We’ve looked at five players who went straight back to their old club for a lot more money, now it’s time for the mark-downs rather than the mark-ups. Robbie Keane just misses the cut after Spurs made £7million by giving him up to Liverpool for a year.
5) Shinji Kagawa
Sold for: £14.5m
Bought back for: £7m
£14.5m looked like a snip for a playmaker who contributed 17 goals and 14 assists in Jurgen Klopp’s double-winning Dortmund side in the 2011-12 season. And he played his part in the Manchester United title win the season after too, scoring six goals and claiming four assists in an injury hit season – he started just 17 games.
But there was a sense that it just wasn’t a good fit, and Kagawa could be forgiven for feeling ill at ease even in that first successful season at Old Trafford. Sitting on the bench having scored a hat-trick in the previous game doesn’t scream confidence from your manager.
David Moyes’ arrival led to even less game time for Kagawa in his second season, as the Marouane Fellaini era began. The Japan international never quite rediscovered his form on his return to Dortmund, and now finds himself in La Liga with Real Zaragoza. Was the Premier League title worth the fall from grace?
4) Mario Gotze
Sold for: £33m
Bought back for: £20m
Some of Dortmund’s top players end up at Manchester United, but they don’t tend to do well (sorry Jadon). For glory they move to Bayern Munich – Mats Hummels, Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze have all made the switch.
The Bundesliga duo shared Gotze’s two most seasons, split by his transfer. 16 goals and 20 assists in 2012-13 for Dortmund, before 15 goals and 13 assists for Bayern. Oh, and then an extra-time World Cup winning goal for Germany to boot. He returned to Dortmund after two further seasons with Bayern but is now without a club having struggled for form and fitness. He’s still only 28-years-old; he can’t be done yet.
2012: Shinji Kagawa leaves Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United. Is terrible.
2016: Henrik Mkhitaryan leaves Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United. Is also terrible.
2020: Don’t do it, Jadon Sancho… #mufc
— The Irish Guy (@the_irishguy) September 3, 2019
3) Shuan Wright-Phillips
Sold for: £29m
Bought back for: £10m
11 Premier League goals in the 2004-05 season persuaded Chelsea to add Wright-Phillips to their attacking riches in the summer transfer window. It was at this point that Chelsea were buying up talented players simply to avoid other clubs having them. Fighting for his place on the wing with Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Joe Cole, he was never going to play much, and didn’t. He started just ten Premier League games in his debut Chelsea season, and claimed just four league goals and ten assists in three wasted years at Stamford Bridge.
His return season in Manchester was more successful, notching double figures for both goals and assists. He should never have left.
2) Wayne Rooney
Sold for: £33m
Bought back for: Free
Remember the name! It’s hard to forget now – Manchester United and England’s greatest ever goalscorer. It’s unclear exactly how much United paid Everton for Rooney in 2004, it’s anywhere between £25m and £33m. But it was certainly a world record fee for a teenager – he was just 18.
Any hopes from opposition clubs that United had overpaid were quickly quashed as Rooney scored a hat-trick on his debut, in the Champions League for f***s sake. He went on to win five Premier League titles, four League Cups, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League. His return to Merseyside will be remembered for his match-winning performance against West Ham, and that hat-trick sealing ping from inside his own half. Oooft.
To those tweeting that Rooney goal proves how weak MLS is, watch this beauty from 2017. Everton v West Ham. Rooney with the goal. Joe Hart with the Assist 🙌 pic.twitter.com/NHvildQAv2
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) June 27, 2019
Sold for: £60m
Bought back for: Free
Real Madrid had gone seven years without winning the Champions League by the summer of 2009. They spent £240million trying to remedy that, by buying a load of players who had won it. Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso were all brought in, along with Karim Benzema.
Kaka – although he won a La Liga title with Madrid – failed to reach the heady heights he achieved with Milan and was knocked out at the semi-final stage of the Champions League in three consecutive seasons. Madrid won it in four of the five seasons after his departure. Ouch.
He returned to the San Siro with Milan for just one season, claiming nine goals and seven assists, before stopping off in his homeland with Sau Paulo ahead of three very comfortable years for Orlando in the MLS.
Will Ford is on Twitter