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The Gills are not a massive spending League One club; however, they have had their fair share of big-money transfers across the past couple of decades, especially during their most recent spell in Division One (Championship) at the start of the millennium. Their first two paid signings arrived in the 1996-97 season – Guy Butters was brought in for £200k from Portsmouth, and Andy Hessenthaler joined from Watford for nearly £350k making him the clubs record signing at the time. It was not until two seasons later that Hessenthaler’s record arrival fee was smashed by over double.
English centre-forward Carl Asaba arrived for a club-record £800k fee from Reading, and the 25-year-old was worth every penny as he became a fan favourite. The target man finished the 1998-99 season as the club’s top scorer, scoring 23 goals in all competitions alongside notable strike partner Robert Taylor. Asaba went on to score 40 goals in 91 appearances for the Gills before moving on to Sheffield United for a much decreased £135k fee in 2001.
The closest Gillingham have come to breaking their transfer record fee was during the 2000-01 season when they reached Division One for the first time in their history.
The Gills brought in trio; Paul Shar, Chris Hope and Marlon King to help them compete against tougher opposition. Shaw joined from Millwall for over £500k making him the clubs second highest arrival, and strike partner Marlon King arrived from Barnet for £300k. To complete their big spending during the summer transfer window, Chris Hope was recruited from Scunthorpe United for over £400k. All three signings proved to be a success as the Gills managed to stay in the second tier for five straight seasons with either Marlon King or Paul Shaw claiming the top scorer title in each of the first four seasons.
After an impressive run with Gillingham, Marlon King moved on to First Division rivals Nottingham Forest for a record £1.26m fee. It was not until nine years later that this record sale was broken, and it was done in style as young Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was snapped up by Premier League side Southampton for a massive £2.84m fee in 2012-13.
Republic of Ireland and Gillingham legend, Tony Cascarino was part of the Gills youth academy before graduating to the first team in 1981. The young striker went on to play just over 200 games for the Gills, scoring 78 goals before moving on to Millwall for a record transfer sale fee of £270k which was amazing back in 1987. Get more of the latest Gillingham transfer rumours from League One here!