test

Welcome to Talk Chelsea

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Hamilton

General Transfer Talk

Started by Hamilton,

10 hours ago, Vesper said:

Jose Gaya at 100m euros is sooo not happening

Firpo was my number one choice for ages, gutted when Barca snapped him up

Grimaldo is not worth his 60m euro RC in my book, but we may be forced if we miss out in the overrated Chilwell (fuck paying £80m!!) and stupidly refuse to buy Telles and Gosens and refuse to sell the two scrubs we now have.

That said, I can so see us with the same LB dregs next season plus the turgid Azpi there a tonne.

I may have to stop posting here if that happens and we have not only missed out on CL but then go into the ditch with LB play at the fore of the shit. My temper will snap at that point.

Gaya would not require €100m to get him. I reckon a serious €70m would get him. However, the thing that is annoying is that he should have been brought 3-4 years ago as it was clear he was a top tier talent. For me, our LB targets should be Gaya, Grimaldo or possibly Gosens. Telles for me should also be looked at as a LB option for now who if he does not excel can be shifted to LB2 as I am not sold on Emerson at all and whilst I am a big Alonso fan in a 343, I appriciate he struggles in a back 4. 

Vesper likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ashley Young almost at Inter.
Penny for the thoughts of people who wanted Conte to stay and be fully backed in the market, would have set us back years and years.
I think this sort of deal is all Inter will clear with rumoured moves near completion.

Conte at a club with unlimited funds would be a sight.
Fernando likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, LAM09 said:

I think this sort of deal is all Inter will clear with rumoured moves near completion.

Conte at a club with unlimited funds would be a sight.

He apparently wanted us to sign him as soon as the Ox deal collapsed. The signings made by Juve, Chelsea and Inter during his leadership are 90% poor, there's far too much sample size for it to be a coincidence.

Take Radja for example, he was apparently furious we didn't get him for him, yet when he finally got his hands on him he couldn't chuck him out quick enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Tomo said:

He apparently wanted us to sign him as soon as the Ox deal collapsed. The signings made by Juve, Chelsea and Inter during his leadership are 90% poor, there's far too much sample size for it to be a coincidence.

Take Radja for example, he was apparently furious we didn't get him for him, yet when he finally got his hands on him he couldn't chuck him out quick enough.

Radja's wife has cancer and wanted to move back closer to family. 

Vesper, Tomo and LAM09 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, King Kante said:

Radja's wife has cancer and wanted to move back closer to family. 

My apologies, I swear I heard he and Antonio had a bust up, either way I take that part back. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He apparently wanted us to sign him as soon as the Ox deal collapsed. The signings made by Juve, Chelsea and Inter during his leadership are 90% poor, there's far too much sample size for it to be a coincidence. Take Radja for example, he was apparently furious we didn't get him for him, yet when he finally got his hands on him he couldn't chuck him out quick enough. 

 

Didn't he want Alex Sandro and ended up with Zappacosta?  

 

 

Radja was a different player when we were linked with him to the one Conte ended up with (not to mention personal problems as well). The guy smokes like a chimney & people expect it not to take a toll.

 

None of the clubs he's been at have had the pulling power or funds do wrap things up, so these failures being 2nd/3rd choices can't solely lie with him. Can't think of a first choice target he signed during his spell here.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Tomo said:

He apparently wanted us to sign him as soon as the Ox deal collapsed. The signings made by Juve, Chelsea and Inter during his leadership are 90% poor, there's far too much sample size for it to be a coincidence.

Take Radja for example, he was apparently furious we didn't get him for him, yet when he finally got his hands on him he couldn't chuck him out quick enough.

The thing with Conte is that he is a tactical genius. As a result, the signings that he wants may not be the best in regards to a club that churns managers but he wants them as they fit his profile. Ergo, signing him players that he doesn't want is going to quickly get his nose out of joint and they are unlikely to be able to fit his style. 

