13 players you’d forgotten were still at Premier League clubs

1. Yaya Sanogo (Arsenal)

That’s right, the Premier League’s second-most famous Yaya is still around and returned to first-team training with Arsenal over the summer after his loan at Charlton.

Since signing on a free transfer from Auxerre in 2013, Sanogo has only made 20 appearances for the Gunners and been shipped out on loans to Crystal Palace (one goal), Ajax (no goals) and the Addicks, where his only net-ripplers in eight matches came in a hat-trick against Reading.

Unless you were at the 2014 Emirates Cup, where Sanogo scored four goals in one game against Benfica, the only other Gunners strike of his you may have seen came in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund. Seemingly, it’s all or very little with the Frenchman, who had a loan move to Leeds blocked on deadline day.

2. Dionatan Teixeira (Stoke)

“Who?!” you might ask. Fair enough, really: the 24-year-old Brazil-born former Slovakia youth international Teixeira has been left out of Stoke’s last two initial Premier League squads but still won’t take the hint. (This year he was the only senior player not to make the cut.)

Since joining from Dukla Banska Bystrica in 2014, the 6ft 4in stopper has made two substitute appearances in the Premier League, and was sent out on loan for part of last season to Fleetwood Town. In May he had a trial at MLS side Orlando City, but didn’t sign as reports had suggested he might.

3. Tiago Ilori (Liverpool)

After signing from Sporting for £7 million in 2013, it has largely been a life on the road for Ilori, whose three Reds appearances so far all came in the FA Cup last season.

The 23-year-old Hampstead-born Portugal youth international wanted a return to his native Portugal for the start of this season

Having been sent on loan to Granada, Bordeaux and Aston Villa over the last three seasons, the (Hampstead-born, by the way) Portugal youth international wanted a return home (he grew up in Portugal) for the start of this season.

According to reports he was desperate to join Porto, but Liverpool wanted to send the 23-year-old to Greece instead. Granada (again) and Valencia both made late attempts to sign him on loan too, but in the end he stayed put on Merseyside and has been handed a Premier League squad number for the season.

4. Nathan Dyer (Swansea)

Dyer won the Premier League with Leicester while on loan last season, but he only managed six minutes of top-flight action from mid-January onwards.

The wideman had previously been an important player for parent club Swansea after joining from Southampton in 2009, but was pushed out of the Liberty Stadium last summer by player-turned-boss Garry Monk.

Still, upon his return to Swansea this summer he signed a new four-year contract. Aged 28. Not good enough to play at the Liberty last season but good enough for the next four years? Go figure. This season he’s mustered five minutes of Prem action so far.

5. Paul Robinson (Burnley)

A player you probably didn’t realise was still around in general, let alone at a Premier League club (then again, Stuart Taylor and that).

Robinson has been happily bench-warming at Burnley since joining on a free in January following his release by Blackburn, and is yet to make an appearance. Initially signed on a one-year deal, the ex-England keeper was recently handed a one-year extension for this season.

6. Zeki Fryers (Crystal Palace)

Since joining on deadline day in 2014 from Tottenham for £5 million, Fryers has been loaned out to Rotherham and Ipswich, but didn’t even feature at all in 2015/16.

He might have come through the ranks at Manchester United and played seven league games for Tottenham in 2013/14, but the 23-year-old can’t even get close to playing for a Palace team who he last represented in the third round of the League Cup against Newcastle in 2014. Something’s amiss here.

7. Ben Hamer (Leicester)

Not everyone at Leicester is flying high. Goalkeeper Hamer, who joined the Foxes from Charlton in 2014, has played 10 matches since then and is now third-choice goalkeeper at the King Power Stadium. 

He spent part of last season on loan at Bristol City, but returned to Leicester early after struggling to find a way into their starting lineup too. Kasper Schmeichel was always going to be difficult to oust, but new signing Ron-Robert Zieler has only made his plight worse.

8. Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal)

Now 31, Debuchy has had plenty of time to rue the two separate injuries that ruled him out for three months apiece in 2014/15.

Since joining from Newcastle for £12 million in summer 2014, the Frenchman has only mustered 12 league appearances in an Arsenal shirt after losing his right-back berth for good to Hector Bellerin.

Last season he managed to get a loan move to Bordeaux, making nine appearances, but a calf injury means he’s trapped in north London until January at least. Malaga were reportedly interested on deadline day.

9. Sam Johnstone (Manchester United)

After eight separate loan spells at six clubs over the last five years, the time is surely nigh to reluctantly leave for good

You’ve got to wonder when Johnstone will get his chance. The 23-year-old is still at the club after a 13-year progression through the ranks but still hasn’t made a senior appearance.

Realistically he isn’t going to force David de Gea or Sergio Romero out of the way anytime soon, but Jose Mourinho’s willingness to keep him around despite lower-league interest this summer may be promising for him. After eight separate loan spells at six clubs over the last five years, though, the time is surely nigh to reluctantly leave for good.

10. Fraizer Campbell (Crystal Palace)

Campbell has remained down the pecking order at Selhurst Park this season despite the departures of Dwight Gayle and Emmanuel Adebayor, what with Christian Benteke and Loic Remy having been signed in their places.

Since his move from Cardiff in 2014, the one-time England striker has only managed seven goals in 37 appearances, with his only two last season coming in cup competitions against Championship opposition. Rumours of a summer move to Bristol City were strong, but a hamstring injury picked up in July put paid to that.

11. Michael Kightly (Burnley)

The former Southend, Wolves, Stoke and Watford player is still knocking around at Burnley after initially arriving on a season-long loan in 2013.

Although he was an ever-present in his first season at Turf Moor on loan from Stoke, since joining permanently Kightly has only managed league 35 outings in two years. More pertinently, he’s played just 15 minutes of league action since January 13.

Despite being linked with a move to Ipswich in the transfer window, he stayed with the Clarets and played in their 1-0 EFL Cup loss to Accrington.

12. Florin Gardos (Southampton)

Poor Gardos has struggled since arriving at Southampton from Steaua Bucharest in 2014 – the Romanian has only made 17 appearances for the Saints after spending all of last season on the sidelines with a cruciate ligament injury.

Still out of action coming into this season after a pre-season setback, he'll struggle to find a way into the first team when he returns to fitness anyway with Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk as his main competitors.

13. Costel Pantilimon (Watford)

Pantilimon joined Watford from Sunderland in January after losing the No.1 shirt to Vito Mannone. Although he’s only been at Vicarage Road for nine months, he’d have hoped to make more than four appearances (all in the FA Cup) by now.

Then again, should he be surprised? Heurelho Gomes was the obvious first choice when he arrived. Watford now have four goalkeepers, with Irish shot-stopper Rene Gilmartin and Lithuanian Giedrius Arlauskis making up the numbers.

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