Clubs in the Premier League have started preparing for the new season this week, hoping to improve on last season’s results.
Before the transfer season closes at the end of next month, all 20 clubs will almost certainly be eager to do some business in the transfer market.
But, their immediate priority will be on assisting the players currently under contract with them in regaining top fitness through intensive training sessions and friendlies.
The majority of their stars who competed in Euro 2020 or the Copa America are currently on vacation and will return later in the piece.
Yet their absence may provide an opportunity for some minor characters to stake a claim to a role in the new season.
Here, Sportsmail looks at the unsung heroes of your Premier League club.
Liverpool and the other 19 Premier League clubs began their pre-season training sessions this week. Arsenal Sead Kolasinac The Bosnian left defender deceived when he appeared in the Europa League last season, and was later loaned out to former club Schalke.
Nevertheless, following their relegation from the Bundesliga, the German club could no longer afford to keep the 28-year-old, who returned to north London and featured in their pre-season friendly defeat to Hibernian on Tuesday.
With the signing of Nuno Tavares from Benfica as a back-up to Kieran Tierney, Kolasinac’s future at Arsenal appears to be dismal.
Reiss Nelson’s strange case took another unexpected turn last season, with the 21-year-old appearing in just nine games across all competitions.
Whether it was the fault of the player or the club, the winger was unable to get a loan move in January and did not appear for Arsenal after March 12th.
With the success of Joe Willock on loan, he has clearly slid down the pecking order, with Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe flourishing for Arsenal at the moment.
Sead Kolasinac played in Arsenal’s pre-season friendly loss to Hibernian Runar Alex Runarsson’s rocky first season in English football came to a head when he punched a Riyad Mahrez free-kick into his own net in the Carabao Cup quarter-final loss to Manchester City in December.
Following Bernd Leno’s expulsion at Wolves, his only other appearance was forced, and with the Gunners having brought in Mat Ryan in January and now seeking for a new No 2, the Icelandic keeper’s future appears to rest elsewhere.
For the time being, the 26-year-old remains at Arsenal, but with rumors of a loan to Turkey, the Gunners will be looking to offload him.
Frederic Guilbert, Aston Villa The 26-year-old has fallen behind Matty Cash in the pecking order since the right back joined from Championship club Nottingham Forest last summer.
Guilbert returned to his homeland in January, joining Ligue 1 side Strasbourg on loan until the end of the season.
With two years left on his contract, the Frenchman hinted to a future at Villa Park last month and is set to stay unless a club offers him regular first-team play.
Following the signing of Matty Cash and Brentford Joel Valencia last season, Frederic Guilbert dropped down the pecking order. The 26-year-old winger has not played for the Bees since July 2020 and was loaned out to Legia Warsaw last season.
His time in Poland was as fruitless, as he did not score or assist in any of his 12 appearances for the club.
Due to a knee injury, his last game for the club was in January, and the search to reclaim the form that saw Brentford sign him from Piast Gliwice in 2019 continues.
Florin Andone of Brighton was forced to miss the full 2020-21 season due to a major knee injury.
But now that he’s back in the game, he’s being monitored by Graham Potter as Brighton resumed training this week.
Last season, the 28-year-old’s only appearance was for Brighton’s U23s against Southampton in April, when he sustained another injury only 13 minutes after returning.
But, in May, he was named to the club’s first-team bench against West Ham.
Let’s hope for better news for the striker, who has only made 30 appearances for the club since joining in 2018.
Florin Andone missed the entire 2020-21 season due to a significant knee injury. Jurgen Locadia was another player who struggled on loan, scoring just one goal in nine MLS games for FC Cincinnati in 2020-21.
During his two season-long stints with the American team, the 27-year-old striker has only scored three goals in 24 games.
Although Locadia’s stint in Cincinnati has come to an end, FC Twente manager Ron Jans is a fan of the player and was instrumental in his move to MLS. He is apparently interested in bringing him to Holland.
Shane Duffy has battled for form since joining Celtic on loan from Brighton in September.
The 29-year-old made 27 appearances but failed to impress, and was blamed by many supporters for Celtic’s poor performance in a 2-0 Old Firm defeat to Rangers early in the season.
