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Four Premier League ‘flops’ that have gone on to excel in Europe

There are some exceptional former Premier League disappointments now excelling abroad.

Martyn Cooke

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Flops
Photo: Getty Images

Mohammed Salah has emerged as one of the leading performers in world football this season after having an incredible debut season with Liverpool.

The 25-year-old has scored a combined total of 44 goals for club and country this campaign and was subsequently voted as both the PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year.

However, it was only two years ago that Salah was being branded as a flop following a short, unsuccessful stint with Chelsea.

The Egyptian made only a handful of appearances at Stamford Bridge and had to rebuild his reputation in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma prior to emerging as one of the best players in the world this campaign.

Here, The Boot Room looks at four other Premier League flops that have rebuilt their careers in European football.

Memphis Depay

(Photo by Jeff Pachoud/Getty Images)

There was considerable excitement when Manchester United signed Dutch prodigy Memphis Depay for £31 million in the summer of 2015.

The 21-year-old had been the Eredivisie’s leading goal scorer in the previous campaign with his pace, technical ability and unpredictability helping PSV Eindhoven to a first Dutch title in almost a decade.

However, Depay failed to find his feet in England and was unable to secure regular first-team football.

His inconsistent form on the pitch was further emphasized by his reputation for being something of a flashy, egotistical playboy off it.

He was subsequently sold to Lyon for an initial fee of £16 million in January 2017 having failed to impress Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho that he was worthy of a starting role.

The Dutchman has subsequently excelled in France and has exploits have helped Lyon to qualify for the Champions League next season.

He has scored 19 times in all competitions this campaign and is one of only a handful of players who have reached double figures for both goals scored and assists this campaign.

Furthermore, now 24 years of age, Depay has also begun to mature and lose his former bad-boy image.

Andrej Kramaric

(Photo by Daniel Roland/Getty Images)

When Leicester City broke their transfer record in January 2014 to purchase Andrej Kramaric for £9 million, it was widely considered to be an excellent piece of business.

The forward had been prolific in Croatian football where he was averaging over a goal a game with Rijeka and had already secured a regular place in the international team.

All of the signs indicated that The Foxes had bought a young, prolific goal scorer.

Ultimately, Kramaric failed to replicate his previous form and had a diminutive impact at the King Power Stadium.

He started just six games for Leicester before being loaned out to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in January 2016, mid-way through Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning season, and he made the move permanent when the campaign concluded.

Now, 26 years of age, the Croatian has rediscovered his goal scoring touch in Germany netting 30 goals across all competitions over the previous two years.

He hit a hat-trick against Hannover at the end of April to fire Hoffenheim towards Champions League qualification and was hailed as a ‘top striker’ by his team-mate Havard Nordtveit.

Paulinho

(Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

In the summer of 2013, Tottenham Hotspur broke their record transfer by purchasing midfielder Paulinho for a fee believed to be around £17 million.

Spurs had just sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and the Brazilian was one of a number of high profile and expensive signings that the club made as they reinvested the money.

Paulinho made a solid, if not spectacular, start to life at White Hart Lane and was a regular feature in his first season, making 30 appearances in the Premier League.

However, in the summer of 2013, Mauricio Pochettino replaced Tim Sherwood as manager and the midfielder simply never featured in the Argentinian’s plans.

He made just three starts and was subsequently sold to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande for £10 million.

It was initially thought that the Brazilian’s top flight career in Europe was over until Barcelona made the surprise move to sign him in the summer of 2017.

Paulinho has emerged as a key feature at the Nou Camp this season, making almost 50 appearances across all competitions, to help the club secure a domestic league and cup double, leaving Tottenham supporters wondering if they sold the midfielder too soon.

Iago Aspas

(Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool signed diminutive Spanish forward Iago Aspas in the summer of 2013 for a £7 million as Brendan Rodgers continued to remould the playing squad at Anfield.

The striker’s arrival was something of a surprise considering he was uncapped at international level and was not widely perceived as being a prolific goal scorer.

The Spaniard struggled to find his feet in the Premier League and made only a handful of appearances before returning to La Liga with Sevilla at the end of the campaign.

He scored only once, a solitary strike in the FA Cup against Oldham Athletic, and his most noticeable contribution was producing one of the worst corner kicks of all time against Chelsea.

However, Aspas is now flourishing with hometown club Celta Vigo and is regarding as one of the most prolific strikers in La Liga.

He has scored 21 goals across all competitions this season in 35 appearances and is the leading Spanish goalscorer across all of Europe’s top flight leagues.

He has a genuine chance of leading Spain’s forward line this summer at the World Cup.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur round-up: Striker offload, Martial U-turn and Vertonghen wanted

All the latest news and gossip from Tottenham Hotspur.

Mathew Nash

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Striker offload

Tottenham Hotspur are stepping up their attempts to remove Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente from the club.

The London Evening Standard is reporting that Tottenham are hoping to raise as much as £30 million in fees by selling the two striker flops.

Spurs signed Dutch international Vincent Janssen in the summer of 2016 but he failed to have an impact and spent last season on loan at Fenerbahce. Llorente arrived as his replacement from Swansea but also struggled.

(<> at Levi’s Stadium on July 22, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.

Martial u-turn

Tottenham target Anthony Martial will now be allowed to leave Manchester United, according to reports.

The Guardian claim that United manager Jose Mourinho has performed a U-turn and wants the unhappy Frenchman sold this summer.

Tottenham have previously been keen but United want £80 million and would rather sell to foreign parties Bayern Munich or PSG.

Vertonghen wanted

PSG are keen on Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen. As reported by Les Parisien the French champions are looking to bring in a new central defender this summer who can also play in other roles.

The Belgian is the perfect option but Tottenham would seem very unlikely to sell. Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is also on their list.

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Everton

Everton round-up: Richarlison medical, Digne price-tag, Klaassen bid

All the latest news and gossip from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Richarlison medical

Richarlison has completed his medical at Everton and is set to join on a £50 million deal from Watford in the next 24 hours.

Marco Silva worked with the Brazilian last season and was keen to reunite with him this summer.

An initial fee of £35 million is set to be paid for the player but clauses will take the overall price-tag nearer to £50 million.

That will make it a club record, ahead of last summer’s £45 million signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

(Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

Digne price

There have been conflicting reports today in Spain regarding recent reports in England over Lucas Digne. The Mirror recently claimed Everton had agreed a £22 million fee for the French international.

However, that does not appear to be the case.

According to Sport, Everton have offered Barcelona just €10 million (£8.9m) for the player, with Barcelona wanting €16 million (£14.3m).

Everton currently have a delegation in Spain trying to thrash out a deal for the left-back.

Klaassen wanted

German side Werder Bremen want Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen. Kreiszeitung are reporting that the Bundesliga side are hopeful of signing the former Ajax captain in a £11.6 million deal this summer.

That would be a huge £12 million reduction on the £23.6 million Everton paid Ajax for the player last summer.

Klaassen failed to find his form at Everton and is expected to depart this summer.

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Manchester United

Jose Mourinho interest should spring Tottenham into Harry Maguire action, using Toby Alderweireld

Tottenham would be better off losing the Belgian now and bringing in England’s World Cup star.

Mathew Nash

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Manchester United are the latest team being linked with a move for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire. According to The Telegraph, Jose Mourinho is a big fan of the England World Cup hero and is readying a move.

Any deal would cost in excess of £50 million. The Mirror suggest he will cost £65 million and see the futures of Marcos Rojo. Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones jeopardised.

Tottenham Hotspur have also been linked with Maguire this summer and this development should jolt them into action.

Spurs could have the upper hand in this race, as they have a player Mourinho may want even more than Maguire.

(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

United are known to be very keen on Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld. The 29-year-old’s contract stand-off with Spurs has seen him linked with an exit this summer. Tottenham are standing firm on any asking price. The latest reports suggested that fee was £75 million.

But, in the long run, allowing Alderweireld to go for cheaper could be a stroke of genius from Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

Alderweireld is a far more ‘Mourinho’ player and the Manchester United boss would surely prefer him to Maguire. If Levy and Spurs allow the Belgian to go at a cheaper price it would leave the path clear to lodge their own bid for Maguire.

Tottenham would be ridding themselves of a contract rebel who, despite his brilliance, is nearly five years older than the England hero. In return, they would get Maguire, who would suit their style of play perfectly – especially if Mauricio Pochettino decides on playing a back-three.

A little convoluted? Perhaps. However, this could end up being the best case scenario for Tottenham.

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