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5 players who flopped in the Premier League but flourished elsewhere

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
03 Dec 2019, 23:22 IST

Memphis Depay struggled at Manchester United but has thrived for Lyon
Memphis Depay struggled at Manchester United but has thrived for Lyon

England’s Premier League is considered the greatest and most competitive league in all of football by many fans, but despite this, not all of the world’s best players have seen success there. All-time greats like Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Sergio Aguero have all plied their trade in the Premier League – and became legends during their tenure – but other players have failed there despite succeeding elsewhere.

For various reasons – stylistic struggles, issues fitting into the way of life in England, or distrust from their manager at the time – the following five players flopped in the Premier League, only to go on to flourish elsewhere in the world.

1. Memphis Depay

Memphis struggled for form during his time at Manchester United
Memphis struggled for form during his time at Manchester United

Dutch forward Memphis Depay joined Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2015 for a hefty fee of £25m, and the then-21 year old came to Old Trafford with a lot of hype. He’d scored 22 goals in 30 Eredivisie matches for PSV in the previous season, and some fans had even compared him to Cristiano Ronaldo and Arjen Robben.

At United though, the Dutchman simply couldn’t hack it. He struggled from the beginning of his career with the Red Devils, and while he blamed United’s hectic schedule for his issues, others – assistant boss Ryan Giggs included – chose to blame his “flashy lifestyle” off the pitch. Despite playing 29 Premier League games in his debut season, Memphis only managed a total of 2 goals, and frequently found himself dropped or substituted for his poor performances.

The start of 2016/17 went no better for him; he only made 8 appearances for the Red Devils across all competitions before being sold to French club Lyon in January 2017 for a fee of just £16m. Since then though, the Dutchman has gotten himself back on track and has been in fantastic form.

He’s already scored 50 goals for Lyon in just 130 appearances – including 11 in just 14 games thus far this season – and has established himself in the Netherlands’ first choice XI, too. Current rumours suggest a move back to England – with Tottenham or Liverpool – could be on the cards soon, meaning he could get a chance to right the wrongs of his previous Premier League tenure.

Also read: Is Memphis Depay ready for a top club now?

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