If Manchester City vice-captain Yaya Toure was hoping for some overdue love from the Etihad faithful after the club reportedly forgot his recent 31st birthday, making it known that he’d be amenable to a move away probably wasn’t the best way to go about it.
That’s the main whisper doing the gossip rounds, though, with the perceived slight of contract delays also thought to have irked the Ivory Coast midfielder, whose Elephants side are evens to make it out of a Group C that also contains Colombia, Greece and Japan at the World Cup.
However, it’s by no means the worst excuse ever used by a Premier League player for ditching their current club, as the three below will attest to:
A warm meal of an evening
When Lancashire lad David Unsworth decided to leave West Ham in the summer of 1998, having only signed for the Irons a year earlier from boyhood club Everton, the centre-half’s family’s failure to settle in London was thought to be a major consideration.
Unsworth had the chance to return to the Toffees and his Merseyside home, but Aston Villa signed him up for £3m nonetheless.
Within a month, Everton agreed to pay the same fee after then Villa boss John Gregory had sent Unsworth back to the north west “to sort his head out”.
Gregory later suggested that the player’s commute had proved too tiresome when stating:
“He was told he’d got to be home by one o’clock, or his dinner would be in the bin.”
Moving closer to/further away from home
Robbie Savage has never been one to exhibit particularly perspicacious judgement, but the BBC’s hired mouth outdid even himself when angling for a move from Birmingham to Blackburn back in 2005.
While it was plain for all to see that Savage was eager to join his former Wales coach Mark Hughes at Ewood Park, he instead invented a cock and bull story about wanting to be closer to his elderly parents in Wrexham.
The problem with that ingenious thesis, as many media outlets pointed out at the time, is that the Midlands is a couple of miles closer to north Wales than Blackburn by road.
Savage eventually forced through the £3m move after much mirth from Brum insiders such as then co-chairman David Sullivan, who openly offered the player the use of a chauffeur-driven car.
Escape from the north east
Middlesbrough is a surprisingly small town without an awful lot going on.
World Cup-winning Brazilian Juninho clearly likes the place, having spent four years there over three different spells, while former Barcelona and Spain star Gaizka Mendieta still lives ten miles from the Riverside stadium in nearby Yarm.
However, others – such as Nick Barmby, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Paul Merson – struggled to settle into Boro life, with each of them leaving under acrimonious circumstances in the mid to late 90s.
Among the excuses Merson used to justify forcing through a move to Aston Villa in 1998 was the club’s rumoured drinking and gambling culture, although later comments in the former Arsenal man’s autobiography that he kept seeing the same bloke in the shop every day indicated that he just didn’t like the place.