Premier League clubs submitted their finalised squads for the season yesterday following the division’s deadline, with their options now set until the end of the winter window.
Clubs must register no more than 17 players who do not fulfil the ‘Home Grown Player’ criteria and have a maximum of 25 places in their Premier League squads, though sides are permitted to register an additional list of players under the age of 21.
Petr Cech’s unexpected inclusion as an emergency goalkeeping option at Chelsea brought much surprise, whilst there were also several leading names missing from lists and now facing uncertain futures ahead of a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
We’ve decided to look at some of the most notable names to have been excluded, here are six high-profile players left out of Premier League squads this season.
Mesut Ozil’s demise reached a new nadir after being left out of Arsenal’s squad for the season, the former club-record signing having been informed in no uncertain terms that he is not a part of the Gunners’ future plans.
This is a player whose résumé includes winning major silverware in Germany, Spain and England as well as at international level with World Cup success, and a talent who reached 50 Premier League assists quicker than any player in the division’s history bar just Kevin De Bruyne.
His fall-from-grace has been both sharp and shocking, a victim of his languid style, one which is in stark contrast to the intensity of the pressing play Mikel Arteta is attempting to implement at the Emirates.
Ozil has not played a single minute for the north London side since before the league’s lockdown, whilst it appears almost impossible to mention the German without alluding to his well-documented club-record contract – one he was unwilling to reduce in line with his teammates amid the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
That staggering financial mistake will reach its conclusion in the summer at the very latest with Ozil’s deal set to expire at the end of the season, though it would be best for all parties were he to move on in January, his exclusion from the club’s Premier League squad coming a week after his Europa League omission.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 21, 2020
The shoe no longer fits for Ozil at Arsenal and it is a sad end to what is now his eighth year in the capital, but there are clubs likely to be willing to chance on the playmaker with MLS and the Middle East reported as potential destinations.
Arsenal are currently paying £18m-per-year to an unwanted player at a time when they have announced the redundancies of 55 staff members, a sorry situation and an indictment of modern football.
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t get too much wrong during an illustrious career that saw him establish himself as arguably the greatest manager of all-time, but his forecast that a certain Phil Jones could become Manchester United‘s best ever player looks wildly absurd in hindsight.
Seven years have passed since Ferguson’s statement on Jones upon his retirement at Old Trafford, seven seasons which have seen the player change from promising prospect to much-maligned figure of fun amongst the Red Devils faithful.
Jones has been out-of-favour at United for some time, but his exclusion from the club’s Premier League squad surely means he has now played his last game for the club, fans who regularly winced at seeing his name on the teammate breathing a sigh of relief.
Injuries have certainly not helped his progress but he has often looked sub-standard and error-prone when included in the side, his game littered with mistakes and his confidence seemingly low.
It is astonishing to think that just 18 months ago he was handed a new long-term contract at United, yet another show of the erratic and incompetent decision making amongst the club’s hierarchy.
A fresh start looks likely in January for a player who has been capped on 27 occasions for England, though United’s reported price-tag of £20m looks optimistic given the centre-back’s faltering fortunes and injury record.
Still just 28-years-old there is time for Jones to get back to his best and regain some sort of form, though that will almost certainly come in changed colours as a winter window exit looms.
Danny Rose’s difficult relationship with Jose Mourinho was played out in front of the cameras during Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary on Tottenham, the full-back failing to convince the Spurs boss that he deserves a place in his plans.
After a frustrating period last season the England international spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Newcastle, playing 11 league games in a rather underwhelming spell at St James’ Park that failed to progress into a permanent switch.
Spurs have found no takers for the 30-year-old this summer and his career appears to be at a crossroads, with speculation mounting that the north London side will offer Rose a pay off in a bid to remove his contract off the wage bill.
It is far from the departure Rose will have wanted having spent more than a decade with the club, though he will be keen to play regular first-team football as he bids to remain in England contention for next summer’s European Championships.
Whether those hopes are realistic or hugely optimistic remains to be seen, Rose currently in desperate need of a new challenge after being forced into the wilderness at Spurs.
Jean Michael Seri
Jean Michael Sari arrived amid much fanfare in an expensive scattergun approach to the transfer market from Fulham two years ago, the west Londoners spending lavishly only to suffer an immediate relegation to the second tier.
Scott Parker has since regrouped the side to bounce back at the first attempt, but the former big-money buy played no part in their promotion campaign after being shipped out-on-loan to Galatasaray, making 27 league appearances for the Turkish side and scoring twice.
The midfielder was previously courted by Barcelona and was viewed as a coup upon his arrival, but he has proven an expensive misfit at Craven Cottage, with Parker now opting to omit the 29-year-old from his squad list for the season.
Inter Milan were tentatively linked with a move for the Ivorian last month, though any fresh approaches will have to wait until the January transfer window, Seri set to spend the next two months on the sidelines alongside fellow midfielders Kevin McDonald, Josh Onomah and Stefan Johansen.
It can be easy to forget that Yannick Bolasie is still an Everton player, given the winger’s lack of impact on Merseyside and succession of loan spells away.
Bolasie’s £30m transfer fee must rank as one of Everton’s worst investments in an era of questionable recruitment at Goodison Park, the Toffees returning just two goals and 29 league appearances in the four years following the deal.
A serious knee injury halted Bolasie’s progress and he has failed to win favour upon returning to fitness, spending loan stints at Aston Villa, Anderlecht and Sporting Lisbon with limited success.
Carlo Ancelotti has made it abundantly clear that the 31-year-old is free to find another club should there be any willing takers, with a deadline day move to Middlesbrough reportedly falling through.
Bolasie spoke on his disappointment at the failed switch and will be desperate to move onto pastures new once the window reopens, though tentative summer enquiries failed to result in tangible interest.
Sergio Romero’s career at Manchester United looks all but over with the goalkeeper having been treated poorly over the course of the summer, the shot-stopper reportedly finding out of his Premier League squad omission via social media.
The Argentina international has long been regarded as one of the best deputy goalkeepers in world football but has fallen down the pecking order following the return of loanee Dean Henderson, Romero allegedly priced out of a transfer away amid reported interest in his services from Everton.
Romero has been a fine servant during his five seasons at Old Trafford and would represent a smart acquisition for any side seeking reliability his goal, the 33-year-old having played in a World Cup final and fast approaching a century of caps at international level.
The veteran has entered the final year of his contract and has wanted an exit since being dropped for the club’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Sevilla, with his wife publicly criticising United’s lack of respect after denying him a summer move.
Now cast aside in favour of David De Gea, Henderson and Lee Grant, a winter window move appears imminent.