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Top 10 Players Their Clubs Regretted Not Retaining

With some worries as to whether certain teams sold too many of their most needed players,  it's time to take a look at the teams that really suffered after selling some strong players. 

Last updated: 16.08.2019
Top 10 Players Their Clubs Regretted Not Retaining | Sports Social Blog

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We’re fresh off the transfer season and it’s been intense. A lot of big buys took place. Many anticipated transfers came to fruition. But as a team got a new player, another team lost one. It might be possible that some teams as a result of selling certain players took a massive hit and might regret the move despite the money. The transfer of Hazard, Griezmann and Diego Godin come to mind. Hazard was critical in his final season at Chelsea and is widely credited for the success Chelsea had in the season, finishing in the top 4 and winning the Europa League. Griezmann and Godin were two veterans of Atletico Madrid widely credited for ATM’s rise in the world of football. They all left for other clubs and thus their absence might damage those two clubs quite a bit. With that in mind, here’s a look at a top player that clubs regretted letting go of.




10. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal to Manchester United for €30 million):


In the post-Henry era, there’s little opposition when it comes to the claim that RVP was Arsenal’s greatest goalscorer. To this day, very few players can shoot and finish quite like RVP, especially during the critical moments. What’s even odder than Arsenal sold him right after the season where he scored a massive tally of 30 goals. He was the top scorer in the League and Arsenal were placed 3rd(2011-12 season).  RVP went on to win the PL again, repeating his no.1 position on the goal-scoring charts. Arsenal dropped down to 4th on the PL for the next two seasons. It’s as if that move almost had a domino effect, with Arsene Wenger and other staff of Arsenal falling under heavy criticism for selling multiple big-name players from the club. Jump cut to now and Arsenal have not made it to the top 4 for two seasons in a row, putting into question just how big of a negative impact that single transfer had.


9. Andrea Pirlo ( AC Milan to Juventus; free):


The Italian legend of the Central Midfield gave 10 years to AC Milan. He was brilliant throughout his career and it’s surprising that AC Milan let him go for free. They thought that he would deteriorate given the fact that he had become older. A lot of things remained the same for Pirlo: his passing ability, general creativity, fantastic setpieces, and overall dribbling and of course the vision that made him so legendary, to begin with. The only thing that really changed was the colour of the jersey he was wearing. Pirlo became a member of Antonio Conte’s Juventus and never knew what it felt like to come even second under that White jersey. AC Milan who had just won the Serie A prior to the Juve streak seemingly signed their own death sentence when they sold Pirlo(that was the last time they won the trophy). Till date, Juve have yet to lose the Serie A since Pirlo’s joining.


8. Daley Blind ( Manchester United to Ajax for €20 million):


The Dutchman has grown into a world-class fullback over the years. He was fantastic in Ajax’s UCL run, something that defied a lot of expectations but was wonderful to witness nevertheless. He has shown a great range of versatility being strong on both offense and defence along with having some quick feet. While didn’t perform amazingly at Man U, he did have a few good matches. Blind was out for 2014 because of an injury in an International match. But at Ajax, he has been phenomenal. He did win the Eredivisie and as mentioned earlier, he impressed everyone in the UCL. It’s tempting to think what could’ve been if Man U had kept him on for longer and utilized and developed him better, especially considering Man United’s dry 2018-19 season.


7. Paul Pogba (Man United to Juventus; free):


It’s surprising to think that the World Cup winner was at Manchester United before his record-breaking move from Juventus to Old Trafford. The star midfielder was sold for free to Juventus and he performed brilliantly in the Serie A showcasing his brilliant vision and passing aptitude. He racked up quite a bit of assist and caught the attention of Man United again. They signed him for over 100 million Euros and that might just be the most frustrating transfer from the perspective of Manchester United given that they had him at one point and gave him away from free. While Man U hasn’t won the PL under Pogba, he’s one of the few that has kept the team afloat, contributing to a lot of their goals and wins.


6. Wesley Sneijder (Real Madrid to Inter Milan; €17 million):


With the rapid pace at which they buy and sell expensive players, a Real Madrid entry was bound for this list. Wesley Sneijder was Real Madrid’s no. 10 after Robinho left for Man City. He was a pretty good player there despite a few injuries scares. He was sold in 2009 possibly to make room for the heavyweights that were Ronaldo and Kaka and other newer players. Hindsight being 20/20, we all know that Sneijder became one of the best midfielders of his generation and whether it was passing over long distances, shooting or general offensive awareness, the man had it in spades. He went to achieve history with Inter Milan as he won the European treble with them. One of only seven clubs have won the EU treble and Real Madrid is not one of them. Imagine Ronaldo and Sneijder on the same team? Barca would probably be missing a few La Liga Titles if that happened.


