With the Premier League’s transfer window now closed – until January of course – England’s top clubs should theoretically now have settled, and hopefully stronger squads than the ones they had in 2019-20.
However, thanks to most sides strengthening during the current window, some players are likely to find themselves out in the cold. Even players who were key men during the previous Premier League campaign may now find themselves barely used, desperately waiting for January to make another move elsewhere.
Here are 5 Premier League players who may now be surplus to requirements following the recent transfer window.
#5 Odion Ighalo (Manchester United)
When Manchester United signed Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on loan from Chinese side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on transfer deadline day in January, more than a few eyebrows were raised. A career journeyman, Ighalo’s last run in England had seen him score 1 Premier League goal in 18 appearances for Watford, and it hardly seemed like he was the answer to United’s problems.
But the Red Devils were only ever looking for a backup striker – someone to take the heat off Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood – and to that extent, Ighalo worked brilliantly.
A longtime United fan, Ighalo brought tons of enthusiasm and hard work with him. And while he didn’t make much of an impact in the Premier League, a return of 5 goals in 8 matches in the cup competitions was impressive enough.
It came as no surprise then when United announced that they’d extended his deal until the end January 2021 – but after the arrival of Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani in the recent window, do they really need him?
The short answer is no. Ighalo doesn’t offer the pace to play as one of United’s wide forwards, which means he’s now behind Martial and Cavani in the pecking order for the central striking spot. And with the EFL Cup only offering another 3 possible games, it’s likely that he’ll find minutes hard to come by.
Ighalo’s arrival back in January definitely served a purpose and it’s hard to deny that he did well when all things are considered. However, right now he’s definitely surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
#4 John Stones (Manchester City)
It was only 4 years ago, during the summer of 2016, that most observers viewed John Stones as the best defensive prospect in the Premier League. That transfer window saw him make a £47.5m move from Everton to Manchester City, and under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, the England international was supposed to go onto greatness.
However, that simply hasn’t been the case. After making 27 Premier League appearances in his first season, Stones has seen his playing time dwindle down further and further. Sure, some of that has been down to injuries, but the truth is that he just hasn’t grown as a player as people hoped.
His passing skills are still excellent, but the former Everton man remains as error-prone as he was when he broke through at Goodison Park as a teenager. And so despite winning 5 major trophies, including 2 Premier League titles at the Etihad, it now appears that he’s completely surplus to requirements.
City have strengthened their back-line considerably in the recent transfer window, bringing in both Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias. With Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia also ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s hard to see where Stones fits in.
City do have a lot of games this season, with Champions League action upcoming and Guardiola desperate to regain the Premier League title. However, it’s easy to see a scenario in which the Spaniard wants a much more settled defence – and if that’s the case, then Stones will likely find himself out in the cold.