Premier League Opinion: Premier League XI of flops from the season
The Premier League isn’t the ideal place if a player is looking to come in and have an instant impact.
While there have been multiple success stories, the number of stories that have gone sour quite fast heavily outweigh them. Despite this, there has been no shortage to in the in-flow of players to England’s top-flight.
Here is Premier League Flops XI of the season:
GK – David De Gea
The Spaniard was quite far away from his usual best this season and although he did put in a couple of game-saving displays along the way, he also caused far too many errors this season.
On the back of a difficult World Cup for him in Russia, he struggled quite in the following Premier League season too.
RB – Stephan Lichsteiner
Signed from Juventus on a free transfer in an attempt to literally add numbers to the Arsenal defensive ranks. Although the veteran has bags of top-level experience, his age and shocking lack of pace made him a horror signing for the Gunners.
Having barely featured after he was found out, Lichsteiner has been one of the biggest flops of the campaign.
CB – Denis Odoi
If Slavisa Jokanovic looked at his Fulham squad on paper prior to the start of the season, he would’ve been quite confident of achieving safety in the Premier League but as it turned out, multiple things went downhill for them.
The Belgian made 31 appearances for the Cottagers this season and is one of the main reasons for their early relegation.
CB – Shkodran Mustafi
The German international has become the laughing stock of Premier League fans over the course of the campaign owing to the horrendous blunders that he’s committed along the way.
From losing his markers to assisting an opponent, Mustafi has managed to prove once again this season that he’s not cut out for football.
LB – Ashley Young
The Englishman has been utilised in more than 3 different positions over the course of his career and he certainly hasn’t been overly effective in any of them.
This season though, he’s managed to reach a new level of futility with some pathetic displays that have made even Manchester United fans turn on the veteran.
CM – Fred
Signed for a relatively monstrous fee from Shaktar Donetsk, it’s as if United didn’t know what they were getting into when they finalised the transfer for Brazilian midfielder Fred.
Since the switch though, the youngster has only featured sparingly and has been quite wasteful in certain games as well.
CM – Mesut Ozil
Being one of the Premier League’s biggest earning players would certainly take its own mental toll on any player, especially if their manager refuses to give them quality game time.
Since Unai Emery took over at the Emirates, Mesut Ozil has fallen into the back-up category and this season, he’s been more invisible than usual.
CM – Mateo Kovacic
The Croatian star was used as a make-weight by Real Madrid in their summer move for former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Although he has featured regularly for the Blues, he’s failed to make any considerable impact and still has a long way to go before winning over the hearts of the loyal Chelsea fans.
RW – Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean winger was widely regarded to be one of the best players in Europe until the last summer but how drastically his career has changed!
Capable of sheer brilliance on his day, Sanchez has offered Manchester United absolutely nothing going forward this season and has made a complete joke of himself.
ST – Christian Benteke
The Belgian was bought by Crystal Palace to one thing and one thing only – score goals. His first game of the season came in their recent win over Arsenal and for a striker with the reputation of Benteke, going so many months without finding the net even once spells massive trouble.
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LW – Alireza Jahanbakhsh
The Iranian international has always been extremely highly rated but since making the big-money switch to Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer, he’s struggled to make any sort of impact.
His trickery and movement haven’t worked in the Premier League and he will have to improve massively in order to prove his worth next season.
Arsenal must pounce on the chance to sign this clinical 25-year-old winger to solve wide attacking woes – Agreed?
Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should go all out for Yannick Carrasco?
Dalian Yifang star Yannick Carrasco has given Arsenal a major transfer hint by admitting he is ready to move back to Europe. He also confirmed the Gunners’ interest during the January transfer window but had to stay put at the Chinese club due to some difficulties.
The Belgium international, 25, joined Dalian Yifang from Atletico Madrid in January 2018. He now wants a return to Europe ahead of Euro 2020.
Now that Yannick Carrasco has admitted his desire to return back to Europe, Arsenal must reignite their interest and sign him this summer.
The Gunners failed to finish in the top-four in the Premier League but have a chance to qualify for the Champions League next season by winning the Europa League.
They face Chelsea in the Europa League final and a win at Baku would not only become the ticket to Champions League but also boost Unai Emery’s budget by around £25million.
The summer transfer window has started in full swing and Emery is expected to bring in reinforcements to try and challenge for the Premier League title next term. The Spaniard’s first season at the Emirates could be deemed as a success as he had big boots to fill in following Arsene Wenger’s departure from the club after more than two decades.
Now, Emery must make this transfer window count by addressing the concerned areas of his squad. One of the areas is the wing department, with Arsenal lacking an out-and-out winger except Alex Iwobi. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil have been tried out wide, but none of them have delivered as expected.
Yannick Carrasco could be the solution to the Gunners’ wide department problem. He has been in good goalscoring touch in China having already netted seven goals and assisted once in nine games for Dalian Yifang.
That shows his clinical nature in front of goal and while he would take some time to adapt to the Premier League, there is little doubt that he would be a success.
The Belgian is blessed with electric pace and fantastic dribbling skills which makes him such a threat in the attacking areas of the pitch. Carrasco’s ability to hold the ball in tight areas suits Emery’s philosophy, while his final ball quality is miles better than Iwobi.
