Reports this week suggest that Cesc Fabregas is unhappy with life at the Nou Camp as Tito Vilanova continues to restrict his first team appearances.
“Everybody likes to play every minute of every season,” said the young Spanish midfielder.
Fabregas is yet to complete a full 90 minutes under the stewardship of the new manager in Catalonia, very publicly declaring his frustration. With Arsenal still in possession of a buy-back clause, could we see the return of Fabregas to the Emirates stadium?
The return of former stars to their previous club has occurred several times in the past – with varied success. GMF evaluates players that have made the U-turn back to their former stamping grounds, and wonders if the former skipper could again succeed in north London.
Arsenal have had their fair share of returning talisman over the years. Recently and possibly most famously was the return of Thierry Henry to the Gunners – or ‘King Henry’ as he is known in North London. After an initial eight years at the club between 1999 and 2007, Henry returned for another spell in January 2012, scoring two goals in seven appearances.
Sol Campbell is another Gunner who left and returned. The no nonsense English defender had spells at Portsmouth and Notts County before returning to the North London club.
Robbie Fowler is seen by many Merseyside fans as a ‘son of Liverpool’, especially after his return to the club under Rafa Benitez. His best season in red came in 1995/96 where he scored 28 league goals in 38 appearances. After joining Leeds and Manchester City, Fowler returned to Liverpool in 2005, scoring a further eight goals.
Kenny Dalglish is another Liverpool hero who chose to return to the club – not as a player, but a manager, twice. First in 1985, Dalglish led Liverpool to three first division titles however his second return wasn’t as successful.
The ‘return of the king’ to was well received by Liverpool fans at Anfield as he replaced the outgoing Roy Hodgson. Kenny tried to introduce an attractive style of football but did not reach the same heights as he had previously, with the Liverpool board parting ways with the Kop legend in 2012.
Jurgen Klinnsman is the first name that springs out at most football fans, after scoring 21 goals in his first season at White Hart Lane, 1994/95, Klinnsman then returned on loan in 1997, putting away another nine goals in 15 appearances for Spurs.
Teddy Sheringham is another Spurs legend that returned to the banks of the Lilywhites. In total Teddy scored 98 league goals for Tottenham, a true legend amongst the fans.
Finally, Robbie Keane is another Tottenham star that couldn’t keep away from White Hart Lane. Keane left the club to move northwards to Anfield, however his £24 million move did not live up to expectation – Harry Redknapp re-signing the Republic of Ireland international.
Graeme Le Saux was a Chelsea great in his time, now applying his trade as a TV pundit, he had two very successful spells at the West London side. His first and second spell totaled over ten years at the club in which he scored 12 goals from his defensive position. Le Saux’s honours at Chelsea included an FA Cup and a League Cup in 2000 and 1998 respectively.
Chelsea’s current manager, Roberto Di Matteo, also makes this list. Before returning to the club as the interim manager and now permanent manager, Roberto was a highly successful midfielder for the Blues. Delivering the greatly desired Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge within the first 12 months, his return looks to have been very successful thus far.
Sir Alex Ferguson has developed almost a trademark over the years as Manchester United manager of not returning to former players for aid. However, he broke this vow during the 2011/12 season, by re-recruiting midfield maestro Paul Scholes.
Scholes galvanized the United midfield towards the end of last season and has started the new season in imperious form – proving to be a masterstroke by Sir Alex. Scholes has now made 485 league appearances for the Red Devils and that figure will continue to increase as the season progresses.
Carlos Tevez may cause some disagreement amongst readers here - but his actions last season could have placed him no further away from the Manchester City starting XI. It is fair to state that Carlos Tevez is a player that has been shrouded in controversy in his entire spell in the Premier League, from his arrival via Kia Joorachbian at West Ham in 2006, to his spell on the sidelines in the sky blue of City last season.
He is classed as a returning player however, as his performances and role at the Citizens this season are proving to be a stark contrast to that of last – three goals this season already, compared with four in the whole of last season.