Sometime after the Football League was formed in 1888, the Football League decided to introduce the retain-and-transfer system.
The decision restricted clubs to lure players from other clubs, therefore preventing clubs from losing their players, and preventing the league to be dominated by a handful of rich clubs.
In professional football, a transfer is the action taken whenever a player under contract moves between clubs. It refers to the transferring of a player’s registration from one association football club to another. In general, the players can only be transferred during a transfer window and according to the rules set by a governing body.
Usually, some sort of compensation is paid for the player’s rights, which is known as a transfer fee. In fact, nothing is bitter than having an agreement and/or a pre-contract with a player, but at the last minutes, you hear that he signed for another club.
As a big fan of any football team, there can be few worse things than a transfer hijack. You know the scenario. The newspapers and gossip websites start linking your team with a big-name player, the manager and player both sound interested. And then at the last second, another team, usually a bigger and richer one, steps in to steal the player away.
Today we take a look at top 5 shocking transfer hijacks in football history.
5. Mohamed Salah to Liverpool, hijacked by Chelsea in 2014
After hijacking Willian away from a move to Tottenham in the summer of 2013, Chelsea did exactly the same thing with Mohamed Salah in the following January 2014 transfer window.
At the time, Salah was playing for FC Basel. But naturally, the move only came about when Salah and his representatives had got into prolonged talks about a move to Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers had hoped to add Salah to his squad to help with the last push for the title. But Liverpool brass couldn’t agree a fee.
And then, of course, Liverpool signed him in the summer of 2017 – three-and-a-half years later.
4. Willian to Tottenham Hotspur, hijacked by Chelsea in 2013
A hugely frustrating one for all Tottenham fans, the hijacking of the transfer of Brazilian winger Willian from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013 by Chelsea.
On August 21st, the Winger arrived at White Hart Lane for a medical, and all seemed to be going swimmingly.
That was of course until Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich made a quick call to his good friend Suleyman Kerimov – owner of Anzhi. And so two days later, for slightly more cash, Willian was on his way to Stamford Bridge instead.
Chelsea signed Willian for a fee of £30 million, subject to a work permit hearing on 28 August 2013.
3. Robinho to Chelsea, hijacked by Manchester City in 2008
Perhaps Chelsea’s future transfer hijackings were inspired by one that went against them back in 2008. In this case, Chelsea were gazumped by Manchester City for the services of Brazilian winger Robinho.
At the time, Robinho was one of the hottest properties in all of world football, while playing at Real Madrid. But he wanted enough time to play, the main reason why he opted to leave the Spanish giants.
And so Chelsea figured they had their man. They had the money to spend, naturally, and had been trailing the Brazilian for some time. Robinho supposedly wanted to live in London, and so Real gave him permission to head to Stamford Bridge for contract talks.
The Blues hadn’t figured City into the picture though but newly minted with billions following their takeover at the hands of the Abu Dhabi group.
The Citizens swept in and signed Robinho for a huge £32.5m; while Chelsea was forced to state that they weren’t willing to pay the asking price for the player.
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