Manchester United brought Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford for a world record £100m after letting him leave for next to nothing July 2012. United are not the only club to make a mistake and take a former youth player back
Today we look at 10 youth wonderkids who went back to their first clubs.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Pogba first joined United in 2009 from Le Havre. A star for both Under-18’s and reserve team, winning the FA Youth Cup in 20011.
Appeared in seven matches during his three-year stay but found first team games hard to come by. Refused to sign a new contract, which ended in Manager Ferguson accusing Pogba of disrespecting Manchester United, saying, “It is disappointing. I don’t think he showed us any respect at all, to be honest.”
Moved to Italian giants Juventus in 2012 and became an instant hit, winning four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia’s in his four years at the club.
Pogba also became a regular in the French national team and won the 2013 Golden Boy Award.
Returned to former club, Manchester United for an all-time record for highest football transfer fee of £89.3 million.
Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich)
Joined Bayern Munich youth academy when he was six-year old and become a first team member in 2007.
But after just one first team appearance Hummels was sent on a season-long loan to Borussia Dortmund in 2008, where he quickly became first chose centre back.
The move was made permanent the following year for £3.5 million. Hummels went on to become one of the best centre backs in Germany, winning the World Cup in 2014.
Seven years, five trophies and over 300 games with Borussia Dortmund, he has re-signed for Bayern for an estimated £30 million in the summer of 2016.
Carlos Tevez (Boca Juniors)
Started his career with Boca Juniors as a teenager in 1997, and quickly became a fan favorite before moving to Brazilian club Corinthians in 2005 for €15 million.
After only one season in Brazil, Tevez was evolved in one of the strangest transfers in world football when he moved to West Ham United with Javier Mascherano. Tevez saved West Ham from relegation with a number of match winning goals, but issues surrounding the transfer saw him join Manchester United on a two-year loan.
Tevez won six trophies in his two-year with Manchester United, but United failed to sign him at the end of his loan and he moved to rivals Manchester City for a British record fee of £47 milion.
After helping City win their first league title in 44 years, Tevez was on the move again.
Two years and another two league title with Juventus saw him return to Boca in 2015.
He subsequently fulfilled his dream of winning the Argentinian league, and was also voted best player in the league in his first season.
Now playing in the Chinese Super League with Shanghai Shenhua, on a reported annual salary of $41 million.
Nicolas Anelka (Paris Saint-Germain)
Sold by Paris Saint-Germain to Arsenal for a just £500,000 in 1997, Anelka had two successful years in London, winning the double.
Scoring his first goal against Manchester United as Arsenal won the double, being namedd the PFA Young Player of the Year.
A hard year in Spain with giants Real Madrid in 1999 followed after £22.3 million move, where he failed to score in his first five months at the club.
Despite helping Real to their eighth Champions League title, Anelka made a move back to Paris Saint-Germain the following summer for £22 million.
Anelka became a football journeyman playing for clubs in England, Turkey, Italy, China and India.
Gerard Piqué (Barcelona)
Piqué signed for Manchester United from Barcelona’s youth team in 2004 by Manchester United for €5.25 million.
In his four years in Manchester, he managed only one season as part of the first team and won the League title. A successful loan with Real Zaragoza saw Barcelona look to buy Piqué back.
Returned to Camp Nou after failing to dislodge United’s first chose centre backs Vidic and Ferdinand in a deal worth £4.5 million.
The central defender has been an indispensable part of Barcelona’s backline winning a number of trophies with both Barcelona and Spain.
Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
A Borussia Dortmund youth player for ten years before he moved to Rot Weiss Ahlen on a free transfer in 2006
A successful three-year spell at Borussia Mönchengladbach followed, where he scored 41 goals in 109 games from midfield.
Reus returned to the Westfalenstadion in 2012 for €17.1 million and has become an integral part of the Black and Yellows’ first team.
Injuries have plagued his recent years but he still remains one of Dortmund’s best players.
Robbie Fowler (Liverpool)
One of Liverpool’s best ever strikers in the early 90’s, Fowler was even given the nickname ‘God’.
Left Liverpool to join Leeds United in 2001 for £13 million after being dropped by manager Gérard Houllier and being evolved in a training ground confrontation with assistant manager Phil Thompson.
Returned to Anfield in 2006 on a free transfer in 2006 after a three-year spell with Manchester City.
The reunion was only to be for one season and stints with Cardiff, Blackburn followed before Fowler tried his luck abroad in Australia and Thailand.
Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona)
Played in the same Barcelona youth team as Spanish teammate Piqué. He moved from Barcelona’s youth academy to Arsenal in 2003 for £2 million.
An impressive nine-years with the Gunners, saw him became Arsenal’s youngest-ever first team player, aged 16 years and 177 days and youngest goalscorer in Arsenal’s history. Became club captain in the 2008-2009 season but only won one trophy in all his time in England.
Fàbregas decided to return home to Barcelona for £26.5 million in 2011, but after helping his club win a number of titles he never managed to become a first team star.
Fabregas returned to England with Arsenal’s rivals Chelsea.
Graeme Le Saux (Chelsea)
Le Saux started his football career with Chelsea’s youth team, going on to become a first team regular at the Stamford Bridge.
Moved to Blackburn Rovers in 1993 for €1 million and winning the Premier League title in 1995 before making a return to Chelsea in 1997.
Six-years at Chelsea saw Le Saux become the most expensive English defender at £5 million. He went on to lift a number of trophies before finishing his career with Southampton.
Mark Hughes (Manchester United)
Walsh international moved through Manchester United’s youth teams to become a first team regular at Old Trafford in 1980.
After six years he moved to Barcelona for a transfer fee of £2 million, Joining English Manager Terry Venables and forward Gary Lineker.
He was loaned to Bayern Munich after only one season at the Camp Nou.
Returned to Manchester United 1998 for £1.83 million. Enjoyed seven-years at Old Trafford in his second spell, winning a number of domestic trophies and scoring two goals in the 1991 Cup Winners Cup Final against Barcelona.
Left United for Chelsea where he won another three trophies before seeing out his career with Southampton, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.
Do you know any more players who have returned to their youth clubs? Let us know on Twitter @footwonderkids
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