Football News

Ex-Chelsea No.9 finds seventh club since leaving Blues: Done deals you might have missed this week

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 20:30, 22 January 2022

There’s not long to go now before the January transfer window shuts but business is booming.

As things stand we’ve got at least one full week until clubs across Europe and beyond cease business for at least a few months. This past week has seen some clubs moving players around, with Arsenal most notably offloading defenders Pablo Mari and Sead Kolašinac to Udinese and Marseille respectively.

But they are not the only standout — albeit in some cases forgotten — names who’ve been on the move this week.

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1. Vágner Love

From: Kairat Almaty

To: FC Midtjylland

Talk about a blast from the past. During the 2000s there wasn’t a more colourful marksman than CSKA Moscow striker Vágner Love whose distinct hairstyle made him stand out from the crowd. Since leaving the Russian outfit permanently in 2012, Love has embarked on something of a journeyman career, representing no fewer than eight clubs across three continents, as well as returning to CSKA for one more stint. Turning 37 last summer, the Rio-born centre-forward is showing no signs of slowing down and has now made three-time Danish champions Midtjylland his latest home.

2. Carl Jenkinson

From: Nottingham Forest

To: Melbourne City

For a while, after breaking through at Arsenal, there was a strong belief Carl Jenkinson would become England’s first-choice right-back. Having been eligible to represent Finland at international level, the Arsenal man opted for the Three Lions, but he earned a solitary cap. It never quite worked out for him at the Emirates and following a temporary stay at West Ham, Jenkinson joined Nottingham Forest where regular playing time was also scarce. Having last played for Forest in January 2021, Jenkinson has now taken his game to Australia with Melbourne City on a six-month loan.

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3. Hatem Ben Arfa

From: Free agent

To: Lille

Both were touted for big things when coming up together at Lyon, but it’s fair to say Karim Benzema achieved his full potential with Hatem Ben Arfa being one of football’s big ‘what ifs’. That’s not to say the former Newcastle United winger hasn’t enjoyed a productive career. Unlike his more illustrious compatriot and former teammate: Ben Arfa has been here, there and everywhere. Lille are Ben Arfa’s latest club; the 15-time France international had been a free agent after leaving Bordeaux in the summer and has signed a six-month contract with Lille, his seventh Ligue 1 club.

4. Tonny Vilhena

From: Krasnodar

To: Espanyol

Barcelona has been a good city for Dutch footballers. The latest to call Spain’s second city home is Tonny Vilhena but he’s not linking up with the De Jongs and Memphis Depay at the Nou Camp. The former Feyenoord academy graduate has instead joined their neighbours Espanyol on loan, just his second transfer in a decade-long career. His first move saw him move from Feyenoord to Krasnodar in 2019, where he has managed nine goals across 79 matches in all competitions from midfield.

5. Jordon Ibe

From: Free agent

To: Adanaspor

In football there’s no guarantee of success when turning out for a historically great club. Jordon Ibe made over 40 league appearances for Liverpool having joined the club as a teenager but his Anfield days are long behind him. Ibe famously joined Bournemouth in 2016 for a then club-record fee but his stay was limited to just four seasons before joining Derby County where his career quietened down. But after six months without a club, leaving Derby last summer, Ibe is back playing once again, joining Turkish second-tier side Adanaspor.

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6. Cristiano Piccini

From: Valencia

To: Red Star Belgrade

Although born and raised in Italy, Cristiano Piccini has spent most of his career playing outside the southern European nation. The three-time Azzurri international, who made just one Serie A appearance for boyhood club Fiorentina, turned out for Real Betis and Sporting Cp before joining Valencia in 2018. Enjoying Copa del Rey success in his second season, Piccini played 51 times for Valencia but his time at the Mestalla is up. The 29-year-old is now preparing for life in a fourth different top flight, with Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade.

7. Franco Di Santo

From: San Lorenzo

To: Göztepe

Many young guns have come through at Chelsea in the Roman Abramovich era promising so much only to fall by the wayside. Franco Di Santo is among them. Once favourably compared to Argentinian striker Hernán Crespo and given the No.9, the ex-Blue has enjoyed modest spells away from Stamford Bridge including a productive time at Werder Bremen. But since leaving them for Schalke, the Argentina has gone quietly under the radar. Di Santo has spent the past two-and-a-half years back in South America, representing Atletico Mineiro and San Lorenzo but he is now on his way back to Europe, joining Turkish Super Göztepe.