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The Premier League’s first ever summer transfer window will remind you of a simpler, happier time

The year was 2002, Pascal Cygan and Titus Bramble were the in-demand centre-backs...

Transfer fees used to mean something.

Players had concrete values and it was relatively easy to judge whether a club had overpaid or blagged a bargain.

It was a simpler time.


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The first ever obligatory Premier League summer transfer window was in 2002.

Prior to that it was the wild west — players would switch clubs throughout the year.

How Jim White survived, we’ll never know.

Go home, Jim, you’ve been awake for days…

Sky Sports
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Go home, Jim, you’ve been awake for days…

To help you get through the stress of this current deadline day with its surreal fees and mind-numbing rumour mill, allow us to pump you full of nostalgic goodness by running through the most notable transfers of that first window 16 years ago…

Nicolas Anelka – PSG to Man City for £13million

Shout out Eyal Berkovic as well

PA:Press Association
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Shout out Eyal Berkovic as well

These days we’re used to these two clubs busying themselves with big-money moves, but that wasn’t the case in 2002.

City still called Maine Road home and the oil money was a few years off.

The newly-promoted side splashed out on Le Sulk to add some Premier League experience to their squad.

Anelka top scored for City with 14 goals as they finished a respectable 9th upon their return to the top flight.

El Hadji Diouf – Lens to Liverpool for £10million

Boo! Hiss!

PA:Press Association
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Boo! Hiss!

Believe it or not, Diouf was a widely popular player in 2002.

His inspired performances for Senegal at the World Cup won him plenty of admirers, not least Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier.

Diouf was joined by international team-mate Salif Diao at Anfield but his abrasive personality soon led to a unfavourable reputation.

The lesson here? Don’t buy players off the back of a World Cup.

And don’t spit at people, that as well.

Rio Ferdinand – Leeds to Man United for £30million

Controversial… and that’s just the outfit

PA:Press Association
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Controversial… and that’s just the outfit

£30million won’t get you half a Kepa Arrizabalaga these days but it was a serious wedge back in the day.

Ferdinand angered the Elland Road faithful by crossing the Pennines to join Leeds’ biggest rivals in the aftermath of the World Cup.

They didn’t take it well…

Reuters
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They didn’t take it well…

Questions were asked of the transfer fee but Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision was ultimately justified as Ferdinand established himself as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever defenders.

Ferdinand remained football’s most expensive defender ever for 12 years, with David Luiz’s switch from Chelsea to PSG finally setting a new bar in 2014.

Jay Jay Okocha – PSG to Bolton for FREE

Big Sam working his magic

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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Big Sam working his magic

One of the great free transfers.

Okocha will forever be one of the most entertaining players to have graced English soil.

The Nigerian No10 wowed fans with unique tricks and skills, making him a favourite of neutrals everywhere.

Kids spent their lunch breaks practising rainbow kicks because of this man.

Titus Bramble – Ipswich to Newcastle for £5million

Not a natural Champions League player

Reuters
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Not a natural Champions League player

History has not been kind to this transfer.

Bramble was a hotly-tipped prospect during his Ipswich days with many fancying him as a future England international.

However, a string of calamitous errors damaged his reputation irreparably and he became a punchline among Premier League fans.

Poor Titus…

Gilberto Silva – Atletico Mineiro to Arsenal for £4.5million

O2 sponsored Arsenal, drink it in

Reuters
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O2 sponsored Arsenal, drink it in

A perennially underrated midfielder who shied away from the spotlight for the good of his team.

Hardly anything was known about Gilberto when he signed for the Gunners (except that he’d won the World Cup!) but his understated, selfless style soon won over the fans.

The Invincibles’ workhorse.

Juninho – Atletico Madrid to Middlesbrough for £6million

Mr Popular

PA:Press Association
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Mr Popular

Teeside’s favourite Brazilian secured his heroic status in the North East when he returned for a second spell with Boro five years after he left.

A joy to watch at times, he helped Middlesbrough win the 2004 League Cup and reminded fans of his scintillating peak in 1996/97.

Robbie Keane – Leeds to Spurs for £7million

Good bit of business

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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Good bit of business

Everyone’s favourite Irishman cartwheeled his way down the M1 on deadline day.

Having dashed from Wolves to Coventry, Inter and Leeds in a manic few years, Keane settled in north London for six seasons, reaching double figures for league goals in every campaign.

Even accounting for inflation, he was a bargain.

Hugo Viana – Sporting CP to Newcastle for £8.5million

Mike Ashley does not approve

PA:Press Association
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Mike Ashley does not approve

Yep, that’s right, Newcastle spent more money in the summer of 2002 than they have in 2018.

The Portuguese midfielder proved to be an ultimately underwhelming recruit, but at least the ambition was there.

Pascal Cygan – Lille to Arsenal for £2.1million

You sure?

PA:Press Association
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You sure?

Arsene Wenger deserves his legendary status but bloody hell, he signed a few terrible centre-backs during his time.

The follicly-challenged Frenchman contributed to the Gunners’ unbeaten league campaign in 2003/04 but he was never more than a fringe player, and not a particularly reliable one at that.

Physically dominate, Cygan relished an old-fashioned battle but any forward with even a hint of pace tended to spread him on toast.

What a time to be alive…


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