Almost every club has deadwood in their squad. You know the type; the player who looked great for his previous club, but downed tools once he got his first wages. For others, sometimes it’s just a case of things not going their way, and finding themselves out of the team while earning ridiculous amounts of money just to sit on the bench every week. Then there are some who just weren’t good enough in the first place, but the club decided to take a risk on. This week, Neil Gray and I have picked a player from every side in the Premier League that has to go as soon as possible, and why.
First up is North London side Arsenal.
Neil: When Willian left Chelsea for Arsenal, it was seen as somewhat of a coup for The Gunners and he started with a bang, providing two assists on his debut against Fulham, making this look like very good business. Since then though, he’s done bupkis. For someone on a reported £192,000 a week, you’d expect him to at least try, but he plods around the pitch looking a shell of his former self. Arsenal would be better off getting rid of him as soon as possible and investing that money in a player with actual legs.
Gerard: Having watched Willian play for Chelsea over the last 7 years, it isn’t too difficult to describe the Brazilian winger. He possesses tremendous ability and is capable of some magic moments—it’s just a question of when he’s bothered to put the effort in to pull it off. Willian was capable of some really special moments, but he always had it in him to phone it in and just decide he wasn’t up for it. He was tremendously frustrating at times; in situations where all he had to do was play a simple pass for a tap in, he’d shoot and smash the ball into the side netting. This year though, he looks like he couldn’t care less. Maybe he’s just too busy running his London restaurant with David Luiz.
Neil: Poor Tom Heaton. Just when it looked like he was getting his career back on track, after moving from Burnley due to losing his place, he goes and gets another season-ending injury. Then, to add insult to injury, Villa goes and signs Martinez from Arsenal for £20 million, meaning that he’s nothing more than back-up now. Still, earning £40,000 a week for warming a bench on his return might take some of the sting out of it.
Gerard: I feel quite bad for Tom Heaton in all honesty. He was fantastic for Burnley, then injury opened the door for Nick Pope who took his chance and never looked back. Then he is getting back to his best at Aston Villa and gets injured again and replaced by Arsenal’s backup Emi Martinez, who’s been arguably the best goalkeeper in the league this year. The man has absolutely no luck, and considering his age and wage packet, Aston Villa may want to consider cashing in while they still can.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Neil: This was always going to be a gamble for Brighton. As any Liverpool fan would tell you, Adam Lallana is unbeatable on his day but considering most of those are spent on the treatment table, £90,000 a week is far too much money for a player you’ll be lucky to get a handful of games out of each season.
Gerard: I was never really a major fan of Adam Lallana. Yes, he was a good midfielder, but in the end, he was another Jack Wilshere type of player. Plenty of talent, far too many injuries. The fact that Brighton thought it made sense to make him their highest-paid player is a massive error on their part. They would’ve been better off spending the money on someone who’ll be fit for more than 10 games a season.
Neil: Matej Vydra is not Premier League quality. His level is The Championship, where he is deadly, and Burnley should’ve known better before throwing £35,000 a week down the drain.
Gerard: Matej Vydra has a reputation of joining whoever gives him the most money, no matter what playing time is on offer. If he had turned down the big paycheck two years ago, he could be leading the line for Leeds, who he ditched at the last minute in Bielsa’s first transfer window in charge to play for good ol’ Sean Dyche again. Instead, Leeds got Patrick Bamford, and Vydra is the 4th choice striker at Turf Moor. Odds are he’ll be back in the Championship in no time.
Neil: What’s the point in Chelsea keeping Kepa Arrizabalaga around? He was never worth the £70 million-plus they forked out for him in the first place and as soon as it became obvious that he was no longer going to be their number one, they should’ve taken it on the chin and cut their losses. Instead, he’s being paid an eye-watering £150,000 a week to play in the Carabao Cup. Nice work, if you can get it.
Gerard: Kepa Arrizabalaga makes a strong argument for the worst signing in the history of football. Bought by Chelsea for £70 million just six months after he was available for £25 million is awful business to start with, but that’s before you even get to the horrific goalkeeping performances he’s put in. His confidence has evidently been at rock bottom for some time, and there’s very little chance of him getting that confidence back while he’s at Chelsea. At this point, Chelsea will be lucky to get £20 million for him.
Neil: Christian Benteke has the greatest agent in the world. Anyone that can convince Crystal Palace to part with £120,000 a week for a poor man’s Emile Heskey is a genius, in my opinion.
Gerard: Now I’m a big fan of Christian Benteke and I think, at his best, he can be a top-quality striker. The problem, though, is that he hasn’t performed at that level in a while, and although he has improved recently, he doesn’t represent value for money to Crystal Palace at this point in his career.
Neil: Bernard earns £120,000 a week and has made the grand total of 10 appearances all season. Sound business sense from The Toffees there.
Gerard: Bernard came to England with a big reputation from his time at Shakhtar Donetsk, but he’s blown very hot and cold in his time on Merseyside and hasn’t turned out to be worth the huge money they spend on his wages. They’ll be better off, in the long run, freeing up his wages and getting someone of higher quality in.
