In honor of April Fools’ Day, here are the best transfer stories that seemed like they were going to happen, but never materialized. Some are jokes, some are pipe dreams, and some probably should have happened. Nonetheless, here are the best examples of transfers that almost happened, but then didn’t.
Didier Drogba to MLS
Chelsea’s Didier Drogba is a legend in both Europe and Africa for his exploits on the field. He won nearly every trophy a club player can win with Chelsea, including a legendary performance in 2013 where Drogba single-handedly took down a much better Bayern Munich squad, in the Allianz Arena, to win Chelsea the first European championship in the club’s history.
In addition to his exploits with Chelsea, Drogba also won numerous African championships with Ivory Coast, even helping to broker a peace deal for the civil war in his country, making him a living legend for Ivorians. However, when he left Chelsea in 2012, rumors swirled that “The Dark Destroyer” could come stateside. When the money ran out at Shanghai Shenua in 2013, the rumors came out again.
However, Drogba never came to the MLS, and after a stint and Turkey and move back to Chelsea, it seems that the Ivorian will never come to the United States as a player. The Chelsea fans across America continue to swoon thinking about what could have been if Drogba made his way to MLS.
Yaya Toure to Arsenal
While it’s hard to imagine the engine of the Manchester City midfield wearing Arsenal red and playing in north London, Toure almost moved to the Gunners in 2003. Arsene Wenger spotted Toure during a scouting trip to Belgium when the young Ivorian was plodding his craft with Belgian club Beveren. Wenger invited Toure to participate in a preseason friendly with Arsenal, and had a handshake deal in place to sign Toure to the club should he perform well in the friendly. Yaya performed admirably, prompting Wenger to offer him a contract, pending Arsenal receiving Toure’s passport from his Belgian club.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian club Metalurh Donetsk swooped in and offered Toure a contract without needing to present a passport. Thus, Toure shipped off to Ukraine, and Wenger was left without the midfielder he believed he had. Now, as Yaya Toure continues to tear up the Premier League with Manchester City, many Arsenal fans are wishing that Ukrainian team never existed and this is all some sick, twisted joke.
Steven Gerrard to Chelsea
While the Liverpool captain has announced that he will end his European soccer career where he started it, at Liverpool Football Club, there was a time when it looked like Stevie G would plod his craft in west London with Chelsea.
Before Manchester City became the poster child for modern soccer spending, Roman Abramovich established that precedent at Chelsea. One of his first moves was to attempt to poach Gerrard, the star midfielder at then league leading Liverpool to come be the centerpiece of his new Chelsea squad. However, as soon as the news hit the notorious British press, it blew up in the media, especially in northern England where Liverpool is located. Both Gerrard and his wife claimed to receive death threats as a result of the transfer rumors, as the city of Liverpool was crushed by the idea that their prodigal son would ever leave his boyhood club. Thus, Gerrard was forced to announce in the media that he would not leave Liverpool, and the rest is history.
I’m sure Frank Lampard is glad he was the midfielder of choice at Chelsea, as both he and Gerrard have battled for the spotlight with the English national team for years.