Harry Kane endured another difficult afternoon as Tottenham Hotspur slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace. The England captain has laboured since agitating for a move to Manchester City in the summer. While his poor performances may partly be due to his exertions in reaching the final of Euro 2020, he does carry the look of a man who wishes to be elsewhere.
There is a way back for Kane; other players have seen their dream moves fall through and have gone on to contribute for the side that has retained their services. Others have never looked quite the same again. Here are some of the Premier League’s most high-profile wantaways, and what happened to them when they didn’t get their wish.
The Portuguese great has just returned to Old Trafford, but there was a time that Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United. After United clinched a Premier League and Champions League double in the 2007/08 season, the forward made his intention to join Real Madrid abundantly clear. After an unfortunate circus involving tampering complaints, Sepp Blatter’s unwanted involvement and protests from the player, Ronaldo elected to stay reportedly at the request of Sir Alex Ferguson.
While his output did drop in his final season, not helped by undergoing ankle surgery, Ronaldo still enjoyed a banner final campaign in his first spell at the club. Solidifying his status as an Old Trafford hero, Ronaldo netted 26 goals in all competitions, and helped the club claim the Club World Cup, reach another Champions League final, and win the Premier League. He also won the Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player Of The Year and the Puskas Award. Ronaldo moved for a then-world record £80 million to Real Madrid in the summer, but left with a lot of goodwill after a memorable final season.
A one-club man in his peak years, Steven Gerrard only left Liverpool for a brief Stateside sojourn at LA Galaxy to close his career. However, things nearly played out very differently for the England midfielder. After the Anfield club’s legendary 2005 Champions League comeback win against AC Milan, Gerrard turned down a contract extension. Chelsea’s interest was piqued, and they moved to attempt a huge statement signing just two years into the Roman Abramovich project. Liverpool rebuffed the bid, and after much back-and-forth Gerrard elected to stay.
Any fans who doubted their captain’s commitment had their minds swiftly changed. Gerrard hit 23 goals in 53 appearances on the way to scooping PFA Player Of The Year. He also scored a brace against West Ham United to clinch the FA Cup for Liverpool, in an inspirational display that has seen the game dubbed ‘The Gerrard Final.’ The midfielder would become a Liverpool legend, playing for the club for another decade.
The Chilean saw a move to Manchester City collapse on deadline day in the summer of 2017, when Arsenal could not complete a deal for Thomas Lemar to replace him. Arsenal’s Player Of The Year in the previous season, Sanchez struggled for form after having his head turned by a move to the Citizens.
Sanchez would end up in the red half of Manchester come January, but failed to impress at Old Trafford and moved to Serie A for Inter Milan. He has enjoyed a mini-revival, without ever looking like the elite talent Arsenal fans saw at his peak.
A toxic situation was brewing at Anfield in 2013. Liverpool had failed to qualify for the Champions League, and had just rejected a £40,000,001 for Luis Suarez from Arsenal. The Gunners wrongly believed the figure would meet the Uruguayan’s release clause. The striker was livid, and demanded to leave, but had his request denied by the club’s owner John W. Henry.
Against all odds, Suarez enjoyed the season of his life for Liverpool, firing them to a second-placed finish. The forward clinched the European Golden Shoe, Premier League Golden Boot and Premier League Player of the Season. His reward was a move to Barcelona, where he enjoyed huge success alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.