Meet the Premier League's forgotten XI (yes, they're STILL there)
Thanks to the sacks of money being dumped into the Premier League via TV deals and foreign billionaires, clubs are being charged premium prices for the players they want. So when it comes around to shifting them, it's perhaps unsurprising that suitors aren't willing to contibute a fiver to their £60,000 weekly wages. Here's an XI of players you might have forgotten about with good reason...
Goalkeeper: Richard Wright (Man City)
Most kids can only dream of the chance to go from lowly League One club to one of England's biggest and most modern sides. And although he may not be a kid anymore, Richard Wright was most likely beaming after hearing of Manchester City's interest following an unsuccessful trial at Colchester United. Since joining in 2012 (less than two months after leaving Preston, citing homesickness), he's never played but been offered a contract extension at the end of every term… for the last four seasons. He made it to the bench this season against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup (which must have been terrifying for him).
Right-back: Tony Hibbert (Everton)
When one-club players are mentioned, people are quick to shout the illustrious names of Francesco Totti, Ryan Giggs or Paolo Maldini. But rarely is Tony Hibbert honoured. Having never been out on loan, the 34-year-old has worn the blue of Everton for the last 14 seasons and was a regular until the 2012/13 campaign when Seamus Coleman came along. As such, he's been restricted to only 11 league appearances since.
Centre-back: Philippe Senderos (Aston Villa)
When Senderos was signed by Villa, Paul Lambert seemed in awe of the experience the Swiss carried at international level and exclaimed how few could match his appearances at three World Cups. It was while playing internationally, though, that Senderos ruined his chances at Villa after picking up a five-month injury in October 2014. The central defender didn't make any more appearances that season, and despite his homegrown status, the additions of Tiago Llori, Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott have forced him out of Villa's 25-man squad for the 2015/16 season.
Centre-back: Kyle Bartley (Swansea)
The ex-Arsenal stopper has never been a true first-team regular by the age of 24, having failed to muster more than one competitive appearance for the Gunners before loan moves at Sheffield United and Rangers led to his eventual departure to Swansea in August 2012. But life at the Liberty Stadium hasn't exactly gone to plan – Bartley hasn't managed more than seven league appearances in a season since and is currently playing second fiddle behind the ever-present Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez. With Jordi Amat also providing competition, you do wonder when the centre-back might decide to call it a day in South Wales.
Left-back: Zeki Fryers (Crystal Palace)
With injury crushing his development at Manchester United and Tottenham then fussing over a compensation package, Fryers went to Belgium for a season in 2012. Alas, his journey abroad didn't last long and after reporting he was homesick, he was eventually signed by Spurs. Limited to domestic cup and Europa League appearances, Fryers signed a three-year deal at Crystal Palace in 2014 – but first-team chances have proven even more difficult to come by. Once Neil Warnock was gone, so too was Fryers' Palace career: one year down the line and two loan moves (at Rotherham and Ipswich) later, Fryers is back buried in the Palace squad with only two Eagles appearances to his name.
Centre midfield: Nick Powell (Man United)
After thumping in a top-corner belter to win Crewe promotion to League One in 2012, it was no surprise to see Sir Alex and Manchester United swoop for the highly rated Powell. At £3 million the deal was seen as good value, and even though it could rise to £6m, the strapping midfielder was going to hit great heights. Well, that was the plan anyway. It looked even better when he scored his first Premier League goal on his debut against Wigan. Bar one other sub appearance, Powell spent the rest of the season with United's under-21s before being loaned to Wigan (successfully) and then Leicester (not so much, with Nigel Pearson reportedly unhappy at his attitude). Powell has dropped off the radar since, with reports suggesting he is 'disillusioned' with football and ready to run down his United contract this season.
Centre midfield: Gaston Ramirez (Southampton)
At the time – August 2012 – Southampton's signing of Ramirez for a club record £12 million was whispered as one of the deals of the season… by then-manager Nigel Adkins. The promising Uruguayan was pivotal in Adkins' plans for the newly promoted side – but the latter's dismissal certainly didn't help Ramirez's cause at St. Mary's. Mauricio Pochettino wasn't much of a fan, and after the Argentine's departure to Spurs, Ronald Koeman was even less of an admirer. Ramirez was loaned to Hull last season, and Southampton's attempts to force him out this summer failed. This term the 24-year-old has tasted first-team football once: 24 minutes as a League Cup sub with Saints 4-0 up at MK Dons. Not quite "one of the best young prospects in the world" now, Nige.
Centre midfield: Shaun MacDonald (Bournemouth)
Few players can boast the achievement of being loaned by the same club five times but Bournemouth's all-but-forgotten Wales international MacDonald can. A bit-part player during his six-year senior stint at Swansea, he eventually became a regular feature of Yeovil's side between 2009 and 2011. Bournemouth signed him for £125,000 in summer 2011, after which he helped the Cherries to their runners-up position in League One and consolidation in the Championship. Promotion to the Premier League, though? Not so much. MacDonald has mustered only five league appearances since the start of last season (but two Wales ones, combined for six minutes of action), wheeled out only for Capital One Cup duty so far this season.
Right wing: Joe Cole (Aston Villa)
Cole is very much a forgotten man nowadays, having not managed double figures for league starts since his 2011/12 loan at Lille. It didn't always seem that this once-twinkle-toed teenager would suffer such an alarming career dip, but now, at 33, the ex-England international is struggling for game time at Villa Park having been only let loose once this season – for an hour of the madcap League Cup win over Notts County. Those Chelsea days feel long ago now.
Left wing: Sylvain Marveaux (Newcastle)
After being chased by Liverpool but eventually signing for Newcastle, you got a sense that Marveaux had the potential to become another of the Magpies' fine French imports. But that was not to be. After being hit by injury in his first campaign, the winger got 36 appearances in his second season – albeit a third of them in Europe. He ended that campaign with a disappointing two goals from 36 appearances, and so it was hoped that a loan move to Guingamp in 2014/15 would renew some confidence. But even in Ligue 1 he didn't manage to net in 24 appearances, and upon his return to Tyneside – Guingamp couldn't afford to keep him anyway – he duly returned for pre-season training with a fresh groin injury.
Centre-forward: Libor Kozak (Aston Villa)
Kozak top scored in the 2012/13 Europa League for Lazio, so Aston Villa paid €6.5m for him and put a four-year deal on the table. Seen as the ideal replacement for Christian Benteke long-term, a leg break six months later meant he missed the remainder of the 2013/14 campaign and didn't return for 15 months. Even though Benteke has since left Villa Park, new arrivals in Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew have meant Kozak's Premier League career is still to take off. Which he might well be doing sooner rather than later if he doesn't build on his solitary League Cup appearance this season.