Therefore, it depends what you want as a club, a manager who can win you things doing things his way or a board that is in charge and replace managers every other season. Both methods can prove successful but it depends on what is your preference. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Tomo said:

My apologies, I swear I heard he and Antonio had a bust up, either way I take that part back. 

No worries. I initially thought the same thing and then read some article I came across. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, King Kante said:

Gaya would not require €100m to get him. I reckon a serious €70m would get him. However, the thing that is annoying is that he should have been brought 3-4 years ago as it was clear he was a top tier talent. For me, our LB targets should be Gaya, Grimaldo or possibly Gosens. Telles for me should also be looked at as a LB option for now who if he does not excel can be shifted to LB2 as I am not sold on Emerson at all and whilst I am a big Alonso fan in a 343, I appriciate he struggles in a back 4. 

Gosens as a LWB blows Alonso away. So much better defensively due to to far more pace. Close to same height (Gosens is around an inch and a half shorter, but still over 6 feet), great shot (tracking to 15 goals over a 3500 minute season) and a better crosser. Only thing Alonso may have on him is free kicks. I much prefer Alonso to play for us (out of Emerson, Azpi, and him) as a wingback in back 3, but I do not like a back 3 save for special games. Gosens is also a good traditional LB as well. Far better than any of our options. It is just foolish to keep playing Azpi at LB. He is shite there (even at times on defence) and offers nothing of important offensively. 

If right footers could play LB, why is it that no other team of any real quality (and so few teams at all) does it? Every time Azpi gets the ball and tries to cross with his left, it is pathetic. Drives me bonkers. My number one issue, only topped by the nightmare that occurs when Tammy cannot play.

Finally,  there is no chance that Valencia come down 30m euros on Gaya. It is not happening. Especially when they see an inferior player in Chilwell being priced at only £5m less (£85m for Gaya, £80m for Ben).

If they did price Gaya at £59.5m (€70m) I would bite their hand off and STILL buy/swap for Gosens. As long as we dump our 2 LBs now, you are still looking at only a £30 to £40m net spend total for a VAST upgrade at LB. The only team with a better pair than us would be Bayern (and those fucks have 3 great LB's although not all are healthy atm). Liverpool is fucked hard if Robertson cannot go. Shitty is bläää  on all 3 (Mendy has looked a little better lately tbh). Arse is fucked as long as Tierney is out. United has shit fatboy Shaw and then a kid. Spuds is meh at LB'S. 

Only teams where LB is a strength and deep are Bayern, Barca, and (when both get their two great young loanees back) Real and Juve. That is literally it.

We would be the 5th with any combo of Gosens pmus either Gaya, Grimaldo, or Telles (Gaya obviously being the best.)

Screw dumping 80m quid on Chillwell. Hard pass. Just him plus say, Alonso, is askibg for trouble as soon as Chilwell cannot go. Also, we are asking for trouble if we drop 80m quid and he plays like he has the past month plus, which is dogshit. LB/RB matters. Look at Leicester's dip in form overall and how it coincides with a dip in form of their fullback play, especially Chilwell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, LAM09 said:

Didn't he want Alex Sandro and ended up with Zappacosta?

Radja was a different player when we were linked with him to the one Conte ended up with. The guy smokes like a chimney & people expect it not to take a toll.

None of the clubs he's been at have had the pulling power or funds do wrap things up, so these failures being 2nd/3rd choices can't solely lie with him. Can't think of a first choice target he signed during his spell here.

I don't think the board are blameless for that shambles summer (my opinion looking back is that they after the first choice targets became unattainable they should have told him to make use of our young players), however he seems to escape with a remarkable amount of flack.

Not to mention other rumoured signings that would have equally been disastrous (Candreva).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, King Kante said:

The thing with Conte is that he is a tactical genius. As a result, the signings that he wants may not be the best in regards to a club that churns managers but he wants them as they fit his profile. Ergo, signing him players that he doesn't want is going to quickly get his nose out of joint and they are unlikely to be able to fit his style. 

Therefore, it depends what you want as a club, a manager who can win you things doing things his way or a board that is in charge and replace managers every other season. Both methods can prove successful but it depends on what is your preference. 

