10 stars who snubbed big moves to stay loyal after Phillips’ Man Utd decision

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Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has become the latest player to prove loyalty is still alive and kicking in modern football after snubbing a lucrative move away from Elland Road.

The England international was the subject of immense interest from rivals Manchester United, who were understood to be plotting a £60million swoop for the tireless midfielder.

Phillips was one of the stars of Euro 2020 for England after a fine debut season in the top flight with Leeds and has become a regular under Gareth Southgate.

His form had inevitably caught the attention of the Premier League's top sides, with Man United one of the teams monitoring his situation.

But as Daily Star Sport exclusively reports, the 25-year-old has decided a move from the Yorkshire outfit to Old Trafford could potentially have some dangerous ramifications for his family members who still live in the city.

In refusing to approve a move to Manchester, he has chosen not to follow the lead of former Leeds stars including Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith in making the controversial move to the North West.

Phillips is not the first player to reject the advances of United and other football giants around Europe and is unlikely to be the last either, with Declan Rice understood to be in their sights across the summer before the Hammers star stayed put.

Considering Phillip's snub towards the Red Devils, here are 10 other footballers who snubbed big moves to stay loyal to their clubs.

Alan Shearer

Are there any top players we missed off our list? Let us know in the comments section.

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Not since Alan Shearer has there been a No.9 good enough to emulate his quality at Newcastle United.

Shearer became the highest goalscorer in Premier League history at St James’ Park, hammering home 206 goals in 405 appearances for the Magpies to add to his 54 at Blackburn Rovers.

However, it was entirely possible that he could have also trod his path to the record books while wearing the red of United, as Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he once wanted to sign him.

But the Geordie legend proved why he is a club legend, snubbing United’s advances and opting to remain at his hometown club.

“I know I would have won more trophies at United but the 10 years I had there (Newcastle) were unbelievably special, it was everything I hoped and wanted and more,” he said after being inducted into the top-flight hall of fame.

Francesco Totti

It is a crying shame that a player of Francesco Totti’s brilliance only won the Scudetto once in his illustrious career.

But Totti's career is perhaps more memorable than other players who won more trophies, earning iconic status in his 25-year career with the Serie A side

After he won his only league title in 2000-01, Real Madrid began circling around the Roma star in preparation for a swoop on the Italian striker.

But their interest proved fruitless as Totti never had any intention of leaving the club he supported as a child.

He briefly worked as a director with the Giallorossi before resigning in 2019, but his loyalty and quality will be revered for decades to come.

Paolo Maldini

The Maldini family’s legacy at AC Milan is even more spectacular than the 26 major trophies Paolo Maldini won at the San Siro.

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, so it is little surprise that clubs with bigger wallets than Milan tried their best to coax him away from Italy.

However, they would have had more luck trying to uproot the San Siro itself as Maldini and his father Cesare Maldini blocked every opportunity at all costs.

"Well, I did try, but when I met his father, he was quite formidable," Sir Alex Ferguson told the Daily Mail when talking about a time he tried to sign him.

"I got a shake of the head, that's all I got.

"He did say: 'My grandfather was Milan, my father's Milan, I'm Milan, my son is Milan. Forget it.'"

Steven Gerrard

We were all so close to seeing if Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard could play together at club level after their struggles for England.

Jose Mourinho launched a £32m bid to sign the Liverpool captain as he sought to assemble a frightening midfield trio of Claude Makelele, Lampard and Gerrard.

And it appeared the Liverpool midfielder was on his way to Stamford Bridge after handing in a transfer request, until a last-minute change of heart from the Reds’ skipper.

He described the agonising decision as "the most emotional of my life" as he toiled with the difficulty and enormity of the decision.

“I tried to bring him to Chelsea, I tried to bring him to Inter, I tried to bring him to Real Madrid but he was always a dear enemy,” Jose Mourinho said of Gerrard.

Alas, Gerrard stuck with Liverpool until 2015 before he ended his career with a brief stint at MLS outfit LA Galaxy.

Matt Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier was one of the most naturally-gifted football players of his generation.

The Southampton legend could have played for any club of his choosing, yet he opted to turn out for Southampton, where he scored 209 goals in 540 games.

Le Tissier has since revealed that the only other team he came vaguely close to joining was Tottenham Hotspur but decided against it due to his ties with his hometown club.

