This past summer transfer window has definitely been one of the best in living memory: Neymar’s world record move to PSG, the seemingly never-ending saga revolving Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe and a whole host of clubs smashing their transfer records meant that this summer will remain one of the most dramatic and extravagant ones ever. However not all players get their own their way, with a number of stars being denied transfers, despite some handing in transfer requests, with others having moves fall through right at the last minute. So, here’s a list of five transfer outcasts who were left in limbo following failures to leave their club this past summer.
Liverpool’s Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho and his unsuccessful attempts to leave Anfield this summer will definitely go down as one of the most drawn out and controversial transfer sagas the Premier League has ever seen. Despite the player handing in a transfer request to the Merseyside club, according to the BBC, the midfielder was still denied a move away from Jurgen Klopp’s side, with the club stating that that the Reds playmaker was not to be sold amid very strong interest from Spanish giants Barcelona. Coutinho hasn’t appeared in any of Liverpool’s games so far this season, and was even left out of their Champions League squad for their qualifying matches against Hoffenheim due to a “back injury” (make of that what you will), as the rumours surrounding his reported potential move to Barcelona grew ever stronger. Eventually, the transfer window slammed shut, with the Brazilian still very much a Reds player. So, where does this leave Coutinho now? Well, it realistically leaves him with two options: he could either withdraw his transfer request, apologise to the club and its fans, and put to his head down and try to work his way back into Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up for this season, and with a World Cup coming up next summer, this seems like the most likely option in my book. The other option Coutinho could go with is continue to sit on the side lines at Anfield after being denied his dream move to Barcelona, and wait either until January, or even next summer, for the Spanish giants to come back in for him. However, as previously stated, there’s a World Cup coming up next year, and with Brazil having already qualified, I’m sure Coutinho wouldn’t want to put his place in the Selecao squad at risk, especially with the South American side set to go into the tournament with a very good chance of coming out as champions.
If I had to pick one work to describe Chelsea forward Diego Costa, it would definitely be ‘controversial’, and this summer only backed this up, as the Spaniard refused to return to the Blues due to his desire to leave the club and secure a move back home to his former side Atletico Madrid being one of the most topsy-turvy and most talked about sagas of the summer. The player’s want to leave reportedly came about after manager Antonio Conte told him that the striker was not in his plans for the coming season according to the Times. Costa made it abundantly clear that he would not be returning to the club this summer in an interview with the Daily Mail, with the Spanish international more than ready to see out the remainder of his Blues contract in his home country of Brazil, with his former side Atletico’s ongoing transfer embargo making Costa’s desire to leave Stamford Bridge even more complicated. Costa, who was subsequently left out of his club’s Champions League squad, but was shockingly included in their 25-man Premier League squad for this season by boss Conte, doesn’t look as if he’s going to return to the club any time soon, with it looking increasingly likely that the Blues frontman’s future at the club is becoming shorter and shorter by the day.
Virgil Van Dijk:
Virgil Van Dijk’s desire to leave Southampton this summer was debatably the most drawn-out transfer saga of the summer, with the Netherlands international making it very clear from the get go that he saw his future away from St Mary’s, with Liverpool the club most often linked with making a move for the 26-year-old. The Dutchman even went through extreme lengths to try and secure his dream move to Anfield, with the defender handing in a transfer request and even refusing to train, as per the BBC, to try and force Southampton’s hand into selling the centre-back. Despite numerous attempts by the player to try and force a transfer, Mauricio Pellegrino’s side stood firm with their stance that the player would not be sold, which ended up being the case come September 1st as the player remained a Southampton player (until January at least). The Saints even complained to the Premier League about Liverpool’s somewhat illegal approach that they had made for the in-demand Holland star, which was quite embarrassing for the Merseyside club to say the least. For Van Dijk, his failure to secure a move to Liverpool in the summer now only really leaves one option should he want to find himself in the Netherlands’ squad for next summer’s World Cup (if they somehow qualify): he needs to apologise, get his head down and make sure he works his way back into the Saints’ starting 11 for this season, and hope his club change their mind over letting him go to Liverpool in the transfer windows to come.
The story of Alexis Sanchez and his failed deadline day move to Manchester City on certainly the most dramatic story on this list. Despite Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger constantly insisting that the Chilean international would not be leaving the north London club this summer, the player came ever so close to doing so on deadline day, after the Gunners accepted a whopping £60M bid from City for the 28-year-old winger as per the Daily Star, only for the move to fall though at the last minute due to Wenger’s side being unable to secure a deal for Monaco winger Thomas Lemar. Sanchez was left in limbo following this, and with his current deal at the Emirates only having 12 months left on it, it almost looks certain that the forward is going to leave the Gunners either in a cut price deal in January, or on a free next summer once his current deal has expired, which makes you question why Arsenal didn’t just cash in on Sanchez when they had the chance. With Sanchez now seemingly being close to full fitness after managing 60 minutes in Arsenal’s 4-0 demolition by Liverpool last Saturday, it wouldn’t surprise me, and I’m sure many others as well, to see the hard-working forward put his head and down give his all for the Gunners for the remainder of this season try and help the club get back on track following their dreadful start to their Premier League campaign this season.
The last player in our list is Leicester City and Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez, who’s summer is certainly the most unique on our list. Whilst Mahrez had handed in a transfer request earlier in the window as reported by the Independent, the winger still continued to give his all for the Foxes in their first three Premier League games. Leicester had already rejected three bids for the Algerian midfielder over the summer, with the highest reportedly being £31.8M, according to the Mirror, before the Italian club finally gave up with their pursuit of the 26-year-old. It looked like we might have finally reached an end to the saga, after the Algerian FA announced that the Foxes star had been allowed to leave their training camp in order to finalise a transfer away from the Midlands club, however there was no indication of where the winger was headed, or what club he was set to sign for. Despite there being rumours of the player being in Paris and London, the midfielder ultimately ended deadline day a Leicester player, despite the rumours surrounding where the winger might be headed. It later emerged in reports that Mahrez’s representatives tried to force through a move to Manchester United, according to the Sun, to no avail. So, similarly to how he acted when the transfer window was open, Leicester fans can expect Mahrez to still be putting 100% effort into his performances between now and January, which we can only presume is when the winger will try to secure a move away from the King Power Stadium again.