While we could sit here and talk about how great the Jack Grealish joining Manchester City move or the Romelu Lukaku coming back to Chelsea transfer were two of the most exciting EPL transfers this season, we all know which one tops everybody’s list. Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford, after having spent years abroad making his status of legend that much more immense with both Real Madrid and Juventus, is a piece of news that all football fans, without regard for team fandom felt happy about. CR7’s return home to Manchester feels right, not only for United fans that are seeing their team automatically take the highest spots in the main Premier League winner odds lists all around but also for football fans in general who still believe in the romantic part of the sport.
Given that there’s no question that Ronaldo’s return to the “Red Devils” is easily everybody’s favorite transfer from this season, let’s look back at a few other unexpected but also exciting transfers that rocked the EPL before.
Wayne Rooney, Everton to Manchester United in EPL(2004)
Since we mentioned CR7 coming back home to Man U, why not start the list with the pivotal moment in history where United fans welcomed who would end up becoming their all-time leading scorer and a bonafide club legend, striker Wayne Rooney. To talk about Rooney is to automatically talk about football excellence, especially when it comes to attacking purposes. When we speak of Rooney we speak of one of the best tales that the EPL has been able to witness and live. Ever since jumping into the pro football scene as a 16-year-old for Everton, Rooney put the EPL on notice with his talent, his determination, and above all, his fighting spirit.
It was after his gargantuan playing at the Euro 2004 tournament where Sir Alex Ferguson decided to take Rooney to United thus beginning one of the most legendary tenures in the club’s history. With five Premier League titles, a Champions League title, a Europa League title, and a slew of other domestic cups all won by United in Rooney’s time at Old Trafford, this man is nothing short of a legend.
Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, Corinthians to West Ham United (2006)
When you speak of attacker Carlos Tevez and midfielder/central defender Javier Mascherano, you’re almost speaking about Argentinian football royalty. Two of the most important players in recent Argentinian football history made the leap to Europe from their Brazilian side Corinthians in 2006 to join, no not United, Chelsea or Arsenal, not Liverpool either, but yes, West Ham United. While their time at Upton Park was short-lived, at the time, the fact that a team like West Ham United took the plunge and signed two of Argentina’s top stars from the 2006 World Cup made serious news around the league, as the “Hammers” were looking to them as the starting points and leaders of a team fit to fight not only for local titles but continental titles as well.
Well, sadly the story didn’t go as far after Mascherano would leave just after five games to begin a marvelous European career that started with Liverpool and then took him to Barcelona, and Tevez? Well, you might remember him from playing at Manchester United, then at Manchester City causing the city of Manchester to almost come to a city civil war, and then in Juventus before returning to his mother club of Boca Juniors in Argentina. While West Ham had all the best intentions, there was no real way to keep these two playing at Upton Park for long.
Virgil van Dijk, Southampton to Liverpool (2018)
One could easily mark Liverpool football eras by who was managing them. You have the legendary Bill Shanky era, the subsequent Paisley and Fagan eras, the Rafa Benitez “Spanish Liverpool” era, and now the Jurgen Klopp era. After landing in Anfield Road to take over the managerial spot for Liverpool, german coach Jurgen Klopp got right to work with his team, wanting above all to return the team to their former glory years. While his first two seasons were a bit shaky, it was in the middle of his second season and by using the money from selling Philipe Coutinho to Barcelona that Klopp found just the man he needed to be the captain of his ship, Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk. After paying a whopping 75 million pounds for Van Dijk, the Dutchman got to work and started to cement his status as the new leader of Liverpool’s defense.
Since his arrival, Virgil van Dijk has led Liverpool to two UCL finals, winning one and more importantly, he led the team to finally capturing their first league title in 30 years, something that Liverpool had seen so close and yet so far away for years in. His injuries have stopped his progression a bit but everyone knows that if the Dutchman is in full strength, he can easily be taken as one of the best defenders in the world.
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