Stars that returned to their maiden clubs after Pogba’s Man Utd comeback
Lee Gormley | August 8, 2016
Youth players that returned to clubs
Following the conclusion of Euro 2016 in France, where Portugal reigned supreme across the Channel, transfer business in the summer market was top priority for Premier League clubs ahead of the upcoming 2016/17 top-flight campaign.
That included Manchester United, with newly-appointed boss Jose Mourinho having recently tasted victory in the Community Shield with the Red Devils against Leicester City, and the Portuguese tactician then went on to complete the summer’s biggest deal.
Juventus midfield maestro Paul Pogba endured heartbreak in the final defeat to Portugal on home soil this summer, but he has put that behind him to make a high-profile return to Old Trafford, in a switch which is reported to have been in the region of £89m.
Once a promising academy graduate from the Red Devils, Sir Alex Ferguson infamously opted to let the midfield superstar depart the club for free back in 2012. But, he will soon be donning red once again in a sensational return to the club he started his career at.
So, after the most expensive transfer in history, Coral look back at other youth players that returned to the club where it all began for them in the academy ranks…
With Antonio Conte now at the Stamford Bridge helm after guiding Italy to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, Chelsea are 11/2 third-favourites with Coral to lift the Premier League title, and Spain international midfielder Fabregas will surely be key to any success next term.
The current Blues playmaker was a product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy but opted to make the move to England very early in his career, as Arsene Wenger snapped him up as a young teenager.
Fabregas eventually became a midfield star for the Gunners, with Wenger even making the Spaniard his club captain before he ultimately made a return to home club Barcelona in 2011, securing a £35m switch. Not bad business, considering the Gunners didn’t pay a penny for his services.
Similar to Fabregas’ past situation, current Barca centre back Pique arrived in England from sunny Spain as a fresh faced 17-year-old. After graduating from La Masia, the towering defender was signed by Man Utd for free with former Red Devils boss Ferguson having clearly seen his potential.
Although, despite being part of the squad which won a Premier League and Champions League double in 2008, Pique was a bit-part player in Manchester, and eventually secured a switch back to his beloved Barcelona for just £5m that same year.
That turned out to be a Barca bargain, as the Spain international has since gone on to claim an abundance of major honours for his club and country, including six La Liga crowns and a trio of European Cups.
London-born Cole is still going strong for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in America, but his most memorable days were those spent helping Chelsea and former Blues coach Mourinho reign in the Premier League.
The former England forward was a talented product of West Ham United’s famed academy and spent five seasons in the capital after graduating in 1998. Chelsea came calling in 2003, though, as he moved to Stamford Bridge for a mere £6.6m.
Plenty of silverware success followed, before spells at Liverpool and Lille (on loan), as he then made a welcomed return to Upton Park in 2013, featuring once again for his boyhood club for just a single season.
Graeme Le Saux
Former England defender Le Saux graduated from Chelsea’s academy in 1989 and went on to enjoy four seasons in London with his boyhood club.
Though the left back was sold in 1993 after a tantrum when being subbed off during a clash against Southampton, launching his shirt to the floor whilst storming past then manager Ian Porterfield.
Le Saux moved onto Blackburn Rovers for £700k, won the Premier League there and then returned to Chelsea for £5m in 1997, becoming the most expensive defender in English football at the time in the process.
Last but certainly not least is towering targetman Crouch, with the former England international striker having been part of the Tottenham youth academy as a youngster.
The now 35-year-old Stoke frontman was sold to QPR in 2000, another club which he featured for in the youth ranks, having been sent out on loan during his two original years at Spurs (to Dulwich Hamlet and IFK Hassleholm).
Then, nine years after initially departing White Hart Lane, enjoying many successful spells at the likes of Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Southampton and Liverpool in between, Crouch returned to Tottenham in 2009 for £10m to work under Harry Redknapp again.