With Stoke, West Brom and Swansea preparing for life in the Championship, Jordan Rushworth takes a look at some players who are likely to move on this summer.
Swansea’s relegation to the Championship, after a seven-year stay in the Premier League, was confirmed with a 2-1 defeat at home, on the final day of the season, to already relegated Stoke City.
All three relegated sides are likely to face a summer of transition, with key players from each side being linked with moves away, either back to the Premier League, or elsewhere abroad.
But who are the vultures likely to circle for…?
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom finished bottom of the Premier League after a turbulent season that saw them change managers twice, with both Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew departing.
Albion’s board will have tough decisions to make this summer, namely whether to give the job to caretaker boss Darren Moore, who won manager of the month for April, or to appoint a proven Championship manager.
Whoever is in charge at The Hawthorns next season, they are likely to be without some of the side’s key players in recent seasons. The likes of Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore, Craig Dawson and Salomon Rondon could all look for moves back to the Premier League.
Evans has largely been rock-solid at centre-back for West Brom since his move from Manchester United. The Northern Ireland International reportedly has a relegation release clause in his contract that makes him available for just £3million, making him a potential bargain for a number of suitors.
Livermore joined West Brom from Hull City in January 2017 and has performed well at The Hawthorns, earning himself several call-ups to the England squad. He made 34 appearances this season, scoring twice and registering two assists, and also has a 57% tackle success ratio. These performances will likely draw interest from a number of mid-table sides.
Dawson has been a vital part of West Brom’s side in the last few seasons. His versatility enables him to comfortably play as both a right-back and a centre-back. The 28-year-old is a commanding presence in both boxes, making 52 interceptions and 132 clearances this season, as well as scoring twice. He would be a useful addition to most mid-table defences.
Rondon has been a reliable, if not a prolific, presence up front for West Brom for the last three seasons. The Venezuelan international scored seven times in a side that has struggled to create chances this season. He could be a target for sides needing to add more goals and a physical presence up front.
After three consecutive ninth-placed finishes, and a 13th-placed finish last season, few predicted Stoke would struggle as much as they have this campaign. A poor first half of the season, coupled with a defeat at Coventry City in the FA Cup third round, saw Mark Hughes depart with the Potters in the bottom three.
Paul Lambert was brought in and won his opening game in charge 2-0 at home to Huddersfield – but then failed to register a win in the following 13 games, culminating in their relegation with a game to spare, after a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace.
There will be many key players linked with moves away, with Kurt Zouma moving back to Chelsea after his loan spell. The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Jack Butland and Joe Allen are all arguably too good to play in the Championship and are likely to make top-flight returns.
Shaqiri will almost certainly leave Stoke this summer. The former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan forward has been a rare creative bright spark in Stoke’s dismal campaign. He scored eight times and provided seven assists, his best return in his three seasons in the Premier League. There will be a number of interested clubs looking for some added creativity.
Butland will also be on a number of wanted lists this summer. He made the most amount of saves in the Premier League this season, with 144, managing to keep six clean sheets, but conceding 61 times. The England international kept Stoke in many games this season, and looks a certainty to be in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
Joe Allen will attract interest from a number of clubs in need of more quality in midfield this summer. The Welshman moved to Stoke from Liverpool in 2016 and has been a key part of their midfield for the last two seasons. He scored six times in his first season for the club, from a more advanced role, before scoring twice this season, and making six assists.
Swansea’s relegation this season was the culmination of the instability at the club in the last few campaigns. They changed managers three times last season, eventually managing to stay up under Paul Clement.
This season, though, proved to be a bridge too far; Clement was sacked in December, with Swansea routed to the foot of the table. He was replaced by Carlos Carvalhal, who picked up 17 points in his first nine games to give Swansea hope of survival – but a subsequent run of nine games without a win ultimately ended in relegation.
There could be a number of players who depart the club this summer. The likes of Alfie Mawson, Lukasz Fabianski and the Ayew brothers could all depart, while Renato Sanches, Andy King and Tammy Abraham will return to their parent clubs following the end of loan spells.
Key midfielder, pardon the pun, Ki-Sung Yueng has already confirmed his departure; a move to AC Milan awaits.
Mawson has been one of Swansea’s best players in the last two seasons since moving to the Liberty Stadium from Barnsley. He scored four goals from centre-back last season, and has scored twice this season. The 24-year-old helped his side keep nine clean sheets this campaign, making 222 clearances and 219 recoveries, and is likely to attract multiple suitors.
Fabianski has been a consistent performer in Swansea’s goal in the last few seasons. The Poland international has kept 51 clean sheets in 182 Premier League appearances, with nine of those coming this season. He made 137 saves, including three from penalties, this season and would be good signing for any club looking for a reliable presence in goal.
Ki’s departure will also be hard to fill for Swansea. He would be a valuable addition to the midfields of many Premier League clubs, though it is likely he will move to Serie A with AC Milan. The South Korean has scored 15 goals, and registered eight assists, in 166 Premier League appearances, with two of those goals and two assists coming this season.
By Jordan Rushworth
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