Five players who skipped training to force a transfer as Thibaut Courtois goes AWOL ahead of Real Madrid move

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Courtois has gone AWOL from Chelsea training.

With the transfer deadline looming, Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – who has been heavily linked with a switch to Real Madrid – failed to report for training as doubts over his future at Stamford Bridge intensified.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some players who have looked to force the club’s hand in a bid to move on.

Pierre van Hooijdonk

Striker Van Hooijdonk returned to Nottingham Forest after the 1998 World Cup and was left less than impressed by an apparent lack of investment in the squad, so asked for a transfer, having seen the club turn down an approach from PSV Eindhoven during the previous promotion campaign.

When his request was rejected, the Dutch forward did not take it well and headed back to Holland to train instead at his former club NAC Breda. After three months, he eventually returned to Forest, who refused to listen to offers. Manager Dave Bassett said at the time: “If he thinks we are going to offer him an olive branch, he knows where he can stick it.”

When he got back in the side, Van Hooijdonk scored against rivals Derby – but none of his team-mates celebrated with him. Forest were relegated at the end of the season, finishing bottom, and Van Hooijdonk eventually left for Vitesse Arnhem.

Pierre Van Hooijdonk soon had little to celebrate at Nottingham.

Pierre Van Hooijdonk soon had little to celebrate at Nottingham.

Riyad Mahrez

Algeria winger Mahrez was all smiles as he finally saw his protracted move to Manchester City come off in July 2018 in a reported £60million transfer.

However, Mahrez had been left less than impressed by previous deals to City having failed to materialise during earlier windows.

He spent time away from the East Midlands club, missing Premier League games in the process, reportedly claiming promises made allowing him to leave had been broken.

Mahrez ended up at City this summer, but was upset after a January move collapsed.

Mahrez ended up at City this summer, but was upset after a January move collapsed.

William Gallas

France defender Gallas endured an acrimonious departure from Chelsea on deadline day 2006 after rejecting a new contract. Eventually a deal was brokered which saw Gallas head to Arsenal – a team he would later captain – as part of the deal which took full-back Ashley Cole to Stamford Bridge in a last-ditch deal.

Following the conclusion of the saga, Chelsea issued a strongly-worded statement claiming Gallas showed a “lack of respect” by refusing to play in the 2006 FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, then did not join up for pre-season in Los Angeles as agreed. He also threatened to score own goals, “get himself sent off, or make deliberate mistakes” if he remained there into the new campaign.

Gallas rejected the claims, saying Chelsea were “hiding behind false accusations.”

Gallas became persona non grata at Chelsea after an acrimonious transfer.

Gallas became persona non grata at Chelsea after an acrimonious transfer.

Dimitri Payet

In a more recent drawn-out saga, French playmaker Payet took drastic measures after West Ham refused to sanction a switch back to his former club Marseille.

Claiming a back problem in the wake of a 5-0 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup on January 6 2017, Payet never featured for the Irons again as his dispute with the club rumbled on.

Eventually, West Ham agreed to the £25million transfer later in the January window, as the player left less than a year after signing a new long-term deal.

Payet went from hero to villain in an instant at West Ham.

Payet went from hero to villain in an instant at West Ham.

Dimitar Berbatov

At the start of the 2007/08 campaign, Tottenham frontman Berbatov was involved in a transfer row as Manchester United looked to take the Bulgarian to Old Trafford. Spurs claimed then United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had broken Premier League rules by reportedly talking up the move, which the Scot denied.

Berbatov, though, insisted he was not in the right frame of mind to focus on playing, so, after being on the bench at Middlesbrough, he sat out early-season matches against Sunderland and Chelsea.

With the forward appearing determined not to play for Spurs again, a deal of around £30million was completed just ahead of the transfer deadline.

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Man United's hunt for centre-back continues as transfer deadline edges closer

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Leicester are determined to hold on to Harry Maguire in the wake of interest from United.

Manchester United‘s hunt for the centre-back Jose Mourinho craves continues as the transfer deadline edges closer.

Last season’s Premier League runners-up have stuttered in the market this summer, having so far only signed Brazil midfielder Fred, promising full-back Diogo Dalot and third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant.

