Two particular deals stood out for me among the final stretch of the January transfer window activity, those of the Sandro and Roque Mesa who were both "repatriated" by Sevilla FC. Both players had hugely successful 2016/17 LaLiga campaigns, with Málaga and Las Palmas respectively which in turn saw subsequent moves to Everton and Swansea. They both moved last summer and have already returned and join the rank of Spanish players who failed to adapt to a new footballing environment. They contrast with the likes of: Xabi Alonso, Torres, Cesc, Arteta, Silva, Cazorla, Mata, Reina... but the list of players who fail to make the cut away from LaLiga is higher.
Failure and success
Iago Aspas is one name that comes to mind, a lethal striker with Celta who failed to impress with Liverpool and is back in great form at the Vigo based outfit. Add to the list Nolito, Lucas Pérez, Juanmi, Jesús Navas, Pau López, Denis Suárez, Albentosa, Carles Gil, Amat, Borja Bastón and Luis Hernández. It's not just a phenomenon reserved for Spanish players with the likes of Atlético's Filipe Luis and Diego Costa having short spells in South West London at Chelsea. Many players are also sent off to England as teenagers and fail to make the cut with Cesc and Arteta being two exceptions to that rule. Piqué fitted in at Old Trafford but only after a loan spell with Zaragoza and I remember meeting San José when at Liverpool, where, upon he return to LaLiga impressed with Athletic. One can add to the failure list, the countless of lesser known players who move to The Championship or lower leagues and fail to adapt forcing a premature return to Spain.
It may not be a good idea for parents to send their sons abroad so soon in their lives. For developed professional players there are the constant complaints of problems of adaptation with climate, language, food and even training methods cited as a failure to gel into the new environment. Players also claim that their partners or wives suffer from loneliness or boredom and with London being an exception, many cities are seen as unattractive or dull. Players go for the lure of a bigger pay packet but many fail to arrive with the right mental attitude and fortunately can force a return knowing that their previous reputation will be enough to open doors at a series of LaLiga clubs.