There are some days in English football history that stand out as turning points.

On May 31, 1995 – a full 25 years ago – Chelsea agreed a deal to sign Ruud Gullit from Sampdoria. And the face of the game changed.

The fledgling Premier League had experienced a sprinkling of overseas talent already, with Eric Cantona making a staggering impact at Leeds United and Manchester United, and Jurgen Klinsmann coming off a season-long cameo at Tottenham.

Superstar Gullit's arrival at Stamford Bridge was the cue for a transfer-market melee, a spectacular flurry of deals that still take the breath away.

To this day, a host of players recruited in the wake of Gullit's arrival, many imported from overseas, are revered in the top bracket of talent that graced their clubs and the Premier League.

Dennis Bergkamp came to Arsenal with a lofty reputation. But David Ginola, Juninho and Georgi Kinkladze joined Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Manchester City as near-unknowns in England, destined to join the pantheon of club greats.

Euro 96 was on the horizon, lads and ladettes were supping Hooch and bathing in a summer of Britpop battles, and there was feverish optimism about the state of the nation.

Here is a look at the biggest deals of that heady few months.

RUUD GULLIT ​– SAMPDORIA TO CHELSEA

A world star, who was arguably the finest player on the planet at his peak, Gullit may not have been at the height of his career by the time he arrived in London on a free transfer, but there was no disguising the 32-year-old's star quality.

He rivalled Klinsmann as the most famous arrival since the Premier League launched in 1992, and was arguably in a higher bracket.

British television audiences had watched Gullit every week on Channel Four's popular Football Italia shows, firstly with Milan and then Sampdoria, and Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle was smitten.

Hoddle reportedly made two trips to Italy to meet Gullit before the stunning deal went through, and the Netherlands maverick was recruited to feature as a sweeper in the new high-culture Chelsea side.

"I am very fit and by playing sweeper I can control the speed of the game," said Gullit, quoted in the Independent the following day. "If you have possession of the ball you don't have to run around chasing after it."

The sweeper experiment was soon abandoned, however, Gullit moving into a better-suited midfield role where he proved predictably majestic, going on to succeed Hoddle as Chelsea manager in 1996.

DENNIS BERGKAMP ​– INTER TO ARSENAL (and David Platt – Sampdoria to Arsenal)

Bergkamp was a real eye-catcher, joining for a then British record fee of £7.5million, albeit with question marks over his suitability for the Gunners, particularly after a rocky season at Inter.

Platt had been captain of England, and was a guaranteed solid midfield presence, but new Arsenal boss Bruce Rioch appreciated he was perhaps getting something special when Bergkamp became the first signing of his reign.

That overwhelmingly proved to be the case, and although Rioch only lasted one full season at Highbury, he could always point to his nurturing of Bergkamp as being instrumental in shaping Arsenal's future.

The non-flying Dutchman played 423 games for the Gunners, scoring 120 goals and winning a hatful of medals. Today, a bronze statue of Bergkamp stands outside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium home.

DAVID GINOLA ​– PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN TO NEWCASTLE (and Les Ferdinand – QPR to Newcastle)

Newcastle had surprisingly allowed Andy Cole to join Manchester United for £7m in January 1995, but Kevin Keegan's team went from strength to strength nonetheless.

The £2.5m arrival of Ginola proved a masterstroke, the French winger magnificent on the left wing while Keith Gillespie, a makeweight in the Cole deal, dazzled on the right.

Ferdinand was the ideal targetman and proved to be another exceptional buy, but Ginola was the fans' favourite, his trickery, pace and personality lighting up the league.

Newcastle were almost champions, Ginola at the heart of some of the most cavalier football of the decade.

GEORGI KINKLADZE ​– DINAMO TBILISI TO MANCHESTER CITY

City fans are accustomed to success nowadays, brought to them by a foreign legion featuring the likes of Pep Guardiola, Sheikh Mansour, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany.

But there will always be a special place for Kinkladze in the hearts of City fans who saw him play in the Maine Road era, when Franny Lee was chairman and Uwe Rosler the star imported striker.

City were relegated from the Premier League in Kinkladze's first season, and he left in 1998 after a second relegation into the third tier, but the Georgian was a bright spark in dark times, his dribbling skills and free-kick ability never to be forgotten. A particularly memorable solo strike came against Southampton, a lasting gift.

