7 Premier League players whose stock has plummeted in 2018/19
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
He was named man of the match against Newcastle United on Monday evening, but it felt like damnation through faint praise. Fourteen months after signing a deal to become the second-highest-paid player in the Premier League, Ozil has become the star of Arsenal’s ‘B’ fixtures. That wasn’t the plan.
Ozil has perennially suffered through accusations that he either doesn’t care enough or doesn’t try enough. He isn't a player in whom you can see the cogs whirring and the pistons pushing. Instead Ozil is a luxury item, and so the focus often shifts onto what he can’t do rather than what he can.
For Unai Emery, looking to rid Arsenal of their fairweather team reputation, Ozil has been the high-profile fall guy. He might have started 16 of Arsenal’s 31 Premier League games, but scratch the surface a little to reveal the truth: Ozil has started two away league games since September. Consider Manchester United (a), Manchester United (h), Tottenham (h), Tottenham (a), Liverpool (a), Chelsea (h), Manchester City (a); not one start between them.
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
QUALITY FOR A QUID
When February clicked into March, Valencia knew his time at Old Trafford was up. It signalled that the deadline had passed for Manchester United to take up their option to extend his contract. Valencia accepted that his club was looking to the future and that he was fading into the past.
This isn’t how he wanted it to end. Valencia has been a wonderful servant to Manchester United, particularly having been converted to a full-back, but has suffered three separate injuries this season to calf and knee. In between, he played four Premier League games under Jose Mourinho but only one under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ashley Young has switched to the right to fill in, with Diogo Dalot his deputy. The only remaining hope is that United give him a fitting send-off.
Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
Worth lumping in together, given their almost total absence from Maurizio Sarri’s plans. Chelsea’s manager might be under severe pressure from supporters who have grown sick of the sluggish, uninspiring football, but you couldn’t accuse Sarri of not making wholesale changes.
In 2017/18, when Chelsea limped to sixth, Victor Moses, Cahill, Christensen, Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata all started more than 20 league games. Four of those six have left the club on loan or permanent deals. The other two have been left on the central defender shelf and are gathering dust.
With Sarri preferring a back four to Antonio Conte’s three-man central defence, Cahill was always likely to miss out. But the resurgence of David Luiz has cost Christensen his first-team place and angered his father. The chances of both leaving this summer are surely high.
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