With all the teams busy with their pre-season preparations for the new season, it’s time to look forward and build-up to the new season which kicks-off within a month’s time. Today, we look at Premier League’s five forgotten players. Footballers who came in with a lot of hype and expectations, but now have faded away or suffered bad injuries and are almost forgotten by the fans.
1. DENILSON – ARSENAL
The product of Sao Paulo’s youth academy, Denilson joined Arsenal in 2006, a few weeks after the Gunners had lifted the FA Cup – their last trophy till date. The Brazilian was described as “a little bit in between Tomas Rosicky and Gilberto” by the Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and he made his debut in October same year. He has made around 153 appearances for the Gunners but has been very inconsitent with his performances and has also failed to deal with the physical demands of the Premier League. Last season he was shipped back to Sao Paulo on a season long loan, where he picked up two red cards in the opening three games, which caused some commotion in Brazil. The Brazilian Under-17 international has agreed to stay at Morumbi for another season on loan, after which he will have just 12 months left on his Arsenal contract.
2. PARK CHU-YOUNG – ARSENAL
Arsene Wenger spent around £5m to bring the South Korean international forward to the Emirates from Monaco last August. During the press conference to unveil the striker, the Gunners’ boss declared: “He will add true quality to our attacking forces and will be a valuable addition to the squad.” A season later, the 27-year-old has made just one Premier League appearance. With Nicklas Bendtner (Sunderland) and Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad) both away on loan, fans had expected their new signing to shine in his debut season and follow the footsteps of his former Korean skipper Park Ji-Sung. But that never happened, as the Korean was able to play just seven minutes of Arsenal’s 38 Premier League games last season. The striker who has netted 25 times for South Korea will have an important part to play for his country at the Olympics this summer, but Arsenal may sell him before the transfer window closes.
3. ALBERTO AQUILANI – LIVERPOOL
The Italian joined Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool in 2009 as a replacement for the Spaniard Xabi Alonso – who departed for Real Madrid. A fee around £17m added to expectations heaped on his shoulders following impressive displays during his seven years with his home club, AS Roma. Unfortunately the lady luck was not on the Italian’s side, as he had to wait until November 2009 to recover from an injury and make his Premier League debut. A lot of comparisions made of him to Alonso, proved immature as Aquilani was more attack minded and preferred playing further up the field. After a poor first season and the departure of Benitez, the Italian was sent away on loan to Juventus in 2010/11 and then to AC Milan last season. Even though Aquilani has made just 18 appearances for the Reds, the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and the signing of compatriot Fabio Borini (from Roma) looks to have given him a second chance to prove himself at Anfield.
4. MICHAEL JOHNSON – MANCHESTER CITY
The academy graduate at Manchester City, Johnson burst on to the scene as an 18-year-old where his vision, passing ability and control of the ball in the midfield started the talk of him becoming one of the future stars of English football. But his career has gone the other way around thanks to a succession of abdominal, knee and groin injuries. Since making 23 Premier League appearances for the City in the 2007-08 campaign, the 24-year-old has featured just 11 times in the league in the last four years with seven of those on loan at Leicester City. Roberto Mancini is looking offload the former England Under-21 international but there are no takers for him and will have to wait till his current contract to expire in June 2013.
5. GIOVANI DOS SANTOS – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Juande Ramos brought the Mexican – a product of Barcelona’s famous academy of La Masia – to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2008 for a fee reported to be around €6m. The young attacking midfielder impressed in his first season in the capital making 12 appearances for the first team before he was loaned away to Ipswich for the reminder of the season. Dos Santos failed to impress Tottenham’s new manager Harry Redknapp – who was appointed after Ramos was sakced for poor results – which resulted him being sent away on loan to Galatasaray in 2009-10 and then to Racing Santander in 2010-11. The 23-year-old remained at White Hart Lane last season but was able to feature only seven times in the Premier League after his commitments on-and-off-the-field were questioned by the former Portsmouth and Southampton boss. The Mexican international has just a year left on his four year contract and will be available for free at the end of the season but he is desperate to leave and return to the La Liga before the end of August.