Former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson is the new assistant coach of MLS franchise New York City FC. Much-maligned during his time at Old Trafford, the World Cup-winning Brazilian resurfacing in the news still sparks an element of nostalgia.
Inspired by the return of Fergie’s folly, The Sportsman takes a look at some other players who were perceived as flops, and what they’ve been up to since their time in the Premier League came to an end.
The Spanish striker was coming off a pair of prolific seasons for Celta Vigo when Brendan Rodgers brought him to Liverpool in 2013. But Aspas had left his goal-scoring touch back in Spain, failing to register a single Premier League strike for his new club.
A year on loan at Sevilla was slightly more kind but it was his return to Celta that revived his career. Aspas has become the top scorer in club history with a whopping 418 goals and has won the Zarra Trophy four times, an award given to the highest Spanish scorer in La Liga each year. Still playing for Los Celestes at the age of 34, Aspas remains prolific, netting 18 league goals last season.
Even more so than Kleberson, Bebe has long been considered Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest mistake. Sure, his seven-game Manchester United career will always be remembered poorly, but Bebe was often treated like he did not even deserve to be a footballer.
Happily that is an assertion Bebe has proven wrong in the years since his Old Trafford departure. While spells at Eibar and Benfica failed to truly catch fire, Bebe has found his home at La Liga side Rayo Vallecano. The Portuguese winger has spent six seasons at the club if you include two loan spells while at Benfica and Eibar. Bebe is a first team regular and last season his side finished a creditable 12th in the league, also reaching the Copa Del Rey semi-finals.
Chelsea’s misfiring Serbian centre forward came to Stamford Bridge with a mammoth reputation. 105 goals in 122 Eredivisie games for PSV Eindhoven meant expectations were sky-high when Kezman arrived in west London.
He never came close to those lofty heights, managing just four goals in his sole season at the club. Kezman did aim for loftier heights of a different type though. A devout Christian who wore an undershirt depicting Jesus during games, he pledged to become a monk of the church in 2008.
The Guadeloupe-born stopper was Leicester City’s back-up goalkeeper before securing a dream move to Liverpool in 2000. Incredibly, his medal haul would exceed his appearance stats at Anfield. Arphexad won six medals as an unused substitute on Merseyside while making only five starts for the club.
It was rumoured that Arphexad had attempted an acting career after retiring and, when it failed to take off, he switched to adult films. This wild assertion was dispelled by the man himself in an interview with a local Leicester newspaper. The truth is slightly more mundane. Arphexad now works for a sports insurance company.
The excitement at Goodison Park was palpable when Real Madrid star Royston Drenthe joined Everton on loan in 2011-12. A handful of goals aside, the reality never quite lived up to the hype. It came to be the story of Drenthe’s career, as he’s drifted through clubs as diverse as Sheffield Wednesday, Sparta Rotterdam and Kozakken Boys.
He now plies his trade for Real Murcia in the Spanish third tier. Keeping himself busy away from the pitch, Drenthe has dated Playboy model Malena Gracia, recorded a song with Dutch rapper U-Niq, opened his own clothing store and then filed for bankruptcy. To sum up, Drenthe is a walking Netflix series.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change