The nature of human beings is to want more. We are never satisfied, we just keep wanting more. A guy with a cycle will want a bike. Once he gets that, he will want a car and after that, he will just the more expensive sports cars that his eyes see.
In football, it is the very same case. Footballers start out with the ambition of playing for the first team of the club where they spend their youth years. After that, they look for moves that takes them to a bigger level, an elite club.
Most of the times, it is the right thing to do. After all, your name in the books of history will only be mentioned repetitively if you play for the very best. Sometimes, however, players make the mistake of moving too early.
And here are 5 such instances…
#5 Emmanuel Adebayor
The thing about Emmanuel Adebayor is that he could have been a great player if he gave more priority to football than money – as is the case with many players on this list. However, unlike the others here, Adebayor’s intention was solely money over anything else.
Yes, it is understandable too. He came from a poverty-stricken background – the life that he lives now was once a dream for him. And that is what happens when you get so much money so suddenly – you crave for more.
So when Adebayor got the chance to double his wages by joining Manchester City, he did so without thinking twice. He played his best football in an Arsenal kit, scoring 62 goals in 142 games. However, since his move, he has not been able to replicate the kind of scoring-rate that made him the African Footballer of the Year in 2008.
#4 Alexander Hleb
Another one of those players that left Arsenal earlier than they should have. Indeed, the Belarusian later admitted that his decision to leave Arsenal was the single greatest regret of his footballing career. The midfielder flourished at his time at Arsenal and was a popular figure among the fans there.
However, after Pep Guardiola joined the Catalan club’s first team in 2008, Hleb was among his first signings. After joining, the current Manchester City manager used him as a bench player which prompted him to claiming that he would join Bayern Munich should the Bavarians come for him the next summer.
As it turned out, they never did and he went on loan to Stuttgart the following season. Since then, he is been a journeyman traveling around Europe and playing football Russia, Belarus and now Turkey.
#3 Nuri Sahin
One of the greatest dreams of Nuri Sahin, according to himself, was playing for his hometown club, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. As a ballboy for the Ruhr outfit, he was in awe of the Blancos when they came to play a Champions League encounter with Dortmund.
That day, Sahin claims, he made a promise to himself that he would play for Real Madrid someday. A lot of young footballers make this promise to themselves, but only a few ever go on to fulfil it – and Sahin did, but it might have been a little too early.
Right after his breakthrough season at the Signal Iduna Park, Real Madrid came calling and he didn’t hesitate one bit. However, right after his move, he succumbed to injuries and was loaned to Liverpool the following season before moving back to his hometown club for which he still plays.
However, the potential that he once showed hasn’t been realised…yet. And it might never be.
#2 Eric Djemba Djemba
When the quite awesomely named Djemba-Djemba displayed his robust box-to-box skills at Nantes, Sir Alex Ferguson saw a natural heir to Roy Keane in the Cameroonian. And he wasn’t really wrong to think that Djemba-Djemba had the potential to replace the volatile former Manchester United captain.
Simply because he did. Djemba-Djemba had the talent to make it big. The explosiveness that he displayed during his time in France was enough to convince anyone that he had talent to make it big.
However, the timing of the move wasn’t well thought out. For starters, he had only played in 42 league games at Nantes before moving to Old Trafford. The jump from Ligue 1 to Premier League is a huge one and he should have gathered more experience before migrating to England.
#1 Mario Gotze
The dream of almost all German players is to play for the biggest team in Germany, Bayern Munich, someday. And why wouldn’t they want to? After all, after Real Madrid, Bayern Munich ooze the kind of aura that makes them the biggest club in the world.
For Mario Gotze, the temptation to join local rivals from Dortmund was a bit too much as he thought it would take his football to the next level. Nothing was supposed to go wrong with this move – Gotze was the best young German talent at that time going from the second best German club to the best German club.
The step-up, it seemed, was natural. The timing, however, wasn’t. Ribery was still enjoying his best days and so was Robben. Playing in deep midfield didn’t bring out the best of his abilities and in the end, he moved back to where it ball began.
The worst part? He doesn’t look like the Ballon d’Or winning potential that he once was.