September 04, 2017

Riyad Mahrez handled the delicate situation of his future with relative diplomacy this summer. The Algerian star publicly asked to leave Leicester at the end of last season, but knuckled down to business when the new campaign actually started and certainly did not create a stink.

"He hasn't given me one problem where I've had to pull him to the side and say, 'Oi, pull your finger out'," were manager Craig Shakespeare's refreshing words last month.

As such, the Algerian winger has stayed on the right side of fans, in spite of his (failed) attempts to quit the Foxes. That isn't always the case, though, as these former 'heroes' have found out....


Fabian Delph

Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League

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Club captain Fabian Delph was branded a snake by furious Aston Villa fans in 2015 when he completed his controversial transfer to Manchester City as just a few days earlier he'd denied he would leave the club whilst fully committing himself to the Villa cause.

"I'm not leaving. I'm staying at the football club and I can't wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club." He had a change of heart, it seems.


Virgil van Dijk

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Virgil van Dijk made no secret of his desire to quit Southampton this summer. The only problem was that the Saints refused to be bullied by Liverpool and successfully got the Reds to back off after threatening to report them for 'tapping up' the player.

But the whole saga hasn't left Van Dijk's relationship with Southampton fans in very good shape, with many angry that the captain was so keen to turn his back on the club and force his way out.


Ousmane Dembele

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Muenchen - DFL Supercup 2017

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Ousmane Dembele plain stopped turning up for training at Borussia Dortmund to force his move to Barcelona through to completion, a guaranteed way to get fans to turn on any player.

Rather misguidedly, Dembele went AWOL, refused to answer his phone, and ensured he will be remembered in Dortmund for his flagrant disloyalty and unprofessional tantrum rather than any of the excellent things he did on the pitch during his sole season with the club.


Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool v Middlesbrough - Premier League

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One could perhaps argue that Liverpool might have been better off letting Philippe Coutinho go this summer after Barcelona made several enormous offers for the Brazilian maestro. A back injury kept him out at the start of the season, but he was curiously fit enough to play for Brazil.

The likes of Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are more reliable and consistent than Coutinho and his status as a fan favourite was certainly damaged when he submitted a transfer request via email - a somewhat cowardly way to go about it.


Raheem Sterling

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Two years before Coutinho, it was Raheem Sterling incurring the wrath of angry Liverpool fans as he set about leaving the club for pastures new.

Reds supporters believed the winger owed the club after he was given his first-team debut as a 17-year-old, but his time at Anfield ended with much booing from fans. One famous incident came on the final day of 2014/15, the same week as he was heckled at the club's annual awards night.


Diego Costa

Arsenal v Chelsea - The Emirates FA Cup Final

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It seems unlikely, but if Diego Costa ever pulls on a Chelsea shirt again the striker surely cannot hope to receive a warm 'welcome home' greeting from fans after spending the whole summer refusing to train and sulking at his family home in Brazil.

Manager Antonio Conte didn't handle the situation well when he informed Costa he was surplus to requirements via text message. But the player's response and subsequent pining for Atletico Madrid, including wearing their shirt for a social media message, has wrecked any legacy.


Neymar

International Champions Cup 2017 - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona

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Neymar explained that he joined Paris Saint-Germain to experience a new challenge, but plenty of Barcelona fans, who burned shirts bearing his name, refused to believe he was pushing for the transfer to France for any reason other than money as the deal neared completion.

The Brazilian had the world at his feet at Camp Nou, but he felt there was a better opportunity waiting for him in Paris where he would no longer be playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi.


Alexis Sanchez

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Arsenal fans started to turn on Alexis Sanchez towards the back end of last season when his performances dipped as his contract saga rumbled on. That number only increased in the final days of the summer transfer window when it became abundantly clear he wanted to leave.

By deadline day, many supporters actively wanted the Chilean out, vocally voicing their displeasure with the situation on social media. The player's proposed move to Manchester City fell apart, though, with Sanchez now needing supporters back onside.


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