Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The relegated stars who are heading for the exit this summer

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After a dramatic final round of Premier League fixtures on Sunday afternoon, matters at both ends of the table were finally decided.

While the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham managed to secure European finishes at the last hour, spare a thought for both Bournemouth and Watford.

With Aston Villa managing to land what was a priceless point at the London Stadium, the Cherries and the Hornets lost their top-flight status in the most heartbreaking of fashion.

As fans around Hertfordshire and the South Coast will be more than aware, their inability to hold onto their spot in the Premier League will undoubtedly lead to many of their most notable names heading for the exit this summer.

So, while their respective clubs might be planning for life back in the Championship, which of this year’s relegated stars could be looking for a change of scenery over the coming months?


Nathan Ake & Callum Wilson – Bournemouth

Although Bournemouth might have managed to do their part and pick up a 3-1 win away at Everton on Sunday, it was not enough to see Eddie Howe’s side pull off a great escape.

While the South Coast outfit might have had their issues at the back well-publicised throughout this year’s campaign, they do have one defensive talisman who looks almost certain to be staying in the Premier League this summer.

Despite having his season cut short after picking up an injury against Leicester earlier in the month, Nathan Ake has firmly cemented his spot as Bournemouth’s MVP this season.

A fan favourite since making a £20million permanent move from Chelsea back in 2017, the Dutch international has started 104 out of 113 Premier League games and certainly proved to be a wise investment.

Still only 25 and now with nine years experience in England, only Hector Bellerin and Luke Shaw have racked up more top-flight appearances at a younger age for a defender.

An established central defender who can also fill in at left-back, Ake has remained heavily linked with a summer move to one of the Premier League’s elite.

Along with Sky Sports reporting last week that Manchester City have opened initial discussions with Bournemouth over a potential move to the Etihad, it is also believed that former club Chelsea are keeping an eye on proceedings.

While Ake might be one defensive star on his way out of the Vitality, it also appears that another international is heading for the exit.

Despite enduring a sluggish campaign on the South Coast and bagging just nine goals this season, Callum Wilson will certainly be a striker on many a transfer wishlist this summer.

On a contract worth in the region of £110,000-a-week and Bournemouth planning for life in the Championship with a new budget, it is believed Howe’s side could be calling for as little as £10million over the coming months.

Along with Newcastle boss Steve Bruce watching Wilson closely over the past few months, Tottenham appear to have entered the race after being open about needing a deputy for Harry Kane.


Ismaila Sarr – Watford

Despite trying to mount a spirited comeback away at Arsenal on Sunday, a managerless Watford found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat and their five-year Premier League stay came to a dramatic end.

While the Hornets might have marked their return from the enforced break outside of the bottom-three and appearing to find their feet under Nigel Pearson, we all know things can quickly change at Vicarage Road.

Losing their final three appearances and surprisingly sacking the one-time Leicester boss after their 3-1 defeat away at the London Stadium earlier in the month, there will undeniably be real changes in Hertfordshire.

With skipper and talisman Troy Deeney also throwing his future with Watford into question following their relegation at the Emirates, Hornets fans know that it will be next to impossible to keep hold of Ismaila Sarr this summer.

While Sarr may have made his Premier League debut as a somewhat unknown factor quantity his £30million move from Rennes last year, the 22-year-old has proven to be Watford’s standout performer this season.

Helping to fill the void left by the injured Gerard Deulofeu, the Senegal international has recorded six assists this season and his display against Liverpool earlier in the year has seen him really catch the eye.

Bagging a brace in their famous 3-0 romp against Jurgen Klopp’s side back in February, it appears that the German tactician hasn’t forgotten about his Man of the Match display.

With it expected that the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri will leave Anfield this summer, the former Borussia Dortmund boss could be looking to bring in a cut-price replacement.

Along with being rumored to be on Manchester United’s shortlist, The Daily Mail are reporting that Klopp has identified the pacey winger as one of his top targets, especially with Watford now preparing for life in the Championship.

With five goals in his maiden Premier League campaign, Sarr could be a perfect player to come in and help bolster Klopp’s attacking options behind the trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.


Todd Cantwell & Emiliano Buendía – Norwich City

Hit with what turned out to be a routine 5-0 drumming away at the Etihad over the weekend, Daniel Farke’s side have finished their Premier League campaign with a whimper.

While Norwich may have long since marked their second-tier return with time to spare, they have had one attacking talisman who has continued to catch the eye this season.

One of only a handful of positives to come out of Carrow Road this year, playmaker Todd Cantwell is rumored to have a string of admirers from up and down the Premier League.

Previously linked with a potential call-up to Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions’ squad, the 22-year-old has really burst onto the scene after only playing a bit part in Norwich’s Championship title charge in the 2018/2019 campaign.

Bagging the winner from the penalty spot against Tottenham on FA Cup duties prior to football’s enforced break, Jose Mourinho’s side are the latest to join the race to secure Cantwell’s signature.

While the Canaries might value their talisman as high as £30million, the likes of Newcastle, Sheffield United and Leicester have all reportedly been keeping a close eye on the situation.

With his contract in East Anglia set to expire next year, Cantwell has also been a name that has been speculated to be on Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich’s radar.

Elsewhere, while Emiliano Buendía might have seen his own campaign brought to an early conclusion due to suspension, the 23-year-old is another who will have interest this summer.

With a club-best seven Premier League assists this season, only the trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold have created more chances throughout the 2019/2020 campaign.

While Buendia may have stated last week that he is “happy” in East Anglia, Atletico Madrid are the latest side who are eyeing a potential cut-price deal for the former Getafe midfielder.


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan



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