For a newly promoted side, the Premier League can often seem a daunting environment. The main concern for clubs that have just tasted promotion is usually scoring goals. The story of players who have racked up 25 plus league goals in the Championship, yet then fail miserably in the Premier League is all too familiar. It is an issue that many managers like to address prior to the new season in the hope that they can find someone capable of cutting it against some of the world’s best defences. In 2001, after being promoted to the Premier League, Fulham manager Jean Tigana believed he had found the man who was going to propel the west London club into new heights in the division. His name: Steve Marlet.
Marlet was a French striker in his mid-twenties who had consistently performed in Ligue One for both AJ Auxerre and Olympique Lyon. He was a revered striker in France, having kept up a goal scoring record of 1 in 4 for Auxerre and better than 1 in 3 for Lyon. Tigana had noticed the potential of the Frenchman and broke the London clubs record books to bring him to Craven Cottage in 2001, splashing out a remarkable £11.5 million for a player who had yet to prove himself in a top European league.
Marlet spent three seasons to forget with Fulham and is often considered one of the worst pieces of business in the clubs history. He began poorly at Craven Cottage, scoring just six league goals in his debut season, despite the club surviving relegation comfortably and finishing in 13th place. Marlet failed to re-create any moments of brilliance like the one below in his time at Fulham.
Sadly there were not even moments of half this quality from the Frenchman and he was outscored by both Barry Hayles and Louis Saha in his first season. The following campaign was not any better for Marlet, as he still failed to adjust to the rigours of English football, scoring only 4 goals in 28 league games. Marlet could not handle the pressure that came with his big money move and the following season he fell out of favour and featured only once. Marlet’s performances were so unimpressive that it is believed his failure played a large part in Tigana’s dismissal in 2003. He was later offloaded to Wolfsburg and FC Lorient, where he continued his baron form and has since disappeared into relative obscurity.
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