JOEY BARTON’S five-game ‘career’ at Rangers is one of the most embarrassing transfer deals in Scottish soccer history.
However, it is a long way from the most humiliating and short-lived move in UK football.
Former Ibrox boss Graeme Souness, unfortunately, played an unwitting part in the all-time bewildering signing when he was manager of Southampton in 1996.imgid71922476
The Scot was duped big-style when he moved swiftly to fix up Ali Dia in what remains the strangest signing the game has ever witnessed
Souness received a mysterious phone call from a man claiming to be former World Player of the Year George Weah, the Liberian superstar who had played for AC Milan, Monaco and Paris Saint Germain.
‘George’ told the Saints boss he might like to cast his gaze over his cousin, a PSG striker who had won international caps with Senegal.
Souness, who had managed Liverpool and Galatasaray as well as Rangers at that stage, decided to move quickly. Instead of offering Dia a trial, he dived in to tie him down on a one-month contract.

Unhappily, for the team boss and Southampton, the phone call was a remarkable hoax.

The so-called frontman had never been picked for Senegal, had never been on the books of PSG, wasn’t George Weah’s cousin and had only turned out for a few unknown French clubs plus one in Germany.

Dia, though, somehow managed to make an appearance in a Southampton shirt during a Premier League game against Leeds United only days after signing

Club legend Matt Le Tissier pulled a thigh muscle during the game and the new boy was introduced as a substitute.

After only a few minutes, Souness realised his mistake and hauled off Dia and put on Ken Monkou for a game they lost 2-0 against their Elland Road visitors.
Dia never again showed up at The Dell, the club’s former ground, and did a moonlight flit from his hotel on the south coast.
Le Tissier later said that Dia trained only once with the first team squad, showing as much Premier League skill in a five-a-side game as a guy “with his feet tied together”.

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