten as Alioski headed home the rebound. Although they have suffered only one defeat in 14 matches in the Championship, Derby’s last six matches have produced only one win and Rowett admitted to feeling frustrated. Pierre-Michel Lasogga puts Leeds ahead for the first time Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images “We played as well in the first half as we have at home for a long time and earlier in the season we would have taken our chances and won the game,” he said. “But we are just lacking a bit of composure at the moment and the way we conceded the goals was disappointing. At this stage of the season a draw feels like a defeat.” Leeds rode their luck at times, but having fought back from 2-0 down to salvage a point against Bristol City last Saturday they had enough self-belief to disregard the moments they might have been punished. Derby went behind after 34 minutes when Pierre-Michel Lasogga punished them for switching off at the back, the striker running into a gaping hole in the home side’s back four to nod home a Stuart Dallas cross. They warranted the equaliser they grabbed just before half-time, when Andreas Weimann took advantage of a poor header by Liam Cooper, but it was the only opportunity they made to count among a host of chances until Palmer’s rescue act. “We made it hard for ourselves in the first half but I felt we grew into the game and after the second goal I couldn’t see Derby scoring,” Leeds boss Heckingbottom said. “But we didn’t deal with a ball into the box at the end and those are the kind of things we need to iron out.”
Derby County 2 Leeds United 2: Kasey Palmer strikes at the death to deny Paul Heckingbottom a first win
Kasey Palmer’s part in helping Huddersfield win promotion to the Premier League may explain why Chelsea’s decision to send him out for another spell on loan during the January transfer window had a number of Championship clubs jostling to add him to their squad. On Wednesday evening, the 21-year-old underlined his potential by coming up with a stoppage-time goal to salvage a point for Derby, although it was a slightly bitter-sweet moment for the attacking midfielder after Leeds had threatened to steal a smash-and-grab first win for new head coach Paul Heckingbottom. The second Leeds goal with 11 minutes that looked to have made it a sour night for Gary Rowett’s team came on a breakaway following a poorly executed free kick by the youngster with Derby players loading the opposition penalty area. It led to Leeds substitutes Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski combining to punish the home side, Saiz supplying the pass as Alioski ran into unguarded space. Scott Carson narrowed the angle to block as the Macedonian shot for goal only to beaten as Alioski headed home the rebound. Although they have suffered only one defeat in 14 matches in the Championship, Derby’s last six matches have produced only one win and Rowett admitted to feeling frustrated. Pierre-Michel Lasogga puts Leeds ahead for the first time Credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images “We played as well in the first half as we have at home for a long time and earlier in the season we would have taken our chances and won the game,” he said. “But we are just lacking a bit of composure at the moment and the way we conceded the goals was disappointing. At this stage of the season a draw feels like a defeat.” Leeds rode their luck at times, but having fought back from 2-0 down to salvage a point against Bristol City last Saturday they had enough self-belief to disregard the moments they might have been punished. Derby went behind after 34 minutes when Pierre-Michel Lasogga punished them for switching off at the back, the striker running into a gaping hole in the home side’s back four to nod home a Stuart Dallas cross. They warranted the equaliser they grabbed just before half-time, when Andreas Weimann took advantage of a poor header by Liam Cooper, but it was the only opportunity they made to count among a host of chances until Palmer’s rescue act. “We made it hard for ourselves in the first half but I felt we grew into the game and after the second goal I couldn’t see Derby scoring,” Leeds boss Heckingbottom said. “But we didn’t deal with a ball into the box at the end and those are the kind of things we need to iron out.”
Derby County slipped up in their promotion chase against Sheffield Wednesday as Cardiff City saw off Bolton Wanderers.
Championship Review: Sheffield Wednesday dent Derby's promotion hopes
Derby County slipped up in their promotion chase against Sheffield Wednesday as Cardiff City saw off Bolton Wanderers.
Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield Wednesday vs Derby County - Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, Britain - February 13, 2018 Sheffield Wednesday's Lucas Joao celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Craig Brough
Championship - Sheffield Wednesday vs Derby County
Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield Wednesday vs Derby County - Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, Britain - February 13, 2018 Sheffield Wednesday's Lucas Joao celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Craig Brough
FILE PHOTO: Britain Football Soccer - Derby County v Leicester City - FA Cup Fourth Round - Pride Park - 27/1/17 Derby fans hold up a flag of former manager Brian Clough Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
Derby fans hold up a flag of former manager Brian Clough
FILE PHOTO: Britain Football Soccer - Derby County v Leicester City - FA Cup Fourth Round - Pride Park - 27/1/17 Derby fans hold up a flag of former manager Brian Clough Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Sold too soon: the other side of transfer market blunders
The closing of the transfer window inspires the habitual churning out of the worst transfers ever, like bedtime stories that lose none of their allure in the biannual retelling. “Tell us the one about Bosko Balaban, again, Dad. How much? Did Tommy Brolin really turn up at Elland Road with a Space Hopper up his gansey? Yes, I’m sure Bebe looked a world-beater on video.” But those old, familiar tales represent only one side of the ledger: purchases commonly ridiculed in hindsight. The other classification, routinely overlooked, is the premature and mistaken disposal. It’s a difficult category to define. For the sake of fairness one should strip out clubs who sold because they were financially strapped, players who went for fees too good to turn down and also those who acted the meddlesome priest, agitating for transfers and allowed to move on simply to be rid of them. The focus is on sales such as Nemanja Matic's not the ones like Diego Costa's. Here, then, are some of the managerial misjudgments, players discarded too soon for any number of reasons: poor form trumping class, undervaluation, prejudice, ageism or a simple miscalculation. Frank McLintock: Arsenal to QPR When Bertie Mee dropped Arsenal’s Double-winning captain Frank McLintock during the 1972-73 season, the 33-year-old Scot, whose skill and drive had helped transform the club and his own career in a glorious Indian summer, was devastated. Frank McLintock completes the Double in 1971 and celebrates with Charlie George who scored that unforgettable goal Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive Mee’s decision to replace the classy, inspirational centre-back with the ponderous, ham-footed colossus, Jeff Blockley, beggared belief and has to be interpreted as Mee’s attempt to wrest control of the club back from the dressing room and its charismatic leader. McLintock remembers that he wept when he went to see Mee, the tears splashing off his Arsenal blazer after finding his manager obdurate to his claims for a recall. He felt he had no choice but to ask for a transfer - which Mee granted but turned down his request either to be allowed to leave on a free to negotiate a better deal with a new club or to grant him the testimonial he would have been due if he could have stomached six more months in the reserves. Mee told him that the 10 years’ qualification for a testimonial would not be altered to suit him and seeing he was six months short he would have to lump it. McLintock left for newly-promoted QPR for £25,000 at the end of the season, Arsenal’s failure to inform him of a late bid from Derby County’s Brian Clough, champions in 1972, the final insult. He gave four years of outstanding service to QPR, masterly on the field and in the dressing room during Rangers’ greatest ever season, 1975-76, when they lost out on the title by a single point after Liverpool turned a 0-1 deficit to Wolves with 14 minutes to go into a 3-1 victory in their final game, 10 days after QPR had completed their fixtures. Arsenal, meanwhile, replaced the hopeless Blockley with the rugged 32-year-old Terry Mancini from QPR in 1974, failing to understand that in his year playing alongside McLintock that it was his partner who had made him look half decent. Mee stood down in 1976 after successive 16th- and 17th-placed finishes, his determination to break up his Double-winning side having all but fatally weakened it. Pat Jennings: Tottenham to Arsenal Pat Jennings joined Arsenal from Spurs in 1977 Credit: PA Pan-handed colossus whose gloveless mitts, or “Lurgan shovels” as his former Northern Ireland team-mate and manager Billy Bingham called them, were put to devastating effect to steal the ball, one handed, off forwards’ foreheads a fraction of a second before impact. Miserly and resilient as he was