The 10 Most Unexpected Football Transfers Of All-Time

These shocking moves changed the involved clubs for years to come.

Football is a reflection of our daily life — we frequently encounter things that can be shocking and absurd. As the summer transfer window reaches new heights and top European clubs buy and sell players for astronomical sums, here are some of the most shocking transfer window stories ever.

Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus to AC Milan, 2017)
Leonardo Bonucci

Leonardo Bonucci. Photo: @DeadlineDayLive | Twitter

@DeadlineDayLive | Twitter

Leonardo Bonucci is one of the world’s best defenders, and Juventus had been relying on him so much alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. But the transfer of Bonucci to Juventus’s archrival shocked many, and the Old Lady released him at the reasonable price of $46.7 million.

Some reports stated that the rift between player and coach Massimiliano Allegri sped up the transfer process. It'll be interesting to see the teams clash in the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Ruben Neves (FC Porto to Wolverhampton, 2017)
Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves. Photo: @SilvioLining | Twitter

@SilvioLining | Twitter

Football lovers were dumbfounded when Neves, a young and talented FC Porto captain, chose English Championship side Wolverhampton while other top clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea were chasing him.

Neves is a Portuguese pearl who joined FC Porto when he was 8 years old. Why did he move to Wolves? Because of agent Jorge Mendes, who is also an advisor to the club. Wolves' new manager is also Portuguese, Nuno Espirito Santo. The manager was also Mendes’ former client.


Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United, 2016)
Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba. Photo: @BBCSport | Twitter

@BBCSport | Twitter

Pogba returned home! The French player returned to the club where he started with a shocking transfer fee, $116.4 million, making him the world’s most expensive player. People were wondering how the Old Trafford club paid so highly for a player they let go for free in 2012.

In fact, FIFA decided to investigate the process. Manchester United argued that all the transfer-related documents had been submitted. FIFA finally cleared the Red Devils of all charges.

Pogba showed his skills at Old Trafford, helping the club win the EFL Cup and the Europa League in 2017.

Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli to Juventus, 2016)
Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higauin

@SquawkaNews | Twitter

Higuain was a beloved player when he moved to Napoli from Real Madrid. The handsome Argentinian striker shocked the world when he decided to move to Juventus and become the most expensive player in Serie A with a staggering fee: $105 million.

Higuain performed well throughout the season, but he was slammed for another poor performance in a major final.

Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona to Chelsea, 2014)
Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas

@SinghSikh5 | Twitter

Fabregas vowed not to play for any English club other than Arsenal after leaving the Emirates Stadium. He moved to Barcelona then finally returned to the Premier League to play for Arsenal’s rival, Chelsea. Arsene Wenger's excuse for not landing Fabregas is that he already had plenty of talented midfielders.

Sol Campbell (Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal, 2001)
Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell

@PHNonLeague | Twitter

Campbell wanted to win more trophies (despite leading Spurs to the League Cup in 1998-99), something he could likely do with Arsenal. He became the first player since Pat Jennings to move from White Hart Lane to (then) Highbury. His move enraged Spurs fans. Campbell helped Arsenal win two Premier League titles (2001-02, 2003-04) and two FA Cups (2001-02, 2004-05). 

Campbell’s stunning performances would have made fans understand if he had decided to move to Real Madrid or Juventus, but fans never imagined he would leave White Hart Lane to play with Arsene Wenger’s side. 


Roberto Baggio (Fiorentina to Juventus, 1990)
Roberto Baggio

Roberto Baggio

@footballmemorys | Twitter

Baggio provided sweet memories during his five-year term in Florence. When La Viola sold him to rival Juventus, the decision left Fiorentina’s fans in anger. The impact was huge. La Viola fans were involved in a riot that caused a lot of damage.

However, Baggio loved Fiorentina more than anything else. He didn’t want to take a penalty kick when Juventus played against his former club. When Marcelo Lippi took charge, Baggio was often sidelined, and he moved to some mediocre clubs such as Brescia.

But Italians, regardless of which clubs they support, love Roberto Baggio. Even Baggio’s missed penalty in the 1994 World Cup Final hasn’t stopped Italians from loving and respecting him.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid, 2013)
Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

@SquawkaNews | Twitter

Bale became Spurs' hottest commodity during his six-year period at White Hart Lane (2007-2013). The Welshman was able to play in different positions offered by two former managers (Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas). Football fans were shocked when Bale moved to Real Madrid for a transfer fee worth $132 million, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's record as the world’s most expensive player.

Iker Casillas (Real Madrid to FC Porto, 2015)
Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas

@AnaMadrid_01 | Twitter

One of the world’s best goalies after 16 seasons at the Bernabeu, who would have imagined that Saint Iker would finally move to FC Porto? The 36-year-old goalkeeper sent a heartbreaking message and he couldn’t stop his tears when thanking Real Madrid’s fans for supporting him.


Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2000)
Luis Figo

Luis Figo

@Samwellinho | Twitter

Figo may be dubbed the most hated figure in football history after moving from Barcelona to Real Madrid. This move sparked anger among Barcelona fans. Everytime Figo took a corner during El Clasico, Barcelona fans interrupted by throwing lighters and even a pig’s head!

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