5 guys you thought had retired who missed out on a Premier League return

Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures during the transfer window - maybe your club should have looked at these guys…


As 38-year-old Peter Crouch signs for Burnley, we ask which other ageing stars are still hanging around hopefully on deadline day.

In the desperate final knockings of the transfer window, there’s no saying which blasts from the past will be brought back to do a job.

When it was announced that Peter Crouch had signed for Burnley, the sensible assumption was that he’d joined to run their social media, but it seems that the big man is still technically playing football for a living.

It begs the question – which other Premier League stars of years gone by are still refusing to hang up their boots and go gracefully into coaching, punditry or starting a failed fashion label?

Amazingly, the following players who you almost certainly signed on Football Manager when it was still Championship Manager are still wowing crowds or at least trying to.

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Eric Djemba-Djemba

The Cameroonian midfielder’s name is synonymous with flop signings and was one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s few off days in the transfer market.

Amazingly, he was signed as a successor to Roy Keane, but beyond scaring opposition because his name spread across the whole midfield when the formation was written out on paper, he made very little impact.

Before long he was shipped off to Aston Villa, then loaned to Burnley and finally went off to Qatar, which generally signals the end of a career.

But since then he’s managed to rack up a host of clubs as diverse as St Mirren and Persebaya – the biggest name in East Java – and is still playing for FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues in the Swiss fifth division at the ripe old age of 37.

That is unless Ole Gunnar wants to give him a second shot at being an Old Trafford legend.

Obafemi Martins

Let’s face it, nobody ever knew how old Obafemi was, so it shouldn’t be a massive surprise that he’s still rattling around in Shanghai Shenua’s reserve team.

There were reports in 2010 that Martins was in fact 32, rather than his listed 25, which would make him now 40, but he keeps on going simply from a love of the game. And a love of money, lots of money.

Eidur Gudjohnsen

Okay, we took a little licence here, Eidur called it a day at the end of last season, but the fact that a man who played alongside Ronaldo and Lionel Messi still wanted to play football at all after two spells at Bolton and two spells at Stoke is a modern day miracle.

Interestingly, Eidur’s eldest son Sveinn Aros is now 20 and plays for Italian side Ravenna, so he only narrowly missed out on the chance to form a father-son strike partnership.

And where better for that partnership to wow the crowds than a third spell at Bolton?

Massimo Maccarone

It was pretty hard to believe there was a man called Massimo Maccarone in the first place, but it really is something that a man who appeared to be in his mid-40s when he played for Middlesbrough in the mid-2000s is still able to play anything more energetic than table football.

These days the functional forward is playing for Carrarese in the Italian third tier, a club best known for once being part-owned by Gigi Buffon, but who can forget that incredible Europa League run in 2005-06?

Probably Massimo, but he is getting on a bit.

Roman Pavlyuchenko

The man who was once famously told by Harry Redknapp to ‘f******g run about’ is still running about in the Russian non-league.

Redknapp later related that Pavlyuchenko’s translator did more running in training than the lanky striker, but maybe that’s the secret to his longevity.

Luckily, Super Pav netted some worldies for Spurs back in the day and he’s still bagging some decent goals in the Russian regional leagues between signing autographs and shooing stray dogs off the pitch.

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