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Football's top five surprises in the 2011 transfer market

Last updated on: December 20, 2011 08:48 IST

Football's top five surprises in the 2011 transfer market

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In a year when the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan made big ticket moves, there were some footballers who surprised us with their decisions.

Surprising, not only because of the clubs they were leaving, whatever be the reasons, but also due to their expected destinations.

Bikash Mohapatra takes a look at a few such strange moves.

Samuel Eto'o

By his own admission it wasn't money that prompted Samuel Eto'o to leave Inter Milan for a relatively unknown Anzhi Makhachkala.

That the 30-year-old was reportedly paid 28 million euros to leave Italian shores for Russia is another matter altogether.

"Anzhi made an offer, which was at the same level as my talent, and they are paying me what they think I am worth," the Cameroonian was quoted as saying afterwards.

Eto'o had won the Champions League, the Serie A and two domestic cups during his stint at San Siro, scoring 53 goals in 102 matches (37 in 53 games in 2010-11).

Before that he had had an equally successful stint with FC Barcelona.

However, this move, which involves him living and training in Moscow but traveling to the province of Dagestan to play the home matches, was definitely surprising.

Eto'o, however, has been quoted as saying that Anzhi's owner, billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, was a key factor behind his decision.

"He told me he wanted to build a big team and he thought about me as someone who could lead that project. It touched me because I had only seen myself as a professional player, not a project leader and this new challenge was important to me," he was quoted as saying as the reason behind his move.


Image: Samuel Eto'o
Photographs: Getty Images

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Highly-rated Krkic opts for AS Roma

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Bojan Krkic

Chelsea wanted him. So did Tottenham Hotspur.

Bojan Krkic, though, preferred AS Roma.

The highly-rated player left FC Barcelona for the Roman club at the start of the season, as he was not one of Pep Guardiola's first-choice forwards, as a result spending much of his time on the substitutes' bench.

The transition has been anything but smooth. The 21-year-old has scored just three goals for his new club and was red-carded in the 0-3 defeat against Fiorentina for handling the ball.

Even as he walked back, Bojan threw his shirt into the crowd, an action he later regretted an apologized for.

While the youngster has failed to replicate his form at the Stadio Olimpico, his club is also not doing particularly well. Bojan, though, has confirmed he is committed to Roma for the time being.

There is some good news, though. The Catalan club have an option to buy him back in two years' time.


Image: Bojan Krkic
Photographs: Getty Images
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Pastore records seventh highest transfer to Paris Saint-Germain

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Javier Pastore

Javier Pastore's 42 million euros move from Palermo to Paris Saint-Germain made him the seventh highest transfer of all-time.

The price PSG paid to the Italian club was almost eight times the price the Serie A club had paid Huracan to hire the services of the Argentine.

The money factor apart, the move was surprising considering PSG haven't done much in recent years and Pastore had attracted interest from a host of other clubs.

The young player, nicknamed El Flaco, impressed early on in the Ligue 1, scoring six times in his first few games while taking his new club to the top of the table.

Thereafter, his performances began to dip even as his club surrendered their lead. The playmaker's excuse: he was not used to playing three games a week and the rigours of the French and the Europa Leagues had taken its toll on him.

"I am not affected by critics. That is part of the game," he was quoted as saying, while retaliating to the criticisms regarding his mid-season fatigue.

However, the fact remains if he felt exhausted with his assignments in the Parc des Princes, what would have been the case had he moved to a bigger club.


Image: Javier Pastore
Photographs: Getty Images

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Falcao chooses Atletico Madrid over Chelsea

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Radamel Falcao

He scored a record 17 goals in FC Porto's successful Europa League campaign earlier in the year. Overall, he scored 34 times, winning four trophies, including the Portuguese title.

In the close season transfer market he attracted the attention of biggies like Chelsea. It was, therefore, surprising when Radamel Falcao joined Atletico Madrid.

Agreed Atletico's purchase was a Portuguese record transfer deal -- worth 40m euro (34.7m pounds). However, Madrid's second club is at most a mid-table club, its last league and cup title having come way back in 1996.

They would at most have promised the Colombian another Europa League opportunity. Considering he had won that, one would have expected him to look for Champions League action.

The 25-year-old has definitely impressed at the Vicente Calderon, scoring eight times in 11 matches. However, there has been criticism and doubts about his ability.

Moreover, his club is not doing as well as the management would have expected.

El Tigre had been brought to replace Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero. To his credit he has done that. But the quality of his club means he will have to wait till he gets into a bigger club.


Image: Radamel Falcao
Photographs: Getty Images

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Gyan heads to Sunderland

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Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan joined Sunderland from French side Rennes only last summer.

The Ghanaian striker hit 10 goals in the Premier League, thereby justifying his 13 million pounds acquisition by the Black Cats.

However, in September he left on a season long loan to UAE Pro-League club Al Ain, with Niall Quinn, the Sunderlandchairman, emphasising the financial benefits of the deal for both the club and the player.

The move came as a surprise as the 25-year-old had been linked with the likes of Tottenham, Real Madrid and Marseille.

However, with Sunderland hovering around the relegation zone, and the subsequent sacking of coach Steve Bruce, there is hope.

New coach (Martin O'Neill) has promised to look at the possibility of the player's return to the club.


Image: Asamoah Gyan
Photographs: Getty Images

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