We are reaching the end of this season and, inevitably, teams around Europe and worldwide are preparing themselves for the summer transfer window. The focus for many will be on exciting prospects and young talents from around the globe. Here is a list of 13 talented African footballers who are going to be high on […]
In truth they have struggled for goals all season, and a relatively tight defence was not enough to save them from the drop. There are plenty of players who will likely stay and try to bounce back at the first attempt, but others will leave.
Which key men could Steve Agnew – or whoever is in charge next term – lose to bigger clubs in the Premier League?
Defender Ben Gibson – the nephew of Boro owner Steve Gibson – has established himself as one of England’s most promising young defenders after just one season in the top flight. The 24-year-old has had the opportunity to excel in the team’s safety-first style, and his 221 clearances put him in the top 10 in the league.
He’s played for England at every youth level and has been linked with a call up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad. His cause could be helped by a move to one of the big teams. Chelsea and Manchester City have both been linked.
Possible destinations: Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool
There was excitement when the Spanish under-21 winger arrived on these shores with Barcelona, to join Aston Villa. Things didn’t work out in the Midlands, and now Adama Traore is experiencing his second relegation with Middlesbrough.
With no goals, only two assists, and just an 18% cross accuracy, it might seem unlikely that another Premier League club will give the inconsistent winger a shot in the top flight. But it’s not that simple. Sure, Traore might not have “a bit of both” Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, as ex-boss Tim Sherwood once claimed.
But with his speed and dribbling ability, it’s clear there is a good player in there somewhere. He’ll just need to improve his final ball and his decision making. There’s bound to be a manager around who believes he can harness the player’s obvious potential. Chelsea were linked in January, and Just Football understands Southampton have been monitoring the player. Maybe a coach like Conte can get the best out of him.
Possible destination: Chelsea, Southampton
The former Spain international Victor Valdes‘ CV is impressive. It contains 6 La Liga titles, 2 Copa del Reys, 3 Champions Leagues, and World Cup and a European Championship, among others. But he won’t be too keen to mention his stint at Middlesborough that has ended in relegation.
Although he may not be too happy with how the season has panned out, he’s personally produced some good performances. The 35-year-old has kept 9 clean sheets in 30 appearances (so far), producing 87 saves.
He may not have quite made the grade at Old Trafford, but he has shown that he can still perform at the top level. There is the potential for vacancies in goal at a number of clubs this summer, so he could get another chance. Maybe he could fill the #1 shirt at Everton, or reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City? The again, he might fancy a return to La Liga.
Possible destinations: Manchester City, Everton, Deportivo, Malaga
Featured image credit: Paul Hudson via Flickr.