Every year there are hundreds of rumours in regards to transfers that may or not happen which seem to last for weeks. Each window there is a transfer saga that most of the footbal world gets absolutely sick of and just wants the player in question to just leave and be done with it!
Here are ten of the Premier League transfer sagas which have most interested me. Think I’ve missed out some transfer sagas that just dragged on and on and on? Let me know in the comments section after you’ve taken a look at the top ten…
John Obi Mikel, Manchester United to Chelsea (2006)
Mikel wore a United shirt a press conference, saying he was “delighted with United move”. A week later, with involvement of Chelsea, he stated he no longer wanted to join United and that he had been “forced into signing a contract” against his will. After death threats and disappearances he eventually did move to Chelsea, who paid Manchester United £16m to settle the fiasco.
Andrey Arshavin, Zenit St. Petersburg to Arsenal (2009)
It was 2 February and transfer deadline day. Andrei Arshavin been linked with a move to Arsenal, amongst others, for what seemed like years, but was actually just many months. With, reportedly, only an hour left on the transfer window clock, Arsenal finally made an offer that Zenit were willing to accept. Although he had agreed personal and medical terms there were still negations regarding extra fees to be resolved. Amazingly, poor weather conditions led the Premier League to extend the deadline beyond 5pm. This gave arsenal the time they needed to complete the move. The deal was not confirmed until the following day nearly 24 hours after the formal transfer deadline had passed.
Rafael Van der Vaart, Real Madrid to Tottenham (2010)
On the final day of the transfer window at 4pm Tottenham signed Van Der Vaart, seemingly out of thin air. Redknapp said: “I thought he was going to Bayern Munich for about £18m and suddenly he became an awful lot cheaper and the chairman came to me and said: ‘Look, he’s available for around about £8m.’” Spurs managed to secure their bargain in the same window as Manchester United spent £7m on Bebé an unknown quantity. This season Van Der Vaart has scored 9 league goals, while Bebé has not scored any.
David Beckham, LA Galaxy to Tottenham on loan (2011)
One of this year’s highest profile transfer rumours began when Harry Redknapp said “He would be a fantastic player to have here – and he wouldn’t be coming just to sell some shirts”, setting off alarm bells over the potential loan of Beckham. Beckham then confirmed he wanted the move. He even got as close as training with the club, being filmed daily to and from the ground. Sadly, Beckham was denied the chance of a Tottenham friendly by insurance snag. It looks like the potential loan transfer will now fizzle out in to what might have been.
Michael Owen, Newcastle to Manchester United (2009)
As Michael Owen’s Newcastle saw relegation, he became available on a free transfer. With teams such as Everton, West Ham, Birmingham and almost every EPL club being linked with the former teenage starlet, sensation was rife. However Owen clearly had his sights set on something higher and so produced a farcical transfer brochure, calling himself “the athlete; the ambassador; the icon”. It also included a full medical review and rewrote many of the tabloid stories which had highlighted his injury-proneness and his lack of desire. It was made available in Spanish and Italian. Despite the hilarious headlines Owen secured a free-transfer to Manchester United, and so concluded the speculation.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Arsenal to Manchester City (2009)
If the transfer alone was not enough, the proceeding spectacle between Adebayor and Arsenal fans was a saga in itself. In the build up to The Man City v Arsenal game, Adebayor, who had recently left the Emirates for Newlands stoked the fires of Arsenal fan’s by putting his good city form down to the city fans; ‘When the fans love you, you try to give them something back’. In a game where Adebayor was always going to be a central focus he did himself no favours with a challenge on Robin Van Persie that involved a boot to the head. However, the fiasco culminated when Adebayor ran the length of the pitch in order to celebrate in front of his former Arsenal fans. He will no doubt never be forgotten in the heart of Arsenal fans, but for all the wrong reasons.
Robbie Keane, Tottenham to Liverpool to Tottenham (2008-9)
This was not so much an on-going saga as a Rafa Benitez ‘special’. Keane moved to Anfield for a fee of circa £20 million, a similar price to Fernando Torres. Upon his arrival, Keane commented “I’ve been a Liverpool fan all my life… to be here now as a Liverpool player is incredible and I couldn’t be happier.”
But after 6 months Rafa Benitez had still not been convinced by Keane who played largely as an impact sub. In January he returned to White Hart Lane for a basic fee of £12 million, with a net profit of around £5 million. Which was about a million month, not great business really. Keane is still struggling to find a place in the Spurs team and looks set to move in the next week. Last year he went on loan to Celtic, upon arrival he said, rather familiarly, “The club is brilliant. I am a Celtic fan… I always wanted to play for Celtic”.
Dimitar Berbatov, Tottenham to Manchester United (2008)
It was a cat fight that saw Levy and Ferguson come head to head. After initially turning down an offer of around £20 million, Daniel Levy commented that he had “absolutely no wish to sell the player”. The problems began when a national paper then reported Alex Ferguson to have said that he would indeed sign Berbatov this transfer window. An argument ensued which lead Tottenham to submit a complaint to the league with, apparently, one year’s worth of evidence, regarding Man United’s illegal pursuit of Berbatov.
Ferguson’s reaction was one of denial; “It’s going to be very embarrassing for Spurs because the complaint appears to be on the basis of a story in a paper.” After all this speculation, to-ing and fro-ing, and negotiation upon negotiation, Ferguson eventually got his wish and Berbatov joined for £30 million. Although it has taken Berbatov time to find his feet at Old Trafford, Ferguson seems to be reaping the rewards this season as Berbatov has scored 19 league goals.
Robinho and The Abu Dhabi to Manchester City (2008)
Deadline day of the summer in 2008 saw the arrival of both the Abu Dhabi United Group and Robinho to Manchester City. These two additions to the Premier League would remain at the centre of transfer talk for years to come. Man City are now linked with anyone and everyone. The Arab Investment group, said to be worth 250 billion, reshaped the Premier League in a matter of moments. Changing the big four into the ‘big 4 plus Man City if they buy some world class players’. Having rumoured to have spent almost 1 billion pounds on the club can see why. The speculation regarding Robinho was caused by his apparent move to Chelsea being scrapped at the last second in favour of £160,000 wages at Man City. Unlike the Arabic owners though Robinho has left and returned to his native Brazil a very rich man but not a billionaire.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United (2010)
Six weeks of headlines saw Wayne Rooney asking for a transfer away from Old Trafford. He cited the club’s “lack of ambition” as the reason he wanted to leave the club. However, amid fears and speculation that he might leave, Rooney made a U-turn and accepted a rumoured £200,000 week contract. This lead many to suppose that Rooney never in fact wanted to leave but used the suggestion of a transfer in leverage to negotiate a new contract. This suspicion has risen since he has been unofficially quoted as saying that he was never going to leave anyway. The mind boggles…