Lukaku returns to Man Utd…and Everton: All 20 Premier League clubs bring back one former player

Jason Soutar
Romelu Lukaku, Raheem Sterling and Thibaut Courtois.
Romelu Lukaku, Raheem Sterling and Thibaut Courtois.

If only every Premier League club could bring back one former player. Obviously, we are talking about the player’s current ability, so Manchester United are not bringing back a prime Cristiano Ronaldo or Eric Cantona.

So here are 20 completely unrealistic transfers that are never going to happen in a million years, because why not?


Alex Iwobi to Arsenal
Nothing like a controversial selection to get things underway. Serge Gnabry was the obvious choice but he’s not getting past Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

Mikel Arteta has just sold Granit Xhaka, which has freed up a space in his midfield. Alex Iwobi was rubbish for Everton when he first joined but has transformed himself into a pretty handy box-to-box midfielder. He could now thrive in Arteta’s left-central-midfield role.


Jack Grealish to Aston Villa
This one didn’t take much thought. Villa fans would probably forgive Jack Grealish for all the pain he has caused if he returned tomorrow.


Nathan Ake to Bournemouth
Tyrone Mings, Callum Wilson or…Nathan Ake. Yep. This was as straightforward as they come.


Ollie Watkins to Brentford
Ollie Watkins would be a perfect addition while Ivan Toney watches from his couch; if the England striker wasn’t banned, we would be campaigning for a Said Benrahma return. And you know David Moyes would let him go.

Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma during their Brentford days.


Benjamin White to Brighton
If Roberto De Zerbi switches things up and reverts back to three central defenders, there would not be very many better suited than Arsenal’s Benjamin White, who left Brighton for the Gunners for £50million in 2021.

We did consider an instant return for Alexis Mac Allister, but White’s ability to play as a right-back and centre-back – plus the difference in depth in their respective positions – means he is our pick.


Danny Ings to Burnley
Burnley are in dire need of Premier League experience. They could bring back Nick Pope, Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil, Ben Mee or James Tarkowski, but we think they need a proven goalscorer.

Danny Ings returning to Turf Moor actually makes perfect sense. It is clearly not happening for him at West Ham, he would surely start for Burnley, and he looks bloody lovely in claret and blue.


Thibaut Courtois to Chelsea
Blimey, there were quite a few options here. Ake, Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne all came to mind and the latter was very close to being selected, but given Chelsea’s dire need for a new goalkeeper and the fact we wouldn’t wish a return to Stamford Bridge on De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois it is.


Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Crystal Palace
We feel it is time to move on from Wilfried Zaha. Let him spread his wings elsewhere after so long as an Eagle.

Crystal Palace never replaced Aaron Wan-Bissaka when they received £50m for him from Manchester United, so why not finally replace Wan-Bissaka with…Wan-Bissaka?


Romelu Lukaku to Everton
Sean Dyche would probably swap his entire squad for the crop of players from 2016/17, but we can only pick one and it has to be Romelu Lukaku, even though he would probably refuse to play unless Everton add some black stripes to their home shirt.

Dictionary365: E is for Elite, England, Equalisers, Europa, Euros and Everton


Harvey Elliott to Fulham
The Liverpool midfielder left Fulham when he was 16 and would be welcomed back with open arms; he could play as a winger or in midfield under Marco Silva.


Raheem Sterling to Liverpool
Gini Wijnaldum, Emre Can, Sadio Mane…there are plenty of options for Liverpool, though it is fair to say none of those three would get into their starting XI. Raheem Sterling would have a chance. And we would be buying those barbecue popped chips (so much better than popcorn) for the Liverpool fan reaction.


James Justin to Luton
The Hatters had their choice of two Leicester players: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Justin. Both are handy players. We have opted for the latter.


Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester City
Come back, Ilkay. You have been gone for two minutes but we miss you already.


Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United
Ha. This would be spectacular viewing. For what it’s worth, Romelu Lukaku is much better than any striker options Manchester United currently ‘boast’.


James Tavernier to Newcastle United
Not the best options for Newcastle in truth. The question is: Do they need another midfielder or right-back more? The answer was a right-back, so James Tavernier gets a return to St James’ Park ahead of Mikel Merino.


Brice Samba to Nottingham Forest
Always known as a goalkeeper who is excellent with the ball at his feet, Brice Samba has proved he is not a one-trick pony since his move to RC Lens, who he helped guide to a second-place finish in Ligue 1 last season.

Nottingham Forest don’t have a goalkeeper and the new France international would be an excellent signing.


Aaron Ramsdale to Sheffield United
We could have simply done the Blades a favour and vetoed Iliman Ndiaye’s impending move to Marseille or sorted a replacement in David Brooks, but an Arsenal fan simply has to Arsenal.

It is not as if Aaron Ramsdale’s return is a poor decision; he is brilliant and several levels above current No. 1 Wes Foderingham. Sorry Wesley.


Luka Modric to Tottenham
He might be turning 38 in September but Luka Modric is still one of the best midfielders in world football. Our only worry is that he would probably decide to retire if forced to return to Spurs.


Sebastien Haller to West Ham
There is a clear curse when it comes to strikers at West Ham, but the options are so scarce we are forcing Sebastien Haller to come back to London. Maybe Borussia Dortmund would take Gianluca Scamacca in return…


Diogo Jota to Wolves
No-brainer this. Wolves need a goalscorer and Jota is exactly that. Ruben Neves’ goodbye means goodbye.

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