6 players who risked tarnishing repuation as Sterling swaps Man City for Chelsea

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While Raheem Sterling showed off his fresh Chelsea kit during the side’s pre-season tour of America, you would be hard pressed to find someone who thought it looked right.

We are so used to seeing the England international in baby blue and with the Etihad logo across his top, that the first images of him beaming while wearing the jersey of a close rival was almost unpalatable.

But of course, for Manchester City fans, there’s a degree of understanding. For all intents and purposes, his £50million switch to London has not been met with any hostility from either Citizens or Blues fans. But Daily Star Sport have taken a look at instances where players have risked their adoration of a club’s supporters to bag a move to a close rival of theirs.

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Frank Lampard – Chelsea to Man City

Frank Lampard is considered one of the best Premier League stars to ever grace the competition. The 2013-14 season proved to be his final campaign at Stamford Bridge, where he ended his time scoring an impressive eight goals in 40 matches across all competitions.

But instead of retiring, Lampard opted to sign for Man City. The following season, the former England star made his debut in a 2-2 away draw against Arsenal. It wasn’t his finest performance as he received a yellow card and was substituted at half-time for Samir Nasri. He found the back of the net for the first time for Manchester City against former club Chelsea, having come on as a substitute. Despite the token season with City, Chelsea fans still consider him a legend of the club.

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Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal to Chelsea

Cesc Fabregas made the switch to Arsenal when he has in the academy at Barcelona. Despite a glorious time with Arsene Wenger at the north London club, the Spaniard moved back to the Catalan giants in 2011. At the Nou Camp, Fabregas slotted in perfectly, becoming a first-team regular and winning five major honours.

After three years with Barcelona, the midfielder made the move to Chelsea, leaving some Gunners fans furious with his decision. It didn’t help that it was the star’s intention to make the move, rather than Barca’s. He said at the time: "I asked Barcelona to find a way for me to leave the club. The president tried to stop the sale, but I already had my mind made up.

"If I didn't think that I'd be happy at Chelsea, I would've never made this decision. Above all, I want to be happy both professionally and personally."

Michael Owen – Liverpool to Man Utd

Michael Owen was one of the best players in the world in the early 2000s. Many forget, but the Englishman won the Ballon d’Or in 2001, beating Raul and Oliver Kahn.

In the context of their history, this period wasn’t the best for Liverpool. They had been without a league title for over ten years, while Champions League glory had evaded them for a long period as well.

After scoring 158 goals for the Reds, Owen departed for Real Madrid in 2004 for just £8million. The nippy striker didn't get off to the best of starts for Los Blancos and drew criticism from fans for his poor form. When he returned to the Premier League in 2006 to join up with Newcastle, fans over at Merseyside were not best pleased.

It was another torrid period for Owen, who was ransacked by injury. In 2009, it was announced that Owen had signed a two-year deal with Manchester United, with Sir Alex Ferguson seeing if he would be willing to join up. He was even handed the number seven shirt, made famous by the likes of George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Owen scored 17 goals in 52 for United, but he has likely soured his relationship with Liverpool fans for good.

Paul Ince – Man Utd to Liverpool

Liverpool announced the signing of former Manchester United player and Paul Ince from Inter Milan for £4.2million.

But his arrival was met with a mixed reception on Merseyside. The links he had with the Red Devils angered some supporters, even though he had been away from the club for two years.

Ince claimed that he felt he was the man to bring the club back to the glory years at the time. "I thought it was a project for me to kind of go and do, and change the way the Liverpool players were thinking," Ince recalled.

"I just felt they were good players, but just wanted to go out all the time, and I just thought that wasn't the way. I thought they needed that professionalism on the pitch."

But it was a failed, two-year trophyless period at Liverpool. He did score an 89th-minute equaliser against former club United in front of the Kop in May 1999, but the Red Devils fans still hold Ince in high regard – not least because they went on to win the treble that season.

Wayne Rooney – Everton to Man Utd

Wayne Rooney shot to stardom in the 2002-03 season when he started to make first-team appearances for Everton.

On one occasion, as he wheeled away in celebration, his shirt read ‘Once a Blue, always a Blue.’ But not too long after, the England star was snatched up for Manchester United, making his way to Old Trafford in 2004. He would go on to be the club’s all-time top goalscorer, and firmly cement himself as a Man United legend.

All seemed to be forgiven though, as he made the return to Everton in 2017 on a two-year deal. He featured in just one season there, scoring 11 goals in 40 outings for the side.

Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea

Fernando Torres became one of the hottest properties in Europe during his time at Liverpool. At Anfeid, he scored an incredible 81 goals in 142 matches.

At the start of the 2010-11 season, after Roy Hodgson's appointment as Liverpool manager, the new boss stated that Torres would not be sold. He said: "He is not for sale and we don't welcome any offers for him. We want to keep him.”

In the following January, the Spaniard left to Chelsea for £50million, which set a new record for a British transfer, with the Reds having rejected the Blues’ previous bid. Though most Liverpool fans have fond memories of Torres, most cannot get over the way in which he forced a move.

They may have found some solace in the fact he scored just 45 in 172 for the Blues, though – and just a single goal in his first season.


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