Five shocking transfers to European clubs

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We’ve really seen it all in football now. Following a career that has taken him from the likes of Portsmouth to Las Palmas, AC Milan to Eintracht Frankfurt, Kevin-Prince Boateng has hit the jackpot, securing himself a move to Barcelona.

It is one of the more shocking transfers of recent times, although it seems to be happening all too frequently in the modern era, with teams having money falling out of their pockets and able to spend on a whim.

With Boateng moving to the Nou Camp this week to play alongside Lionel Messi, we have taken a look at five other transfers that stunned us all, as unexpected faces ended up in glamorous locations.


Even some West Ham fans of a certain age won’t remember the name Julien Faubert, who somehow managed to blag a loan move to Real Madrid back in 2009.

Faubert began his career with Cannes, before then earning himself a transfer to Bordeaux in 2004, where he spent three years before being transferred to West Ham. The Frenchman was solid enough during his time with the Hammers, although never demonstrated anything to suggest he was good enough to make it at one of the world’s top clubs.

So why Real Madrid decided to pick him up on loan midway through the 2008/09 season remains a huge mystery. They paid £1.5m to take the full-back on loan for the remainder of the campaign, during which he went on to make just two appearances for the club, costing them £750,000 per appearance.

His time at the Santiago Bernabeu was underwhelming to say the least, having been best remembered for being pictured asleep on the bench in a game against Villarreal and missing a training session when he thought the team had a day off.

Unsurprisingly, Los Blancos didn’t take up the option to buy him at the end of the season, as he returned to Upton Park.


In terms of transfers, Jurgen Klopp has been pretty solid as Liverpool boss so far, although this is one that will still leave some scratching their heads.

During Klopp’s first season in charge, there were hamstring injuries left, right and centre, leaving them especially short of defenders. Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure all spent time on the sidelines through injury, moving Klopp to sign Caulker on loan until the end of the season.

Caulker had spent the first half of the campaign at Southampton and failed to establish himself in their side, being a part of a defence which shipped six goals against the Reds in the League Cup a month before moving to Anfield.

Despite being a centre-back by trade, the former Tottenham man’s three Premier League appearances for Liverpool came as a late substitute as a striker against Arsenal, Manchester United and Norwich City. Against the latter, he was involved in Adam Lallana’s winner in their dramatic 5-4 win at Carrow Road, which was his only action of note in his time with the club.

He has since played for Dundee and has this month joined Turkish side Alanyaspor.

Steven Caulker


Not only was this deal surprising, but is also remembered as one of the most controversial transfers the Premier League has ever seen.

The arrival of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano - both then having far less notoriety than is now the case - came as a great surprise, as West Ham had somehow managed to sign two of the most talented players in Argentina.

Mascherano made just five appearances for the Hammers before joining Liverpool in 2007, but Tevez quickly became a fan favourite, scoring the goals that would keep them in the division before joining Manchester United.

The controversy came in the fact that both player’s rights were owned by Media Sports Investments, with West Ham then fined for breaching transfer rules. Not only that, but the form of Tevez effectively saw Sheffield United relegated from the Premier League, as the Hammers stayed up in dramatic fashion.

Don’t forget, also, that Alan Pardew often decided to play Hayden Mullins and Marlon Harewood over Mascherano and Tevez respectively, before eventually being sacked and replaced by Alan Curbishley.

Tevez Mascherano


How? How has this happened? Who has sanctioned such a deal?

If Xherdan Shaqiri thought he’d been handed a royal flush after getting a move from Liverpool to Stoke City, then Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has won the lottery with his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

The 29-year-old was a mediocre Premier League forward to say the least during his spell at the Bet365 Stadium, which has somehow lead to him lining up alongside world stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Unsurprisingly, Choupo-Moting rarely starts in this PSG team, having been named in the starting XI just twice in Ligue 1 so far this term, making a further seven appearances as a substitute. He has even managed 50 minutes of football more in the Champions League than Eden Hazard this season.

It's fair to say that with Choupo-Moting as one of the first options off the bench, Neymar, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani can feel pretty sure of their place in the starting XI for PSG each week.

Choupo-Moting Neymar


Perhaps the most bizarre transfer of all-time is Real Madrid’s purchase of Everton midfielder Thomas Gravesen, who is about as far from a Galactico as you could possibly imagine to find.

During his time at the Bernabeu, the Danish international played alongside some of the most graceful footballers of his generation in Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and David Beckham. Gravesen, however, was quite the opposite, with his role in the team being to kick lumps out of whoever he was playing against.

Gravesen fell in and out of favour with the revolving door of managers at Madrid, but still managed to rack up 49 appearances for the club in all competitions before eventually being allowed to join Celtic on a free transfer in 2006.

His departure came to fruition in a pretty imaginable way, having been involved in a training ground scuffle with then-Brazilian prodigy Robinho.

On Gravesen, manager Fabio Capello said: "The way he is, we won't have problems with him. He's just a little bit particular. I don't mess with him, he works well tactically. His behaviour is like this, and I don't like it, everything has to be done like he wants it to be done".


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