Clubs fight back against player power in European football

September 02, 2017
Diego Costa during his Chelsea days celebrates scoring a goal during the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, on Monday, May 8.
Ousmane Dembele celebrates after scoring his side's third goal while on international duty for France against England at the Stade de France in Paris in June.
File Southampton's FC Virgil van Dijk (right) challenges Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool FC during an English Premier League game last season. Van Dijk will transfer to Liverpool on Monday.


Alexis Sanchez was about to play in a crucial World Cup qualifying match for Chile in Santiago when he learned his potential transfer from Arsenal to Manchester City had fallen through.

Philippe Coutinho played and scored for Brazil in Porto Alegre while likely knowing his dream move to Barcelona from Liverpool was not going to happen.

Riyad Mahrez left the Algerian national team's training camp in Sidi Moussa in a bid to tie up a transfer from Leicester that never materialised.

Diego Costa, it seems, remained on virtual strike at his family home in Lagarto, eastern Brazil, as Chelsea fought hard for last-minute signings, without allowing its one-time star striker to leave.

The effects of the closing of Europe's summer transfer window on Thursday spread well beyond the continent, leaving some of the world's most high-profile players disillusioned and facing awkward returns next week to clubs they no longer want to play for.

In many cases, this was the transfer window when clubs struck back against the growing phenomenon of so-called "player power."


Transfer requests


In the English Premier League, Coutinho, Mahrez, Costa and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk all put in transfer requests amid interest from other clubs. None of them got their moves away, with their teams bringing in so much revenue these days that they no longer need the cash from player sales.

Liverpool even turned down a reported bid of 118 million pounds ($150 million) from Barcelona for Coutinho. Most pundits are in agreement that the Brazil playmaker isn't worth that much.

Of course, some players did get their own way. Ousmane Dembele went missing at Borussia Dortmund before finally securing his move to the Camp Nou. It was reported that Monaco accepted a bid of 100 million euros ($120 million) for Thomas Lemar from Arsenal, only for the player to turn down a move reportedly because his prospective new club wasn't in the Champions League.

In the last minutes of the window, England midfielder Ross Barkley also rejected the chance to join Chelsea from Everton, against the wishes of both clubs.

Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater secured his switch to Chelsea in one of the final deals signed off on deadline day.

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