Biggest deals in history as Man City get Haaland cut
One of football’s worst-kept secrets has finally been confirmed as Manchester City announced that a deal had been reached for the transfer of Erling Haaland.
The Borussia Dortmund striker has already established himself as one of Europe’s most prolific strikers, having burst into the Champions League with Red Bull Salzburg. The Norway international has already scored 85 times in just 88 appearances for the German giants – all before celebrating his 22nd birthday.
Haaland’s release clause has sparked a transfer brawl for one of world football’s most coveted stars, with a host of European heavyweights linked. However, it was City who struck a deal as Pep Guardiola is finally set to land a striker after Harry Kane’s failed pursuit last summer.
The reigning Premier League champions have now triggered the £51m release clause in Haaland’s contract at Dortmund, a significantly lower fee than previously expected, with earlier reports claiming his release clause was £68million. City’s statement read: “Manchester City can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of striker Erling Haaland to the Club on July 1, 2022. The transfer remains subject to completion conditions. of the Club with the player.”
Early estimates indicate that City will commit to a total package of over £200million to seal the signing of Haaland, with reports claiming the 21-year-old will match top earner Kevin de Bruyne’s wages. However, the striker’s release clause and pedigree have led many to view the upcoming transfer as something of a coup.
Transfer fees have risen astronomically throughout the Premier League era, with previous record-breaking contracts shattered almost every year before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, some of the biggest stars in world football, past and present, have emerged after rather modest expenditure, and Star Daily Sport took a look at some of the best deals.
Signed by Arsenal in 1997 for £500,000
The formidable former France striker racked up a cumulative transfer fee of over £100m during his playing days, but it was one of Arsene Wenger’s first bets that saw the teenager catapulted into the spotlight . Anelka scored 28 goals in two years in the capital, before the Gunners made a handsome profit on their investment with a £22m sale to Real Madrid.
Signed by Chelsea in 2012 for £7million
Azpilicueta’s arrival from Marseille in the summer of 2012 was one of the least publicized of the Roman Abramovich era, despite club and country team-mate Juan Mata describing him as the “complete player”. However, a decade later, the Spanish defender remains Chelsea captain and has helped the Blues win the Champions League, two Europa League titles, two Premier League crowns and an FA Cup and League Cup.
Signed by Manchester United in 1992 for £1million
Cantona had already won a Premier League winners’ medal with Leeds United, but a fallout with Howard Wilkinson paved the way for a cut-price transfer to rivals Manchester United. The French striker enjoyed a whirlwind five-year spell at Old Trafford, establishing himself as a club legend and winning four more league titles.
Frankie de Jong
Signed by Ajax in 2015 for €1
Ajax have developed a host of European footballing stars over the past few decades, and de Jong was one of many to follow that trend after his Champions League run in 2019 with a £65million transfer in Barcelona. The Dutch international made his senior breakthrough at Willem II, who sanctioned his sale for a solitary Euro in 2015 with a 10% sell clause, betting on the midfielder earning a big-money transfer from Amsterdam.
Signed by Leicester City in 2015 for £5.6m
It’s almost impossible to remember a time when Kante wasn’t considered one of the best midfielders in the world, with the eventual World Cup winner a relative unknown on these shores when the Foxes took him on. snatched from Caen. A year and a 5,000/1 Premier League title triumph later, the midfielder would move to Chelsea for £30million and lift the trophy again the following summer.
Signed by Celtic in 1997 for £650,000
Larsson arrived at Celtic Park with little fanfare, but left seven years later as one of the greatest players to ever play in Scottish football. The Swedish legend scored 242 goals in just 315 appearances for the Hoops, and would go on to enjoy spells with Barcelona and Manchester United before returning to Helsingborgs.
Signed by Manchester United in 1991 for £505,000
Dubbed the “deal of the century” by Sir Alex Ferguson, Schmeichel cemented his status as one of the Premier League’s greatest goalkeepers in eight seasons at Old Trafford. The Denmark international had impressed for Brondby and on the international stage, prompting the Red Devils to charge into the relative unknown.
Signed by Juventus in 1996 for £3.15million
Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United have both reportedly refused to sign the eventual Ballon d’Or winner as Juventus eventually reached a deal with Bordeaux. Five years later, Real Madrid would make Zidane the last ‘Galactico’ and the most expensive player in the world, with the midfielder widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.