Pascal Chimbonda

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Tottenham Hotspur (2006-2008, 2009), Sunderland (2008-2009), Blackburn Rovers (2009-2010)

Frenchman Pascal Chimbonda played for four Premier League clubs across five years, turning out most recently in the top-flight for Blackburn Rovers. Unquestionably, his best season was his maiden campaign where he was one of the stars at Wigan Athletic during their debut Premier League adventure.

Chimbonda began his professional career with Le Havre in 1998 spending five years with them before joining Bastia in 2003. Following the latter’s relegation from the French top-flight in 2005, Chimbonda turned down the chance to go to Marseille and signed for Wigan Athletic on a three-year contract. The Latics paid just £500,000 for his services and he would become one of the bargains of the 2005-2006 season.

He featured in 37 of the club’s 38 matches as Wigan finished 10th in the table. He scored twice, including a dramatic late header to beat Fulham in October 2005. Chimbonda’s excellent performances saw him voted into the PFA Team of the Year in the right-back position, beating off competition from title-winning Paulo Ferreira of Chelsea and Manchester United’s Gary Neville. However, he left Wigan in fairly distasteful circumstances.

Feeling he could progress and the club couldn’t, he handed in a transfer request on the final day of the season after Wigan’s 4-2 loss at Highbury to Arsenal. The hierarchy at the JJB Stadium were furious, considering he had signed a new contract only a few months earlier. Wigan set a high asking price and after a summer of lengthy negotiations and several bids rejected from Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, Chimbonda eventually moved to Spurs on the August transfer deadline day.

He started well enough for Tottenham under Martin Jol, starring in their first-ever Premier League triumph over Chelsea in November 2006 despite playing the majority of the game with a knee ligament injury. His first goal for the north Londoners came against Fulham to salvage a 1-1 draw in January 2007. He won the League Cup in 2008 but missed the crucial spot-kick which saw Spurs knocked out of European competition by PSV Eindhoven.

In the summer of 2008, he moved to Sunderland along with his Tottenham colleagues at the time, Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio. He featured just 13 times in the Premier League for Sunderland and a return ticket to Tottenham came in January 2009 as Harry Redknapp looked to reshape his squad. However, he only figured three times in the league for Redknapp and was moved on that summer to Blackburn Rovers.

His only Blackburn goal came in October 2009 and meant he went down well with supporters. It came in a Lancashire Derby victory over Burnley. He was the regular right-back in 2009-2010 for Sam Allardyce, playing 24 games. He lost his place though for the following season to the experienced Michel Salgado and his final game for the club was part of a 7-1 hiding at the hands of Manchester United in November 2010. Blackburn agreed to terminate his contract two months later.

Since then, Chimbonda has played in the lower leagues for Queens Park Rangers, Doncaster Rovers, Carlisle United and AC Arles-Avignon. Currently, he is turning out for Washington FC who are playing in the Northern League Division One. Chimbonda signed for them in October 2017.

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