STAN COLLYMORE ​– NOTTINGHAM FOREST TO LIVERPOOL

The British transfer record was broken twice in June 1995, firstly with Arsenal's swoop for Bergkamp and then when Liverpool paid £8.5m for Nottingham Forest striker Collymore.

He and Robbie Fowler formed an often menacing partnership, particularly in Collymore's first season at Anfield, but the big-money recruit lasted just two seasons with Liverpool in the 'Spice Boys' era before moving to Aston Villa for £7m.

PAUL INCE ​– MANCHESTER UNITED TO INTER

Pipped to the 1994-95 Premier League title by Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United cleared the decks and allowed star men Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis to leave Old Trafford.

It was a stunning gamble by Alex Ferguson, with Hughes and Kanchelskis joining Premier League rivals Chelsea and Everton respectively, while midfield general Ince floated off to Italy with Inter for £7.5m.

But Ferguson knew his Class of 92 youngsters were pushing for a chance at first-team level, and with the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt emerging, the old guard were barely missed, United going on to win a league and cup double.

JUNINHO ​– SAO PAULO TO MIDDLESBROUGH

This £4.75m move went through slightly later in the year, in October 1995, back when clubs could strike autumn deals.

Bryan Robson would bring in Fabrizio Ravanelli in the following close-season, but none of the Middlesbrough manager's signings are remembered quite so fondly as Juninho.

The little Brazilian was a marvel of an attacker, a low centre of gravity helping him to ride the wildest of tackles from defenders who could not handle his dribbling ability.

On Teesside, they adored the Brazilian, who began brightly enough but truly dazzled in his second season, helping Boro to reach both the FA Cup and League Cup finals.

They lost both and suffered the pain of relegation. Juninho left too, but returned for two later spells with the club that loved him best of all, winning the 2004 League Cup.

...MEANWHILE, NORTH OF THE BORDER

PAUL GASCOIGNE ​– LAZIO TO RANGERS

Chelsea had reportedly wanted Gascoigne to join Gullit in west London, but it was Scottish champions Rangers who prised the England international from Lazio, a massive coup for the Ibrox club.

'Gazza' was adored on the blue side of Glasgow and scored a raft of dazzling goals as Rangers won their eighth and ninth successive league titles.

Forgiveness even came quickly after his stunning strike past club-mate Andy Goram for England against Scotland at Euro 96.

Bryan Robson revealed Fabrizio Ravanelli found it difficult to adjust from the high standards of Juventus when the Italy star made his shock move to Middlesbrough.

One of the most remarkable transfers in Premier League history saw Ravanelli, something of a superstar at the time, trade Turin for Teesside in 1996.

Just weeks before the £7million deal went through, Ravanelli won the Champions League with the Bianconeri, but the Middlesbrough switch turned sour when manager Robson's team were relegated.

Ravanelli spent just one full season in England, and Robson admits: "We had a couple of problems with him."

Describing the 'Silver Fox' as "super professional", Robson conceded in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live that Ravanelli found not everyone at Middlesbrough met the striker's expectations.

"He sort of got frustrated with some of the players, but he couldn't hide it because of the Italian passion," Robson said.

"Now and again I had to calm that down and have a chat with Ravanelli in the office, and just say, 'The standards you've come from, you can't expect that at Middlesbrough at the moment, but that's what we're trying to aim for, trying to build up where we've got a top team that can compete with the best teams in Europe'."

Although Ravanelli's stay was short-lived, Middlesbrough supporters did not suffer for a lack of top names at the Riverside Stadium during the rest of the decade.

Paul Gascoigne arrived from Rangers in 1998, and before Middlesbrough's first away game of the 1998-99 season, a trip to Aston Villa, the former Tottenham and Lazio star commandeered the team bus without permission.

Gascoigne went on to crash the bus and had to pay for repairs.

"Yes," recalled 63-year-old Robson. "Gazza, in whatever frame of mind he was in, a brand new bus, first away game of the season, and he decided to drive it up the drive because he thought it smelled and sounded so cool.

"So, he drove it up there and he ripped all the side of the bus off.

"And we had to wait two hours at the training ground for another bus to come to take us down to Aston Villa."

