Arsenal captain & 4 more Premier League players who moved to rival clubs

Paul Pogba is set to leave Manchester United this summer, yet recent reports suggest that Manchester City are interested in signing the France international on a free transfer.

According to both the Guardian and BBC Sport, Pep Guardiola’s side are eyeing the United star as City look to improve their midfield, and Pogba could be one impressive addition given his world-class quality and versatility on the pitch.

Whilst Pogba has been a divisive figure in the red half of Manchester since his return in 2016, the midfielder moving to City would be the last straw in the Frenchman’s reputation amongst United fans.

And with that in mind, here are five more Premier League players who made the ultimate betrayal and moved to rival clubs.

Nick Barmby (Everton to Liverpool, 2000)

Making the Merseyside switch is something very few players have ever done since the founding of both Liverpool and Everton, and Nick Barmby was the last brave soul to make the move when the midfielder swapped Goodison Park for Anfield 22 years ago.

Rejecting a club-record contract offer to move to Liverpool, Barmby would inflict more embarrassment on Everton in his first season with the Reds by winning the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup as well as scoring against the Toffees in the Merseyside derby, though the midfielder would last just two years before moving to Leeds United.

Sol Campbell (Tottenham to Arsenal, 2001)

One of the most shocking transfers in Premier League history and a move that still boils the blood of Tottenham supporters, Sol Campbell’s move to Arsenal in 2001 came out of the blue and shook the Premier League world.

The Tottenham skipper joined Arsenal on a free transfer and would go on to become one of the Gunners’ best defenders in recent years, with Campbell starring in the Invincibles squad and scoring in the UEFA Champions League final in 2006 against FC Barcelona.

Alan Smith (Leeds United to Manchester United, 2004)

The rivalry and hatred between Leeds United and Manchester United is one of the oldest in English football, and when Alan Smith made the move to Old Trafford in 2004 for a reported £7m, the once-loved homegrown hero quickly became a villain at Elland Road.

Able to play in midfield and upfront, Smith would see his career derail horrifically when the United star broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in February 2006 when attempting to block a free kick from Liverpool titan John Arne Riise, an injury that would never see the former Leeds star return to his best.

Carlos Tevez (Manchester United to Manchester City, 2009)

From one United cult hero to a player fans are more than happy to forget about, Carlos Tevez departed the Red Devils in 2009 when City and their new-found wealth came calling, with the Argentine striker guiding the blue side of Manchester to their first-ever Premier League title.

Whilst things ended poorly for Tevez at the Etihad Stadium, the striker leaving United for City highlighted a shift in power in Manchester between the two sides, and now in 2022, there’s no denying just how far apart the two clubs are, with Guardiola’s side one of the best in the world.

Robin van Persie (Arsenal to Manchester United, 2012)

Arsenal fans during a certain period in the past few years were once very used to seeing their best players leave for big money to ambitious clubs, yet the departure of club captain Robin van Persie to United in 2012 hit deeper than the likes of Samir Nasri or Gael Clichy leaving.

Off the back of a PFA Player of the Year season with the Gunners, Van Persie continued his goalscoring run with United as the Dutch striker arguably won the Premier League title for the Red Devils in what was to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year in management, with the striker scoring twice against Arsenal in that season just to rub more salt into the wounds.

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