8 Premier League rejects who are reigniting their careers overseas this season

Matthew Gault
The ex-Red Devils winger is rebuilding his career in Spain and is adamant he is committed to being a professional footballer

Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad)

The Belgian offered Manchester United fans flickers of brilliance when he broke through in 2013, but it never quite happened for the youngster and he failed to live up to the billing that came with being allocated Ryan Giggs’s No.11 shirt.

After a fruitless loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, Januzaj’s reunion with former United boss David Moyes at Sunderland proved a false dawn. After the Black Cats were relegated last season, Januzaj was deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford by Jose Mourinho, and was sold to Real Sociedad for £9.7m.

Although he’s yet to set La Liga alight, the 22-year-old has shown hints that his career is finally on an upward trajectory again. He recently returned from a minor knee injury to play a part in Sociedad's 6-0 Europa League win at Vardar.

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Memphis Depay (Lyon)

Another Old Trafford outcast, the mercurial Dutchman has found a new lease of life as part of Bruno Genesio’s exciting Lyon side. Depay was labelled an expensive flop in the Premier League following a string of unimpressive performances, with everything from his attitude to his weight coming under scrutiny.

However, after making the switch to Ligue 1 in January, the winger has recaptured a semblance of the form that prompted Manchester United to pay PSV Eindhoven £25m for his services in 2015.

Depay has scored 11 goals in 29 games for Lyon, while adding 10 assists. He recently sealed a superb hat-trick against Troyes with a Panenka penalty and a cheeky wink to the fans. That’s where his confidence is at right now.

The 23-year-old says he believes he can one day play for Real Madrid. That looks a stretch at this stage, but he has made strides in the right direction since leaving United.

Simone Zaza (Valencia)

West Ham fans don’t have much to shout about at the moment, and hearing that Zaza is now scoring goals on a weekly basis will only compound their misery.

The Italian failed to net in 11 appearances while on loan with the Hammers, but showed signs of a rebirth when he scored six in 20 games for Valencia in the second half of last season.

This season, however, Zaza has established himself as one of Spain’s deadliest marksmen, scoring eight goals in nine games and helping Valencia to second place.

Only Lionel Messi has scored more than Zaza in La Liga this season, contrasting wildly with the plight of Javier Hernandez – the man signed as Zaza’s replacement in east London.

Bafetimbi Gomis (Galatasary)

Gomis surpassed the 20-goal mark in each of his three seasons for Lyon before joining Swansea, but struggled to find the net with such regularity at the Liberty Stadium.

Swans fans might feel aggrieved to learn, then, that Gomis has rediscovered his devastating touch in front of goal since leaving South Wales. He spent last season on loan at Marseille, where he scored 21 times in 34 appearances.

Yet after returning from the Stade Velodrome, Swansea sold Gomis to Galatasary with a deal in place to sign Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham on loan.

However, neither Abraham nor Wilfried Bony – who returned to the Swans from Manchester City – have been able to match Gomis’s endeavours in Turkey, where the 32-year-old has scored nine goals in eight appearances... and subjected Gala supporters to that bizarre hands-and-knees celebration of his.

Gabriel Paulista (Valencia)

Despite initially impressing at Arsenal after signing from Villarreal in January 2015, Gabriel failed to convince Arsene Wenger that he was a long-term replacement for Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny.

Wenger instead placed his faith in Calum Chambers and Rob Holding, and allowed the Brazilian defender to join Valencia. The 26-year-old has since settled in well at the Mestalla and looked steady alongside Ezequiel Garay at the heart of Los Che’s defence.

Valencia’s attractive brand of attacking football under Marcelino has left Gabriel exposed at times, but he’s definitely enjoying life back in Spain after playing a bit-part role at the Emirates.

Loic Remy (Las Palmas) 

The Frenchman, whose time in England was ravaged by injury, is this list’s anomaly: he is rebuilding his career in a team that's struggling. With no future at Chelsea, Remy was offered the chance of regular football at Las Palmas and, while the Canary Islanders are languishing 18th in La Liga, Remy has offered some encouragement.

The former Newcastle favourite, now aged 30, scored a late winner to beat Athletic Bilbao earlier in the season, and also found the net against Malaga and Celta Vigo.

Remy always seems on the verge of another injury but, if he stays fit this season, his clinical touch in front of goal may prove vital in Las Palmas retaining their top-flight status.

Mario Balotelli (Nice)

Balotelli has proved a real hit for Nice after losing his way at Manchester City and, later, Liverpool.

The Italian looked lost at times during his solitary season at Anfield, managing only four goals in 28 appearances. And while a second stint at Milan didn’t work out, he has flourished in Ligue 1.

Balotelli scored 17 goals in 28 games for Lucien Favre’s side last season, and has continued in the same vein this term with nine in 12. At 27, Balotelli is at his peak and in prolific form after a subdued end to his time in England.

For a gifted player often hindered by his volatile personality, it’s been heartening to see Balotelli on the road to redemption in France.

Luis Alberto (Lazio)

The Spanish playmaker never broke into Liverpool’s first team and, following loan spells at Malaga and Deportivo La Coruna, seems to have found a new home at Lazio.

Ciro Immobile has stolen most of the headlines for Simone Inzaghi’s high-flying Biancocelesti with 13 goals, but Alberto was the driving force in their recent win over champions Juventus and has thrived in the midfield alongside another fellow former Red, Lucas Leiva.

Alberto struggled to make an impression last season in Italy but, after working with sports psychologist Juan Carlos Campillo, has lifted his game to a new level and is crucial in Lazio’s bid for Champions League qualification.

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