Henrik Larsson 1997 Feyenoord to Celtic (£650k)
The o650,000 that Celtic paid Dutch club Feyenoord in July 1997 will go down in the club's history as one of their finest
bits of business.
Celtic had only just appointed a new manager - Dutchman Wim Jansen, which in itself proved to be something of a master-stroke.
Jansen, a legend from his days at the Rotterdam giants, had also managed the club and knew that Larson was in the middle of
a contractual dispute with them. Having scored goals for fun earlier in career in Sweden with Helsingborg, goals had been
harder to come by in the Eredivisie but Jansen persuaded the Celtic hierarchy that just over half a million pounds would be
money well spent on the 26 year old Larsson. However, his Parkhead career hardly got off to the best of starts - a wayward
pass on his debut against Hibs resulted in a 2-1 defeat, followed by an own goal against FC Tirol ! But from that
moment on things got better, and better. He finished the first season as the club's top scorer, scoring 16 league goals,
but more importantly for the Celtic faithful, his goals and assists helped stop Rangers from winning a record 10th title in a row.
From that moment on he effectively became a club legend and the goals, quite literally, started to fly in - 38 goals, 35 goals,
29 goals, 28 goals, all seasonal totals done in a ratio of just under a goal a game. By the end of the 2003-04 season,
following 7 seasons at the club Larsson had scored an incredible 242 goals in just 315 matches for the club.
He had effectively cost the club a paltry o2,700 per goal ! Despite his overwhelming goalscoring record much of the
English media were still unconvinced about just how good he was, claiming that in a stronger league than the SPL,
Larsson would not have the same impact. They were made to eat their words though, as spells with
Barcelona (as a 33 year old) and even Man Utd (as a 36 year old) proved his class at the top level,
even at such a late stage in his career. But it will be his time, and goals, at Celtic for which he will best be remembered.