I recently went through a top 10 of the best players to have moved from La Liga to play in the Premiership and the list, consisting mainly of Spaniards, boasted some of the best players in the Premiership today. Now it’s time to look at the other side of things with a Top 10 of the biggest failures to have come to the Premiership from Spain although this time I’ll focus only on Spanish players and thus save Fabricio Coloccini some embarrassment. So here goes the countdown:
10. Javier Garrido
Whilst not necessarily a flop, the Man City man was never able to beat the likes of Michael Ball or Wayne Bridge to a regular first team spot and thus makes this list simply due to the lack of Spanish failures in the Premiership. If I thought of another Spanish failure I’d readily exchange them for Garrido on this list.
9. Fernando Hierro
Hierro arrived in Bolton in his twilight playing years and clearly wasn’t going to be the same player who’d captained Real Madrid and Spain so effortlessly. Despite being ridiculously slow by the time he arrived in England Hierro was by no means a bad player and looked decent in the few appearances he made for Bolton. Regular complaints about the manager or the lifestyle made him less popular in Bolton though, particularly when contrasted with compatriot Ivan Campo who was loved by the Bolton fans.
8. Jose Enrique
Enrique was believed to be a coup of a signing when he joined Newcastle on the basis that football giants including the likes of Real Madrid had been interested in signing him. Nowadays Enrique’s hopes of ever playing for a big club look highly unlikely. Whilst he wasn’t one of Newcastle’s worst players as they declined and eventually got relegated he failed to impress or reach the level that was expected of a perceived talent and can be perceived only as average at best.
7. Jose Antonio Reyes
It’s very easy to say Reyes wasn’t a flop; he impressed for Arsenal on occasions, linked up well with Thierry Henry and looked a very capable player – he even scored a brace against Chelsea in a big clash between the two. But Reyes’s attitude was poor and he complained of homesickness and demanded to leave the club, losing favour with the supporters in doing so. Reyes clearly had talent in abundance but his refusal to remain in England makes him somewhat of a villain on these shores.
Another flop at Newcastle; Xisco was signed for almost £6 million for which you’d expect some kind of goal return from a striker. Instead he was rarely played for the club. Given little chance and devoid of confidence Xisco’s few appearances failed to impress and he was promptly loaned out for this season with just 1 goal in 7 appearances in England.
I’m actually a big fan of Josemi; but that’s down to his performances for my club Malaga which led to his eventual move to Liverpool – he was a fine player in Spain. But Josemi failed to adapt to the pace of the Premiership and, though not terrible, he never looked particularly good in England and was viewed as a bad signing by most Liverpool fans.
4. Antonio Nunez
It’s conceivable that Nunez is actually the worst player on this list but he’s saved from top spot because he was signed only as part of a part-exchange deal and was never a guaranteed starter for Liverpool. He may have been a product of Real Madrid’s youth academy but Nunez never looked a good player and you’ve got to feel that he would’ve ended up slumming it with a smaller team in Spain straight from Madrid if Liverpool had not agreed to his signing as part of the Michael Owen deal.
3. Fernando Morientes
Morientes was expected to prove a great signing for Liverpool with a fine reputation behind him and he was still in his 20’s. His lack of pace made him struggle to adapt to the faster Premiership though and he was also played out of position, leading to a struggle to get on the scoresheet regularly for Liverpool. Morientes is one of those examples of players who cannot adapt to the Premiership in the veins of Juan Veron or Afonso Alves and his time at Liverpool was arguably the worst of his career.
2. Elena Marcelino
A Spanish international defender signed for almost £6 million. Newcastle seem to like signing Spaniards for fees of about that amount. Marcelino never looked good enough for the Premiership and he lumbered his way to a struggling 2 and a half years at the club, eventually claiming that a broken finger should stop him from playing. Gives Coloccini a run for his money
1. Albert Luque
I hate to speak badly of a current Malaga player but Luque’s time in the Premiership was terrible. Second only to Reyes on this list in terms of price tags bringing him to England, Luque cost Newcastle £9.5 million and was expected to be the forward the club needed to go forward post-Shearer; instead an injury hit Luque hit just 1 goal in 21 Premiership appearances and fell in the pecking order to behind reserve players. After completely losing favour at Newcastle he moved on to Holland at Ajax where he failed once more before returning to Spain where he’s done alright at Malaga. Newcastle fans consider the man one of their biggest flops and rightly so – forwards should be able to score; in England Luque just never looked like producing.
So there you have it: Ten Spaniards who couldn’t make a name for themselves in the Premiership. I’m surprised to see that Newcastle have the most players in this list as I had expected Liverpool to prior to starting work on it given the influence of a Spanish manager at Anfield. Perhaps Newcastle will learn from their mistakes and not sign Spaniards in future? Anyone else who should be on the list or should those places be switched around? Good thing Spain’s given the Premiership the likes of Torres, Fabregas and Arteta to make up for these flops; we’d have to resent the Spanish otherwise!