As Manchester United stand poised to break the Britishtransfer fee record with the imminent purchase of Angel Di Maria from RealMadrid for a figure of around £60 million, they will smash the £50 million thatChelsea paid Liverpool for the services of Fernando Torres back in 2011. Torreshas struggled to live up to his billing and the headline makers will besharpening their pencils in case Di Maria similarly struggles to lift thefortunes of the Red Devils. Who have been the men through the years to havesimilarly made transfer fee headlines involving British Football clubs and howsuccessful have their moves been for their new clubs?

Kevin Keegan’s departure to German club Hamburg for amassive £500,000 in 1977, after three titles and a European Cup with Liverpool,ushered in the legendary figure of Kenny Dalglish as his replacement. It didn’tdamage Keegan’s career too much though as he was named European Footballer ofthe Year in both 1978 and 1979 and reached another European Cup final in 1980 whilstwith his new club.

Trevor Francis’ move from Birmingham City to NottinghamForest in 1979 is often cited as the first million poundtransfer fee paid by a British club. The official transfer fee was actuallyonly £975,000 with VAT, fees paid to the Football Leagueand the signing fee to Francis himself pushing the value over the ‘magic’ £1million mark.

At the time it marked a statement of intent by Brian Clough’steam and a doubling of the previous highest figure set only a month earlier,when David Mills joined West Brom. Francis repaid the fee somewhat straight away though when scoring the winner in the 1979 European Cup Finalas Forest beat Malmo 1-0. His overall goalscoring return between 1979 and 1981 was reasonable if not spectacular, although some would saythat he suffered by being played on the wing in many matches rather than hispreferred central striking role.

During the 1980s and 90s, Ian Rush became one of the mostprolific strikers of all time during his two spells with Liverpool, but in themidst of his success in 1987 he moved to Juventusfor a British record of £3.2 million. The move was seen by some as maybe achance to heal some wounds between the two clubs after their clash in theEuropean Cup final of 1985 in Heysel, when 39 Italian supporters lost theirlives, besides allowing Rush to compete in Europe again after English clubs hadbeen banned after Heysel.

Rush was not a success though and returned toLiverpool after a season to resume his prolific scoring career in Britain.

The 1990s saw the British record fee soar, with 1995 particularly significant as AndyCole (£7 million), Dennis Bergkamp (£7.5 million) and Stan Collymore (£8.5million) all moved for large fees to demonstrate the power of the bigger teams(Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, respectively). All three hadsuccessful spells with their new clubs. Bergkamp in particular has often beenreferred to as the best foreign import brought into English football, whilstCole formed a formidable partnership with Dwight Yorke and Collymore similarlywith Robbie Fowler. Alan Shearer’s £15 million move to Newcastle in 1996 madeheadline news, but he repaid them by becoming their and the Premier League’sall time leading goalscorer.

Since the millennium the fees have continued to soar, but haven’t always guaranteed money well spent. Veron’s purchase byManchester United in 2001 for £28.1 million could hardly have been described asmoving the club forward, whereas their capture of Rio Ferdinand for £29.1million the following year provided the bedrock for their subsequent soliddefence and major honours.

Chelsea brought Shevchenko to England for£30.8 million in 2006 but it did not prove to be one of their best pieces of business. However,even that figure was surpassed when Manchester City splashed out £32.5 million for Robinho from Real Madrid in2008. Robinho was City’s top scorer in his first season, but injury curtailedhis appearances the following term and he left the club in 2010.

Robinho’s fee remained the British recordup to Torres (although Ronaldo and Bale have movedto Real Madrid for fees in excess of £80 million since then). Torres wasnot the only player to suffer under the weight of the high fee paid forhim in the January transfer window of 2011, as Liverpool added totheir own strike force by bringing Andy Carroll in from Newcastle foraround £35 million. Seemingly unstoppable for the North-East club,Carroll failed to convince for the Reds and after ayear's loan with West Ham he made the move permanent in June 2013 but has sufferedseemingly constant injury problems over the past few years. His time may comeagain with his new club.