There are a surprising amount of players signed to Premier League clubs that we would have otherwise forgotten about, had it not been for the January transfer window alerting us to their current situation.
The other day I came across a transfer that had gone completely under my radar for over a week, that of Vicente Iborra from Leicester City to Villareal. While the Spaniard played 27 league games since joining the Foxes in 2017, eight of which came this season, his career in England came and went without much fuss. In fact I thought he had already left the country last summer!
It got me thinking: what players are currently signed to Premier League clubs that you could have easily forgotten were still around? Here are a few names that might jog your memory:
The Serbian joined Liverpool as a promising 20-year-old in 2014 for £20 million, but four years and four loan spells later, he is still on the books at Anfield. I was genuinely amazed to see recent stories about the Merseyside club on the verge of finally seeing the back of the winger for good, as I’d thought he’d left long ago.
To date Markovic has only played 34 games in all competitions for the Reds, the last came in 2015. He has been on loan to Fenerbahce, Sporting Club, Hull City and Anderlecht, and if he does not find a club this January he will leave a free agent in the summer.
The ultimate insult to Vincent Janssen’s visibility, or lack thereof, as a professional footballer was laid bare during Mauricio Pochettino’s press conference earlier this week.
With Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son currently unavailable for selection, Alasdair Gold of Football.London asked the Spurs manager if he was considering bringing the Dutchman into the fold as cover.
Pochettino responded coldly: “No, he is not in my plans.”
Ouch. Not even his own manager thinks about Vincent Janssen.
This was the first time in a good while that I had even seen the striker, who joined the North London club from AZ Alkmaar for £18m in 2016, being mentioned in a story. Having arrived with such promise two and a half years ago, he will inevitably leave as a largely forgotten flop.
Admit it: had it not been for the recent stories linking him with a loan move to Cardiff City, you would have totally forgotten Oumar Niasse even existed.
The Senegalese international moved to Everton from Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5m in 2016, but only played 152 minutes in his debut season. He wasn’t given a squad number for the 2016-17 season, a clear sign of disrespect from manager Ronald Koeman, who said “if Niasse likes to play football he needs to leave Everton.”
Niasse didn’t leave, received the number 24 on his shirt, but was later demoted to the U23 squad and had his personal locker revoked.
Like Markovic he spent the second half of that season on loan at the soon-to-be relegated Hull City, where Marco Silva was his manager. Although Niasse played 22 times in the league last season, Silva has only used him as a sub on five occasions this season, the last of which came against Brighton on December 29.
Injuries have curtailed Wickham’s career, but he is not a player who sticks in the mind easily for tremendous forward play.
Nonetheless Sunderland paid an initial £8m fee (that had the potential to rise to £12m) to Ipswich in 2011 for his services, which included getting just 15 goals in 91 club appearances. Not exactly the next Alan Shearer.
Crystal Palace for some reason felt this was reason enough to splash out £7m to buy him, because this is the Premier League and no one knows what the f*ck money even means anymore. Still, he did score this absolute cracker for the Eagles.
While Shane Long was in focus last week for scoring his first league goal in what feels like a century, Wickham last scored a goal of any description in November 2016 when Palace lost 2-1 at home to Man City. That very same month the Englishman ruptured his cruciate ligament, an injury that kept him out of action for two years.
The striker recently came off the bench in three successive games as he slowly regains his fitness and, possibly, a place in our collective consciousness.
The Parisian only joined Chelsea a year and a half ago, but it feels as if he is a distant memory at this stage.
Bakayoko was part of the exodus from the excellent Monaco side that qualified for the Champions League semi-finals and wrangled the Ligue 1 title from PSG’s grasp.
Unfortunately it didn’t go nearly as well for the midfielder in South London. When he signed in 2016, it was thought that the Blues had conducted a brilliant piece of business, unloading the aging Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for almost double what they had paid for him, while signing his replacement for roughly the same amount.
Bakayoko was unable to replicate the kind of form that won him a transfer in the first place however, one of many Chelsea players who performed poorly in a disastrous title defence last season. Currently on loan at AC Milan, many Premier League viewers have already forgotten he was ever here in the first place, so weak was his impact on English football.
Remember when people said Alex Ferguson should start Anders Lindegaard ahead of David De Gea? The Spaniard was initially finding it difficult to adapt to English football, so inevitably the hot takes about who should start in goals came thick and fast, and dragged on for months. Ferguson stood firm, and the rest is history.
The Dane remained second choice at Old Trafford until 2015 when he moved to West Bromwich Albion, where he made… zero league appearances.
Eight years after joining United he is still in English football, having arrived at Burnley via Preston North End in 2017. Lindegaard is no longer second choice however – he is fourth in the pecking order, behind three England internationals and little to no hope of ever seeing game time in the top flight barring a miracle.