Jesse Lingard was confirmed as a Nottingham Forest player last night. It’s a transfer that has taken even the most optimistic fan by surprise. It did get us thinking about the most surprising transfers of all time. Here’s our top 10 most surprising transfers of all time.
10. Lionel Messi, Barcelona to PSG (2021)
If you were to let one of the greatest ever players to grace the field to leave, you wouldn’t let them leave for free surely? That’s exactly what Barça did in 2021 with Lionel Messi.
After the usual summer transfer market speculation, Messi and Barça agreed a deal to extend his time at the club he’d been at since his teenage years.
Unexpectedly, LA Liga financial regulations prevented the deal being completed and Messi was available for free.
After various rumours, Messi joined PSG and former teammate, Neymar.
9. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Stoke to Paris Saint-Germain (2018)
Choupo-Moting scored five goals for Stoke City in the season they were relegated, so when he was confirmed as a PSG players with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, heads turned.
Choupo-Moting did chip in with an important goal in the Champions League, and joked after with Neymar about the Cameroon striker saving the day.
Despite only being a backup throughout his time at PSG, he went on to sign for Bayern Munich after PSG. We think we need to make his agent our agent.
Neymar gave the Man of the Match award to Chupo-Moting. 👏😍 pic.twitter.com/0PVwLZOG8i
— Bet9ja (@Bet9jaOfficial) August 13, 2020
8. Nicklas Bendtner, Arsenal to Juventus on loan (2012)
Somewhat of a cult hero, Nicklas Bendtner was never a prolific striker, but people loved him.
Following a poor loan spell at Sunderland, the next obvious step was a loan deal to Italian giants Juventus.
Lord Bendtner probably enjoyed his year in Turin, but on the field it was yet another unsuccessful spell.
7. Johan Cruyff, Ajax to Feyenoord (1983)
Casting an eye back to 1983 and the great Johan Cruyff, arguably one of the best players and managers of his time.
After many successful years at Ajax, the club decided to not renew his contract with the player aged 37.
Cruyff made the decision to join Ajax’s fierce rivals, Feyenoord. Despite being in his late 30s, Cruyff still helped Feyenoord to a league and cup double in his first season.
Cruyff is still remembered as a legend at Ajax, with the ground now named after the Dutchmen.
6. Luis Figo, Barcelona to Real Madrid (2000)
Figo did the unthinkable when he left Barça for their biggest rivals, Real Madrid in 2000.
It was a move that tainted his image amongst the Barça faithful, and led to a pig head been thrown towards him on the pitch when he went to take a corner in front of the fans.
For Real, he was the start of the Galacticos era, with David Beckham, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane joining shortly after Figo.
On this day in 2002, Barcelona fans threw a pig's head at Luis Figo before he took his corner at the Camp Nou 😳
Figo left Barca for Real Madrid two years earlier. pic.twitter.com/j3ZgOQ85dW
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 23, 2021
5. Thomas Gravesen, Everton to Real Madrid (2005)
A remarkable deal that saw Everton’s Thomas Gravesen join the likes of Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and David Beckham at Real Madrid.
The Dane made just 49 appearances for Real, and now spends his time playing poker for a living in Las Vegas.
Gravesen spoke about the deal years later, confirming he was just as shocked as the rest of the world at the deal.
4. Dale Jennings, Tranmere Rovers to Bayern Munich (2011)
League One to Bundesliga, that’s just your average transfer, isn’t it? For Dale Jennings, this rather unusual transfer came true.
Jennings impressed when he broke into the Tranmere team, so much so that the German giants came knocking and added to their team of superstars.
He spent the majority of his time in the reserves. Injuries prevented him from making the progression Bayern saw him in, and he eventually swapped Munich for Barnsley.
Now, only aged 29, he plays for Prescot Cables after struggling with injuries at both Barnsley and MK Dons.
3. Sol Campbell, Tottenham to Arsenal (2001)
Similar to the Luis Figo transfer, Sol Campbell did the unthinkable when he went from the white side of North London to the red side.
Sol admitted he didn’t understand the anger about the transfer amongst Tottenham fans, which only infuriated them further.
Tottenham’s fans weren’t shy of letting Campbell know their feelings, displaying ‘Judas’ banners on his return to White Hart Lane.
2. Julian Faubert, West Ham to Real Madrid on loan (2009)
Another bizarre transfer involving European giants Real Madrid.
This one came out of nowhere, and led to pundit Paul Merson saying, “Who’s his agent? “He should be knighted by the queen!”
Faubert only played 52 minutes of competitive football for Real, but he certainly lived the dream of many footballers.
1. Edgar Davids, Free Agent to Barnet (2012)
After two years out of football, former Juventus superstar Edgar Davids shocked the footballing world and the people of Barnet by joining as a free agent.
Davids went on to become player-manager of Barnet, and made himself number one for the club.
He was some way off his best, but the deal certainly helped boost the reputation of Barnet across the world.