Ahead of the 2021-22 Premier League season, the top-six sides will surely look to bolster their squads after what has been a tumultuous few months, both mentally and physically. Much like the rest of the world, the beautiful game has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with players forced to maintain bio bubbles and play games behind closed doors.
Additionally, the grueling schedule has led to an increased risk of injuries, so teams will look to be better prepared for the forthcoming season. While the financial ramifications of the pandemic are still being felt, each of the big sides are set to add to their squads this summer.
However, they might also look to make a few hard calls and part ways with key players in order to make room for potential incoming, That said, here are five superstars who could be offloaded this summer to free up funds for new signings.
#5 Benjamin Mendy | Manchester City
Pound for pound, Benjamin Mendy has been one of the worst signings in Premier League history. The Frenchman joined Manchester City for a fee believed to be in excess of £50 million in 2017, but his career at the Etihad Stadium has been ravaged by poor form and injuries.
The 26-year-old has made just 70 appearances across nearly four seasons and looks a shadow of his former self. Mendy was one of the most exciting fullbacks in the world during his Monaco stint and was wanted by some of the biggest clubs in the world before his move to the Premier League.
The Cityzens are unlikely to recoup what they paid for him four years ago, but they could be tempted to cash in on him this summer.
#4 Hector Bellerin | Arsenal
Much like Benjamin Mendy, Hector Bellerin's career has dipped massively in recent seasons due to a combination of injuries and poor form. Bellerin seems to have lost a yard of pace, but his indecisiveness in the final third is currently his main problem.
The Spaniard was blessed with blistering pace when he burst onto the scene under Arsene Wenger and had the ability to pick out pinpoint crosses in and around the penalty area, making him the perfect modern-day right-back. In recent years, Bellerin has shown flashes of his former self, but he has not able to perform as consistently as he did a few years ago.
The 26-year-old is reportedly looking to secure a transfer this summer, with Paris Saint-Germain keeping tabs on him. Arsenal wouldn't be against offloading him, as he would fetch a sizable fee that could be used to bolster other areas of the pitch.
#3 Tammy Abraham | Chelsea
Tammy Abraham's goalscoring record at Chelsea makes for good reading, but the Englishman has fallen out of favor under Thomas Tuchel. He impressed in his first full season under Frank Lampard and finished as the club's top scorer, as he finally got his big break at Stamford Bridge.
However, the arrival of Tuchel has seen him fall down the pecking order, with Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner ahead of him as things stand. According to Matt Law of the Telegraph, Chelsea are willing to offload Abraham for £40 million this summer, as they look to cash in on him.
The Blues have a lot of attacking options, so Abraham could look to find himself a new club to get regular game time under his belt.
#2 Fred | Manchester United
Fred has featured heavily for Manchester United since his move from Shakhtar Donetsk, but the Brazilian continues to divide opinion amongst the Old Trafford faithful. While he is a good player on his day, he has failed to produce the goods consistently and tends to make careless errors in crucial moments.
With Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes at the club, Manchester United need a top-class defensive midfielder to complete their midfield. While Fred and Scott McTominay and good players in their own right, neither of them fit the billing to play such a role for the Red Devils, due to which the former could be sacrificed this summer.
Manchester United don't have any immediate plans to offload Fred, but if an opportunity were to arise, they might consider doing so, especially if the funds could be used to sign a player like Declan Rice.
#1 Naby Keita | Liverpool
Naby Keita's three-year spell at Liverpool has been underwhelming, to put it mildly. The Guinean midfielder is the third most expensive purchase in the club's history and also inherited Steven Gerrard's iconic #8 shirt upon arrival, indicating that the Reds had high hopes for him.
However, he has failed to nail down a regular starting spot and has been hampered by a series of recurring injuries. Keita's talent is unquestionable, but at what point do Liverpool think enough is enough? Jurgen Klopp has remained patient with the 26-year-old so far and seems to hold him in high regard, but Keita is running out of time to save his Liverpool career.
Reports suggest the Reds could look to offload him this summer, with Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma a top target for the club to reinforce their midfield.