The transfer window. Preferred to the actual football by roughly 60% of supporters (going by a quick scan of Twitter), transfer rumours and speculation have become a whole industry within an industry. Every summer, fans speculate that just a few careful purchases can transform their team’s fortunes.
This summer has been a unique time for football transfers. With much of the world going to hell in a handcart and the lower leagues floundering, business has continued as normal in Europe’s top divisions with billions of pounds spent on players. However, the unorthodox atmosphere has clearly resulted in some strange transfers from across the football spectrum.
Here are nine of the strangest transfers from the summer window:
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
We would love to be represented by the agent of Choupo-Moting.
Having been relegated with Stoke in 2018, the Cameroon international was rescued from Championship purgatory by the unlikely source of Paris Saint-Germain.
After two years, not many goals and one of the greatest misses of all time, Choupo-Moting has left on another free transfer, this time to European champions Bayern Munich.
The dictionary definition of failing upwards.
NB: Our Stoke-supporting editor says he’s a decent player, points out that he joined PSG because he’d played under Thomas Tuchel at Mainz, and insists we shouldn’t be surprised. But he’s one of the few people in the world who didn’t say WTF when they heard this one.
PSG's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting made the worst miss in the history of football…SHOCKING! 😱💀 pic.twitter.com/wU3OGWveUd
— Football Stuff (@FootbalIStuff) April 7, 2019
There’s something romantic about a footballer plying his trade in the lower leagues during the autumn of his career. We like to think of these players as motivated by the beautiful game and unsated by money. Then we remember McCormack once missed training because he claimed his electric gate had broken.
Nevertheless, the striker had a prolific spell in the Championship with clubs such as Cardiff, Leeds and Fulham before heading to Australia. Having seemingly tired of partnering Usain Bolt up front, McCormack joined National League side Aldershot Town in August.
Hands up who saw this coming? Hands up who thought it’d probably end in disaster?
Ye of little faith. While many an arched eyebrow was raised when the talented Colombian swapped Madrid for Merseyside, perhaps Rodriguez always had too much ability to underwhelm in English football.
Freed from the constraints of the Bernabeu, Rodriguez has led Everton to the top of the early season table and sparked a mass outbreak of optimism amongst Evertonians.
Definitely a transfer nobody would have believed possible even this time last year.
Having finished one of the most evocative one-two goals of the era with his chin during the 2018 World Cup, retained a keen aptitude for ballet and generally looking like a young Jack Palance, Cavani is one of the more unconventional great strikers of the past decade.
Current all-time record goalscorer at PSG, the Uruguayan was released by the French club during the summer and remained without a club for months. That was until Manchester United acquired his services in the desperate hope it would placate their impatient supporters.
While the suspicion remains that Cavani is not who United really want or what they actually need, the Premier League has gained a classy operator.
Chelsea scored a decent number of goals in the Premier League in Frank Lampard’s first season in charge, but they conceded far too many. With Christian Pulisic coming on leaps and bounds, you’d have thought the priority for the Blues would be to sign a world-class centre-half to shore up their backline.
And they did. The only problem is, he’s 36. And after 20 minutes of his debut at West Brom, Chelsea fans would have been forgiven for wishing the club purchased the kid who sang with Dave at Glastonbury instead.
He could yet prove his worth for a year or two – but he could also fall into the category of ‘great player who arrived in the league slightly too late’.
After selling Timo Werner to Chelsea, few would have excepted RB Leipzig to replace him with a striker who scored one goal in 20 appearances for Crystal Palace.
Admittedly, Sorloth did rediscover his shooting boots in 2019-20, scoring 33 goals in 49 appearances on loan at Turkish side Trabzonspor.
But we’ve got an inkling that Bayern Munich’s defence might be a bit harder to breach than Denizlispor’s.
Despite never being the most prolific striker, Morata continues to secure moves to some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
The Spain international had an ill-fated stint at Chelsea before completing a £58million to Atletico Madrid in 2020 after a relatively successful loan spell.
While that fee might sound ridiculous, that’s not the strangest thing.
A few weeks after investing so much money on Morata, Atletico agreed to loan him out to Juventus, with the Serie A side also given a £41million option to buy.
A player regarded as a strong prospect for the future, Kean endured a disastrous debut season at Everton, scoring two goals in 33 appearances in all competitions.
After failing to dislodge Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison at Goodison Park, we would have expected him to join a mid-table European side in search of regular first-team football.
The 20-year-old decided to make a different move, however, joining last season’s Champions League finalists PSG on a season-long loan deal.
Few would have predicted that when he was subbed off after just 18 minutes against Manchester United in December 2019.
Frosty reception from Moise Kean…❄😳
The substitute is subbed himself as Duncan Ferguson makes a big call! pic.twitter.com/3Y4qylA0eq
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 15, 2019
Think of the name Riquelme and many are transported back to memories of the Villarreal playmaker and the great Argentina 2006 World Cup team. Alas, this young man was barely six years old when Esteban Cambiasso slotted home against Serbia & Montenegro.
Instead, Rodrigo Riquelme is a Spanish winger who has made one appearance for Atletico Madrid. Clearly wanting to give the youngster some first-team football, the Spanish giants have loaned Riquelme to recently-relegated Bournemouth in October 2020.
A whiff of exotica to freshen a squad deadened by demotion or fanciful swoop for youngster destined to fade into mediocrity? Only time will tell, but it’s a transfer that certainly made our eyes prick up.