The Top 10 hijacked transfer deals
King of the transfer deal Harry Redknapp has been up to his old tricks again, this time poaching Eidur Gudjohnsen from under the noses of West Ham by ambushing the Icelandic star at Heathrow airport.
Foul! Cried West Ham , but when it comes to transfer signings, the rules are there are no rules. Gianfranco Zola is far from the first manager to find he has been gazumped at the last minute by a rival boss.
And just to prove it, here are MirrorFootball 's top 10 hijacked transfer deals.
1) Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid and Barcelona, 1953)
Think things used to be more gentlemanly back in the day? Not on your nelly. Both Real Madrid and hated rivals Barcelona claimed to have signed Di Stefano in a mysterious and messy battle when he first moved to Spain in 1953. He even played three friendlies for Barca before the Franco regime stepped in and ordered that the two clubs should share him. Each was to have him for two years at a time but Barcelona rejected this frankly ridiculous proposal and The Blond Arrow signed for Real.
2) Archie Gemmill (Derby and Everton, 1970)
Reigning League champions Everton thought they had Preston midfielder Archie Gemmill in the bag, but Brian Clough had other ideas - even though he had never seen the Scot play. After a tip off from partner in crime Peter Taylor, Clough drove straight round to Gemmill's house and demanded he sign for Derby. Gemmill wasn't sure but Old Big 'Ead wouldn't leave and ended up staying the night in the spare room. Gemmill signed over breakfast the next morning.
3) Paul Gascoigne (Tottenham and Manchester United, 1988)
Fergie is normally the one poaching players from other clubs but this time the boot was on the other foot. When he decided to leave Newcastle, Gazza held talks with Ferguson and promised him he would join Manchester United. Fergie went off on holiday to Malta, happy with his latest acquisition. But he must have been choking on his pina colada when he heard Gazza had carried on south and signed for Terry Venables at Spurs instead.
4) Mo Johnston (Rangers and Celtic 1989)
The most contentious transfer in the history of Scottish football, and one that managed to upset almost everyone involved. A Catholic and former Celtic star, Johnston had left for French club Nantes in 1987 declaring he would never return to Scotland. Two seasons later he was desperate to come home and announced he would rejoin Celtic. At the very last minute, he performed the biggest u-turn since Sol Campbell joined Arsenal, and signed for Rangers instead, earning himself a catchy nickname at Parkhead: Judas.
5) Ian Woan (Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth, 1990)
Cloughie again, this time getting one over on the man who would become his successor as top mover in the transfer market. Harry Redknapp was in his first job at Bournemouth when he spotted Ian Woan playing for Runcorn. Redknapp takes up the story: "Before the deal was finalised Brian Clough saw on Teletext we were about to sign the lad. He told his staff: 'Redknapp knows the non-league - who is this Woan?'
"No one knew so Cloughie got on to the Runcorn manager, discovered that although a deal had been agreed the kid hadn't signed. He doubled our £25,000 bid on the spot and signed him without ever seeing him play. Woan turned out to be a good player for Forest."
6) Roy Keane (Manchester United and Blackburn, 1993)
Heard the one about the Scotsman, the Irishman and the other Scotsman? Future Manchester United captain Roy Keane was on his way out of relegated Nottingham Forest in 1993 and had agreed a deal to join Blackburn. By the time Keano and Rovers boss Kenny Dalglish had thrashed out a deal, it was too late on a Friday afternoon to put through the paperwork, so Keane went home ready to sign first thing Monday morning. Over the weekend, Alex Ferguson got wind of the deal and got Keano on the phone. "Whit de ya want te join them fir? You're signing fir me laddy," he probably didn't say. Even so, Keano told Dalglish to shove it and signed for United.
7) Amdy Faye (Portsmouth, 2003)
A classic Harry deal, and one Cloughie would have been proud of. With several Premier League clubs sniffing around him, Redknapp played Faye in a friendly under the pseudonym “Andy Henry” to trick other scouts (against FA rules). A few days later he found out the Senegalese midfielder was on his way to Heathrow airport to fly to Paris. “I go and find him, capture him,” Redknapp said. “I bundle him into the car back to my home in Bournemouth. Get him in the house and we’ve got two bulldogs. I said, ‘Amdy, if you escape, these dogs, one of them will bite your legs, the other bites your b*****ks.’" Faye didn't dare move and by the following morning Harry had him signed up for Pompey.
8) Dietmar Hamman (Manchester City and Bolton, 2006)
Never mind Stevie G's heroics, the introduction of Dietmar Hamman at half time in the 2005 Champions League Final was the key to Liverpool turning the tide in that game. When his Anfield contract ran out, Didi was keen to stay in the north west and signed a pre-contract agreement with Bolton in 2006. He quickly had a change of mind though and joined Manchester City instead, who had to pay compensation to the Trotters. "Didi Hamann is a history breaker. This is the best transfer deal I have ever done in my life," said Bolton chief Sam Allardyce. "I am the only manager to get £400,000 for a player who never kicked a ball for the club."
9) Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United and Manchester City, 2008)
Alex Ferguson had pursued the Tottenham striker for months but at the last minute it looked like he might lose out to rivals Manchester City when they outbid United on transfer deadline day in August 2008, just after their takeover. Undeterred, Fergie took matters into his own hands and made sure he was at Manchester Airport to meet Berba's private jet from London. After spiriting him away for a medical, Fergie emerged triumphant with his new £31million man. "This is a key signing. Dimitar is one of the best and most exciting strikers in world football," he said as City were forced to accept they had been beaten.
10) Robinho (Manchester City and Chelsea, 2008)
Not that City went home empty handed, as they managed to bag Brazilian star Robinho on the same day. Chelsea were so sure that the Real Madrid forward was theirs that they had even started advertising Robinho shirts in the club shop. Then he went and signed for new rich kids on the block City, and Chelsea looked like right berks. "Of course, my goal was to go to Chelsea," Robinho said. "But the mistake by Chelsea to put my name on the jersey without me having signed anything dented Real Madrid's pride."