Video: 7 Players Who Are Too Good For Their Clubs

 
 
Rodrigo De Paul of Udinese (L) scores a goal during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and Udinese at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on October 28, 2018 in Genoa, Italy.

This is a video idea that I’ve seen suggested in the comments for a while now, but I’m always cautious since some people inevitably won’t react well to hearing a player is ‘too good’ for their club.

I’m sorry about that, but it’s sort of the nature of football these days. If it’s any consolation, I can state that there’s no disrespect meant to any club in this video, and personally, I’d love it if there was a more even distribution of star players in football, rather than the richest and biggest clubs hoovering up all the talent. But, unfortunately, that’s just the world we live in.

Having said that, we’re not going to be featuring really tenuous inclusions like David De Gea is too good for Manchester United or Harry Kane is too good for Tottenham, simply because we don’t think it would make for as interesting of a video.

Here are our 7 footballers who are too good for their clubs:

7. Rodrigo De Paul - Udinese

We start in Serie A with Udinese, and those of you who don’t really follow Italian football could be forgiven for thinking Udinese were one of the divisions top clubs, and they were not long ago. However, for the last five seasons, the club has languished in the bottom half of the table. They came within a point of relegation back in the 2015-16 campaign, and find themselves down in 17th place once more this term.

Udinese’s best player and our first inclusion in this seven is Rodrigo De Paul. Capped by Argentina for the first time this year, the 24-year-old has previously played for Valencia and Racing Club. Capable of playing on either wing or as an attacking midfielder, De Paul is two-footed, direct and good on the ball.

With 5 goals and 3 assists from 12 appearances in a struggling Udinese side, De Paul has been one of Serie A’s most impressive performers this season. There were rumours of possible interest from Sevilla, Fiorentina and Arsenal over the summer, and if he maintains his early season form for the rest of the season, it’s hard to see him still being with Udinese at the start of next season.

6. Cedric Bakambu - Beijing Guoan

Cedric Bakambu #17 of Beijing Guoan in action during 2018 Chinese Super League match between Beijing Guoan and Tianjin QuanJian at Beijing Workers Stadium on July 22, 2018 in Beijing,...Cedric Bakambu #17 of Beijing Guoan in action during 2018 Chinese Super League match between Beijing Guoan and Tianjin QuanJian at Beijing Workers Stadium on July 22, 2018 in Beijing,...

The star man of both his club side and his national team, French-born DR Congo international Cedric Bakambu is a fast, intelligent and prolific centre-forward. Having made a name for himself in France and Turkey, Bakambu spent three seasons with Villarreal between 2015 and 2018, scoring 46 goals in 104 games for the La Liga side.

He subsequently made a £35 million move to the Chinese Super League, signing for Beijing Guoan, who had finished ninth the previous season. Their rise to fourth place this year was in no small part down to Bakambu’s goals. Whilst others have treated the CSL as a bit of a jolly and a chance to come home with pockets full of cash, Bakambu has remained at the top of his game, bagging 16 goals in 15 games.

He has been linked with a January move to Tottenham, although Beijing Guoan would no doubt demand what would be a significant sum of money for Spurs for a man likely to play second fiddle to Harry Kane. Whether it’s Spurs or someone else though, at the age of 27, Bakambu will surely try his hand with a top club before his playing days are over.

5. Miguel Almiron - Atlanta United

As well as not including players from the top clubs, we also haven’t included players in the swansongs of their careers like Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, despite the former Manchester United duo looking head and shoulders above their peers in the States right now.

One MLS player who does make the cut though, is 24-year-old Miguel Almiron. Signed by Atlanta United for $8 million back in 2016, the Paraguayan international previously played in Argentina. Despite the incredible goal scoring output of Josef Martinez, it is still Almiron who always seems to stand out when you watch Atlanta play.

An intelligent attacking midfielder with a brilliant burst of pace and impressive close control, Almiron still needs to work on his final product, but if properly polished, there’s an outstanding footballer in there. He has been heavily linked with an £11 million move to Arsenal, which seems rather cheap, but there has also been reported interest from Newcastle and Tottenham.

4. Hirving Lozano - PSV

Hirving Lozano of PSV during the Dutch Eredivisie match between De Graafschap Doetinchem and PSV Eindhoven at De Vijverberg stadium on November 10, 2018 in Doetinchem, The NetherlandsHirving Lozano of PSV during the Dutch Eredivisie match between De Graafschap Doetinchem and PSV Eindhoven at De Vijverberg stadium on November 10, 2018 in Doetinchem, The Netherlands

Now, this may seem a tad controversial, since PSV won the Eredivisie last season, they top the division right now with 12 wins from 12 games and they are in the Champions League, albeit they’re bottom of their group. Once again, we think PSV are a great club, and we’d love to see the Dutch game reach its former heights, but as things stand, PSV aren’t among Europe’s elite, and Hirving Lozano may just be at that level.