That what makes his meltdowns all the more bizzare. He proves he can improvise and get the best out of non elite squads.

A fully motivated Conte would have been a decent manager to have brought through some of the academy guys in, but he didn't seem interested.

Vesper and Fernando like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, Tomo said:

Ashley Young almost at Inter.

Penny for the thoughts of people who wanted Conte to stay and be fully backed in the market, would have set us back years and years.

I think he has went schizo. Brilliant with some moves, batshit with others.

That said, he has a unique profile of player he wants for his system. Candreva is back to having a really good year, even at his age. I am amongst the few here who think that (ONLY for Conte) that he and Nainggolan (who is having a really good year at Cagliari, I posted a long superb article on him a month or two ago) would have been good signings, but most if Conte's wants work only if we keep Conte, so flip a coin if it is good or bad we did not back him. Alex Sandro was the dagger in the heart. Fuck Juve and fuck Marina both, for different reasons. I dont want to get deep in the weeds over that rot again. It just will enrage me. No point. Same as De Bruyne (not as bad, De Bruyne will haunt me for decades).

Tomo likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Tomo said:

That what makes his meltdowns all the more bizzare. He proves he can improvise and get the best out of non elite squads.

A fully motivated Conte would have been a decent manager to have brought through some of the academy guys in, but he didn't seem interested.

To be fair, he came in and got a team from 10th to 1st in his first season. I think he thought that brought him credit that he could use, whilst I also think he was thinking now I can move on to winning the PL again and push for the CL. The thing with Summer 2018 is not that he didn't get one or two players he asked for but rather he didn't get any of them. Further, the players that were brought also did not fit his style. For me, Drinky, Baka, Morata and Zappa have the boards fingers all over them. 

Further, he was also banging on about how VvD should not be allowed to go to City (who look favourites after the Dippers p*ssed Soton off) because if they did it would prove impossible to beat them i.e. go and sign VvD, Granny. The club passed on that and now look at Liverpool since he has been there. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5192119/amp/Conte-urges-rivals-fight-Man-City-sign-Van-Dijk.html

Vesper and Fernando like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, King Kante said:

For me, Drinky, Baka, Morata and Zappa have the boards fingers all over them. 

I'd say the opposite. Conte signed Morata for Juventus before he left so was clearly someone he wanted to coach.

Zappa got a couple of caps under him, and when the Ox deal broke down late on it seems funny how we moved on so quick to an alternative which was Italian playing in Serie A.

Drinkwater was linked with us the season Conte first came in when we brought Kante, so the links had already been there a season early.

And for someone as bad as Baka was, I cannot see him being an anti-Conte signing and playing that many games under him when he was so useless.

Tomo likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Superblue_1986 said:

I'd say the opposite. Conte signed Morata for Juventus before he left so was clearly someone he wanted to coach.

Zappa got a couple of caps under him, and when the Ox deal broke down late on it seems funny how we moved on so quick to an alternative which was Italian playing in Serie A.

Drinkwater was linked with us the season Conte first came in when we brought Kante, so the links had already been there a season early.

And for someone as bad as Baka was, I cannot see him being an anti-Conte signing and playing that many games under him when he was so useless.

Conte wanted Lukaku, Walker, Alex Sandro, Radja, Vidal... We didn't get any of them (no one should be blamed) and instead we got option C, D for every position. Huge difference! It's the same now. For example if we miss out on Werner and Dembele we may end up with someone like Osimhen and he may be a flop. So should Lamps be blamed in a couple of years if he approves the deal? 

 

 

 

 

Vesper likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

Conte wanted Lukaku, Walker, Alex Sandro, Radja, Vidal... We didn't get any of them (no one should be blamed) and instead we got option C, D for every position. Huge difference! It's the same now. For example if we miss out on Werner and Dembele we may end up with someone like Osimhen and he may be a flop. So should Lamps be blamed in a couple of years if he approves the deal? 

