The biggest transfer swaps as clubs weigh up exchange deals

Ashley Cole was a hit at Chelea but Alexis Sanchez failed at Man United while Zlatan Ibrahimmovic clashed with Pep Guardiola Barcelona… the biggest transfer swaps as Premier League clubs weigh up exchange deals this summer

  • Premier League clubs will utilise swap deals in this summer’s transfer market
  • There have been several big-name exchange transfers in previous windows
  • Barcelona famously swapped Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Samuel Eto’o in 2009
  • Sportsmail takes a look at football’s most memorable swap deals from the past

Pep Guardiola may not be familiar with the 1970s TV show Swap Shop, where children could exchange unwanted belongings with others, but his summer transfer plans could follow a similar format. 

As revealed by Sportsmail, Manchester City are one of a number of Premier League clubs considering exchange deals due to the financial impact of Covid-19.

Gabriel Jesus and Nathan Ake could both be used as part of a deal to bring Tottenham’s Harry Kane to the Etihad, with the north London club keen on both City players.  

Gabriel Jesus (right) could be used as part of a deal to take Harry Kane (left) from Tottenham to Manchester City with Premier League clubs considering exchange deals this summer

Guardiola is no stranger to exchange deals having negotiated one of the more high profile transfer swaps during his time at Barcelona.

There have been similar deals seen in the Premier League with Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester United having all swapped players in recent years. 

Sportsmail takes a look at some of the biggest swap deals of the past and how they worked out. 

Barcelona had just become the first Spanish side to win the domestic treble when Guardiola decided his squad needed a reshuffle.

Samuel Eto’o had come close to leaving the summer before when the likes of Ronaldinho and Deco were pushed out but the Cameroon international managed to stay on for another season.

Guardiola decided his time was up in July 2009 with the Catalan opting to bring in Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan, with Eto’o and £35million going in the opposite direction.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) joined Barcelona while Samuel Eto’o (right) went to Inter Milan with the Catalans also paying a fee of £35m

It was a deal that proved much more beneficial for Jose Mourinho’s Inter side. The Italians went on to win the Champions League in the following season, beating Barca in the semi-finals.

Ibrahimovic and Guardiola clashed during the Swede’s time at the Nou Camp with the striker unhappy at having to play second fiddle to Lionel Messi. 

In his autobiography, Ibrahimovic wrote: ‘It started well but then Messi started to talk. He wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, so the system changed from 4–3–3 to 4–5–1. I was sacrificed and no longer had the freedom on the pitch I need to succeed.’  

The striker still managed to pick up a LaLiga trophy, the Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and two Spanish Super Cups as he scored 22 goals in 46 appearances. But he only managed one full season before being loaned out to AC Milan, who he joined permanently in 2011. 

Andy Cole for Keith Gillespie + £6m

Keith Gillespie had risen through Manchester United’s academy to make his senior debut in 1993. 

But the winger’s inability to cement a regular place in United’s first-team saw him make the switch to Newcastle in an exchange deal for Andy Cole in 1995.

Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Cole, who had scored 56 goals in 72 games for the Magpies, to bolster his attacking options. 

It was a deal that worked out well for the Red Devils, who also paid a fee of £6m, with Cole scoring 121 goals in 274 for games. The forward picked up nine trophies during his time at Old Trafford and was part of the treble winning side from the 1998-1999 season.

Gillespie became a key part of the Newcastle side dubbed ‘The Entertainers’ but was unable to get his hands on a piece of silverware during his three years at the club. 

Manchester United signed Andy Cole from Newcastle in a swap deal for Keith Gillespie

Gillespie became part of the Newcastle side dubbed ‘The Entertainers’ but did not win a trophy

Ashley Cole for William Gallas + £5m 

Ashley Cole and William Gallas swapped one part of London for another in a deal that went to the wire on transfer deadline day 2006.

The two clubs had been involved in long negotiations before Arsenal relented on their demands of a £25m fee for Cole, instead accepting £5m and Gallas in return. 

The deal worked out better for the Blue half of London. Cole won nine trophies at Stamford Bridge, including the club’s first Champions League in 2012.

Gallas, meanwhile, failed to pick up a single trophy during his four years at Arsenal. 

While the centre back did have some memorable performances in a Gunners shirt, he was stripped of the captaincy in 2008 and famously sat down in the centre circle in a sulk following a 1-1 draw with Birmingham.

When the Frenchman’s contract demands were too high, he joined north London rivals Tottenham. 

William Gallas (left) joined Arsenal from Chelsea as Ashley Cole (right) went the other way

Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez 

Arsenal allowing one of their star players to leave for United had a familiar feel to it after Robin van Persie joined the Red Devils from the Gunners in 2012.

However, Alexis Sanchez’s time at Old Trafford couldn’t have been more different from the Dutchman’s. 

The Chile international joined United in a deal which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan sign for Arsenal in 2018. 

The absence of a transfer fee meant Sanchez was able to negotiate a huge wage of £560,000-a-week. Unfortunately for United, the forward didn’t ever meet expectations. 

Alexis Sanchez (left) joined Manchester United while Henrikh Mkhitaryan (right) signed for Arsenal in 2018

He managed just five goals in 49 appearances and joined Inter Milan on loan in 2019.  

Sanchez accepted a £9m pay-off in order to join Inter permanently in the summer of 2020, a deal United were said to be satisfied with considering he would have earned up to £50m in the final two years of his contract.  

Mkhitaryan may not have cost Arsenal anywhere near the same in wages but he didn’t fare much better in terms of success. He netted nine goals in 59 games with 13 assists, but didn’t manage to pick up a trophy. 

Jermain Defoe for Bobby Zamora + £7m

Despite being West Ham’s top scorer in the 2002-2003 season, Jermain Defoe was unable to prevent the club from being relegated to the second tier. 

The forward handed in a transfer request in the summer but was only allowed to move in January. Tottenham paid £7m for the striker and sent Bobby Zamora up to north London in a deal that worked out well for both clubs.

Defoe scored 22 goals in his first season and went on to help Spurs win the League Cup in 2008. He left the club to join Portsmouth in 2009 but returned the following season and spent another five seasons at White Hart Lane. 

Jermain Defoe joined Tottenham from West Ham for £7m plus Bobby Zamora in 2004

Zamora scored in the play-off final to get West Ham promoted to the Premier League 

Across three spells, which included a brief loan from Toronto in 2014, Defoe managed 143 goals in 362 games. 

Zamora, meanwhile, netted the winner in the Hammers’ Championship play-off final in 2005.

The striker went on to score 38 goals before signing for Fulham with West Ham team-mate John Pantsil for a joint fee of £6.3m. 

Roberto Carlos + £1m for Ivan Zamorano

Ivan Zamorano had scored 28 goals in 38 games to fire Real Madrid to the LaLiga title in 1995. But the emergence of future Real legend Raul saw the Chile forward playing a bit-part role for the Spaniards. 

Inter swooped in to sign Zamorano for £1m plus left back Roberto Carlos, who had been unable to get game time under manager Roy Hodgson.

Roberto Carlos become one of the best left backs in the world after joining Real Madid

Inter Milan received striker Ivan Zamorano and £1m in exchange for the Brazilian defender

Zamorano won the UEFA Cup at Inter and scored 41 goals in 150 appearances but it was Real who got the better end of the deal as Carlos became one of the best left backs in the world.

The Brazilian went on to win 13 trophies with Real and also helped Brazil triumph at the 2002 World Cup.

Carlos would later claim Hodgson ‘destroyed’ him for trying to make him play in defensive midfield. 

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