during seven seasons as a first-team regular at Arsenal, he was finer still at Tottenham, an innovative and unorthodox keeper who was masterly at scrambling across his box, efficiently used any part of his body to block the ball and commanded the penalty area with a calm authority. He maintained his agility and elasticity well into his late 30s and managed for most of his career without gloves and, for the latter half of it, with what appeared to be a Bedlington Terrier on his head. Sold by Tottenham in August 1977 for £40,000 after they were relegated because the manager, Keith Burkinshaw, thought Barry Daines a better long-term bet, Jennings played a further 327 games for Arsenal, appeared in three successive FA Cup finals, winning one, and the Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat by Valencia. He was Northern Ireland’s first choice at two World Cups at the ages of 37 and 41 while Spurs took four years to replace him adequately in 1981 with Ray Clemence. At a stroke Tottenham sold their greatest ever goalkeeper to their biggest rivals for a song. He didn’t want to leave but his club essentially wrote him off at the age of 32, weakened their own side and strengthened Arsenal’s. The going rate for a goalkeeper of rare talent still in his prime? The £270,000 Forest paid Stoke for Peter Shilton a month later. Gordon Strachan: Manchester United to Leeds Gordon Strachan, right, left Manchester United, where he won the FA Cup, for Leeds United, where he won the title Credit: Brian Smith for The Telegraph In 1989 Gordon Strachan made the journey from Lancashire to Yorkshire that Bobby Collins had taken 17 years earlier when signing for Leeds from Everton and also delivered Leeds from Second Division purgatory. There are other glorious swansongs in the game’s rich past when a veteran’s impact in galvanising young teams was as important as anything he did on the field. In the 1980s Kevin Keegan did it at Newcastle, Johan Cruyff and Arnold Muhren at Ajax and Franz Beckenbauer at Hamburg, but Strachan was arguably the last. Now the biggest clubs tend to wring every drop from an elite player's body and soul while pay packets fulfil all their ambitions so it’s unlikely that a Championship club could attract a veteran international and task him with a mission to set the tenor of a rejuvenation project. Strachan was 32 when he left Old Trafford for Elland Road, over-familiar with Alex Ferguson after almost nine years together at Aberdeen and Manchester United. Ferguson, too, had had enough and felt a fresh start would benefit both parties. It certainly benefited Strachan who led Leeds to promotion in his first full season followed by a fourth-place top-flight finish and then, thrillingly, the title from Manchester United by four points. Even in his 39th year, when he left Leeds for Coventry, his drive was undiminished and his exacting standards ensured everyone was motivated and desperate to match them. The £300,000 he cost Leeds was the canniest investment Howard Wilkinson ever made. Manchester United were left without an orthodox right-sided midfielder for a couple of seasons until Ferguson signed Andrei Kanchelskis in 1991, the same year Strachan had been named, like Collins before him in 1965, Footballer of Year at the age of 34. Peter Beardsley: Liverpool to Everton Beardsley with John Barnes after winning his second title at Anfield in 1990 Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport No one has forged such a high number of prolific partnerships with out-and-out goalscorers than Peter Beardsley before or since. At his very best during his first spell at Newcastle with Kevin Keegan, at Liverpool he paired up with John Aldridge and then Ian Rush, with Tony Cottee at Everton and then with Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand in his second spell at St James’ Park. One can criticise Graham Taylor's time as England's manager for any number of reasons, but the most cardinal sin was his jettisoning of Beardsley, which diminished Gary Lineker and effectively turned him into little more than a goalhanger. That was an error of two-for-the-price-of-one proportions. If a player of Beardsley's ability was available now, one whose intelligence brought the best out of so many partners while scoring more than 200 goals himself, there would be little cavilling at a fee of more than £50m. In different times Graeme Souness sold the 30-year-old to Everton in 1991 for £1m, a not inconsiderable sum but peanuts compared with his true value, as Newcastle would show when paying more for him two years later. Peter Beardsley scored for both sides in the Merseyside derby Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport There were times during his four seasons at Anfield when Kenny Dalglish seemed equivocal about his talents - dropping him for the title decider with Arsenal in 1989, buying David Speedie to replace him in the winter of 1990-91 - and