Top Tenner best swap deals: Cole-Gallas, Eto-Ibrahimovic and more

Swap deals in top level football are pretty rare, so when two "world-class" players like Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan did so for Arsenal and Manchester United it got us wondering which other swaps have made waves in recent years? And who got the best of the deal?

2006: Ashley Cole for William Gallas, Arsenal and Chelsea

Remember when everyone took tapping up really seriously? Chelsea and Jose Mourinho were given a fine and a hefty slap on the wrist for daring to meet Cole before his move from Arsenal, which essentially did nothing except make the whole deal much more complicated. Indeed, on Aug. 31 it didn't look like it would even happen, until Gallas was mooted as part of a swap deal. Gallas was a decent player for Arsenal, even if he did commit the sin of a defender wearing the No. 10 shirt, but won zero trophies there and is probably best remembered for an on-pitch sulk against Birmingham in 2008. Cole won the Premier League and Champions League with Chelsea.

Who got the better deal: Chelsea

1995: Andy Cole and Keith Gillespie, Manchester United and Newcastle United

Transfers 23 years ago weren't quite as drawn out as they are now. Sure, there were sagas, but transfers were much more likely to happen out of the blue. In January, Manchester United were trying to sign Stan Collymore from Nottingham Forest, but after a call from Sir Alex Ferguson went unreturned they shocked everyone by instead buying Cole from Newcastle, for £6 million plus Gillespie. The winger would go on to help Newcastle challenge United for the title, but that would ultimately end in memorable failure. Cole, on the other hand, won five Premier League titles and the treble in 1999.

Who got the better deal: Manchester United

1996: Roberto Carlos and Ivan Zamorano, Real Madrid and Inter

You couldn't call Zamorano anything close to a failure at Inter but after turning in a couple of 30-plus goal seasons at Real, he was rarely the main man at Inter, gazumped by the arrival of pricier and more glamourous strikers like Ronaldo, Christian Vieri and Roberto Baggio. Roberto Carlos would eventually play over 500 times for Real Madrid, winning four league titles and three Champions Leagues. It almost feels harsh to write Zamorano off, but there's little doubt who won this transfer.

Who got the better deal: Real Madrid

2001: Andrea Pirlo for Andres Guglielminpietro, Milan and Inter

You all remember Guglielminpietro, right? Better known as "Guly," he played for three teams in Italy before a wandering last few years of his career, winning six caps for Argentina. In fairness Guly was a relatively minor part of the transfer that took Pirlo from Inter to Milan, but whoever signed off on the deal at Inter must feel like the guy at Decca Records who turned down the Beatles. Pirlo, once everyone had worked out that his best position was a deep-lying playmaker, would go on to define the role and was part of perhaps the last great Milan team.

Who got the better deal: AC Milan

2004: Michael Owen and Antonio Nunez, Liverpool and Real Madrid

Owen stayed at Real Madrid for a season, was never really a first-team regular and reportedly used to drive out to Barajas Airport to buy English papers, it not occurring to him to wander to one of the numerous kiosks a few minutes from his hotel. But he did manage a very respectable 13 goals in 20 league starts and Real doubled their money when they sold him to Newcastle. On the other hand, Liverpool got Nunez in part-exchange, a nondescript winger who you'd struggle to notice when he was on the pitch, which wasn't very often, even if Rafa Benitez did insist at the time that the deal would not have happened if Nunez wasn't included.

Who got the better deal: Real Madrid

2009: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o, Barcelona and Inter

One for the "what were they thinking?" files. Sure, Ibrahimovic was one of the best strikers in the world, and new Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola wanted rid of Eto'o, whom he regarded as a disruptive influence. But to agree a deal worth around £60m to bring Ibrahimovic to Camp Nou looked eccentric at the time, and seems like lunacy now. Under Jose Mourinho, Inter would win the treble, while Ibrahimovic almost instantly fell out with Guardiola and left after only one season. A post-script: Alexander Hleb was supposed to be part of this transfer, but turned down Inter in favour of a season on loan at Stuttgart.

Who got the better deal: Inter

2011: David Luiz and Nemanja Matic, Chelsea and Benfica

So Chelsea had Matic, whom they swapped for David Luiz and around £20m with Benfica... Then in the next few years they bought Matic back... Then sold Luiz to PSG... Then bought Luiz back... Then sold Matic to Man United. It's tricky to weigh this one up as Chelsea eventually ended up with both players anyway, but Benfica got about £41m for the pair. It took a while, but ultimately those two would form a key part of Chelsea's title-winning team in 2017, so they probably edge this one. Although it is a confusing decision.

Who got the better deal: Chelsea

2004: Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora, Tottenham and West Ham

After their relegation from the Premier League in 2002-03, Defoe wasn't shy about trying to get out of West Ham in a hurry. He had to wait until February though, moving to Spurs for around £6m plus Zamora, who had done little at White Hart Lane since moving there from Brighton. This one actually worked out pretty well for everyone: Defoe scored 143 goals over two spells at Tottenham, while Zamora spent four decent years with the Hammers and scored the winner in the 2005 playoff final.

Who got the better deal: A draw

1998: James Beattie and Kevin Davies, Southampton and Blackburn

One of the great heists, finished off by a kick in the pants for good measure. Believe it or not Davies was regarded as a skilful young forward when Blackburn shelled out £7.5m for him, throwing Beattie into the deal too. Davies scored once in the league all season, and returned to the Dell a year later in exchange for Egil Ostenstad. Beattie became a Saints stalwart, sticking around until 2005, and possibly helping them count all their money too.

Who got the better deal: Southampton

2004: Fabio Cannavaro and Fabian Carini, Juventus and Inter

Admittedly, Cannavaro's move to Inter from Parma hadn't quite worked out. But when the club went to Juventus and saw which players they could possibly get in a swap, it certainly seemed an eccentric choice to select Carini, a goalkeeper who'd just spent two seasons on loan at Standard Liege. Particularly when they already had Francesco Toldo and Julio Cesar on the way. Carini played four times for Inter in three years, while Cannavaro and Juve won two (later stripped after the Calciopoli scandal) titles.

Who got the better deal: Juventus