10 weirdest summer football transfers 2019
Words by Nathan Irvine
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No room for Rafa Benitez's trip to China, but plenty more.
The summer transfer window has thrown up some downright bizarre moves. Transfers that have come out of the blue that seem to have caught the sporting press off-guard. We're not talking about Griezmann, Hazard or Lukaku - these were predictable. But for every logical transfer, we've had a number curveballs.
So now that the window has shut, and in no particular order, we look back at the 10 weirdest summer football transfers.
It doesn't matter how many times we look at the words "Wayne Rooney to Derby County" it still doesn't make sense. OK, at 33 the ex-England and Manchester United is in the twilight of his career and, on paper, a switch to player/coach will him on a path to management. No disrespect to Derby County, but Rooney probably could've walked into a similar role at any top flight club in the world.
Antonio Conte's first task in charge of Inter Milan this summer was simple: get rid of Icardi. The talented Argentine striker is deemed to be more trouble than he's worth thanks to his indiscretions off the field. On deadline day, Conte got his wish as Icardi made a season-long loan move to Paris. You know, the same Ligue 1 champions who already have Mbappe, Cavani and a disgruntled Neymar to play up top? Quite how he'll fit in at Le Parc des Princes, but we'll be here with our popcorn to watch the drama unfold.
This is less about the clubs they've joined and more about their careers that led them there. Having been involved in one of the highest profile swap deals in EPL history as the players traded Manchester United for Arsenal and vice-versa, the outcome was embarrassing for the pair. Sánchez and Mkhitaryan moped about and flattered to deceive on rare occasions. But ultimately, neither were deemed important to the futures of their respective clubs. It's a loan deal, sure, but don't expect either to see out their contracts.
Leicester City's tireless Japanese forward had a pick of several high profile teams to choose from when his contract in England ran down. So it was odd that he decided to join second-tier Spanish side Malaga. The story gets stranger as Okazaki has already left the club without playing a single game for them. Turns out Malaga thought they had the budget to pay his agreed salary, but they don't. "I don't regret anything" tweeted a philosophical Okazaki. "If I have a chance to play for Malaga again one day, I won't hesitate."
There was very little indication that the Chelsea defender was about to move up the road to Arsenal. Just as the rumour started, the transfer was confirmed and the owner of the most recognisable barnets in world football was a Gunner. If social media is anything to go by, both sets of fans were furious with the move.
Manchester United have more centre-backs that they know what to do with. Someone had to make way for record signing Harry Maguire, but Chris Smalling jetting off to Roma was hard to predict. Out of the defenders the Red Devils have, Smalling was the best and most consistent. Jones and Rojo should've been shown the door first, but somehow still have careers at Old Trafford. Bizarre.
Towards the end of the 2019/19 season, Moise Kean was on fire for Juventus. He was picking up the slack for Cristiano Ronaldo and banging in goals left right and centre. Here we had a new young hero for the Old Lady loyalists to get behind. The future was bright. But suddenly the future of Kean turned a shade of blue. Sure, he was running down his contract, but it's still hard to believe that he swapped Turin for Merseyside.
A high-profile move to Liverpool was on the cards during the summer transfer window of 2018. Everything had been agreed, and the France international was set to sign and continue his prolific goalscoring streak in the EPL. Sadly, his medical picked up a niggling injury - something the player and Lyon disputes - and the rest is history. He did eventually get a move away from France. But the move to Real Betis really came out of leftfield.
Trippier had a stellar 2017/18 campaign down the flanks for Spurs. It earned the former Burnley player a call up to the England squad where he scored a memorable free-kick in the World Cup. However, the following season the wingback struggled with consistency and lost his place in the side. So it came as a surprise to see the notoriously well-drilled defensive unit of Atlético Madrid come calling this season.
After 451 games, Mr Roma decided the time was right to leave the club. Though many predicted that he would retire and move into a coaching role at the club, not many could've seen where he'd end up next... except the man himself. It turns out De Rossi has always had a thing for Boca Juniors. So in signing for the Argentinean side, he fulfilled a lifelong ambition at the tender age of 36.
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