Hello, Goodbye: A Premier League XI who could be on the move again after less than a year
Not all transfers work out. Some almost if anything work out too well, Clive. The outcome of both is often the same: off you pop for another move less than a year after the disastrous/excellent one you just made.
Here’s a Premier League XI of players signed last summer or even more recently than that who could find themselves at another new club this year…
GK Darren Randolph (Bournemouth)
Keepers can be tricky in these kind of teams and maybe Randolph will hang around for the remaining 12 months of the 18-month deal he signed when joining from West Ham in January. But he’ll hope to do better than a couple of appearances among the substitutes – and those only in ‘two keepers on the bench’ scenarios. Third-choice keeper is a cushy late-career gig for goalies, but Bournemouth? Scott Carson has the right idea here.
RB Pedro Porro (Tottenham)
What’s the moral of the story here? Don’t commit £45m to signing a right wing-back who can only really play right wing-back at the specific behest of the infamously volatile coach who you know has, at best, four months left at your club.
Porro’s best two performances in Spurs games this season are still his two games against them for Sporting in the Champions League. Ryan Mason did manage, showing tactical flexibility beyond the serial winner who huffed off back to Italy, to hint at a possible future for the Spain international at right midfield in a 4-4-f*cking-2 against Crystal Palace, but it still wouldn’t be a huge shock this summer to see Spurs try and move on a player who isn’t technically even theirs yet after signing on a loan-with-obligation (emphasis currently very much on obligation).
For reasons of banter we’re making him play in the position he proved so spectacularly he cannot play in during The Newcastle Atrocity.
CB Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea)
Maybe it’s harsh. Maybe it’s just the sheer number of years we’ve been waiting for him to turn up in the Premier League and specifically at Chelsea that led to unfair expectations. We also don’t quite understand the science behind the clear fact that Koulibaly spent at least a decade being linked with a move from Napoli to Chelsea and yet it says here he only spent eight years at Napoli? Can’t be right.
Also undeniably funny to finally leave Napoli and join Chelsea after all this time ahead of this particular wildly contrasting season for the two clubs. Anyway, says he plans to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea, but lots of people are going to say that this summer and still be moved on, because the squad is comically overstocked even before Mauricio Pochettino turns up and asks the ever-generous Todd Boehly for some shiny new players of his own.
READ: Chelsea should lean into the Neymar ‘circus’ under Boehly and Pochettino
CB Marc Cucurella (Chelsea)
We thought to ourselves ‘Oh, he hasn’t been quite as terrible recently, has he?’ and then discovered he’s missed Chelsea’s last four games which explains that. Like Koulibaly, probably been treated a touch unfairly this season given the wider problems exposed at his new club but he definitely became a lightning rod for the fans’ frustrations and is another who faces a swift exit as Chelsea desperately try and prune that squad down to something approaching manageable.
This is a suitably abysmal back four, by the way. We’ve shunted Cucurella into centre-back out of necessity and have two wing-backs playing full-back. Our only slight defence against charges of Garth Crooksism is that this is no worse than the back four a professional football manager selected for Spurs at Newcastle.
LB Ivan Perisic (Tottenham)
The one definitely not a club signing Spurs made for Antonio Conte last summer. Hasn’t been overtly terrible or anything and retains a delightful crossing ability with either foot which Harry Kane has enjoyed on more than one occasion, but he was also obviously and entirely Conte’s man brought in to play a very specific role in Conte’s very specific system and doesn’t really have the legs any more to play as a left winger in Our League and absolutely must not be used at left-back. Like we just have. Anyway, we expect to see him back at Inter next season.
CM Joao Palhinha (Fulham)
Two ways to play yourself into this kind of team, of course. We’re mainly interested in the other, funnier way but Palhinha’s method can be just as effective. Manchester United are reportedly very keen on a central midfielder who has been excellent for a very good Fulham team this season, but a quick search reveals they face competition from any or all of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea (obviously), Newcastle and Tottenham for the Portuguese. Fulham are desperate to keep hold of him, but it’s definitely going to be difficult.
CM Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City)
He’s going to collect one of the all-time great Premier League winner’s medals having thus far amassed just over 100 minutes’ action across eight games for City. They have, in fairness, won every one of those eight games but it would be reasonable to query Phillips’ significance in that particular stat. We all know it traditionally takes a season to get up to speed with Pep Guardiola’s galaxy brain, but you do ideally need to be involved a bit in that difficult first season.
Phillips is 27, not some promising youngster, and may not want to spend his peak years watching City play lovely stuff (he may also want to do precisely that, which is fair enough). If he does want to go and play some football, he’ll not be short of options. West Ham will almost certainly need a Declan Rice replacement, Leeds would love to have him back while there’s even talk of Liverpool sniffing around.
AM Jesse Lingard (Nottingham Forest)
The poster boy of Forest’s transfer largesse. In general, we’re of the view that criticism of Forest’s huge number of signings last summer has been wildly overblown. They got unexpectedly promoted with a squad held together by loans and younglings; they pretty much had to sign 20 players or they’d have just gone down without a fight like Norwich do at which point everyone complains that Norwich haven’t even tried to stay up. Forest certainly can’t have that thrown at them whatever happens over the next few weeks.
Lingard has been a catastrophic waste of money, though, and whatever happens surely won’t get an extension to the one-year contract he signed last summer. We still wouldn’t be surprised to see another Premier League club take a punt, but if forced to make a prediction we’re thinking Turkey.
LF Richarlison (Tottenham)
Feel a bit sorry for him, really. He’s absolutely not been as bad as his (admittedly grim) stats suggest and his penchant for scoring very nice goals that turn out to be a cock-hair offside has been one of the great running jokes of the season. That his first Premier League goal for Spurs finally came as a 93rd-minute equaliser immediately undone by a 94th-minute Liverpool winners was undeniably apt. Could well be one and done for Richarlison at Spurs – and that means both seasons and as things stand Premier League goals.
CF Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Chelsea)
It really takes something to stand out as bad in this dumpster fire of a Chelsea season, so hats off to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for achieving it. Looks sure to head back to La Liga after a solitary yet certainly memorable campaign at Stamford Bridge, where his form has apparently caught the eye of Atletico Madrid and former club Barcelona. Lucky bugger.
RF Gianluca Scamacca (West Ham)
The latest in the great long line of failed West Ham strikers is shunted out to the right in our XI just to make his life even more difficult. Don’t feel too sorry for the man with three goals in 16 Premier League appearances for a deeply suspicious and unconvinced David Moyes; his sterling efforts for the Hammers this season are apparently set to earn him a £22m move back to Italy with Juve and Inter both up for it.
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