There’s something heartwarming about players who were once vilified for their very ability to kick a football – the most basic of tasks in their lucrative job description – suddenly become quite good.
It resonates with the average fan, always dreaming of putting on their club’s shirt and taking to the pitch, hoping the gaffer notices them in the crowd one day and brings them on as a substitute.
Moussa Sissoko truly went from zero to hero at Tottenham, becoming the embodiment of their run to the Champions League final, and was rewarded with a new contract on Friday.
In his glorious honour, we’ve compiled a list of the best players to turn their fortunes around at one club.
Fabian Delph – Manchester City
A club with a seemingly bottomless transfer budget wouldn’t normally go out of their way to sign a mid-table player, which is exactly what ?Fabian Delph looked like after moving from ?Aston Villa to ?Manchester City.
An injury crisis at left-back is what kept Delph at City, with Pep Guardiola turning the midfielder into a defender, looking at home as they romped their way to 100 points in the 2017/18 season.
Delph left for ?Everton this summer, but will go down in history as an important cog in City’s greatest ever side.
Victor Moses – Chelsea
Much like Delph, ?Victor Moses found his place as a regular for a title-winning side when he moved further back down the pitch.
Antonio Conte needed an athletic wing-back to play his 3-4-3 system back in the 2016/17 campaign, and Moses was the only player in the squad who fit the profile. His downfall started at the end of that season though after he was sent off in the FA Cup final, with ?Chelsea eventually losing 2-1 to ?Arsenal.
He has now rejoined the Blues’ loan army, namely their Fenerbahce branch.
Jordan Henderson – Liverpool
The midfielder looked utterly hopeless after a disappointing couple of seasons at the start of his ?Liverpool career, being shifted between central midfield and right wing in search of his best position.
Brendan Rodgers managed to get glimpses of brilliance out of ?Henderson in the 2013/14 season, but it wasn’t until Jurgen Klopp’s arrival that he turned into pivotal no. 6 he is for them today.
Captain, leader, legend?
Luka Modric – Real Madrid
?Luka Modric’s quality was obvious to anyone who saw him at ?Tottenham, one of few players in the ?Premier League at the time who made their team better simply by being on the pitch.
It was a surprise to fans in England when the Croatian was voted the worst ?La Liga signing of the 2012/13 season during his maiden campaign at ?Real Madrid.
A little patience was required over in Spain, as Modric soon became the best midfielder in the world, with his crowning glory coming in 2018 by winning the Ballon d’Or.
Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal
How good Laurent Koscielny was for Arsenal will long be debated for years, but at worst, he was a pretty good defender.
His start at the Gunners, however, was like watching a fish out of water – he couldn’t look any less like he didn’t belong at the Emirates Stadium, infamously being at fault for ?Birmingham’s winner in the 2011 League Cup final.
From there on, the defender didn’t look back, becoming one of the league’s most reliable players and forming a formidable partnership with Per Mertesacker.
Danny Rose – Tottenham
The career arc of ?Danny Rose has been here, there and everywhere.
Harry Redknapp turned the winger into a defender – the moral of this article is if you’re a bit rubbish, just go and play in defence – but didn’t look cut out to make it at Spurs, and fans were furious when Pochettino’s first port of call was to hand Rose a new five year contract.
However, the Argentine took Rose under his wing, with many of the players joking he was the manager’s son, and earned himself a spot in the PFA Team of the Year for two seasons in a row.
Then he did an explosive interview and ironically lost all explosiveness in his game due to injuries. Up and down at every opportunity with old Danny boy.