These players were heavily linked with a move this summer but a change of scenery did not materialize for them.
The 2020-21 summer transfer window in European football have closed down and clubs have already begun work on how to incorporate their new signings into the squad. The overwhelming presence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant budget restraints were two of the biggest problems faced by teams during this transfer window, as most of them had to work with subsidized budgets while trying to sign new players.
Nevertheless, the past few weeks saw the successful completion of several major deals like Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles to Manchester United and Thomas Partey to Arsenal, At the same time, there were also many big transfers that failed to materialize.
here are the top 10 transfer deals that did not happen in Europe this summer.
10. Stephan El Shaarawy to AS Roma
Italian forward Stephan El Shaarawy was all set to return to his home country after it emerged that Chinese Super League (CSL) side Shanghai Shenhua will loan him out to his former club AS Roma for the upcoming season. The player himself was so sure of his move that he changed his Twitter bio and cover photo.
At the time of writing, El Shaarawy’s account stills says that he “plays” for Roma although the potential move broke down due to various unnamed reasons on Monday. The 27-year-old played for over three years at the Italian capital before shifting base to Chinese Super League (CSL) club Shanghai Shenhua last season.
9. Kalidou Koulibaly to Manchester City
Ever since Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad Stadium, he has been signing defenders on a free will. The likes of John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Joao Cancelo, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko are some of the main defenders in contract with Manchester City currently – but that did not deter Pep from chasing Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
Valued at close to €90million, Koulibaly had been attracting City’s interest since the summer of 2019, but the same tale as last year repeated as he remained at the Italian club, while the Premier League giants settled for Ruben Dias. Even the 23-year-old Portuguese centre-back’s transfer was not cheap, as City shelled out £65million (€72million) to sign him.
8. Eric Garcia to FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona were keen to find a potential long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, and 19-year-old Spaniard Eric Garcia was one of the top names on manager Ronald Koeman’s wishlist for the summer transfer window. The Catalans displayed a steady interest in him throughout September, finally stepping up their efforts on the final day of the window.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona bid €17million + bonuses for the player, but Manchester City were not ready to do business with any fee less than €20million. With no renewed bids coming from the La Liga giants since, the talks eventually broke down.
7. Milan Škriniar to Tottenham Hotspur
Milan Škriniar’s potential move from Inter to Tottenham Hotspur was one of the most important transfer deals that were set to happen in the summer – before the Serie A giants called off talks on Deadline Day, with Spurs not keen to match their asking price.
Reports from multiple sources have explained that the Nerazzurri wanted at least €50million for the Slovakian centre-back, while Jose Mourinho and his North London club were not willing to part with anything more than €35million as transfer fee for the player. With neither parties willing to compromise on the final day of the window, it eventually emerged that the player will remain with his current side.
6. Declan Rice to Chelsea
Chelsea had a fairly successful transfer window, having brought in the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Eduoard Mendy and Malang Sarr. They were also in the market for West Ham United’s Declan Rice, but the potential move did not happen on time before the transfer window slammed shut.
West Ham value Declan Rice at £80million (€88million), an asking price which Chelsea were not keen to meet despite having shelled out over €245million in transfers over the past few months. The player himself is reported to be keen on the switch, so it remains to be seen whether the Blues will return for him in the winter.
5. Houssem Aouar to Arsenal
Premier League club Arsenal were desperate to add a new creative midfielder to their squad before the deadline day and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar was their number one target. An initial bid for the player was subsequently rejected by Lyon and the Gunners were looking all set to make an improved second bid on deadline day, before Aouar himself declared that he would remain with the Ligue 1 giants.
It was after Aouar’s move broke down that the North Londoners decided to go all-in for Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey – and when the La Liga club vehemently refused to listen to any offer for the player, they paid off his £45million (€50million) release clause and snapped him up on a long-term deal.
4. Ousmane Dembele to Manchester United
In case you missed it, FC Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele was lined up as an alternative option to Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho by Manchester United. The Red Devils took the decision to finally make a serious offer for the former in the early hours of deadline day, but with neither team reaching an agreement, the deal failed to take off.
It has been understood that United wanted to sign the Frenchman only on a loan deal, while Barca wanted to part ways with him only on a permanent deal worth £60million (€66million). With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co not interested to shell out this fee, the move stalled before it was eventually called off with a few hours remaining for the transfer window to shut.
3. Memphis Depay to FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have missed out on the signing of Memphis Depay, primarily due to their inability to let go of Dembele to Manchester United on a permanent deal.
Coach Koeman revealed on Monday that the Catalans were working on a deal to sign Depay, before adding that he hoped the player would join from Lyon. However, the French club wanted a little over €25million in transfer fees, which Barca could not give away due to Dembele’s failed United move. The La Liga side also also reported €97million in losses from the 2019-20 season, further ruling out a move for the Dutch forward.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old will be out of contract at the end of next season and could be available for lower fees in three months’ time, in the upcoming January transfer window.
2. Lionel Messi to Manchester City
For starters, most fans knew from the beginning that this would not happen – but while it was still on, it kept the transfer market up and running for days on end. It all began with Messi publicly announcing his decision to leave FC Barcelona after a string of disappointing results in the past three seasons. Clubs like PSG, Manchester United and Inter immediately sprang into action, but it was Manchester City who were the frontrunners to sign him right from the beginning.
Factors like Pep Guardiola and a seemingly unlimited wage budget that could easily accommodate the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s wages were the major reasons – but it all cooled down after the man himself re-announced that he has reached an amicable settlement with his current club, opting to remain with them till the end of the 2020-21 season.
1. Jadon Sancho to Manchester United
Jadon Sancho’s failed move to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund will remain the biggest unsuccessful deal for which the 2020 summer transfer window will be known for in the future. Rumour has it that both Sancho’s entourage and Dortmund are baffled at the way things panned out over the last three months, with the Red Devils failing to sign the player despite having made him the priority option in the window.
Dortmund had given Manchester United a last date of August 10, to conclude the deal which they valued at nothing short of €120million. According to multiple sources, the Premier League side mistook this for a negotiation tactic and stalled the move, following which Michael Zorc – BVB’s Sporting Director – made it clear that the player is not leaving anywhere.
Despite this, United remained very much interested in him for over nine weeks till the last minute of the transfer window, which then concluded with neither team reaching an agreement.