8 Never-Ending Transfer Sagas That Just Dragged On & On & On

​There’s nothing more frustrating than a transfer saga that refuses to end. 

All we want is confirmation, one way or the other. And this January we’re caught right in the middle of a couple of the longest-running transfer sagas we’ve seen in years. They’re at no signs of an end, either.

With that in mind, what better time is there to review some of history’s most tedious transfer sagas? Here’s eight of the best (or, possibly, worst) for you lucky readers.


Bruno Fernandes to Man Utd

Bruno Fernandes

Where else to start but with this humdinger.

Silky playmaker Bruno Fernandes has hit a combined 78 goals and assists in his last 79 matches for Sporting CP. In other words, he’s a very attractive prospect for most of Europe’s big clubs.

This story has seen both Manchester giants, ​Tottenham Hotspur, ​Chelsea, ​Inter and many others fall at the Portuguese midfielder’s feet. It’s the ​Red Devils who look to be closing in on him, but at the moment talks between United and Sporting remain in deadlock over a transfer fee.

We could’ve said the same six months ago.


Paul Pogba to Real Madrid? Juventus?

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba never seems to be fully content with his situation at Old Trafford, which has led to persistent rumours that the Frenchman is looking to engineer an escape route.

A U-turn is on the cards as ​Juventus make their interest known, while ​Real Madrid are likewise lurking. Zinedine Zidane’s side have been tracking him for some time, and could swoop in the summer.

This saga just needs to close, and everyone just needs to move on.


Neymar’s Return to Barcelona

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PARIS-CAEN

In the summer of 2018, we began hearing rumours that ​Barcelona were working day and night on a deal to bring Paris Saint-German’s Neymar back to Camp Nou. 

Guess what came of it? 

Nothing.

Fast forward 12 months and La Blaugrana are once more on the hunt for the Brazilian superstar after Ousmane Dembele’s struggles. 

But wait! Now it sounds like the Catalans have no interest in re-signing Neymar, who they view as a troublesome player with the potential to damage squad harmony.

Still, the saga refuses to die, with the Spanish champions ​allegedly set to return for the PSG forward once the current campaign reaches its conclusion. 

At this rate, we’ll be talking about this transfer until the day Neymar retires, and maybe after that, too.


Sol Campbell’s Betrayal

fans tottenham

​Tottenham supporters were a little on edge back in 2000, with various media outlets linking club captain Sol Campbell with a free transfer to north London rivals ​Arsenal.

Nevertheless, the Spurs faithful weren’t too concerned when the rumours started to emerge. A move to the Gunners sounded outlandish, and the skipper had repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the Lilywhites.

Speculation grew, however, and it continued to do so. For over a year, Campbell’s future was very much up in the air, and a hot topic of conversation. The longer he refused to put pen to paper on a new deal, the more worried Tottenham supporters got.

The media frenzy finally ended in July 2001 as Arsenal announced the capture of the centre-back. Fair to say, those he left behind were livid, labelling him ‘Judas’ for his controversial transfer, and the manner in which he went about it.


Chelsea’s Fondness for Steven Gerrard

Chelsea v Liverpool UEFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge 2005

You can see why ​Chelsea were determined to lure Steven Gerrard away from ​Liverpool, with the Blues hoping to pair him up with Frank Lampard, thereby forming a midfield super group.

It seems the boyhood Reds fan was likewise keen on joining Jose Mourinho’s revolution in west London, before opting to stay at Anfield in light of death threats from Reds supporters.

Gerrard had handed in a transfer request mere months after he’d led the Merseysiders to victory in the 2005 ​Champions League final, having been linked with a switch to Chelsea for well over 12 months.

Were it not for the threats he received – as well as the stunning protests that took place outside Anfield and Melwood – we may well have seen Stevie G slipping up for the Blues, rather than the Reds.


Paulo Dybala’s Juventus Exit

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It’s January 2020, and we’re still discussing Paulo Dybala’s impending departure from ​Juventus.

The Argentine has looked to be on his way out of La Vecchia Signora ever since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin, but as things stand, he’ll be at the Allianz Stadium until next summer, at least.

​Issues over image rights were all that stopped Dybala joining Tottenham in August, demonstrating how close he’s come to cutting ties with Juve. 

So, he’s still pushing for a move away, right? Nope, the forward has instead started ​negotiating a new contract with the club. It won’t be long before his name is littering the rumour mill once again.


Real Madrid’s Pursuit of Eden Hazard

FBL-ESP-BEL-REAL MADRID

This one began midway through the last decade as people started to appreciate what a wonderfully gifted footballer Eden Hazard is. Fans realised he was – to recycle an over-used pun – the ​Real deal.

Then Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane went and said ​he’d pick the Belgian over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which was always going to cause some commotion.

And so, the hunt began, with Real Madrid spending the next five years tracking Hazard, the Spaniards eventually getting their way last June as they wrapped up a €100m deal for the Chelsea winger.

