Football

Five of the Best: Transfer denials

Sir Alex Ferguson. He's one angry man (© Getty Images)
Sir Alex Ferguson. He's one angry man (© Getty Images).

As the old saying goes: "there's lies, damn lies, and transfer denials". Or something like that anyway.

Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to break the glass on a box entitled "read in the event of a transfer story" and reeled off the usual list of empty platitudes after it was suggested Wayne Rooney could be on the move last week.

"Nonsense," he called it. "Rubbish," he foamed. That, of course, would have a greater impact if he hadn't issued the same denials before flogging Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Dimitar Berbatov and, well, pretty much every player he has ever sold.

That, sadly for the football fan hoping to get any semblance of truth from their club, is par for the course.

However some have made it an artform and rightly get a mention in our list of top five transfer denials. Enjoy.

Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid

When a transfer the size of Cristiano Ronaldo's switch to Real Madrid is on the verge of completion it is no surprise that everyone goes a bit quiet.

A denial is par for the course. But before Ronaldo's move to Spain, Sir Alex Ferguson didn't just deny the move was taking place, he went on the attack.

"Would I get into a contract with that mob? Absolutely no chance"

"I wouldn't sell them a virus - that's a no. There's no agreement whatsoever between the clubs."

That was in December 2008, six months or so before Ronaldo joined Los Blancos, while later reports suggested the deal had been in place for some time. Presumably, Ferguson was happy to get £80m for a player he seemingly rates as worse than a virus.

Fabregas and Nasri leave Arsenal

We'll let Arsene Wenger do the talking on this one. Arsenal fans look away now.

July 12 2011:  "Samir’s situation is clear for me. He stays. We are in a position where we can say ‘no’ and we will.

July 12 2011: “Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri – you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. You talk about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving."

"If you give that message out, you cannot pretend you are a big club, because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take away from you. We worked very hard with these players for years to develop them, and now it’s a time for us to keep them together.”

August 12: "I expect nobody [including Fabregas and Nasri] to leave. The best thing for us one day before the championship starts is  not to focus on possible transfers."

August 15: Cesc Fabregas joins Barcelona

August 24, Manchester City Press Release: "Manchester City FC is delighted to announce the signing of Samir Nasri"

Oscar to Chelsea

Sometimes there is such thing as going overboard with your denial. The lady doth protest too much etc etc.

Oscar mastered the understated rejection of transfer rumours when he was asked about his move to Chelsea.

Arriving in London last summer as part of the Brazilian Olympic squad, the talented youngster offered a simple smile and the words "I'm staying [at Internacional]" when asked if he would be joining Chelsea. Classy and emphatic. Job done. That was on July 10. 

Seven days later the deal was done according to Sky Sports, and a couple weeks later the club themselves revealed Oscar was heading to Stamford Bridge.

Pep Guardiola to Bayern Munich

It's not just for player transfers that clubs wheel out the age-old denial. Nope, even incoming managers get the full treatment these days.

Of course, when it comes to making a denial, the more offended and outraged you seem the more likely it is that a deal is done.

Bayern's media director Markus Horwick described rumours that the German club had made a move for Pep Guardiola as "complete rubbish".

"We are only talking only with [current boss] Jupp Heynckes," he added. "Jupp Heynckes is our one and only person to talk to."

That was on January 15 2013. 

Less than 24 hours later: "Bayern Munich have announced that Pep Guardiola will become the club's new coach when Jupp Heynckes' contract expires this summer.

Mario Balotelli to AC Milan

Poor old Mario. The attention-starved striker did everything he could to grab the headlines during his spell with Manchester City, but by the time it came for him to leave, it sounded like no one wanted the deal to be done. 

"It is not true," Citizens boss Roberto Mancini said on January 28 this year. "Mario stays. We didn't have any requests about Mario or other players."

"I don't think anything is going to happen," David Platt, assistant to Mancini, said.

AC Milan's spokesman, Riccardo Coli, described stories linking the club with the 22-year-old as "only rumours".

Silvio Berlusconi, AC Milan owner: “If you place a bad apple in the dressing room then it can infect all of the others. Balotelli is someone who I would never accept in the Milan squad.”

Only in the world of football did it make sense that a few days later, Balotelli headed back to Italy.

"It was a strategy," Berlusconi said after the deal was done. "The idea of [Milan's negotiator] Adriano Galliani, to ensure the price did not go up."

Topics:
Arsenal
European News
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Francesc Fabregas
Samir Nasri

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