Figo, Torres, Cole, Salah next? 10 most controversial transfers in football history ranked

Mohamed Salah could be set to join a rival Premier League team should Liverpool fail to meet the Egyptian’s contract demands.

As reported by The Athletic earlier today, Salah will choose to let his existing contract run down and leave on a free at the end of the season should the Reds fail to produce a significantly improved offer.

In that scenario, Salah’s desire would be to remain in the Premier League – something which would undoubtedly spark enormous levels of animosity from the Liverpool fan base.

Realistically, the trophy-hungry player that Salah is means he would likely only be willing to join Manchester City or Chelsea, Liverpool’s two main competitive rivals in the division.

If a deal was to transpire it would easily go down as one of the most controversial transfers ever – could it even take top spot?

Maybe in the Premier League. Although, as you’ll see from this list, some players just didn’t give two hoots when it came to rocking the metaphorical boat of fan anger.

The 10 most controversial transfers in football history ranked

10. Eric Cantona: Leeds > Manchester United

Leeds attempted to sign United full-back Denis Irwin in 1992, but were rebuffed by Sir Alex Ferguson who wanted to keep the Scotsman at the club.

Ferguson did, though, fire back a speculative offer for their French genius worth £1.2 million, and to his surprise, it was accepted.

The Red Devils had their man and Leeds’ fan base were furious with manager Howard Wilkinson for agreeing to the deal.

Cantona went on to enjoy an iconic spell at Old Trafford, proving the Leeds fans right after all.

Eric Cantona.
Eric Cantona.

9. Carlos Tevez: Manchester United > Manchester City

Tevez was a fan favourite in his two year loan spell at United, scoring 34 goals for the club and lifting the Champions League in 2008.

However, that love soon faded when the Argentine penned a permanent deal with Man City just a season later.

He was the first player to move directly between the two clubs since 1999 and City fans loved every minute of it.

A sky blue billboard with an image of Tevez on was erected in the city centre that read: ‘Welcome to Manchester’.

Jokingly taking aim at the fact that Old Trafford is in fact situated outside the city, in nearby Salford – proper sh**housery.

8. Paul Ince: West Ham > Manchester United

Boyhood Hammers fan, many thought Ince would be an Iron for life.

But he literally made the papers in 1989, when he was snapped in a United jersey before officially signing for the club – something which drove West Ham fans mad.

It was supposedly done so Ince didn’t have to go through the inconvenience of returning from his holiday early, but nevertheless, the picture was accidentally published and it seemed a major betrayal.

Paul Ince Manchester Utd
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 07: Manchester United player Paul Ince pictured at the pre-season photocall prior to the 1990/91 season. (Photo by Ben Radford/Allsport/Getty Images)

7. Paul Ince: Inter Milan > Liverpool

Shortly after leaving United for Inter, the Englishman would return to British shores through his ex-club’s arch-rivals, Liverpool.

If that wasn’t enough to sour United hearts initially, in 1999, Ince celebrated wildly after potentially denying his old club the chance at securing the treble through his late goal.

6. Fernando Torres: Liverpool > Chelsea

This one hurt Kopites, bigtime. ‘El Nino’ had become their favourite son since his £26.5 million switch from Atletico Madrid, but he thought the grass was greener at Chelsea and forced his way out of the club.

Liverpool reluctantly sold their star man to the Blues in a deal worth £50 million, whilst the rest of the Premier League braced themselves for impact as Europe’s best striker touched down in London.

Things didn’t quite turn out as planned though and Torres endured an underwhelming spell at Chelsea.

Liverpool, meanwhile, they signed Luis Suarez as a replacement – there’s always a silver lining, ey?

5. Ashley Cole: Arsenal > Chelsea

Rightly remembered by most as the greatest English left-back of all-time, Arsenal fans have a special hatred for Cole.

In 2006, after confusion over the salary the Gunners would offer him, an angry Cole switched his allegiance for the blue side of London.

It sparked uproar at the time and earnt him the nickname ‘Cashley Cole’.

To make matters worse for Arsenal supporters, Cole was sensational at Stamford Bridge. In his time there he played a key role in their rivals winning the Premier League, Champions League and four FA Cups.

Ashley Cole a left back for England and Chelsea on the ball
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Ashley Cole of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on September 20, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

4. Sol Campbell: Tottenham > Arsenal

Campbell was adored by the Spurs faithful having come through the youth ranks at the club.

They could have sold their home grown star for £25 million – a small fortune at the time – but Campbell stalled on a new deal.

All up until 2001, when an out of contract Campbell ditched his beloved club for Arsenal on a free and then went on to become an invincible just two seasons later.

Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell

3. Roberto Baggio: Fiorentina > Juventus

Fiorentina simply hate Juventus. So when their golden boy, Baggio, ditched them for the Old Lady in 1991 fans literally rioted.

On the Italians return to the stadium, a police escort was needed to get the team bus through the crowd and Baggio was subjected to vicious abuse all game by the home support.

‘The Divine Ponytail’ even angered Juve fans by refusing to take a penalty and wrapping a Fiorentina scarf around his neck after being subbed off.

What was he thinking? Pick a side, Roberto…

2. Mo Johnston: Celtic > Nantes – Nantes > Rangers

Johnston was supposed to be returning to Celtic after his spell in France, so after being pictured with Hoops boss Billy McNeill in 1989, fans presumed that’s exactly what was happening.

Johnston even said: “There’s only one team I want to play for and that’s Celtic.”

But when Graeme Souness swooped in and took him to the Ibrox that same summer, well, both sets of supporters whipped up a storm.

Johnston was Rangers’ first ever major Catholic signing.

  1. Luis Figo: Barcelona > Real Madrid

Figo was Barcelona captain when Florentino Perez was running for the Real Madrid presidency.

The wealthy Spaniard looked set to lose the presidential race, so made the outlandish promise of either signing Figo for the club, or gifting free season tickets for the entirety of the next season should he fail.

Needless to say, Perez won the presidency and successfully secured the signature of Figo shortly after.

Barcelona fans were incensed, and we all know what happened when Figo returned to Camp Nou – bacon, anyone?

Luis Figo
Luis Figo

Inter agree Lukaku deal (The Football Terrace)

Champions League quiz 2021/2022

1 of 20
The Champions League final was held at Stade de France

Which stadium in France was the final held at?

News Now - Sport News