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Walsall FC are one of those clubs whose record transfers are a big mix of old and recent deals going through over the years. For instance, Andreas Makris was bought from Anorthosis Famagusta during the 2016/17 campaign for a reported sum of £319,000, surpassing the former record by some distance and cementing himself in first place.
But interestingly enough, before him, the title of the most expensive arrival was actually with Jorge Leitao as the now-retired Portuguese centre-forward arrived from CD Feirense for a then-record fee of £180,000 back in 2000/01. Oh, but it gets even more interesting.
Before Leitao, there was Alan Buckley’s £178,000 switch from Birmingham City in… 1979/80. Needless to say, that was quite a jump and Buckley was on top of the mountain for 20 years before the Portuguese centre-forward decided to smash the record to pieces. Of course, he would also enjoy a similar spell at the top until 2016/17.
When it comes to departures, the deals are far more expensive and impressive but that was to be expected. And what’s even more interesting, the exits are quite recent as well. In 2016/17, Rico Henry departed for Brentford for a sum of £1.6m, immediately becoming the biggest piece of business at the club, which remains true to this day.
It also surpassed the departure of Jamie Paterson to Nottingham Forest for £810,000 and Tom Bradshaw’s move away to Barnsley FC for £702,000, and they now sit in second and third place respectively while also being one of the more impressive transfers at the club as a whole.
When talking purely about some of the best and most famous Walsall players as a whole, we can mostly discuss discovering and then nurturing bright young talents rather than actually forking out huge sums of money on superstars. Of course, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any big deals going through over the years, as we will now see.
Adam Chambers, Romaine Sawyers or Erhun Oztumer are all great examples of players who turned into big names for their incredible performances for the club. And then there is the exit of their big talent Allan Clarke or Buckley’s grand return from Birmingham City.
Of course, they are not the only ones and we can mention players such as Makris or Leitao, both of whom commanded the record fee for a long, long time, just like Buckley did in his own time.