Of all the imports to the Premier League over the years, Spain has given us some of the most memorable talents.
However, for every David Silva and Fernando Torres, there have been a fair few flops too. Here’s a look at five of the most eye catching duds to have featured in the Premier League over the years.
Chico – Swansea
Never trust a centre-back with a top knot! There may be some science behind that somewhere, but if not, Chico is evidence enough. The former Almeria and Genoa defender arrived in South Wales in 2012. Not the world’s worst, but a defender with a patent for the rash and wild.
He also bore the brunt of Big Sam’s amusement at West Ham, when the former Everton manager chuckled beside himself on the touchline, at Chico’s faux injury and play acting. That was probably his most memorable moment in the Premier League.
Alberto Moreno – Liverpool
Just as Liverpool looked to have got shot of one terrible, erratic and mindless full back in Glenn Johnson, in came Alberto Moreno with a vacant expression, to reassure Liverpool fans everywhere that their defensive woes were far from over. In fairness, the former Seville man stated well enough. A debut goal away at Spurs got hopes up that the club had purchased an actual real left back for the first time in eighty years, but those hopes soon evaporated.
The Spanish International spent more time at the other end of the field. When he did get back he was often clumsy, careless and rash, as in the ludicrous 4-5 win at Carrow Road in 2016. He also cost Liverpool the Europa League Final that year as Sevilla exposed his defensive weaknesses time and time again. Curiously still at Liverpool, proof if needed, that they cannot give him away despite their efforts.
Fernando Morientes – Liverpool
Rafa Benitez swooped for the £6 million transfer of Real Madrid Supremo, Fernando Morientes in 2005. It seemed a bargain deal for a man who’d been banging them in at Real Madrid for seven years and had three Champions League wins to his name.
It soon became crystal clear though, why Liverpool had got their man so cheap. The speed of the Premier League and a catalogoue of injuries meant Morientes was way off the required pace. He wasn’t terrible, just very, very disappointing, with just twelve goals scored in eighteen months on Merseyside.
Iago Aspas – Liverpool
And here’s the hat-trick for The Reds. Iago Aspas, the name sends a shiver down the spine of Liverpool supporters everywhere. The Spaniard was the blemish on the memorable 13/14 campaign, arriving as a supposed first team regular, only to fall back on the bench for most of the season, after it became clear he was the slowest thing on two legs in Merseyside.
For an £8 million signing, much more was expected of Aspas who actually has a decent record in La Liga. He lacked skill, energy and often cut an isolated figure on the pitch. Plus his assist for Chelsea from his own corner in 2014 is one of the most painfully comical moments in Premier League history, as Liverpool watched their title challenge go up in smoke at Anfield.
Albert Luque – Newcastle
Much was expected of Spanish International, Albert Luque when he arrived for around £10 million in 2005. With Alan Shearer heading for the Match of the Day sofa, the Magpies needed a man to fill the void. In fairness it was an almighty gap to plug, and ultimately proved to be beyond Luque, way, way beyond.
Luque arrived and struggled with injury and the pace of the league and quickly fell out of favour at Newcastle. He managed just one solitary goal in twenty-one games and was actually in the reserves by the end of his time. For a club that hasn’t signed many more expensive players, the Spanish International must go down as one of the biggest flops and was a sign of worse times to come at St James’s Park.
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