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7 football players who switched clubs at the wrong time

Alex Song
Song has been a flop at Barcelona
Rohit Viswanathan

European clubs give players the chance to hone their skills and make a career in football. Some players go on to realize their potential and became regulars for their clubs. But there are those who chose to move to another club despite the risk of not being guaranteed a starting spot.

Then there are those who see money and fame as a motive as well in deciding to move to a bigger club even if they haven’t proven themselves at the highest level.

Here are seven players who moved to another club at the wrong tme

1) Wilfried Bony – Swansea to Manchester City

Wilfried Bony

Wilfried Bony was a very popular figure during his time with Wales club Swansea City. The player turned out to be a wonderful find when he was bought in 2013 from Vitesse Arnhem. The striker had an immediate impact scoring 16 times in 34 appearances

Bony was brought in after injury problems to Michu. But the Ivorian was not just a replacement but an upgrade as he continued to excel as their main striker. Bony continued his impressive run of form into the 2014/15 season.

He equalled Michu as the club’s record goalscorer in the Premier League with 20 goals in October. But in January, he joined Manchester City. The cash-rich club came in with an offer of £25 million making him one of the most expensive African players in history.

There was considerable doubt whether he would cut it at the club and actually help add quality to a squad that already had an in-form Sergio Aguero. Those doubts were justified after he hardly featured in the remainder of City’s campaign making only 10 appearances most of them being from the bench.

The current season hasn’t gone too well either after he has netted only 4 times in 17 appearances.

2) Alex Song – Arsenal to Barcelona

Alex Song

Alex Song was a young teenager playing for Bastia in France when Arsene Wenger spotted his talent. The manager brought the midfielder on loan in 2005 and after impressing the coach he made his move permanent at the end of the season.

Song initially played as a centre back for Arsenal whenever their regular defenders were unavailable through injury. His breakthrough season was 2007-08 when he played his usual position of Central defensive midfielder.

Song was very crucial to Arsenal and became an undroppable member in the 2011-12 season when Fabregas left for Barcelona.The Spaniard was the creative engine while he was at Arsenal and that mantle was now taken up by the Cameroonian.

He provided several assists for Robin Van Persie and finished as Arsenal’s assist leader that season. But just after establishing himself as a key member he decided to join Barcelona after the Spanish club had shown interest in him.

Song was bought as back up to Sergio Busquets and hence didn’t really play much of a part at the club. Over the two seasons, he made only 39 appearances and several of them were from the bench. It’s never easy to break into team with the likes of Xavi Iniesta and Busquets. And Song never made a good enough impression to make a case to be a regular starter.

3) Filipe Luis – Atletico Madrid to Chelsea

Filipe Luis

Filipe Luis is an important part of Atletico Madrid’s team. One of the best modern left backs in Spain, he has won a lot of silverware under Diego Simeone. But he spent an unsuccessful spell at Chelsea last season.

The left-back first played in Spain with Deportive La Coruna in 2006. The player was only 20 at the time and was initially on loan with the club. After their regular left back Capdevilla left the club Luis established himself as the first choice in the team.

HIs performances attracted the attention of Atletico Madrid and the club signed him in 2010. Luis went from strength to strength with Los Rojiblancos and under Diego Simeone became a very crucial member of one of the best defensive backlines in Europe.

He won the La Liga title in 2013/14 season and also reached the Champions League final. Jose Mourinho had seen the player in action while he was the coach at Real Madrid and brought Luis to Chelsea in 2014 as a replacement for Ashely Cole.

But Luis found it hard in London with the competition for places very high in that Chelsea squad. Eventually, Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic became the regular full backs and Luis only managed a few starts mainly coming on a substitute. He moved back to Atletico after that season where he is once again a regular for Simeone.

4) Alexander Hleb - Arsenal to Barcelona

Alexander Hleb

Alexsander Hleb joined Arsenal in 2005 from Stuttgart for a fee of £15 million. An injury prevented him from playing regularly in his debut season but he nailed down a first team spot in 2006/07. Hleb immediately became a favourite, with the Arsenal fans making a chant in his name.

His best season came in 2007/08 when he formed an important partnership with Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas. His performances impressed Pep Guardiola and the coach decided to purchase the player.

It was a very surprising move considering how good he had been with Arsenal and also how he had just settled in the team. Unfortunately for the Belarusian, the move never worked out in Spain. He only made five appearances for the Catalans in his debut season despite the club going on to win the treble.

Later in an interview with Catalunya Radio, the midfielder spoke about his strained relationship with Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. “I was always fighting with Guardiola,I didn’t used to listen to him, he would say to take Spanish classes to integrate myself into the team, but I wouldn’t do them”

Hleb went on to play for 6 different clubs many of them being loan spells while still being under contract at Barcelona. He now plays for Gençlerbirlii in the Turkey

5) Andy Carroll – Newcastle United to Liverpool

Andy Caroll

Andy Carroll emerged as a big strong young striker at Newcastle United. He made his debut aged 17 against Wigan Athletic in 2007. His breakthrough year was in the 2009/2010 season after forming a great partnership with Peter Løvenkrands

Together the duo’s goals helped the club gain promotion to the Premier League in 2010 and the striker’s stock continued to rise. Carroll impressed several clubs in 2010 after scoring 11 goals in 19 appearances.

Liverpool decided to move for the big man and spent a whopping £35 million on the player. Carroll denied that he had handed in a transfer request and instead was being forced out of the club. But Newcastle defended the claim saying the striker wanted to leave when he heard of Liverpool’s interest.

So after just half a season he jumped ship while he was yet to prove he could be consistent at the highest level. Unsurprisingly the move backfired. He made only 58 appearances in his three seasons scoring only 11 times. A very poor record for a striker and a huge disappointment considering his heroics at Newcastle

6) Nuri Sahin – Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid

Nuri Sahin

Nuri Sahin was a revelation during his first spell with Borussia Dortmund. The Turkish international won the Bundesliga title in 2010-11 under manager Jurgen Klopp. He was signed by the club in 2001 as a youngster and made his debut in 2005.

After spending 7 years with Dortmund he made his dream move to Real Madrid. He explained his move in a press conference revealing his desire to play for a club like Real Madrid and the chance to work with Jose Mourinho.

But Sahin had a troubling time with Los Blancos. Several injury problems coupled with a high competition of places meant he only made four appearances for the Whites. There were obvious doubts before his move if the midfielder could make the step up in Madrid and those doubts were confirmed that season.

Sahin’s career is currently in a state of Limbo. He’s back with Dortmund but has lost his regular place in the team to the impressive teenager Julian Weigl. The 27-year-old once hailed as a big talent has seen a downfall in playing time after his ill-fated move to Real Madrid.

7) Mario Gotze – Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich

Mario Gotze

Mario Gotze emerged as one of the best young players in the world during his time with Borussia Dortmund. The German international was given his chance as a teenager by Jurgen Klopp in 2009 and he grabbed it with both hands.

Gotze was highly influential during Dortmund's title-winning seasons of 2010-11 and 2011-12 notching several goals and assists for his team. The German is a Bayern Munich fan and in 2013 before the Champions League final it was announced that he would be joining the German champions.

Despite him being a very good player he was going to join a team that had the likes of Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben,Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Xherdan Shaquiri and Thiago Alcantara. With such a star-studded line-up, it was always going to be difficult to earn a spot in the starting XI.

Even though he made 59 appearances in the first two seasons he wasn’t as influential as he was at Dortmund, and this season he’s featured only eight times for Pep Guardiola's side. It’s safe to say his three seasons hasn’t been a success and it looks highly likely he will move on in the summer

Edited by Staff Editor

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