Delph’s Dipstickery – Biggest U-Turns In Football

Fabian Delph’s on-off move to Manchester City had so many twists that it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if he returned to Aston Villa before the start of the season muttering “sod that Man City lark”.

He’s not the first footballer to have a last-minute change of heart over a transfer and certainly won’t be the last. Here’s a few other indecisive players who weren’t sure if they were coming or going…

John Obi Mikel

Chelsea’s ‘capture’ of the Nigerian midfielder in 2005 will rank as one of the most controversial transfers of all time.

It pitted managerial behemoths Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho against each other in a battle for the signature of an 18-year old wonderkid.

Mikel held a press conference sporting a United jersey before Chelsea claimed to have signed him. After that it got a bit confusing with a United coach going as far as to say the London club had kidnapped the player. Either way, Chelsea got their man but had to shell out £12 million in compensation to United.

Matt Le Tissier

It seems absurd to imagine the famously loyal Le Tissier playing for anyone other than Southampton but it almost happened in 1990.

He’d just won the PFA Young Player of the Year with the Saints when Spurs made a bid for him. The player himself has admitted the deal was as good as done, only for a last-minute change of heart as his fiancée didn’t want to live in London.

Mo Johnston

It’s not often a transfer will anger two sets of supporters but that’s exactly what Mo Johnston’s acrimonious move to Rangers in 1989 triggered.

The striker was paraded to the media by Celtic on May 12th as a former club hero returning from a two-year stint in France. However, it transpired that Johnston’s French club, Nantes, did not own his contract and the move stalled.

The media converged at Ibrox two months later expecting to see John Sheridan unveiled as a new Rangers signing. Instead, Johnston entered the room to a collective gasp. His transfer, as Rangers’ most high-profile Catholic signing, caused uproar amongst both sets of supporters with some Rangers fans burning scarfs and vowing never to return to Ibrox.

Steven Gerrard
Football Chelsea v Liverpool

Gerrard said recently that he’d regretted not working with Brendan Rodgers ten years earlier, as he’d have won a lot more silverware. He was right.

Rodgers was Chelsea’s youth manager in 2005, when Gerrard was on the brink of leaving his boyhood club for London. He shocked Liverpool fans by handing in a transfer request just six weeks after winning the Champions League with the club.

However after a £32 million bid from the Blues, Gerrard got cold feet and signed a new contract at Anfield.


Chelsea haven’t been shy at gazumping other clubs at the last minute, most recently Spurs with Willian, so it’s only right they should have been victims of a transfer u-turn at least once.

A protracted deal for Robinho in 2008 culminated in the store at Stamford Bridge selling shirts with the Brazilian’s name emblazoned on them. However, a last-minute £32.5 million bid from newly rich Manchester City tempted the player north although he did tell the media that “Chelsea made a great proposal and I accepted,” before correcting himself – “sorry, I mean Manchester!”.