These familiar faces may meet West Ham in Europa League qualifiers

It may be described as a poisoned chalice from some sections of support, but it is now confirmed, West Ham will be enjoying a campaign in the Europa League next season.

The Hammers topped the Premier League’s Fair Play Table to earn the extra spot awarded to the FA and will now enter the competition at the very earliest stage, starting in a matter of five weeks.

And while they may be off to places like SS Folgore’s 700-capacity Stadio Serravalle B in San Marino or high up in the Pyrenees to take on Andorran sides Lusitanos or Sant Julia, some things may be more familiar to Premier League fans.

There will be no fewer than eight players that have previously played in the Premier League that could take to the field to cause an upset in the Hammers’ early explorations in the competition.

Daniel Agger and Johan Elmander are both currently at Brondby, while Zoltan Gera is enjoying a second spell at Ferencvaros.

But what about those lesser known Premier League players – flops, if you will?

Herold Goulon – AC Omonia

During his youth career at Middlesbrough the Frenchman was described as having the potential to be the next Patrick Vieira.

However, things didn’t work out for Goulon at the Riverside and he left without making a senior appearance, only to surface at Blackburn Rovers in 2010.

But a spell of 20 months in Lancashire yielded just four appearances for Rovers, probably signalling that he wasn’t cut out for the English Premier League.

Three years later and he’s preparing for another crack against an English side after his Omonia Nicosia team finished fourth in the Cypriot Premier League to secure a 13th straight season in Europe.

Sandor Torghelle – MTK Budapest

After securing promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs in 2004, Crystal Palace took a punt in bringing 22-year-old Hungarian Sandor Torghelle to Selhurst Park.

A fee thought to be in the region of £750,000 looked to be well spent during his debut, Torghelle putting in an assured performance, but it didn’t step up from there.

Just one goal in his time in south London would have been bad enough, had his last actions for the club not been getting sent off for two yellow cards after an alleged dive against Charlton.

Six goals in 22 league games in his home country last season may mean he has improved since, but only just.

Liam Miller – Cork City

So much was hoped for of Liam Miller after he joined Manchester United from Celtic, but nine Premier League appearances for the Red Devils said it all.

Spells at Leeds, Sunderland, in Scotland and Australia followed as he failed to stay at a club for more than two and half years.

Now back in his city of birth, Miller has made 15 appearances for Cork since arriving in January and with the Rebel Army flying high again in the Irish Premier Division, he will be hoping to leave his mark on the English game should a tie against West Ham materialise.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.