Six Premier League players who went on strike

Player-power is perhaps at an all-time high, with contracts in modern football being worryingly disrespected.

Footballer’s now live in an era of wanting and getting, with agents perhaps the driving force in public displays of unrest.

Throughout Premier League history we’ve seen several stars throw their proverbial toys out of the pram, throwing a protracted sulk to engineer moves away.

Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny is the latest to take drastic action as he seeks a departure, but he’s certainly not the first.

Here are six Premier League players who went on strike…

Riyad Mahrez

The Algerian winger played a crucial role in Leicester’s shock Premier League title triumph in 2016, however, two years later Mahrez wanted out.

Following the Foxes’ rejection of a January deadline day bid from Manchester City for his services, Mahrez went AWOL, going on a two-week strike and being fined £240,000 by the club.

Mahrez eventually returned following his two-week absence, playing a crucial role in Leicester’s end to the season.

City returned in the summer and eventually signed the Leicester star for a then club-record £60m, Mahrez finally securing his move to the Premier League champions.

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Carlos Tevez

Tevez famously refused to come on as a substitute during Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich in 2011, sparking a furious response from manager Roberto Mancini.

It was the first public display of unrest between the pair, with Tevez going on strike following the fall-out from the incident in his native Argentina.

Tevez’s unscheduled mid-season break to Buenos Aires is believed to have cost the forward over £9m in wages, with City fining the star who seemed perfectly happy enjoying his leisure time in his homeland.

Remarkably, Tevez returned to City after a move to Serie A fell through and played a crucial role in the club’s end to the season and remained a City player until a move to Juventus in 2013.

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Diego Costa

A player who divides opinion and remains one of the true sh*t-houses in the modern game, Diego Costa had enjoyed a successful spell at Chelsea before manager Antonio Conte decided he was surplus to requirements.

An infamous text from Conte, informing Costa he had no future at the club, sparked the strike with Costa remaining in Brazil as pre-season began in 2017.

Having played a crucial role in two title triumphs Costa was rightly upset and accused Chelsea of ‘treating him like a criminal’, the forward eventually securing a return to former club Atletico Madrid.

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Raheem Sterling

Anyone who has been present during any of Raheem Sterling’s subsequent returns to Anfield will be in no doubt over the Liverpool fan’s views on the England winger, with an intense chorus of jeers having greeted his every touch.

The ill-feeling comes from Sterling’s refusal to join the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia in 2015, amid reported interest from Manchester City.

The then 20-year-old informed manager Brendan Rodgers he had no plans to be included on the tour, eventually forcing through a £50m move to the Etihad.

Liverpool fans were outraged at what they perceived to be a young player disrespecting the club, Sterling’s refusal a tactic to engineer a move to the Manchester side.

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Dimitri Payet

Few players in the Premier League-era have been as warmly received at West Ham as the supremely talented Frenchman, with the Hammer’s faithful taking the playmaker to their hearts during a short-lived spell at the club.

After a stunning debut season Payet had been in-demand, a host of Europe’s clubs circling further following some outstanding performances at the 2016 European Championships for France.

Payet was reportedly unsettled following his return from the tournament, and it wasn’t long before his unrest became apparent.

The fan’s affection towards Payet made his strike that much harder to take, with the playmaker informing the club he would ‘never kick a ball again’ for the club following a rejected bid from Marseille.

Payet had cited being homesick as a reason for his desire to leave, though West Ham were determined not to lose their influential star.

Payet’s refusal to even train eventually forced West Ham’s hand, and the midfielder was sold to former club Marseille in 2017.

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Laurent Koscielny

Arsenal captain Koscielny’s refusal to join the club’s pre-season tour sent shockwaves through the club’s fanbase, the French defender having been a true servant of the club during a nine-year career at the Emirates.

Koscielny is believed to be keen on a return to his native France, requesting to leave amid interest from Lyon, Bordeaux, and Rennes. Arsenal’s refusal to sanction his sale has seen the defender go on strike, refusing to join up with the rest of the squad for the pre-season tour of the US.

The 33-year-old has asked the club to allow him to leave on a free transfer, though Arsenal will reportedly demand £10m for his services.

The Gunners had wanted to keep the player, who has a year remaining on his contract, though they may be forced into a sale to avoid disrupting the squad’s harmony.

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