Gareth Bale - Tottenham to Real Madrid (2013)
With one day remaining until the close of the window, the transfer of Bale was finally completed. After winning not one but two Player of the Year awards for his displays last season and almost single-handedly taking Spurs into the Champions League - interest in the Welshman was always likely. And when it turned out Real Madrid were among those that coveted the forward's services, it always seemed likely he would end up leaving. Yet that didn't stop the move dragging on all summer. Will he turn up for training? Will Real pay a world record fee? Will he morph into Cristiano Ronaldo? Eventually we got the answers (no, seems so, yes) but boy did it take a while.
Willian - Anzhi Makhachkala to Liverpool to Tottenham to Chelsea (2013)
After Anzhi owner Suleiman Kerimov declared his intention of slashing his financial commitment to the Russian side, the entire squad went up for sale and Liverpool appeared in pole position to sign the highly-rated Brazilian. A reported fee of £30m seemed likely to land the player amid interest from Manchester United, however, Willian decided on a late switch to big-spenders Tottenham and underwent a medical. But there was another twist in the dizzying transfer as, after stepping off the running machine at White Hart Lane, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich contacted fellow oligarch Kerimov to suggest the player may prefer a move to Stamford Bridge where they would offer a fractionally better financial package. Willian signed, much to the delight of Tottenham's bitter rivals and Brendan Rogers made the not-so-ground-breaking assumption that Willian's decision may not have been entirely made by footballing reasons.
Gareth Barry - Aston Villa to Liverpool (2008) and Manchester City (2009)
The saga that seemed to last longer than the midfielder's 12-year stint at Aston Villa ended a year after it had begun, with then Villa manager Martin O'Neill taking defiance to a new level along the way. Liverpool's initial bids in the summer of 2008 were all rejected, falling below Villa's £18m valuation. In true fashion, Manchester City swooped to grab the England international 12 months later and for £6m less. He was heavily criticised for his wish of Champions League football, with City residing in the Europa League at the time, and was also stripped of the Villa captaincy after claiming O'Neill was making no attempt to keep him at the club the year before he departed. Bemusing, seeing as the Northern Irishman rejected everything Liverpool threw at him.
Cesc Fabregas - Arsenal to Barcelona (2009-2011)
Even throughout the endless speculation of his future, Arsenal's captain never seemed unsettled, consistently producing brilliant performances for the club. But the general air of resignation throughout the Emirates that Cesc would one day return to his boyhood club was evident, and was sadly minced out over a lengthy period. He finally moved to the Nou Camp in August 2011 with four years left on his Arsenal contract.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United to Real Madrid (2008-2009)
Ronaldo's form at Old Trafford warranted speculation, and it inevitably arrived a year before his eventual move. In June 2008 he was linked to Real Madrid, with Manchester United filing a tampering complaint to Fifa, which was subsequently ignored. The Portuguese forward mulled for two agonising months, before eventually committing to Fergie and United for at least another year. Cue round two, and the rumours were settled early-on. In June 2009 he became the world's most expensive player at the time, moving to the Bernabeu for £80m.
Carlos Tevez - Manchester City to Juventus (2011-2013)
After the less-than-co-operative behaviour towards his employers over the winter months of the 2011/12 season which saw Tevez linked to half of Europe, Juventus finally took him to Turin. During his unsettled period at City, AC Milan came close to signing him, as did Inter Milan and Real Madrid but the Argentine settled his differences with the club and helped fire them to the title. Now, after finally winning his way back into the hearts of the City faithful, he has jumped ship.
Steven Gerrard - Liverpool to Chelsea (2005)
First linked with a move to the Abramovich Empire in the 2004 off-season, Gerrard remained at Liverpool and guided them to a historic Champions League win a year later. It soon turned sour, with the captain reportedly turning down a club-record £100,000-a-week contract, something chief executive Rick Parry resigned to as a loss. Just days later Gerrard performed an unbelievable U-turn, signing a four-year deal with the club and remaining at Anfield ever since.
Dwight Yorke - Aston Villa to Manchester United (1998)
"If I'd had a gun at the time, I would have shot him", said Aston Villa manager John Gregory after Yorke showed his intention to move to Old Trafford in 1998. Picked up by Graham Taylor in 1989, Yorke spent nine years at Villa Park and became one of their most legendary players. Despite this, his departure wasn't as pretty as his goal scoring record, and left Gregory feeling homicidal. He eventually left in August after spending the night parked outside chairman Doug Ellis' house before begging for a move. As we all know, the striker joined United at the right time.
Ashley Cole - Arsenal to Chelsea (2005-2006)
The move that brought the technique of tapping up to the forefront of everyone's attention involved several fines, a suspended agent and a Lancaster Gate hotel. The England left-back met with Chelsea in January 2005 without Arsenal's permission, landing him a £75k fine, along with hefty penalties for Jose Mourinho and the Blues. He remained at Highbury for another year, before moving to Stamford Bridge and ending a year and a half of speculation on deadline day of August 2006.
Patrick Vieira - Arsenal to Real Madrid (2004) and Juventus (2005)
Another example of Arsenal not taking the sale of their most influential players lightly, Vieira's move was lengthy, but perhaps more tame than the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie and Cole. Having decided to remain with The Invincibles after rumours of a move to Real Madrid in 2004, the Frenchman eventually transferred to Juventus a year later, with the talented Fabregas pushing his way through to command the Gunners' midfield.
Ruud van Nistelrooy - PSV to Manchester United (2000-2001)
Although the Dutchman scored twice on his debut for United in 2001, the uncertainty and subsequent disaster just a year prior very nearly hampered a dream move. Inches away from signing on the dotted line in 2000, United raised concerns over a knee problem. Van Nistelrooy suffered ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in training for PSV just days later and the deal seemed dead. But his soon-to-be new club were patient, signing the striker a year later for £19m, with the striker scoring 150 goals in 219 appearances at the Old Trafford club.
Dimitar Berbatov - Tottenham to Manchester United (2008)
After bagging Robinho at the start of the Sheikh revolution at Manchester City, Mark Hughes had a bid for the Bulgarian striker accepted on transfer-deadline day in the summer of 2008. Through the smokescreen of the media, Ferguson had stated earlier in the summer that he "expected" Berbatov to move to Old Trafford, to which Tottenham duly complained to FA. He moved to the red half of Manchester for £30m after months of speculation, and for once, City didn't get their man.
Peter Odemwingie - West Brom to QPR (2013)
'Total lunacy' is how Steve Clarke labelled his player’s attempt to force through a £2m January 2013 deadline day move to QPR in one of the more comical transfer sagas in recent memory. After a Twitter tirade towards his own club, Odemwingie was keen to negotiate a move away and Redknapp was interested. However, after bizarrely choosing to drive himself to West London, West Brom pulled the plug on the deal claiming they never gave the player permission to speak to the hoops. With QPR desperate not to break any transfer rules, they locked the striker out of Loftus Road and he was faced with the embarrassment of driving all the way back to the West Midlands. Unsurprisingly, Odemwingie spent the rest of that season on the bench and was the butt of the dressing room banter. Cardiff City finally granted the Nigerians wish of a move away this summer and will hope his goals drive the team forward in their maiden Premier League season….