English Premier League

Malcom’s Barcelona move a muddle for Roma but ex-Bordeaux man not the first controversial transfer

As Roma threaten legal action against Bordeaux and Barcelona, the Post looks back at other ill-fated player deals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 9:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 9:03am

Brazilian superstar in the making Malcom was a Roma player one minute and a Barcelona player the next as his tortuous transfer from French Ligue 1 side Bordeaux headed for yet another twist.

The end result is that the 22-year-old will play for the Spanish La Liga champions next season, but the club may have to pay more than they wanted if Roma’s threat of legal action comes to fruition.

This is not the only controversial or short-lived transfer in football, though, far from it.

Malcom’s in good company with some other players that changed their minds or had them changed after no time at all.

Dietmar Hamann

A Champions League winner with Liverpool, the German midfielder left Anfield in 2006 and had apparently agreed to move to fellow English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers.

That switch lasted less than a day before he was unveiled as a Manchester City player, a move that cost the Blues £400,000 (US$527,100) for a free transfer.

Then-Bolton chairman Phil Gartside admitted years later to Talksport radio that he had tricked City into coughing up the cash as he had never actually registered Hamann.

While the Trotters boss told porkies as City did not need to pay a sausage, the Ham-man played three seasons with the club before retiring at MK Dons.

Robert Jarni

One of the standout players of Croatia’s debut World Cup in 1998, the full back was signed by Coventry City of the English Premier League.

They turned their £2.5 million into £3.4 million in less than a week as he went off to Real Madrid much to the annoyance of former club Real Betis who did not want to deal with the Madrid giants.

Gordon Strachan being in league with the mighty Los Blancos seems almost as ridiculous as a World Cup star turning out for the Sky Blues. But Jarni could not break into the side at the Bernabeu and left for second tier Las Palmas a summer later.


The love triangle for the Mallorcan winger got Messi as Sevilla felt that the player had breached a contract extension in signing for Atletico Madrid.

Atleti also could not register new players because of a Fifa ban so they sent him on loan to his former club Las Palmas where he suffered an injury-hit start to the campaign before joining his new club in January.

Sevilla sued all parties involved and it remains unresolved. Vitolo will start his first full season.

John Obi Mikel

Pictured with a Manchester United shirt at an April 2005 press conference it appeared the Nigerian midfielder was leaving Norwegian side Lyn Oslo for Manchester.

Enter Chelsea and three months later the teenager was at Stamford Bridge. It cost the Blues £16 million in all – a quarter of which when to United for their trouble.

Mikel played almost 250 times for Chelsea, winning two league titles and the Champions League, before leaving the club to sign for Tianjin Teda in the Chinese Super League in 2017. The 31-year-old is their captain.

D avid Unsworth

The one-time England international wanted away from West Ham United and agreed, despite interest from former club Everton, to join Aston Villa.

After a couple of trips from his home on Merseyside to Birmingham he had a change of heart and told new boss John Gregory that he wanted to go to Everton after all.

He played zero games for Villa before leaving a month after joining, with Villa getting the same money they paid from Everton.

Unsworth managed nearly 200 more appearances for the Toffees before working his way down the leagues. Was most recently seen in the Everton dugout as caretaker boss last season.


As if it was not strange enough that Manchester United had signed a player who had been homeless just a few years before, the transfer of Bebe took another turn when it was revealed that he had only just joined the club to which Alex Ferguson had paid £7 million.

Bebe had joined Vitoria Guimaraes from Estrela da Amadora for nothing five weeks before he signed for United.

Six goals in five pre-season appearances saw his value rocket but sadly his feet were not as impressive. Managed only a handful of appearances before even fewer at Benfica in a career characterised by loan spells. Played on loan at Rayo Vallecano from Eibar last season.

Rogvi Baldvinsson

The Faroese footballer lasted barely two weeks at Bristol Rovers in 2012 before he headed back to Norwegian side Algard, after revealing his return on Twitter in a now deleted tweet.

Then Rovers boss Mark McGhee told the BBC at the time: “We mutually agreed this wasn’t the right time for him.” Currently playing in Norway’s lower leagues and still tweeting.

Leroy Rosenior

The only manager on the list, Rosenior has the record for the shortest managerial stint in the game. He had been reappointed as Torquay United manager for barely 10 minutes before the club was sold and the new owners confirmed that they would be replacing him with their own man. Tough luck.

Benik Afobe

Signed this summer by former club Wolves, where he had thrived on loan since joining in January, the big striker was then bought by Stoke City less than a week later. He had originally left Wolves for Bournemouth in 2016 and rejoined the club for the same amount after they triggered a clause in his loan deal before Wolves made a tidy 2 million profit from Stoke.


So sure were Chelsea of having signed the Brazilian that the club had reportedly started selling jerseys on the club site – a rumour that persists to this day about Alan Shearer joining Manchester United – but he was unveiled to the press at the newly cash rich club, even if there was some confusion as to exactly where he was: “Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted,” he said, before correcting himself. Lasted a couple of seasons before criss-crossing the globe including a stint at Guangzhou Evergrande.

Aaron Ramsey

When Manchester United posted on their official site that they had agreed a fee for the signing of young Welsh prospect Aaron Ramsey all looked well but the deal never went through and Ramsey remains at Arsenal a decade on.

In 2016, the former Cardiff player revealed that he chose Arsenal over United, telling Sky Sports that he felt a little more wanted by Arsene Wenger.

Dimitar Berbatov

A case of a failed hijacking and perhaps a lesson having been learned by Alex Ferguson and the Old Trafford suits.

The Bulgarian was on his way to Old Trafford before Spurs accepted a bid from the other side of town. The United manager met him at the airport and made sure he got his man, despite City offering more money for the striker and having permission to talk to him.