After David Luiz made a sensational return to Stamford Bridge in the final minutes on transfer deadline day, Chelsea fans are divided over the arrival of the charismatic Brazilian for a second time. However, given the defender’s undoubted talents on his day, such a transfer could well be a masterstroke by Italian boss Antonio Conte. However, such dealings do not always turn out as expected in the world of football. Let’s take a look at some of the high-profile players who have previously moved back to their former clubs following time elsewhere.
Having spent almost 10 years with the Gunners during his first stint in North London, Henry achieved legendary status thanks to his goals tally and is still known as one of the greatest Premier League players of all time. With the Frenchman having seen a statue of himself erected outside the Emirates Stadium shortly before his arrival for a second time in 2012, it was perfectly set up for a heroes return. Despite being 35 at the time, Henry duly delivered, coming on as a substitute during an FA Cup tie with Leeds United and scoring the winner in a typically efficient fashion. Henry would go on to score a last-minute winner against Sunderland before returning to MLS.
An example of how un-romantic football can be sometimes is the case of Cesc Fàbregas. Having spent his youth career at Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy before moving to Arsenal as a 17-year-old, the long-awaited homecoming of Fabregas to the Catalan club in 2011 certainly did not go to plan. Seen as a ready-made replacement for the much decorated Xavi, Barcelona splashed out around £35 million to bring back Fàbregas to the Camp Nou. However, the Spaniard never quite found the same level as supporters of Arsenal had witness, and Fabregas would eventually find himself back in London with Chelsea just three years later, something that not many would have backed in the football betting odds during his time at Arsenal.
Alan Shearer’s early days at Newcastle United are littered with stories of the now legendary striker being placed in goal during trial matches, leading to England man eventually making the long move to the south coast with Southampton. It would be a long wait for Shearer to return to Tyneside, with the record goal-scorer eventually joining having won the Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers. Newcastle were also forced to pay a then world record fee of £15 million, with the England captain going on to score 148 goals for his boyhood club.
Mark Hughes spent time at Barcelona and Bayern Munich in between his two spells with Manchester United, however the Welshman was never able to find his best form outside of the UK. As a result, he made his return in 1988 for a then club record fee of £1.8 million, scoring 83 goals in seven years under Sir Alex Ferguson. Hughes would go on to win two Premier League titles, two FA Cups, as well as the League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup. During this time, Hughes would also become the first Manchester United player to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
Earlier in the summer, Paul Pogba returned to Old Trafford in a world-record deal worth an estimated £89 million. Having joined from the prestigious La Havre academy 2009, the Frenchman became frustrated at a lack of opportunities under Sir Alex Ferguson and headed to Juventus at the end of his contract. However, after lighting up Serie A in his four years in Turin, United did everything they could to attract their former youngster back to the red side of Manchester. So, having left Old Trafford for a measly feel of just £800,000, Pogba is now back in the red of United for a second time, with only time telling just how much of an impact he will have.