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Premier League: The forgotten men at your club back in pre-season training this week

Premier League The forgotten men at your club back in


Premier League clubs have begun their preparations for the new season this week as they attempt to improve on their performances last term. 

All 20 clubs will likely be looking to do some form of business in the transfer market before the window slams shut at the end of next month.

But their immediate focus will be helping the players currently under contract with them to return to peak fitness by putting them through their paces in intense training sessions and friendlies.

The majority of their stars who competed at Euro 2020 or the Copa America are still on holiday and are due to return later on in the piece.

And their absence could hand some peripheral figures a chance to stake their claim to figure during the new season. Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the forgotten men at your Premier League club. 

Liverpool and the other 19 Premier League clubs have returned for pre-season this week

Liverpool and the other 19 Premier League clubs have returned for pre-season this week

Arsenal  

Sead Kolasinac

The Bosnian left back flattered to deceive when featuring in the Europa League last season, and was subsequently shipped out on loan to former club Schalke.

But the German side’s relegation from the Bundesliga meant they could not afford to keep the 28-year-old, who has returned to north London and played in their pre-season friendly defeat by Hibernian on Tuesday.

With Nuno Tavares signed from Benfica as back-up to Kieran Tierney, Kolasinac’s future at Arsenal looks bleak.

Reiss Nelson

The curious case of the 21-year-old took another mysterious turn last season, featuring in just nine matches across all competitions.

Whether the blame lay with the player or the club, the winger did not find himself a loan move in January and did not feature for the Gunners after March 12.

Having seen the likes of Joe Willock excel out on loan, he has certainly fallen down the pecking order with Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe impressing on the Arsenal right now. 

Left back Sead Kolasinac featured for Arsenal in their pre-season friendly defeat by Hibernian

Left back Sead Kolasinac featured for Arsenal in their pre-season friendly defeat by Hibernian

Runar Alex Runarsson  

A very difficult first season in English football came to a head when punching a Riyad Mahrez free-kick into his own net in the Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat by Manchester City in December.

His only other appearance after that was enforced following Bernd Leno’s dismissal at Wolves, and with the Gunners having brought in Mat Ryan in January, and now looking for a new No 2, the Icelandic keeper’s future appears to lie elsewhere.

The 26-year-old is still at the Gunners for now, but with rumours of a loan to Turkey, Arsenal will be looking to move him on. 

Aston Villa

Frederic Guilbert

The 26-year-old fell behind Matty Cash in the pecking order following the right back’s arrival from Championship side Nottingham Forest last summer.

Guilbert therefore moved back to his native country in January to join Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg on loan until the end of the season.

The Frenchman hinted last month of a future at Villa Park and is expected to stay unless an offer from a club guaranteeing regular first team football arrives, with two years still left on his deal.  

Frederic Guilbert fell down the pecking order last year following the arrival of Matty Cash

Frederic Guilbert fell down the pecking order last year following the arrival of Matty Cash

Brentford 

Joel Valencia

The 26-year-old winger has not featured for the Bees since July 2020 and was shipped out on loan to Legia Warsaw last season.

That spell out in Poland did not prove fruitful either, failing to score or assist in any of his 12 appearances for the club.

His last game for the club came in January due to a knee injury and the search to recapture the form that saw Brentford sign him from Piast Gliwice in 2019 goes on. 

Brighton

Florin Andone

A serious knee injury saw the Romanian miss the entire of the Seagulls’ 2020-21 campaign.

But back involved, he is under the watchful eye of Graham Potter as Brighton returned to training this week.

The 28-year-old’s only match last season came for Brighton’s U23s against Southampton in April, in which he suffered another injury just 13 minutes into his comeback. But he was named on the bench for the club’s first-team against West Ham in May.

Here’s hoping there’s better news for the striker, who has made just 30 appearances for the club since his move to the Amex in 2018. 

Florin Andone missed the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign due to a serious knee injury

Florin Andone missed the entirety of the 2020-21 campaign due to a serious knee injury

Jurgen Locadia

Another player who struggled out on loan, the Dutchman managed just one goal for FC Cincinnati in his nine MLS matches in 2020-21.

The 27-year-old striker first joined the American side in February last year and has only scored three goals in 24 appearances during his two season-long spells there.

His time at Cincinnati has come to an end but FC Twente boss Ron Jans is an admirer of Locadia and having been behind his move to MLS he is reportedly interested in taking him to Holland.

Shane Duffy 

The defender struggled for form at Celtic having joined on loan from the Seagulls in September.

The 29-year-old made 27 appearances but struggled to convince, and was held responsible by many fans for Celtic’s poor display in a 2-0 early season Old Firm defeat to Rangers.

