The time is now upon us for one of the most frustrating transfer windows in global football – the big post-tournament clamber amongst clubs for anybody who’s had a half decent World Cup.
Fans are deceived and managers duped by an extraordinary goal or an apparent flash of brilliance which promises to reveal a rising star in the game but in fact has an irritating habit of vastly over-inflating the value of an otherwise very ordinary player.
Of course it is a mixed bag so here is just a short introduction to times when people have got it right and other occasions where they have got it horribly wrong.
Ossie Ardiles & Ricardo Villa (Atletico Huracan & Racing Club to Tottenham)
Where to start with these two? Spurs’ boss Keith Burkinshaw somehow convinced these two Argentine World Cup winners to venture where few foreigners had gone before – the English First Division. It turned out to be quite a coup as Villa scored on his debut and Ardiles quickly formed a magnificent midfield partnership with Glenn Hoddle. The North Londoners won two FA Cups before Villa’s departure in 1983 and a Uefa Cup a year later with Ardiles.
The success of these two signings ushered in a new era of foreign talent gracing the Premiership.
Karel Poborsky (Slavia Prague to Manchester United)
Sir Alex Ferguson’s eye for a shrewd bargain deserted him in this instance when he signed a previously unheard of Czech on the strength of one incredible goal he scored in the Quarter Finals of Euro 96.
Man. United forked out £3.5m for the right sided midfielder who was quickly displaced in the side by David Beckham and was allowed to leave for Benfica after scoring just five goals in 18 months.
Stephane Guivarc’h (Auxerre to Newcastle)
The French forward with an odd apostrophe in his name moved to St. James’ Park immediately after enjoying World Cup triumph on his native soil in the summer of 1998. The Geordies thought they were buying a striker with pedigree befitting his status as a World champion but he failed to find any sort of form following his £3.5m move.
He was quickly dropped by Ruud Gullit and made a sorry exit to Rangers after making just four appearances for the Magpies.
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