Bebe, Mikel, Emerson: What players have signed for two clubs in quick succession?

Emerson Royal is presented at the Camp Nou after signing for Barcelona from Real Betis

In most other circumstances, it's fair to say Emerson Royal's move to Tottenham Hotspur would not have been a particularly headline-grabbing development. 

While the fact it transpired on Deadline Day made for relatively interesting reading on the most hyperbolic day in football media, the fact of the matter is that the Brazilian was swapping mid-table Real Bets for a Spurs side in transition. 

What makes the transfer such big news, however, was the 22-year-old's quick pit-stop at a Barcelona team in crisis between the moves. Brought to the Camp Nou on a buy-back basis earlier this summer, Royal was quickly sold on to raise funds and has since moved to criticise the Spanish giants. 

As bizarre as that may seem, it's not the only time something similar has happened. Such is the frantic world of football transfers, a number of players have experienced the same kind of stop-start journey. 

GIVEMESPORT have looked back on some famous examples. 

Robert Jarni (Real Betis to Real Madrid via Coventry City, 1998) 

Robert Jarni

Another player to have impressed at Real Betis, Robert Jarni's impressive form in Seville attracted the interest of La Liga giants, Real Madrid. 

While joining the capital club would be a dream for most players, Betis' difficult relationship with Los Blancos meant they were reluctant to sell the wing-back to those at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Instead, he joined Coventry City for £2.4m in the summer of 1998 before being sold to Madrid weeks later for a profit after making no appearances. 

David Unsworth (West Ham to Everton via Aston Villa, 1998) 

David Unsworth

David Unsworth had impressed so much at Everton that West Ham United duly brought him down to London in 1997. There, his family failed to settle so a move to Aston Villa followed after 41 games before realising Birmingham wouldn't do either. 

After less than a month and having played no competitive games for Villa, Unsworth returned to Goodison Park for £3m, the same fee paid in his first transfer that summer. 

John Obi-Mikel (Lyn to Chelsea via Manchester United, 2005) 

John Obi-Mikel

After Manchester United had agreed a deal with Norwegian club Lyn in 2005, John Obi-Mikel even held a press conference draped in the iconic red shirt. 

However, Chelsea then moved to claim they already had an agreement with the player and, after an ugly legal battle that saw Mikel holed up in a London hotel, ultimately joined United's rivals only months later for a fee of around £12m. 

Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool to Manchester City via Bolton, 2006) 

Dietmar Hamann

Despite playing a crucial role in the Liverpool team who lifted the Champions League against all odds in 2005, Dietmar Hamann fell victim to Rafa Benitez's overhaul on Merseyside. 

Granted permission to talk to Premier League rivals Bolton Wanderers, the German midfielder even signed a pre-contract to move across the North West upon the expiration of his contract at Anfield. 

When Manchester City expressed their interest, things changed. Only a day after signing for Bolton, the club managed to extract £400k from City to sign the player in a quick-fire deal. 

Bebe (Estrela to Manchester United via Vitoria de Guimaraes, 2010)


Probably the strangest signing of the Sir Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United. 

Only five weeks after signing for Vitoria de Guimaraes from second division outfit Estrela, Bebe hit headlines with a shock move to Old Trafford for around £7.4m. 

It has since emerged that Ferguson, a master of the market, had only met the forward the day before the deal was officially confirmed. Unsurprisingly, Bebe played only seven times for the club before leaving. 

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