Football Features

Transfer-bound talents who have already played their last game for their current clubs

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:30, 1 May 2020

We are still a few months away from the point where the 2020 summer transfer window would be scheduled to open, under normal circumstances.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a wrinkle on forthcoming proceedings, forcing both the Eredivisie and Ligue 1 to prematurely close their doors.

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Consequently, this would mean some individuals may have ultimately played their final game for whomever they are currently represent. What follows is a list of five notable players in that particular boat – none of whom are free agents with the option of signing an extension.

1. Hakim Ziyech

  • From: Ajax
  • To: Chelsea

A transfer ban meant incoming Chelsea boss Frank Lampard had to wait a while before making his first major signing. After said ban was lifted ahead of the January 2020 window, the club’s all-time leading scorer assumed he was in business. Instead, nothing came to fruition. Lampard was reportedly keen to sign Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech, but the Amsterdammers weren’t prepared let him go.

However a month later, an agreement that would see Ziyech move to Stamford Bridge in the summer was reached. Ziyech leaves having registered 48 goals and 82 assists in 165 matches, as well as having won the club’s Player of the Season award twice and the Eredivisie top assists award on four occasions.

2. William Saliba

  • From: AS Saint-Étienne
  • To: Arsenal

Defence has long been a problem area for Arsenal, who last summer looked to rectify the issue by acquiring William Saliba from Saint-Étienne. As part of the deal, though, Saliba was immediately sent back to the Ligue 1 club for a season-long loan spell.

With the French top-flight done for the 2019/20 campaign, his next club appearance should come in Arsenal colours. Mikel Arteta would have no doubt been keeping tabs on the 19-year-old centre-back, who is expected to establish himself as a “horrible” (in a good way) influence at the heart of the Gunners’ back-line.

Saliba’s coming in, fantastic, we want Saliba in there. We want someone horrible at the back. – Kevin Campbell, to AFTV

3. Ragnar Ache

  • From: Sparta Rotterdam
  • To: Eintracht Frankfurt

Here’s a signing few expected to happen. Nonetheless, it’s going through and presents Ragnar Ache, who until now only represented Eredivisie outfit Sparta Rotterdam, with a big opportunity. The 21-year-old marksman hasn’t been so prolific this season, having bagged five goals across 19 Eredivisie outings, but it seems this acquisition by Eintracht Frankfurt was made more with the future in mind, as it’s hard to see Ache – a Frankfurt native – cementing a regular starting berth from the get-go.

4. Boris Essele

  • From: SC Amiens
  • To: Lyon

Another signing with, presumably, a long-term plan associated with it, Boris Essele, a 20-year-old Cameroonian goalkeeper, joined Ligue 1 side SC Amiens last summer before agreeing to join former champions Lyon this summer a few months later. He does so having never made a single appearance for The Unicorns, who as it stands will be relegated to Ligue 2 for next season after the French league decided to implement outcomes based on the current table.

5. Pape Gueye

  • From: Le Havre
  • To: Watford

It remains to be seen whether or not this Premier League season will be concluded after just 30 games, but one side in danger of relegation if the competition resumes is Watford. They are currently above the relegation zone by virtue of superior goal-difference alone. Bournemouth, level on points, occupy the space just below.

That said, plans are underway for next season. French defensive midfielder Pape Gueye is joining from Le Havre, the same club that has produced Benjamin Mendy, Paul Pogba, Lassana Diarra, Riyad Mahrez and Dimitri Payet.


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