And look at that plan A list, 2 have slowed down and another one flopped atnUnited and would have with us. So 2 out of 5 plan As working isn't exactly good going.

If you can't get plan As you improvise. Was Wjnaldium, Robertson and Mane Klopp's plan As? A manager like Conte shouldn't find it hard to find suitable players for his system out of left field, infact the young players Lampard's using to negate a transfer ban were all avalible to Conte, if he was that outraged about Baka, Zappacosta, Drinkwater etc what did he have to lose making use of the best academy in the world?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What really happens when transfer deals collapse

https://theathletic.com/1515552/2020/01/17/transfer-deal-collapse-signings-van-dijk-suarez-sanchez/

It was past 10pm on transfer deadline day and Daniel James was starting to get restless. It had been a long day for the young Swansea City winger, spending the afternoon at Leeds United’s training ground and the evening in their offices at Elland Road.

Personal terms agreed? Check. Rigorous medical examination? Check. Publicity photographs with newly-printed No 21 shirt? Check. Paperwork signed? Check. It felt like the perfect next step for his career, joining a club who were top of the Championship under Marcelo Bielsa. But still negotiations dragged on as the 11pm deadline drew closer and closer. This one was going to go down to the wire.

The plan last January was for Leeds to pay £1.5 million to sign James on loan until the end of the season. If he helped them win promotion, that would become a £10 million permanent transfer in the summer. But a problem arose in the final hour of trading. The Swansea hierarchy moved the goalposts, demanding a bigger up-front payment, and the deal collapsed

The scene is captured in Take Us Home, Amazon Prime’s fly-on-the-wall documentary about Leeds’ dramatic first season under Bielsa’s management. At one point James is heard making a phone call, telling someone, “I’ve been here all day. Everything is done, man. They just won’t sign.”

As the deal breaks down, Victor Orta, the Leeds director, appears to be in tears. “I don’t know what’s happening in the future now — with him, with us,” he says. “After this situation, nobody wins. Swansea, I think, have a player which, after this episode, is really difficult. This player can’t get his dream. And Leeds can’t get this player.

“Respect your player — because you give permission to make the medical. We’re talking about people. This is with people that have feelings. Today is one of the most tough moments that I’ve watched, a player of 21 years old, with his father … It’s never happened in my career.”

James says goodbye to Orta and the other Leeds officials and prepares for the long journey back to Wales under darkness. He looks tired and emotional. Leeds hope to revive the conversation in the summer, but for now the transfer window is closed. It is a blow to their promotion hopes and it is a blow to James’s career aspirations. They do not know what the future holds.


In his mind, Alexis Sanchez had already moved on from Arsenal.

It was transfer deadline day in August 2017 and, 7,000 miles away in Chile, he was preparing for a crucial World Cup qualifier that evening. That was his over-riding priority. Only afterwards would he allow himself to think about the challenge that awaited him at Manchester City.

He had assured his Chile team-mates of that the previous day. Delighted, he gathered them at the Pinto Duran training centre, on the outskirts of Santiago, and told them he would be joining City, pending a few last-minute formalities. The other players congratulated him — not least Claudio Bravo, who was going to be his team-mate in Manchester — and then he promised them that, for now, his focus was purely on La Roja and the game against Paraguay.

Deadline day didn’t go to plan, though. Arsenal had already accepted City’s offer of £55 million, with £5 million in potential add-ons, but, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain moving to Liverpool, they now indicated they wouldn’t let Sanchez go unless they managed to bring a player in to fill the void. Sanchez’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, called Ivan Gazidis, then Arsenal chief executive, and his City counterpart Ferran Soriano in a state of increasing anxiety.

“This needs to happen. Make it happen.”

Word came back that Arsenal had made a huge bid for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. Monaco had accepted it. Everything would be fine. Lemar had a match that night too, playing for France against Holland, so everyone shared the same sense of urgency. It would be done — sooner rather than later.

