We take a look at five players who chose to return to an old club later down the line in their career.
The old saying ‘you should never go back’ appears to be ignored by the modern footballer, as we saw on Monday, when Leonardo Ulloa decided to re-join Brighton from Leicester. The big target man hasn’t been a regular for the Foxes over the last couple of seasons, and the South Coast club will be hoping he can hit the heights he achieved during his first spell at the Amex. But will the burden of his past successes prove too much?
This got us thinking. Who else has gone back to their previous club and how successful was it?
The Premier League’s record breaker for the most headed goals, has returned not once but twice to previous clubs. Crouch was on the books at Spurs in 2000 but failed to make a single appearance before being shipped out to QPR. Nine years later, the six foot seven striker returned to White Hart Lane for £10 million. Scoring 12 goals in 73 games for the Whites was hardly value for money but his memorable goal against Man City which secured Champions League football was priceless.
It was Portsmouth he joined after QPR in 2001 and Harry Redknapp paid £15 million to bring him back to the Fratton Park in 2008. 11 goals in 38 league games again isn’t hardly setting the world alight, but it did earn him a move back to Spurs…
The Ivorian ‘finished’ his Chelsea career with the highest of all highs, scoring the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final – and it was his header which took Chelsea to extra time in the first place in simply one of his best performances in a Chelsea shirt. A fitting end to his career with the Blues? Wrong. Mourinho called upon his services two years later and at the age of 35 he racked up 40 appearances. Whilst he only returned seven goals, he managed to add another Premier League winner’s medal to his trophy cabinet, which makes him a success in our eyes.
Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer briefly returned to the Gunners on loan from New York Red Bulls during their off season. Most Arsenal fans would consider it a success in just bringing him back to Arsenal in the first place, but a goal on his comeback debut against Leeds in the FA Cup was the cherry on top. He departed the London club once again after securing a late win against Sunderland. Legend.
In January 2011, Luiz moved from Benfica to Chelsea for around £20 million and was a huge success in his first stint for the London club. He won the Champions League alongside Drogba and his explosive free kick technique saw him become a fans favourite at Stamford Bridge. Three years after signing, PSG splashed the cash and spent £50 million on the Brazilian, a world record fee for a defender at the time. After two years in the French Ligue Un, Luiz was offered the opportunity to re-join Chelsea and since has gone on to add another 42 appearances to his name for the club. However, in his second spell he has received criticism for his decision making and defensive awareness which has ultimately cost him his regular place in Conte’s side. Over £100 million has been spent on Luiz and he still appears to struggle with the basics of defending at times. Disappointing.
Defoe started his career at West Ham and caught the attention of North London club Tottenham who snapped him up in 2004, where he went on to score 43 goals over a four year spell. He was sold to free-spending Portsmouth in 2008 for £6 million, where he went on to score 15 in 31 appearances. Spurs said enough was enough and re-signed him for over £15 million, where in a five year spell Defoe did what he did best and scored 47 goals in 135 appearances. A regretful move to Toronto saw the England international return on loan where he made just two appearances. Of course he scored, but his move hindered any hope of being a regular for the national side. You can’t argue his goal-scoring record though, and we would class all three of Defoe’s stints as a success.
Jermaine Defoe excellent Goal vs West Ham— Spurs Goals (@Spurs_Goals) January 20, 2016
[ Nov 25, 2012 ] pic.twitter.com/djEHmfpTeV