6 Clubs Who Moved Onto New Heights After Selling Their Best Player

With the transfer market as it is and ever-increasing amounts of money available in the game, very few clubs are not at risk of losing their best players. Regardless of whether a club wants to sell their star player, there is often little they can do to prevent it. Several Premier League clubs face this problem this summer, as Arsenal with Sanchez, Liverpool with Coutinho and Southampton with van Dijk fight to keep their star men. However, it is not always a disaster when a club sells their...

Barcelona - Ronaldinho

Barcelona fans might have feared the worst in the summer of 2008 when star man Ronaldinho was sold to AC Milan, but the signings of Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Dani Alves helped the squad reach new heights.

Showing no signs of missing Ronaldinho, Barcelona won the treble in the 2008/09 season as one of the greatest club sides in history conquered all before them.

Barcelona would go on to dominate European football in the following seasons, providing a perfect example of how to thrive after selling star player.

Atletico Madrid - Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao had been Atletico Madrid's top scorer for the two seasons before his sale in 2013, but in their first season after his departure Diego Simeone led his side to their first La Liga title in eighteen years.

Falcao was sold to Monaco for €60m, but Diego Costa stepped up in his absence and the signings of Toby Alderweireld and David Villa for €7m and €5m respectively proved extremely shrewd.

As well as domestic success, Atletico  also reached the final of the Champions League to mark an incredible season in Falcao's absence.

Liverpool - Michael Owen

In every season from 1997/98 to 2003/04, Michael Owen ended the campaign as Liverpool's top scorer so his departure to Real Madrid in August 2004 was expected to leave a huge void.

In came Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia and Djibril Cissé, and while no player individually scored as many as Owen there were enough goals to go around in his absence. 

Liverpool pulled off one of the great comebacks to win the Champions League, their first in over twenty years, and seal a hugely successful season for the club.

Southampton - Everyone

Few teams have been as successful as Southampton in recent years at constantly replacing their star players, with the club showing no signs of being weaker even after crucial personnel have left.

Ahead of the 2014/15 season, all of Lambert, Shaw, Lallana, Lovren and Chambers left the club but the recruitment was excellent as Mané, Tadic, Forster, Pelle and Bertrand were among those to arrive.

Despite the loss of all these key players, Southampton were still able to improve their league position from the previous season as they finished seventh.

AC Milan - Kaka

Paolo Maldini's retirement and Kaka's €65m move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 left AC Milan with two of their biggest stars to replace.

Thiago Silva and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were among those to arrive ahead of the season, and Milan were able to match their 3rd place finish in Serie A from the previous season.

It got even better for them in the 2010/11 season as they won the Serie A title, and proved there was certainly life after Kaka and Maldini.

Shakhtar Donetsk - Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Fernandinho

Shakhtar Donetsk had an incredible 2012/13 season, winning the domestic treble and losing just one game all season in the league.

However, the sale of top scorer Henrik Mkhitaryan and midfielder Fernandinho threatened to severely weaken the club, especially with no real investment into replacements.

While it would be hard to better that season, there was no real decline even in the absence of Mkhitaryan and Fernandinho as Shakhtar cruised to the title, won their Super Cup and reached the final of the Ukrainian Cup.

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