Top 5 South American Premier League Hits & Flops
After Chile’s Alexis Sanchez’ recent arrival at Arsenal, I’ve decided to take a look back at the biggest South American hits and flops to ever grace the Premier League.
1. Luis Suarez
Despite his on-field indiscretions during his time at Liverpool there’s no disputing the controversial Uruguayan is one of the best ever imports into the Premier League, never mind South American.
With a goal haul of 69 in just 110 appearances, Suarez will leave a huge void for Brendan Rodgers to fill this summer.
2. Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez enjoyed an eventful spell in English football before his departure to Juventus last summer.
His first season saw him controversially save West Ham from relegation before moving to Manchester United, where he won two league titles and the Champions League prior to his contentious move to the blue side of Manchester.
He added another Premier League title while at City but his relationship with City soured after refusing to warm-up during a Champions League match with Bayern Munich.
The epitome of successful South American signings, Juninho enjoyed three spells at Middlesborough where he earned legendary status for his displays and obvious love for the club.
He helped Boro to their first ever cup finals (they lost both) in his first spell at the club, before finally winning them silverware – the League Cup – during his final stay. He claimed this triumph meant more to him than winning the World Cup with Brazil.
The little playmaker, affectionately known as “The Little Fella” on Teeside, is still revered at the Riverside Stadium.
4. Gustavo Poyet
The current Sunderland boss, and father of recent West Ham signing, Gustavo was one of many exotic mid-90s Chelsea signings long before the Abramovich era, joining the likes of Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zola at the club.
While not as glamorous as those team-mates he was the fulcrum of the Blues side for four seasons contributing a goal every three games from midfield, including the winner in the UEFA Cup Super Final against Real Madrid.
He later moved to Spurs where, despite a series of injuries, he also became an integral part of their side.
5. Nolberto Solano
Another player, like Juninho, whose limitations were excused by fans in the North East in lieu of his genuine warmth and affection for the club.
Best remembered for some audacious solo goals and dead-ball prowess, the winger made 200 appearances for Newcastle during his first spell at the club before a move to Aston Villa, where he was Player of the Season in 2005.
He returned to St. James’ Park for two seasons before moving West Ham after what must be regarded a highly successful decade in the Premier League. After a spells in Greece and his home of Peru he returned to line out for Leicester City, Hull City and Hartlepool United until his retirement in 2012.
A cautionary tale of signing players based on their World Cup performances, United snapped up the midfielder for £6.5 million following a string of impressive displays for Brazil’s World Cup-winning side of 2002.
He lasted just two seasons at Old Trafford, making twenty appearances before being shipped off to Besiktas.
Seasoned Premier League followers, particularly Manchester City fans, wouldn’t have been particularly surprised at Brazil’s World Cup capitulation when they realised Jo was one of the main strikers in their squad.
The forward was Mark Hughes’ first signing for £19 million, and that was before the oil money arrived in Manchester. One league goal later, he was sent on loan to Everton, where he also failed to impress.
3. Juan Sebastian Veron
There’s no disputing that the Argentinian was a class act. However, he just didn’t fit into Manchester United’s system, and already almost perfect midfield of Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham, following a £28.1 million move from Lazio in 2001.
Sir Alex Ferguson soon cut his losses and recouped £15 million from Chelsea for the midfielder, who also failed to reproduce his Serie A form at Stamford Bridge.
The latest in a long line of “New Peles”, the Brazilian playmaker arrived to great fanfare as the first marquee signing of Sheikh Mansour’s reign at Manchester City.
His initial performances were encouraging but his form, and attitude, soon petered out. After earning a reputation as a trouble-maker at the club he was soon loaned back to Brazil before a move to AC Milan.
5. Andre Santos
The old cliché goes that Brazilians can’t defend – an accusation which they didn’t exactly do much to dispel against Germany and Holland – and this one certainly couldn’t.
The left-back’s dismal 18-month spell at Arsenal is best remembered for Santos swapping shirts at half-time with Robin van Persie during a crucial clash with Manchester United. He was quickly dispatched back to Brazil, where he now lines out for Flamengo.