Souness seems to have picked up on that lack of faith while also wanting to fund a statement signing of his own during his first close season at Anfield. The fact he went for the bullocking Dean Saunders, more rumbustious, infinitely less refined, paid £2.5m but ditched him at a loss within 12 months tells us more about Souness than it does about Beardsley who went on to have six more years at the top, scored 89 more goals and made half a century more. Matthias Sammer: Inter to Borussia Dortmund Matthias Sammer, the heir to Franz Beckenbauer Credit: Action Images In 1996 Matthias Sammer became only the second defender in 40 years to win the Ballon d’Or, following in the Trefoil bootsteps of his compatriot and fellow sweeper, Franz Beckenbauer. He was player of the tournament during Germany’s victory at Euro 96 and, like his illustrious predecessor, a converted midfielder whose reading of the game, exemplary leadership and positional skills, class and composure on the ball gave him a kind of omnipresence, smoothly interceding to whip the ball away from danger when the opposition pierced the lines. A ball hog, his passing range was limited but defined by unerring precision, his long sweeping runs upfield from the back, timed meticulously, would accelerate with the tough grace of an armour-plated ministerial Daimler. Sammer moved to Inter for £5.1m in the summer of 1992 after winning the Bundesliga in his second season at Stuttgart where he was employed as a defensive midfielder rather than the libero he would become at Borussia Dortmund. It’s a matter of only a few yards’ difference but it made a world of difference, harnessing his defensive instincts while giving him the space to make the play with those magnificent sorties. Inter signed him in 1991 but let him stay on at Stuttgart because they already had their three overseas players - Sammer’s Germany team-mates Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann - and when he did arrive were surprised to find he had not mastered a single word of Italian. Osvaldo Bagnoli played him as an advanced midfielder in a counter-attacking system designed to exploit the pace of Ruben Sosa. Sammer scored four goals in 11 Serie A appearances but found the tactics too rigid and refused to put down roots. Il Messagero reported that he was living out of suitcases in his lakeside villa with his TV propped up on a tea chest the only furniture apart from a bed. Inter, spoilt by Matthaus, Brehme and Klinsmann who had loved the club, the country and mastered the language, were as fed up with a player who had just about learnt to say ‘Ciao’ by December as he was with life and work in Italy. They cut their losses after five months and sold him for £4.8m to Dortmund. There, Ottmar Hitzfeld dropped him from in front of the back four to behind it and he won his second and third Bundesliga titles and the Champions League in 1997. A serious knee injury shortly after the final ended his career at the age of 30 having played only three more games. Claude Makélelé: Real Madrid to Chelsea Makelele tackles David Batty of Leeds United at the Bernabeu in 2001 Credit: REUTERS/Desmond Boylan The second coming of Florentino Pérez as president of Real Madrid has been defined and improved by learning from the errors he made during his first spell at the Bernabéu. Then, the preening pomposity of his galáctico project, bit him on the backside when he deemed a manager and a player who were integral to the success lacked the requisite glamour to play for his marketing machine. In the summer of 2003, after winning La Liga, Vicente Del Bosque was sacked and Claude Makélelé, the players’ player of the year, was knocked back when he went to negotiate a pay rise that reflected his contribution. He wasn’t asking for parity with Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but nor did he expect Pérez to refuse flatly and then disparage him when he handed in a transfer request. “We will not miss Makélelé,” said Pérez. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn't a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.” He went to Chelsea for £16.8m, won two league titles and must have felt more than a frisson of schadenfreude over the next three years that Real Madrid won nothing, the only central midfielder bought to replace him was Thomas Gravesen, Pérez walked away and more than a decade on instead of being forgotten Makélelé is recognised as the pivotal player in a team that did not fulfil its potential. And his sale amounted to one of the greatest acts of self-hobbling in the game’s history. Gary Cahill: Aston Villa to Bolton Gary Cahill spent three full seasons at Bolton after Aston Villa sold him and six months after he left the Reebok he won the Champions League Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith Gary Cahill was always the odd man out at Aston Villa, enjoying his best season in 2006-07 at the club he joined as a trainee when