The Republic of Ireland international is anxious to get back into Potter’s plans, but even if emerging star Ben White leaves, it will be difficult.
Shane Duffy has returned to Brighton after failing to impress on loan at Celtic last season. Burnley Phil Bardsley The experienced right back signed a new deal in March that would keep him at Turf Moor until the summer of 2022.
Last season, the 36-year-old made just four top-flight outings before undergoing surgery to repair a hernia in May.
Matt Lowton and Nathan Collins, a new addition, are two potential options in that position.
Chelsea Baba Rahman Yep, Chelsea supporters, the Ghanaian full-back is still on the books after five loan spells since his arrival in 2015.
The most recent of his short trips away was to PAOK in Greece, where he thrived en route to helping them win the Greek Cup.
With former club Augsburg allegedly keen, it will be interesting to see if the 27-year-old can persuade Thomas Tuchel to keep him at Cobham.
Baba Rahman has had five loan spells since joining Chelsea, but he is now back at Cobham Davide Zappacosta The 29-year-old full-back has spent the last two seasons on loan with Roma and then Genoa.
The Italian international saw his country win Euro 2020, which would only have fueled his desire to play frequently in the future, which appears doubtful at Chelsea.
Inter Milan and Fiorentina have both been connected with him recently, with the Serie A champions looking for a successor for Achraf Hakimi, who moved for PSG.
Due to a string of ailments, Charly Musonda has not played consecutive games in four years.
The most recent was a catastrophic knee injury that forced him to miss the majority of the 2019-20 season with Vitesse Arnhem, as well as the entire prior season.
This week, the Belgian has been put through his paces at Cobham, and he will be hoping for better luck in order to make the most of his abilities.
Crystal Palace James Tomkins A bizarre training ground accident at the start of the season saw Tomkins fracture his eye socket and miss much of the second part of the season. Davide Zappacosta has spent the last two seasons back in Italy with Roma and then Genoa.
He returned near the conclusion of the season and will now be hoping for a bright future under new manager Patrick Vieira.
Moise Kean, Everton The Italian failed to light up the Premier League in 2019-20, scoring just four goals in 37 appearances, but regained his touch at PSG last season, scoring 17 goals.
The Ligue 1 team, as well as former club Juventus, have shown an interest in the 21-year-old, but new manager Rafa Benitez may decide to keep him after seeing what he can achieve on the greatest stage.
Moise Kean enjoyed a fantastic loan stay at PSG but struggled in an Everton shirt before that Fabian Delph The former Manchester City midfielder played just 49 minutes in 2021 following three cameo appearances at the end of the season.
It’s all part of a dreadful stint at Everton, which has been plagued by fitness issues since his arrival in 2019.
If the Goodison Park club’s fee is matched, Benitez is likely to let the 31-year-old leave.
Everton will have no qualms about allowing Cenk Tosun leave this summer, according to reports.
Last season, the Turkish international spent six months on loan at Besiktas, where he was troubled by injuries.
He has a year left on his Toffees contract, and rumors claim he is willing to accept a 50% pay reduction to join Besiktas on a permanent basis.
Last season, striker Cenk Tosun was sidelined for six months due to an injury-plagued loan spell at Besiktas. Leeds Adam Forshaw has missed 71 games for Leeds and their entire first season back in the Premier League in 2020-21 due to a hip injury suffered in September 2019.
In April, he made his sole appearance of the season in the Premier League 2, when he was given a run-out against Villa’s U23s.
The 29-year-old is still an ‘essential’ player for Marcelo Bielsa’s Elland Road side, but his pre-season will be more significant than most.
Rachid Ghezzal, Leicester The Algerian played last season on loan at Besiktas, where he scored eight goals and added 18 assists for Sergen Yalcin’s club.
The Turkish club are still hoping to sign the 29-year-old on a permanent basis, but president Ahmet Nur Cebi stated last week that they have yet to negotiate an agreement with the Foxes, meaning he has seen their new Seagrave facilities for the first time this week.
