Sometimes the biggest obstacle to convincing players to sign for Manchester City or Manchester United – and to stay there – is the place itself
Dani Alves was all set to join Manchester City in the summer of 2017. He was excited about linking up again with Pep Guardiola, with whom he had conquered the world at Barcelona, and had even just had lunch with the Catalan coach to begin planning for the coming season at the Etihad Stadium.
The Brazilian had also convinced Juventus to end his contract early so that the reunion could happen. Everything was set up. But then, to City’s shock and Guardiola’s fury, Alves pulled out of the move and signed for Paris Saint-Germain instead.
The reason? Alves’ then wife, Joana Sanz, did not want to live in Manchester. For some reason, the Spanish model, who Alves had just married on the tiny, picturesque island of Formentera days before making the U-turn, preferred the City of Love over the home of Oasis and The Smiths.
Even though Manchester has undergone a huge transformation in recent years and is rivalling New York for tall buildings, it still lags behind Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Paris when it comes to attractive locations for footballers to live in.
And Sanz, who split with Alves this year after he was provisionally jailed and charged with alleged sexual assault, is far from the only partner of a footballer who has not warmed to the city.
Angel Di Maria, Carlos Tevez and Nolito have been the most vocal in their criticism of Manchester while a desire for a change of scenery and a move to warmer climes is believed to be the main reason why Ilkay Gundogan has left Man City for Barcelona. It is also a big factor in Bernardo Silva departing City this summer.
With the transfer window in full swing and many changes on the horizon for both Manchester clubs, GOAL takes a look at why some foreign players did not enjoy living in the city and highlights the notable few ones who fondly remember their time there.