Seven of the biggest U-turns in football: Willian, Delph, Hamann…

Quick Reads

Everyone has the prerogative to change their mind, but in football it can be a dangerous thing to do – as this lot found out.

If you got offered a job in the same industry but on more money and/or for a better-known company, the chances are you’d take it. And nobody would blame you.

But as football fans, as much as we might know deep down it’s unreasonable, we want players to care just as much about the club they’re representing as we do. It invariably leads to lots of people getting upset whenever a star player moves on.

Footballers know this and have to deal with it, but sometimes they just don’t help themselves. Here are seven who committed themselves to a club only to do a complete U-turn.

Fabian Delph

July 11, 2015: Amid speculation he will join Manchester City, Delph releases a statement which reads: “I’m aware there has been intense media speculation surrounding my future in the last 24 hours and I want to set the record straight. 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.”

July 17, 2015: Aston Villa release a statement which reads: “Aston Villa can confirm that Fabian Delph has exercised the release clause in his contract and will join Manchester City.”

We don’t begrudge Delph swapping Villa for City with the ambition of winning trophies, playing in the Champions League and furthering his international career, but that doesn’t make it any less funny.


A U-turn so popular in west London it is still sang about to this day.

Willian appeared all set to join Tottenham in 2013 and even underwent a medical with the club ahead of a £30million move from Anzhi Makhachkala.

But Chelsea hijacked the move ,and the Brazilian has been at Stamford Bridge ever since, much to the delight of Blues supporters – and the disdain of Spurs fans.

Gianluigi Donnarumma

One of the images of 2017 was Donnarumma standing resolutely in Italy Under-21s’ penalty area surrounded by notes of fake money thrown at him by his supporters behind the goal.

It came after the 18-year-old angered AC Milan fans by rejecting a new deal at the San Siro, leading to accusations of greed from a player with only two seasons of first-team football behind him.

Alas, the goalkeeper signed a new four-year contract less than a month later, making him one of the best paid players in Italy.

What were you doing when you were 18, eh? In fact, don’t answer that.

Didi Hamann

One of the Premier League’s favourite imports, Hamann was a massive favourite at Newcastle and Liverpool but is certainly less popular at Bolton.

Only a day after signing for the Trotters in July 2006, the club released a statement that the Germany international “had since had a change of heart” and would be joining a different club, which turned out to by Manchester City.

Still, it wasn’t all bad for Bolton.

“What you never realised was that we never actually countersigned the papers and just put them in the drawer,” Bolton chairman Phil Gartside told Hamann on talkSPORT in 2013.

“The next thing we know, you came along and told us you’d got this opportunity to go to Manchester City – so we actually sold you without actually signing you; did you know that?

“We got £400,000 from Manchester City for a player we never actually signed – and that’s the truth.”

Moussa Sissoko

Quite literally a U-turn. Sissoko was understood to be travelling to Merseyside to sign for Everton on deadline day of the summer 2016 transfer window, only for Tottenham to revive their interest in the midfielder and eventually meet Newcastle’s £30million asking price.

The France international headed straight for north London to sign on the dotted line before enduring a hugely underwhelming debut season at White Hart Lane.

Richard Wright

July 6, 2012: Wright leaves Preston North End after one week at the club citing homesickness, with his family living in East Anglia.

August 31, 2012: Wright joins Premier League champions Manchester City, 37 miles closer to Ipswich than Preston.

May 17, 2016: Wright retires from football having made zero appearances for City over four years.

David Unsworth

A lengthy commute to and from work can be a b*tch for everyone – footballers included – and it just proved too much for Unsworth at Aston Villa.

After leaving West Ham in order to return to his Merseyside roots, Unsworth found himself driving for three and a half hours following his first training session at the club.

Around a month and one friendly appearance later, the defender was being presented as an Everton player, much to the dismay of Villa boss John Gregory.

“The poor lad was clearly under the impression that Birmingham was somewhere on the outskirts of Bolton,” he said.

It still worked out alright for Villa, who went on to mount an unlikely title challenge with a certain Gareth Barry stepping in to fill the void left by Unsworth.

More from Planet Football

11 players we can’t believe were nominated for the Ballon d’Or

The best TripAdvisor review of every Premier League stadium

Revisiting World Soccer’s list of the 50 most exciting teenagers of 2007

Trying to solve the great mystery of the revolutionary Adidas Predator

Promoted Stories