Five ‘lesser lights’ the Prem big boys could snap up

Date published: Wednesday 17th May 2017 1:43

With relegation places confirmed following the penultimate weekend in the Premier League season, clubs will now look forward to see which relegated stars are deserving of a place in England’s top tier next term.

There have been a host of impressive performers near the foot of the table, while some stand out showings have seen a number of players linked with summer switches.

Without further adieu, then, we look at five players who could be on the move to bigger and better things once the transfer window opens…

Josh King – Bournemouth

After a so-so debut Premier League campaign for Bournemouth, Josh King has thrived in his second season in the top-flight with the Cherries.

His 16 league goals ranks among the top 10 players this term with the Norwegian striker netting nearly a third of Bournemouth’s Premier League total so far this season.

Having netted just three goals before the turn of the year, only Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane (both 14) have scored more goals than King (13) in 2017.

Indeed, his excellent showings on the south coast have seen him linked with a summer move away from the Vitality Stadium and he could certainly do a job for a side that averages more key passes per game than Bournemouth (9).

A 23.9% conversion rate ranks among the best in Europe of those to have scored 15 or more goals this season, while an ability to play as either the lone frontman or behind the striker highlights his versatility, a quality in the final third that makes him an appealing option for any team.

Marten de Roon – Middlesbrough

It’s fair to say that Marten de Roon somewhat failed to live up to expectations in the wake of his summer arrival from Atalanta. That being said, it has been tough for any Middlesbrough to entirely excel in what has been a disappointing campaign to say the least.

The Dutchman arrived as the tough-tackling midfielder required to help Boro having made more tackles and interceptions combined (253) than any other player in Serie A last season, yet it wasn’t enough to keep the north-east side up.

To his credit, the 26-year-old showed enough about him to impress where required and it wouldn’t be too great a shock to see a Premier League side make a move for the Dutchman.

While he’s unlikely to secure a switch to one of England’s elite teams, De Roon’s battling performances would appeal to one of the newly promoted sides, or one of the mid-table finishers.

Harry Maguire – Hull

Despite Hull’s relegation, Harry Maguire is one who can be expected to ply his trade in the Premier League next season.

The defender may already have played his final game for the Tigers after suffering an injury in the 4-0 loss at Crystal Palace and with vultures circling, Hull are braced for offers for Maguire this summer.

His notable reading of the game means he is averaging 2.2 interceptions per game this season and he could be a handy addition for any Premier League outfit.

What’s more is that his versatility and power at the back would be a benefit for any side. Indeed, he’s completed more dribbles (29) than any other Hull player in the Premier League this season, with his control when in possession a handy asset.

Hull would be reluctant to cash in on Maguire, yet they could be left with little choice but to sell should a suitable offer come in for the centre-back.

Alfie Mawson – Swansea

Another centre-back who is on the right path to bigger and better things is young AlfieMawson, who has taken to the rigours of Premier League football like a duck to water.

Signed from Barnsley last summer, the 23-year-old is now a mainstay in the Swansea backline on the back of a number of mature performances alongside Federico Fernandez at the heart of the defence.

His form ensured Swansea are playing Premier League football next term and it’s unlikely to have gone unnoticed.

Many tipped Mawson for an England call up earlier in the year and while he was unable to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s selection, it’s surely a matter of time before the defender is considered for his first senior cap.

The Swans would be wholly against Mawson leaving the Liberty Stadium this summer after a notable debut campaign, yet are surely aware that interest could be high in the youngster from teams above them in the league.

Didier Ndong– Sunderland

A number of Premier League sides broke their club-record transfers to sign attackers last summer, yet Sunderland did so securing the services of defensive midfielder Didier Ndong from Lorient.

The primary Sunderland players attracting Premier League interest are Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe, yet Ndong is another who showed glimpses of his talent in a disappointing campaign for the Black Cats.

Sunderland are a stronger side with the Gabon international in the team, noted in that David Moyes’ side have won none of the 10 top-flight games the 22-year-old has not started this season.

His energy and tenacity is a handy attribute to possess and one that a Premier League team could certainly utilise.

Sunderland would undoubtedly look to recoup most – if not all – of the £17m paid to sign the midfielder last summer, yet their relegation means Ndongwill likely to look to leave the Stadium of Light in the transfer window. 2.9 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per 90 highlights the youngster’s work off the ball and he could be a handy pick up for one of the newly promoted sides.

Ben McAleer@BenMcAleer1

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