Six players who regretted transfer because of the weather after De Jong question

The Premier League is considered to be the best in the world – but the riches and prizes on offer can not mask the famous English weather.

Footballers from Europe and further afield are regularly tempted to these shores for a bigger payday and to test themselves against elite competition. However, there have been several instances of players blaming the weather for their failure to settle and struggles on the pitch.

The English weather was once again raised this week when Frenkie de Jong was asked about transfer links to Manchester United. The Netherlands international is said to be wanted by former boss Erik ten Hag, and Barcelona are reportedly considering cashing-in on the midfielder.

De Jong was quizzed about the speculation following the Nations League draw with Poland, when he was asked if he was swapping the Catalan beaches for 'cold' Manchester. The 25-year-old laughed before insisting he 'can't say anything' on the rumours.

The question got the team at DailyStar Sport thinking about famous examples of footballers regretting their decisions to move to England because of the weather. Following de Jong's response to the 'cold' Manchester claim, here's a look at six players who have been less than positive about the climate on these shores.

Mario Balotelli

Most of the headlines surrounding the former Liverpool and Manchester City striker focused upon his memorable off-the-field antics. Balotelli helped the Citizens to win the Premier League and FA Cup during a three-year spell, before returning to Italy with AC Milan.

A return to England with Liverpool was a move that did not work for either party, and it was during this second spell where the Italy international complained about the weather. Following a trip to Sunderland's Stadium of Light, he told the Daily Mail 'this is the f—–g coldest city I’ve ever f—–g played in'.

Angel Di Maria

Manchester United's signing of the Real Madrid superstar in the summer of 2014 was hailed as a coup, but the move quickly turned into a nightmare. Following a positive start, Di Maria's form dipped and he would leave just a year later for Paris Saint-Germain.

This forgettable spell is now best defined by the attacker's wife Jorgelina Cardoso subsequent criticisms of British culture and Manchester as a city. She told Spanish morning show Los Angeles de la Manana in 2020: “I didn’t want to go to Manchester because at that moment in time, I was friends with Gianinna Maradona, who was married to Sergio Aguero, and we flew from Madrid to his house in Manchester to pay him a visit for two or three days when Angel had a few days off at Real Madrid.

“It was horrible! All of it was horrible, we went to the house and we were like, ‘See you later guys, we’re out of here’. When we left, I said to him, ‘Go to any country – except England!’

“Anyway, one year later and there we were in England and it was horrible, a s***hole. I didn’t like anything about it, not a thing. The women are all skinny, prim and proper… weird. You’re walking down the street and you don’t know if they’re going to kill you or what. The food’s disgusting. All the girls are all dolled up to the nines, perfectly made-up and there’s me with my hair in a bun and with no make-up on."

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Edin Dzeko

The former Manchester City forward enjoyed five successful seasons at the club, lifting two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and League Cup, before leaving for Roma on a permanent deal in 2016. Dzeko continues to play in the top level in Italy with Inter Milan, and BT Sport commentator Ian Darke revealed the striker's abrupt response to rumours of a Premier League return in 2020.

Speaking in 2020, Darke told the Sun: "After the game, [Owen Hargreaves] said, 'Everton are interested in you, you know'. And he said, 'What do you think I'm going to decide? I can stay in Rome or go to the pouring rain of Merseyside to play for Everton? Please don't ask me that one again'."

Nolito

The Spanish forward endured a forgettable season in the Premier League with Manchester City after signing from Celta Vigo in 2016. Nolito scored six goals in 30 appearances before returning to Spain with Sevilla the following year.

The attacker spoke of his struggles at settling in England ahead of his City exit, and made a bold claim on how the weather had impacted his family. Speaking in June 2017, Nolito told radio station Onda Cero: "I've learnt little English. It's hard. Just 'tomorrow', 'good morning', 'good afternoon' and a little more. My daughter's face has changed colour – it looks like she's been living in a cave."

Lucas Torreira

The Uruguay international signed for Arsenal in 2018 and made 89 appearances for the club, before spending the last two seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid and Fiorentina. Torreira is expected to depart this summer, and the midfielder has previously outlined his struggles to settle in England.

He told the Press Association in June 2019: “England is a totally different world. The language (barrier) has stopped me being able to relate with my team-mates and the people. It is very difficult when you can’t have dialogue.

“And then there is the weather. You go out in the morning and it is cloudy, you arrive at your house in the afternoon and it is cloudy."

Simone Zaza

Most if not all West Ham fans would agreed it was a 'huge mistake' for Simone Zaza to join the club in 2016. The Juventus striker made the move on loan, but this arrangement was cut short in January the following year.

Zaza failed to score for the Hammers, and his father Antonio cited both the weather and former boss Slaven Bilic as reasons why his son failed to settle in the Premier League. He told CalcioMercato in October 2017: "Simone had paid, on a moral level, for missing that penalty at the Euros.

“Then he was not well in London, with the weather and even with the kind of methods of his former coach. It was a huge mistake [to join West Ham].”

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