5 worst swap deals in history

Sanchez & Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic & Eto’o…

Recently, two big football clubs, Barcelona and Juventus, agreed a player swap deal that left many scratching their heads and many fans of the Spanish giants particularly flabbergasted and enraged.

The deal involved Barcelona’s Arthur going to Juventus and Miralem Pjanic of Juventus going the other way. Barcelona paid € 60 million for 30-year-old Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic and Juventus paid € 72 million for 23-year-old Arthur Melo.

Many Barcelona fans are disgruntled with the manager and have asked for his resignation. The move was bizarre as Barcelona let go an young rising superstar and have brought in an ageing midfielder.

The Barcelona core is not getting any younger. The likes of Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Sergio Busquests are all over the age of 30. Adding Miralem Pjanic to the mix does not make any sense from Barcelona’s perspective whatsover but Juventus managed to negotiable an unbelievable deal for themselves.

On that note, we look at the five worst player swap deals in football history.

5: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal to Manchester United) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United to Arsenal)

Alexis Sanchez was one of Arsenal Football club’s best ever acquisitions while Mkhitaryan was delivering some fine performances for Manchester United.

Sanchez was particularly prolific for Arsenal, scoring 80 goals and providing 45 assists across 166 matches in all competitions. The Chilean football player was one of the top players in the Premier League at the time. When his swap deal with Manchester United was announced, with Mkhitaryan going the other way, everyone thought the Old Trafford club had pulled off a stunner.

Alexis Sanchez and Manchester United had a simple mutual goal – to win trophies. Having a signed a deal that earned him more than € 400,000, the football fans at the Manchester club expected fireworks from Sanchez right from the start.

However, they were in for massive disappointment as the Red Devils had signed a player whose form and ability had dipped so badly that he was now a pale shadow of his former self. Sanchez looked horribly out of touch at United and did nothing to justify his lofty wages.

In 45 appearances, he managed to score only five goals for Manchester United before he was loaned off to Italian football club Inter Milan.

4: Ashley Cole (Arsenal to Chelsea) – Wiliam Gallas (Chelsea to Arsenal)

This deal seemed reasonable at the time. William Gallas was desperate to leave Chelsea and reportedly threatened to score own goals if that could force a move out. Ashley Cole on the other side of London was unhappy with the £ 60,000 a week he was being offered at Arsenal.

The two London football clubs then made a swap deal involving the two players with Arsenal receiving an additional £ 5 million for the arrival of Cole at Chelsea. As it turned out, Chelsea emerged the clear beneficiaries of this swap deal.

Ashley Cole reached greater heights with Chelsea. He won the Premier League, Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea and also won four FA Cup titles. Cole went on to establish himself as one of the best full-backs in Premier League history with Chelsea.

However, Gallas’ career nosedived. The Frenchman became notorious for his numerous squabbles with teammates and for the infamous instance when he kicked the advertising hoarding and sat down sulking near the semi-circle after giving away a penalty.

3: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter to Barcelona) – Samuel Eto’o swap deal (Barcelona to Inter)

Even though many questioned the necessity and wisdom behind this swap deal, no one could have predicted the disastrous consequences that would follow.

Samuel Eto’o was a vital part of the Barcelona squad that had just dominated Europe and Spain, winning sextuplet of Champions League, Copa del Rey, La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and the Club World Cup. However, Barcelona agreed to offload the Cameroonian for Zlatan Ibrahimovich.

There’s no denying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a fantastic player, but there was’t really any sound logic to replace the talismanic Cameroonian with the Swede. Barcelona had to part with Samuel Eto’o and around € 43 miillion for Inter Milan’s Ibrahimovic.

At Inter, Samuel Eto’o went to emulate the success he had enjoyed at Barcelona, winning the treble of Champions League, Serie A and Copa Italia titles. Inter Milan beat Barcelona in that season’s Champions League semifinal.

On the other hand, Ibrahimovic had a terrible time at Barcelona, where he had several altercations with Pep Guariola before leaving Camp Nou after an underwhelming season.

2: Francesco Coco (Milan to Inter) – Clarence Seedorf (Inter to Milan)

The Sameul Eto’o – Zlatan Ibrahimovic deal was an example of a swap deal that went right and perhaps even exceeded expectations for Inter Milan.

The deal involving Francesco Coco and Clarence Seedorf made little sense, though. I know what you’re thinking – who is Francesco Coco and why did Inter Milan decide to bring him in exchange for Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf?

Seedorf had already won two Champions League trophies with Real Madrid and went on collect to collect two more with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. His glittering career at AC Milan also included two Serie A titles where he showed promise in his early years.

Like Seedorf at Inter, Francesco Coco was also a fairlsuccessful player at AC Milan; he was even expected to replace Paolo Maldini at one point but his growth seemed to stagnate at the Italian football club.

Coco went on to have a pretty forgettable time at Inter Milan, never being in the news for the right reasons. He retired at the age of 30 to try his luck in Hollywood, where he unsurprisingly failed to make a mark.

1: Fabio Cannavaro (Inter to Juventus) – Fabian Carini (Juventus to Inter)

This was another football transfer deal carried out by Inter Milan that left football fans across the world questioning the logic behind the move.

Again, what were Inter Milan thinking? Who in their right mind would swap Fabio Cannavaro, one of the greatest defenders in the history of football, for a back up keeper? But Inter did just that.

Although Cannavaro had faced injury issues, he was still a top defender. He went on to win two Serie A titles with Juventus in as many seasons.

After the Calciopoli scandal, the Bianconeri were stripped of both their titles and relegated to Serie B. That led to Cannavaro leaving the Turin football club to join Real Madrid. Cannavaro of course, won the FIFA World Cup and the Ballon d’or in 2006.

The swap deal involving Fabio Corini moving from Juventus to Inter made sense from the former’s perspective. Carini hardly made any appearances for Juventus in the four years he stayed with them. However, even at Inter, he featured in just four games in three years before shipped off to Spanish minnows Real Murcia.



  1. Reply


  2. Reply

    I love this update

  3. Reply

    Blese u

  4. Reply

    That of Eto marvels me

  5. Reply

    Good to know

  6. Reply

    Good article

  7. Reply

    Good to know

  8. Reply

    This is really good and interesting to know

  9. Reply

    Nice update

  10. Profile photo ofItz Kvng Twitch


    Very interesting

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  14. Reply

    They are the worst swap deals indeed

  15. Reply

    Nice article

  16. Reply

    True tho

  17. Reply


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  20. Reply

    I love this

  21. Profile photo ofSommycruz


    I tire

  22. Profile photo ofExcel01


    Don’t like the recent swap of players between Arthur and pjanic

  23. Profile photo ofcelestine


    Nice update

  24. Reply


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  26. Reply

    This is good

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  30. Reply

    Nice update…….thanks for sharing

  31. Reply


  32. Reply

    Nice one….thanks for sharing

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