At a time when players can force their way out of clubs, if they don’t fancy it, most transfers still occur as a result of agreement with both parties. Whilst a lot of players move with the club’s consent, there are those who go away because of difference of opinion with the manager. Those are the ones that managers usually look back on, with not much fond memories.
Is Mourinho going to make the same mistake with Mata? Will the Chelsea’s sale of their two-time and reigning Player of the Year be one that will live to regret in the coming years? With those thoughts, let us look at five players whom managers regretted letting go of in the first place.
5. Daniel Sturridge – Chelsea to Liverpool
Strurridge’s talents have never been in question, but it is his temperament that led to Chelsea letting go of the prodigiously gifted player last January. From a very young age, it was very apparent that Sturridge was going to go onto bigger and better things, but somehow he never quite got going. First at Manchester City, then at Chelsea. It was only during his loan move to Bolton that he showed just what he was capable of.
And although he did well there, the competition for places in the Chelsea squad was just too much and Chelsea decided to cut their losses and sell the 24-year-old to Liverpool for £12m. The move now seems like an absolute bargain as the England forward has shown his former employers just what he can do with a regular run in the squad.
With every passing day, it looks like Chelsea would have been better served to loan him again instead of selling a talented striker, when their squad has been lacking in one.
4. Jaap Stam – Manchester United to Lazio
Ever since his departure from Old Trafford in 2001, Sir Alex Ferguson, a man, not known for making too many mistakes, let alone admitting them, did so, when he openly said that he shouldn’t have let Jaap Stam depart. That is indeed high praise for a central defender, who was starting to show signs of becoming a truly world class players.
A high-profile fallout with the manager meant that the Dutchman was shown the door. But, United didn’t recover from that for a couple of seasons and had United kept hold of the Dutchman, they wouldn’t have had to smash the club record free to bring Rio Ferdinand to Old Trafford.
3. Xabi Alonso – Liverpool to Real Madrid
Although an offer of £30m sounds tempting for a 28-year-old, the truth is that Liverpool haven’t been the same since the departure of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid. The Spaniard exceptional ability to not just keep the ball rolling but also spray accurate long balls at will is something the Reds could have surely done with in the subsequent in which saw them fall from a top four club to one that struggles to finish in the Europa League.
Whilst Liverpool were probably right in taking the money in 2009, in hindsight, they would have been better served by keeping hold of the player, who has only gotten better at Madrid and has been one of the first names on the team sheet, even at the age of 32. Like a fine wine, Alonso has merely gotten better with age, perhaps Liverpool didn’t bank on that.
2. Arjen Robben – Chelsea to Real Madrid
When Chelsea accepted Real Madrid’s £24m offer for Arjen Robben, many though they had a good deal on their hands. Because, although Robben was fast developing into one of the best wingers at the time, he was still a little too injury prone and Chelsea decided to let him leave Stamford Bridge after a three-year spell with the club.
But, unfortunately for Cheslea, even with the injuries, Robben has gone on to make quite a name for himself. He has won loads of trophies at both Spain and Germany and even now, continues to be a tricky customer for any fullback to handle. Over the past few years, Chelsea have been crying out loud for a tricky winger and how they could have done with Robben amidst their ranks.
1. Thiago Silva – AC Milan to Paris Saint-Germain
Given AC Milan’s financial state, an offer of €42m from PSG for Brazilian center back Thiago Silva, which would have made him the second-most expensive defender, was probably too hard to resist.
The move was all more surprising given the fact that Ibrahimovic also moved out in the same window and since their departure the club haven’t been the same.
The loss of the instrumental center back has meant that the Milan defense isn’t nearly as solid as it once was and are now paying the price for letting him go. Although they got a lot of money for him, the Brazilian was arguably the best in the world at that time and if he was still with the club, they wouldn’t be languishing in the bottom half of the table.
Irrespective of the offer or their predicament, AC Milan shouldn’t have budged as they don’t come much better than Thiago Silva, when it comes to center backs and no amount of money would have been enough for a suitable replacement.