Some players in world football are frequently linked with a Premier League transfer, but it never seems to come to fruition.
For years Wesley Sneijder was close to joining Manchester United, but never made the move to England. We pick six current players who are just like Sneijder and are linked with an English side nearly every window, but probably won’t ever play in the world’s most-watched league.
Adrien Rabiot (Juventus)
After seeing a rumour that Chelsea and Manchester United were set to battle it out for Rabiot’s signature, one word popped into my head. That word was bollocks.
Rabiot is a good player, but it hard to imagine him playing for either of those teams, and then there is Newcastle. The Magpies should be praised for their work in the transfer market under their new ownership, refusing to be drawn into paying stupid fees, or as some people like to put it: ‘Newcastle tax’. Their business model does not indicate that Rabiot would be a good fit.
And then there’s the baggage off the pitch. The Frenchman’s mother, Veronique, is an interesting character, and rather importantly, his agent. She is notoriously difficult to work with and is not shy to make her feelings known to the press, often jumping to the defence of her client and son by blasting his critics. At Euro 2020 she was seen arguing with families of Rabiot’s France teammates and criticising Paul Pogba for an error in the build-up to a crucial goal for Switzerland. She also waited for then-Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc in a car park after he demoted her son to the reserves. So, yeah, there is baggage, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps that’s a story for another day.
Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)
Fekir was oh so close to joining Liverpool a few years ago before he eventually left Lyon for Real Betis. The French playmaker struggled with injuries during his time in Ligue 1, has not quite reached his potential and probably never will, given the fact he turns 29 in less than a month.
Despite the fact I recently wrote about Fekir moving to the Premier League this summer, I am pretty resigned to the fact that it is probably never going to happen, no matter how much I try to manifest it. Liverpool are very unlikely to reignite their interest and Arsenal have changed their ways and are chasing young players, so it would be fair to rule this one out.
Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain)
A £30m transfer to Arsenal was rumoured every single transfer window for about five years straight, but these links seem to have finally gone away, much to the joy of the Gunners fanbase who will probably be catapulted into PTSD just from reading Draxler’s name.
Any updates on Julian Draxler joining Arsenal ?
— Sir Yuzvendra (parody) (@SirYuzvendra) June 8, 2022
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
If it was going to happen, surely it would have happened by now?
Houssem Aouar (Lyon)
Aouar gives the impression that his career may pan out the same way as Fekir’s. From Liverpool and Arsenal target to playing for a team fighting for a Europa League spot in La Liga.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)
‘Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’ is probably this guy’s full name now, changed by deed poll. Do they have deed polls in Serbia. The more times I type that the weirder it sounds. He could replace Wesley Sneijder on the Manchester United target throne by the end of his career.