filling in for the tremendous but injury-ravaged Martin Laursen. In the autumn of the following season he signed for Sheffield United on loan and impressed so much that Gary Megson agreed a deal with Villa to take the 22-year-old to Bolton Wanderers for £5m. One can understand the logic for Martin O’Neill selling him - Laursen was imperious at the back that season, Olof Mellberg was as reliable as ever and he had just signed Zat Knight but it wasn’t to last and the fragile Laursen broke down, this time for good, within the year. And yet Cahill displayed enormous promise and lacked only experience. In three full seasons at Bolton he became an England squad regular, displaying his robustness in the tackle, power in the air and pace to correct most mistakes even if he was sometimes slack in possession and caught dithering on the ball. In January 2012 Chelsea bought him for £7m, taking advantage of Bolton’s toils on and off the field and he won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first five months. Since then he has earned two titles, the first in a Jose Mourinho back-four, the second as Antonio Conte’s captain in a back three where the beauty of his manager’s system was that it gave the captain little to do but counted on the acuteness of his antennae and astuteness of positioning to prevent it falling apart. In the two years after letting Cahill go, Villa paid more for each of Carlos Cuélar, Curtis Davies, James Collins and Richard Dunne, none of whom were as durable of the future England captain they let go. Andrea Pirlo: Milan to Juventus Milan's Andrea Pirlo turns away from Arsenal's Aleksandr Hleb Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images If Inter’s decision to let Andrea Pirlo leave for Milan in 2001 seems a poor one, we can partially exonerate them because they received more than £13m for him and they were reluctant to play him in his optimum position as a deep-lying playmaker where he had excelled on loan at Brescia. Inter used Gigi Di Biagio there, as did Italy, and decided to liquidate their asset, investing the proceeds in Mohamed Kallon and Emre. During a decade in the black and red, Pirlo became the most elegant midfielder in the game, redefining the concept of a holding midfielder as more an advanced sweeper than a wall and exploiting his immaculate control and mastery of the arcing, rapidly dipping long pass to manipulate and often bypass the opposition’s midfield and defence. He won two Champions Leagues and two Serie A titles, the last Scudetto in his final season when he played a mere 17 times because the manager, Max Allegri, preferred the more orthodox defensive style of Mark van Bommel. That summer the club decided to retain the 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf and the 33-year-old Rino Gattuso and let Pirlo, 32, move on to Juventus where he won four successive titles and grew the fuzz that made him the mango-IPA-drinkers’ as well as the purists’ favourite player. Pirlo played 119 Serie A matches for Juve, made it to another Champions League final and finally left for MLS in 2015 while Seedorf and Gattuso managed a further 24 league matches between them for Milan. Don’t stroke your chin too vigorously at that misjudgment, it will play havoc with your beard. Kevin De Bruyne: Chelsea to Wolfsburg; Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton; Mo Salah: Chelsea to Roma Kevin De Bruyne traps the ball during Chelsea's match against Hull City in 2013 Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS Chelsea made a commendable profit on Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah when they sold the first two in 2014 and the Egypt forward two years later after long loan spells with Fiorentina and Roma, raking in almost £30m for players who made 43 appearances between them. A nice little earner that reflects well on Chelsea’s scouting and development system. But one can’t help thinking - despite the protestations of Frank Lampard and John Terry who have praised the players for leaving but insist it does not reflect badly on the club that has, like the cliched shark, to keep moving forward or die - that a little more patience, a few more opportunities and a touch more inflexibility when they held the upper hand would have better served them. Yes, Jose Mourinho wanted money to invest in players of his own choosing and no one could predict that each would improve so swiftly that they have become three of the most vibrant and valuable talents in the game. That was down to them and their dedication. Salah scores Chelsea's sixth in the 6-0 thrashing of Arsenal in March 2014 Credit: GLYN KIRK/AFP But someone at Stamford Bridge must have noted how assiduous each of them was, divined their characters or been swayed by their diligence and ambition. Chelsea’s loss - compounded by the lack of buy-back clauses - has been three rivals’ gain and has to represent a monstrous, three-headed blunder.