The Republic of Ireland international is desperate to play his way back into Potter’s plans, but that could be hard even if rising star Ben White departs. 

Shane Duffy failed to impress during his loan move to Celtic last season and is back at Brighton

Shane Duffy failed to impress during his loan move to Celtic last season and is back at Brighton

Burnley

Phil Bardsley

The experienced right back put pen to paper on a new contract in March to keep him at Turf Moor until the summer of 2022.

The 36-year-old however made just four top-flight appearances last term before requiring surgery to repair a hernia problem in May.

Matt Lowton and new signing Nathan Collins are other options in that position. 

Chelsea

Baba Rahman

Yes Chelsea fans, the Ghanaian full-back is still on the club’s books despite having been out on five loans since his arrival in 2015.

The most recent of those temporary moves away was to Greek outfit PAOK and he excelled on his way to helping them win the Greek Cup.

Now back at Cobham and with former club Augsburg reportedly interested, it will be fascinating to see if the 27-year-old can convince Thomas Tuchel to keep him.

Baba Rahman has been out on five loans since signing for Chelsea, but is now back at Cobham

Baba Rahman has been out on five loans since signing for Chelsea, but is now back at Cobham

Davide Zappacosta

The 29-year-old full-back has spent the last two seasons back in his native Italy with Roma and then Genoa on loan.

The Italy international saw his compatriots win Euro 2020, which would only have strengthened his desire to continue playing regularly, which looks unlikely at Chelsea.

Fiorentina and, more recently, Inter Milan have been heavily linked with him, with the Serie A champions looking for a replacement for Achraf Hakimi, who left for PSG. 

Charly Musonda

Musonda has not played consecutive games for four years now due to a series of injuries.

The most recent one was a serious knee problem which saw him miss most of the 2019-20 season with Vitesse Arnhem and all of the previous campaign.

The Belgian has been put through his paces back at Cobham this week, and he will be praying for better fortune to make the most of his talent. 

Davide Zappacosta has spent the last two seasons back in Italy with Roma and then Genoa

Davide Zappacosta has spent the last two seasons back in Italy with Roma and then Genoa

Crystal Palace

James Tomkins

A freak training ground accident at the beginning of the year saw Tomkins fracture his eye socket and miss much of the second half of the season.

He made his return towards the end of the season, and will now hope the future is bright under new boss Patrick Vieira. 

Everton 

Moise Kean

The Italian failed to light up the Premier League with just four goals in 37 appearances in 2019-20, but rediscovered his touch at PSG last year with 17 goals.

Interest is aplenty from the Ligue 1 side as well as former club Juventus, but new boss Rafa Benitez could well keep hold of the 21-year-old, having seen what he can do on the biggest stage. 

Moise Kean had a successful loan spell at PSG but struggled in an Everton shirt prior to that

Moise Kean had a successful loan spell at PSG but struggled in an Everton shirt prior to that

Fabian Delph

The former Man City midfielder managed just 49 minutes in 2021 after making three cameos at the end of the season.

It is just part of what is a sorry spell at Everton beset by fitness problems ever since his move in 2019.

Benitez is likely to let the 31-year-old leave if the Goodison Park club’s price is matched. 

Cenk Tosun 

Reports suggest Everton will have no qualms about letting the Turkish striker depart this summer.

The Turkey international spent six months of an injury-plagued loan spell at Besiktas out last season.

He has a year left on his Toffees deal and reports suggest he is willing to take a 50 per cent wage cut to move to Besiktas permanently.  

Striker Cenk Tosun spent six months of an injury-plagued loan spell at Besiktas out last season

Striker Cenk Tosun spent six months of an injury-plagued loan spell at Besiktas out last season

Leeds

Adam Forshaw

A hip injury suffered in September 2019 has seen him miss 71 games for Leeds and their entire first season back in the Premier League in 2020-21.

His only appearance last term came in the Premier League 2 when he was given a run-out against Villa’s U23s in April.

Marcelo Bielsa insisted the 29-year-old is still an ‘important’ player for the Elland Road side, but his pre-season will be more crucial than most.  

Leicester

Rachid Ghezzal

The Algerian spent the entirety of last season on loan at Besiktas and scored eight goals while registering 18 assists for Sergen Yalcin’s side. 

The Turkish outfit are still keen to secure a permanent deal for the 29-year-old, 

But president Ahmet Nur Cebi admitted last week they are yet to reach an agreement with the Foxes, meaning he have had his first look at their new Seagrave facilities this week.

