Football is a team sport that may or may not be fair to every single player, especially in terms of getting relegated with your club. Despite playing impressive football, some players are usually unable to prevent their clubs from dropping from the top-flight at the end of a season.
There have been several instances where players get relegated despite performing at a high level. In Italy, for example, in 2020-21, striker Simy Nwankwo scored 20 goals for Crotone but couldn't help them preserve their Serie A status. There have been several other such instances over the years, and the just-concluded 2021-22 season is no different.
Using data from Transfermarkt, we have identified the most valuable players who were relegated from Europe's top five leagues this season. Without further ado, the following is the list:
#5 Joao Pedro (€18 million)
Cagliari forward Joao Pedro has been the club's stand-out performer for a number of years since joining in 2014. Since his arrival at the club, the Brazil-born Italian attacker has been relegated only once, in his debut season.
Pedro scored 13 goals, almost half of Cagliari's total tally, in the 2021-22 season as they were relegated alongside Genoa and Venezia. The forward, who made his international debut for Italy in March 2022, has always been instrumental in the side's struggles in recent years. His 16 goals helped to narrowly keep the side up in 2020-21, but his efforts were not enough this time.
Valued at €18 million, it is expected that Serie A clubs may want to jump at the possibility of signing such an experienced and proven performer. The 30-year-old may yet be a Serie A player in 2022-23.
#4 James Tarkowski (€22 million)
Hard as nails, English centre-back James Tarkowski is one of those who typified Burnley's stay in the Premier League. A player full of grit, determination and passion, Tarkowski enjoyed a fine run with Burnley in the Premier League.
Tarkowski signed for Burnley in 2015-16 when the club were in the EFL Championship. He first played in the Premier League in 2016-17 and has been a regular for the Clarets ever since. The 30-year-old made 35 top-flight appearances as Burnley were relegated from the Premier League in 2021-22.
Tarkowski has left Burnley after his contract at the club expired at the end of the 2021-22 season. A move back to the Premier League is said to be on the cards for the Englishman, with Everton said to be close to sealing a deal for the defender.
#3 Max Aarons (€22 million)
Norwich City right-back Max Aarons has been one of the club's shining lights in their past two spells in the Premier League. The Englishman is seen as one of the best young right-backs in English football due to his skillset.
Aarons made his professional debut for Norwich City and has gone on to make over 160 appearances for the club despite being only 22. The right-back featured 34 times for the Canaries in the Premier League in 2021-22 as they finished bottom of the Premier League.
Aarons' abilities as a full-back have been noticed by some of Europe's top sides. Bayern Munich were said to be willing to complete a transfer for him back in 2020, but the deal was not completed. With a valuation of €22 million, it would not be surprising to see him move clubs this summer.
#2 Dwight McNeil (€22 million)
Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has been one of the most impressive players to emerge from the club in recent years. The 22-year-old has featured regularly for the club since his teenage years and is highly rated at the club.
McNeil made his professional debut for Burnley as an 18-year-old and has since gone on to make 147 appearances for the club in all competitions. The left winger featured in all 38 matches for his club in the Premier League as they were relegated at the end of the 2021-22 season.
McNeil is seen as a promising youngster with a bright future ahead of him. The England U-21 international has shown great fitness and durability for the Clarets over the years. His valuation of €22 million may make it easy for clubs to swoop for him in the transfer market.
#1 Ismaila Sarr (€27 million)
Senegalese wide-man Ismaila Sarr is one of the best young wingers on the African continent. The Watford man has impressed for the Hornets in each of his spells with the club in the Premier League, although he has been relegated both times.
Sarr joined Watford from Rennes in 2019 and has been an important player for the club ever since. The 24-year-old made 22 Premier League appearances in an injury-hit season for the Hornets as they were relegated. He missed out on a large chunk of the season with injuries but was impressive for the side when he played.
Sarr is valued at €27 million but has been rumoured to be close to a move away from the club for a much larger fee in the past. The winger is definitely attracting interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs and may soon be on the move from Watford.
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