Despite Premier League is one of the most competitive hubs of football across the planet, it is not always a good marriage between the players and the clubs. Touted as potential candidates to produce match-winning performances on a daily basis, a few stars kiss unfathomable heights in a very short span of time while a few despite being fine players of the sport fail to acclimatize themselves to the gruelling needs of Premier League.
The failure to strike up a fruitful outing on a more consistent basis despite being great players of the sport leads them to be eliminated from the contention of the elites. This shows them the hapless exit that really doesn’t sit well with them. However, as they say, failure isn’t the end of the road as we have seen in several instances that a footballer who didn’t savour a good deal of time in Premier League went on to outclass themselves in other leagues of the world.
We will look at five footballers who peaked after their departure from Premier League as their new-found homes was much suitable to their brand of football.
1. Romelu Lukaku
After being picked for Manchester United from Everton, Lukaku was the crux of several deliberations due to his instant rise to stardom with goals. However, the joys were transient for the Belgian beast as he lost his footing shortly and was struggling to get at the end of a pass to convert them into goals.
One of the most glaring reasons for his failure at Old Trafford was the burgeoning physique that hindered him from kissing his usual heights. In fact, it is claimed that United failed to identify the problem and that shortly led Lukaku to be reduced to a mere headcount rather than being someone on whom United could pin their hopes.
After a considerable assessment, Solskjaer let Lukaku be sold to Inter Milan for the greater good and the Italian side reaped instant dividends from the Belgian marksman. His last heroic stand for United came at Parc des Princes as he played a pivotal role in pumping in two early goals to set up the podium for the late drama from which Rashford hammered home the spot-kick to seal a quarter-final berth in the Champions League against Barcelona.
However, his arrival in Italy saw a paradigm shift in his approach as he turned a lot more flexible and worked considerably on his speed to ensure that his goal-scoring instincts stay sharp. It didn’t take him a long time to fire to his fullest potential as he played the perfect partner to Lautaro Martinez in catapulting Inter to the top of their game that momentarily posed a title challenged against a far superior Juventus.
Despite Lukaku still to unleash his utmost competency, he has improved himself into a way more lethal goal-scoring machine than he was at the Premier League.
2. Angel Di Maria
What eventually seemed like the brightest purple patch for Di Maria when he decided to join United from Real shortly changed into a nightmare for the Argentine midfielder in the colours of the Red. Failing to align himself with the United squad due to Louis van Gaal’s defensive demands, he shortly found himself out of favour at the Theatre of Dreams.
Despite a rollicking start to his United career that saw him firing on his debut for Manchester and blast a thunderous finish against Leicester a week later, his numbers at Real were never to be repeated again. A glittering career at Bernabeu that saw him firing 24 goals was shortly reduced to countless sighs of exasperation at Old Trafford.
After failing to make it big any further in the United colours, he shortly fell out of favour and was looking for suitors in the upcoming transfer window. Fortunately for him, the French champions came knocking and he didn’t waste a single second in boarding the flight to France.
The Argentine wizard underwent a complete paradigm shift at Parc des Princes as he was restored back to his normal position and shortly started firing on all cylinders with some delectable crosses from the left.
In fact, in United’s battle against PSG, it was Di Maria who belted a masterclass to leave the Devils on tenterhooks unless Lukaku and Rashford produced something extraordinary to fire themselves into the next round.
Figures that read 3 foals from 27 games at Manchester, which was inclusive of 11 assists leapfrogged shortly to 47 goals from 144 games in the Paris Saint-Germain jersey.
3. Thorgan Hazard
Chelsea bought the Hazard brothers at the same time to create a menacing midfield duo that would have struck fears in the hearts of any opponents. Unfortunately, Thorgan Hazard was not in the same league like that of his elder brother, Eden and failed to register one single game at Anfield.
Deeming him to be a liability at Chelsea, he was loaned to Borussia Monchengladbach who discerned the crude potential in him as he played a pivotal role in their midfield. Shortly the loan turned to a permanent move and he proliferated beyond any recognition in the German outfit.
Firing home 10 emphatic netters in the colours of Monchengladbach and stringing the same number of assists, Borussia Dortmund moved for the youngster and roped him in the forthcoming season.
Hazard evolved into a talisman of the highest order in the Dortmund midfield, playing an indispensable role in teeing up Halaand in multiple occasions and also played the perfect partner to Jadon Sancho in Dortmund’s firepower.
He has been involved in 33 appearances for Dortmund that has seen him firing 4 times and stringing in 13 assists which is the 3rd highest in the list for this season.
4. Islam Slimani
Unwittingly Leicester landed a gem in their ranks when they managed to acquire the services of Islam Slimani. Despite being involved in 8 wondrous strikes from 35 appearances at the King Power Stadium, the Algerian failed to find his footing in England.
Preferred as a substitute in most of the occasions, Slimani was clearly looking for more game time. He was then loaned to Fenerbahce in the next season from which he couldn’t reap many benefits either as he kept on stuttering to hit the right gear.
It was in Monaco that he unlocked his fullest potential as he started hammering left and right in Ligue 1.
Playing so far only in 18 games, the Algerian striker has fired home a whopping 9 times and has also played an emphatic part in setting up handful assists for his colleagues that saw him climb the pecking order in a very short span of time.
Given his current form, Leicester may look forward to bring the Algerian back, to work out their goal-scoring conundrum which is heavily reliable on James Vardy.
5. Memphis Depay
Another Manchester United dropout, Memphis Depay was a devastating shadow of his former self when he joined the ranks of Premier League. Touted as one of the fastest wingers and also a prolific striker, Depay failed miserably at the Theatre of Dreams as Louis Van Gaal couldn’t realize the true attacking potential in the Dutch striker.
Scoring twice out of the 33 games that he played for Manchester, he was finally offloaded by the Devils in 2017 as Lyon came looking for him.
It felt as if a feisty weight on his shoulders was withdrawn as soon as he shrugged off the United colours. He was more fluid in the wing than ever and his hunger to establish himself as one of the best in France catapulted him to the ace of the league.
Being an active part of 102 games in the colours of Lyon, Depay has blasted 43 goals and has been heavily linked in the development of Lyon’s attacking force which has given him a free hand to fire on the front.