Former Premier League flops now playing Champions League football
To celebrate the return of Champions League action following the international break, Coral’s football writers got thinking. Which former Premier League flops will be playing in Europe’s elite club competition this term for teams around the continent? Here’s our not-so-all-star XI:
Goalkeeper: Maarten Stekelenburg
Currently on loan at Monaco, Dutch stopper Stekelenburg spent last season at Fulham where he only kept one Premier League clean sheet, and managed to sustain an injury in that match, which was his debut! Lousy luck aside, he let in 43 goals in 19 games during their relegation campaign. That’s an unwanted average of over two per match.
Right back: Philipp Degen
Spending two seasons on Liverpool’s books, Swiss right back Degen saw red on his Premier League start. It was a long time coming for the current Basel man as well, as his first campaign in England was entirely wrecked by injury.
Centre back: Jerome Boateng
Some Premier League flops go on to bigger and better things. Having bewildered Manchester City supporters with pathetic performances in defence, Germany international Boateng went on to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich and the recent World Cup in Brazil. It’s 19/10 that Pep Guardiola’s Allianz outfit keep a clean sheet in Rome.
Centre back: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
Roma loanee Yanga-Mbiwa lost half of the Premier League matches (18/37) he played in for Newcastle United prior to being offloaded to the Eternal City by Alan Pardew. His fine form under Giallorossi boss Rudi Garcia led to an international recall by Euro 2016 hosts France for their most recent warm-up friendlies.
Left back: Urby Emanuelson
Attack-minded left-footer Emanuelson came from Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax’s academy. During his days in Amsterdam, Martin Jol managed him and subsequently brought him on loan from AC Milan to Fulham. His versatility was supposed to be an asset, but he was instead shunted around four or five different positions. Emanuelson is now one of a multitude of options for Roma at left back.
Defensive midfield: Javi Garcia
Holding player Garcia would’ve moved to Manchester City in the hope of receiving more international recognition, but his two-season spell at the Etihad (2012-14) only served to put him completely out of contention. Former Chelsea and Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas was content to bring him to Zenit St Petersburg, however.
Right wing: Ricardo Quaresma
One-time Chelsea loanee Quaresma has made a habit of failed moves throughout his career. Barcelona and Inter Milan both had him on their books, but he has played his best football in his native Portugal with Porto. Odds of 11/4 say Quaresma will net anytime in the Dragons’ game with Athletic Bilbao.
Attacking midfield: Shinji Kagawa
Japan star Kagawa has returned to Borussia Dortmund with his tail firmly between his legs after failing to score in the Premier League in his second season with Manchester United last term. A hat-trick against Norwich City in 2012/13 apart, his time at Old Trafford was spent playing second fiddle to established Red Devils names and being shunted out of position. Kagawa is a 2/1 shot to be on target anytime in Dortmund’s trip Galatasaray.
Left wing: Zoran Tosic
Serbia wideman Tosic also spent a couple of seasons (2008-10) with United but, after just two Premier League appearances, Sir Alex Ferguson decided he was not the solution the Red Devils thought upon signing him. Offloaded to CSKA Moscow, he will line up against Manchester City in this round of Champions League group games. Tosic is 11/2 to score anytime here, and do his old club a favour.
Support striker: Claudio Pizarro
Peru frontman Pizarro may have a trophy-laden career across his two spells at Bayern Munich, but he netted just twice in the Premier League for Chelsea. Now a veteran at 36, he is still given occasional run-outs and sub appearances by Pep Guardiola.
Centre forward: Markus Rosenberg
Sweden striker Rosenberg has the infamous statistic of no goals in 28 Premier League appearances from West Bromwich Albion. Thank heavens the Baggies have Saido Berahino nowadays! Rosenberg is back in his homeland with Malmo, and his side travel to Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.