Twice a year the football transfer window sees a raft of deals and plenty of last minute wrangling. But for every signing there are normally a few that get away and this summer there were a few high-profile transfers that failed to occur contradicting conventional wisdom in the process.
Luka Modric to Chelsea
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said at the start of the summer that he wouldn’t be selling Modric and he was true to his word. The Blues offered £22m, £26m and finally a deal worth £40m that included Brazilian defender Alex but still the stoic Levy said no. It made no difference that the Croatia international stamped his feet and sulked around the place, asking not to play while his future was sorted out. Yet while the world appears to be commending Spurs for their obduracy in the face of Roman Abramovich’s millions you have to wonder whether their decision made sense. Modric will never again be worth that kind of money and keeping a player who doesn’t want to be there can backfire spectacularly. What odds on a cut-price £15m move to Manchester United next summer?
Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United
The Dutch master was seen by most in the Fourth Estate as the answer to the supposed creative problem at Old Trafford. There was a distinct Paul Scholes shaped hole in the midfield that weirdly appeared even when he was still playing for Sir Alex Ferguson last season. Despite Fergie’s insistence that a deal was not being considered, Sneijder himself has revealed talks took place but were never acted upon. Perhaps the most successful British manager in history was right all along, or perhaps he saw the early season performances of new boy Ashley Young and decided to save the club £35m.
Neymar to Chelsea / Real Madrid
The Brazilian boy-wonder is the officially the greatest thing since sliced bread – and he appears to know it. Capable of outrageous skill and exemplary finishing, the football world has been salivating over the 19-year-old for the last 12 months. A year ago Chelsea seemed set to bring him to Stamford Bridge only for the player to change his mind. This summer they put their hat into the ring once more but while Neymar flirted with the idea, he practically performed a lap dance for Real Madrid. The Spanish giants took the bait but were unable to prise him away from Santos as his price tag rocketed further skywards with every passing moment.
Carlos Tevez to anywhere but Manchester
If football followers were to name one player that they thought was destined to change clubsb efore September began, 99.9% of themn would have said Carlos Tevez. Yet the sulking Argentina striker remains at Manchester City. A victim of his own wage demands and eye-watering price tags, Tevez could not extricate himself from a club that can afford to keep him whether he plays or not and that appear to be stubborn enough not to be bullied into selling by anyone, especially the player himself. A surprise return to former employers Corinthians in a £40m deal was mooted but when the Brazilian club failed to provide a bank guarantee for the first installment of the transfer fee, the move was off. Inter Milan had always showed interest but would have had to have offloaded Wesley Sneijder. As we know, that did not happen and Tevez is reduced to sitting on the bench at the Etihad Stadium watching Edin Dzeko score what could have been his goals.
Gary Cahill to Arsenal
OK, perhaps this is neither the protracted saga or blockbusting name that you would expect on this list but the fact that he is still a Bolton player is a surprise. An England international who has just enjoyed his best campaign and has only a year left on his contract would seem like an obvious target for a club with clear defensive issues and a few quid to spend after player sales. Arsenal, perhaps? Yet Arsene Wenger’s renowned parsimony prevented him from drifting ever so slightly from his ideology of paying a single cent more than what he deems a player is worth. To be fair to the Gunners supremo he did sign the giant Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen but it will be interesting to monitor how the two centre backs fare this season.