The Most Bizarre Premier League Transfers


by Peter Pieh


For Premier League fans, every summer and January yields anticipation as it's the most promosing time for clubs to improve their teamsheets with big money transfers. Whether it's endlessly scrolling through Twitter or refreshing your favorite blog, the rumors can be salivating for many. But big money transfers don't always make the big impact we expect. Here's a list of the most bizarre Premier League transfers that still have us confused, dumbfounded, and even floored.

Bebe - Guimaraes to Manchester United

Bebe playing for Manchester United. Source:

In the summer of 2010, United signed a young Portuguese player Bebe for £7.4 million from Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes. The player was an unknown quantity who actually signed for Guimaraes earlier that summer. Five weeks later former United assistant Carlos Queiroz recommended the player to Sir Alex Ferguson and he oddly decided to sanction a move for the player without ever seeing him play. Bebe ended up making two league appearances before getting loaned out to Besiktas, never featuring for United again and transferred to Benfica in 2014.

Julien Faubert - West Ham to Real Madrid

Julien Faubert had only been at West Ham United for just over one season as a modest performer making 24 appearances during the 2008/2009 season. In January 2009, Real Madrid mysteriously decided to sign the Frenchman on a six-month loan deal. Football pundit Paul Merson said it best, “His agent should be knighted by the queen.” Faubert made two appearances for Los Galacticos but his most notable performance was him falling asleep on the subs bench.

Alex Pato - Chelsea

Before Neymar, there was Pato, the Brazilian forward compared to Ronaldo El Fenomeno who joined AC Milan in 2007 as an 18-year old for £24 million. He showed his talent scoring 57 goals in his first three seasons, but injuries over the next few years led to his decline and Milan sold him back to Brazil, joining Corinthians in 2013. He continued to have a modest career in Brazil scoring 55 goals in three seasons. Then in January 2016, a struggling Chelsea decided to sign Pato on loan. The move was odd. Chelsea were going through their worst season in the Premier League era, and Pato's last appearance was in November 2015 before joining the London club. It took him until April to make his debut for the club and he ended his campaign scoring one goal in two appearances for Chelsea before returning to Brazil. Decent return.

Nicklas Bendtner - Arsenal to Juventus (Loan)

Nicklas Bendtner playing for Juventus. Source:

Lord Bendtner has always been an enigma. After scoring 24 goals in two seasons at Arsenal, he earned a new contract worth a reported £52,000/week. He changed his shirt number to 52 to make sure everyone knew that. “If you ask me, I’m one of the best players in the world,” he claimed. The notoriety may have gone to his head, and after failing to impress on loan at Sunderland in 2011, Italian giants Juventus decided to take the plunge on a year-long loan deal for Bendtner. Due to injuries and poor form he only made a handful of substitution appearances and left Italy without scoring a goal.

Papy Djilobodji - FC Nantes to Chelsea

After Chelsea won the league in 2015, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was adamant on bringing in Everton defender John Stones by any means necessary. Stones put in a transfer request but Everton did not budge. On the transfer deadline day, Chelsea paid £4 million for the little-known Senegalese defender Papy Djilobodji from FC Nantes. He was a prime example of a player the club signed without the full backing from the manager. He was left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad and ten days after signing Jose Mourinho said, “We’d be unlucky if we need Djilobodji, when we have John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Cahill, Zouma.” Djilobodji played a whopping 62 seconds for Chelsea and was loaned out to Werder Bremen in Germany only five months after signing. But Chelsea cashed in when Sunderland paid £8 million for the defender the following season.

Joey Barton - QPR to Marseille (Loan)

Joey Barton slide tackles Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Source:

One of the most controversial English players of all time, Joey Barton raised eyebrows when he joined French club Marseille on loan. Marseille decided to sign Barton even though he still had to uphold a 12-match ban after taking on half the Manchester City team after already getting sent off for kicking Sergio Aguero. He ended up playing relatively well, making 33 appearances at Marseille, but his time in France was made popular for his various antics including his painfully honest motive of moving to France for the money, speaking with a ridiculous French accent in a press conference and calling PSG captain Thiago Silva an “overweight ladyboy”.

Steven Caulker - Southampton to Liverpool (Loan)

Over the last year, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool has made some momentous signings. But let’s go back to January 2016 and remember that Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool manager was Steven Caulker on loan from Southampton. What’s ironic is Caulker was at the heart of a Southampton defence that had lost to Liverpool 6-1 only a few weeks before he signed. Caulker made three league appearances for Liverpool, two of them as an auxiliarily forward before leaving the club at the end of the season.

Kim Källström - Spartak Moscow to Arsenal (Loan)

Swedish midfielder Kim Källström joined Arsenal in January 2014 on a six-month loan deal. During his medical, it was revealed that he had a back injury and spent his first three months rehabbing with his new club. He only made three appearances but scored the winning penalty to take Arsenal to the FA Cup Final in which they eventually won.

Owen Hargreaves - Manchester City

The Canadian born midfielder helped Manchester United win the Premier League and Champions League in his first season in 2008. He then spent the next three seasons battling knee injuries and making a grand total of five appearances. He was released from United in 2011 and without a club, he released videos of him exercising on Youtube to show hesitant clubs that he was fully fit. In August 2011, rivals Manchester City decided to sign him on a one-year deal to provide some midfield depth. He scored on his debut in the League Cup against Birmingham City, but only made one more league appearance before being released by City at the end of the season.

Robinho - Real Madrid to Manchester City

Robinho for Manchester City. Source:

Robinho was a true talent during his days at Real Madrid, but after Madrid failed to sign the young Brazilian to a new contract in 2008, the player decided to make a move to the Premier League. It looked all but set that he would be joining Brazilian Manager Luis Felipe Scolari at Chelsea. On September 1st, 2008 Manchester City ownership were bought out by the Abu Dhabi Investment Group. The new owners splashed £40 million and signed Robinho bringing confusion to many as Manchester City were merely a mid-table club at the time. Even Robinho was not fully aware of the club he was joining. In a press conference, Robinho let out a freudian slip saying, “On the last day, Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted.” A reporter replied, “You mean Manchester, right?” Though he scored on his debut and ended his first season with 15 goals, he never settled in Manchester and left the club in 2010 for Santos in Brazil.