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The former AS Monaco and Atletico Madrid ace’s power and direct approach also would give the Gunners an option during counter-attacks. Not to forget, his versatility to play as a wing-back when required makes the 25-year-old such a handy option to have in the squad.
Carrasco has solid European experience and is very effective in what he does, which means he can solve the problems in wide areas for Arsenal. Hence, it would make some sense if Emery signs the Belgian speedster in the summer.
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Arsenal Opinion: Trossard would be a masterstroke by the Gunners
The youngster currently plies his trade for KRC Genk in the Jupiler Pro League in his home country but has been linked with moves abroad in the past as well.
His statements prior to Genk’s last game of the season against Standard Liege pretty much summed up the situation and with the Gunners in the driving seat, this deal could well go through in the summer.
It has been suggested that a transfer away from Genk is on the horizon but the eventual destination wasn’t discussed.
The Gunners are said to have been keeping their tabs on the youngster’s progress for quite a while now.
He is similar to long-serving English star Danny Welbeck, who is expected to depart the Emirates after a 5-year spell at Arsenal.
Welbeck’s imminent departure and the fact that a majority of the goalscoring responsibilities have fallen on the shoulders of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang means that the Gunners must make some serious moves in the upcoming transfer market.
One of the main problem areas of Arsenal this season has been on the flanks. While the defence has been nothing short of catastrophic, the lack of natural wingers in their squad has come back to haunt them this season.
To add salt to their wounds, Emery’s style revolves around balls being played into the box and if there’s nobody to deliver the crosses, the striker is never going to score.
Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been the two players regularly used on the flanks. While the latter is also not a natural winger, the former’s inconsistencies have certainly deterred his progress in the Gunners side.
The addition of Trossard would come as a wake-up call to the rest of the attacking players at the Emirates.
While Genk are said to be holding for a fee in the region of £20m, his figures this season certainly warrant that amount.
Having played 24 league games for Genk this season, the youngster has netted 11 times and he’s even managed to provide a further 4 assists. His disciplinary record is excellent too as he didn’t pick up a single booking all campaign.
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Extremely creative and quick on the ball, Trossard has certainly come up in the footsteps of all the talented Belgian wingers that have recently come through the ranks.
While a comparison to Eden Hazard wouldn’t be fair, in due course, Trossard certainly has the potential to reach the same level and a move to Arsenal will be a step in the right direction for this young star.
Arsenal’s strength between the sticks would be formidable if they sign this 29-year-old Brazilian – Agreed?
Arsenal Opinion: Neto can provide Bernd Leno with healthy competition for the No.1 role
The Daily Star understands that the Gunners already have a contract offer on the table for the 29-year-old shot-stopper, with reports claiming that manager Unai Emery is keen to add at least another goalkeeper to his ranks ahead of the upcoming season.
However, as reported by Daily Star, Neto is unhappy with the terms of the contract and he feels that he is worth more than the wages that have been offered to him by Arsenal.
Also, it has been claimed that Neto wants assurances of playing the Champions League given that Valencia finished fourth in the La Liga and are set to play in Europe’s elite club competition next season. (h/t Daily Star)
Neto made a total of 34 appearances in the La Liga this season to help Valencia to a top-four finish. The Brazilian featured in 47 occasions in all competitions over the course of the campaign and managed to keep 14 clean sheets in the process.
The 29-year-old rose to prominence with Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense before announcing himself on the European stage with a move to Fiorentina back in 2011. He spent four fruitful seasons with the La Viola and managed 34 clean sheets in 101 appearances before switching boats to join Juventus, although he predominantly played a backup role in Turin.
Neto made his move to the La Liga for the first time in his career with Valencia back in 2017 and quickly established himself as the first-choice between the sticks at Mestalla. The Brazilian has made 80 appearances for the Spanish outfit in all competitions till date and a move to the Premier League looks very much on the cards for the 29-year-old.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are on the lookout for a replacement for Petr Cech, who is expected to hang up his boots after the Europa League final against Chelsea.
The 37-year-old is set to put a full-stop to his illustrious and distinguished career in English football at the end of the season, and while Arsenal have Bernd Leno as their undisputed No.1 between the sticks, the Gunners cannot afford to embark on the upcoming season with just a single goalkeeper.
The Gunners have someone like Emiliano Martinez who could play the role of an understudy to Leno, while the future of David Ospina remains up in the air.
The Colombian spent the previous season on loan at Napoli but it is still unclear whether the Serie A outfit are willing to make his stay permanent. Even if Ospina returns to Arsenal, Emery might not fancy him for the back-up role, having shipped him out on loan just a year ago.
Neto looks more like the real deal for Arsenal and it would be a good idea for the Gunners to have a top-class experienced back up for Bernd Leno, given that the German himself has struggled at times this season.
It is clear that Arsenal are not looking at Neto to dislodge Leno between the sticks but the Brazilian is also a quality goalkeeper at the highest level and his presence would ensure healthy competition for the No.1 role.
Known for his sharp reflexes and ability to keep shots out from all ranges, Neto is good enough to keep the German on his toes and ensure that there is no room for complacency.
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Arsenal need more depth in all areas of their squad to challenge for silverware next season, and while a new centre-back and a left-back might be high on the manager’s recruitment list for the summer, a new goalkeeper is also the need of the hour at the Emirates.
Having said that, Arsenal should not hesitate to sign Neto if he becomes available for a reasonable fee.
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