There are examples of players who left teams after lifting their game to a higher level only to find the results in a new kit were never as satisfying as the ones they achieved before. In some instances, the players asked to leave; however, for others the team could not turn down piles of money from an eager buyer. Consider:
1. Fernando Torres – Chelsea - Forward
One does not to have to claim great insight to put the Spaniard at the top of the list of players who were at the height of their game and then became a colossal flop. Torres came to Liverpool in 2009 for 21 ½ million pounds and became one of the Premier’s biggest stars. After signing a long-term contract, he shocked the Reds by asking for a transfer and was sold to Chelsea for an insane fee of 50 million pounds. In 20 matches for the Blues, Torres has two goals. Five years ago at Liverpool, he had 31 goals. Once a blonde, than a brunette and now back to a blonde, he needs more than a dye-job to regain confidence that may never return.
2. Shaun Wright-Philips – Queens Park Rangers - Midfielder
SWP, all 5’5” of him spent six years at Manchester City before moving to Chelsea. In 2004, the midfielder scored ten goals and was a member of England’s national team. He has started 22 matches for a Rangers team that may be relegated and has not scored a goal. The midget is 30 years old and on the backside of a career that few will remember.
3. Yossi Bennyoun – Arsenal - Midfielder
From West Ham to Liverpool, to Chelsea and Arsenal, the Israeli international once was a dynamic player whose energy, scoring and ball distribution could turn a match in his team’s favor. He was at his best at Liverpool until the summer of 2010 when he was sold to Chelsea for five million pounds. Unfortunately, Bennyoun suffered a catastrophic Achilles rupture and never was the same player again. Unable to get any playing time at Stamford Bridge he went to Arsenal on the final transfer day in August 2011 and is little more than a substitute in the dying moments of matches.
4. William Gallas – Tottenham - Defender
Gallas was the rock of Chelsea’s defense and played on two title teams. In 2006 after a snit about his playing position he went to Arsenal for Ashley Cole. Stardom eluded him there and in 2010 after being released, he signed with Spurs. Injuries, age, and better players have combined for a fast setting sun in the twilight of his career.
5. Martin Petrov – Bolton - Midfielder
Petrov became a fantasy find in his most productive season with Manchester City in 2007-2008. But that was before the big money and bloated roster came to City. Since his move to Bolton, he has dropped off the face of the recognition map and is on a dog meat team facing relegation.
6. Stephen Ireland – Aston Villa - Midfielder
Ireland’s best seasons were with Manchester City, but not under Roberto Mancini. Plagued by off-the-field incidents, Ireland went to Aston Villa, then briefly to Newcastle on loan, then was injured and returned to Aston Villa. Ireland now finds himself playing on a boring team and at odds with Alex McLeish, a manager he can’t stand.
7. Samir Nasri – Manchester City - Midfielder
The former Arsenal midfielder notched 16 goals in 2010-2011 and was an integral part of the Gunner’s future, especially with the departure of Cesc Fabregas. For whatever reason, Nasri looked north and took the big money from City. In 20 matches he has scored three goals and finds himself looking for playing time on the big budget roster of Roberto Mancini.
8. Andrew Carroll – Liverpool - Striker
Newcastle was where he made his name. Liverpool is where he cannot find his game. At the time of his transfer, the 35 million pound fee was the highest ever. No one is more relieved than the lumbering striker that Torres now is linked to that infamous distinction.
9. Gael Clichy – Manchester City - Defender
Like Nasri, Clichy was part of the inventory at Arsenal, a team that desperately misses his toughness on defense. And like Nasri, Clichy is at the mercy of Mancini for playing time.
10. Dimitar Berbatov – Manchester United - Striker
After scoring 22 goals for Spurs in 2007, Berbatov’s dream transfer to United seemingly had him on top of the world. In 2010 Berbatov scored 21 goals. But playing time would soon be at a premium and now while scoring seven goals, he has only been featured in ten matches. To his credit, he has handled the frustration with remarkable class and professionalism.
Of course, there are many players whose careers benefited from their transfer to another club. They include:
1. Frank Lampard – West Ham to Chelsea
2. Wayne Rooney – Everton to Manchester United
3. Glen Johnson – West Ham, Chelsea, Portsmouth to Liverpool
4. Joleon Lescott – Everton to Manchester City
5. Phil Jones – Backburn to Manchester United
6. Ashley Cole – Arsenal to Chelsea
7. Charlie Adam – Blackpool to Liverpool
8. Gareth Barry – Aston Villa to Manchester City
9. Darren Bent – Spurs, Sunderland to Aston Villa
10. Joe Hart – Birmingham to Manchester City
11. Brad Friedel – Blackburn, Aston Villa to Spurs
12. Tim Howard – Manchester United to Everton
Transfer ifs and buts remind me of the saying, "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas."