After news broke that Declan Rice submitted his request to FIFA to transfer from Republic or Ireland to England, there was a huge amount of media backlash. He noted that he spent months deliberating his decision to make the switch and spoke with close family and friends as well as Martin O’Neil. It’s going to be a bit of a blow for the Republic of Ireland team and caused some controversy. Below we have noted some of the most controversial football transfers of all time.
Carlos Tevez – (Man United to Man City)
This Argentine footballer was on a 2-year loan from West Ham, and the fans fell in love with him. When his loan deal was nearly up – the fans wanted him to carry on and seek a permanent deal. At the same time, Manchester City also made an effort to claim the striker. Manchester City managed to finalise the deal which they celebrated with a massive “Welcome to Manchester” billboard to aggravate the situation. When Manchester City won the premier league in 2012 – Tevez then showed off an “RIP Ferguson” banner which was in retaliation to a dig he had made about Man City being noisy neighbours. When he arrived on the league, further controversy sparked as Tevez and Javier Mascherano had an illegal 3rd party ownership issue.
Robin van Persie – (Arsenal to Manchester United)
Robin van Persie was well-liked amongst the fans. He was a brilliant captain, winning striker – and it did seem on some occasions that he would single handedly carry the team which meant he was also always a safe bet when it came to sports betting. He then had a meeting with Arsene Wegner and board members in 2012, he decided that he wasn’t really on the same wavelength as the club and that it was time to move on. This definitely angered Arsenal fans, and they thought that he was a traitor. They felt that the club had been a strong support for him and remained loyal when he had injury issues. Things got even more strenuous when Robin van Persie scored a goal against Arsenal at Old Trafford. He celebrated in style after getting fed up with the hostility he faced from Arsenal fans.
Ashley Cole – (Arsenal to Chelsea)
Ashley Cole is no stranger to controversy, eventually gaining the nickname of “Cashley” – given to him by Arsenal for his money driven move to Chelsea. Ashley Cole had spent 6 years at this club and was seen very much as an Arsenal man. The season before he made his big move to another area in London – he had a meeting with Chelsea and was fined by the FA £100,000. After this, he signed a year’s extension with the Gunners, however the wage that he demanded meant that they had to sell him come deadline day. He wanted the figure of £60,000 a week, but Arsenal didn’t want to pay that much. Once Chelsea offered him a whopping £90,000 a week figure, he then became a fully-fledged player for Chelsea. Even now, Arsenal fans still are unhappy with Ashley Cole’s decision and consider him a turncoat.
Mo Johnston – (Nantes to Rangers)
As there is so much rivalry between Celtic and Rangers, nobody would ever think that there would be a transfer between the 2 teams. The rivalry in Glasgow between these 2 is unique in that there are religious connotations as well as just football rivalry, which means things are already a little more heated than between other teams. Mo Johnston was a Celtic player who ended up joining Rangers from Nantes. This angered the fans of Rangers Football Club, and even the secretary of the supporter’s association spoke up saying “It’s a sad day for Rangers”. It was so controversial that Johnston even found it difficult to get a kit! The club’s kit man refused to provide one for him – so he had to arrange for his own. When he scored 31 goals in just one season, the Rangers fan soon came around.
Sol Campbell – (Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal)
Sol Campbell was from North London and had always dreamed of playing for Tottenham Hotspur, as it was the club he had always supported as a child. He made a total of 315 appearances for them and ended up team captain for 4 seasons. At the time he was considered the Premier Leagues best defender and sparked interest from clubs like Barcelona and AC Milan. When he didn’t agree on a new deal – fans already had an idea that he would be leaving Tottenham Hotspurs, but they did not expect him to go with Arsenal who are their rivals. What made things worse was Campbell won 3 FA cups as well as 2 league titles with Arsenal. He was later labelled a “Judas”.
Luis Figo – (Barcelona to Real Madrid)
Luis Figo had amazing natural talent and was considered a legend at Camp Nou. The media leaked the story that he had a meeting with the then President of Real Madrid and in actual fact signed a transfer deal of £26 million. There was then a statement released to say that he would be at Barcelona to start their pre-season training – but announced on that day that he was now a Real Madrid player for a whopping €62 million. The fans were not happy, and even 2 years on they were throwing bottles and coins as well as pig heads when he was playing at Camp Nou. Before Luis Figo – 17 players had made the same transfer, but none of them received anything like the same hostility that he did.
There are always controversial transfers in the world of football, and with incredibly loyal fans – they can often get pretty strong reactions from them and the media. Declan Rice’s news may not be up in the top most controversial transfers, but it certainly has made it’s mark.