Top 10 Overseas Players That We'd Like to Bring Back to the Premier League
If you could bring one currently active former Premier League player back to the English top flight, who would it be?
There are plenty to choose from, so we've compiled a list of the top 10.
Who would you add to the selection? Let us know below!
10. Gervinho, Roma
A year ago, this would have been a laughable choice and it depends largely on which Gervinho you're going to get.
Sold by Arsenal to Roma over the summer for £8 million, the Ivory Coast man could hardly be classed as one of the Premier League's top strikers and the words "flop" and "misfiring" often accompanied his name.
In his two seasons at the Emirates, Gervinho failed to nail down a spot in the first team, where he scored 11 goals in 63 appearances.
Since making the switch the the Stadio Olimpico, to link up with former Lille boss Rudi Garcia, the 26-year-old has already netted eight strikes and has set up a further eight.
He's like a different player.
Gervinho told Sportsillustrated.com:
What did I learn at Arsenal? Honestly, not much because you cannot learn much from being on the bench," he said. "I left England because I was not playing. Not enough. The most difficult moment was being on the bench. That was the worst part for me and my confidence.
9. Didier Drogba, Galatasaray
Whether you loved him or hated him, or loved to hate him, during his time at Chelsea—Didier Drogba's presence is missed in the Premier League.
The 35-year-old striker signed for Galatasaray in January 2013, after spending six months with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, the Ivorian won honours including three league titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League.
In fact, Drogba's last kick of the ball in a Chelsea shirt was the winning penalty that sealed the Blues' 2011/12 European trophy.
A strong, powerful forward who often prompted howls of derision from opposing supporters for his play-acting, it cannot be denied—Drogba is one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen.
8. Carlos Tevez, Juventus
Carlos Tevez spent seven years playing in the Premier League, with West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City.
In that time, the Argentine striker put away 84 goals in the top flight and registered 43 assists, earning a haul of silverware in the process.
It wasn't always plain sailing however, as several controversies accompanied his time in the UK, including: an apparent refusal to come on as a substitute for City in the Champions League, written transfer requests and a period of unauthorized leave (as seen on BBC Sport), which made Tevez out to be a problem character.
Going into the final year of his contract last summer, Juventus snapped Tevez up for just £7.9 million. He's only been at the club for seven months but has already scored 13 times in 24 Serie A appearances.
A tireless worker who is clinical in front of goal, Tevez has just entered his thirties. With still one or two years remaining as a striker at the top level, he'd still be a hit with many Premier League clubs.
7. Gerard Pique, Barcelona
There is a dearth of solid, experienced and more importantly, available centre-backs on the European market at the moment.
Gerard Pique used to play for Manchester United and oh how the side could do with him now, as age appears to have finally caught up with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in central defence.
Across town at Manchester City, it's a similar story, with the side's only real frailty coming in at the back. Chelsea and Arsenal join a number of clubs who need to add defensive reinforcements before the 2014/15 campaign kicks off.
Pique is not perfect, but he'd make a welcome addition to many clubs in the top flight. Only 26, he still has years ahead of him and he's having an impressive showing this term under Tata Martino.
6. Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid
The interest shown in Xabi Alonso over the winter transfer window pays testament to how the midfielder is still regarded in the Premier League.
As reported by James Dickenson in the Express—Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City were all keen on bringing the Spaniard back to the United Kingdom, with Liverpool also interested in re-signing their former midfield star.
Alonso attained hero status on Merseyside, where he spent five years from 2004—2009 and won the FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Champions League. At Anfield, five years on, the 32-year-old is yet to be adequately replaced.
A central midfielder of the highest order, we'd love to see Alonso back in the Premier League.
Unfortunately for fans of the Tolosa-born player, he signed a new two-year contract extension with Real Madrid in January—reported here in The Guardian.
5. Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona
Cesc Fabregas would walk into most teams in the Premier League.
Over the summer, the former Arsenal captain was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, although the 26-year-old has denied any rumours that suggested he was interested in moving to Old Trafford, as seen in this interview with The Guardian's Sid Lowe.
Following a string of club and international honours to his name with Spain, Arsenal and Barcelona, Fabregas has developed into one of the best attacking midfielders in the world.
Currently experiencing one of his best seasons at Camp Nou, Fabregas has already made 37 appearances (in all competitions) for Tata Martino's side, scoring 13 goals and setting up 20 along the way.
Fabregas was recently quoted on ESPNfc.com, as saying:
Martino has given me confidence, always believed in me. He knows what type of player I am and what I can give. He doesn't ask me to do things I can't. He always tries to maximise my virtues. I feel my teammates trust me more and feel stronger physically. I feel more important within the team.
4. Mario Balotelli, AC Milan
After spending two-and-a-half years in England with Manchester City, Mario Balotelli returned to Italy in January 2013, to join AC Milan.
Unpredictable, controversial yet wildly talented, the striker scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for City, where he won the FA Cup in his first season at the club, followed by the league title in 2011/12.
Disciplinary issues, great goals and off-the-pitch incidents ensured that Balotelli was as famous off the field of play as he was on it.
The Premier League is a more interesting place with him in it and many clubs would love to have him on their books.
Although, this week, Balotelli has claimed he "is happy" at the San Siro, as seen on Goal.com.
3. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid
Last season, Gareth Bale was a class apart in the Premier League.
His best top-flight campaign saw him score 26 goals (in all competitions) for Tottenham Hotspur, he won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards, not to mention the FWA (Football Writer's Association) Player of the Year Award.
He also became the world's most expensive player when he signed for Real Madrid for £85 million in September. It was quite the year for the Welsh international.
Bale has had a few injury setbacks since signing for Carlo Ancelotti's side. However, he has still managed to put away nine La Liga goals and has set up a further 10—not easy when you're playing in a new league, a new country and in the considerable shadow of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Most fans and clubs would fall over themselves to see Bale back in the Premier League. Only 24, perhaps this one will actually happen one day.
2. Paul Pogba, Juventus
Since his move to Turin, Pogba has established himself as one of the best young central midfielders in Europe, with United fans left to wonder "what if…?".
Ironically, David Moyes's team are in sore need of a player in the Pogba mold at the moment and, in January, there were rumours that United's new manager wanted to tempt the 20-year-old back to the club.
However, as reported by Ian Herbert in the Independent, Pogba rejected any idea of moving back to Manchester, with a Juventus stay or a move to Paris Saint-Germain the only viable options.
As Juve teammate Gianluigi Buffon said, via David Anderson in the Mirror:
Pogba is one of those players who leaves you speechless.
When he came we didn't know him, but after only three or four training sessions we were impressed by his enormous qualities.
My team-mates and me looked at each other as to say 'are they blind in Manchester?'.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo has to be the No. 1 player most clubs would want to bring back into the Premier League.
Goal-scoring statistics about the Ballon d'Or winner have reached such a level that they just don't make sense anymore. it seems like each week a new record is broken as CR7 terrorises La Liga defences.
Incredibly, the Portuguese has netted 235 goals in 231 games for Real Madrid. He has also made 74 assists in that time.
Already a three-time winner of the Premier League with Manchester United, with a Champions League winners' medal and an FA Cup under his belt, he has won La Liga once so far with Madrid, in addition to the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup.
A Ronaldo return to the Premier League is a mouth-watering idea, no matter how far-fetched. Be it to former employers Manchester United or elsewhere, the 29-year-old would easily become the division's best player.