A trend that has been apparent in the Barclays Premier League this season, is that of transfer requests. A trend that begun in Manchester, with Wayne Rooney handing in a transfer request to Manchester United at the end of October.
Citing reasons of lack of quality and unsure of the direction the club was going in, Rooney’s transfer request was a shock across Europe with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City and Chelsea licking their lips at the prospect of potentially signing England’s talisman.
However, these suggestions were quickly swept under the carpet as Rooney retracted his transfer request days later following a heartfelt press conference from Alex Ferguson, who seemed genuinely dismayed and heartbroken by Rooney’s stance. This specific trend had taken the footballing world by storm, and questions were being raised of Rooney’s integrity and loyalty to the United cause.
Perhaps this was a Mancunian trend, as a couple of months later handing in a transfer request was catching on in the blue half of Manchester. City’s prime asset Carlos Tevez too felt the need to request a transfer suggesting he was unhappy with football in general and missed his family in Argentina.
Somehow the £250,000 plus salary he “earns” a week is not enough to prevent home sickness. Following clear the air talks, in which a few incentives were given his way no doubt, Tevez remained at City for the foreseeable future as they aim to win the Premier League as well as get into the elite Champions League top four.
Two of the prized possessions of Premier League football seemed likely to remain at their respective clubs before the January transfer window opened, although the opening of the window enabled players to try out the new trend, whether it would work or not remained to be seen.
Within weeks of January, the trend had slowly crept its way up towards Tyneside as then-Sunderland striker Darren Bent handed in a shock transfer request. Within days of this, he was an Aston Villa player. Not only the request, but the move itself, left a bitter taste in many Sunderland fans' mouths, not to mention manager Steve Bruce and Chairman Nial Quinn, who both vented their disappointment and frustration.
At the time, the move didn’t make sense. Sunderland were in 5th position, chasing a European spot while Villa were fighting off relegation. A couple of months, later the move still doesn’t bear logic with Sunderland ahead of Villa who are not yet clear of relegation, hovering just above the relegation zone. Darren Bent evidently found the lure of handing in a transfer request too hard to resist.
And so, Bent found himself one of three high profile players who had handed a transfer request actually get his desired move. It may have been the ease and speed of which Bent’s transfer request was dealt with that played on then-Liverpool striker Fernando Torres’ mind.
With days to go before the transfer window closed and Liverpool rising up the table, you could be forgiven for thinking the Reds would finish the second half of the season without any interruptions that had hampered their season so far. However, want-away striker Torres stunned the red half of Merseyside, and much of Europe, by first verbally, and then formally handing in a transfer request.
Both of which were rejected by the club. Nonetheless Torres got his move to Chelsea in an audacious £50million transfer hours before the window closed, much of which Liverpool spent on Ajax striker Luis Suarez and Newcastle’s Andy Carroll. Having cost Chelsea a mammoth £50 million and yet to score a goal, Torres—like Darren Bent—is finding the grass not necessarily greener when you follow a trend and rock the boat.
In fact, Carroll himself handed in a transfer request to Newcastle to help engineer the move to Liverpool, albeit a hint of controversy regarding it. Carroll suggesting he was told to hand in the request as Newcastle wanted the £35million Liverpool were willing to pay for his services. Either way, it’s a trend that had worked its way from Liverpool to Newcastle. Something about the Northern areas and trends seem to go hand in hand.
So three out of five as statistics go isn’t bad. Three transfer requests gained a desired move, while two strikers in Manchester were left feeling slightly gutted they didn’t wait until January to make their feelings clear. How foolish do they look now.
Perhaps not “high-profile”, but there was time for another transfer request in the Premier League to be handed in, whether it was going to be accepted was another matter. Charlie Adam, along with Blackpool, have been a breath of fresh air for the Premier League this season as both the player and club have taken the league by storm and surprise.
So much so that the Adam was highly linked with a move away from Bloomfield Road, and following two bids from Liverpool that the club rejected, Adam took matters into his own hands and handed in a transfer request. With Ian Holloway as manager, there was only going to be one verdict. The request was rejected immediately and a sense of a moral victory for club against the power of the player was there for all to see.
As January 31 drew to a close, it seemed apparent that the trend of transfer requests was over, well at least until the summer. It would be foolish of anyone to suggest no transfer requests will be made over the course of the summer from a player hoping to get a “dream move” to another club, who coincidentally will be offering a higher wage package to make matters less complicated.
At the current state of the Premier League table, you feel Charlie Adam may once again request a transfer having "done his bit" for the Blackpool cause, regardless whether they stay up or not. Ashley Young, who is becoming increasingly linked to a few of the elite Premier League clubs, could be tempted to follow suit, and give in to trend pressure and hand in a request to get out of Aston Villa.
Given the day in age of which football is now in player’s contracts and loyalty does not count for much, the moment a player hands in a transfer request, any loyalty he once had is thrown out of the window as he aims to better himself. Krist Novoselic has said, “Don’t follow a trend. Follow your heart.” Unfortunately for modern day professionals today, they’re following a trend which is usually followed by how much they can “earn” in their bank account.