Aston Villa took advantage of Derby County's failure to beat Millwall by snatching a dramatic late winner against Sheffield United.
Championship Review: Snodgrass strikes late for Villa, Derby held in stalemate
Aston Villa took advantage of Derby County's failure to beat Millwall by snatching a dramatic late winner against Sheffield United.
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Welcome to Chelsea. My client, Emerson Palmieri. #CFCpic.twitter.com/kF2qymbnE3— John Harriott (@JHFootballAgent) January 30, 2018 Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Emerson Palmieri is expected to complete his move tonight Credit: Emerson Palmieri Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game," said Beckham. "Manchester United have had success over the last 25 years because we have had stability that has run throughout our club. "Sir Alex Ferguson - the amount of time he was manager of the team - that's why we were successful because we had stability that ran through the club and that's what we need going forward. "Everyone is going to have their own opinion of (Mourinho) as a manager, him as a person, him as an individual. But is he the right person to lead Manchester United? Yes, of course he is." 7:23AM Neymar return to Spain? Two days after Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi ruled out the possibility of Neymar moving to Real Madrid in the summer, La Liga president Javier Tebas says he would like to see the Brazilian return to Spanish football: “I would like for him (Neymar) to return to Spanish football. I don’t care about the team, but the best [players] have to be here and Neymar is [one of them],”
Football transfer news and rumours live: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move
Chelsea agree £18m deal for Olivier Giroud. Aubameyang arrives in London to complete Arsenal move. Manchester City make Aymeric Laporte their club-record signing . 8:21PM Emerson Palmieri pictured with Chelsea shirt Emerson Palmieri is expected to complete his move tonight Credit: Emerson Palmieri Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has been pictured holding a Chelsea shirt ahead of his expected £25m move to Stamford Bridge. Neither Roma or Chelsea have officially confirmed the move yet but an announcement is expected tonight. 6:29PM Man City sign New York's Jack Harrison... ... and immediately send him out on loan to Middlesbrough. ✍️ We are delighted to announce the signing of @Harrison_Jack11 from @NYCFC. He now joins @Boro on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Jack! ��https://t.co/k9kxoLEPKp— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 5:59PM Gerard Deulofeu trains with new Watford teammates Excited for be part of @WatfordFC ! Say thanks for the welcome today. We are going to work hard in order to reach our objectives, starting today until the end of the season.�� pic.twitter.com/WkxerTr1sh— Gerard Deulofeu (@gerardeulofeu) January 30, 2018 5:24PM Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request A new saga is brewing... BREAKING: Sky sources: Riyad Mahrez hands in transfer request at @LCFC. #SSNpic.twitter.com/OZVK4Zd3qr— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 Sky Sports News also reports that Man City have already had two bids in excess of £50m rejected by Leicester City. 5:13PM Premier League clubs in battle for Mangala Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the Etihad this month Credit: Getty Images James Ducker reports that Newcastle, West Ham and Valencia are all in talks with Manchester City over the signing of Eliaquim Mangala. The centre-back, who is available on a permanent basis or on a loan deal, is surplus to requirements at Manchester City following the arrival of club-record signing Aymeric Laporte this afternoon. 4:56PM Chelsea agree £18m deal for Giroud This from our man, Matt Law. Chelsea are set to clinch the £18million signing of Olivier Giroud following a day of talks with Arsenal that will also see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to the Emirates get the go-ahead. Giroud is poised to make the switch across London after the Blues managed to find a breakthrough in negotiations over the Frenchman. Arsenal can now complete the signing of Aubameyang, who travelled to London on Tuesday, and Michy Batshuayi will join Dortmund on loan as his replacement. 