Rachid Ghezzal spent the entirety of last season on loan at Besiktas and scored eight goals

Rachid Ghezzal spent the entirety of last season on loan at Besiktas and scored eight goals

Filip Benkovic

Time is running out for the centre-back to make his mark at Leicester after back-to-back failed loan spells at Cardiff and OH Leuven last season.

Brendan Rodgers said last October the 24-year-old was not ready for the Premier League and just 70 minutes for the Bluebirds is unlikely to have changed that fact. 

He has played just 12 senior games and with Caglar Soyuncu and Wesley Fofana providing excellent options with age on their side, Benkovic’s race in the East Midlands looks run.

Eldin Jakupovic 

The 36-year-old goalkeeper is reportedly in negotiations ahead of signing a one-year contract extension at Leicester.

But the Bosnian-born Swiss has not made a single senior appearance since 2018, and with Danny Ward’s impressive Euros combined with the ever-reliable Kasper Schmeichel, that run may well continue. 

Liverpool

Loris Karius

The German hasn’t kicked a ball in anger for the Reds competitively since that fateful Champions League final against Real Madrid in 2018.

He was sent out on a two-year loan to Besiktas before cancelling his contract early after complaining to FIFA over unpaid wages.

Last season’s loan at Union Berlin was not much more fruitful, with the 28-year-old playing back up to Andreas Luthe and featuring on just five occasions. 

He is part of the squad that has travelled to Austria for a pre-season camp but his future remains unclear. 

Loris Karius spent last season at Union Berlin but was second choice to Andreas Luthe

Loris Karius spent last season at Union Berlin but was second choice to Andreas Luthe

Marko Grujic

Jurgen Klopp’s first signing at Liverpool, the Serbian has been out on four loan during his five-and-a-half years at Anfield.

Grujic became an important player for Porto during his time on loan there last season and played in important Champions League fixtures for them.

Liverpool are confident they can claim a transfer fee of £15million for Grujic this summer.

Ben Davies

The 25-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Reds and only made the bench eight times since he completed a surprise £2million from Preston in January.

Davies’ prospects of featuring next season also appear bleak with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all returning from long-term injuries in addition to the signing of Ibrahima Konate.

Sportsmail revealed last week Celtic have re-joined the race to sign him but other reports suggest he is determined to fight on despite interest from the Parkhead club and Bournemouth. 

Ben Davies is yet to make an appearance since his shock January switch from Preston

Ben Davies is yet to make an appearance since his shock January switch from Preston

Manchester City 

Philippe Sandler

Another star who is hoping his injury problems are behind him after long-term issues with his ankle and knee.

The 24-year-old has made just two appearances for City’s first team since joining the club in 2018 from PEC Zwolle.

Featuring for City’s U23s towards the end of the season, Sandler will now be looking to impress Pep Guardiola ahead of the Premier League champions’ new campaign.

Patrick Roberts

The 24-year-old has been under contract at Manchester City for six years but has made zero starts for the club.

No fewer than five loan spells – the latest of which came at Derby County – but has yet to find a permanent home despite connecting with the fans.

No transfer has been sorted but it is difficult to see how the former Fulham youngster succeeds at City from here. 

Patrick Roberts has been under contract at Man City for six years but has made zero starts

Patrick Roberts has been under contract at Man City for six years but has made zero starts

Manchester United

Andreas Pereira

The Brazilian midfielder spent last season out on loan with Serie A outfit Lazio, and despite not being a regular he still made 33 appearances under boss Simone Inzaghi.

He returned to Old Trafford for pre-season, posting his return on Instagram with the caption: ‘Back to business’.

United do appear to be targeting another central midfielder with Rennes wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga linked, so his future does appear elsewhere. 

Lee Grant

The 38-year-old penned a one-year extension to his contract a fortnight ago.

He joined the club in 2018 from Stoke but is now fourth-choice goalkeeper following Tom Heaton’s return.

Donny van de Beek

The Dutchman only made just four starts in the Premier League for Manchester United in 2020-21 following his £40m move from Ajax last summer.

The 24-year-old scored just one goal and laid on one assist in 19 top-flight games, with suggestions that he could be on his way out this summer.

But speaking earlier this week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted Van de Beek will be remaining at the club next season despite interest from Real Madrid.

Donny van de Beek made just four starts in the Premier League for Man United in 2020-21

Donny van de Beek made just four starts in the Premier League for Man United in 2020-21

Newcastle

Freddie Woodman

Woodman initially started pre-season with Newcastle last week after spending the last two seasons at Swansea.

The goalkeeper appeared to be closing in on another loan move, this time to Bournemouth, but that was reportedly halted after Martin Dubravka suffered a foot injury which may require surgery.

