Transfers are a part of football – that’s just the way it is. It is now widely accepted that players will rarely stay at one club for too long before they pack their bags and take their talent, or lack of it, somewhere else. However, what happens when a player moves to a Premier League rival in bitter circumstances which leaves fans and clubs alike cursing their name?
In a two-part instalment we document the ten most controversial transfers in Premier League history…
Five years after his then British record-breaking move from Liverpool to Chelsea, Fernando Torres has finally discussed his unceremonious departure from the club.
“It was presented as if I was a traitor. It was not like this in the discussions,” Torres recently revealed in Simon Hughes’ new book “Ring of Fire: Liverpool FC into the 21st century”.
“Liverpool could not admit they were doing something wrong with the whole team. They had to find a guilty one.”
The move incensed fans at Anfield when the Spanish striker, who had plundered an incredible 81 goals in 142 games for the club, decided to join their rivals in the January transfer window of 2011.
It didn’t take long for him to come up against his former club though, where he was given a hostile reception at Stamford Bridge. Fans unfurled banners which read “He Who Betrays Will Always Walk Alone“, while he was mercilessly booed by the Liverpool fans during the 66 minutes he spent on the pitch. Torres cut a rather subdued figure throughout and his expression as Raul Meireles poked home the winner just three minutes after he was substituted is a memorable one.
Unfortunately, it didn’t get much better from there for the former Atletico Madrid youth product as he won a number of trophies with Chelsea, but failed to recapture any of the form which made him the most feared and sought after striker in the world at one time.
Robin Van Persie:
“The boy wanted to come. He turned down various clubs. If he hadn’t told Arsenal he wanted to go to Manchester United, the transfer wouldn’t have happened,” Sir Alex Ferguson said with a somewhat self-satisfied smirk at the unveiling of his new striker in 2012.
The Dutchman was brought to Old Trafford to help the team regain the Premier League title that they had lost to rivals Manchester City in devastating circumstances the year before. Yet, while it was all smiles in Manchester, Arsene Wenger was left in the usual position of trying to pick up the pieces and assure fans that they weren’t a selling club in decline.
“I have regrets. We have lost a good player because of a simple reason. He only had one year left on his contract and he wanted to go,” he said.
“We lost a good player, a world-class player. I don’t deny that. But it is a massive challenge to replace him and therefore we have to be even more of a team now.”
Van Persie claimed there were “no hard feelings” but it was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for Arsenal to see a player who they had stood by when he suffered various injury setbacks throughout his time at the club, jump ship to one of their fiercest rivals at his first chance.
A year after the move, he had notched 26 goals in a league-winning side, as Arsenal were left to wonder about what may have been.