4:04PM Lucas Moura close to £25m Spurs move By Sam Dean Lucas Moura arrived at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground this morning as the club looks to complete his proposed £25m move from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in 2013, has made only six substitute appearances so far this season but was once touted as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Lucas Moura is close to completing a £25m move to Spurs Credit: Julian Simmonds Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, refused to discuss the signing at a press conference this afternoon, saying only that “the club will communicate when something happens”. 3:45PM We hardly knew ye We can confirm that @RoqueM26 has joined @SevillaFC on loan until the end of the season. Good luck, Roque! Full story ➡️ https://t.co/oEuOgocfmdpic.twitter.com/WD2z8fvEnf— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) January 30, 2018 2:56PM Aubameyang in London to complete medical After over 32,000 people tracked his private flight from Dortmund to London, Sky Sports News is reporting that the Dortmund striker has arrived at Arsenal's London Colney training ground ahead of a £55.4m move to the Emirates. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport's Jeremy Wilson on Wednesday, Aubameyang stands to become the highest paid player in the club’s history. BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrives at @Arsenal training ground. #SSNpic.twitter.com/oq0FKruSdA— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 The 28-year-old has signed a contract worth £180,000-a-week until 2021, with the former AC Milan striker keen to join Arsenal where he will link up with former Dortmund colleague Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 2:54PM Man City told to pay 'crazy money' for Mahrez Manchester City will have to pay a 'crazy' fee if they want to bring Riyad Mahrez to the Etihad. Pep Guardiola is keen to bolster his attacking reinforcements after it was revealed Leroy Sane would miss the next six to seven weeks after sustaining ankle ligament damage in Man City's FA Cup win over Cardiff. As reported by @MirrorAnderson , Manchester City have an interest in Riyad Mahrez but I'm told they will have to bid crazy money to convince Leicester to sell with one day of the window left— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) January 30, 2018 City's interest in Mahrez also comes less than two weeks after the club decided to drop its long-term interest in Alexis Sanchez, who opted for a move to Manchester United instead. 2:39PM Giroud set for Swansea trip Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger chat during training on Monday Credit: Getty Images Olivier Giroud is expected to be included in Arsenal's squad to play Swansea this evening, despite ongoing talks with Chelsea over a potential move. As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea are hoping to clinch a shock move for Olivier Giroud and complete a transfer merry-go-round that will see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal and Michy Batshuayi move to Borussia Dortmund. Antonio Conte would not be drawn on a potential deal for Olivier Giroud Credit: Getty Images Giroud could yet be removed from Arsenal's squad should the two London clubs reach an agreement over a move. Speaking on the possibility of signing Giroud, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said: “As I said before, I gave my opinion to my club. Then the club is trying to do the best in the transfer market. "I can speak about specific characteristics of the players, or the role that we can improve. But we are talking about the players of another team. I think it’s right to continue to have respect for other players.” West Ham and Sevilla are also interested in signing the 31-year-old. 1:29PM Stoke closing in new midfielder John Percy Stoke City are on the verge of completing a £15m deal for Galatasaray's Badou Ndiaye, with the midfielder due to arrive for a medical later today. Ndiaye is flying from Paris to England to discuss personal terms and put the finishing touches to his move from the Turkish club. The 27-year-old has been a priority for Stoke since the transfer window opened and the club do not anticipate any issues with the transfer, though the Senegal international will need a work permit. Stoke finally agreed a fee with Galatasarary over the weekend, after more than a week of negotiations, and Ndiaye's move will be confirmed on Wednesday ahead of the home game against Watford. But Paul Lambert has suffered frustration in his bid to sign New York City FC attacker Jack Harrison, who is joining Manchester City for a fee of around £5m. Harrison, an England under-21 international, was the subject of two bids from Stoke but talks collapsed over NYCFC's valuation - thought to be considerably more than the £5m Manchester City are paying. Middlesbrough are expected to then take Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season. 