This was a protracted affair with the Italians dragging their heels over paperwork but eventually, Joe Baker signed for £70,000 (£2.6m in today’s money). At the time Denis Law set the record transfer at £115,000 when leaving Torino for Manchester United so it was Arsenal spending big. I suppose in comparison, it would a £20m fee Arsenal would be paying, if not more, in today’s market.
Baker had signed for Torino from Hibernian. Arsenal had been interested at that point, especially as his record was 102 goals in 117 appearances for the Edinburgh club. In Italy, he found the going harder as you would expect but still returned 7 goals in his 19 appearances. Add into that being injured in a serious road traffic accident that left him on a drip for a month and it is not difficult to see why he had few fond memories of his time in Turin.
At Arsenal, Baker scored prolifically: 100 goals in 156 appearances, top scorer in three of his four seasons at Highbury. One of Billy Wright’s final acts as Arsenal manager was to sell Baker to Nottingham Forest, recouping £65,000 of the original fee. Whilst at Arsenal he won three caps, the last of which was in 1965.