When a scout comes back with a report as useless as Bart Simpson’s maths homework – where should a manager turn?
We look at some of the clubs that, with respect, punched above their own weight when turning to bigger stars.
Craig Bellamy: Manchester City – Cardiff City
Following a bust-up between Bellamy and then Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, the tempestuous forward felt a switch to hometown club Cardiff City was then, the right time.
After much anticipation by the Welsh club, the attacker officially signed on August 17, 2010.
Bellamy reportedly took a wage cut to fulfill his ambition of playing for the Bluebirds and said in an interview that Hamburg offered greater wages than on at Manchester City.
The veteran star relished two spells with the Bluebirds, resulting in 90 appearances and 17 goals, while earning both promotion and enduring relegation with the club.
Bellamy is now volunteering as a coach with the Cardiff City academy.
Edgar Davids: Unattached – Crystal Palace
The former Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur defensive midfielder was not a difficult man to identify given his reputation and unique image.
Davids played for some of the big names in Italy (Inter Milan and Juventus); Spain (Barcelona), Holland (Ajax) and even England while playing for Martin Jol’s Spurs team.
The defensive midfielder made a shock switch after leaving Ajax following a second spell and agreed a deal with Championship side Crystal Palace in a ‘pay-as-you-play’ deal in August 2010.
Only three months later, Davids announced his departure from the club describing it as “one of the greatest experiences of my life,” despite making just six competitive appearances for the Eagles.
Sol Campbell: Portsmouth – Notts County
Following a successful career at the heart of both Arsenal and Spurs’ backlines, winning numerous of honours with both London clubs, Campbell’s career looked as if it could be coming to an end after a switch to Portsmouth.
However, Pompey reached the FA Cup final with the veteran leading the team in a 1-0 victory over Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium in 2008.
In August 2009, Campbell signed a five-year-deal with League 2 side Notts County.
The three times PFA Premier League Player of the Year made his debut for the Magpies in a 2-1 defeat to Morecambe at Christie Park.
Campbell departed the club just three days later, having his contract terminated by mutual consent on September 24.
He summed his short time at Notts County as “embarrassing”, and that “I was being a mug” in thinking the football club’s ambitions could ever be taken to the Premier League.
Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano: Corinthians – West Ham United
Tevez and Mascherano were signed by struggling Premier League side West Ham United in 2006.
The Hammers faithful would have been as shocked as anyone as the duo put pen to paper, especially as other teams in England missed the chance to sign the talented pair due to third-party ownership.
As the league began to digest the transfer deadlin- day signings by West Ham, it was the perseverance of Tevez that kept the Hammers in the league at the expense of Sheffield United.
Later, it was unveiled that the club had broken the leagues rules, resulting in a fine and having to settle out of court with the Yorkshire club.