Sancho was one of the most exciting players in Manchester City’s academy. However, the teenager was concerned about his first-team prospects. He wanted guarantees over playing time before he signed a new contract. City refused so Sancho walked away and joined Germany’s Borussia Dortmund. This was a brave move for the young attacker because not many English players go overseas.
It turned out to be a brilliant decision because he developed his game in the Bundesliga. Soon he was one of Dortmund’s most important forwards. After a while, Manchester United showed interest in the forward. It became one of the longest-running trade sagas of recent years. Three years later, he finally joined the Red Devils in 2021. They paid a cool $100 million for his services (via Sky Sports).
Manning joined the New York Giants in 2004. However, if the San Diego Chargers played their cards differently, we may have had another story. They selected the rookie with the No.1 overall pick but he refused to join. He even made it clear that he’d play another year of college football instead. Their record with young quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Ryan Leaf was appalling.
Meanwhile, the Giants were a much bigger market. This was one of those trade sagas that ran on and on. In the end, the Chargers selected him. But they traded him to New York in the next hour. It’s believed that Archie Manning played a key role in taking his son out of playing for the Chargers. Soon, they ended up with Philip Rivers, who was their starter for almost two decades (via CBS Sports).
Some trade sagas roll on and on. Gerrard was Liverpool’s captain as well as their best player through tough times. He helped his hometown club overachieve in competitions like the Champion’s League. His performances were legendary and he attracted admiring gazes from across Europe. Even Sir. Alex Ferguson, manager of arch-rivals Manchester United, gave his respects.
But Jose Mourinho took it to the next level. The Chelsea manager made his interest tangible. They bid for the Liverpool star on multiple occasions. In 2005 it looked like they would finally seal the deal. Gerrard wanted to win the league but only had a slim chance of achieving this with Liverpool. Finally, he decided not to leave and remained a hometown hero before a brief foray with L.A. Galaxy (The Guardian).
Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA icon. He made his name with the Milwaukee Bucks before he starred for the Lakers. However, his manner of departure from Milwaukee was unfortunate. After winning the MVP award in the franchise, he wanted bigger things. But he wasn’t subtle in his desire to leave Wisconsin after six seasons. This included a famous championship win in 1970.
Then he told the media that Milwaukee wasn’t his ‘vibe.’ Ironically, his move to the Lakers came after they beat the Bucks in the final game of the season. Finally, after a long offseason, one of the most dramatic trade sagas of 1975 ended. Abdul-Jabbar spent 13 seasons with the Lakers and solidified his status as an NBA legend (via History.com). He also won five rings with the franchise.
Darnold was the Jets’ starting quarterback for three long seasons. They drafted him in 2018 after an impressive college career with USC. He was the youngest opening day QB starter of the modern era. Unfortunately, his time in New York saw more lows than highs. Adam Case deserves a lot of criticism because he was inept at building a team. Darnold had no protection and no opportunity to develop.
Meanwhile, he was mentally frazzled after a couple of seasons. Darnold infamously “saw ghosts” during one game against the Patriots. Finally, the whole sorry episode came to an end. One of the most miserable trade sagas of the modern era saw him move to the Panthers. There were questions over whether new coach Robert Saleh would keep him, but he pushed him out the door (via New York Post).
It’s easy to forget where the breakdown between Simmons and the 76ers began. That’s because this is one of the messiest trade sagas ever. The relationship between the player and his franchise fell apart during the 2020 offseason. He opted not to shoot when there was a clear opportunity to dunk. Then, coach Doc Rivers tore him apart in front of the media. Simmons immediately demanded to leave.
The offseason descended into anarchy. Philadelphia fans are notoriously passionate so they didn’t have much sympathy for the star. He refused to train or play in practice games. It was clear that the pair were at an impasse. The only thing to do was agree on trade but this became extremely difficult. Simmons wanted to play for a team that valued him. Meanwhile, Philly wanted to receive his value (via Sporting News).