Football Features

The 11 most notable exclusions from the 2020/21 confirmed Premier League squads

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:45, 23 October 2020

Overshadowed slightly by the excitement of the Champions League’s return, the Premier League’s 20 clubs have submitted their squads for the first half of the 2020/21 season.

The biggest story to make it into a Champions League-dominated night was the inclusion of Petr Cech in Chelsea’s 25-man squad.

Once considered to be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, Cech retired in 2019 and returned to Chelsea to work in a director’s role. However, the 38-year-old has been drafted in as a fourth goalkeeper to protect Chelsea from any fitness, or coronavirus-related, problems later in the campaign.

But which big names will not be playing a part for the first half of 2020/21, having been left out of their club’s squad lists?

And we’re not talking about the likes of Virgil van Dijk, who was excluded from Liverpool’s Premier League roster due to his long-term injury, or Sheffield United’s Jack O’Connell for the same reason.

We’ve taken a look at 11 below.


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1. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Age: 32
Last appearance: 7 March 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.73 – Sell: £0.48

Arguably the biggest name left out of the Premier League squads, it appears Mesut Ozil’s time at Arsenal is running out. The German international is in his eighth season at the club but will play no part until at least January, with various rumours circling regarding the reasons for his exclusion.

On the pitch, Ozil is a consistent source of creativity, but he is also often criticised for a supposed lack of defensive effort.

Ozil was determined to fight for his place by working hard in training. However, it seems his efforts were not enough to impress new boss Mikel Arteta, who says he “failed” to German playmaker.

“I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being,” Ozil wrote in a statement on social media.

“Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated.

“I’ve always tried to remain positive from week to week that there’s maybe a chance to get back in the squad soon again. That’s why I kept silent so far.”

2. Sokratis (Arsenal)

Age: 32
Last appearance: 1 August 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.26 – Sell: £0.12

Another big-name Arsenal exclusion is that of centre-back Sokratis. The defender was very much part of the Arsenal squad for the first half of last season but then had to make do with a substitute role. Sokratis had been heavily linked with a move away from Arsenal over the summer, with the likes of Napoli and PSG reportedly interested, but no move materialised.

His last appearance came in the dying moments of the 2-1 FA Cup final win over Chelsea in August and, with the Gunners bolstering their defence this summer, he has not made Arteta’s league squad.

3. Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea)

Age: 30
Last appearance: 5 August 2018
Football Index value: Buy: £0.32

Many will have expected Danny Drinkwater to be omitted from Chelsea’s Premier League squad for 2020/21, and so it has proved; the English midfielder’s torrid spell continues.

The Premier League winner signed for Chelsea in 2017 but has never really settled in, playing just 23 times for the Blues. A 30-minute appearance in the 2018/19 Community Shield was his only game under former bos Maurizio Sarri, who admitted Drinkwater’s abilities didn’t suit his three-man midfield.

Last season, Drinkwater was sent on loan to Burnley and Aston Villa but struggled for game time once again and, having been unable to find a move in the summer, will be stuck in limbo until at least January.

4. Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace)

Age: 33
Last appearance: 15 September 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.17 – Sell: £0.11

Wayne Hennessey’s time as Crystal Palace’s number one goalkeeper came to an end last season, being replaced by Vicente Guaita. However, he was guaranteed sporadic appearances as second-choice, including a start in the EFL Cup this season and being on the bench for the first five games in the Premier League.

But Palace’s signing of Jack Butland from Stoke City has seen Hennessey relegated and even dropped out of their Premier League squad. With Palace out of EFL Cup and Guaita likely to be the FA Cup man, Hennessey will struggle for appearances this season.

5. Yannick Bolasie (Everton)

Age: 31
Last appearance: 13 May 2018
Football Index value: Buy: £0.35 – Sell: £0.11

When Yannick Bolasie wasn’t part of Everton’s Premier League squad at the start of season, Toffees fans were led to believe he was out due to fitness issues.

Bolasie took offence when the 31-year-old was described as injury-prone by commentators in Everton’s Premier League win over his former club Crystal Palace last month.

“You would think by what’s being said on TV I’ve had loads of injuries,” he tweeted during the match.