Mourinho would ideally like two more signings before Thursday’s deadline and spoke of his confidence that he would get at least one through the door, warning that failure to improve the squad would make this a “difficult season”.

United are keen to buy a centre-back and it isunderstood they are interested in Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng.

Links to World Cup star Harry Maguire persist but Leicester’s reluctance to sell is clear with the deadline looming large.

The Foxes are unwilling to let their reigning player of the year depart and will stand firm in the face of any late United bid.

Toby Alderweireld is another defender United are interested in, but it is understood that Tottenham have yet to receive a bid as a deal remains a way off.

United are keen on Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.

United are keen on Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.

Mourinho’s side have tracked, among others, the likes of Jose Gimenez, Milan Skriniar and Kalidou Koulibaly in a summer that has seen regular links to Yerry Mina.

The latter, so impressive for Colombia in Russia, is also reported to have been part of a deal offered by Barcelona for World Cup winner Paul Pogba.

Barca are said to have seen a bid involving towering defender Mina, midfielder Andre Gomes and around £45million rejected for a player that has had his ups and downs with manager Mourinho.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is naturally understood to be unwilling to sell club-record signing Pogba – a stance backed by former defender Rio Ferdinand, just as a move for Alderweireld would be.

Referencing reports that Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is looking at Barcelona as a possible new home for his player, Ferdinand said: “Don’t you dare allow this ED… #MUFC is Pogba’s home!! Silence these rumours ASAP & get @AlderweireldTob through the door.”

As well as Pogba, the United hierarchy are also understood to be keen to keep unsettled forward Anthony Martial despite well-documented tension between him and Mourinho.

The Portuguese is open to selling a player that he criticised for not returning to United’s pre-season tour of the United States after the birth of his second child. Martial was omitted from the squad for Sunday’s friendly loss at Bayern Munich.

Daley Blind and Sam Johnstone, to Ajax and West Brom respectively, are so far United’s only summer sales, but talk is rife about a defensive departure given their attempts to sign a centre-back.

Yerry Mina made just six appearances for Barca last term.

Yerry Mina made just six appearances for Barca last term.

Marcos Rojo has been widely linked with a move away from Old Trafford, despite signing a new and improved deal until at least 2021 just a matter of months ago.

The Argentina international is reluctant to leave as he continues to work on his fitness, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly the other centre-back options at United.

Injuries to summer signing Dalot and fellow right-back option Antonio Valencia could delay Matteo Darmian’s return to Italy, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been strongly linked with a season-long move to Hertha Berlin.

A number of United’s under-23 squad could make temporary exits, with European leagues remaining open for business and English football League clubs allowed to make loan signings until the end of the month.

Axel Tuanzebe has rejoined Aston Villa on a season-long loan, following Joel Pereira, Matty Willock, Dean Henderson and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in making temporary exits from United.

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Ramsey, Rojo and Ings possible deals ahead of Premier League transfer window deadline

Matt Jones 7/08/2018
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It’s approaching crunch time for a number of Premier League clubs looking to scramble together squads for an assault on Manchester City’s title – with Manchester United and Chelsea in particular still keen to do business ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Elsewhere, others are looking to bolster their ranks as they bid to survive a torturous campaign, including newly-promoted Cardiff and Europa League-chasing Burnley.

Below are a list of the most in-demand players for Premier League clubs and the likelihood of deals being completed before Thursday’s deadline.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC – BORUSSIA DORTMUND TO CHELSEA

Is Pulisic Chelsea-bound?

Chelsea again here. To be fair, did you see the gulf in class between them and City at Wembley? The 19-year-old has been linked with a move to a myriad of clubs this summer, although this seems another one that is likely to happen in the future rather than be rushed through in a few days.

Undoubtedly talented, it would perhaps be more beneficial for the American teenager to hone his craft for another season at Dortmund where manager Lucien Favre has a young side to mould for the future.

However, with Chelsea possibly losing the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian, they may be pushed into a move for Pulisic.

Chances of it happening – 3/10

AARON RAMSEY – ARSENAL TO CHELSEA OR LIVERPOOL

Aaron Ramsey’s contract is up in 2019.