For Lemar, though, these were not the final stages of a saga that had dragged on all summer. The proposal had come about too quickly. It was an awful lot for a 21-year-old to deal with as he prepared to make the biggest match of his short international career to date. He was being pushed for a decision. He wanted to stay and was more tempted by the faint prospect of joining Liverpool. Lemar pulled out of negotiations and, with that, the Sanchez deal collapsed.

City were furious with Arsenal. Felicevich was furious with everyone. And Sanchez was aghast, horrified, incredulous. Whereas Lemar went out at the Stade de France that night and performed brilliantly, scoring twice in a 4-0 win, Sanchez sleepwalked through Chile’s damaging 3-0 home defeat by Paraguay. “That,” said Jose Sulantay, who had coached Sanchez at the Under-17 World Cup a decade earlier, “was not Alexis.”

Worrying reports came out of Chile: that Sanchez might go on strike in protest at Arsenal’s refusal to sell him. That proved wide of the mark, but it was still a serious concern. Sanchez had just 10 months left on his contract, with no prospect of a renewal, and was now severely disillusioned with the club. Relations with a number of team-mates had deteriorated over the final months of the previous season. Several of them had been eager to see the back of him. He had been desperate to go.

Arsene Wenger said there wouldn’t be a problem. He was wrong.


What happens when a player’s dream move falls through? And what happens in those cases where a player has kicked up a stink, polluting the atmosphere at one club in order to try to force a transfer to another, and then has to return, tail between his legs, to a dressing room he thought he had left for the last time?

The most notorious example in the Premier League era concerns Pierre van Hooijdonk, the former Holland centre-forward who, in an attempt to get a move away from Nottingham Forest, refused to return to pre-season training in July 1998, citing broken promises about investment in what he called a sub-standard squad.

“I think we all felt similar to Pierre that summer,” Alan Rogers, the former Forest full-back, tells The Athletic. “We all thought we needed one or two signings and instead the club sold Kevin Campbell (to Trabzonspor) and they were about to sell Colin Cooper to Middlesbrough, too. We all felt frustrated. But you don’t expect one of your team-mates to go on strike like Pierre did. He just went about it completely the wrong way.”

As Forest began the season without their star player, the indignation from his team-mates was overwhelming. Steve Stone warned that if Van Hooijdonk returned, he would “have to get changed somewhere else because there’s no way the lads will accept him back in the dressing room after everything he’s said.” Two months into the impasse, when Van Hooijdonk (below) made noises about returning to Forest, their manager Dave Bassett said, “If he thinks we’re going to offer him an olive branch, he knows where he can stick it.”

What was it like in the dressing room when the rebel returned? “I remember Pierre walking in and I thought Geoff Thomas was going to hit him,” Rogers says. “He didn’t, but he had a right go. Geoff really went to town on him. A couple of the other senior players did, too.

“It was a bad situation. He would walk into the dressing room and people would blank him. He scored a goal against Derby and I think Thierry Bonalair was the only one who celebrated with him. The first couple of weeks back, he was a disgrace in training. In one session, Dave Bassett was trying to work on team shape and Pierre just walked off with a bag of balls.

“We all thought he was taking the piss. It got to the point where Mark Crossley, Steve Chettle and Geoff pulled him to one side again and said, ‘Enough is enough. We’ve all got our frustrations, but you can’t let the team suffer.'”

Even if relations thawed slightly on a superficial level, the ill-feeling festered all season before Van Hooijdonk got a move home to Holland with Vitesse Arnhem.

Dressing-room lore was different in those days. You were either in or you were out. Over time, that has changed.

“It’s almost accepted now,” Rogers says. “I’m not saying it’s like we had with Pierre at Forest, but it seems to be pretty much accepted now that players will play up to try to get a move. The players have so much power these days. You look at certain players where they’ve made clear they don’t want to be at a club and they seem to be taking the piss, but in a lot of cases now their team-mates just seem to put up with it.

“We had some strong characters at Forest. We had some even stronger ones when I was at Leicester — Matty Elliott, Gerry Taggart, people like that. Can you imagine Gerry Taggart letting someone pussyfoot around and say they don’t feel like training today? I don’t think anyone would dare.”

