6 'Most Unwanted' players in Europe
When Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen wrote “I want you to want me” in 1978, he wasn’t thinking about the UEFA transfer window. If he was, Nielsen was 25 years ahead of his time. The first window opened in 2003. Nevertheless, the titular lyric and the subsequent line, “I need you to need me” are perfectly apropos to certain footballers’ desperation. Despite prodigious talent, six of the game’s top stars are viewed as excess baggage by their current clubs and struggle to find a new home.
Those players must be turning green with envy when they read about Nicolas Pepe. The 24-year-old didn’t do much in the recently completed African Cup of Nations, failing to make the scoresheet in three appearances for Cote d’Ivoire who lost in the quarterfinal on penalties to eventual champions Algeria. To underline his tournament, the quarterfinal was the Elephants fifth game. He wasn’t even a regular starter in Ibrahima Kamara’s squad. Regardless, Lille has had their €80 million release clause triggered by five teams, including Napoli, Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Arsenal.
Jealous or not, more than one of those unwanted stars must be hoping the four clubs who lose the Pepe sweepstakes turn their attention towards them. Here’s a look at our six shunned stars.