Come-and-get-me pleas, rife speculation, transfer requests… it must be a midsummer night’s dream.
Down the years we’ve seen plenty of players ask to leave their club only to be made to stay.
Here we look at eleven players who were kept against their will like hostages — hostages who live in mansions and drive cars capable of ripping a hole in the time-space continuum.
After finishing the 2000/2001 season without a trophy, Patrick Vieira said: “As far as I am concerned the matter is resolved. I am leaving Arsenal and I have made that perfectly clear.”
Well, Patty, the matter was far from resolved because despite interest from Real Madrid, the Gunners clung onto their talismanic leader until 2005.
The whole Invincibles escapade probably eased Vieira’s concerns.
Steven Gerrard to Chelsea is the most notorious transfer that didn’t actually happen in Premier League history.
Liverpool’s Champions League-winning skipper had grown frustrated with his side’s failure to compete for the title and Jose Mourinho’s West London revolution provided a tempting escape.
Chelsea fans clapped Gerrard when he took a corner in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful as a £32million deal seemed set to go through.
But Stevie G’s loyalty to his beloved club won out in the end — good on him.
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Dani Alves played for Sevilla.
The irrepressible Brazilian right-back was desperate to further his career in 2007 but was denied a £30million exit by manager Juande Ramos.
The Spanish gaffer then quit halfway through the following season, allowing Alves to join Barcelona, albeit a season later than he hoped.
Rafael van der Vaart was so sure he would be allowed to trade Hamburg for Valencia in 2007 that he was photographed holding up the La Liga’s side shirt in the traditional post-transfer manner.
He also conveniently ‘injured’ himself playing with his one-year-old son in a ploy to prevent himself being cup-tied.
But Hamburg refused to play ball and kept hold of their Dutch playmaker.
Although Real Madrid’s chequebook changed the situation a year later.
In 2009 Real Madrid wanted to add Franck Ribery to their attacking line-up which also contained Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.
The French winger publicly stated: “I have made up my mind. I want to leave. It will be Real or nothing.”
However secret option C (stay at Bayern Munich and win a lot of trophies) proved to be the Galactico-who-never-was’ fate.
Not a bad result in fairness.
Remember when Wayne Rooney became public enemy No1 in Manchester in 2010?
Man United’s iconic forward criticised the club’s ambition and briefly fell out with Alex Ferguson with several top clubs expressing their interest.
But Rooney reconciled with Sir Alex and signed a lucrative five-year contract.
These days he’s known as United’s all-time leading scorer — crisis averted.
It takes a lot for Daniel Levy to turn down a £40million bid for one of his players but Luka Modric is no ordinary player.
The Croatian midfielder was keen on a move to Chelsea in 2011 after Spurs failed to qualify for the Champions League but the White Hart Lane residents refused to let their London rivals poach their creator-in-chief.
As is the case with many sagas on this list, the situation was ended when Real Madrid came calling.
You don’t say no to Los Blancos.
Yes, it’s that £40,000,001 bid again.
Arsenal tried to trigger Luis Suarez’s release clause with an extraordinarily cheeky offer in 2013 after the Uruguayan claimed Brendan Rodgers had failed to keep his promise of allowing him to leave Liverpool.
However, the situation was resolved and Suarez came so close to firing the Reds to their first Premier League crown.
You can pre-register for Dream Team’s fantasy football game now…