10 EPL Players Who Deserve a Move to a Bigger Club
The English Premier League’s strength in depth means there are tons of talented players that belong to the so-called “smaller clubs” in the division.
Even teams fighting for their lives in the relegation zone have players that wouldn’t look out of place in the country’s very best sides.
In this post, I have chosen to feature ten players who I believe are too good for their current club. Some are young stars, while others are running out of time to secure a big move.
Here are 10 EPL players who should be playing for a bigger club.
Todd Cantwell – Norwich City
The Canaries haven’t enjoyed the comeback season they would’ve hoped for in the Premier League, but Todd Cantwell has been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing campaign.
The England Under-21 international announced himself on the EPL scene in style. He registered two goals and two assists in his first five top-flight appearances, including a memorable strike in Norwich’s famous victory over Manchester City.
Sure, Daniel Farke’s side looks set for a swift return to the Championship. But I can’t imagine Cantwell playing in the second tier again anytime soon.
The talented midfielder has featured in every Premier League game this season and has surely done enough to earn himself a move to one of the country’s top clubs.
Jack Grealish – Aston Villa
Jack Grealish has been heavily linked with Manchester United for some time now, and it’s easy to see why. The Aston Villa captain has singlehandedly kept his team’s EPL dream alive in 2019/20, and without his heroics, Villa’s relegation would almost certainly be confirmed already.
It feels unfair to label Dean Smith’s side as a one-man team. Of course, soccer is a team game, and Villa has a number of good players. But Grealish is undoubtedly the star of the show.
His ability to carry the ball and drive his team forward has been a joy to watch this season, but he’s not just good in possession. Grealish is more than happy to get stuck in and do the dirty work, and this is what sets him apart from most midfielders in the division.
If Grealish can notch up seven goals and six assists in 26 games for a relegation-threatened team, just imagine what he could do for one of the Premier League’s elite clubs.
Nathan Ake – Bournemouth
Nathan Ake came through the ranks at Chelsea, but it never really worked out for him at Stamford Bridge. With John Terry and Gary Cahill ahead of him in the pecking order, it was always going to be tricky for Ake to make a name for himself with the Blues.
Following a successful loan spell with Bournemouth, the Dutchman joined the south coast side on a permanent basis in 2017 and has since established himself as one of the most complete center-backs in England’s top flight.
The Cherries have been flirting with relegation throughout the campaign, so their five-year stay in the Premier League could be about to end. But even if Bournemouth does avoid the drop, I’m confident that Ake will be on his way to an EPL giant come the end of the season.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – Watford
Abdoulaye Doucoure has taken his game to the next level this season. The Frenchman has primarily been used as a defensive midfielder since joining Watford in 2016, but Nigel Pearson has recently transformed him into a rampaging number 10.
Pearson took over at Vicarage Road in December with Watford rock bottom of the table. Since then, the new manager has guided the club out of the relegation zone, and Doucoure has played a starring role in the Hornets’ rise.
Doucoure’s solid performances in a deeper role have attracted attention from the likes of Man Utd and PSG in the past. However, given that the 27-year-old has added a new dimension to his game, he is likely to have even more admirers now.
Declan Rice – West Ham United
West Ham’s performances have been called into question on numerous occasions this season, but there’s no doubting Declan Rice’s commitment to the cause.
The youngster continues to go from strength to strength alongside Mark Noble in the heart of the Hammers’ midfield, while England manager Gareth Southgate has also given Rice opportunities to prove himself at the international level.
After releasing Rice as a youth, Chelsea has emerged as the frontrunner to sign the £50m-rated midfielder. But regardless of where he ends up, the youngster certainly has a big future ahead of him.
Lewis Dunk – Brighton & Hove Albion
In my opinion, Lewis Dunk is one of the most underrated defenders in the Premier League. Every time the transfer window opens, Dunk is invariably linked with a move away from Brighton. But for one reason or another, his big break never seems to materialize.
The giant center-back now has over a century of top-flight appearances to his name, so he’s clearly got what it takes to play at the highest level. Dunk’s aerial power means he’s a threat at both ends of the pitch, while his leadership qualities make him a natural captain.
With a number of the traditional “Big Six” struggling defensively, Dunk would be an excellent acquisition for almost every top club in the country.
In my eyes, Arsenal would benefit the most from signing Dunk. Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz always let the Gunners down, and Dunk would add some much-needed stability to Mikel Arteta’s backline.
Danny Ings – Southampton
Danny Ings made a name for himself at Burnley before earning a move to Liverpool in 2015. But a series of injuries, along with a fierce competition for places, meant Ings endured three frustrating years at Anfield.
Determined to get his career back on track, Ings joined Southampton in 2018, and he hasn’t looked back since.
The sharp striker has been hitting the back of the net for fun this season, and his goals alone have dragged Saints out of relegation trouble. With 15 in 29 games, Ings is only four shy of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy at the top of the EPL goalscoring charts.
Considering that Southampton has battled at the bottom for much of the season, Ings’ record is outstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bigger club came calling during the next transfer window.
Martin Dubravka – Newcastle United
It’s fair to say that Newcastle would be far worse off if it wasn’t for the exploits of Martin Dubravka. The Slovakian shot-stopper has been immense between the sticks for Steve Bruce’s side this season, continuously rescuing his team throughout the campaign.
The Magpies’ style of play often leaves their backline exposed, meaning Dubravka is always kept busy. This has seen him pull off countless world-class saves over the past couple of years, and his stock has definitely risen in the process.
No team has conceded fewer Premier League goals at home than Newcastle in 2019/20, and Dubravka must be given huge credit for that.
Richarlison – Everton
When Everton turned down Barcelona’s £85m offer for Richarlison in January, it showed just how much the Brazilian means to the Toffees. But the astronomical bid also proved that Richarlison should be playing for a bigger club.
Don’t get me wrong, Everton is by no means a small club. The Merseysiders have remained in England’s top flight since 1954 and have won five FA Cups along the way. But Richarlison has proved that he’s good enough to play for an elite club, and Everton isn’t an elite club right now.
I can imagine the 22-year-old was pretty upset when he was denied the opportunity to play alongside Lionel Messi. But if he continues to shine for Everton, it’s surely only a matter of time before Richarlison is playing at the highest level.
Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
How is Wilfried Zaha still at Crystal Palace?
Of course, his brief spell at Manchester United didn’t go to plan. But the Ivorian has since become one of the most feared wingers in the division.
I’ve lost count of how many times Zaha has humiliated a defender with his trickery, and his ability to beat opponents in a one-on-one situation is frightening.
Zaha made his frustrations public after Crystal Palace refused to let him leave during last summer’s transfer window. If a top club makes an offer Zaha at the end of the season, I can’t see the Eagles preventing their star man leaving for a second time.
Do you think I’ve missed anyone out?
There are so many top players playing for the Premier League’s smaller clubs nowadays, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.
Also, make sure you check out the soccer blog for more content like this.