Transfer deadline day drama is not what it used to be. The sheer number of media outlets and ‘in the know’ accounts mean shocks and surprises rarely make it to the final stages of the window.
But the Premier League era has seen no shortage of frantic deadline day deals, as clubs scramble to secure the services of stars before the window slams shut. Ahead of Friday’s deadline, we remember five deadline day deals that stunned the Premier League.
The most surprising transfer deadline day deals in Premier League history:
Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano (West Ham)
Has there ever been a deal quite like this one?
West Ham’s capture of highly-rated Argentine duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano shocked English football, with the Hammers somehow seeing off Europe’s elite to land the South American starlets.
As Alan Pardew paraded the pair in claret and blue, rival clubs were left scratching their heads at how the events had unfolded. As it turned out, the arrivals of Tevez and Mascherano had broken the Premier League’s third-party ownerships rules, with agent Kia Joorabchian soon becoming a household name after engineering their arrival in the East End from Corinthians.
West Ham signing Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano is still one of the most surreal transfers of all time… pic.twitter.com/UuYRK8Xzk3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 12, 2019
While Mascherano struggled to settle before going on to better things at Liverpool and Barcelona, Tevez overcame his own slow start to become an Irons icon. Seven goals during the run-in propelled West Ham to Premier League safety, with a last-day winner at Manchester United ensuring survival.
Somehow, West Ham avoided a points deduction for their breach of Premier League transfer rules, with Sheffield United incensed at the decision, thus spawning the unlikeliest of football rivalries.
Robinho (Manchester City)
Transfer deadline day 2008 proved a landscape altering day in the Premier League, as Manchester City were catapulted into the financial elite after a dramatic takeover.
Sheik Mansour swaggered into the Premier League and promptly splashed the cash, securing a British record deal for Robinho from Real Madrid. City fans knew little of the new ownership before the news of Robinho’s arrival was confirmed, a superstar signing to kick-start the new regime.
“I remember that there was big expectation,” Robinho told City’s official website.
“I knew I was going to play in England but I didn’t know for which team and I was very happy when I found that I had the opportunity to play for Manchester City.
“It was on the very last minute but with me it has always been like that.
“It was really important, a team that opened doors for me. It was a big transfer. At that time City didn’t have many big players in their team but it is a club that have a lot of love and respect.”
Robinho’s time with the club proved underwhelming, but his arrival symbolised change. For so long in the shadow of their cross-town rivals, Manchester City were transformed from mid-table mediocrity to a modern superpower.
Andy Carroll (Liverpool)
Perhaps the greatest ever deadline day drama came in January 2011, as Chelsea and Liverpool splashed the cash on new strikers.
Fernando Torres’ desire to swap the latter for the former saw Liverpool enter the market for reinforcements, having agreed a £50m British record deal to sell their talisman to Chelsea. Luis Suarez’s arrival from Ajax had already been confirmed, but Liverpool’s search for a second striker took the Reds to a surprise option.
ON THIS TRANSFER DAY: In 2011, Liverpool signed Luis Suárez for £22.7m & Andy Carroll for £35m.
One worked out better than the other… 🤔 pic.twitter.com/M6mBS5QHtJ
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 31, 2017
Andy Carroll had enjoyed a fine start to the season at Newcastle with 11 goals in 19 league games, but few saw what was to come. After two bids were rejected, and then improved, in a frantic deadline day, Liverpool agreed a club-record £35m to sign the giant Geordie.
The return? Six league goals in 44 appearances. Carroll looked an awkward fit at Liverpool and never truly came close to repaying the Reds’ faith.
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Arsene Wenger could barely contain his smile when questioned whether Arsenal would make a deadline day signing in 2013, with the Frenchman boasting the mischievous look of a Labrador who’s just helped himself to the cat’s dinner.
The ‘good surprise’ Wenger hinted at arrived in the form of Mesut Ozil, a statement signing for an Arsenal side who had declined post-Invincibles. The German arrived with a reputation as one of Europe’s premier playmakers, signed for a club-record fee from Real Madrid.
His first season saw Ozil help Arsenal to FA Cup success – ending a nine-year trophy drought in the process – and the midfielder added a further three winners’ medals in the competition despite a rollercoaster ride of a Premier League career.
Occasionally brilliant, often underwhelming, he departed under a cloud seven-and-a-half years later after being frozen out under Mikel Arteta.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Has a deadline day signing ever had such hype?
Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United sent the footballing world into a frenzy, as the Red Devils secured the signing of their long lost hero.
Since departing the Premier League in a world-record deal in 2009, Ronaldo had shattered records, won a truck-load of trophies and become Real Madrid’s record scorer. He returned, via Juventus, to pandemonium, with Manchester United former favourites having reportedly phoned their old mate to talk him out of a rumoured move to Manchester City.
His second debut was cinematically compelling as Ronaldo scored twice against Newcastle, while the Portuguese forward scored 24 times during a fine first season back at Old Trafford. This was not a love-story set to last however, and with the help of Piers Morgan and one ill-advised interview, Ronaldo soured relations with United and left in an explosive exit.
The return of the prodigal son was briefly box-office, before a sudden exit. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now collecting Saudi millions at Al Nassr, as a trailblazer for the nation’s big-spending domestic division.