11 Premier League players that needed a transfer but didn’t get one: Wan-Bissaka, Ziyech, Gil…

·7-min read
Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka during a Champions League game against Atalanta. Credit: PA Images
Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka during a Champions League game against Atalanta. Credit: PA Images

While a lot of players were able to complete their dream move during the summer of 2022, others weren’t as lucky. 

Players from Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and a host of other clubs have been left in limbo after failing to secure much needed moves.

We’ve taken a look at 11 Premier League players that needed a loan move or permanent transfer during the summer window but ended up staying where they were.

Nat Phillips

Phillips established himself as a Liverpool cult hero during the 2020-21 campaign, filling in for their injured centre-backs and helping the Reds secure Champions League qualification.

But Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all returned to full fitness in 2021-22 and Ibrahima Konate’s arrival pushed Phillips back down the pecking order at Anfield.

The 25-year-old needs to be playing regular football and spent the second half of last season on loan at Bournemouth, helping them win promotion to the Premier League.

He was linked with a permanent move to the Vitality Stadium and Fulham, Southampton and Burnley also expressed an interest but nothing materialized. Phillips is now back at Liverpool as the fifth choice centre-back and will need another injury crisis to break into the team.

Phil Jones

Once tipped to be Manchester United’s greatest ever player by Sir Alex Ferguson, Jones failed to live up to those expectations and has been plagued by injury problems in recent years.

The England international has made just five appearances for United since the start of the 2020-21 season and is currently behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in the pecking order.

DC United manager Wayne Rooney wanted to sign him in the summer window, but the Daily Mail claimed that Jones was waiting for other options.

The 30-year-old ultimately remained at Old Trafford but has since been left out of United’s Europa League squad for 2022-23 and Erik ten Hag reportedly kicked him out of the first-team dressing room at Carrington.

Axel Tuanzebe

While we’re on the subject of Manchester United centre-backs…

Tuanzebe came through their academy and looked set for a bright future after the club after producing a Man of the Match performance against Paris Saint-Germain in October 2020.

Injuries have halted his progress and the centre-back failed to make much of an impression during loan spells at Aston Villa and Napoli in 2021-22, making just two appearances for the latter. 

The 24-year-old was linked with Brighton, Bournemouth and Turkish side Trabzonspor in the summer but nothing came to fruition, and he currently finds himself on the fringes of Ten Hag’s team.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Despite showing flashes of brilliance during his Liverpool career, Oxlade-Chamberlain has seen his progress derailed by some serious injuries.

He’s subsequently become a bit-part player for Jurgen Klopp’s side and needs a move away from Anfield to reignite his career. But Liverpool didn’t receive any bids for the midfielder, and he’s going to spend one more season with the Reds.

The England international is currently having another spell on the sidelines and Liverpool have recently signed another midfielder in Arthur.


Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Signed for £50million in 2019, Wan-Bissaka was one of the first names on the Manchester United team-sheet during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure.

But he is often criticised for his lack of attacking ability and has now been usurped by Diogo Dalot, who has reportedly impressed Ten Hag.

Crystal Palace tried to bring the defender back to Selhurst Park and West Ham also expressed their interest but United didn’t let him go as they couldn’t find a replacement.

The 24-year-old now looks set for a frustrating few months on the United bench. 

Reiss Nelson

Very much the forgotten man at Arsenal, Nelson made his first-team debut in 2017 and was regarded as one of the biggest talents to ever come out of Hale End.

He has not progressed as expected and spent the 2021-22 season on loan at Feyenoord, scoring four goals in 32 appearances in all competitions.

The winger is now back in north London and will be hoping to force his way into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI but that won’t be easy with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah in the squad.

Bryan Gil

Having spent the second half of last season at Valencia, Gil looked set to return to the Mestalla on a season-long loan, only for Tottenham to pull the plug on the deal at the last minute.

“We are talking about players that are really good prospects, but I was very clear with the club if someone go on loan, another player has to come in,” Antonio Conte said. “Otherwise for me it’s difficult to have also the training sessions.”

But Spurs already have Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison as natural wide players, while both Ivan Perisic and Ryan Sessegnon can play higher up the pitch.

While the 21-year-old can learn a lot from Conte’s training sessions, regular first-team opportunities would have been better for his development.

Hakim Ziyech

Having starred at Ajax, expectations were high when Ziyech completed a £33.6million move to Chelsea in 2020.

But the Morocco international is yet to replicate the form he showed in the Eredivisie and has struggled for consistent game time under Tuchel.

Ajax wanted to bring him back to the Johan Cruyff Arena after selling Antony to Manchester United, but they refused to pay the €35million asking price and then walked away from the deal.

The 29-year-old has started on the bench in five of Chelsea’s opening six league games in 2022-23 and will be hoping that Ajax reignite their interest in him during the January transfer window.

Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea v Watford May 2022 Credit: PA Images
Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea v Watford May 2022 Credit: PA Images

Morgan Sanson

Sanson joined Aston Villa from Marseille in a £14million deal in January 2021 but has struggled to make an impact at the club.

Despite impressing in pre-season, the France international has failed to make the matchday squad for Villa’s first six games in 2022-23 as Steven Gerrard has picked Boubacar Kamara, Jacob Ramsey, John McGinn and Douglas Luiz in midfield.

“Morgan’s been very professional, he’s been calm, he’s been training well but, at the same time, he’s frustrated with his game time,” Gerrard said.

“I respect that, I understand that so, if something lands for Morgan that he wants to pursue, we won’t stand in his way. At the same time, he’s training well and is pushing to be back in the frame.”

He reportedly wanted to return to France but is still at Villa Park and has fallen further down the pecking order following the arrival of Leander Dendoncker.

Theo Walcott

Walcott returned to Southampton in 2020,  nearly 15 years after he left his boyhood club to join Arsenal.

But his second spell at St. Mary’s hasn’t turned out to be the fairy-tale many hoped it would be, and the winger started just five Premier League games in 2021-22 as Ralph Hasenhuttl phased him out of the team.

The 33-year-old was a target for Reading over the summer transfer window but they were unable to convince Southampton to terminate his contract.

He’s yet to feature for the Saints in 2022-23 and will probably leave once his contract expires at the end of the season.

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Despite being the most expensive goalkeeper of all time, Kepa has acted as back-up for Edouard Mendy since the start of the 2020-21 season.

The 27-year-old nearly left Chelsea in search of regular first-team football and was linked with a loan move to Napoli but he filed to reach an agreement with the Serie A side.

“He checked his options [in the summer] which we were aware of,” Thomas Tuchel said. “They were not satisfying for him or for us, so he stayed. I am very happy about that. I was always very clear with him that I wanted him to stay.

“And from my point of view, he’s absolutely ready to play. It’s on us if we give him the chance or not but he’s 100% ready given how he behaves and trains.”

But the Spain international is yet to play for Chelsea in the Premier League in 2022-23 and Tuchel has kept faith in Mendy, who has had a difficult start to the season.

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