Having grown up as a Spurs fan when he was a youngster, he revealed the north London side were the only side he ever considered moving to while he was with the Saints.

“I was very close to joining Tottenham when I was 21. They were the only football club that I ever actually spoke to representatives from,” he said to Paddy Power.

“I had a meeting in London with my agent, and that was the only time I was ever really tempted to leave Southampton, because Spurs was the team that I supported as a kid. That was my team.

"Glenn Hoddle was my hero, and so to have followed in his footsteps would have been quite something.”

Pavel Nedved

Juventus star Pavel Nedved stuck with the Old Lady following their relegation to Serie B in 2006 and remained with them as they rose up back to the top flight.

But when the Czech Republic star was out of contract in 2009, it was evident the new deal he was craving from the Bianconeri was not forthcoming to his immense frustration.

While a dispute seemed to be building between Nedved and the Italian giants, Mourinho opportunistically tottered in and tried to convince the one-time Ballon d'Or winner to move to Inter Milan.

Signing Nedved would have been a spectacular addition to Mourinho’s already world-class squad of winners.

But, in spite of his frustration at the club’s treatment, the midfielder conceded he loved the Turin side too much to leave for a rival and chose to snub Mourinho’s advances.

Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes was so wrapped up in United red that most football teams did not even bother to muster an attempt to sign him.

To offer an idea of how difficult it was to try and make a move for Scholes, the 11-time Premier League winner did not even have an agent, as he had already decided United was his first and final destination.

But Inter Milan decided to roll the dice and try to convince the midfielder to leave Old Trafford after Euro 2000.

"I did have one phone call off an agent, Bryan Robson’s old agent, he rang me while we were away at Euro 2000 to ask me if I would be interested in going to Inter Milan but that’s the only phone call I ever had," Scholes said to BBC Five Live.

"I never heard anything after that and the manager never said anything to me."

As history would have it, Scholes finished his Red Devils career with 718 appearances, although he did go on to feature once for Royston Town, his son's team, in 2018.

Alessandro Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero experienced the bittersweet feeling of winning the 2006 World Cup with Italy before his club Juventus dropped down to Serie B in 2006.

Along with Nedved, Gianluigi Buffon, David Trezeguet, and Mauro Camoranesi, Del Piero helped drag the side out of the depths of the second tier of Italian football and back to the big time.

However, United and Real Madrid both failed in their attempts to sign him after Juve’s relegation, with Sir Alex Ferguson even making a personal call to try and lure him to the red half of Manchester.

Alas, the Scot said Del Piero turned down his proposal and said: “Sir, you know that nothing has changed from all those years ago. Juve are facing difficult times, and I have to help them. I can't be a coward'.

Javier Zanetti

The food in Italy must be outstanding as so many major footballing stars chose to never leave Serie A.

Legendary Argentinean and Inter Milan Javier Zanetti was one of the classiest and most consistent defenders of his generation.

Despite serious interest from Manchester United and other elite clubs, the full-back decided to stay at Inter for the remainder of his 19-year career.

“There were some firm rumours of Manchester United wanting to sign me during the late ’90s. I once saw Alex Ferguson in an airport while I was in England with my wife,” the Argentine said in an interview with FourFourTwo.

“We talked a bit about football, but I was always in my idea of staying with Inter, even in those complicated years, and it would have been difficult for me to go under any circumstances.”

John Terry

Before Frank Lampard took over the reins at Chelsea and empowered the likes of Reece James, Mason Mount, and Tammy Abraham, John Terry was the last player of significance to burst through the Blues’ ranks and make a splash on the first team.

He became one of the best defenders in Europe and the Blues’ most important defender during the 22 years he spent at the club.

But with Manchester City emerging as a rival superpower, chief executive Garry Cook revealed the Citizens held talks with the Blues’ captain, only for him to reject a significant offer from the club in 2009.

“We went through the process [of signing Terry],” Cook said to the Sky Sports News Transfer Talk podcast.

“We had conversations with John and he decided to stay where he was, and quite rightly so.

“But there was never a document ready to sign.”

  • Premier League
  • Manchester United FC
  • Leeds United FC
  • Newcastle United FC
  • AS Roma FC
  • AC Milan FC
  • Liverpool FC
  • Steven Gerrard
  • Southampton FC
  • Juventus FC
  • Inter Milan FC
  • Chelsea FC

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