5. Wesley Sneijder again (Inter Milan to Galatasaray; €8 million):


Wesley Sneijder in his 4 years at Inter Milan became a club legend, especially because of the treble. Then things started declining because Juventus returned to the glory days with a vengeance thanks to Antonio Conte and Pirlo. Wesley Sneijder began playing less and fewer matches and just 5 in his last season. After problems regarding contract renewal, Sneijder left for Galatasaray and he was fantastic there as well. Meanwhile, as mentioned earlier, Juventus hogged most of the trophies after Conte appeared so Inter Milan’s trophy cabinet remained mostly unchained. Sneijder went on to win the League twice in Turkey as well as the Turkish Cup twice. Unfortunately, Inter Milan never got close to their Treble heights.


4. Sol Campbell (Tottenham to Arsenal; free):


Sol Cambell was one of Tottenham’s marquee players. He was one of the greatest centre backs back in his day. He even won the League Cup with Tottenham in 1998-99. His towering frame, his defensive read, athleticism and tackling prowess made him crucial to the Tottenham squad along with Ledley King. That all changed in 2001 when following a contract problem and dissatisfaction after multiple negotiations, he left the club for Tottenham’s arch-rivals Arsenal. What stung Tottenham even more that the transfer itself was free. He left citing that he wanted to play UCL football, and he did. Arsenal even went to the final under him, aside from winning multiple domestic titles including the Premier League two times. This transfer is considered infamous and it’s hard not see why especially considering the trophies didn’t exactly line up for Tottenham after his leave and they even fell as low as 14th on the PL table. 


3. Steve Mcmanaman (Liverpool to Real Madrid; free):


Very few English players found success overseas like Steve Mcmanaman. Another free transfer. He was very good at Liverpool back when they were struggling. He was one of the best and most underrated midfielders. After contract woes, Mcmanaman left Liverpool for Real Madrid where he found huge success. His technicality and ball control were sharp as ever as he garnered 2 La Liga Titles and 2 UCL’s with Real Madrid, effectively becoming England’s most decorated player overseas. Liverpool have still yet to claim the PL since ‘90. Even their tally of Fa Cups ran dry for a long time since Mcmanaman left. It must always leave the Reds fans wondering whether they’d have a few more trophies if they could’ve kept Mcmanaman.


2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid to Juventus; €100 million):


This is the latest entry on the list. Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time. He actually had more goals than matches for Real Madrid and he played 438 matches in the white jersey. He simply has everything checked out. Shooting, finishing, Dribbling, attack acumen, adaptability, dead ball specialization and he’s strong even on the left foot. How else would a player score over 100 goals in the UCL (he’s the all-time top-scorer in the tournament)?He won 2 La Liga’s and brought the UCL to Real Madrid after 12 years. Not only that, he won 4 UEFA Champions Leagues with Real Madrid and three of them in a row. It was evident that the 80 million EU Real Madrid spent on him was far from a bad investment. Shockingly, after the 2017-18 season, Ronaldo moved to Juventus for EU 100 million. He found glory in the Serie A as well, scoring 21 goals in his first Serie A, lifting the trophy in his first go, also winning the Serie A Footballer of the Year. Meanwhile, Real Madrid had one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. They were trophyless, losing to bottom-placed clubs like Rayo Vallecano towards the end of the season. They had to adapt to Ronaldo not being in the squad anymore and they simply couldn’t. They brought back Zidane but only won 1 of their last 5 La Liga games. They even had a poor pre-season despite acquiring Eden Hazard from Chelsea. The void left by Ronaldo was huge and Zidane and Co. will have to do some serious damage control in order to restore RMA to it’s best.


1. Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid; €62 Million):


Luis Figo’s move to Real Madrid is the most infamous in history. Barcelona and Real Madrid have the greatest rivalry in all of the sports and all of it reached an insane amount of intensity with Figo’s 62 million (Euro) move to Real Madrid. Figo was just too good of a midfielder with his brilliant passing, dribbling and footballing intelligence and his skills were enough for Real Madrid to activate his buyout clause. Real Madrid raked in the awards while Barca sustained heavy damage. He won the La Liga twice and the UCL once. Figo also won the Supercopa de Espana twice. Barcelona only won the La Liga once while Figo was over at RMA and never won the Champions League during that time. Figo was one of their best players and he even won the Ballon D’or mostly for his Barcelona contribution. Camp Nou took a massive hit when he left. 


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