Every transfer window, players slip away from the Premier League via the back door, with little fuss. Many didn’t cut the mustard, some simply reached their sell-by date or went past it. Some find new clubs, others become free agents. Almost none get a testimonial, or even a gold watch. Such is life for the overwhelming majority of footballers, including this lot, who all left the Premier League in 2020:
Aaron Lennon – Burnley to Kayserispor
Lennon spent an impressive 15 years in the top flight, amassing 21 England caps along the way. Burnley released the 33-year-old winger in June and he’s just signed for Turkish side Kayserispor on a free transfer.
Alexander Sorloth – Crystal Palace to RB Leipzig
Signed by Palace in 2018 for £9m, the Norwegian striker never settled and left south London without a league goal to his name.
Morgan Schneiderlin – Everton to Nice
The French midfielder spent more than a decade as a Premier League player, for Southampton, Man Utd and Everton – he was very good for the former, a flop at United and average at Goodison. Looking at Everton’s business in the most recent window, when they upgraded their midfield with James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, it’s no surprise that he moved on.
Fousseni Diabate – Leicester to Trabzonspor
Diabate spent most of his time at Leicester on loan, to Sivasspor and then Amiens. The 24-year-old winger should fare better in Turkey than in England – he never looked like breaking into Leicester’s first team.
Claudio Bravo – Man City to Real Betis
Man City’s back-up goalkeeper enjoyed a few moments in the sun under Pep Guardiola, particularly in the League Cup, but honestly he won’t be missed – his saves-to-shots ratio for City was appalling.
Angel Gomes – Man Utd to Lille (loaned to Boavista)
Gomes, an England youth international in multiple age groups, is yet another of those youngsters at a big Premier League club who didn’t quite make it in the face of brutal competition for places. He’s only 20, so he could prove Man Utd wrong, but traditionally it’s very difficult to climb back up to the top after leaving for a lesser club (yes, I’m aware that Lille would give United more than a good game right now).
Jack Colback – Newcastle to Nottm Forest
Colback is 30, which makes me feel very old indeed. He’s been at Forest on loan for the last couple of seasons, as former Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez didn’t fancy him at all, and that switch has been made permanent. What else to say? He’s your classic journeyman midfielder.
Maya Yoshida – Southampton to Sampdoria
Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Yoshida was a brilliant servant for Southampton for eight years, and captained them quite a few times. I recall him playing some storming games at the back for the Saints, but as he entered his 30s (he’s 32 now), it became clear that first-team opportunities would be limited, especially after he featured in the infamous 9-0 defeat to Leicester in 2019.
Victor Wanyama – Spurs to Montreal Impact
Most Spurs fans love Wanyama and always will. You could say the same of fans of his previous clubs: Beerschott, Celtic and Southampton. There’s something cult heroic about Victor. He’s a brick shithouse who can play a bit and will score you the occasional banger, but dodgy knees meant he was never going to last much longer in England.
Chris Brunt – West Brom to Bristol City
Brunt signed for the Baggies in 2007 and stayed there until this year, yo-yoing a couple of times between the top flight and the Championship. He was a really good player in his prime, which was a few seasons ago now, and underrated by many due to his unassuming manner – he’s a bona fide West Brom legend.