Of course, there were twists and turns along the way. One minute, Real were abandoning their pursuit, and the next, they were prepared to break the bank to land him. 

By the time Easter 2019 rolled around, Blues fans had accepted Hazard’s departure was unavoidable, and so it proved. At least they had some time to prepare for his exit.


Cesc Fabregas’ Catalan Homecoming

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas was probably linked with a return to Barcelona before he’d even been born, such was the drawn-out nature of this saga.

From the moment he made his Arsenal debut in 2003, the midfielder’s future in north London was up for debate, with the media incessantly reporting that La Blaugrana wanted their man back.

Many campaigns came and went, but nothing came of the speculation, though a day never went by without a newspaper claiming Fabregas was poised for a Catalan homecoming.

There was only one way the story would end, the playmaker re-signing for his hometown club in 2011 after Barça agreed a £35m fee with the Gunners. 

Sadly, things didn’t work out for Cesc at Camp Nou, with Chelsea bringing him back to the ​Premier League just three years later.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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11 of the Best Pieces of Manchester United Merchandise You Can Buy Now

Birthdays are a nightmare, aren’t they? Never sure what to ask people to get you for yours, never sure what to get other people for theirs, and that’s before we even think about doing it all again at Christmas. 

Good news though. If you’re a United fan, or if you know a United fan, we’ve got you covered. ​


20th Anniversary Treble-Winners Badge Set

One of the collector, this – one to keep on a shelf, maybe on display, then show the kids when there’s a generation in danger of forgetting that United had the best all-round season of any English club, ever. 

Available from the United ​Store


Chinese New Year Shirt

Oh. My. Days. When United came out to warm up for the Norwich game in the season’s most unlikely kit, Twitter and all that was on fire – ripping the absolutes out of the shirt. I mean, just so many dragons. 

Whisper it quietly though…the shirt slaps. Look at Martial in that, look at Rashford. No wonder they won that game 4-0. 

Available from adid​as


Touchscreen Gloves! 

It’s a well-known fact of football that every single stadium is at least 5º colder inside than it is outside. It’s also a well-known fact of football that most of the season happens in autumn and winter, two of the – y’know – colder times of year. 

Solution? United-badged touchscreen-ready gloves. Obviously. 

Available from Pro:Dire​ct


Chivas Regal

Trying to remember where you’ve heard the name ‘Chivas’ before? It’s because Chivas Regal are United’s official spirits partner, innit.

They’ve done a few things with the club – the 1999 Victory Edition, the Icon 50th Anniversary Edition and a 13-year-old blend to celebrate Fergie’s 13 titles – and they’re now fully a part of the furniture. And their whiskies are all well good. 

Available from The Whisky Exc​hange


Retro-Style Customisable Mug

Couple of options here, and you’ll understand why once it gets explained. You want a nice, stylish ‘Rashford, 10’ mug for the office or home? Easy. Pick your player, pick your number (Fred apologists, step right up).

Then again…what happens if your player leaves? There’s only so much shelf life a ‘Pogba, 6’ mug’s going to have. Stick your own name and number on it, go on. You’re not going anywhere any time soon, are you?

Available from the Unit​ed Store


Green & Gold Phone Case

Want a subtle way to protest the Glazer regime without buying and wearing a garish scarf? Of course you do. 

Lucky for you, you can get the green and gold 1992-94 away kit which saw United into the Premier League era on a phone case. A really nice phone case, and all. Remember that kit? Your dad probably does. 

Available from UK Soccer​ Shop


Treble-Winners Throwback Long Sleeve Shirt

Is there anything better than a shirt without a sponsor? Turns out yes, one thing – a shirt without a sponsor designed in the style of the shirt that United won the 1999 treble in.

It’s made by adidas, it’s got the nice collar it’s…could be writing anything here really, eh? You don’t care. You’re busy with your mouse hovering over the ‘add to basket’ button. 

Available from Pro:D​irect


Predator Precision David Beckham Trainers

adidas Predators are one of the most – if not the most – iconic football boots of the last…well, ever. David Beckham? Yeah, pretty iconic. Streetstyle versions of Predators, designed in a collab with United’s greatest free-kick taker? Take our money.

Available from ​adidas​


Sharp Kit Mouse Mat

What are you looking for from this description? It’s a mouse mat, with the design of the United shirt from the late 90s. It was a really nice shirt. It’s a nice mouse mat. One for the old school computer-using parents or for the PC gamer, here. 

Available from UK Socce​r Shop


Club Calendar

Newcastle’s 2020 club calendar: bad, had pictures from 18 months ago and included players who left ages before it got put into shops.

Man Utd’s 2020 club calendar: good, contains only pictures of players who are still at the club, doesn’t have even a crumb of Ashley Young. 

Available from Ama​zon


Retro Dennis Law 1963 FA Cup Final Shirt

Old-school kit perverts of the world rejoice, you can get a replica of Dennis Law’s 1963 FA Final number 10 shirt, and…well, there’s a reason kits have evolved so much in the 55+ years since that final. Wouldn’t advise playing in this shirt – probably best off hanging it up and displaying it somewhere. You can get some well nice frames now, y’know. 

