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5 World Cup-inspired signings who flopped in the Premier League

Scott Newman
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BT Football. 2002 FIFA World Cup Final. Yokohama, Japan. 30th June 2002. Germany 0 v Brazil 2. Brazil's Kleberson watched by Germany's Christoph Metzelder.
Kleberson won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil but flopped at Manchester United

One of the traditions of the World Cup – at least since the 1994 edition – is that you can almost guarantee at least a handful of players who impress in the tournament will be making transfers to the Premier League shortly afterwards.

We’re only a few days removed from the final of this year’s edition, and already Premier League clubs have been linked with names that stood out in Russia like Ivan Perisic, Hirving Lozano and Benjamin Pavard.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen plenty of times in the past that impressive performances in a World Cup don’t necessarily translate to Premier League success. Here are five World Cup-inspired signings who flopped in the Premier League.

#1 Stephane Guivarc’h

France v Spain
Stephane Guivarc'h played for France in the 1998 World Cup but couldn't fit in at Newcastle

While Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann scored plenty of goals as France came away from Russia this year victorious, their main striker – Olivier Giroud – didn’t score a single goal during the tournament. Fascinatingly though, it wasn’t the first time the main striker for France didn’t score a goal during a winning tournament. Step forward, Stephane Guivarc’h.

Back in 1998 Guivarc’h had become highly rated after scoring 43 league goals for Auxerre across two seasons – 1996/97 and 1997/98 – and so it was unsurprising when he was named in Aime Jacquet’s squad for the 1998 World Cup.

More surprising was the fact that despite failing to score a goal, Jacquet kept picking him and claimed he’d played a pivotal role in France’s triumph.

Evidently convinced by Jacquet’s opinion, then-Newcastle boss decided to shell out £3.5m for Guivarc’h in readiness for the 1997/98 season.

Surprisingly enough given his poor goal record in the World Cup, the French striker actually scored on his debut – but that was as good as it got.


Dalglish clearly couldn’t see the talents that Jacquet had done, and so Guivarc’h only played another three times for the Magpies – twice from the bench – before he was offloaded to Rangers just three months after arriving at St. James’ Park.

Incredibly, Newcastle made a profit on the striker – who only lasted until the end of 1998/99 in Scotland before moving back to Auxerre.

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