Staying Put: Ten Expected Summer Transfers That Weren’t

For every confirmed transfer in any given summer transfer window, there’s another ten that fall short of completion or being remotely plausible. That’s the way it seems, at least.

Even with the misses in mind, a lot – and I mean a lot – of money changes hands every summer, as players notable and not leave for new pastures, some greener and some not. This summer, we saw some of the most expensive transfers in Premier League and world football history, with the expected (Cesc Fabregas’ return to Barcelona) to the surprising (Javier Pastore’s move to PSG).

All the same, there were quite a few deals that we expected or hoped to see that didn’t come to fruition, for one reason or another. In some of those cases, staying put was the best choice (if it was by choice, that is), but there were others who would have benefited far more from action than inaction.

Gary Cahill

With only one year left on his contract at Bolton, it was widely expected that Cahill would move this summer. Much of the speculation centered around Arsenal, who were in the market for at least one new center back, while Manchester City and Tottenham were also linked with the England international.

Arsenal did indeed come in with a bid late on, but it fell far short of what Bolton were looking for, to put it nicely. The Gunners would instead opt for Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker

It looked almost certain that Spurs would get their man on deadline day, but the two sides were unable to agree a fee, with Bolton reportedly having a £13m valuation for Cahill. So, he remains a Bolton player, but there’s a great chance that Spurs could get their man eventually. Contract talks between Bolton and Cahill are set to occur soon, and if a new deal hasn’t been reached by January, it would seem likely that Bolton would sell then instead of risk losing a prized asset for nothing in the summer.

Lassana Diarra

Diarra might be more remembered for one of three things – 1) bouncing from Chelsea to Arsenal to Portsmouth within the span of a few months, 2) moving from Portsmouth to Real Madrid for almost £20m, or 3) having ‘Lass’ on the back of his shirt – than his talent or accomplishments.

However, he has carved out a place for himself at Real Madrid, starting more than 70 games over the course of two and a half seasons. Still, with Real not short on midfielders, that place isn’t a certain one, and as such, he’s been regularly linked with a move.

This summer, Diarra was linked with Manchester United, Tottenham, AC Milan, and AS Roma, with a move to Spurs viewed as likely until the man himself poured cold water on the speculation. In the end, the only firm attempt might have been from AC Milan, who made a late, unsuccessful bid to land the Frenchman on loan.

When will he leave? Your guess is as good as mine. As much as it may appear sometimes that there’s no room for him at the inn, Jose Mourinho still seems to rate him highly, and he seems to be perfectly content with his role at Real.

Darron Gibson

Along with teammates John O’Shea and Wes Brown, Gibson seemed set for a summer move to that haven of former Manchester United players known as Sunderland. However, while O’Shea and Brown did depart for the Stadium of Light, Ireland midfielder Gibson’s move broke down due to a failure to agree terms.

Even after the move fell through, he was still tipped to leave United, with Stoke City, Blackburn, and Aston Villa all being mentioned as potential destinations at one point or another. However, any chance of a late move seemingly disappeared after injuring ankle ligaments in training days before the end of the window.

The 23-year-old made 20-plus appearances in each of the last two seasons, but with Ashley Young proving to be an instant hit, Tom Cleverley emerging as one to watch for the present and the future, and Anderson perhaps ready to fully live up to expectations, Gibson will find it hard to get a game at United from here on. So, like Cahill, there’s a good chance we’ll see Gibson on the move in January, whether on loan or in a permanent move.

Luka Modric

The old saying is ‘ask and you shall receive’, but that’s not always true. Just ask Luka Modric, whose desire for a summer move from Tottenham to Chelsea were far from a secret to anyone. Unfortunately, that includes Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy, whose resistance to sell Modric matched his desire to leave.

Chelsea reportedly had bids of £22m, £27m, and £30m rejected throughout the summer, but that didn’t stop speculation. Modric didn’t take part in Spurs’ Europa League qualifiers against Hearts, which meant he wasn’t cup-tied and thus still an extremely attractive option for Chelsea, and being held out of a defeat to Manchester United for psychological reasons only served to stoke the fire of speculation.

However, Redknapp and Levy remained firm until the end of the window, even turning down a late offer of £40m, which would have allowed them to purchase a new Modric, a couple of ready-made starters, and a starlet or two.

Will that prove to be the right decision? We’ll soon find out if Modric has had his head turned back in the right direction and if a return of his best form can spark Spurs to life after a poor start, or if he’s stuck on a move to Chelsea. As much of a distraction as this situation has been already, if it’s the latter, the worst could be yet to come.