After back-to-back disastrous loan spells at Cardiff and OH Leuven last season, Rachid Ghezzal spent the full season on loan at Besiktas, scoring eight goals. Filip Benkovic Time is running out for the centre-back to make his imprint at Leicester.
Last October, Brendan Rodgers stated that the 24-year-old was not ready for the Premier League, and just 70 minutes for the Bluebirds is unlikely to change his mind.
Benkovic has only played 12 senior games, and with Caglar Soyuncu and Wesley Fofana providing great choices with seniority on their side, the East Midlands race appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Eldin Jakupovic, the 36-year-old goalkeeper, is allegedly in talks with Leicester City about extending his contract for another year.
Yet the Bosnian-born Swiss hasn’t played in a senior match since 2018, and with Danny Ward’s impressive Euros and the ever-reliable Kasper Schmeichel, that streak might be extended.
Loris Karius of Liverpool hasn’t played a competitive game for the Reds since that fatal Champions League final against Real Madrid in 2018.
He was loaned to Besiktas for two years before terminating his contract early after filing a complaint with FIFA about unpaid salaries.
Last season’s loan at Union Berlin was less beneficial, with the 28-year-old serving as Andreas Luthe’s backup and appearing on just five occasions.
He is a member of the group that is in Austria for a pre-season camp, but his future is uncertain.
Loris Karius spent last season at Union Berlin, but was beaten out by Andreas Luthe. Marko Grujic was Jürgen Klopp’s first signing at Liverpool, and has spent his five-and-a-half years at Anfield on loan four times.
During his loan to Porto last season, Grujic developed into a key player for them, appearing in key Champions League matches.
Liverpool are optimistic of obtaining a PS15 million transfer fee for Grujic this summer.
Ben Davies The 25-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Reds and has only made the bench eight times since joining from Preston in January for a surprise PS2 million fee.
With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip all returning from long-term injuries, and Ibrahima Konate joining the club, Davies’ chances of playing next season are slim.
Celtic have re-entered the battle to sign him, according to Sportsmail, but other sources claim he is determined to fight on despite interest from the Parkhead club and Bournemouth.
Ben Davies has yet to play since joining Manchester City from Preston in January. Philippe Sandler is another player trying to put his physical difficulties behind him following long-term issues with his ankle and knee.
Since joining City in 2018 from PEC Zwolle, the 24-year-old has only made two appearances for the first squad.
Sandler, who played for City’s U23s towards the end of last season, will now try to impress Pep Guardiola ahead of the Premier League champions’ new season.
Patrick Roberts, 24, has been a Manchester City player for six years but has yet to make an appearance for the club.
Despite bonding with the fans during five loan periods, the most recent of which was at Derby County, he has struggled to find a permanent home.
There has been no move agreed upon, but it is difficult to see how the former Fulham youth will flourish at City from here.
Patrick Roberts has been with Manchester City for six years but has made zero starts. Manchester United Andreas Pereira The Brazilian midfielder spent last season on loan with Serie A side Lazio, where he made 33 appearances despite not being a regular.
He returned to Old Trafford for pre-season, captioning his return on Instagram, ‘Back to business.’
With Rennes wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga linked, United appear to lie looking for another central midfielder, thus his future appears to be elsewhere.
Lee Grant, 38, just signed a one-year contract extension with the team.
He joined the club from Stoke in 2018, although due to the return of Tom Heaton, he is now the club’s fourth-choice goalkeeper.
Following his PS40 million move from Ajax last summer, Donny van de Beek only made four Premier League starts for Manchester United in 2020-21.
In 19 Premier League games, the 24-year-old scored one goal and provided one assist, leading to speculation that he could be on his way out this summer.
Despite interest from Real Madrid, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stated earlier this week that Van de Beek will stay at the club next season.
Newcastle Freddie Woodman Woodman started pre-season with Newcastle last week after spending the last two seasons at Swansea City. Donny van de Beek made just four Premier League starts for Man United in 2020-21.
The goalkeeper appeared to be on the verge of another loan move, this time to Bournemouth, but it was apparently put on hold after Martin Dubravka sustained a foot injury that could necessitate surgery.
