Many factors contributed to Liverpool’s becoming the world’s best side.
Arguably the second-most important, after the appointment of Jurgen Klopp, was their savvy recruitment.
Two players in the champions’ first-choice starting line-up, Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum, were signed immediately after suffering relegation (with Hull and Newcastle respectively).
Eyebrows were raised, particularly over the signing of the Tigers’ Scottish left-back, but both have justified their transfer fees twice over since.
Liverpool repeated the trick with Xherdan Shaqiri after the Swiss international dropped out of the top flight with Stoke.
That transfer didn’t result in Robertson/Wijnaldum success but the Reds’ recognition of individual talent among faltering teams, and the financial benefit of seeking such players, has contributed to their significant improvement in recent years.
With that in mind, which players destined for relegation in 2019/20 may preserve their top-flight status with a transfer once the window opens?
Norwich should be able to keep hold of top-scorer Teemu Pukki.
The Finnish forward is 30 years old and his rampant early-season form has gradually dissolved over the course of the season.
He propelled the Canaries to the Premier League in 2018/19 with 29 league goals and would undoubtedly be a top-bracket striker at Championship level next season, which would cushion Norwich’s drop considerably.
The club’s younger players, however, will be on several radars.
Todd Cantwell has caught the eye at times with many pundits citing his potential.
England Under-21 centre-back Ben Godfrey is already being linked to Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.
Given Jadon Sancho’s Bundesliga bloom, Premier League clubs could do worse than piggy-backing on Dortmund’s scouting.
Full-backs Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons excelled in Norwich’s promotion campaign and have long been admired by so-called ‘bigger clubs’ — the latter has been touted as Serge Aurier’s replacement in north London.
Emiliano Buendia is another player Norwich may struggle to retain once relegation is confirmed.
The Argentine midfielder is statistically one of the best creators in the league this season, with only the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, James Maddison and Trent Alexander-Arnold consistently ranking above him in a range of playmaking stats.
The 23-year-old has seven assists in a team that have only scored 25 goals.
Additionally, only ten Prem players have made more tackles since the start of 2019/20.
If Liverpool were to sign another relegated player, it might well be Buendia.
Bournemouth seem to sinking without much resistance and Cherries fans may be fearing a mass exodus once the transfer window opens.
Joshua King and Callum Wilson have proved to be useful goalscorers at the highest standard when in full flow; the former was linked with Man United in January.
The latter’s history of significant knee injuries may concern potential suitors but 30 league goals since the start of 2017/18 represents a decent return for the No9 of a team eternally in the bottom half.
If you had to identify one current Bournemouth player who won’t be playing in the Championship next season it would probably be Nathan Ake.
The 25-year-old would command a notable transfer fee and it would be interesting to see how he would fair in a defence that wasn’t as vulnerable as Bournemouth’s.
Could the Dutchman replicate compatriot Virgil van Dijk’s step-up by trading a south coast side for a top-six outfit?
With Ryan Fraser already out the door, Lewis Cook and Welshman David Brooks may also attract interest — the former earned an England call-up in 2018 while the latter impressed for club and country before injury.
Jack Grealish is probably the first name that came to mind when you read the headline.
Aston Villa have rivalled Wilfried Zaha’s Crystal Palace for the hallowed status of the Premier League’s most obvious ‘one-man team’ this season.
With seven goals and six assists, Grealish leads the Villains’ charts in both key metrics and he may yet ensure his beloved club’s survival.
However, unlike some other names on this list, you get the sense Grealish is destined to depart regardless of the relegation outcome.
John McGinn doesn’t generate headlines at Grealish’s rate but he’s a brilliant footballer in his own right.
The Scot’s season was disrupted by injury but the general consensus is that he has shown he belongs at this level — seven goals in eight games for Scotland in 2019 enhanced his reputation further.
2019 was also the year Tyrone Mings made his international debut.
If Gareth Southgate is an admirer then chances are a few Premier League gaffers are also monitoring his situation.
If Villa survive then Watford are likely to be replace them in the bottom three.
The Hornets will be hopeful of retaining several of their best players in such an eventuality but you’d imagine another club would take a gamble on Gerard Deulofeu.
The Spaniard is a serious asset when motivated and, having previously played for Barcelona and Milan, may draw interest from abroad in the event of Watford’s relegation.
Ismalia Sarr has somewhat taken Deulofeu’s mantle as the club’s inspiration in the second half of the season.
The Senegal international starred in the now famous 3-0 win over Liverpool when many thought the Reds had it in them to complete the campaign undefeated.
If the 22-year-old impresses in the remaining games, he may be added to a few shortlists.
Finally, there is the perennially underrated Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The 27-year-old has bossed games at Vicargae Road for four seasons in a manner that gestures he wouldn’t look out of place in European competition.
Capable of playing as an advanced role or in a defensive capacity, his adaptability and well-rounded profile make him two midfielders in one.
Roll up, roll up, get your relegated players!
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