Joselu celebrates scoring for Espanyol in their La Liga match against Girona at RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, January 2023.

10 Premier League flops thriving in Europe: Joselu, Valencia, Janssen…

The Premier League can make or break a footballer’s reputation, but former players from Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham are among those currently proving that failing to make the grade in England need not be terminal. 

With Premier League clubs eager to sign players from all over Europe, and equally keen to cut their losses if they’re not an instant success, many international stars have successfully rehabilitated themselves away from English soil.

We’ve identified 10 players that have put their underwhelming Premier League experiences well and truly behind them.


Many Premier League fans would’ve rubbed their eyes to see Joselu score twice on his international debut this month – but the striker has been tearing it up in La Liga this season.

After arriving in England back in 2015, Joselu struggled to nail down a starting spot at both Stoke and Newcastle and barely an eyebrow was raised when he left to join Alaves in 2019.

Now in his thirties, the striker has notched 12 in 22 appearances for Espanyol, putting him third in the 2022-23 goalscorers chart and earning him a call-up to the Spain squad.

“I still can’t believe I’ve scored twice on my debut,” Joselu said after scoring twice against Norway. “For any player, this is just the greatest thing that can happen. It’s a reward for all the daily work you put in across a career.

“Just now, when there’s euphoria, I want to thank my wife, my mum, and my kids. They’ve all put in a mighty effort to support me to be here.”


You do remember Danilo? Right? We’d forgive you if you didn’t…

One of the identikit full-backs signed by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Danilo spent two middling seasons in England before moving to Juventus as part of the deal that took Joao Cancelo to the Etihad.

Despite Italy’s most well-supported club suffering a difficult season – points deduction, early Champions League exit – Danilo has shone as the team’s captain and has become something of a totem for the Juventus supporters.

Enner Valencia

Twenty-five goals in 21 league games for Fenerbahce. ‘Nuff said.

Vincent Janssen

One of the many Eredivisie strikers to find the step up to the Premier League too much, Janssen is now firing them in for Royal Antwerp in the Belgian league.

After scoring just six times for Tottenham, persuading Daniel Levy to put away the chequebook for good, the Netherlands international had a curious spell in Mexico before joining Antwerp last summer.

And, with 18 goals in 37 appearances, Janssen has seemingly finally found a proper home. Nice.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

We demand to know Choupo-Moting’s secret; having failed at Stoke, being part of a squad that succumbed to relegation after 10 years in the Premier League, the Cameroon international found the sweetest of gigs at PSG.

After two seasons in France, which included one of the worst misses of all time, he failed upwards once more with a transfer to Bayern Munich.

He’s scored 17 times in 26 games in 2022-23, which is the best tally of his career, and helped eliminate PSG in the last 16 of the Champions League. Give his agent a pay rise!

Remy Cabella

One of the more forgettable French imports during the Graham Carr era, Cabella spent one season at Newcastle before scuttling off to Marseille in 2015.

While some natives at St James’ Park thought he’d been dispensed with too early, it took the attacking midfielder another four seasons to really find his feet during his time at Krasnodar.

Now back in France, Cabella is now thriving at Lille as they push to qualify for Europe next year.

Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye celebrates scoring against Manchester United, January 2012.

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Juan Foyth

It’s hard to know whether Foyth was any good at Tottenham; he had his moments, but he came across as too raw to truly thrive in the Premier League.

Now with perennial over-achievers Villarreal, the defender has performed consistently well in Spain and was part of Argentina’s World Cup-winning squad last year.

Reports linking him to Barcelona and Juventus are merited; Foyth is beginning to blossom into an excellent centre-back. Oh, Spurs…

Iago Aspas

Forget ‘that corner’, Aspas has scored double-digits for the eighth consecutive season at Celta Vigo and is one of our heroes.

Fabio Borini

Borini is more fondly remembered by supporters of Swansea and Sunderland than Chelsea or Liverpool, but the forward is currently enjoying his best season of all out in Turkey.

Now into his third year at Fatih Karagumruk, Borini has scored 16 goals in 24 appearances for the Istanbul club, helping them to compete with some of the country’s biggest clubs.

“It has taught me how to adapt to what you have,” Borini told the Daily Mail this year. “Don’t moan about what you could have and don’t have – which I was doing the first few months.

“You don’t have a training ground? Ok, in my free time, twice a week I go to the park to do my extra training… if you need to do recovery, you go to a hotel or a pool.

“I needed probably more time than I expected to adapt because culturally it’s very different. Here it is all a bit loose.”

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

We couldn’t compile this list without including a Napoli player; the runaway Serie A leaders have been a revelation this season and large swathes of the continent will be praying they reach the Champions League final in May.

But, while Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia have garnered most of the plaudits, a former Fulham midfielder is quietly enjoying an impressive campaign in the middle of the park.

Anguissa suffered two relegations with the Cottagers before joining Napoli on loan in 2021. After making his move permanent last summer, the Cameroon international is performing brilliantly alongside the revolutionary Stanislav Lobotka.

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