Available from UK Soccer​ Shop


For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!


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Erling Haaland Is a Unique Talent – But Man Utd Should Not Spend January Pining for Him

It did not take long Erling Haaland very long to open his scoring account for Borussia Dortmund – ​just three minutes to be exact. 

20 minutes later and Haaland had registered a debut hat-trick, the latest achievement for a player who looks like he was assembled in a laboratory out of various body parts of different legendary strikers. 

The pace of a peak Michael Owen, the rangy elegance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and finishing ability akin to Glenn Murray at the peak of his powers, the fact that Dortmund managed to sign him for just 20m is nothing short of miraculous. Or, less romantically, the result of a horribly undervalued release placed into his contract by RB Salzburg. 

It all looked so bleak for BVB before the introduction of their new signing from the substitutes bench against Augsburg on Saturday. Marco Reus was looking worryingly out of sorts, missing a string of good chances and when a Marco Richter pot shot from 30 yards ended up flying past Roman Burki, Lucien Favre would have been wondering if it was going to be one of those days. 

Then in the 56th minute, Favre turned to Haaland – free-scoring, record-breaking, Manchester United-rejecting Haaland – and the game was turned on its head. 

Just three minutes after his introduction the Norwegian opened his BVB account with a trademark, sweeping finish into the bottom corner. Latching onto Jadon Sancho’s perfectly weighted through ball, I don’t think I’ve ever been more certain that a player was going to score and so it proved – with the ball racing past Tomas Koubek despite the Czech stopper’s excellent positioning. 

Erling Braut Haaland

Haaland’s second saw him finish off a superb team goal with the simplest finish, this particular strike proved that the 19-year-old is even capable of making a tap-in look good. 

He then completed his hat trick ten minutes from time with Reus this time the architect. Timing his run to perfection to break through Augsburg’s ludicrously high line, Haaland raced onto the Dortmund’s captain through ball before sliding it into the home side’s net.

It was 23 minutes of absolute magic with the youngster getting his new side out of jail on his debut – though surely it is not the last time that Haaland will save the day. 

Some United fans will have watched his performance this afternoon and felt envious, very envious indeed. ​Twitter was awash with what might have been type statements as the afternoon’s events unfolded, but failing to land Haaland in January really should be very low down on United’s worries list for now.

​With the club’s front three firing effectively of late, they focus must be on other inadequacies (specifically in defence and midfield) that need addressing in the upcoming transfer window, instead of pining over the young striker – extremely alluring as he may be.  

There will likely be other chances down the line to sign Haaland, possibly (hopefully for United fans) when the move makes more sense for both the player and the club.

Though one must treat such a precocious talent with caution, it is impossible to not get excited about what Haaland could go on to achieve in the next few years. He looks for all the world a unique, generational talent whose development will be a joy to watch over the next decade. 

Just prepare yourselves for him to be linked with a move to the Premier League every other week!


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

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Inter Confirm Signing of Ashley Young From Manchester United on Short-Term Deal

​Inter have confirmed the signing of Ashley Young from Manchester United on a six-month contract.

The 34-year-old had entered the last six months of his deal at Old Trafford and had already snubbed the offer of a new contract to try and force through an immediate exit to the Serie A side.


​Inter took to their ​official website to announce that the deal is done, with Young penning a deal which also includes the option to extend by a further year at the end of the current campaign.

Manager Antonio Conte was eager to add some more depth to his wing-back positions, with Young emerging as a viable option for I Nerazzurri, despite the initial belief that a move would occur at the end of the season.

Young agreed terms with the Italian side, which prompted ​United to submit their own contract proposal to the 34-year-old, but he quickly rejected the offer in the hope of making an immediate move to Inter.

He has now been given his wish, with Young bringing an end to his nine-year association with the Red Devils in order to join Conte.

In total, Young managed 261 appearances for United following his switch from Aston Villa back in 2011, racking up 19 goals and 43 assists in all competitions. He enjoyed plenty of success with the club, lifting the ​Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League once each.

Earlier in the day, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that the club were unable to meet Young’s demands, and they accepted that they had the squad depth to cope without him for the remainder of the campaign.

“He is 35 in the summer and, if he gets a two-year contract somewhere, I think it’s up to him to take that. We weren’t ready to offer that,” he confirmed (via the club’s ​official website).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,Ashley Young

“He’s been a good servant for the club. He’s been captain and he’s won trophies, leagues, cups, but we’ve got players coming through. So it was time now, then. When Ashley’s head and mindset was on ‘yeah, I want to try this’, why not do it now?

“Ashley’s mindset was that he wanted to try a new adventure and he he’s approaching 35 now. He’s done a fantastic job and he’s served this club fantastically. I think it was an opportunity for him that we had to say yes to. We got a transfer fee for someone who’s been so loyal to the club.

“Good luck. That’s what Manchester United do, you have players for a long time and then they move on and someone else steps in.”


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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