Six stars that forced bitter exits as Arsenal await on Caicedo

Arteta gives update on Arsenal's transfer plans ahead of Deadline Day

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As the January transfer window nears its conclusion with only three days left, deadline day is likely to be a busy affair again as clubs rush to finish their transfer business for the second half of the season. And it could go down to the wire once again as Moises Caicedo is keen to join Arsenal before the window shuts on January 31.

The Ecuadorian has attempted to push through a move to the Gunners over the past week after the north London club saw their £60million offer turned down by Brighton, who are reluctant to sell the 21-year-old this month. Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked with the midfielder, but Arsenal are in pole position to secure his signature.

Whether it is waiting in the club’s car park at the training ground or driving halfway across the country, the desire to change clubs can convince players to make some questionable decisions in order to get their dream move. Caicedo used the power of social media to go public with his desire to leave, causing a rift with Brighton fans. And it remains to be seen whether he will be welcomed back into the fold after being told to stay away.

But as history shows, sometimes the ends justify the means, as Express Sport looks at seven players who controversially used everything at their disposal to leave their club in favour of a move elsewhere.

Riyad Mahrez

Not long after Leicester’s historic title triumph in 2015-16 did the exodus begin at the King Power Stadium, with N’Golo Kante’s move to Chelsea in 2016 paving the way for the likes of Mahrez to also head for the exit.

The Algerian was one of the stars of Claudio Ranieri’s side and his talents were recognised by Pep Guardiola, who launched a £60million bid for the winger. And it did not take long for Mahrez to push for a move as he was left waiting in an airport lounge on deadline day not knowing if the clubs would find an agreement in 2017.

They didn’t, meaning he was forced to return to the club and wait for an entire season before moving to the Etihad Stadium after failing to engineer a move in January before finally making the move in 2018. With another three Premier League titles to go with his Leicester triumph, few would suggest Mahrez made the wrong call – even if it tarnished his legacy with the Foxes’ fans.

Dimitri Payet

An instant fan favourite with West Ham fans, it all turned sour for Payet when he asked to leave the club after just 18 months with the Hammers. Payet had been one of the stars of the 2015-16 season following his move to the Premier League but his family were keen to return to France, forcing him to take drastic action.

West Ham were not interested in selling their star man, so the attacking midfielder went on strike and refused to play until the club begrudgingly agreed to part ways.

He sealed a £25m move to Marseille where he has remained ever since and has scored 61 goals in 234 games for the club, indicating he made the right call at the expense of his relationship with the fans.

Carlos Tevez

In what remains one of the longest strikes in recent memory, Argentinian striker Tevez was handed an indefinite ban by his club and fined for refusing to come off the bench against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in 2012. An argument erupted between himself and coach Roberto Mancini as Tevez tried to seal a move to Italy with AC Milan. 

Despite his efforts to secure a switch to Italy, the two clubs failed to agree a deal in January and he eventually returned to action under Mancini. He even scored a hat-trick against Norwich City which would prompted him to perform a golf swing celebration, which only made the City fans adore him more.

But it was clear his time in England was up after several incidents away from the pitch, with Tevez eventually joining Juventus in 2013.

Diego Costa

Mixing together Costa with the passionate Antonio Conte was always going to create fireworks at Chelsea and it didn’t take long for things to go south between the pair. Just months after the Brazil-born striker had helped Conte to the Premier League title in 2016-17, the former Atletico Madrid striker has demanded to leave in January to join Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG.

Chelsea were reluctant to sell their star striker, who had scored 52 goals in three seasons at the club and helped them to two titles. But Conte had other plans, texting Costa he would be sold in the summer and the fiery frontman decided to go AWOL in pre-season, heading back to his native town of Lagarto while his agent arranged a return to Atletico Madrid.

Eventually, the two clubs agreed on a £57m fee and Costa rejoined Atletico in January 2018 after three months without a game. But his acrimonious exit left a dark cloud hanging over an otherwise successful spell in the Premier League.

William Gallas

A player who has represented all three London clubs of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham clearly has no issue with upsetting fans and William Gallas proved he would go to unusual lengths to get his transfer.

The defender had been a key player for the Blues in their double Premier League triumph in 2004-05 and 2005-06, but he soon became unsettled at the club and wanted to leave for Arsenal, with the offer of regular football tempting the Frenchman.

Chelsea refused to accept his transfer request in 2006, however, and Gallas decided to take immediate action. Not only did he refuse to return to Stamford Bridge, it was claimed he bizarrely threatened to score own goals – something Gallas denies. In the end, Chelsea signed Ashley Cole in one of the most controversial transfers of all-time for £5m, with Gallas heading in the oppsoite direction.

Dimitar Berbatov

If Harry Kane does eventually leave Tottenham to join Manchester United, there is some historic pretext from Berbatov which may give him some pointers on how not to do it. The Bulgarian was one of the hottest properties in the Premier League in 2008 when it emerged both Manchesters City and United were keen on signing the striker from Spurs.

Chairman Daniel Levy insisted he would not be sold despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s public declaration regarding his interest, leaving Spurs with no option but to report United to the Premier League for their conduct. But Berbatov wanted the move given United’s status as the best club in the Premier League at the time and on deadline day, he sealed a £30.8m record move to Old Trafford after Tottenham caved.

Berbatov would go on to score 56 times in 149 outings for the Red Devils, winning two Premier League titles in the process, perhaps showing Kane that he may need to force through his move if he wants to achieve similar goals in his career.

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