Eto’o was in his prime, and only a year removed from one of his finest triumphs—Champions League success with Internazionale—when he signed for Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2011.
The Cameroon great was one of a number of big-money signings by the ambitious Dagestan-based club, and he reportedly pocketed £350,000 per week at the ambitious moneybags.
Ultimately, Anzhi never established themselves as a Russian—or European—force, but the hitman’s decision to abdicate from the major narratives of the world game at just 30 was a shocking decision.
It was little surprise that Jose Mourinho fancied taking Frank Lampard with him to Internazionale upon his appointment at Nerazzurri boss; the midfielder had been one of his key performers at Chelsea, and offered vital goals from the heart of the park.
However, when it became clear that Fat Frank was not available, the Special One opted to go in a different direction for midfield reinforcements, and turned to Muntari.
The Ghana international was an eyebrow-raising purchase, particularly as—having previously been at Portsmouth—he didn’t boast of anything like Lampard’s profile.
Ultimately, it proved to be a good move for player and club, as the Ghana international won two Italian titles and the Champions League with the Lombardy giants.
John Obi Mikel
Perhaps the most shocking transfer on this list, Mikel had already reached an agreement with Manchester United—and was pictured holding the club’s shirt—when he left Norwegian side Lyn in 2005.
However, Chelsea claimed they had had a previous agreement in place to recruit the midfielder, and ultimately got their hands on the Nigerian superstar---to United’s chagrin.
The Blues were forced to pay a £16 million transfer fee to both Lyn and the Red Devils,
In the same month that Kolo Toure left Arsenal for Manchester City, so Adebayor swapped the Emirates Stadium for Eastlands in a deal that made him the most expensive African player ever at the time.
It was a controversial deal from the off—an indication of Arsenal’s lack of ambition, perhaps—as City recruited a player who had scored 24 goals in the 2007-08 season.
In his first campaign at the Etihad Stadium, Adebayor netted 14 goals, and while City couldn’t displace Arsenal in the Champions League positions, the Togo superstar still had the pleasure of scoring—and celebrating—against his former employers.
Another player who departed Arsenal in a shocking move was Cameroon’s Song, who quit for Barcelona in a deal reportedly worth €15 million in 2012.
Considering Song had taken his time to establish himself at Arsenal, and had largely been viewed as a utility player during his time in London, it was a questionable move by the Catalan giants, even if he had taken his game to a new level in 2011-12.
Fans were left underwhelmed, and Song could do little to silence the doubters across two seasons and 39 appearances at Barcelona.
He may have won the domestic title, but no one mourned his exit on loan to West Ham United in 2014.
Finidi George and Ipswich Town will always be inextricably linked, even if they make for unlikely bedfellows and ultimately not to be a match made in heaven.
The unfashionable East Anglians parted with £3.1 million to sign the widman in 2001, and it represented—at the time—a sensational coup for the newly promoted side.
Finidi, of course, had won both the Eredivisie and the Champions League with Ajax in the mid-90s, and caught the eye at times during a tricky spell with Real Betis.
However, he bombed at Ipswich, and was released in 2003 having suffered relegation with the Tractor Boys.
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