Tue, 30 May 2023

The Best Sports Trades & Transfers Of All Time

22 Jul 2022, 21:42 GMT+10

If you want to build a successful sports club or franchise, you must be extremely adept at buying, selling or trading players and coaches.

While the history of sport is awash with deals that have transformed a club's fortunes, there are also numerous examples of things going disastrously wrong.

We will focus on the positives on this occasion by looking at five of the best sports trades and transfer transactions ever completed.

Cantona transforms Manchester United

Cantona's move from Leeds United during the 1991/92 season is widely regarded as one of the best Manchester United transfers of all time.

You would be hard pushed to argue with that viewpoint given the transformative effect the French striker had on United's fortunes.

He not only helped United win four Premier League titles, but was responsible for changing the culture around the club.

The Red Devils paid Leeds just £1.6 million to secure Cantona's services - a superb value deal whichever way you want to look at it.

Shanahan the missing link in Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings had come close to winning the Stanley Cup in 1995 and 1996, but were unable to haul themselves over the finish line.

Just one week into the 1996/97 season, the Red Wings traded Paul Coffey, Keith Primeau and a first-round pick to the Hartford Whalers for Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan proved to be the missing piece in the jigsaw, helping the Red Wings win three Stanley Cups in a glittering six-year period.

While the team already had plenty of talent at their disposal, Shanahan's all-action style was unquestionably the cherry on top of the cake.

Patriots pull off a masterstroke

The controversial transaction between the Patriots and Jets in 2000 saw the former acquire one of the finest coaches ever to grace the NFL.

On the same day Bill Belichick was set to succeed Bill Parcells as the New York Jets' next head coach, he tendered his resignation and headed to New England.

The Patriots gave up their first-round pick and several late round picks for the following year to the Jets in exchange for Belichick and a few picks.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was convinced he had done the right thing and was vindicated as Belichick led the Patriots to an unprecedented era of success.

Bledsoe gamble pays off

After winning their first Super Bowl title at the end of the 2001 season, the New England Patriots had a big decision to make over franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

Bledsoe had been a regular starter for the Patriots since 1993, but an injury he suffered against theJets changed the course of history.

Tom Brady subsequently led the Patriots to their first NFL championship which prompted the franchise to offload Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bills.

Brady ended up winning a further five Super Bowls with the Patriots to cement his status as one of the NFL's all-time greats.

Viva Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo was the subject of the then-most expensive soccer transfer in the world when he left Man United to join Real Madrid in 2009.

The Portuguese star won 15 trophies with Madrid including four Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey.

He became the club's leading all-time goalscorer during a period where he and Barcelona rival Lionel Messi rewrote the record books.

Ronaldo won four Ballon d'or awards during that period and was runner-up three times behind Messi. Spanish football had never had it so good.

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