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A Look Back At Some Weird And Wonderful Football Swap Deals

Paul O'Hara
By Paul O'Hara
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With the news of Peter Odemwingie's move to Stoke from Cardiff in exchange for Kenwyne Jones, and talk of an Agger-Inler switch, we've decided to take a look at some of the best, worst and most bizarre swap deals that have occurred in football.

Ashley Cole (to Chelsea) for William Gallas + £5m (to Arsenal), 2006

A protracted saga from 2006 which was revisited in these pages last summer. Gallas had a mostly torrid time with the Gunners, falling out with teammates and culminating in an on-field meltdown before going on to captain Tottenham. The swap was materially successful for Cole (three FA Cups a League Winner's medal, and the Champions' League), but did some damage to his reputation, being named Britain's most hated celebrity in a poll in 2009.

Francesco Coco (to Inter) for Clarence Seedorf (to Milan), 2002

Even if the Dutchman was considered a bit inconsistent and surplus to requirements when this exchange took place in 2002, it seems astounding that he made the move to the Rossoneri with the man once billed as the next Paolo Maldini. Coco's career was one of injury, unfulfilled promise and overindulgence. He left football for acting and TV, and his career has remained much the same there, too. Seedorf of course now manages Milan, and won two Scudetti and two Champions' Leagues in his ten-year stint.

Andrew Cole (to Manchester United) for Keith Gillespie + £6m (to Newcastle United), 1995

A major shock at the time, Newcastle swapped their main goalscorer for the Manchester United winger. Cole quickly became a hero at Old Trafford, winning five Premier Leagues, a Champions' League and formed a magnificent partnership with Dwight Yorke, and a less harmonious one with Teddy Sheringham. A pacy, natural talent, Gillespie did well at first with the Toon, who finished second to Manchester United on two occasions, before becoming something of a journeyman and tragic figure, finishing his playing days at Longford Town

Fabian Carini (to Inter) for Fabio Cannavaro (to Juventus), 2004

A particularly astonishing one in hindsight - Inter agree to swap their often-injured but rock-solid centre back for reserve goalkeeper without a league appearance to his name. Carini would go on to amass a massive four league runouts for Inter along with a loan spell at Standard Liège, although he was Uruguay's number 1 at the time. We all know what became of Cannavaro.

Andrea Pirlo (to Milan) for Andrés Guglielminpietro + €2.8m (to Inter), 2001

Another deal involving the two San Siro clubs which seems completely batshit in hindsight. Always a class operator, on changing to red and black stripes Pirlo became a World Cup hero and possibly the coolest man on the planet. 'Guly' Guglielminpietro, a midfielder who looked like a burlier Morientes, has returned to his native Argentina. I think.

John Barnes (to Watford) for a football kit (to good use by Sudbury Court), 1981

OK so not exactly a player-for-player swap deal, but it's mad to think that five years after Graham Taylor offered Sudbury Court a set of gear to take Barnes into the Hornets' reserve team, the Jamaican-born winger was snapped up by Liverpool for £900,000 - a significant fee at the time. He of course became an Anfield and England legend, an icon of British rap music, a flop of a Celtic manager and an ITV pundit of arguable repute.

Let us know your own personal favourites, especially if they're closer to home, or if we've made any glaring omissions.


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