As we near the final leg of the summer transfer window, Sportstar takes a look at the top five transfers that almost happened:
1. Moises Caicedo to Liverpool:
Moises Caicedo’s transfer saga finally came to a conclusion. After three rejected bids and a three-month wait, English Premier League (EPL) side Chelsea signed him for a British record transfer fee that exceeded £115 million according to reports.
But the timeline before his transfer might as well become the most dramatic relocations that has ever happened. After Brighton’s stubbornness, Chelsea, as a contingency plan, placed a bid for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, who was on Liverpool’s radar for quite a while.
As a countermeasure, Liverpool contacted Brighton and reached an agreement with the Seagulls for an undisclosed fee. But Caicedo, through his representatives, informed Liverpool that he intend to join Chelsea and honour its long-standing interest. On top of missing out on Caicedo, Liverpool is in danger of losing Lavia as well to the Blues, who are said to be in prime position to sign the Belgian.
2. Lionel Messi to Al Hilal:
While Lionel Messi opting for a move to Inter Miami came as a surprise for many, an even unthinkable drama happened behind the scenes prior to his transfer to the United States.
Earlier this year in April, Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal put forth a formal bid after speculations surrounding Messi’s decision to move away from PSG became viral. Multiple reports suggested that an astounding £1.2 billion offer was made to catch hold of the World Cup winner. Eventually, the Argentine chose to join Inter Miami, a club which is co-owned by David Beckham.
Saudi sides have been generously spending huge transfer fees, a trend that started with Al Nassr signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. In the 2023 transfer window alone, there have been numerous eyebrow-raising transfers to the middle east, including the likes of Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez and Ngolo Kante.
3. Hakim Ziyech to Al Nassr:
Chelsea has been active in this transfer window, not only acquiring players but also has offloaded its bloated squad. As a part of this revamp, Hakim Ziyech was on his way to teaming up with Ronaldo at Al Nassr on a lucrative deal.
Chelsea accepted a bid on the horizon of £8 million and the Moroccan winger was all set to move away from Stamford Bridge. But the transfer did not go through after it was revealed that the 30-year-old had a history of knee injuries. However, shortly after it was all over the news, Ziyech took to his social media to reveal that his knee was absolutely perfect, with a picture captioned: “Knee problems right?”.
4. Jude Bellingham to Liverpool:
English midfielder garnered interest all around the world after he expressed his intention to leave Borussia Dortmund towards the end of last season.
Before joining La Liga giant Real Madrid for a whopping £88.5 million, the 19-year-old was a prime target for Liverpool, which desperately needed someone in the midfield of Bellingham’s stature.
But Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and the management decided to shy away from the transfer due to the price tag and look elsewhere.
5. Neymar to Barcelona:
Neymar is actively looking for a club and is reportedly close to joining Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal on a two-year contract worth close to £86 million. But he was briefly linked with Barcelona for a potential return to La Liga, where he made 186 appearances, scoring 105 goals across competitions.
Rumours were stating Neymar’s interest in going back to Spain after PSG made it clear that he will not be in Luis Enriqe’s plans in the upcoming season. The Brazilian put pen on paper for Barcelona in 2013 for a staggering £50.8 million but the Catalans, even if they are interested in Neymar, would’ve not been able to sign him since multiple existing players are waiting to be registered– a problem which came up after its wage bill far exceeded the salary limit that La Liga have established.