Thursday, September 27, 2007

Revealed: Sven's best transfer deals ever

I've just finished a chapter on Sven for the upcoming Purelymancity book but thought I'd put some of the research online first. So far I've found details of 109 transfer deals from Sven's career - 69 players he’s signed and 40 he’s sold.

Here are the three that stand out:

Juan-Sebastian Veron

I've never come across a manager making a multi-million pound profit on the same player twice, but then our Sven is full of surprises.

As Sampdoria manager, Sven signed the 21-year-old Veron from Boca Juniors for £4.5m in August 1996. According to Joe Lovejoy's biography, Sven bought the player after watching a video of him, fearing that another club would beat him to the signing. It was the first time he'd signed a player without seeing him first, but the gamble paid off with Veron quickly establishing himself as an important play-maker.

Financial problems at Sampdoria resulted in Veron being sold to Parma for £13m in 1998, but a year later the two were reunited at Lazio with Sven paying £18.1m for the midfielder. According to Lovejoy, Sven had told the Lazio owner: "Buy me Veron and I will deliver the scudetto." Sven duly delivered, with Veron becoming the key player in Lazio's title-winning season in 1999-2000. After Sven's departure, Veron was sold to United for £28.1m in July 2001, meaning Sven had made his clubs a combined profit of £18.5m on the player.

And that was the last time the words 'Veron' and 'profit' were ever used in the same sentence. In August 2003 United sold Veron to Chelsea for £15m, and less than two years later he was offloaded to Inter on a free transfer.

Christian Vieri

One of the most profitable deals in football's history. Sven brought Vieri to Lazio for £19m in the summer of 1998. After scoring 12 goals in 22 games Vieri was sold to Inter for £31m after just one year at the club.

Ruud Gullit

This is a cheeky one.

As manager of Sampdoria Sven paid Milan £500,000 for Gullit in July 1993, then sold him back to them for £1.3m the following summer. Nine games into the season he brought him back to Sampdoria in exchange for Alessandro Melli.

Below are the details of Sven's transfer deals. If anyone has any names to add please drop me a line at


Sampdoria players in

Sampdoria players out

Lazio players in

Lazio players out


Anonymous said...

You do some interesting stuff here but this...!
For an encore - How about an analysis of referee height and boot size against penalties awarded for and against according to month and manager over the last 47 seasons?

Anonymous said...

Have heard a rumour that Sven has never lost a league game by more than one goal. Unbelievable if true. Do you have any info on this?

Andrew said...


I believe the average referee wears size 38 boots


I'm afraid that's a bit of an urban myth, though no team he's managed has finished lower than 8th in the league.

Anonymous said...

Come back! miss your analysis and reporting!