Which legend would clubs bring back if they could? Thierry Henry, Roy Keane, Carles Puyol and more

Clubs across Europe are deciding which players to bring in during the summer transfer window, but who would they choose if they could magically re-sign a former player?

We’ve looked through some of the retired Legends (post 1990) of each club below and see if they could fit into the current squad. So who would it be and why?

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ARSENAL: Thierry Henry, ST

Mikel Arteta’s side have strengthened the backbone of the team quite well in recent transfer windows but are still missing a world-class striker. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette gone Arsenal need someone to bear the brunt of the goals. There is no better man in the club’s history than Henry, who is arguably the best player to have played in the Premier League and his 228 goals and 106 assists in 375 games surpassed those of Ian Wright and Cliff Bastin. He would be a dream coach, bringing his famous competitive advantage to a side struggling to assert themselves in the title race and could possibly also get the best out of new No.14 Eddie Nketiah.

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ATLETICO MADRID: Fernando Torres, ST

Now manager of the club’s Juvenil A team, Torres was appointed captain as a youngster aged 19 and scored 91 goals in 244 games for Atletico Madrid before joining Liverpool in 2007. He then returned to the club for four years (two years). on loan from Chelsea) later in his career where he scored 37 goals in 159 games. For this exercise, we’ll use the teenage version of El Nino. Rarely has a young forward been so hyped in the early stages of his career and the current Atletico side would happily use him as a replacement for the late Luis Suarez.

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BARCELONA: Carles Puyol, CB

Amid all the financial uncertainties at the Camp Nou in recent years, Barcelona have done incredibly well in maintaining their commitment to attacking football with the likes of Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati. However, what they need now is some stability and guidance in the back, which is why they would choose to bring back the legendary Puyol. Every team needs a player who would give his all for his club and new manager Xavi knows better than anyone what his former captain would bring to the table.

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BAYERN MUNICH: Philipp Lahm, RB

With star striker Robert Lewandowski’s departure imminent, Bayern need a replacement up front, but they’ve just signed Sadio Mane from Liverpool so we assume that gap has been filled. The version of Lahm we’re taking is the one who played at right-back on his way to eight Bundesliga titles. Arguably he was even more impressive in midfield later in his career, but Bayern could use some quality at full-back and Lahm’s versatility means he can play on either side.

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BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Matthias Sammer, CM

With Erling Haaland joining Man City for €60m, Dortmund were quick to sign Karim Adeyemi and Sebastien Haller to replace him, so we won’t delve into batting options. Instead, we choose a midfielder for 18-year-old Jude Bellingham. Sammer’s defensive prowess in the middle of the field would help Dortmund find their footing in games and his 1996 Ballon d’Or (versus Ronaldo and Alan Shearer) shows what a talent he was in his prime.

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CHELSEA: John Terry, CB

Chelsea have left two of their first-team centre-backs this summer – Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) and Andreas Christensen (Barcelona) – and are therefore desperate to find someone else. One of the few youngsters to succeed at club, Terry’s leadership and defensive skills made him one of the best players England has ever produced. The post-Roman Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge will need someone like him to carve the way forward, although his iconic No 26 shirt number is now worn by new women’s star Kadeisha Buchanan.

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INTER MILAN: Wesley Sneijder, AM

After Antonio Conte’s defensive tactics in the 2020/21 season, Inter’s Simone Inzaghi is now opting for a counter-offensive style of play and Sneijder would be a good fit with his ability to open spaces in the last third. The Netherlands international was one of the best midfielders in the world in his day and thrived under Jose Mourinho. Inter sat back and Sneijder picked opponents apart when they won the ball and that’s exactly what he would do now.

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JUVENTUS: Alessandro Del Piero, AM

The departure of striker Paulo Dybala leaves Juventus with a gap in attack, despite the €70m transfer of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina in January. While Vlahovic is a more traditional No.9, Del Piero would fit in perfectly behind him as the archetypal No.10. His 290 goals in 705 games is a testament to his influence in Turin, but it’s his creativity and skill at set pieces that would likely put the old lady back at the top of Serie A.

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LIVERPOOL: Steven Gerhard, CM

Liverpool are another of those clubs where it’s difficult to address a specific need that would instantly empower them, but the return of Gerrard would certainly make a huge difference. While Jurgen Klopp has done superbly on his transfer goals so far, a midfield of Gerrard, Thiago and Fabinho would certainly see them to the title. His dynamism, drive and perseverance have propelled the club forward as a player and one can imagine he will eventually do the same as a manager.

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MANCHESTER UNITED: Roy Keane, CM

After their worst season ever in the Premier League (from a points perspective), United are in need of a makeover under new manager Erik ten Hag. There are many positions to be filled and it is tempting to suggest that the most influential club legend to be brought back would be manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but we stick to the players. United need a good central midfielder but also a player who can get them in shape in the dressing room and on the training ground. The combustible Keane has both attributes in spades. The problem could be that it works too well.

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MANCHESTER CITY: Vincent Kompany, CB

It wasn’t long ago that Kompany played for City after leaving in 2019 and he’s still only 36 years old. The Belgium centre-back, who is now Burnley manager, was one of the best defenders the Premier League has seen but the problem with the current champions is that there aren’t many gaps to fill. Now that striker Erling Haaland has arrived, the departure of defensive midfielder Fernandinho is probably the only mystery to be solved this summer, so we’ll bring Kompany back for his lead and either play him in midfield or keep him as a centre-back alongside Ruben Dias and use one from John Stones or Aymeric Laporte there instead.

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AC MILAN: Paulo Maldini, CB/LB

The Serie A champions were strong in defense last season, largely thanks to Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu, but are yet to bring in a new centre-back. Milan had one of the best defenses in history in the 1990s with Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Nesta and Cafu among others, so picking one is difficult. However, Maldini, who has managed over 900 games for the club, is arguably the greatest Milan player in history and can also step in at left-back when needed.

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PARIS ST. GERMAIN: Safet Susic, AM

Our first thought was Ronaldinho but the last thing PSG need is him rocking alongside Neymar and convincing Kylian Mbappe that their lifestyle off the pitch is the way to go! They don’t need a goalscorer at the moment either, so Pauleta and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are out. Instead, we choose Susic, arguably the best foreign player to ever play in Ligue 1. The Bosnian’s creativity would help open the gates for PSG’s wealth of attacking talent and expand their options in midfield.

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REAL MADRID: Roberto Carlos, LB

A defender for Brazilian club legend Marcelo leaves the club; one returns. Real Madrid have signed incredible left-backs in the past and Roberto Carlos won four LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies in 11 years at the Bernabeu. There are few players who can match him for speed, stamina, and the power and curve he can put on a shot or set piece. If Madrid could bring back one of the famous Galacticos, they could keep David Alaba alongside Rudiger at centre-back, with Ferland Mendy as a capable replacement.

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TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Ledley King, CB

Initially we thought of more attacking players like Paul Gascoigne or David Ginola, but they probably wouldn’t handle the defensive duties coach Antonio Conte expects them to do very well. King would bring an energy similar to that of Terry at Chelsea and being two-footed could fit in well in a three-man defense alongside Cristian Romero and Eric Dier and also has the ability to play in defensive midfield when needed. His injury problems held back his career but if we pick an ideal spot around 2004-05 it could be a good move.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4689694/which-legend-would-clubs-bring-back-if-they-could-thierry-henryroy-keanecarles-puyol-and-more Which legend would clubs bring back if they could? Thierry Henry, Roy Keane, Carles Puyol and more

Emma Bowman

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