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Five relegated players who will be in demand this summer

It was a miserable season for the promoted teams in the Premier League as each suffered instant relegation back to the second tier.

Luton, Sheffield United and Burnley all failed to do enough to preserve their Premier League status, just the second time all three promoted teams have gone straight back down.

Despite the obvious (and increasing) gap between the top two tiers, several stars from the struggling sides did enough to warrant a second shot in the Premier League.

Aston Villa have already made a move to sign Ross Barkley from Luton and the midfielder will not be the last relegated player to attract interest.

Here are five relegated players who will be in demand this summer.

Gustavo Hamer – Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s signing of Gustavo Hamer seemed a sensible addition last summer as the Blades raided Coventry City to sign the midfielder.

Hamer had ranked among the Championship’s leading players in 2022-23 for shots (5th), chances created (8th), progressive passes (5th), goal-creating actions (1st) and tackles (5th), as Coventry reached the play-off final.

Signed for a fee of £15m, Hamer has proven he can cut it at the top level despite a disastrous campaign for Sheffield United.

The 26-year-old won the club’s Player of the Season and Goal of the Season accolades at the end-of-season awards, having scored four goals and provided six assists. He was ninth in the Premier League for chances created, despite Sheffield United winning just three times all season. In a better side, he could flourish.

Elijah Adebayo – Luton Town

Luton gave the best account of themselves among the promoted trio, taking their survival bid to the final weekend. Rob Edwards’ side upset some of the Premier League’s top teams with their approach, which included the powerful twin presence of Elijah Adebayo and Carlton Morris in attack.

Elijah Adebayo scored 10 times during his first season at Premier League level and the underlying data is impressive. The 26-year-old started just 16 times due to injury, impressively outperformed his xG of 6.5, and averaged 0.32 goals per shot – the best figure in the entire Premier League.

A real handful at 6ft 3in with excellent ability in the air, he could be an astute addition for several teams in search of centre-forward presence this summer.

Sander Berge – Burnley

Sander Berge has become familiar with relegation in recent seasons with the Norwegian midfielder relegated with both Sheffield United and Burnley.

The 26-year-old joined Burnley from the Blades last summer and was one of the better performers for Vincent Kompany’s side in 2023-24, offering a calm and reliable presence amid struggle elsewhere.

Previously linked with some of the Premier League’s top clubs before his £22m move to English football from Genk in January 2020, top-flight clubs could do worse than move for the towering midfielder.

The 6ft 5in star, who has 44 caps for Norway, ranks in the elite bracket of midfielders (92nd percentile) for aerial duels won across the last 12 months.

Vinicius Souza – Sheffield United

Sheffield United replaced Berge with the arrival of Vinicius Souza last summer and the Brazilian has been a ball-winning machine at Bramall Lane.

The 24-year-old was third for attempted tackles in the Premier League (125) and leads Europe’s top five leagues for tackles won (76) in 2023-24.

Though his forward threat and ability in possession require work, Souza is in the 94th percentile or higher of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for tackles, clearances, aerial duels won and blocks.

Alfie Doughty – Luton Town

Alfie Doughty was a bright light in Luton’s season with the full-back often the most threatening creative outlet in Rob Edwards’ side.

The left-back led the league for crosses (340) and tied ninth for chances created. He ended the campaign with two goals and eight assists, with his set-piece threat a real weapon for The Hatters in their first top-flight campaign since 1992.

Only Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier provided more assists (10) among Premier League defenders and several sides, including Crystal Palace, Wolves and West Ham, have already been linked with the 24-year-old.

Read – The five players to score a hat-trick in a European final

See more – Ranking the five favourites to become Chelsea manager

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