Pranks lurked around every corner but Thomas Doll loved his time playing alongside Paul Gascoigne at Lazio.

Gascoigne made a high-profile switch from Tottenham to the Roman club in 1992, his star still riding high in Italy after his superb performances inspired England's run to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup.

However, he had since endured a year of rehabilitation from a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained during the 1991 FA Cup final and fitness woes were a constant during Gascoigne's stay in the Italian capital, which ended when he joined Rangers in 1995.

Germany international Doll played for Lazio between 1991 and 1994 and he has fond memories of his fellow midfielder – a figure as popular in the dressing room as he was on the terraces.

"Paul was a real team player and a real good guy who found himself comfortable very quickly because of his humour and also because of his class," the told Stats Perform.

Doll explained himself, compatriot Karl-Heinz Riedle, Netherlands midfielder Aaron Winter and Gascoigne palled around as Lazio's foreign legion, but no one in the dressing room was safe from the Englishman's trademark sense of humour.

"Paul was a joker for everybody," he recalled. "For example, he tied the shoelaces of the players together or he crashed interviews while only wearing his underwear and such things. There were so many stories about him."

Doll also painted the picture of a selfless figure who remains much-loved by supporters in his retirement.

"He was very kind to the young players," he added.

"When he was in England, he sometimes brought back CD players and donated them to the young players, or he picked them up if they had no car at that time.

"He was a totally crazy guy, but the whole team liked him very much."

Paul Gascoigne believes Tottenham's appointment of Jose Mourinho will energise the squad and prove an excellent decision.

Spurs named Mourinho their new manager less than 12 hours after dismissing Mauricio Pochettino, the man who led them to the Champions League final last season.

Results have soured this term and Pochettino left the role on Tuesday without having added to the club's trophy cabinet.

Tottenham great Gascoigne thinks Mourinho is the man to buck the trend of near-misses and, despite his adversarial managerial style, expects a reportedly fractured set of players to unite behind the new boss.

"The way Manchester City have put pressure on everybody, people are looking for the best," Gascoigne, who won the FA Cup with Spurs in 1991, told Sky Sports.

"As far as I'm concerned, Jose Mourinho is an unbelievable manager.

"If I was a Tottenham player now and knowing Jose Mourinho was going to be manager I would be more than happy.

"Have you had a look at what Jose Mourinho has won? Jesus. Alex Ferguson was an unbelievable manager, the best ever in the world, and Jose Mourinho isn't far from him."

Asked whether it might take time for Mourinho to win over the dressing room, Gascoigne replied: "I wouldn't have thought so. Definitely not, no way.

"There will be sadness because obviously a lot of players were close to Pochettino and I feel sorry for him. I suppose he will go on holiday and have a think about what he wants to do next. I'm sure a great club will come in for him.

"The players will warm to [Mourinho] and if they don't they'll be on the bench. He's definitely a manager I would play for, that's for sure. A manager is only as good as the players he's got and if he's not happy with the players he's got he will bring in players."

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust said it was "shocked and saddened" by the decision to dismiss Pochettino, who spent over five years in charge, but Gascoigne reckons fans can look forward with optimism.

"All they have to look at is Jose Mourinho's trophy cabinet," he said.

"The players have got to understand they haven't won anything. Jose Mourinho has – what he has achieved as a manager is second to none.

"Tottenham's future looks bright and if I was a Tottenham supporter now I'd be more than excited."

Former England, Tottenham and Newcastle United star Paul Gascoigne has been found not guilty of sexual assault and common assault.

Gascoigne, 52, who earned 57 caps for England between 1988 and 1998, was arrested on August 20, 2018 and charged on November 19 with allegedly sexually assaulting a woman on a train.

He entered a plea of not guilty at Peterlee Magistrates' Court in County Durham on December 11 last year, with the case coming to trial at Teesside Crown Court this week.

In judge Peter Armstrong's directions to the jury on Wednesday, he informed them they may consider an alternative offence of "assault by beating" if found not guilty of sexual assault following evidence and witness statements.

The jury returned verdicts of not guilty for both charges on Thursday.

His solicitor read a statement on behalf of Gascoigne outside the court, saying: "To have a sexual allegation hanging over me for over 12 months has been so tough.

"I'm so glad I was finally able to put over my side of the story and the jury came to the correct verdict."

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