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Transfers Window: How 7 of Last Summer’s Most Talked About Players Fared During the 2018/19 Season

​Never, despite how inevitable it may appear, assume that a transfer saga is complete until you’ve seen an official announcement from both clubs.

And even then, you can’t be absolutely sure! Antoine Griezmann has been on his way out of Atletico Madrid since the discovery of America and Paul Pogba seems destined to spend the rest of his days pushing for a second Manchester United exit. 


Well, Griezmann will finally leave the Spanish capital over the off-season, though Pogba may not be able to engineer an escape from the sinking ​Manchester United ship he is currently aboard. So, there’s two of the narratives that will dominate the 2019 summer transfer window. 

Here’s a look at seven moves from last year that never materialised and an assessment of how each player involved got on afterwards.


Paul Pogba to Barcelona

Paul Pogba

The most frustrating things in the world; people walking so slowly in front of you, inconsiderate drivers and Paul Pogba. Last campaign was another Pogba special, featuring periods of blistering form and diabolical displays in equal measure.

Leading cryptologists are still trying to explain how the Frenchman was named in the PFA Team of the Year after ghosting through large parts of the season. Sure, he hit 13 ​Premier League goals – double his previous best – but football is about far more than goals (and most of his were penalties!).

If his on-field performance wasn’t bad enough, Pogba had a number of hissy fits off it, too. It seems he threw his toys out of the pram when a mega-money move to ​Barcelona never came to fruition.


Ruben Neves to Manchester City

Ruben Neves

Neves was hardly trying to force his way out of ​Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he would no doubt have been enticed by the promise of ​Champions League football at ​Manchester City.

However, when that deal fell through, the silky Portuguese knuckled down and kicked on alongside his newly-promoted teammates. A handful of awe-inspiring goals from dead-ball situations are dotted across Neves’ glittering debut season in the English top-flight, and his value soared as a result.

Wolves can now offer him the chance to prove his skills on the European stage after qualifying for the Europa League, vindicating the decision to stay in the Midlands.


Toby Alderweireld to Manchester United

Toby Alderweireld

2018/19 ended in heartbreak for the Belgian bruiser, with ​Tottenham Hotspur going down with a whimper to rivals ​Livepool in the Champions League final. Nevertheless, Alderweireld can look back and be proud of what will likely prove to be his final year in north London.

He seemed destined to depart the city after failing to agree a new contract, but Red Devils chief-executive Ed Woodward would not bow to Jose Mourinho’s demands and pay Spurs the requisite fee.

So, he stayed. 

No, he didn’t collect any trophies, but he did earn the respect of supporters for continuing to give his all in matches, performing admirably in the vast majority of his 50 appearances in all competitions. 


Nabil Fekir to Liverpool

Nabil Fekir

Fekir will have risen in many people’s estimation following another campaign filled with goals and assists. Had he ended up joining Liverpool for €60m and produced similarly brilliant form for them, the Reds may well have secured that elusive league title.

The France international was directly involved in 21 scores for Lyon, netting with some unerring finishes and carving open opposition defences with his incredible dribbling ability. His crowning moment came in Les Gones’ 2-1 defeat of City at the Etihad Stadium, when the 25-year-old ran the show and gave his side the lead with a wicked strike past Ederson.


Luka Modric to Inter

FBL-EUR-C1-REAL MADRID-AJAX

The rumour mill regularly churned out news regarding Modric’s future last summer, with the Croatia captain allegedly wanting to leave ​Real Madrid after a third successive European triumph. Nine-figure fees and ​Inter were both mentioned, but nothing came to fruition.

Instead, the ex-Spurs superstar stayed in Madrid and collected a maiden Ballon d’Or. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Wrong. You will struggle to find a game from last campaign in which Modric looked anything except tired and disinterested.

The entire Real squad were dire, but that is no excuse for the current World Player of the Year to go missing. If anything, he should be galvanising the team, leading their revival. Is it apathy or the ageing process that has hampered him in 2019? Maybe a little bit of both.


Neymar to Real Madrid

Neymar

Friendless, furious and fidgety; something tells me Neymar isn’t enjoying his Paris sojourn. He’s managed to alienate himself from supporters and teammates alike, earn several bans for various misdemeanours and now appears to be wanting away from the club.

Who’d have thought it? A world-class player (I say that though gritted teeth) doesn’t find Ligue 1 particularly stimulating? 

Still, he amassed a respectable goal tally as he fired home 23 times in 28 matches, with five of those coming in Champions League action. That may be his parting gift at PSG, as a move back to ​La Liga is once again on the cards this summer.


Anthony Martial to Anywhere Jose Mourinho Isn’t

FBL-ENG-FACUP-ARSENAL-MAN UTD

​Atletico Madrid was one suggestion for where Martial could settle, while ​Milan was another. Of course, neither happened and he is still at Old Trafford, though his relationship with the man in charge is significantly better nowadays.

The forward was one of several squad members who Mourinho didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with. They never truly resolved their differences, instead putting them to one side for the betterment of United.

Martial can hardly be blamed for the nightmare season that befell the Red Devils, as the 23-year-old did produce some moments of sublime quality. His highlights include a rifled finish against ​Chelsea in October, which came in a goalscoring run that spanned five fixtures.


Credits: 90Min

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