 

This is a deal that has come to light very recently and for that reason, seems unlikely to come to fruition.

The Welshman would be a quality addition to either side’s midfield but Unai Emery would be foolish to want to let the 27-year-old leave for a Premier League rival. Having lost the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie in similar circumstances in recent seasons, that would see the amount of rants on Arsenal Fan TV skyrocket at a time when they’re happy to have just got rid of Arsene Wenger.

Ramsey himself is surely keen to see what unfolds in the Spaniard’s debut season at the Emirates. He is though entering his prime as well as the last year of his contract, so if the Gunners fail to fire this season, this could be a move we’ll see next summer.

Chances of it happening – 2/10

THEO HERNANDEZ – REAL MADRID TO FULHAM

On the move? Theo Hernandez.

From the Santiago Bernabeu to Craven Cottage. Not a move that’s been completed too often in football history, but it could just happen before Thursday’s deadline.

Fulham have already had a sensational summer window – signing Jean Michael Seri, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson and Andre Schurrle – and it could get even better if they pull this loan move off.

The 20-year-old left-back has not pulled up any trees in Madrid and is in need of a move to rejuvenate his career.

Chances of it happening – 7/10

MARCOS ROJO – MANCHESTER UNITED TO WOLVES OR EVERTON

Rojo seems set to move on.

Whether it’s Alderweireld, Maguire or Jerome Boateng, one of them looks likely to be a United player by the end of the week.

And if they are, the current Old Trafford defender most likely to be shifted on is the Argentine. Erratic, unreliable and injury-prone, his initial signing after the 2014 World Cup was a head-scratcher.

He has failed to convince since but the good thing is that Mourinho isn’t short of suitors for the 28-year-old, with Everton and promoted Wolves after reinforcements.

Chances of it happening 7/10

DANNY INGS – LIVERPOOL TO CRYSTAL PALACE, NEWCASTLE, SOUTHAMPTON OR BOURNEMOUTH

Plenty of admirers: Danny Ings.

The former Burnley striker has endured a nightmare few years at Anfield with injury and his Reds future was underlined when he was left at home while they went to the US on their pre-season tour.

Although he’s going to be taking a step down, the good news for the 26-year-old is he won’t be short of options, with a string of lower tier Premier League clubs looking to snap him up.

Ings is in need of a fresh start and a £20 million fee feels like a great deal for someone.

Chances of it happening 9/10

JAY RODRIGUEZ – WEST BROM TO BURNLEY

Source of goals: Jay Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is one of those perennial players that seem to make a career out of being a nomadic Premier League player. Nowhere near good, or consistent, enough to be an elite operator – to be fair horrendous injuries have curtailed his career – yet he appears in demand after relegation with West Brom last term.

The Clarets will have to stump up £20m if they want to bring Rodriguez back to Turf Moor – the 29-year-old scored 41 goals in 128 games from 2007-12 before moving on to Southampton.

Burnley’s striking corps is stacked with middling forwards –  Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood and Jonathan Walters – so what’s one more to add to the mix.

Sean Dyche’s side are looking to improve on a superb seventh-place finish last term and need more goals – they were the fourth-lowest scorers (36) in the Premier League last term.

Chances of it happening – 8/10

ALVARO NEGREDO – BESIKTAS TO CARDIFF

Is Negredo set for a Premier League return?

A Premier League winner with Manchester City in 2013/14, Alvaro Negredo certainly has Premier League pedigree, something Cardiff will desperately need as they look to try and survive their second attempt in the top-flight.

In 2013/14 they finished rock bottom and will be favourites for 20th place again. Last season’s promotion was built on solidity and they have wily Neil Warnock in charge so they will be tough to crack – even more so if they land the burly Spaniard.

Their other summer acquisitions hardly strike fear into the rest of the league – Josh Murphy, Bobby Reid, Greg Cunningham and Alex Smithies coming aboard a ship most are already saying will struggle to stay afloat.

The 32-year-old would add some quality to a Bluebirds striking department that currently includes Kenneth Zohore, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Gary Medine.

Chances of it happening – 8/10

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