Relegated teams are always at risk of losing their best players after dropping into the Championship.
It was Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull City that were relegated during the 2016/17 campaign, with all three possessing some players that are good enough to move back to the Premier League this summer.
All three will want to lower their wage budgets and increase their own spending power to attempt to bounce back at the first attempt, which makes selling players imperative to achieve their goal.
Here are five players that were relegated, but could make an immediate return to the top flight this summer…
Jordan Pickford – Sunderland
The Sunderland goalkeeper was one of the breakout stars of the most recent season, as he made save after save to keep the Black Cats in matches. Although he played in a team that finished bottom of the table, the 23-year-old is already good enough to be a regular in the Premier League and he will be keen to move back into the top flight this summer. In addition to his shot-stopping, the goalkeeper is confident with the ball at his feet and capable of launching attacks from deep.
There will be a number of suitors for the goalkeeper, as he has been linked with Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal among other Premier League clubs. His homegrown status and huge potential make him an appealing transfer target for a lot of sides, which Sunderland will recognise – and adjust his price tag accordingly. They will push for a high fee and hope that a bidding war breaks out. A move back to the Premier League does seem to be inevitable for the 23-year-old.
Ben Gibson – Middlesbrough
The Middlesbrough captain was an ever present during the 2016/17 season and played a huge role in his side having an impressive defensive record, as they conceded fewer than the rest of the bottom ten. However, their attack let them down and resulted in their relegation straight back to the Championship.
As a modern-day centre-back, Gibson is comfortable with the ball at his feet and can play the ball out from the back to start attacks. His disciplinary record is good and he can compete with the best strikers in the division. There won’t be a shortage of interest in the English defender and if Boro are fair with his price, he would represent a good signing for most clubs in the top flight.
Sam Clucas – Hull City
His rise to the top of the English game was remarkable and he will be keen to stay in the Premier League after an impressive debut campaign with Hull City. The midfielder was a consistent performer and didn’t look out of his depth, as shown by his average of 3.1 ball recoveries per ninety minutes, while his work rate always stood out when he was on the pitch.
At the bottom of the table, it is crucial to have players to work hard and fight for the team, which Clucas never fails to do. He would be a good signing for a side battling at the tail end of the division and he would be available for a fair price given that Hull will need to raise funds after relegation.
Kamil Grosicki – Hull City
Hull were never a free-flowing attacking side, even after the appointment of Marco Silva, but Kamil Grosicki impressed during the second half of the season. It would have been difficult for the Poland international as he was arriving in a new country and at a club that was struggling at the bottom of the table. However, he battled hard and added some much-needed flair to their attack, finishing the season with three assists. His average of 1.65 chances created per ninety minutes isn’t bad considering he was playing for a relegated club.
The Hull Daily Mail report that he will be available for a fee of £7 million, which represents good value in the current market for a player with Grosicki’s experience. The report mentions Watford and Newcastle United as possible destinations and it is that area of the league that he would be best suited to.
Adama Traore – Middlesbrough
During his two-year spell in England, he has been relegated twice and that is a concerning statistic, but Traore has shown flashes of ability and could become a good player under the right manager. It would be a gamble for a club in the top flight, but it is one that certain managers will be tempted to make as he possesses incredible dribbling ability.
The winger averaged 7.9 successful take-ons per ninety minutes, which was more than Eden Hazard (4.4). However, the 21-year-old struggled to produce a quality final ball as shown by his average of 1.05 chances created per ninety minutes. His end product needs work, but his ability to beat a man can’t be coached and that may be enough for a Premier League manager to take a risk on him this summer.
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