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5 players who need to leave Premier League

Robin Bairner
Top 5 / Top 10
2.17K   //    06 Dec 2017, 21:13 IST

It’s getting to the time of the year where teams assess what they need for the second half of the season. Managers are busy plotting which players could strengthen their squads and who are simply holding them back.

But while the clubs treat this as an important milestone in the season, it is also a crucial time in the careers of many players.

Some stars are being held back by circumstances at their clubs, where perhaps they do not fit the manager’s style, are out of favour or have just become stale.

This year more than ever, this is of importance as regular first-team football is often a requirement of national teams ahead of the World Cup in the summer – a competition that every top player is aiming to be involved in.

With players wary of missing out on Russia 2018, and some simply needing to inject new life into their careers, here are five stars who could use a shakeup this January.

# Eliaquim Mangala

Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League
Mangala had a moderately successful loan spell in Valencia last season.

Although he has managed to push his way to the fringes of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City squad, the France international defender is only there because of injuries to John Stones and, earlier this season, Vincent Kompany. And even with this in mind, the Catalan is searching for additional solutions in that area of the field ahead of the January transfer window.

The 26-year-old former Porto man quite simply is not the right fit for Guardiola. What he has in physique he lacks in technical abilities, and the coach would far rather it was the other way around.

Coming to his peak, he is a figure who needs to play regularly if he is to really achieve anything in the game. He had a moderately successful loan spell in Valencia last season, and a similar move in January should now be considered.

Currently, he is rotting and allowing his talents to go to waste. He has played only 51 Premier League matches in the last four seasons, just three of which have come under the current boss. With City’s system proving to be highly successful, there is simply no room for him at the Etihad any longer.

“I am very realistic. I know everything can happen,” he admitted last month. “I am here today. Whether I will be here in two months, next summer, one year, you never know.

“The only thing you can do is to be focused on what I can control.”

This is an admirable attitude and one that will only attract suitors. If things fall into place, and admittedly this is a long shot, the World Cup is not yet out of reach.

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Robin Bairner
UK-based freelance football journalist for the last decade, I've appeared in publications such as the Guardian, the Blizzard, When Saturday Comes, but can most frequently be found on I write about European football, and have worked at both World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016.
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