A 25-year-old basketball fan was staying in Las Vegas for an NBA game, he had some time to kill and thought he’d pop into the Excalibur casino.
The man, who prefers to remain anonymous, confessed that he rarely gambles on anything, but after spending a small amount of his holiday budget, it wasn’t long before the slot machine paylines lined up and he walked out over $39,000,000 richer. Not bad at all for a killing time activity.
His winnings convert to just over £31m, and he opted to receive $1.5m per year over the next 25 years.
But £31m. That’s a huge amount. And not just in the real world. It’s mega money in the world of football transfer too.
Here are three footballers who could have been signed with that £31m score:
Among the greatest English defenders of all time, Rio Ferdinand was the most expensive defender of his generation.
It cost legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson £30m to prise the player away from Leeds United, but he proved to be worth every penny.
Across twelve seasons with the Red Devils he won six Premier Leagues, three League Cups, six Community Shields, one Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Throughout much of his tenure he formed a formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidic and, along with goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, once managed to go more than ten weeks without conceding a goal.
Ferdinand’s record as the most expensive defender was broken earlier this year when John Stones signed for Manchester City costing £47.5 m.
The Ukrainian striker was an absolute destroyer during his time at Milan where he scored 127 goals in 208 appearances.
José Mourinho and Roman Abramovich arranged to bring the player to Chelsea in the summer of 2006 for £30.8m. For some reason, things just never clicked and Shevchenko flattered to deceive during his three seasons with the Blues.
In 48 appearances he managed only nine goals, which is very poor form for a striker. The player was then loaned back to Milan, but he returned to Italy a broken player, failing to score in 18 appearances. Shevchenko returned to his original club, Dynamo Kyiv, in 2009 where he regained some of his form before retiring three years later.
Having joined Arsenal this summer, Xhaka cost £30m plus add-ons, making him the most expensive Swiss player of all time.
The jury is still out on Xhaka, but at 24 years old he is still young enough to have a very successful career ahead of him.
He has already scored a number of world-class goals in a very short space of time for Arsenal, and made his Switzerland debut in 2011, earning 48 caps and scoring six goals since then.
With bags of potential, and the retirement of Mikel Arteta earlier this season, there is a slot in the team readymade for Xhaka and he could make himself an Arsenal legend over the coming years.