Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle: Contrasting stories of selling your best player

It may well sound like common sense, but not selling your best player is a good idea. On occasion teams can be powerless to prevent a star from leaving the club, while varying levels of effort in trying to keep a wantaway player can seemingly make or break a team’s season.

Tottenham, Newcastle and Liverpool have all had situations where their best player has desired a move away from the club in recent times, with the eventual sale, or not, having a major impact on the respective side’s campaign.

Spurs sold Gareth Bale last summer for a world record transfer fee, with the Welsh wizard moving to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Although the North London side subsequently spent the £83.5 million received from the Southampton youth graduate’s sale, and more, Tottenham have again missed out on Champions League football this term.

Expectations at White Hart Lane ahead of the season were that André Villas-Boas could build on a record Premier League points total from the prior campaign. In reality, this was never really on the cards.

Losing a player of Bale’s calibre was always going to be something that would take time to come to terms with for Spurs. Although new players have taken the Welshman’s place, filling his shoes and covering the goals and assists that he provided is a substantial task.

Newcastle have also cashed in on their star man recently, bullied into a corner by Yohan Cabaye’s desire to return to his homeland and sign for Paris Saint-Germain.

The former Lille midfielder had expressed a willingness to leave St James’ Park last summer but his efforts were rebuffed. As such, Cabaye played a key role in a strong first half of the season for Alan Pardew’s men.

Since his January sale and due to the fact that he was not replaced, the Tyneside outfit have struggled and have had a second half of the season to forget.

In this sitGareth Baleuation selling Cabaye may well have been next-to unavoidable, but not replacing him was unforgiveable.

Finally, Liverpool are a blueprint for a club that have rebuffed major interest in their star man, with Luis Suárez helping the Merseysiders into Premier League title contention this term.

The newly crowned PFA Player of the Year has been in scintillating form, signed a new contract and is set to star for the Anfield outfit in the Champions League next season.

However, it could have all been so different.

Last summer Suárez expressed his wish to play in Europe’s top competition, something that Liverpool at the time could not provide, and it looked for all money that the Uruguayan was set for an Anfield exit.

Even with a reported £40 million on the table from Arsenal, Liverpool denied their star man the club exit that he asked for, convinced him to stay in Merseyside and the rest is history.

Although Suárez’s future will always be a point of contention given his past requests to depart, Liverpool are in a strong position to keep hold of their top man – which will in turn allow the club to grow and improve.

The Reds seem to have learned from a costly sale in the past. It has taken Liverpool since the sale of Xabi Alonso in 2009 until this season for the club to be back amongst the top echelons of English football, having cashed in on the mercurial Spaniard and paid the price as a result.

Tottenham and Newcastle may well have suffered as a result of cashing-in on their main man, but a host of other Premier League sides would be well-advised to seek the lesson that they have displayed.

Everton and Southampton in particular will be under incredible pressure in their battles to hold onto the likes of Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana at the end of the season.

However, there are some things that money cannot buy, and the task of trying to replace these players for their current employers could well be an arduous one.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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