Player power has become an accepted norm and, while rarely abused on the scale of Van Hooijdonk’s one-man act of mutiny, barely a transfer window goes by without a high-profile footballer picking up a mysterious injury that excuses him from duty while any transfer negotiations are at a delicate stage.

Whether fairly or not, several recent winners of the PFA Player of the Year award has been accused of that: Gareth Bale, when his move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid was dragged out over the course of the summer of 2013; Luis Suarez, when Liverpool refused to sell him to Arsenal that same summer; Riyad Mahrez, when Leicester City rejected a bid from Manchester City in January 2018; Virgil van Dijk trying and failing to engineer a transfer from Southampton to Liverpool the year before.

The three who were held against their wishes — Suarez, Mahrez, Van Dijk — were all reintegrated in the short term before getting their move a little further down the line. Mahrez missed four Leicester games midway through the 2017-18 season, apparently not in the frame of mind after being denied his move, but was welcomed back unquestioningly by his team-mates and manager Claude Puel shortly after the transfer window closed. Having blown hot and cold over the remainder of the season, he got his move to Manchester City in the July.

Van Dijk was a different case. Having been very public about his wish to join Liverpool, he missed Southampton’s pre-season training camp and all their warm-up games, training alone at their Staplewood base, and did not feature in their first seven games of the campaign. An ankle injury had restricted his involvement at the start of pre-season, but Mauricio Pellegrino, the coach, was unequivocal about the defender’s absence, saying, “The boy is not available to play because he wants to leave.” Van Dijk had been named team captain eight months earlier, but, after that summer of discontent, the armband went to Steven Davis, the club captain.

Van Dijk’s performances in his final months at Southampton were not those of the £75 million footballer he was about to become. According to one source, there was no discernible difference in attitude or application — and, as with Mahrez, not even a hint of ill feeling from his team-mates — but there was certainly a drop in performance.

According to Opta’s statistics tracking his four-and-a-half years in the Premier League, that final half-season on the south coast saw his highest rate of unsuccessful touches (one every 331 minutes, as opposed to the staggering one every 1,800 minutes this term at Liverpool) and his number of successful tackles per 90 minutes dropped from 1.9 the previous season to 0.9.

Then there is Suarez, whose relationship with Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool broke down after the 2012-13 season and briefly looked irretrievable. He publicly accused the club of breaking promises by denying him a move to a club offering Champions League football. His customary zeal on the training ground was replaced by melancholy and apparent disinterest, leading Rodgers to send him to train on his own.

It was Steven Gerrard who pulled his team-mate to one side and told him to forget about leaving. “Do you seriously want to go to Arsenal?” the Liverpool captain asked him. “If you sort your head out and give everything for Liverpool this season, you’ll get a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid — and I think that’s what you really want.”

Once he had finished serving an FA ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Suarez went on to perform to an extraordinary level that season, spearheading an improbable title challenge, before — just as Gerrard predicted — getting his move to Barcelona the next summer.

His behaviour during three-and-a-half turbulent years at Anfield was inexcusable in certain instances, but in terms of knuckling down and getting back to business once the transfer window closed, he set perhaps the ultimate example.


For James, going back to Swansea after deadline day last winter was something he was just not prepared for. Like Sanchez, he thought he had moved on to bigger and better things. He had nothing to apologise for, but his head was in a spin, even though his team-mates did what they could to help him get over the disappointment of seeing the Leeds move break down.

Graham Potter, then in charge of Swansea, said he had “no concerns whatsoever” about James’s attitude. His confidence proved well-founded. If anything, he seemed inspired by what had happened on deadline day, fuelled by a desperation not to miss out on the bigger stage that had been presented to him and then taken away. He was in the shop window and, sure enough, he got his move at the end of the season — to Manchester United, not Leeds. He has barely looked back since.

James Milner remembers turning up to Aston Villa’s training ground on transfer deadline day in August 2006, looking forward to joining permanently after a spell on loan from Newcastle United the previous season. He was greeted by an anxious-looking Martin O’Neill, telling him Newcastle had changed their mind and pulled the plug on the deal with just hours left before the window closed.