Florian Lejeune The French centre-back made an impression on loan with Alaves in LaLiga in 2020-21, but he returns to Newcastle with only a year left on his deal.
Injury has limited the 30-year-old’s appearances under Steve Bruce, and reports suggest the Magpies will consider selling him this summer.
Florian Lejeune impressed on loan with Alaves, and his Newcastle contract is up in a year. Norwich Timm Klose The 33-year-old spent last season on loan with Basel in his native Switzerland, but has returned to Norwich.
Last month, The Athletic claimed that the centre-back will practice separately from Daniel Farke’s side, as other players are expected to be sold or loaned out this summer.
Tom Trybull The midfielder was on loan at Blackburn last season, but now that he’s returned to Carrow Road, he’ll be joining Klose in the group on the outskirts of the main team.
The 28-year-old’s Norwich contract may have another year left on it, but his time with the club appears to be over.
Timm Klose spent last season on loan at Basel in Switzerland, but has since returned to Norwich. Mario Lemina The Gabonese international spent last season on loan at relegated Fulham, but his stormy stint at St Mary’s could be coming to an end.
Southampton are reportedly in talks for Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden, according to Sportsmail, which might lead to Lemina’s departure.
Southampton value Lemina at PS4 million because he has one year left on his contract, and Nice is also interested.
Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon struggled for minutes in his debut season at Tottenham after joining from Fulham, so he went out on loan to Hoffenheim in 2020-21, where he made 29 appearances and contributed three assists.
New Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo, according to football.london, wants to keep the left-sided player and is ‘eager’ to watch him battle with Sergio Reguilon and Ben Davies.
Nuno wanted to sign Sessegnon on several occasions while managing Wolves, according to the report.
Nuno Espirito Santo is believed to be ‘eager’ to work with Ryan Sessegnon this season. Cameron Carter-Vickers has only one year left on his Tottenham contract, having made only four first-team appearances in five years.
Bournemouth, along with Newcastle and Celtic, are allegedly interested in signing the centre-back on a permanent basis this summer.
Oliver Skipp The midfielder made great advances in his development last season, playing nearly every minute for Norwich City, who won the Championship.
Before his season was cut short due to a fractured metatarsal, the 20-year-old played an important box-to-box role for Daniel Farke’s team.
Nuno’s first-team roster is expected to include him this season after he recovered from his injury, according to sources.
Cucho Hernandez, Watford The striker was bought by Watford in 2017 but has yet to make an appearance for them, having spent the most of his time on loan in Spain since then.
After loan spells at Mallorca and Huesca last season, he moved to Getafe on loan last season, and new rumours claim Granada are interested in a similar move.
The Colombian, who signed a new long-term contract at Vicarage Road in 2019, is expected to be part of the Hornets’ Premier League squad, according to reports.
Cucho Hernandez is expected to join Watford’s Premier League squad, according to reports. West Ham Winston Reid It has been over three years since the injury-prone centre-back last played a competitive game for West Ham.
After signing a six-year deal at the London Stadium in 2017, he still has two years left on his contract.
But, the 33-year-old’s involvement in the Tokyo Olympics, which he spent part of last season on loan at Brentford, is likely to stymie any transfer abroad.
Rafa Mir of Wolves has only made four appearances for the West Midlands club since signing from Valencia in 2018.
Last season, he had loan spells at Las Palmas, Nottingham Forest, and Huesca, and has been linked with a return to Los Che.
Mir has a year left on his Molineux contract and told MARCA earlier this month that he will honor the fact that he has a year left on his contract.
Patrick Cutrone The striker has made no secret of his wish to quit Wolves after a terrible two years at the club following his transfer from AC Milan.
His chances of securing a move elsewhere this summer have been harmed by an disastrous loan spell at Valencia last season.
The 23-year-old was part of Italy’s Under-21 Euros squad, but has now reported for pre-season training with new boss Bruno Lage, at least for the time being.
Premier League Your Clubs Forgotten Men Have Returned To Pre Season Training This Week
Clubs in the Premier League have started preparing for the new season this week, hoping to improve on last season’s results.
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