Preston fans may have mixed memories of Dickson Etuhu, who never really seemed to fulfil his potential at Deepdale.
Etuhu had come up through the Manchester City ranks, before joining North End in 2002 for just £300,000. David Moyes oversaw his arrival, pouncing to beat the likes of Spurs and Sunderland to his signature (LEP).
At his best, Etuhu showed the potential to be an incredible box-to-box midfielder. His rampaging runs through midfield earned rather favourable comparisons to Patrick Vieira, and it looked like he’d become a star at Preston.
Moyes was linked with taking Etuhu to Everton with him, but told Sky Sports he was too expensive even for the Toffees. That went to show just how highly rated Etuhu was, but he stagnated at Deepdale.
Etuhu fell out of favour under Billy Davies, and was sent off to Norwich City on loan, where Preston fans will best remember him for making a challenge on Preston midfielder Adam Nowland, which he never really recovered from.
His £450,000 permanent move to Norwich felt rather disappointing, leaving North End with just £150,000 of profit when it looked like Etuhu would prove to be a big earner for the Lilywhites.
Etuhu did get back on track, moving to Sunderland and Fulham, even starting in the 2010 Europa League final with the latter. Just weeks later, his career hit another high, as he played for Nigeria at the World Cup in Brazil.
Preston fans will see Etuhu as a case of ‘what would have been’, as the best of his career was spent away from Deepdale. Now retired, few could have predicted how Etuhu’s career and reputation would develop into his 30’s.
Etuhu headed off to Sweden after a brief spell with Blackburn Rovers, joining AIK in 2015. He didn’t spend long there, but it was enough to be caught up in controversy.
Today, Etuhu was found guilty of attempted match-fixing in Sweden, as reported by BBC Sport. Etuhu is accused of trying to influence AIK goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulous to fix a match in 2017, with the former midfielder ready to appeal the ruling.
Etuhu wasn’t sentenced to jail time, but instead a fine and probation. It remains to be seen what becomes of Etuhu’s appeal, but having initially been cleared last year, he may have hope of clearing his name.