Kylian Mbappe stays at PSG: What are football's biggest U-turns?

Kylian Mbappe will be a Paris Saint-Germain player next season.

In a dramatic turn of events, the French superstar rejected Real Madrid‘s offer and instead put pen to paper on a new three-year contract at the Parc Des Princes.

A few months ago and probably even as late as last week, that outcome would have been unthinkable.

It was quite the U-turn from Mbappe, although he’s far from the first professional footballer to have a sudden change of heart.

To highlight that fact, we’ve detailed 11 other major footballing U-turns in recent times for you to view below.

Let’s begin…

John Obi Mikel

In April 2005, Mikel signed a contract with Manchester United and even wore the team’s shirt in a press conference.

But Chelsea claimed they already had a deal in place to sign the 18-year-old and a lengthy legal battle followed.

Then in July 2006, Mikel officially joined Chelsea and United received £12 million in compensation.

Steven Gerrard

Back in 2005, Gerrard made it clear that he wanted to leave boyhood club Liverpool for Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea.

But after strong fan protests, Gerrard changed his mind in the space of just 24 hours and signed a new contract.

“He realises how much the club means to him,” Liverpool’s chief executive Rick Parry said at the time.

Steven Gerrard with Liverpool in 2005
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 12: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool in action during the FA Barclays Premiership match between Birmingham City and Liverpool at St Andrews on February 12, 2005 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Moussa Sissoko

On deadline day of the 2016 summer transfer window, Sissoko was all set to join Everton.

He was on his way to Merseyside and then Tottenham stepped in, telling Newcastle they’d meet their £30 million asking price.

So, Sissoko turned around and headed for the English capital, where he put pen to paper.

Moussa Sissoko in action with Tottenham Hotspur
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 18: Moussa Sissoko of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at White Hart Lane on December 18, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Didi Hamann

Hamann was actually a Bolton player for a full day, but then had a “change of heart” and moved to Manchester City.

“What you never realised was that we never actually countersigned the papers and just put them in the drawer,” Bolton chairman Phil Gartside once told Hamann on talkSPORT back in 2013.

“The next thing we know, you came along and told us you’d got this opportunity to go to Manchester City – so we actually sold you without actually signing you; did you know that?

“We got £400,000 from Manchester City for a player we never actually signed – and that’s the truth.”

So it wasn’t all bad for Bolton…

Didi Hamman with Manchester City
BARNSLEY, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 31: Dietmar Hamman of Manchester Citty is shown in action during the UEFA Cup Qualifying Round One 2nd Leg Match against EB Streymur at Oakwell on July 31, 2008 in Barnsley, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Arjen Robben

Before he signed for Chelsea in 2004, Robben was on the cusp of agreeing a deal with Manchester United.

“My meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson went very well and I was ready to sign,” the Dutchman said. “But I was convinced by Ranieri and Kenyon – they told me the whole Chelsea story and it appealed to me. I wasn’t disappointed to miss out on United as in football things happen very fast.”

Oh what could have been, eh?

Arjen Robben in his Chelsea days
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Arjen Robben of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premiership match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at the Hawthorns on October 30, 2004 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Wayne Rooney

In October of 2010, Rooney made it clear to Manchester United that he wanted to leave due to lingering doubts over the club’s ambition under the Glazer regime.

Rooney’s desire to force an exit didn’t last very long, though.

Just two days later, he signed a new five-year contract at United.

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on May 9, 2010 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)


A U-turn that Chelsea fans still sing about to this very day.

In 2013, Willian looked all but certain to sign for Tottenham and even completed a medical.

But Chelsea were lurking in the shadows and hijacked the £30 million transfer at the very last second.

Willian in action for Chelsea
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 19: Willian of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge on October 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Donnarumma rejected a new contract at AC Milan in 2017, a decision that resulted in fans throwing fake notes of money at him during an Italy U21 match.

He was accused of being greedy, so Donnarumma decided to silence his haters by signing a new four-year deal with Milan shortly after.

It made him one of Italy’s highest-paid footballers at the age of just 18…

Gianluigi Donnarumma applauds AC Milan fans
FLORENCE, ITALY – DECEMBER 30: Gianluigi Donnarumma of AC Milan reacts during the serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and AC Milan at Stadio Artemio Franchi on December 30, 2017 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

David Unsworth

When Unsworth decided to leave West Ham in 1998, he was eager to move back near Merseyside.

But the defender got his geography all wrong and joined Aston Villa, with Birmingham a fair old trek from the Liverpool area.

So just a month after moving to Villa Park, Unsworth left and re-signed for Everton.

“The poor lad was clearly under the impression that Birmingham was somewhere on the outskirts of Bolton,” Villa boss John Gregory said at the time.

David Unsworth in action for Everton
29 Aug 1998: David Unsworth of Everton in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Tottenham Hotspur played at Goodison Park on Merseyside in Liverpool, England. The match finished in a 0-1 win for the Visitors Tottenham Hotspur \ Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport

Richard Wright

In July 2012, Wright left Preston North End after just a week because he wanted to be closer to his family in East Anglia.

So he hopped over to Manchester City, which is unfortunately just over 30 miles closer to Ipswich.

Wright failed to make a single appearance in a City shirt before retiring in 2016.

Richard Wright on Man City's bench
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Richard Wright of Manchester City is seen on the bench prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

David De Gea

It was a dodgy fax machine that famously prevented De Gea joining Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2015.

Then in 2017, when the move looked relatively easy to complete, Zinedine Zidane decided he was going to stick with Keylor Navas between the sticks.

A truly bizarre transfer saga.

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