O’Neill was apoplectic. Milner, in his own words, was raging. He had been told that morning he was free to go, but now Newcastle were saying the move was off because they had been unable to agree a deal with Middlesbrough for Mark Viduka.

At Villa’s suggestion, he still underwent the medical and signed the paperwork in case the deal could be revived before the end of the evening. He then drove up from Birmingham to his parents’ house in Leeds and turned on Sky Sports in the hope of witnessing some kind of breakthrough in negotiations.

“You know that feeling when you’re watching deadline day and your heart is telling you there’s still a chance a certain deal will go through but your head is telling you it’s pretty much over?” he said in his book Ask A Footballer. “Well that was me on deadline day that year.”

Milner felt he was in a state of limbo when he went away with the England Under-21 team. On his return to Newcastle the following week, manager Glenn Roeder expressed pleasure at the way things had unfolded and told him he was in his plans.

“That was exactly what I wanted to hear,” Milner said. “But then Saturday came and we were playing at home to Fulham and I wasn’t even on the bench. It was the angriest I’ve ever been with a manager. I went into his office and said a few things I shouldn’t have done.

“I was fuming. It’s the only time I’ve been like that in my career and it was simply because it was ridiculous for them to pull the plug on the deal and then for me not even to be on the bench.

“After that, I got my head down and grafted and managed to force my way back into the team. I had a good season actually and scored a few goals, but it left a sour taste and (…) it opened my eyes to certain things about the football industry. It can be ruthless and, although people talk about the players calling the shots, the reality is often the exact opposite.”


Suarez, Sanchez and Diego Costa. Three South American centre-forwards with very different skillsets and personalities but bound by a certain characteristic in terms of their on-pitch attitude. Spanish speakers might call it cojones.

The three of them reacted very differently when trying to engineer their exits from a leading Premier League club, though. Suarez, as stated above, knuckled down and produced the form of his life. Costa responded to Antonio Conte’s infamous text message, telling him he was no longer in Chelsea’s plans, by refusing to return to train with the reserves. Instead he exiled himself in his hometown in Brazil while waiting for Chelsea to agree a deal with Atletico Madrid, whom he joined when the transfer window re-opened a few months later.

Sanchez? He struggled. He always was something of a loner at Arsenal. After the move to City fell through, he became even more distant and detached from the rest of the squad. His arm-waving histrionics on the pitch and outbursts in the dressing-room had been tolerated in previous seasons when he was playing well, but not when, in the eyes of some team-mates, his efforts left much to be desired. There were still a few goals and assists, but his performance level was erratic. His number of unsuccessful touches per 90 minutes went up from 2.6 the previous season to 3.8.

Tensions came to the boil after a game at Burnley in November 2017. Sanchez scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot, but several team-mates told him afterwards that his performance had been unacceptable. When he scored the first of two goals at Crystal Palace a few weeks later, some of them joined his celebrations but he appeared irked that others did not. “There is division in the team,” former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry said in the Sky Sports studio. “He’s asking them to come. Why are they not coming? Don’t they want to celebrate?”

Sanchez finally departed for Manchester United — not their cross-town rivals — a few weeks later. The previous summer, as mentioned above, Arsenal had accepted a City offer of £55 million, with £5 million of potential add-ons. Now, in the final months of his contract, they were grateful just to be able to take Henrikh Mkhitaryan from United in a straight swap. From so many different perspectives, holding onto Sanchez had backfired. For all his undoubted talent, there was a collective sigh of relief from the Arsenal dressing room when he left.

In his place, Arsenal welcomed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a player who was so determined to join them that, according to Peter Stoger, his coach at Borussia Dortmund, he had missed team meetings and “refused to run” during training sessions in his unhappy final week at the club.

The Dortmund hierarchy thought about holding him against his wishes, but ended up concluding it would do more harm than good. They were probably right.

Johnnyeye likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.