Five Ligue 1 Stars Who Flopped In The Premier League

Five Ligue 1 Stars Who Flopped In The Premier League
Aug 23, 2017

Featured Ligue 1 Premier League

There are plenty of success stories from players who move to the Premier League from a different league, but also those who fail to impress. Taking a break from the woeful and lacklustre signings my club (Newcastle United) has made in the past few years, it came to my attention that when it comes to signing talent from the French league, not everyone enjoys their time in England’s top division.

It does not, however, mean that there is no life after Premier League football. Here are a few examples of Premier league flops- turned Ligue 1 extraordinaire’s. 

Clinton Njié – Marseille

Accumulating 8 goals and 7 assists in 33 games for Lyon in the 2014-15 season, North London giants Tottenham Hotspur swooped and signed the Cameroon international for €12m – a steady backup for the rapidly improving Harry Kane. N’jie failed to start a single Premier league game in the 15-16′ campaign, making 8 substitute appearances over a period of disappointing performances and unfortunate injuries.

Unable to score a single goal in all competitions, paired with the lack of physicality N’jie exhibited, he was loaned out to Marseille for the 2016-17 season with an option to buy for €7m the following season.

Fortunes have changed for the 24-year-old in recent seasons, with N’jie getting much more game time and ending his goal drought; it’s 3 in 3 for him thus far this season. He continues to demonstrate his fantastic dribbling and pace attributes on the back of defenders which gained him that promising reputation which he could yet still fulfil.

Mario Balotelli – OGC Nice

Debate is up in the air as to whether Mario Balotelli can be classed as a Premier League flop, however, a brief-but-dismal spell at Liverpool puts him on this list. Following a solid spell at Milan, scoring 26 times in 43 games for the Italian side, Liverpool snapped up Balotelli for £16m- with many dubbing him as Luis Suárez’s replacement.

Things certainly did not go to plan for ‘Super Mario’ during the 2014-15 season; the Italian only scoring one Premier league goal in 16 appearances for the Reds. Heavy criticism of Mario’s work ethic and greed by Rodgers and Klopp ensured he was frozen out of the first team indefinitely.

This greed may well have been a benefit to the rapidly improving Nice, with the forward’s impressive record of 15 goals in 20 games for Les Aiglons. Signing Mario on a free transfer last season could be described as magnifique business, as Nice qualified for the Champions League for the first time in 57 years.

Hatem Ben Arfa – OGC Nice/PSG

Whether it be managerial-fallouts or weight issues, the curious case of Hatem Ben Arfa will be on the lips of many for years to come. Why exactly didn’t it work out in the Premier League?

I personally witnessed the magic that Hatem could produce in his few seasons with Newcastle; his left foot proving he could beat some of the best such as Lloris, De Gea and in one case, the whole of the Bolton team. On his day, he was a world beater. Trouble is, those ‘days’ were numbered.

Having been called out by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew on being ‘overweight’, Ben Arfa consequently got sent out on loan to Hull City for the 2014-15 season. A bust up with manager Steve Bruce would be a blessing in disguise; Hatem unexpectedly left England in December 2014 and never looked back.

A one-year contract with OGC Nice was signed in January 2015, where the French international could show his raw talents, scoring 18 and setting up 6 in a season which earned him a moved to Ligue 1 giants Paris-Saint Germain.

Recently Ben Arfa has struggled to get into the PSG side, fitness issues reportedly being the crux of the problem- Hatem may return to Nice much sooner than the next time the two play in late October.

Florian Thauvin – Marseille

Much hype surrounded the young Frenchman’s transfer when he signed for Newcastle United – quoted as a “temperamental” player, it was interesting to see if Florian could really kick on for Newcastle United in the Premier league. He couldn’t.

No goals or assists in 13 Premier League appearances meant an almost-immediate return to the Stade Vélodrome, where Thauvin’s immense performances earned himself a place in the Ligue 1 team of the season- 17 goals and 11 assists proving doubters wrong, with Florian himself even admitting he’s in “the form of his life”.

Thauvin already has a goal and assist this Ligue 1 Conforama campaign; Marseille unbeaten so far.

Radamel Falcao – AS Monaco

Possibly the most disappointing Premier League career we have ever seen, it is amazing that Falcao has found his feet and is on goalscoring form once again. Unable to cope with the players wage bill, newly-promoted AS Monaco sent the Columbian star on loan to Manchester United in a deal that could end up being worth £43.5m if United chose to exercise the buyout clause.

However, Falcao only managed 4 Premier League goals in 26 appearances, which led to a disappointing loan spell the following season at Chelsea; the Monaco man only netting once in 10 Premier League appearances. Injury cut short his Chelsea career and Radamel was replaced by Alexandre Pato (who also failed to deliver).

Surprisingly, the 16-17 season saw Falcao become Monaco team captain. 21 goals in 22 starts ensured that Monaco became Ligue 1 champions; Falcao being the catalyst for this. 5 goals in 3 games for the 2017/18 so far is a sight that many would not have expected to see. El Tigre is back, which just goes to show, form is temporary but class will always be permanent.

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