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EPL 2016/17: Players in the bottom half who deserve better teams

BY| Sayo Aluko

These are players who despite their teams cumulative poor showing, can hold their own in better clubs if given the chance.

10th Bournemouth:

Josh King – impressing, always looking hungry. His goal scoring presence would definitely add value to any team that takes the risk to pluck him from the tree of “Vitality”.

11th Leicester:
The players here seem to mete up to each other.Ndidi Wilfred could get suitors though. He is helping us get back to remembering the term, “box-to-box midfielder”.

12th West Ham:

Mikhail Antonio – Haven’t seen a hungrier player thus season. His hunger is endearing and gets him in scoring positions. Badass utility player

Lanzini – Epileptic like PHCN in terms of showing his match-winning prowess, but, we know he’s very skillful.

13th Crystal Palace:

Zaha – He’s got fire, no doubt. But there’s doubt if that fire could still cause sparks in a bigger team with higher expectations. But we sure know he is “better” than that team.

14th Stoke City:
Players here also seem to gauge equally in terms of quality. Struggling to find any player shoulders higher than the rest. Maybe Jack Butland though. The guy’s got fiery prospects to shine in a bigger team, I’ll bet.

15th Burnley:
Tom Heaton – Superb goalkeeper. Love the span of attentiveness always written all over his face during games. Probably why he made terrific streak of saves throughout the season.

Hendricks – I see him fit in a Liverpool for example, if Lucas leaves.

Gray – The tough “kneegah” with the Yak build. Love him. A match winner who doesn’t miss a lot of goalscoring chances when and if they come.

16th Watford:
Sebastian Prodl – I love players who blatantly give all, you can’t place a price on this. And this guy perfectly does that. Blocks, counters counterattacks, tall-for-something not nothing (good in the air both defensively and offensively with goals to boot). Dedicated but massively underrated player.

17th Swansea City:
Sigurdsson – Most times when he does his thing, I go like, “Gosh! What is this guy doing in this team”. Haha!. With the risk of sounding like a broken record, I say Sigurdsson is a brilliant player, brilliant at everything. To me, he is the best at spatial awareness, like a 2.0 beta version of Coutinho. Sure bigger clubs will grapple for his signature this summer.

18th Hull City:
Harry Maguire – Another player with the Mikhail Antonio spec. Dedicated, always hungry and yes, very good. Hard to spot if all you wait for in a football match is the goal moment, but, with keen footy eyes, one would know Maguire balls. He will give his team all and you’d easily notice. Hungry AF!

Sam Clucas – This is a tricky one. The young lad will thrive far better under any good manager who can summon gumption to invest trust and time in him. Merely watching him play, doting pockets of brilliance here and there, you’d see a very prospect-full lad who could go places with the right opportunity.

19th Middlesbrough:
Boro was super poor this season, super. In a way, I still think two players fit into the theme of this piece. Gestede and De Roon.

Gestede – He wasn’t a regular starter, in fact, he seldom was in the starting line-up, but I noticed that he always brought more direct goalscoring threat anytime he comes on from the bench. He has the near-perfect striker physique, and that he’s not made to start always baffled me. It’ll be interesting to see what a player like this could do with better playing time.

De roon – Like Clucas (above) like De roon. He is also the kind of player that could burst through with an unexpected moment of quality, a player who will blossom better under better management and within a team of higher competitiveness. He had his moments across the season, and bigger clubs than Boro could come knocking this summer.

20th Sunderland:
Jordan Pickford – Obviously. If he keeps his head steady and cool, we could have the next  Van Der Sar or younger Petr Cech in our hands. Pickford is good. PICKFORD HIS GOOD! Full stop.

Jermaine Defoe – Old, but seemingly getting better. While I don’t see him doing much beyond two more seasons, for now, I’m sure teams would be tempted to tap into the vintage vines still brewing goals from Defoe’s reins.

N’dong – This guy is also very good enough to be courted by teams staying in the premier League. Sunderland would do good to keep him in the hopes of getting immediate promotion back into the EPL, but, he’s surely gonna be tempted by better offers. He’s a good ball holder who would do well with better partnership in that middle.

Do you think any other player in the bottom half teams in the 2016/2017 EPL season deserves to be on this list? Comment.

ajike

Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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