Football is not an exact science. A player can thrive in one environment and flounder in another.
That can be because of on-field issues such as tactics, personnel or the style of a new league. Or it can be down to off-field problems, like a failure to settle in a different city or country.
Throughout the division’s history, there have been countless examples of players enduring difficult spells at Premier League clubs.
On occasion, some of those strugglers go on to thrive elsewhere, leaving fans scratching their heads and wondering why they weren’t as effective with their own team. Here are 10 such examples…
Mohamed Salah (Chelsea)
Mohamed Salah struggled during his time with Chelsea
Salah has established himself as one of the world’s best players at Liverpool, but his first taste of Premier League life wasn’t so sweet. The Egyptian struggled to break into the Chelsea team and scored only two Premier League goals in two years at the club.
He was far more productive during a loan stint at Fiorentina, before notching 15 and 19 goals in two full seasons at Roma. Those exploits convinced Liverpool to spend £36.9m on his signature in 2017.
Gerard Pique (Manchester United)
Gerard Pique could not become a regular at Manchester United
(Image: Getty Images)
Pique, like Cesc Fabregas, left Barcelona’s youth system to join a Premier League club as a teeanger. He was markedly less successful than his compatriot in England, however, making just 12 league appearances for Manchester United before returning to Barcelona in 2008.
He remains a regular starter at the Camp Nou 12 years on, having won eight La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues with his hometown team.
Luis Alberto (Liverpool)
Luis Alberto was rarely seen in a Liverpool shirt
Luis Alberto spent three years on Liverpool’s books but turned out just 12 times for the club…