There was a time when the idea of a Spanish club signing a player from the Premier League was seen as folly, not just because players from England were considered technically deficient, but because they cost far too much to be sensible buys.
Things have changed markedly in recent years as the standard of English football has risen considerably, with the international team often being installed among the favourites to win major tournaments. These recent trends have seen a rash of Premier League stars swap life in the cold and rainy UK for the warmer climes of La Liga.
Often, such players are tipped by betting experts to fail in their new surrounds, but there are some who prove all the doubters wrong, taking to the new style of play like ducks to water. Here we detail some of the former Premier League outcasts who are now delivering for those betting punters who regularly back them to perform in the Spanish topflight.
It would be wrong to start with anyone else because, since moving on from Arsenal, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been a revelation at Camp Nou, with the Gabon international knocking in regular goals, including a brace in Barcelona’s thrashing of Real Madrid in the March Clasico.
There was never any doubt about the quality he had, but Arsenal fans had lost trust in a player who seemed to go off the boil almost as soon as he was granted a new lucrative contract. It remains to be seen if he will behave in the same way at Barcelona, although he probably knows that, like many new Barça recruits, he is in the last chance saloon.
Unfortunately for Alberto Moreno, he never really seemed to fit into Jürgen Klopp’s plans at Liverpool – his appearances in the first team diminished year-on-year, until he was eventually forced to find a new home.
That new home has turned out to be Villarreal, a team where he has finally made himself an integral part of the squad. At the time of writing, he has already made 34 appearances during the 2021/22 season, as well as chipping in with 6 precious goals. There’s no doubt that he is fitting in better in his native Spain than he ever did in England.
Adama Traoré Diarra
Wolves fans were often left wondering how on earth they had managed to attract a player of the calibre of Adama Traoré Diarra, with the powerful winger tearing Premier League defences apart on a weekly basis.
It therefore made total sense to those same fans when Traoré returned to the place where his footballing journey began: Barcelona. His marauding runs combined with silky skills have taken Camp Nou by storm and he is already building an incredible partnership with Aubameyang.
Sometimes it’s the skilful playmakers who slip through the cracks in the Premier League, with their all-action midfield counterparts being preferred to them. Such was the case with Suso, who tantalised Liverpool fans with his performances in the reserves, only to lose out on his shot in the first team.
Liverpool’s loss has been Sevilla’s gain, with Suso consistently rating as one of the most productive midfielders in La Liga, both in terms of assists and goals. He is one of the main driving forces behind Sevilla becoming serious title challengers in Spain.
Yet another Premier League outcast who is reinventing himself at Camp Nou, Ferran Torres has missed some sitters since joining Barcelona, but he has not let that keep him down. He has added some much-needed dynamism to Barça’s front line and appears to be the perfect foil for Aubameyang.
Barcelona fans certainly appear to have taken to the young forward, who may well turn out to be one of the best signings of recent times.