7 Players Who Went From Squad Roles to Star Players After Leaving Premier League Clubs

After falling short in the title race to Manchester City on Sunday, things went from bad to worse for Manchester United fans as reports also emerged claiming Anthony Martial is set to leave the club this summer after being left frustrated by his lack of playing time.


Many are wondering whether this is the right move for the Frenchman, whether United is in fact the best place for him to play his football or whether he could shine in another team should he leave. 


History has shown it's possible for players who have struggled for game time in the Premier League can go on and become stars at club across Europe. Here, we will be looking at seven players who were once role players at Premier League clubs and became star players at new clubs.

7. Simone Zaza

There was a real buzz around London Stadium when it was announced West Ham had loaned Simone Zaza for a fee of €5m with an option to buy the striker for €20m, after impressing in Serie A for both Sassuolo and Juventus.


Unfortunately for the Italian, his Hammers' career lasted just eight games and without scoring as single goal, he was sent back to Juve and subsequently loaned back out to Valencia. Just when it looked as though Zaza had damaged his reputation with his failed loan spell in England, he now looks like a completely different player in La Liga.


He's scored 18 goals in 48 appearances for the club, including a memorable wonder goal during a 2-1 win against Real Madrid in February 2017, and has helped Valencia up to fourth in the league after finishing 12th last season.

6. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

In his final full season with Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain managed to become a regular member of the Arsenal starting lineup, however, he and his team were heavily under performing.


It was in the summer of 2017 he decided he needed a fresh start, signing for Liverpool for a fee £35m and has since become a key member of Jurgen Klopp's plans after a number of impressive performances. 


In his debut season with the club, he has managed more appearances (30) than in any of his previous seasons with Arsenal, and has helped guide Liverpool to third place in the Premier League as well as a Champions League semi final. He has quickly become a fan favourite and will look to help bring home a major piece of silverware to Anfield this season.

5. Serge Gnabry

Once tipped to be the next big thing at Arsenal after graduating from their academy, Serge Gnabry's career has taken a very different turn in recent years. After making his Premier League debut in 2012, he went on to make just nine more league appearances for the Gunners in his three seasons at the club.


In search for more regular game time Gnabry swapped the Premier League for the Bundesliga, signing for Werder Bremen for £5m. In his first and only season at the club he made 27 league appearance and scored 11 goals, becoming an instant fan favourite and was seen as one of the Bundesliga's most promising talents.


Unfortunately for Werder Bremen, they were unable to prevent the inevitable from happening as Bayern Munich took the chance to snap up the German for £15m before loaning him out to Hoffenheim where once again he has taken the league by storm. He has also received international recognition and is seen as one of the brightest young sparks in European football.

4. Iago Aspas

Most Liverpool fans were happy to see the back of Iago Aspas in 2014, having failed to impress the Anfield faithful during his one and only season at the club. He was sold to Sevilla having made just 14 league appearances under Brendan Rodgers, as he looked to revive his career in Spain. 


After a promising start to life at Sevilla, Aspas' former team Celta Vigo decided to come back in for the forward and he would never look back. He is currently in his third season back with the club, and has scored 14, 19 and 16 goals in each respective season in La Liga since his return. 


He is currently the fifth top scorer in the La Liga trailing only to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann, and has also gained international recognition for his impressive performances. Now, it's even conceivable that Aspas may be on his way to the World Cup this summer with Spain. Who would've thought it?

3. Memphis Depay

Expectations were high for Memphis Depay when he signed for Manchester United in 2015 for £25m, however his career at Old Trafford was short lived. He lasted just a season and a half and failed to live up to the standards set by previous United number sevens.


In January 2017 he signed for French side Lyon in an attempt to get his career back on track, and it proved to be a good move. In a season and a half, Depay has scored 19 Ligue 1 goals in 48 appearances and is the vocal point of Bruno Genesio's team. This season alone, he's scored 14 goals and contributed 11 assists as Lyon currently sit in third place.


The move certainly looks to have revived his young career, and the Dutchman will look to continue his bright start next season as Lyon look to close the gap on the top two next season.

2. Edin Dzeko

Once a key target man for a Premier League winning Manchester City side, Edin Dzeko quickly fell out of favour under Manuel Pellegrini in 2015. It was a dire season which included just six goals and a run of 15 games without a goal for the Bosnian.


He was handed a lifeline at the end of the season, signing for Roma and has since become a key marksman in Europe. He scored 29 goals last season and his 14 league goals this season has helped Roma up to third in the Serie A table.


Perhaps most notably, it was his opening goal in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final tie against Barcelona which sparked a remarkable comeback from the Italians. They came back from a 4-1 deficit on aggregate to win 3-0 against one of the strongest sides in world football in the second leg and secure their passage to the semi finals.

1. Florian Thauvin

Previously deemed as an underachiever at Newcastle, Florain Thauvin certainly looks to have put them days behind him as his resurgence continues. He was in fact bought by the Magpies from Marseille in 2015 for £15m, and was tipped to be a very popular player in the Premier League. 


Unfortunately that never materialised, and just five months later after signing having made just 13 Premier League appearances, Thauvin was loaned back to Marseille for the remainder of the season. The loan deal became a permanent deal in the summer of 2017, and he has thrived in France ever since.


He is currently the fifth top goalscorer in Ligue 1 this season having scored 17 goals and as well as contributing 10 assists, and has helped guide Marseille out of a slump period and up to fourth in the league.


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