Jean Michael Seri
Neil: He buggered off to Galatasaray as soon as Fulham were relegated. Stunk the place up so badly that they didn’t take up the option to buy him. Returned to help The Cottagers into the Premier League and has made two appearances all season, both in cup competitions. Amazing what £65,000 a week can get you.
Gerard: When Jean Michael Seri signed for Fulham in 2018, I was actually quite excited to see one of Ligue 1’s most talented midfielders in the Premier League. Now, two years later, I can honestly say I couldn’t tell you about a single one of his performances. I think that says a lot about his contribution to Fulham.
Neil: This guy couldn’t catch a cold in the middle of a pandemic. Leeds need to bin him off asap and save themselves £30,000 a week.
Gerard: I hate Kiko Casilla. He is perhaps the most incompetent goalkeeper of all time. He steals a living, especially at this level. He should’ve been released by Leeds a long time ago.
Neil: Never has the expression “Couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo” been more appropriate than it is with Kelechi Iheanacho. £60,000 a week to hit the corner flag more times than the target? Get him gone.
Gerard: I loved watching Kelechi Iheanacho early in his career at Manchester City, but Iheanacho now is a completely different player. He doesn’t have the confident, clinical nature to him that he showed in his early years. He’s very much a shadow of his former self.
Neil: This hurts to say, but Naby Keita is far too injury prone to be on £120,000 a week. Especially when that money could go towards finding a world-class partner for Big Virgil.
Gerard: Naby Keita was good once. Then his body fell apart at Liverpool. Get him back to Leipzig and he’ll be just fine.
Neil: Nobody from Man City: Genuinely can’t think of anyone from Man City. They have a great depth to their squad. That’s what vasts amounts of money will get you.
Gerard: Benjamin Mendy: 42 appearances in almost 4 years from a £50 million left-back isn’t exactly ideal, especially when he earns £90,000 a week to play second fiddle to Oleksandr Zinchenko, who was once a promising attacking midfielder. Huge waste of money in my opinion.
Neil: I’m sorry. I know that Paul Pogba is actually in-form at the moment, but this guy has flirted with a move away so many times that it’s stopped being funny now. And that’s coming from a lifelong Liverpool fan. Nearly £300,000 a week for someone who’s about as faithful as a serial adulterer? Come on Utd, you can do better.
Gerard: There are two versions of Paul Pogba; the one that plays for France and the one that plays for Manchester United. The one that plays for France is one of the most exciting midfielders in the world. The version that plays for Manchester United is one of the most disinterested players in the game today. He strolls around the pitch as if it’s an inconvenience to be there, then for about 10 games a season he turns it on and makes it look as if he actually cares about the club. No player with his attitude is worth those wages.
Neil: How Mike Ashley became a successful businessman is beyond me. Especially when he’s willing to throw £90,000 a week at a striker with the scoring prowess of a drunk Bobby Zamora.
Gerard: I feel quite bad for Newcastle fans; being associated with Mike Ashley is a plight I’d wish on absolutely nobody. Having to watch Joelinton every single week must be absolutely horrendous. Just get him out, for the good of both himself and Newcastle fans.
Neil: Phil Jagielka is Sheffield United’s highest earner on £50,000 a week and has made four appearances all season. Don’t feel I need to elaborate any further on this.
Gerard: I’ll be honest, I didn’t even realise Phil Jagielka was still playing until this week. He was great for Everton years ago, but certainly not anymore.
Neil: Shane Long earns £60,000 a week to fall over a lot, it would appear.
Gerard: I will not, under any circumstances, criticise the man who scored the winning goal for Ireland against World Cup winners Germany in 2015. That is all.
Neil: Well, this was a waste of time. £600,000 a week to be injured and out of form. Even if Madrid is fronting half his wages, that still means he’s earning 100 grand more than Harry Kane and I know who I’d rather have in my team.
Gerard: Gareth Bale somehow managed to look bad against LASK Linz in the Europa League before Christmas. If he can’t even perform in that, then what good can he do in the games that actually matter to Tottenham’s season?
West Bromwich Albion
Neil: Branislav Ivanovic is on nearly £40,000 a week and is about as useful as a chocolate tea-pot.
Gerard: Ivanovic in his prime was one of the greatest defenders in Premier League history. Ivanovic now is a man who is many, many years past that prime. Why West Brom signed him is a mystery to me.
West Ham United
Neil: Darren Randolph was a panic buy when Fabianski got injured and now gets a tasty £40,000 a week for doing sod all.
Gerard: Darren Randolph is, on his day, good enough to play in the Premier League. The issue is, he doesn’t play. Ever. How is that a good use of funds?
Neil: Maybe? Hard to find a Wolves player they’d be better off without.
Gerard: Wolves aren’t a team with great depth so it’s tough to pick someone out in truth. If we included loaned out players then Leo Bonatini would be right at the top of the list but out of the current squad, they don’t have anyone they could afford to lose at the moment.
So there you have it. Our 20 players who should be moved on by their current clubs. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below or on our social media.