1:12PM DONE DEAL Defensive reinforcements acquired! ������ Please #welcomeaymeric to the Club! pic.twitter.com/cDu4FWOKlb— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 30, 2018 12:57PM Last call for London Colney Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems to have been spotted at Dortmund airport departures. BREAKING! @Aubameyang7 ist mit seiner Familie soeben an @DortmundAirport angekommen. pic.twitter.com/S3GkcUZPHy— Florian Groeger (@RN_Florian) January 30, 2018 11:22AM Another possible swap deal Having already seen a bid for former player Andre Ayew rejected by West Ham, Swansea are now offering a package worth up to £18 million. However, Sky Sports say West Ham are holding out for £20 million plus midfielder Ki in return. West Ham also made moves for Everton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday. 10:51AM Aubameyang latest No news of any substance regarding the bizarre love triangle involving Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have a deal agreed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the German club seem no nearer to finding a replacement. Chelsea and Spurs, whose back-up striker Fernando Llorente could also be in the picture, could make this very uncomfortable for Arsenal if they choose. 9:55AM Done deal BREAKING: CSKA Moscow re-sign Ahmed Musa on loan from Leicester City until the end of the season #SSNpic.twitter.com/25JfRVqXdn— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 30, 2018 9:52AM Loan bid rejected West Brom have rejected an approach from Derby County to take James McClean on loan, Sky Sports News say. With Alan Pardew's side short of goals this season, they need to keep hold of as many attacking players as possible. 9:32AM Tim Cahill back at Millwall In case you missed the news yesterday, Tim Cahill's return to Millwall is a romantic tale. The Australian scored the winner in an FA Cup semi-final in his first spell at the London club and was adored by the fans. #TheReturnpic.twitter.com/ZjZ33vkCs7— Millwall FC (@MillwallFC) January 29, 2018 9:13AM Lucas Moura is at St Pancras station His move to Spurs looked to be nearing completion. London Calling 8:59AM New Stoke arrival Paul Lambert might be getting a present from Stoke's transfer team with Sky Sports News reporting the club have agreed a fee of £15m with Galatasaray for midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The played needs to undergo a medical and obtain a work permit before the deal can go through. 8:36AM Lemar message Thomas Lemar looked a certainty to move to the Premier League last summer, but after his deadline day move to Arsenal fell through he stayed at Monaco. Club owner Vadim Vasilyev reiterated the club would not be doing business for the 22-year-old this January. "He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season 100%," Vasilyev told French radio station RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant. "We will say no because the objectives are clear. "Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed." 8:01AM Could this man make his Arsenal debut tonight? It's MATCHDAY #SCFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/afk2rPJhWT— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 30, 2018 7:40AM David Beckham speaks Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has revealed his astonishment at Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to "the biggest club". Beckham was speaking at the launch of his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, the city to which he dreams of bringing some of football's leading players, when he was asked about Chile forward Sanchez's recent switch to Old Trafford. The former England captain, now 42, told Press Association Sport: "I still can't believe it's happened to be honest. When he's been part of a club as big as Arsenal and then he moves a few hours away up north to the biggest club, it's astonishing to see. "We all wish him luck, I'm a Manchester United fan so I am excited about having someone of his talent wearing a Manchester United shirt - so it's exciting times for us." Alexis Sanchez made his debut at Yeovil Credit: Reuters Beckham also launched a staunch defence of United manager Jose Mourinho. "Of course he's the right fit for Manchester United, we're talking about Jose Mourinho, he's one of the best managers in the game,&quo