Imperfect 10: strikers' suspect second spells

Craig Bellamy's return to Anfield seems like a good deal for all concerned – Man City get rid of a player they don't want, Liverpool get a potential game-changer and the Welshman himself gets the chance to show off his improved golf swing.

But they say you should never go back, and the stats seem to back up the superstition. We analysed the goalscoring records of 10 Premier League-era strikers who'd gone back for more, and ended up scoring less (or, grammatically, fewer).

The 10 players we analysed are Bellamy's Anfield antecedents Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush, along with Duncan Ferguson (Everton), Kevin Davies (Southampton), Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn), Paul Dickov (Man City) and Spurs quartet Robbie Keane, Teddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmann and Jermain Defoe.

As you can see below, almost without exception the former favourites struggled upon their return. Dickov and Santa Cruz failed to even trouble the scoresheet. But standing head and shoulders above them – which is unusual for him – is Jermain Defoe, who's had a better second spell at Spurs. Well done JD...

Ian Rush (Liverpool)
First spell 1980-87: 207 goals in 331 games (0.62 goals per game)
Second spell 1988-96: 139 in 329 (0.42)
s


Teddy Sheringham (Tottenham)First spell 1992-97: 98 in 197 (0.50)
Second spell 2001-03: 26 in 80 (0.33)



Robbie Fowler (Liverpool)
First spell 1993-2002: 171 in 330 (0.52)Second spell 2006-07: 13 in 39 (0.33)


Duncan Ferguson (Everton) First spell 1994-98: 35 in 107 (0.33)
Second spell 2000-06: 25 in 123 (0.20)

Jurgen Klinsmann (Tottenham) First spell 1994-95: 30 in 50 (0.60)
Second spell 1998-99: 9 in 15 (0.60)



Paul Dickov (Man City) First spell 1996-2002: 35 in 158 (0.22)
Second spell 2006-08: 0 in 16 (0.00)

Kevin Davies (Southampton) First spell 1997-98: 12 in 30 (0.40)
Second spell 1999-03: 13 in 95 (0.14)

Robbie Keane (Tottenham) First spell 2002-08: 107 in 254 (0.42)Second spell 2009-11: 14 in 39 (0.36)

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) First spell 2003-08: 64 in 177 (0.36)
Second spell 2009-present: 38 in 86 (0.44)



Roque Santa Cruz - Blackburn First spell 2007-09: 39 in 70 (0.55)
Second spell 2011: 0 in 5 (0.00)

Topics