Alexis Sanchez has got his wish.
The Chilean Craig Bellamy- as Arsenal fans are now insisting on calling him- ran down his contract so that the club had no option other than to get him off the books.
Premier League managers must now be living in fear of lucrative 10-year contracts and players going on strike as soon as things start going wrong.
But which players could follow Sanchez’s example and see their contracts through to 2019 before leaving for nothing?
David De Gea (Man United)
Man United would be a mid-table Championship side if it wasn’t for De Gea’s saves.
Okay, that’s a bit strong, but even with Sanchez and Paul Pogba in the side De Gea remains United’s most important player.
If Real Madrid have any sense they’ll have invested in a state of the art fax machine and convinced De Gea to ride his contract out then get on the first flight to Madrid.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
The main obstacle between De Gea and a move to Madrid stands at 6ft 6in between Chelsea’s goalposts.
Courtois spent three seasons with Atletico Madrid and has already stated his desire to return to Madrid and be with his family.
Add in Madrid’s decision to pass on Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and you’ve got yourself a gold standard transfer rumour.
Jan Vertonghen (Spurs)
Name a better left footed centre-back in Europe than Vertonghen. Three, two, one. You couldn’t, could you?
Giorgio Chiellini and Samuel Umtiti would be in with a shout but Vertonghen’s technique and composure mark him out as a genuinely world-class defender.
The Belgian’s contract is expiring in 2019, which must have Spurs fans coming out in cold sweats and seeing Sol Campbell every time they close their eyes.
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
The Rock of Rosario has come to stand for everything good about Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side.
He’s performed to such a high level since joining from Villarreal that there’s not a club in world football that would turn him down.
Let the bidding begin.
Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
Arsenal’s relentless desire to rebuild Dortmund’s glory years could gather pace if Arsene Wenger convinces Reus to see out his contract and move to north London.
Ahh, the irony.
We can see it now though. Nuri Sahin feeding Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who plays the ball to Reus. Reus crosses for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score and Gunnersaurus goes wild.
Adrien Rabiot (PSG)
While Arsenal try and assemble Dortmund’s old side, PSG are trying to assemble a team in which every player costs upwards of £150miillion.
Rabiot is one of the few academy graduates who’s bridged the gap in Paris, but he’s yet to commit to a long-term contract.
It can’t be easy when you’re fined every time you don’t pass to Neymar.
Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen)
In 2016 Brandt became the youngest player since Gerd Muller to score in six consecutive Bundesliga games.
He’s only 21 but has five years of Bundesliga experience under his belt and 13 international caps for Germany to his name.
Sounds perfect for a failed spell at Chelsea followed by nine years of domination with Man City.
READ MORE FROM THE WORLD OF FOOTBALL:
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan will thrive at Arsenal and Man United may have an issue with Alexis Sanchez
- Chelsea submit transfer offer for world’s tallest man
- Who won and who lost from these famous swap deals?