With the Premier League season gradually coming to a close, clubs will begin eying up potential transfer targets soon. The effects of Covid are expected to be seen in the upcoming transfer window, with transfer fees decreasing and club shopping around in the bargain bin. One ideal place to look for a Premier League bargains is from clubs who have been relegated in the 2020/21 season. Last season Ben Godfrey, Callum Wilson, Nathan Ake and Abdoulaye Doucoure were among the relegated players who had an immediate path back to the big time.
After Brighton’s recent two victories, they look to have slipped out of reach of the current bottom four. So which players at Newcastle, West Brom, Fulham and Sheffield United could be bought if their clubs are relegated? We look at the top six.
Six relegated players who would have Premier League suitors
Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United)
An obvious opener but Allan Saint-Maximin is just far too good to be playing Championship football. The Frenchman’s season has been undermined with injuries and when he has played he hasn’t been seen to best effect due to Steve Bruce’s negative system. Put simply, Saint-Maximin is the player that Arsenal fans thought they were getting when they forked out £72m for Nicolas Pepe.
The 24-year-old is one of the best dribblers in the league, has an array of skills to take on his man with and possesses a fierce strike too. He loves to get in behind and battle to the byline before squaring it across to his fellow forwards, but his opportunities to do so this season have been limited for one reason or another. The former Nice winger has scored twice and assisted three in 16 appearances this campaign but that doesn’t represent how much better the Magpies are when he is on the pitch.
Saint-Maximin would flourish in a creative, counter-attacking side where he can showcase what a talent he is. He is one of the players who might attract attention from the likes of Everton, West Ham and even Leicester were Newcastle to be relegated.
Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
Another of Newcastle’s players who deserves better than to be relegated is Callum Wilson. The English striker has scored crucial goals for the Tyneside team this season and, without him, they wouldn’t be battling it out with Fulham for 17th place.
Wilson, who was called up for England during his time at former club Bournemouth, is a typical poacher. The forward loves to run in behind and get defenders into one-on-one races to open up space through the middle. But the 29-year-old is most effective in the box, where he always seems to be in the right place at the right time to get on the end of crosses or finish off a goalmouth scramble. Like Saint-Maximin, the 10 goals and five assists this season don’t really represent how good he’s been despite playing in a system where the priority is not conceding more than four.
Unfortunately, Wilson is fairly injury prone and a club would have to be very fortunate to get a full season out of him. Additionally, this will be the second consecutive season that he has been relegated, which is always worth considering. Any team coming up will be interested in signing the striker, as well as clubs that are searching for a striker like Crystal Palace and West Ham.
Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United)
Although he wasn’t worth the extortionate price tag of £23.5 million, Rhian Brewster has shown glimmers of a player that is capable of making an impact at this level. The striker has had extremely limited service in a poor Sheffield United team and his chances have been pretty slim too, with most of his minutes coming late into the second half when the scoreline is already in favour of the opposition.
Brewster has played 864 minutes this campaign, which is approximately nine-and-a-half full games. So, given that most of those minutes come in 15-minute spells when the other team have all three points wrapped up, the stats of zero goals and zero assists in 20 appearances are quite misleading. The 20-year-old has only had 15 shots this campaign and five of them have been blocked, so digging beneath the surface shows Brewster hasn’t been as poor as most think. He still has plenty of potential and could develop into the player that the Liverpool academy thought he would.
If the Blades decide they want to recoup some of the money they spent on the youngster then he may well be a consideration for any bottom-half team. After a season like this, a manager that would willingly give him opportunities and confidence would be high on the priority list for Brewster. With Norwich returning to the Prem, he may well be a good back-up for Teemu Pukki or could be an option for Brighton with Danny Welbeck out of contract at the end of the season. While Newcastle may yet escape relegation, Sheffield United definitely won’t, so Brewster is bound to be one of the relegated players attracting interest this summer.
Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion)
Another player that looks like a ready-made upgrade for promoted teams is West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone. The shot-stopper has kept five clean sheets this campaign, consistently making vital saves that kept the Baggies’ chances of survival alive for longer than expected and receiving an England call up for his troubles.
The English keeper has been mightily let down by his defence this season, being left vulnerable to countless crosses and shots every game. Johnstone is a strong, commanding keeper and is capable of coming for crosses and punches when required. He has also saved two of the seven penalties he has saved this campaign too, which is a respectable effort.
If Fulham were to survive, he could be a great replacement for the on-loan Alphonse Areola. Southampton have also become quite rotational with who they play in between the sticks so if Ralph Hassenhuttl isn’t happy with his options then could be calling Sam Allardyce and asking about the availability of his number one very soon.
Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion)
West Brom have failed to show signs of quality for most of this season and will certainly pay the price. However, when they do it is usually because of Matheus Pereira who is one of the imminently relegated players who will definitely have suitors.
The attacking midfielder has been the only outfield player that looks capable of playing Premier League football again next season, and potentially how good he really is remains to be seen due to how poor his team have been this season.
Pereira plays with the typical attacking-mindedness and flair that you would expect from a Brazilian creative midfielder, always looking to pick the ball up in the space in front of the backline and craft chances from there. Pereira has scored five and assisted three this season, which is the most at the club for both of those individual statistics. At just 24-years-old, the former Sporting CP man has plenty of time to improve and he wouldn’t look out of place playing in the Premier League next season.
Pereira probably isn’t good enough for a top-half team but could be a good signing for someone looking to challenge for those positions in the league like Leeds. Marcelo Bielsa’s team lack an attacking threat in their midfield and Pereira could fill that void.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Fulham)
Arguably one of the most underrated players of the season, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has been pivotal for Fulham this season and without him, they would have been relegated already. The defensive midfielder has broken up play expertly all season long for Scott Parker’s team and his willingness to defend has enabled the attacking fullbacks of Antonee Robinson and Ola Aina to venture forward and be a threat in the final third.
The Cameroonian international is at his best when he is winning possession back, dribbling a few yards before teeing it off to his more attacking teammates. Anguissa has just a 48% tackle success rate, however, he only has five yellow cards which shows that even if he’s fouling players they aren’t too meaningful in the eyes of the referee. The former Marseille midfielder would be a great attribute to any team outside of the top six and, even if Fulham do survive, it would be a shock to see him lining up for the Craven Cottage outfit in 2021/22.
Anguissa will be on the radar of plenty of Premier League clubs. If Yves Bissouma was to leave Brighton in the summer, as rumours suggest, then Anguissa would be a like-for-like replacement. Clubs higher up in the table will be interested too and the 25-year-old would be a good squad player for Manchester United and Arsenal.
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