Helsingborg defender and Swedish World Cup hero Andreas Granqvist claimed earlier this month during an interview in his homeland that Manchester United are interested in signing him and that both he and his current club would accept if there is a formal offer submitted in January.
The veteran centre-back, who briefly played in the Premier League for Wigan Athletic for just 13 months over a decade ago, led Sweden to the quarter finals of the World Cup in summer and it isn’t unfeasible that his no nonsense defending and vast experience would be of appeal.
33-year-old Granqvist had been playing with Krasnodar in Russia until the World Cup, at which point he returned home to join Helsingborg in the second tier of Swedish football.
Notwithstanding any vague logic, jumping from the Superettan to Old Trafford would be a massive shock. Yet should United bizarrely go ahead with the alleged interest, they would be far from the first big club to make a such a surprise signing straight from ‘left-field’.
Here’s a look back at six examples that have actually happened…
6. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (PSG)
Scoring just five Premier League goals in a single season with Stoke that ended relegation was all that it took for Paris Saint-Germain to snap up Cameroon international Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting on a free transfer during the summer.
Instead of Peter Crouch, Saido Berahino and Tom Ince, the 29-year-old now counts Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani among his attacking colleagues.
5. Dale Jennings (Bayern Munich)
Dale Jennings might have been forgiven for thinking that his chance to make it at the top level was gone when he was released by Liverpool at the age of 16 and joined Tranmere. However, rather bizarrely, Bayern Munich swooped in and took him to Germany three years later.
Jennings spent two years in Bavaria, playing for Bayern’s second string, and returned to England in 2013 to join Barnsley. He later dropped out of professional football in 2016 and has since returned to play at non-league level after resurrecting his career.
4. Michael Hector (Chelsea)
Michael Hector is still contracted to Chelsea three years after surprisingly joining the club and it remains something of a mystery as to why he was signed in the first place.
Prior to 2015, Hector had enjoyed a very modest career and at the age of 23 a solitary full season in the Championship with Reading was his best achievement.
Now 26, the Jamaica international is still yet to play a game for Chelsea, having spent every season out on loan.
3. Park Chu-young (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s capture of striker Park Chu-young never made sense from the off. The Gunners snatched the South Korean national hero from under the nose of Lille as part of a spree of desperate late deals in the summer of 2011 and proceeded to hand him the number nine shirt.
That is seemingly where the faith ended, however, as the Gunners realised their odd mistake. Park played just six first team games and was later loaned to Celta Vigo and Watford.
2. Bebe (Manchester United)
Just one year after playing in the 2009 European Street Football Festival, Portuguese winger Bebe found himself joining Manchester United for the significant sum of £8m.
20-year-old Bebe had spent his teenage years raised in a shelter in Lisbon after being abandoned by his parents and being placed under the care of the church. He signed for Vitoria de Guimaraes in 2010 and just five weeks later found himself at Old Trafford, after being recommended to Sir Alex Ferguson by Carlos Queiroz.
Bebe, real name Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, made a total of seven appearances for United in his first campaign and was loaned out for the remaining years of his contract.
1. Julien Faubert (Real Madrid)
French winger Julien Faubert went from struggling to make an impact with West Ham in the Premier League to joining Real Madrid in January 2009 after completing a shock loan move. Faubert’s career in the Spanish capital was predictably bad, though.
He once apparently skipped training when he mistakenly thought he had a day off and even fell asleep on the bench during a game. He made only two appearances and Real opted against exercising their option to make the move permanent.