Four of the Premier League’s Longest Running Transfer Sagas
The Premier League has had its fair share of big-money moves since its inception in 1992 and whilst many have seemingly been completed quickly and without any hitches, many have taken months and, in some cases, years to get over the line. We take a look at some of the longest sagas in the history of the English top flight.
The story of the 2017 summer transfer window was Phillipe Coutinho’s much-coveted prospective transfer to Barcelona. The mercurial Brazilian was the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between his current employers Liverpool and the Catalan giants with the midfielder caught in the middle. The side from the Nou Camp had just lost Neymar to PSG and were looking to add some star-quality to their squad and they’d identified Coutinho as their first choice. He admitted he wanted to sign for Barcelona but Liverpool refused to play ball and, as a result, Ernesto Valverde’s men were forced to seemingly launch a fresh bid on a weekly basis. A £114 million bid was the final offering and was promptly rebuffed by the Merseyside club with owners Fenway Sports Group insisting he was staying at the club and so it proved. The 25-year-old was kept out of the side whilst the ongoing saga continued to dominate the newspapers and only made his return to the first team in the middle of September.
Embed from Getty Images Paul Pogba One of the most protracted transfers in recent years was Paul Pogba’s move from Juventus to Manchester United. The player himself admitted he was frustrated at the time it took to finalise the deal with a number of Red Devils supporters wondering whether the midfielder would ever seal his return to Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho did eventually complete the £93.8 million deal for the player who was released by the club in 2012, setting a new world record transfer fee in the process. This didn’t last long as PSG’s £198 million splurge on Brazilian superstar Neymar knocked Pogba off the top-spot during summer 2017. The prolonged deal was somehow stretched across a number of months with both Pogba and Adidas’ social media feeds posting regular clues to the eagerly awaiting masses. There are a number of reasons why prospective transfers aren’t completed swiftly and, as super-agent Jon Smith explained to Betway, these can vary from relocation issues through to agreements on commission fees for the agent who helped broker the deal. Smith also adds that the two clubs agreeing a fee as well as image rights can stop any potential deal from being announced and in Pogba’s case, it is believed to be the latterwhich was the root cause of the hold-up. Juventus and Manchester United are believed to have agreed to the deal several months before Pogba’s arrival at Carrington but, as the club were hoping to recoup their transfer fee in commercial revenue, they had to ensure all of the image rights were agreed before the powerful midfielder could be unveiled. Embed from Getty Images Eden Hazard Twitter was the latest social media phenomenon during summer 2012 and many users logged on daily to find out the latest transfer rumours emerging from their club. Eden Hazard used this particular platform to announce he was set to leave Ligue 1 outfit Lille at the start of the year. The diminutive Belgium was one of the most promising players in the French game and promptly posted a number of cryptic messages to keep fans guessing about his intended destination. Both Manchester United and Arsenal were linked with the 20-year-old as he assured fans that he would be playing Premier League football the following season. Hazard was spotted in the stands during the final Manchester derby of the season sparking rumours he would sign for one of the North West giants but this proved incorrect. Chelsea were barely mentioned until they secured an unexpected and dramatic Champions League title and suddenly their name was added to the mix. After months of speculating, Hazard was finally announced as a Chelsea player at the beginning of the June for a reported fee of £32 million and didn’t take long to find his feet in the top flight. Embed from Getty Images Cesc Fabregas Cesc Fabregas had just embarked on a fantastic campaign for Arsenal scoring 19 times for the Gunners in all competitions and captaining the side through a fruitful ten months in North London. As the season came to a close, rumours about his return to his boyhood club began to emerge. In the summer of 2010, he helped Spain clinch the FIFA World Cup and was spotted draped in a Barcelona shirt sparking concern amongst Arsenal fans. The Barcelona hierarchy enthused about Fabregas’ return to the Nou Camp sending the rumour mill launching into overdrive but despite this, Fabregas committed his future to Arsenal. He only managed nine goals during the following campaign with many fans worrying that their star asset may have had his head turned. Twelve months later, Barcelona were back and this time they got their man. The Catalan club spent £35 million to re-sign the midfielder but the whole saga lasted over two years in total. There are many more high-profile transfer sagas to have taken place during the history of the Premier League and Coutinho’s lengthy wrangle will certainly not be the last. There are many understandable and legitimate reasons for the hold-ups but it’s all part of the excitement for fans of top-flight clubs. Embed from Getty Images