“I’ve suffered one serious injury in my career. Don’t mix my name in that injury prone talk. Injuries and chances are different things, played over 50 games [in the] last two seasons.”

Despite his protestations, he won’t be playing in the Premier League anytime soon, with the winger once again left out of the Everton squad.

6. Jean Michael Seri (Fulham)

Age: 29
Last appearance: 1 October 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.45 – Sell: £0.13

Jean Michael Seri spent last season on loan at Galatasaray, but with Fulham back in the Premier League there was some expectation he would be welcomed back into the fold at Craven Cottage. But that hasn’t been the case.

Despite playing in two of their three EFL Cup matches, the Ivorian was not involved in Fulham’s opening five Premier League games. And that won’t change any time soon, as Seri has now not been included in their Premier League squad.

With Fulham also out of the EFL Cup, what now for the central midfielder?

7. Phil Jones (Manchester United)

Age: 28
Last appearance: 26 January 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.28 – Sell: £0.13

The Phil Jones era of Manchester United is apparently over. Once tipped for greatness by Sir Alex Ferguson, things just haven’t worked out for Jones at Old Trafford.

At times he was still being called upon by the various United managers, including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, that was stopped last season, with Jones only playing eight times across all competitions, and he has now been left out of their Premier League squad altogether.

8. Sergio Romero (Manchester United)

Age: 33
Last appearance: 10 August 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.32

Sergio Romero has been a reliable deputy for United over the years and a top-quality FA Cup and Europa League goalkeeper, conceding just 28 goals in 40 games in those competitions. But often in those cup runs he would be replaced by David de Gea when the big games came around, much to the annoyance of his fans (and wife).

Linked with a move away over the summer, following the return of Dean Henderson from loan, Romero has stayed at Old Trafford for the time being.

But his time at the club now appears to be up. The experienced Argentine has been left out of the club’s Premier League squad, with De Gea, Henderson and Lee Grant the chosen shot-stoppers.

It is still possible he will move to MLS, where the transfer window closes on October 29.

9. Christian Atsu (Newcastle United)

Age: 28
Last appearance: 15 September 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.32 – Sell: £0.12

Although not a regular starter, Christian Atsu had his role in the Newcastle team last season, playing 24 games across all competitions. But new attacking arrivals at St James’ Park have seen the Ghanaian slip further down the pecking order and out of Newcastle’s Premier League squad.

Atsu has played just 10 minutes of football this season, in Newcastle’s EFL Cup second-round win over Blackburn Rovers, but was not involved in the following games. The 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Celtic and it’s something that could become a possibility in January.

10. Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur)

Age: 30
Last appearance: 11 January 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.42

Danny Rose didn’t have the best season at Tottenham in 2019/20, as shown in the club’s Amazon documentary. Now Rose’s Tottenham career has hit another low point as he has been left out of their Premier League squad for 2020/21.

The Englishman spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle United and that may have worked against him in the eyes of Jose Mourinho.

“Danny is not part of our squad,” Mourinho told reporters this week.

“Danny wanted very, very much to leave in the January window last season. Why? Because he wanted to play and play and play. Then he went to Newcastle and I immediately had the feeling of being a player of his dimension that, thinking about Euros, I thought our future would be [Ben] Davies and [Ryan] Sessegnon.”

Rose was linked with a move away in the summer, though nothing materialised.

“With Danny, the players and agents make the market,” Mourinho added. “If the agent didn’t find a solution for Danny to move then it’s a question you have to ask him.”

11. Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion)

Age: 32
Last appearance: 16 September 2020
Football Index value: Buy: £0.25

Although Kamil Grosicki spent the first half of last season on loan at Hull City, he returned to West Brom to play a part in their promotion chase. Of the Baggies’ final 17 games last season, Grosicki played 14 and though a large number of those were substitute appearances, he was rewarded as West Brom reached the Premier League.

In West Brom’s first game back in the top flight, Grosicki was on the bench and he then started in their EFL Cup win over Harrogate Town. But since then he has not been seen in a matchday squad and is now not in the Premier League roster.

Interestingly, Grosicki did reportedly agree a deal to join Nottingham Forest on the final day of the transfer window, but no official confirmation of his move has been made, due to concerns the paperwork was not submitted in time.

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