[Insert Forward] to Newcastle United

Yes, Newcastle did indeed sign Demba Ba this summer, but it’s fair to say that a front line of Ba, Shola Ameobi, Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands, and Nile Ranger won’t inspire much fear in many Premier League defenses.

Perhaps there wasn’t time to line up a replacement after selling Andy Carroll to Liverpool for £35m on the final day of the January transfer window, but there was plenty of time and money to add a real goal-getter to the squad this summer, and that wasn’t done, much to the chagrin of the likes of Joey Barton. There was a bid for Freiburg striker Papiss Cisse, who scored 22 Bundesliga goals last season, but it was too low and too late.

For what’s it worth though, Best did notch a brace in a win over Fulham before the break, so the results could be better than we all expect. But with the kind of funds that were seemingly available to spend on quality reinforcements, it’s only natural to expect more than what was done.

Nedum Onuoha

Versatile Manchester City defender Onuoha spent all of last season on loan at Sunderland, and with an eye on regular first-team football that wouldn’t be in the cards at City, it looked certain that he would be on the move again this summer.

The 24-year-old, who made his City debut at 17, had his share of summer suitors, with Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, QPR, and West Brom all linked with moves. However, none of those moves materialized, with Everton coming closest but failing in a last-minute attempt to land Onuoha on loan.

Roberto Mancini named him in his Premier League and Champions League squads, and he should get an appearance here and there, but his future does still lie away from City. Injury issues have severely hampered his career to this point, but he’s still young, and with his ability to slot in all across the back, he should once again be in demand come January.

Christopher Samba

It looked like Samba was going to dance his way out of Ewood Park this summer, but while they lost Phil Jones to Manchester United, Blackburn did well to hold on to their other prized asset.

As with Cahill, North London looked a likely destination for Samba, as Arsenal and Tottenham were heavily linked with the towering defender. However, Blackburn’s reported £16m valuation proved to be an issue, and when all was said and done, there were apparently no concrete bids for the 27-year-old.

Not only did they keep Samba, which was a big boost in itself, but his stay also helped seal an impressive £6m deadline-day deal for Birmingham defender Scott Dann, who made the move with the assurances that Samba would be staying to partner him in the center of Blackburn’s defense.

Wesley Sneijder

Was this the saga of the summer? Fabregas, Modric, Nasri, and Tevez were all up there as well, but in time, Wesley Sneijder’s non-move to Manchester United might be the stuff of failed transfer legend.

It seemed to be a given that United would make a big-money move for a midfielder as a ‘Paul Scholes replacement’, and while names like Modric, Nasri, and Mario Götze were mentioned, among others, Sneijder looked to be the man for United after having been linked with the reigning Premier League champions multiple times in the past.

In total, he must have been on the verge of completing his move to United 1,287 times this summer, no matter what statements to the contrary were made by key figures at both United and Inter Milan. But United’s impressive and entertaining early-season attacking displays, combined with Tom Cleverley taking full advantage of his chance to make a mark in the center of midfield, a late move for the Dutchman would have been a surprise.

Still, the speculation raged until the very end, but deadline day came and went without any drama. But afterwards, Sneijder did reveal that discussions had taken place and that he thought a deal was close for a while. Yep, you and just a few other people, Wesley. Just a few.

Adel Taarabt

After spearheading QPR’s run to the Championship title with his many goals and assists, Taarabt was unsurprisingly a wanted man this summer. But instead of wanting to see if he could prove himself in the Premier League and then making the big-money move he’s seemingly been angling for for a while, it looked like the former Tottenham starlet was going to take PSG’s money and run.

In July, it looked like an eight-figure move to the deep-pocketed capital club, but ultimately QPR decided against cashing in on their star midfielder. That looks like the best decision even more so now than it did then, as by keeping Taarabt and adding established and experienced Premier League talents in Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips, you have to fancy their chances of pulling off a few surprises and doing enough to consolidate a place in the top flight.

Carlos Tevez

Despite topping 20 goals for the second straight season, captaining Manchester City to their best top-flight finish in more than 30 years and a place in the Champions League, and making £250k per week to boot, last season was seemingly not a happy one for the Argentine.

But a return to former club Corinthians fell through due to the Brazilian club’s inability to start paying for Tevez immediately, and there was no one else willing or able enough to meet or come close to City’s reported £50m price tag. However, any desires for a move might now be a thing of the past, as his wife and daughter have joined him in England, which should make him much, much happier, even if he has his starts cut into.

City supporters would be wise not to hold their breath on that one though, given how quickly things can change with Tevez, but considering how important his family seems to be to him, having them around him now instead of thousands of miles away should have a profound effect.

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One Response

  1. arlombardi 6 September, 2011