Leicester, Leeds and Southampton will all play Championship football next season and the the trio’s best talent are set to be subject of transfer interest after Premier League relegation.
Relegated sides are often raided for their finest footballers, each of who are desperate to remain in the top division. As Premier League sides begin to circle like vultures in search of an easy meal, we look at six relegated players who are set to be in demand.
Six relegated players set to be in demand this summer.
James Maddison looks certain to leave Leicester this summer with the midfielder requiring top-level football to maintain his England ambitions. Maddison was expected to be a transfer target for top clubs regardless of Leicester’s fate, but relegation has all but confirmed his departure.
The 26-year-old has been a consistent positive in an otherwise difficult period for the Foxes and his form across the past two seasons has earned Maddison an England recall.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 4, 2022
Maddison has scored 22 league goals and provided 17 assists across the last two seasons, while offering set-piece threat and versatility in being able to operate in various roles across midfield.
Even in a struggling side he has excelled when it comes to chance creation, averaging 2.5 chances created per 90 minutes last season. That figure is higher than the likes of Martin Odegaard (2.2), Bukayo Saka (2.1) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (2.2) and emphasises the quality Maddison can provide in the final third.
Newcastle made an approach for Maddison last summer and it would be no surprise to see that interest renewed, while each of the ‘Big Six’ have been credited with interest in recent windows.
James Ward-Prowse was visibly emotional as he departed the St Mary’s pitch on the final day, with the expectation that the club captain will move on after a two decade association with the Saints.
Ward-Prowse was unable to keep Southampton in the Premier League as an inexperienced side struggled for results, despite an impressive contribution of nine goals and four assists. Just five players created more chances than the 28-year-old, who is understood to be valued at around £40m.
West Ham continue to be linked with the midfielder and Ward-Prowse would represent a sensible signing given the uncertainty surrounding Declan Rice’s future. Full of tenacity, technique and with experience of captaining a Premier League side, he could provide a ready-made replacement for his England team-mate at the London Stadium.
1️⃣8️⃣ – David Beckham
1️⃣6️⃣ – @Prowsey16
Closing in… ✨ pic.twitter.com/3ZkOvFAgI4
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 14, 2023
He’s not bad at set-pieces, either. But you already knew that.
Wilfried Gnonto’s vibrant performances for Leeds have attracted interest from leading clubs, with the winger excellent in flashes during his debut season at Elland Road.
Signed for less than €5m from FC Zurich last summer, Gnonto became a fan favourite at Leeds for his exciting brand of football. The 19-year-old scored four goals and provided four assists in all competitions and there was disappointment that the forward was not given more regular opportunities as Leeds slid towards the relegation places.
This kid is SPECIAL 🔥
A sensational finish from @LUFC‘s Wilfried Gnonto puts them ahead 👏
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) January 18, 2023
Gnonto is highly-rated in his homeland and has already won 10 caps for Italy’s senior side, with a host of Serie A clubs sure to be interested should Leeds indicate that he will be allowed to leave.
Arsenal and Manchester City are the latest sides credited with interest in Gnonto, who might feel top-level football is required to maintain his place in the Azzurri set-up ahead of Euro 2024.
Harvey Barnes is expected to lead an exodus of talent at Leicester, who suffered a shock relegation just seven seasons after being crowned Premier League champions.
Barnes ended the season as Leicester’s leading scorer on 13 league goals, the highest total scored for a team who ended the season in the Premier League’s bottom half.
Tottenham, Newcastle and Aston Villa have been linked with the 25-year-old, who earned a sole cap for England in 2020 and will be keen to continue at Premier League level to improve his chances of a recall to the squad.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 12, 2022
Barnes is an excellent finisher with pace in behind to continually cause problems and could be an astute addition for any top-half team in search of goal threat. He boasts a strong record in the division and has been directly involved in 60 goals in 146 top-flight career appearances.
A standout in a struggling Southampton side, the Saints expect to receive significant transfer interest in Romeo Lavia this summer.
The midfielder signed for the club in a £12.5m deal from Manchester City last summer and has enhanced his reputation with a fine first season at senior level. Lavia is robust, dynamic and cool under pressure, while he has demonstrated a positional sense and awareness that belies his inexperience.
That’s some way to open your account for a new team! 💥
Roméo Lavia puts Southampton level after Raheem Sterling’s opener 😇
A brilliant strike. pic.twitter.com/SKAjrM5cD9
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 30, 2022
There remains room for improvement, but what 19-year-old is the finished article? The potential is clear with the Belgian and there’s good reason Chelsea and Liverpool are considering a move for a player valued at around £40m.
Lavia ranks well among Premier League midfielders for tackles, possession won and duel success this season and could be on the move this summer. Manchester City have a first option on Lavia, inserted into his sale this summer, and might be forced to activate it immediately if the Citizens have any plans to bring the midfielder back to the club in the future.
Tyler Adams formed part of an American revolution at Leeds United last summer, as the US international signed under Jesse Marsch’s management.
Adams became an instant fans’ favourite for his attitude, application and ball-winning abilities, with the 24-year-old ranked fifth in the Premier League for tackles in 2022/23 despite missing a large portion of the season through injury.
Adams’ absence was a major blow to Leeds’ survival bid and the Whites won just two of the 12 games he missed after sustaining a hamstring injury that curtailed his campaign in March.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 30, 2023
Adams’ tenacity is understood to have won admirers with a number of Premier League clubs keen on a deal. Newcastle, Manchester United, Spurs and Liverpool have been linked of late, amid widespread reports that the midfielder has a £30m relegation release clause.
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