Saturday 17 March 2018

Happy returns? 10 players who rejoined their former clubs

Didier Drogba could be heading back to Stamford Bridge
Didier Drogba could be heading back to Stamford Bridge

Darragh Collins

With the news of a possible Stamford Bridge return for Didier Drogba, we take a look at 10 players who enjoyed contrasting fortunes on returning to their old stomping grounds.

Joe Cole

After fading into the shadows at Liverpool, Cole returned to boyhood side West Ham. However, after a promising man of the match debut against Manchester United, injuries caught up with the gifted midfielder and he was unable to earn a permanent place in the team. He was released at the end of last season and was recently signed by Aston Villa.

Joe Cole will hope for a new lease of life at Aston Villa

Nicolas Anelka

Anelka returned to the club he started with as a youth player after a spell at Real Madrid didn’t work out. In a deal that was worth £22m, Anelka performed brilliantly on the pitch but was unsettled off it after falling out with manager Luis Fernandez. The French man was loaned out to Liverpool, before moving to man City for £13m which was a considerable loss for PSG.

Kevin Davies

Kevin Davies is a striker that has always divided opinion on his ability, with his two stints with Southampton a perfect summation on his career. On his first spell, the goal scoring form he produced was so prolific it caused Roy Hodgson to spend £7.5m to bring him to Blackburn, where he flopped sensationally. He then returned to Southampton and performed even worse.

Jens Lehmann

Lehman was of course the man in between the sticks during the invincible’s season of 2004. He retired in 2010 but returned to Arsenal after goalkeepers Wojciech Szczęsny, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone were all injured leaving  Manuel Almunia as manager Arsene Wenger's only option. After Almunia got injured in the warm-up at Blackpool Lehman stepped up to make his one final appearance for Arsenal - his 200th - before retiring for a second time. This was his one and only appearance for the club.

Jens Lehmann - With just about all of Arsenal's goalkeepers crocked, Arsene Wenger turned to his former 'Invincible' Lehmann, becoming the oldest Gunner in the Premier League. Retired permanently in 2011.

John Robertson

John Robertson scored the winning goal for Forest in their European Cup final and was undoubtedly a tremendous player for the club, however after 13 years at Forest he decided to move to arch rivals Derby. The transfer didn’t work out for him and when he returned to Forest again after two years, he was not the player they had originally sold.

Here are five players who had happy returns.

Gerard Pique

Pique is Barcelona born and bred, and was naturally a part of their youth side, where he was deployed as a defensive midfielder. He moved to Manchester United for free as he was too young to have a professional contract, but struggled to break into the side at Old Trafford and returned to Barcelona in a £5m transfer in 2007. His return to the club saw him win four La Liga’s and two Champions League titles.

Gerard Pique, Barcelona

Teddy Sheringham

Sheringham spent five years at Spurs where he built up a massive relationship with the White Hart Lane faithful before leaving to join Manchester United as a replacement for Eric Cantona. The English striker won everything at Old Trafford and on his final season finished as top scorer for the club. Many felt Ferguson should have held onto him for an extra season, but Spurs sought his services and he proved to have another successful spell where he notched 21 goals in 80 appearances.

Mark Hughes

A United player from his youth, the current Stoke boss joined Terry Venables at Barcelona but after an unsuccessful spell he was loaned out to Bayern Munich. He soon returned to Old Trafford for a second spell with the Red Devils. and became an integral figure in during the early stages of Ferguson's all-conquering side. 

Ian Rush

Liverpool’s all-time top goal scorer with 346 goals in 660 appearances joined Juventus in 1987 where he managed to score just seven goals in his one season in Italy. His return a year later saw him continue his prolific vein of form for the Reds and it was as if he never left.

Ian Rush

Jermain Defoe

Defoe signed for Spurs in 2004 when former side West Ham were relegated. His spell at White Hart Lane was largely successful and Harry Redknapp convinced him to join Portsmouth, despite Defoe claiming that he, “never wanted to leave”. Defoe followed Redknapp back to Spurs in a £15.75m transfer fee and finished his Spurs career last season with 142 goals before heading to the MLS to play for Toronto.

Jermain Defoe is leaving Spurs in February

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