EPL: The Greatest Players That Never Were: Episode 2

Rikki SollisAnalyst IINovember 12, 2011

EPL: The Greatest Players That Never Were: Episode 2

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    What makes a footballer a flop?

    Every so often there's a player who is touted as the next big thing, whether they've been a superstar for another club or whether they're a hot prospect for the future, there are always players who seem to have the footballing world at their feet.

    This series will take a look at the players who failed to meet the extremely high expectations that were set before them, and those who maybe weren't so suited to the EPL.

    Please note that there will be no particular order to this, or indeed the slideshows that follow.

    If you like this article then check out Episode One here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/935138-epl-the-greatest-players-that-never-were-episode-1

Alberto Aquilani: Liverpool 2009-Present

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    Alberto Aquilani joined Liverpool for £17m in 2009 as a replacement for Xabi Alonso, who had recently departed for the greener pastures of Real Madrid.

    In his first season at Anfield, Aquilani never really found form, only making 18 appearances over the course of the season, nine of which came from the bench. His only goal for the club to date came in March 2010 against a Portsmouth side who had been all but condemned to relegation.

    Aquilani likes to play in the hole behind the strikers and one of his key strengths is his passing. Aquilani can offer both effective long balls as well as pinpoint through balls to continue offensive moves.

    Despite his ability, it is difficult to see Aquilani returning to Merseyside due to the wealth of midfield talent on the current Liverpool team.

Alex Hleb: Birmingham City 2010-2011

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    It's think it's fair to say that Alexander Hleb's loan move from Barcelona to Birmingham City occurred in fairly controversial circumstances, due to questions about the time at which he signed on deadline day.

    Having previously dabbled in the Premier League during his time with Arsenal, Birmingham fans were excited by the prospect of a big-name veteran taking the club forward.

    Hleb never seemed fully committed to the Birmingham campaign, and this was not helped by recurring injury problems which limited him to 19 games in the 2010-11 season.

    Hleb swiftly departed the Midlands at the end of the season, claiming that he did not see himself playing Birmingham's style of football. Understandably, he probably didn't see Championship football as a step forward in his career.

    Upon his return to Barcelona he got caught in the proverbial revolving door, being shipped straight back out to Wolfsburg where to date he has scored once in three appearances.

Kleberson: Manchester United 2003-2005

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    Kleberson was one of the young starlets on show at the 2002 World Cup, and duly attracted interest from several English clubs including United's close rivals Leeds. United bought the player for around £6m, viewing him as a long-term replacement for Juan Sebastian Veron.

    Unfortunately for United, he could not replicate his World Cup form, which was no thanks to a string of injuries which limited him to 20 appearances over his two seasons at the club.

    Kleberson departed Old Trafford in August 2005, joining Besiktas for £2.5m, less than half of what United originally paid.

    Kleberson recently returned to his boyhood club of Atletico Paranaense on a loan deal from Brazilian side Flamengo.

Robinho: Manchester City 2008-2010

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    City sent shockwaves through the Premier League when they made the £32.5m signing of Robinho in 2008.

    In his first season he offered a fair return of 14 goals in 31 games; however his second season was derailed early on when he suffered a stress fracture to his ankle while away on international duty.

    Once his injury had subsided he seemed to lose interest in playing for City, which was undoubtedly linked with the fact that he had dropped in the pecking order at the City of Manchester Stadium.

    It's difficult to argue that "Little Rob" wouldn't have been a massive player in the Premier League had he had a full 2009-10 season.

    City sold Robinho to AC Milan in 2010 for £15m, taking a huge loss of £17.5m.

Jon Dahl Tomasson: Newcastle United 1997-1998

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    Jon Dahl Tomasson joined Kenny Dalglish's Newcastle for £2.5m in 1997, following impressive performances in his previous season at Heerenveen.

    During his time at Heerenveen he had been employed as an attacking midfielder so Dalglish saw him as the perfect player to feed Alan Shearer in the Toon Army attack.

    Unfortunately a serious injury to Alan Shearer coincided with the sale of Les Ferdinand, leaving Tomasson to lead the attack alone.

    Tomasson failed to adapt to this new role, and his slight frame meant that he struggled with the rough-and-ready defenders of the Premier League, scoring a mere three goals in 23 appearances.

    At the end of the season he was shipped off to Feyenoord, where he would go on to re-ignite his successful career in his preferred position of attacking midfielder.


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