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Five huge football swap-deals from history: Cole, Carlos and more

Dave Burin | 3 August 2018

Serie A duo have just made huge trade

AC Milan and Juventus have raised eyebrows amongst the footballing world in the last 24 hours.

The Serie A giants have entered into a swap deal, with Leonardo Bonucci rejoining former club Juve. Meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuain has headed to the San Siro.

Following that seismic move, the Coral News Team look back at some of the biggest swap and part-exchange deals in the game’s history…

Andy Cole for Keith Gillespie + £6m (Manchester United and Newcastle United)

Tyneside was left stunned by this decision in January 1995. And many connect the lack of silverware picked up by Kevin Keegan’s Magpies to this ill-advised trade.

There’s no doubt Gillespie was a promising young winger. But he was still fresh and largely untested in the top-flight.  By contrast, ‘Cole the Goal’ had scored a huge 41 goals in all competitions in the 1993-94 season – 34 of them in the Premier League.

While neither side won the title that year, Cole played a crucial role in the following campaign. The lethal striker again reached double figures in the Prem as the Red Devils pipped Newcastle to the title.

Roberto Carlos + £1m for Ivan Zamorano (Real Madrid and Inter Milan)

The pragmatic football of mid-nineties Serie A was not the perfect place for a marauding full-back of Carlos’ nature. So this was a deal which made sense for both sides, back in 1996.

It was Los Blancos who ended up getting the better of the swap. The Brazilian played an integral part in the club’s ‘Galactico’ era, helping them to four La Liga titles and a trio of Champions League crowns.

As for Zamorano, he never quite recaptured the form he’d enjoyed in Spain. And following the arrival of Ronaldo – who took the Chilean’s number nine shirt – at the San Siro, he’s mostly remembered for wearing a kit with ‘1 + 8’ on the back.

Francesco Coco for Clarence Seedorf (AC Milan and Inter Milan)

While deals between city rivals are rare on these shores, there’s a long list of players who’ve played for both Milan clubs. But it was AC who got one over on their foes with this 2002 deal.

After two good but unspectacular campaigns with Inter, Seedorf went on to become a Rossoneri legend. The attacking midfielder netted 63 times in 431 outings, picking up two Serie A titles and a couple of UCL winners’ medals along the way.

As for the highly-rated Coco, injuries and poor form hampered his time at Inter. He played just 26 league games in a five-year stint, before retiring at 30-years-old.

William Gallas + £5m for Ashley Cole (Arsenal and Chelsea)

Cole’s 2006 exit from North London caused a good deal of rancour amongst Arsenal fans. And they weren’t any happier when the left-back went on to enjoy eight superb seasons at Stamford Bridge – cementing his reputation as the world’s best left-back.

Along the way, he picked up a Premier League title (in 2009-10), as well as winning four FA Cups. And he starred in the Blues’ 2009 semi-final win over his old club at Wembley.

Gallas never had quite the same impact at the Emirates, and exited after four solid but unspectacular seasons.

Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal and Manchester United)

The jury’s still out on this trade, which happened in January 2018. But so far, it’s the Gunners who will be the happier.

The Armenian has chalked up three goals and six assists in 17 games for Arsenal. That included a magnificent solo display in February’s 5-1 demolition of Everton.

Up to now, Sanchez hasn’t fit into United’s playing style. He’s cut a frustrated figure – but these are still early days, and the Chilean could well find his stride again this season.

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