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Five relegated players that deserve another Premier League chance

Hopes of a dramatic and nerve-jangling climax to the Premier League’s relegation battle were ended over the past week, the three teams condemned to the Championship all confirmed with three games of the season remaining.

Sheffield United were the first team to be relegated following a torrid campaign, last season’s overachievement in finishing ninth followed by ‘Second Season Syndrome’ as the Blades tumbled out of the top tier.

Joining them will be West Brom and Fulham, both sides earning promotion to the Premier League last season before struggling to cope with the step-up, making an instant return to the second tier of English football.

 

Whilst each of the sides struggled to compete with England’s elite, there were some bright performers from each team and Premier League clubs will likely be circling ahead of the summer window.

Here are five relegated players who should be given another Premier League chance.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Several top-flight sides are reportedly monitoring Anguissa following his performances for Fulham this season, the midfielder having been a shining light in a season largely of struggle for the Cottagers.

The Cameroonian initially signed for Fulham ahead of the 2018/19 season but struggled during his debut season in the Premier League, signing on loan for Villarreal following the west Londoners relegation and earning rave reviews for his performances in Spain.

He returned this season and has been one of the club’s best performers, thriving as a driving force from the centre of the pitch with his 83 players dribbled past ranking him fourth in the Premier League.

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Anguissa also ranks fourth for tackles in the Premier League this season, the midfielder a player capable of bringing defensive solidity and dynamism to the side, whilst his press-resistant dribbling makes him a unique central option.

Valued at around £20m, his multi-faceted talents are understood to have attracted attention from Everton, Aston Villa and Arsenal.

Sam Johnstone

Sam Johnstone had to wait a long time for his opportunity in the Premier League, the former Manchester United youngster having enjoyed seven lower league spells away from Old Trafford before a permanent move to West Bromwich Albion.

Having helped the Baggies to promotion last season the goalkeeper would have anticipated a busy season as the club sought to secure safety, but he has risen to the challenge admirably despite finding himself behind statistically the division’s worst defence.

The 28-year-old may have conceded more goals than any other goalkeeper in the division this season, but that total would no doubt have been much higher had it not been for his heroics on occasion throughout the campaign.

Stunning late saves against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United earned West Brom valuable points against the top six, and whilst not enough to prevent relegation he has won himself admirers from top-flight recruiters.

Named in the England squad for the first time during March’s World Cup qualifiers, Johnstone is reportedly on the radar of Spurs, West Ham and Leeds as they assess their goalkeeping personnel, while he has also been linked with a return to Old Trafford should David de Gea depart.

Sander Berge

Sander Berge was linked with a whole host of Europe’s top clubs – including Liverpool and Napoli – last season before making a surprise £22m move to Sheffield United in January, becoming the record signing for the high-flying Blades.

Berge joined a side pushing towards European qualification before eventually finishing ninth, though his first full season in the Premier League has been one to forget as Sheffield United have tumbled out of the division in sorry fashion.

The Norway international took time to adjust to the pace of the division before producing a series of more assured displays, the midfielder’s imposing frame and crisp passing offering a sturdiness to the Sheffield United midfield.

The 21-year-old publicly spoke of his desire to play Champions League football again earlier in the campaign, one that was ravaged by a hamstring injury that sidelined the midfielder for five months.

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Struggling badly when he was sidelined, upon his return his side had already been relegated and Berge stands as one of the club’s most saleable assets as they bid to cover the financial loss of relegation.

Jurgen Klopp has previously had success in signing the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson from relegated sides, whilst Arsenal have been linked as they bid to add steel to the side. Recent reports of a £35m release clause could make a summer move even more feasible.

Joachim Andersen

Fulham’s ultimately failed bid to survive was built on a side largely constructed in the loan market, bringing in the likes of Ademola Lookman, Alphonse Areola and Joachim Andersen on season-long deals.

Each of that trio of players has done more than enough to warrant interest from Premier League sides, though it is perhaps Andersen who will attract admirers from the upper echelons of the division.

The Denmark international was named as Fulham captain early on into time with the club and has led the Cottagers well throughout the season, the centre-back’s fine passing range a trademark of defenders at the elite level of the game.

Andersen is strong aerially – ranking second in the Premier League for clearances – and good in possession, traits which have seen him linked with Tottenham and Arsenal of late with parent club Lyon prepared to cash in on his services this summer.

The 24-year-old reportedly wants to stay in the Premier League and interested Spurs before his move to France, the north London side considering another move for the defender following a disappointing domestic season.

Matheus Pereira

Expect a bidding war for Matheus Pereira during this summer’s transfer window with a host of clubs understood to be scrambling to sign the West Brom star.

Pereira was hugely influential in West Brom’s promotion to the Premier League and impressed despite their return to the second tier, his performances since the turn of the new year in particular having been exceptional.

The 24-year-old has scored 10 league goals and provided five assists in 28 starts this season, a fine return in a struggling side who have been outscored by all but the two sides relegated alongside them.

Pereira has been directly involved in 46.88 per cent of West Brom’s goals in the Premier League this season, a creative contribution that has alerted Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Leeds, West Ham and RB Leipzig amongst others.

The Brazilian has proven he is a cut above the Championship and it would be a huge surprise to see him remain at The Hawthorns next season, the Baggies seemingly set to make a huge profit on a player signed for just £8.25m last summer.

Read – Champions: Six games that shaped Manchester City’s title triumph

Read – Five Noughties midfielders who should make the Premier League Hall of Fame

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