Florian Lejeune 

The French centre-back impressed on loan with Alaves in LaLiga in 2020-21, but returns to Newcastle with just 12 months remaining on his contract.

Injuries have contributed to the 30-year-old rarely featuring under Steve Bruce, and reports suggest the Magpies will listen to offers for him this summer. 

Florian Lejeune impressed on loan with Alaves and has just a year left on his Newcastle deal

Florian Lejeune impressed on loan with Alaves and has just a year left on his Newcastle deal

Norwich

Timm Klose

The 33-year-old spent last season on loan in his native Switzerland with Basel but has returned to Norwich.

The Athletic however reported last month the centre-back will train in a separate group from Daniel Farke’s squad with other players likely to be sold or loaned out this summer.

Tom Trybull 

The midfielder was on loan at Blackburn last season but having returned to Carrow Road, is also set to miss out on senior friendlies and join Klose in the group on the periphery of the main squad.

There may be another year remaining on the 28-year-old’s Norwich contract, but his career at the club appears to be at an end.

Timm Klose spent last season on loan in Switzerland with Basel but has returned to Norwich

Timm Klose spent last season on loan in Switzerland with Basel but has returned to Norwich

Southampton

Mario Lemina  

The Gabon international was on loan at relegated Fulham last season, but his tumultuous time at St Mary’s could be coming to an end.

Sportsmail reported this week Southampton are in discussions for Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden that could see Lemina go in the opposite direction.

Southampton value Lemina at £4m as he has one year left on contract, and also has interest from Nice.

Tottenham

Ryan Sessegnon

After struggling for minutes in his first season at Tottenham following a move from Fulham, Sessegnon went out on loan to Hoffenheim in 2020-21 where he laid on three assists in 29 appearances.

But reports from football.london claim new Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo wants to keep the left-sided player and is ‘excited’ to see him compete with Sergio Reguilon and Ben Davies. 

The report adds Nuno tried to sign Sessegnon on more than one occasion when he was manager of Wolves.

Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo is said to be 'excited' to work with Ryan Sessegnon this season

Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo is said to be ‘excited’ to work with Ryan Sessegnon this season

Cameron Carter-Vickers

The USA international has just a year left on his contract at Spurs, having made only four first-team appearances in five years.

The centre-back spent last season on loan at Bournemouth and they are along with Newcastle and Celtic reportedly interested in a permanent move this summer.

Oliver Skipp

The midfielder made huge strides in his development last season as he played almost every minute for Championship winners Norwich.

The 20-year-old played a vital box-to-box role for Daniel Farke’s side before a fractured metatarsal brought a premature end to his season.

Now reports suggest that club chiefs expect him to be part of Nuno’s first-team squad this campaign having returned from his injury. 

Watford

Cucho Hernandez

The striker was signed by Watford in 2017 but has yet to feature for them, spending his time out on loan in Spain since then.

A loan move to Getafe came last season after stints at Mallorca and Huesca, and recent reports suggest Granada are interested in a similar move.

But reports here suggest the Colombian – who signed a new long-term deal at Vicarage Road in 2019 – will form part of the Hornets’ Premier League squad. 

Reports suggest Cucho Hernandez will form part of Watford's Premier League squad

Reports suggest Cucho Hernandez will form part of Watford’s Premier League squad

West Ham

Winston Reid 

It is now more than three years since the injury-prone centre-back last played a competitive game for West Ham.

He still has two years left to run on his deal at the London Stadium after being handed a six-year deal back in 2017.

But his participation for New Zealand in the Tokyo Olympics is likely to hold up any move away for the 33-year-old, who spent part of last season on loan at Brentford.  

Wolves 

Rafa Mir

The striker has made just four appearances for the West Midlands outfit since joining from Valencia in 2018.

Loans at Las Palmas, Nottingham Forest and Huesca last season have followed, and has been linked with a return to Los Che.

Mir has one year left on his deal at Molineux and told MARCA this month he will respect the fact he has 12 months left on his deal there. 

Patrick Cutrone 

The striker has made no secret of his desire to leave Wolves after a miserable time at the club since joining from AC Milan two years ago.

An unsuccessful loan spell at Valencia last season has not done him any favours in his hopes to secure a move away this summer.

The 23-year-old was part of Italy’s squad for the Under-21 Euros but has now reported for pre-season – for the time being at least – under new boss Bruno Lage.

Patrick Cutrone has made no secret of his desire to leave Wolves after a miserable spell there

Patrick Cutrone has made no secret of his desire to leave Wolves after a miserable spell there



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