The summer transfer window is just a few months away, and we’re set to see big splurges on some of world football’s top talents. We are sure to once again witness players shifting allegiances and leaving their old club for a new one before they line up for the 2021/22 season. Unfortunately, loyalty has become a thing of the past in the footballing world right now.
With this quality being in short supply, football fans love nothing more than a loyal player who gives it their all for the club. Consider the case of Borussia Dortmund, a club which Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze left when top dogs of German football, Bayern Munich, came calling. However, Marco Reus managed to earn massive plaudits and respect from football fans all over when he decided to sign a new contract for his hometown club, instead.
On that note, let’s take a look at:
5 footballers who rejected big moves to stay with their boyhood clubs
#5 Tony Adams
We kick off our list with the man dubbed “Mr. Arsenal” - Tony Adams. The Englishman shrugged off repeated approaches from arch-rivals Manchester United to remain with the Gunners for almost two decades.
In his autobiography, “Sober,” Adams revealed that then-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson approached the centre-half on two occasions. However, he rejected both his advances as Adams was “Arsenal through and through.”
After joining Arsenal’s youth setup as a teenager, Adams went on to represent the Gunners for 19 years - winning 10 major trophies with the club. The four-time English league winner made 416 appearances for the Gunners, was immortalized by a statue of his located outside the Emirates Stadium.
The Englishman wrapped up his professional career in the perfect way, with Arsenal winning the domestic double of the Premier League and FA Cup in his farewell season.
#4 Matt Le Tissier
Next up, we have a legend of the Premier League era - Matt Le Tissier, who remained at boyhood club Southampton for 16 seasons.
While most players on our list stayed with their boyhood clubs - which were in the top half of the domestic league table - Le Tissier was dragged into relegation battles almost every season. However, he chose to stick with the Saints despite strong interest from Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, and helped the South Coast club stay afloat in the English football’s top tier. The Englishman joined Southampton as a 17-year-old, and would make 540 appearances for the club, recording a mammoth tally of 209 goals in the process.
Explaining his decision to spend a significant part of his professional career at The Dell, Le Tissier said, “I enjoyed being a big fish in a medium-sized pond, the person in the team that most fans were coming to watch, just to see if I could do something.”