Many great strikers have graced the Premier League over the years. Many have been successful and fired their clubs to success or safety. However, there have been many top strikers who have had successful seasons elsewhere in Europe, but following a whirlwind entrance to England, failed to find form.. Here is a look back at just five top strikers who flopped in the Premier League, having succeeded elsewhere and were tipped for stardom in England.
Top Strikers Who Flopped
In 2006, Andriy Shevchenko, one of Europe’s most feared strikers and the 2004 Ballon d’Or winner. arrived at Stamford Bridge. Many believed he would be the man to fire Chelsea not only to more domestic trophies, but also the Champions League. A prolific scorer in both league and European matches, at £30.8 million, Shevchenko was considered an excellent piece of business.
Sadly for the Ukrainian legend and Chelsea, the striker who scored for fun at AC Milan could not find form in the Premier League. Just nine goals in 48 league games came his way and just four in Europe. The dreams of Shevchenko firing the Blues to further domestic glory and European greatness was over in just two seasons.
Deemed surplus to requirements, Shevchenko left Stamford Bridge as an expensive flop and returned to Milan on loan. He finished his career back at his first club Dynamo Kyiv following a disappointing return to Serie A.
A prolific marksman in his home country and Europe, Radamel Falcao failed at not one club in the Premier League but two. Having scored over 200 goals prior to his move to England made Falcao one of the world’s best strikers. The Colombian arrived at Manchester United from Monaco on a season-long loan with an option to sign permanently. The fee was £6 million for the loan, with a future fee of £43.5 million. United also agreed to pay the player £265,000-per-week.
After one season, following poor form, fitness issues and just four goals in 29 appearances, United decided against signing Falcao on a permanent basis.
Following Falcao’s exit from United, Chelsea took a chance and signed him on a season-long loan. The Blues paid a £4 million fee, which again had an option to buy. However, like United, Chelsea decided against signing the striker permanently, following just one goal in 12 games. Falcao was dropped from the Champions League squad and played just once more, a defeat at Swansea City.
A club-record buy at £26 million in 2013, Roberto Soldado arrived at Tottenham following an impressive goalscoring record at Valencia. In two years in North London, Soldado struggled on and off the field as he failed to adapt to the Premier League and London. 76 games for Spurs brought 16 goals before returning to the familiar surroundings of La Liga.
Speaking to Spanish publication AS, Soldado spoke about his time in the Premier League: “It was a league that attracted me a lot. I thought that my game could adapt very well, but the reality was very different. I suffered a lot every time I was on the field, it was a very physical football, and I saw myself overcome on all sides.
“Perhaps mentally being away, the language, affected me a lot, my family did not quite connect to London very well and they were two very hard years because I did not enjoy them.”
Before arriving in the Premier League in 1995, Tomas Brolin was already well known to English fans. His goal at the European Championships in 1992 for Sweden saw England knocked out of the competition. He also featured in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. The latter saw Sweden finish in third place. During the period of 1990 to 1994, Brolin was considered by many as one of the best players in the world.
Comfortable in either midfield or attack, Brolin was classed as an excellent signing by Leeds United when he arrived in November 1995 for £4.5 million. He appeared to be the perfect foil for United’s other striker, Tony Yeboah, with the chance of goals highly likely. Sadly for Leeds and Brolin, it never worked.
20 appearances, four goals, several arguments and some well-documented weight issues later, Brolin’s contract was terminated. Just one year after departing Leeds, Brolin retired at the age of 28. His final appearance was the last 15 minutes for Hudiksvalls A.B.K., as a goalkeeper.
For several seasons at Independiente, Villareal and Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan was a success, scoring many goals. In-between was three seasons in the Premier League with Manchester United. Despite a Premier League winners medal and an FA Cup winners medal, success here was in short supply.
Goal scoring success at his first club, Independiente, saw Manchester United pay £6.9 million for the Uruguayan hitman in January 2002. Forlan would play 13 times for his new club during the second half of the 2001/02 season without scoring. The following season began much like the previous campaign, with Forlan playing but no sign of goals. It took the striker 14 games to finally find the net, a last-minute penalty in a 5-2 victory.
The goals were a little more forthcoming after the penalty. In total, Forlan played 98 games for the Red Devils, scoring 17 goals. He moved on to Villarreal and then Atletico Madrid scoring regularly, winning the Golden Boot twice.
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