Five greatest Premier League veteran transfers: Larsson, Cambiasso and more
Robbie Purves | March 29, 2016
PSG’s Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave the club this summer and has put Premier League clubs on high alert
The 34-year-old boasts an outstanding goal record, scoring 102 in a 116 domestic appearances since his arrival in Paris four years ago.
Speaking after PSG’s 2-1 Champions League last 16 first leg win over Chelsea in February, he mentioned a move to the Premier League and now seems destined to arrive on our shores.
West Ham United have been rumoured to be a potential destination, as the Hammers move into the Olympic stadium and co-owner David Sullivan has reportedly made signing Sweden’s record goal-scorer a priority.
However, Coral have Manchester United as 9/4 favourites to land Ibrahimovic and could be reunited with his former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho. if the Red Devils remove Louis van Gaal come the summer.
As Zlatan looks set for a Premier League switch, we look at other veteran stars that made successful switches to England in the latter years of their careers…
Henrik Larsson – Man Utd (35)
Ibrahimovic potentially arriving in Manchester in the twilight of his career has shades of compatriot Henrik Larsson’s move in 2007.
After rejoining his home team Helsingborg, a side Larsson scored 50 goals in 56 appearances for in his first spell and who he currently manages, the Celtic legend moved to Old Trafford on loan during the winter. This spell only lasted from January 1st to March 12th – coinciding with the Allsvenskan’s break.
The Swede, nicknamed King Henrik by Bhoys fans, scored on his debut against Aston Villa in a home FA Cup tie and netted his first Premier League strike in a 4-0 win over Watford.
Sir Alex Ferguson was eager to extend his stay, but Larsson said he promised his family he would return in March. Man Utd’s legendary manager gushed with praise for the forward:
“He’s been fantastic for us, his professionalism, his attitude, everything he’s done has been excellent. We would love him to stay but, obviously, he has made his promise to his family and Helsingborg and I think we should respect that – but I would have done anything to keep him.”
United won the Premier League title two months after Larsson left and, although the did not play the required 10 games to qualify for a league winners medal, he was granted special dispensation and was presented with one.
The Red Devils may be way off winning a title any time soon but are 15/8 chances to make the top four.
Esteban Cambiasso – Leicester City (34)
After spending 10 years with Inter Milan, winning five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia crown and and a Champions League, the legendary Argentina midfielder moved to then recently promoted Leicester City in 2014.
During his first interview for the club, he cited the Foxes’ desperate pursuit of him and the lure of the Premier League as reasons to signing.
Cambiasso made his Leicester debut on September 13th against Stoke City, coming on as a half-time substitute and he immediately showed his class, impressing in their 1–0 win and first of the league season. The Argentine scored his first Foxes goal when they pulled off a famous 5-3 comeback against Man Utd after trailing 1-3 with half an hour left.
Veteran midfielder Cambiasso gave Leicester the lead against West Ham in a game that Nigel Pearson’s men went on to win 2-1, their first league victory in eight games. This started a streak of seven wins and a draw that saw the East Midlands outfit claw their way out of the relegation places.
Named Foxes Player of the Year after his impressive spell in England and a key part in Leicester’s survival, Cambiasso was offered a new deal with the club, but turned it down in favour of a move to Greece with Olympiacos.
Gary McAllister – Liverpool (35)
In July 2000, Gary McAllister completed a surprise Bosman transfer to Liverpool and many fans questioned manager Gerard Houllier’s decision to sign the 35 year-old.
However, during his short spell at Anfield, McAllister played a vital role in the team that won a treble of cups in 2001 and was described by Houllier as one of his greatest signings.
His presence, intelligent play and wealth of experience made a strong impression on the younger members of the squad and inspired those around him when they found themselves in difficulty.
Scotland mdfielder McAllister was Man of the Match after the 2001 UEFA cup final with Alaves in Dortmund, where he was involved with four of Liverpool’s five goals.
He scored a penalty winner against Barcelona in the semi-final beforehand and followed it up with a sensational 44-yard free-kick that won the Merseyside derby against Everton in the fourth minute of stoppage time, cementing himself into Anfield folklore. Many wondered why McAllister wasn’t brought to the Reds before.
Laurent Blanc – Man Utd (35)
After five years and three failed attempts, Ferguson eventually got his man, signing Laurent Blanc from Inter Milan in 2001 to replace Jaap Stam.
The World Cup winning centre back got off to a shaky start, but soon showed the ball skills, leadership qualities and ability in the air that attracted United.
Blanc helped the Red Devils to the 2002/03 title and scored four goals in his time in Manchester, three of which were in the Champions League. Sir Alex hailed his off the field influence, in the dressing room and with the younger players rather than his exploits on it.
Jurgen Klinsmann – Spurs (30)
In 1994 striker Jurgen Klinsmann moved to Spurs. The fans were very critical of this transfer, partly due to him playing in the 1990 West Germany team that knocked England out of the World Cup and partly down to his reputation as a dramatic diver.
He arrived in north London from Monaco for a fee of £2m. Klinsmann scored on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday and immediately won over supporters with a self deprecating diving celebration.
Because of his sense of humour, but also his athletic, combative style of play, Klinsmann became extremely popular in England. One journalist wrote and article entitled ‘Why I Hate Jurgen Klinsmann’ when he signed and wrote another ‘Why I Love Jurgen Klinsmann’ two months later.
Klinsmann scored an amazing 30 goals in all competitions in his only season with Tottenham in his first spell.
After successful spells at Bayern Munich where he set a new record of 15 goals in 12 games in the UEFA Cup which the Bundesliga big boys won, and Sampdoria, the forward returned to Spurs. At the age of 33, Klinsmann’s goals saved the club from relegation after arriving in the winter.