It’s that time of the year again, isn’t it?
With the Transfer Window right around the corner, it’s only a matter of time before top relegated players become the focus for clubs still in the Premier League.
The rationale being that, while their club might have gone down – they might not have deserved to be relegated along with them.
If anything, they could have been the exception to the crowd!
Not every club has a player deserving of recognition from the rest of the league, so we’re not going to pretend like they do.
Having said that, there are some really strong, relegated prospects who may be deserving of a renaissance in the top English division, but under a different guise.
Players like …
Max Aarons (RWB) – Norwich ~ £15-20m
Surely this guy won’t be staying in a Norwich shirt for much longer.
Unfortunately, over time, the Canaries have attracted the unwelcome tagline of being a true ‘yo-yo’ club in the eyes of most English football fans.
Forever stuck in Purgatory between England’s top two divisions.
At times, too good for the Championship, but not enough for stability in the Premiership.
A title which couldn’t be more appropriate for Max Aarons who, for the sake of loyalty, is now the only person on our list to be relegated twice from the Premier League.
But if recent speculation is to be believed, it might not ever happen again.
Naturally poised in the right wing-back position with his pace and guile going forward, though well adept at retreating to do the uglier side of his role, Max Aarons has been a stand-out performer for Norwich over the past few years.
Comfortably alongside Jamal Lewis, Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell.
Though unlike them, his role as a versatile wing-back couldn’t be more in demand.
And with Kyle Walker coming nearer to the end of his international days than the start, and question marks surrounding Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive capabilities and Reece James’ long-term fitness, perhaps a move to a team higher up the table is exactly what the doctor would prescribe for England contention in the years to come.
For what it’s worth, I’d personally love him to come to Manchester United.
James Tarkowski (CB) – Burnley – Free Transfer
Barring a volcanic eruption near the Turf Moor stadium.
We can be pretty certain that Tarkowski will leave Burnley this season.
Arguably living on borrowed time for the past few years, the Clarets were finally relegated after a sustained period of stability in the topflight.
Thereafter de-stabilised with the controversial sacking of manager, Sean Dyche.
It was under Dyche, that James Tarkowski (along with a number of homegrown centre-backs) made their name in his hard-nosed defensive style of play.
Sure, it wasn’t the most beautiful way to play the game of football and many fans (myself included) might be glad to see the back end of Burnley moving forward into an era where the technical elements of the game have seldom been as impressive as they are now.
But their defenders have covered themselves in glory during that time.
James Tarkowski, as things stand, is the pick of the bunch and will be available on a Bosman transfer for the new season. With Newcastle, Everton and a number of other mid-to-top-half-of-the-table clubs sniffing around with interest.
I’d be surprised if Everton haven’t already completed the signing of this cut-price relegated Premier League defender by the time this article is uploaded!
Joao Pedro (ST) – Watford ~ £20m
Of all the relegated stars, I find this guy to be the most interesting of them all.
To be fair, I could have gone for most of Watford’s relegated front line as they all face a pretty similar issue. Joao Pedro, Emmanuel Dennis and Ismaila Sarr all have something worth offering to the teams remaining in the Premier League next year.
Pedro, for me, stands slightly above for his drive and potential.
And injury record.
Sarr could have easily commanded a decent fee a few years back when United and Liverpool reportedly had some interest in him, but his lack of consistency the past year and persisting injury niggles cast fresh doubt on where he might be going forward.
Joao Pedro, on the other hand, doesn’t really have that issue.
Plus, with his style as a ‘pressing forward’ suiting current needs to get the ball back whenever the opposition has it, he would arguably take less coaching than most to suit systems like these.
Like Aarons, I think he’d suit Eric Ten Hag’s Manchester United.
Or, if Arsenal had much vision, they ought to throw their hat in the ring. Though they recently seem to be setting their sights on the slightly more experienced version of Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.
But with his contract ending in 2027, Watford may be well placed to make sure that their relegated Brazilian starlet stays a Hornet for at least one or two more years.
Unless clubs are willing to bump up his current £30,000 per/week wage.
Which, nowadays, isn’t even up for debate.