If you follow any professional football team, this applies to you. The transfer windows have, at least once, disappointed you. All the hype around a potential signing grew, only to have them join a different team on deadline day. Alternatively, a player has joined your beloved club, only to frustrate fans once on the pitch. Transfer disappointment is inevitable, and it haunts us all. During this preseason and during the first few match weeks, we will all feel it. In the words of the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want. I hope that this will help you curb your frustration and despair.

Transfer Disappointment: The Window

“We nearly had him!”

Now, in early July, transfer rumors have already engulfed the Premier League. These reports of impending medicals or quotes with no referenced source take us for a ride each summer. We get so close to signing that same player you bought last season on FIFA manager mode. You’ll have that talisman who will win the treble. Right? Not always.

Let’s use an example that will strike a nerve with some. Dele Alli. Who doesn’t love Alli? Even true Gunners have a hard time bad mouthing the midfielder. Did you know he was a Liverpool fan as a boy? The deal to move to Anfield looked pretty solid when he was at MK Dons. However, the cookie crumbled as the Englishman headed off to Tottenham in 2015. Thinking of what may have been surely irks a number of Liverpool fans to this day. Good luck with Virgil van Dijk, though.

There were also a number of deals that were right on the cusp. Like, right there. No, not just the deadline day paperwork failure between Man United and Real Madrid for De Gea. Burnley had Kamil Grozsicki through with his medical last season. Everything looked clear, but then a price increase occurred. The deal fell through. In 2010, before he became a superstar, Robert Lewandowski nearly joined Blackburn Rovers. However, a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland grounded his flight and he cancelled the trip to the UK. This put Dortmund ahead in the race for the Polish striker. Oh how things could have panned out. So disappointing.

Dealing with close calls: Relax and don’t believe everything you read. It will save you from the crushing disappointment because you know Mbappe isn’t joining your squad. If your player does sign, just be pleasantly surprised rather than utterly distraught from the hype train.


Refer to section above. Some deals just will not happen. Messi does not want to join your team where it rains almost every day of the year. If these stories bring you hope, I have bad news for you. Not happening, mate.

Fake news warning. Image credit: @IriBMTH

I fell for one of these a bit earlier this summer. Griezmann was coming to United. Done deal, we got him. Fast forward a few weeks and the Frenchman decided to stay in Spain because of Atletico’s transfer ban. Damn damn damn damn damn it all. Now I’m desensitizing myself to the Morata rumors. I should have just kept my cool instead of dreaming about United having a scoreline other than 0-0. But I let the media get the best of me, and I’m ashamed.

These reports make you feel so close to getting what you want. These bogus links, while sometimes obviously unlikely, are still a big source of transfer disappointment. It’s hard to ignore an edited photo of a star in your team’s kit. I understand. But you have to resist the temptation.

Spotting fake news: Don’t follow rubbish transfer sites on social media. If an unknown source says, “It’s a done deal,” don’t attach yourself to that player. It probably won’t happen. If a player links to your club but has a £100 million buyout clause, don’t hold your breath.

Transfer Disappointment: The Flop

“Why him?”

That player you prayed was just another fake link actually signed. What now? Will you sit in mum’s basement and eat Jammy Dodgers, watching the season through tear-filled eyes? No, not you. You’re stronger and smarter than that. Buying said player sounded like an awful idea, and after the first games, you may be right. Or, you may be wrong. However, those tense initial moments draw the line between the signing becoming a Wilfried Bony or a Manolo Gabbiadini. That initial fear can cause some serious transfer disappointment.

You know your club needs a striker, but your manager buys four players for three different positions. Why can’t the manager understand the team’s needs and dynamics like you can sitting in front of the tele? Ugh. Even worse, what if that manager bought the wrong striker? “No, anyone but him!” Too late. He signed. What now?

Until that transfer proves himself, there is not too much you can do. Gabbiadini did not really impress at Napoli. However, he settled in well at St. Mary’s, despite some initial doubts. Alternatively, Wilfried Bony looked to be a terror in the making while at Swansea. However, City bought him and he slowly became a shadow of his former self. Some Stoke fans groaned when Bony’s loan to the Potters went through, knowing he wasn’t what he once was. Those fans were right. Only two goals in his 11 appearances.

Doubting your manager’s sanity: This can go two ways. Either he will be a solid performer or he will be a flop. When your manager makes an iffy transfer, have faith in your team. Chances are, if he sucks, he won’t play. It can be frustrating, but the next window is just a few months away.

Transfer Disappointment: The Double Agent

“Kill me now…”

Am I the only one who is always unhappy when a rival player joins my team’s ranks? It can be a real downer when a big floppy baby from a crosstown rival joins your squad. Surrounding plastic fans go crazy with the big name signing. But you can’t get over that free kick scored against you from three years ago. You spend years building up excessive, often unfounded hatred for rival players. And then, it happens. You’re looking at someone you’ve mocked and shouted at wearing your badge. Sickening.

“A plague upon both your houses!” Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sol “Judas” Campbell, Spurs to Arsenal. Ashley Cole, Arsenal to Chelsea. Petr Cech, Chelsea to Arsenal. Robin van Persie, Arsenal to Man United. Michael Owen, Liverpool to Man United. Carlos Tevez, Man United to Man City. Did that hurt anyone reading those names? Yeah, me too. Traitors.

It takes time to give those players a chance. No matter how good they are, it still hurts initially. It can truly be a case of transfer disappointment. Especially if they flop as well. It usually takes at least six months to forgive new players for their past sins. It’s easier if they don’t disappoint on the pitch. It is even better if they show class and not celebrate against their old clubs.

If a player leaves your club to join a rival, though, he marks himself as unforgivable. All frustration becomes warranted.

Pieces of rubbish wearing your shirt: By all means, hate them at first. Do not ignore this type of disappointment once the transfer is done. Praise them sparingly, only forgiving their past actions after a decent time frame. We can still hold disdain for others without being ignorant. Devout fans acquire this art after a few seasons.

A Final Thought

I know that many of you are disappointed now after Lacazette signed officially with Arsenal. There will be more disappointment to come. Stay strong, my friends. Do not forget that this is a beautiful time of year that shapes the table next season. No matter what happens, stand by your team, and continue supporting passionately. Even when a transfer breaks down, or when a potential star flops, do not waiver. It may hurt at first, but it will pass. And remember: do not let headlines make a fool of you and ruin this transfer window. No matter what happens, you still know that your team is the best and your badge has the most pride. Enjoy the games in just a few weeks!

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find…
…You get what you need