Each Premier League football club has their own transfer nightmare story to tell, be it overspending or letting a highly rated youngster leave for almost peanuts – it’s happened to plenty of clubs throughout the years. Despite their riches, Manchester City have lost another youngster, with Brahim Diaz joining Spanish giants Real Madrid after becoming frustrated with the first-team opportunities available in the Premier League. We’ve looked back at the players that were sold too early on the cheap and made an XI from them. There’s a whole load of talent and a lot of regret!
Ones that got away: The 'Players that were sold too soon' XI
GK: Edwin van der Sar
Perhaps one of the best bargain transfers in the Premier League’s history? Or a big oversight on Fulham’s part? Edwin van der Sar, one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, albeit at the age of 34, joined Manchester United for just £2 million back in 2005. Despite reaching the latter stages of his career, the Dutchman would remain United’s number one shot-stopper until 2011.
RB: Seamus Coleman
You can’t help but feel for Sligo Rovers when you look back at Seamus Coleman’s Everton career. Sold to the Toffees for just £60,000 as a youngster. An incredibly small fee when you consider the huge sums of money spent in the modern game. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but when you see the established Premier Leauge defender he has become, it’s hard not to feel like Sligo were hard done by.
CB: Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell’s free transfer to join Arsenal from London rivals Tottenham is widely regarded as one of, if not the most controversial transfer in Premier League history. Despite previously ruling out a move to Arsenal, Campbell rejected a contract offer and joined the Gunners on a free. At Arsenal, he would go on to win the Premier League twice and two FA Cups, while also being part of the famous unbeaten squad of the 2003-04 season.
CB: Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique is very much one that got away for Manchester United. The Red Devils snapped him up from Barcelona on his first professional contract. However, despite being highly rated, Pique never quite cut it in the Premier League. In 2008, Barcelona paid just £5m to bring him back to the club and he has been a regular feature in their defence ever since, winning seven domestic titles and three Champions League titles, as well as countless other trophies.
LB: Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole’s move to Chelsea was marred by the controversial manner in which the Blues acted to complete the deal. Despite Cole being highly rated at the time, Arsenal appeared to do quite well from the deal. They banked £5 million and William Gallas in return as part of the transfer. Unfortunately for Arsenal, Cole would go on to develop into arguably the best left-back England has ever seen, winning league titles and the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.
RM: Mohamed Salah
Chelsea signed Mohamed Salah from Basel after he caught their eye with his performances in the Champions League. In reality, it was a move too early for Salah, who was not yet ready for Premier League football. To get regular pitch time under his belt, he spent a spell on loan in Italy with Fiorentina, before going on to join Roma permanently. After scoring 29 goals in two seasons at in the Italian capital, Liverpool paid a club-record fee to sign him. He would go on to enjoy the best season of his career upon his Premier League return, notching 32 league goals.
CM: Paul Pogba
What an expensive and costly error it was to let Paul Pogba leave for Juventus on a free transfer. Pogba came through the ranks at Manchester United and was earmarked to be one for the future. He was on the fringes of the first-team squad but left for Italy with Juventus calling. In Serie A he developed into one of the world’s best midfielders. Back in 2016, United shelled out what was then a world-record fee of £89 million to re-sign the player.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne
How Chelsea would love to have this man back in their side right now after having the Belgian midfielder in the palms of their hands. Signed from Genk, De Bruyne was tipped for big things under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. However, following concerns over his attitude and general work rate on the pitch, Mourinho decided to sell the Belgian to Wolfsburg for £18m after an impressive loan spell in Germany. De Bruyne would go on to shine in Germany, prompting Manchester City to pay £55m to bring him back to the Premier League, where he has established himself as one of the best in the division.
LM: Philippe Coutinho
Inter may be ruing their decision to let Philippe Coutinho leave the club back in 2013. Liverpool spent just £8.5 million to bring the Brazilian to Anfield. During his time on Merseyside, the Brazilian established himself as one of the Premier League’s most creative players, playing a key role in the Reds’ title push under Brendan Rodgers. After becoming Liverpool’s talisman, he secured a massive move to Barcelona, in a deal that was believed to be worth around £142 million. After six years at Anfield, the Reds made a mighty profit on the player. It’s a bitter blow to Inter, who have seen him grow into one of the best midfielders playing in Europe.
ST: Romelu Lukaku
Another player that Chelsea let go all too quickly and how it has cost them. Signed to be the long-term replacement for Didier Drogba, big things were expected of Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge. However, nothing really fell into place for the Belgian, who could not nail down a spot in the side. After spells away from the club on loan, Lukaku joined Everton for £28m in 2014. Many initially believed Chelsea did well from the deal, but they certainly wouldn’t mind having the player that joined Manchester United in a £75 million deal back at the club now.
ST: Alan Shearer
Southampton will look back at Alan Shearer’s career feeling like they were hard done by, despite selling him for what was a transfer record at the time. Saints banked £3.6 million from Blackburn in 1992, with David Speedie also arriving as part of the deal. With Manchester United also long-term admirers, it was very difficult to see a scenario where Shearer was sold for huge sums of money. He would, however, break the transfer fee record once again with his £15m move to Newcastle. With his impeccable goal record, imagine the fee he could have commanded in the modern era!