In light of Charles N’Zogbia’s apparent refusal to train at Wigan in a bid to get a desired move to Sunderland, we thought it fitting to hail those players who have gone out their way to engineer moves away from their clubs. See who makes our list and let us know if their are any glaring omissions.
Pascal Chimbonda A shrewd signing by Paul Jewell during his time at Wigan, the French full-back came to England for a bargain £500k in the summer of 2005 and was an instant hit with the Wigan fans. The Premier League seemed to suit Chimbonda and he was soon gaining admirers across the league, and as a result, Wigan offered him a new four-year contract just 6 months after signing him. All seemed OK until 45 minutes after Wigan’s 4-2 defeat to Arsenal on the last game of the season, when Chimbonda handed his transfer request in at the pitch. It’s safe to say it didn’t go down too well with Jewell who was happy to let him see the remainder of his contract out in the reserves. Luckily for Chimbonda, Spurs matched the £4.5m asking price and the Frenchman got his desired move.
Dimitar Berbatov Two successful seasons at Tottenham were enough for Berbatov to decide that he wanted to move onto bigger things and greener pastures up the M6 and at Old Trafford. The Bulgarian striker made sure everyone was fully aware of his desired move as he missed the opening two games of Spurs’ 08/09 season against Sunderland and Chelsea. As soon as there was any speculation about Sir Alex Ferguson’s interest, Berbatov became ‘unsettled’ with his time a Spurs. In the last few hours of the transfer deadline, Berbatov managed to secure his move to Man Utd and has been a shadow of that player at Spurs ever since.
Nicolas Anelka Young, quick and with lethal finishing to boot, Nicolas Anelka was a sensation during his time at Arsenal. Managing to replace Ian Wright was some achievement at Highbury: having helped his side do the double during the 97/98 season, Anelka went on to score a hatful of goals and win the PFA Young Player of the Year the following season. But all was not rosy in Nico’s garden as he demanded a bigger salary and better performances from his team in the Champions League. Real Madrid were obviously interested in Anelka’s talent and the man himself managed to earn his now infamous title ‘Le Sulk’ as he lost any enthusiasm for the Arsenal cause. Still, the £22.5m profit Wenger made on Anelka was used to purchase one Thierry Henry…
Pierre Van Hooijdonk Or to give him his full name: Petrus Ferdinandus Johannes Van Hooijdonk. His time at Celtic started so well, and 57 goals in 68 games was an impressive return for the club, but an argument with the club’s president meant he had to make do with a place on the bench for the rest of his time at the club – not a good way of getting into the national team as the then coach Guus Hiddink reminded him. Van Hooijdonk managed to eventually secure a move to Nottingham Forest after a contract dispute where he claimed:
“£7,000 a week may be good for the homeless, but not for an international striker.”
Nice. He managed to go on strike at Forest too.
Robbie Savage Although a favourite amongst the fans at Birmingham, Robbie Savage was desperate to leave the club to play under Mark Hughes at Blackburn. Savage had played under Hughes with the Wales team and now he had moved to the Lancashire club, he was eager to continue their relationship. So much so, that he spoon fed Birmingham boss Steve Bruce lies about having personal problems, and needing to spend more time with his family despite Blackburn being further from his home than Birmingham was (all while holding an onion in his pocket to bring on his tears). He even spoke to a friend of his who worked at Sky, asking him to film him when he went into the training ground on the squad’s day off so it looked as though he had been banished to train on his own. The extreme lengths eventually worked and Savage got his move.
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Tyrone Mears Another Paul Jewell escape act, this time with a bit more cloak and dagger. Derby’s Tyrone Mears had heard that Marseille were interested in taking him on loan, and the club made an offer, only for it to be rejected by Derby as ‘laughable’. This however didn’t stop Mears from meeting with officials from the French club. After one particular training session, Mears escaped through a bathroom window and crawled beneath Jewell’s office window so as not to be seen leaving the ground, so he could go to the meeting. Jewell was incensed as Mears got his move abroad. There were only seven appearances in all at Marseille for Mears before he was sold to Burnley a year later.
“Stop f*****g around, Levy. Do I wanna go Hull NO. Do I wanna go Stoke NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland YES”.
Frustrated during his time at White Hart Lane, particularly when Harry Redknapp brought back old boys Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane, not to mention with comparisons with Redknapp’s wife, Bent got his wish and moved to Wearside.
Robinho Unhappy with potentially being a makeweight in the deal that could have taken Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, the Brazilian forward made it clear that he was ready to move on if that was how the club felt about him. As Real Madrid kicked off the start of the 08/09 season against Deportivo La Coruna, Robinho called his own press conference to reiterate his desire to leave and organise a move away from Real. He claimed he wanted to go to Chelsea, but when Chelsea posted a picture of him holding their shirt it angered Real bosses and they sold him to Manchester City instead.
Joleon Lescott From average Championship defender to England international during his time at Goodison Park, Joleon Lescott had enhanced his reputation enough for millionaires Manchester City to come knocking. David Moyes was adamant that Lescott was contracted to the club and going nowhere, but Lescott had other ideas. After Man City’s £14m bid was rejected, with Everton holding out for £30m, Lescott had four separate meetings with Moyes stating his desire to head to Eastlands. Eventually the player was ‘forced to go public’ with his request. His last appearance for the club was the 6-1 humilation against Arsenal before he made his move for £24m.
Cristiano Ronaldo After going one summer without his move to boyhood team Real Madrid, the Portugese forwards was not prepared for the same to happen again. Despite being paid a basic salary of £120k a week, Ronaldo claimed that he was a ‘modern day slave’ and that Man Utd were keeping him against his will. Two years of expressing his love for Real Madrid eventually earned him the world record transfer that only his ego could have hoped for.
Who have we missed? Let us know who else forced their way out of a club.
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