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Southampton misfit may be Premier League’s latest ‘Aquilani’

| 12.11.2013

Southampton paid £12m for Gaston Ramirez in the summer of 2012, but Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t appear to see a place for the Uruguayan in his starting XI and now Ramirez looks like joining some notable Premier League ‘flops’ by making a swift return to Serie A.

The vast numbers of foreign players to have flourished on English shores make the Premier League the brilliantly exciting spectacle we see before us today.

Ever since legendary players such as Dennis Bergkamp and Gianfranco Zola wowed us with their exquisite skills, we have delighted in many continental imports.

But occasionally, even when the big bucks are shelled out, it just doesn’t happen for some so-called stars and they seem to leave almost as soon as they turned up, only to excel once again in another of Europe’s top divisions.

Players such as Bosko Balaban, Diego Forlan, Fernando Morientes, Alberto Aquilani, Gerard Pique and Gervinho have all endured torrid times in short spells at English clubs, but have since gone on to return to their best elsewhere.

Aquilani cost Liverpool £20m, yet he never settled on Merseyside, before being sent back to Italy on loan and now he is one of Fiorentina’s top performers and back in the Italy squad.

The latest edition to the list looks like being Saints’ one-time record signing Ramirez.

Although Saints parted with an enormous amount of cash for the Bologna star, who had been making a splash in Serie A in the number 10 role, it’s just never quite happened in England.

Brought in by former Saints’ manager Nigel Adkins, Ramirez’ first season was injury-hit and underwhelming with the odd flash of what he was capable of.

However, he clearly doesn’t fit in with Pochettino’s high-pressing, fast-paced game, where he hasn’t started once in the league this season and now Inter and Fiorentina are thought to be preparing bids to take him back to Italy in January.

And it would be no surprise to see him flourish once more in a league where he made a name for himself.

Meanwhile, Southampton are clearly doing alright without Ramirez in the team though, a heady third in the Premier League, and priced at 4/1 for a top-six finish.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.