We have been big fans of the man they call Chucky since his time with Pachuca, and he is now pretty well-known even to those who don’t follow Dutch football, thanks in no small part to his winner in Mexico’s 1-0 defeat of Germany at the World Cup. An explosive wide man with a high work rate and a directness about his game, Lozano seems perfectly suited to the Premier League, so it should come as no surprise that clubs in England are said to be interested.

Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, Everton and Barcelona have all been linked, and given his current form, we think PSV are going to have a really hard time hanging on to their star man beyond this season.

3. Wilfried Zaha - Crystal Palace

I don’t think there can be too many doubts about this one. Crystal Palace have shown some ambition in the transfer market over the last couple of seasons, bringing in the likes of Max Meyer and Mamadou Sakho, but they are still incredibly dependent on Wilfried Zaha when it comes to their attacking output.

You’ll often hear Zaha being described as inconsistent or a luxury player, but any Palace fan will tell you that just isn’t the case. He is routinely the man his teammates look to for inspiration, creativity and a match-winning strike. Quick, skilful and - most importantly - highly effective in the final third, Zaha was linked with Tottenham and Chelsea over the summer, but Palace have been smart in repeatedly signing up their star man on new, improved and longer-term deals.

At some point though, especially if the 26-year-old steps it up another level this season, you’d think that would have to give. The only question mark about Zaha’s credentials at a top club would be his failure to breakthrough at Manchester United, but that was a long time ago, and the Ivorian international has grown a lot as a footballer.

2. Cristian Pavon - Boca Juniors

Cristian Pavon of Boca Juniors kicks the ball during the first leg match between Boca Juniors and River Plate as part of the Finals of Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018 at Estadio Alberto J....Cristian Pavon of Boca Juniors kicks the ball during the first leg match between Boca Juniors and River Plate as part of the Finals of Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018 at Estadio Alberto J....

Those of you who tuned in for the breathless first leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate will have seen Cristian Pavon pull up in the first half with a suspected muscle injury that saw his game end prematurely. It was a huge blow to Pavon, who left the field in tears after hitting the turf in frustration, but it was also a huge blow to Boca, since Pavon is their star man.

The fleet-footed wide man is a wonderful athlete and a tireless runner, and he featured for Argentina in their disappointing 2018 World Cup campaign.

He cost Boca a little over 1 million euros, but it’s widely expected that his £44.5 million release fee could soon be triggered, with Unai Emery’s Arsenal said to be the hot favourites. Once again, Boca are an enormous football club with a fantastic tradition, but they can’t compete with Europe’s top clubs when it comes to the footballing food chain in the 21st century, and we’d expect Pavon to be on his way to Europe next summer.

0. Honourable Mentions

Those of you who are familiar with the channel will know that we typically include some honourable mentions in lists of this type between first and second place, but we’re not going to today. That’s just because if this video does well and the demand is there, we’d be happy to do a part 2 so we don’t want to spoil that potential.

As always though, feel free to let us know any of your suggestions, both in terms of players you think are too good for their clubs and for future video ideas in the comments.

1. Memphis Depay - Lyon

Memphis Depay of Holland  during the   Training Holland at the KNVB Campus on November 12, 2018 in zeist NetherlandsMemphis Depay of Holland during the Training Holland at the KNVB Campus on November 12, 2018 in zeist Netherlands

There are a couple of issues with Memphis Depay’s inclusion in this seven, which we’re going to address here, although I should point out that although he is in top spot, there’s no particular order to this seven. The first is that Depay has already had a much-anticipated move to one of the world’s biggest clubs, and unlike Wilfried Zaha, he arrived at Manchester United and was expected to be an immediate star man.

The other is the fact that Lyon are a really good team. They finished third in Ligue 1 last season, they’re fourth this season, and they look likely to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, so they’re no pushovers. Again though, financially, they can’t compete with Europe’s elite, or their domestic elite, with PSG 15 points clear of them after just 13 games.

Now, Depay himself was excellent last season, but he has been even better at the start of this campaign, bagging 5 goals and 5 assists from 10 starts in Ligue 1. He has certainly improved his strength on the pitch since leaving Manchester United, the only question marks regard whether he is any stronger mentally, with some suggesting that he flourishes as a big fish in a small pond.

There has been talk of a return to Old Trafford, with Manchester United said to have first refusal on any deal, but somehow we just don’t think that’d be a great idea. The likes of Roma and AC Milan have also been linked, and if Depay maintains his early season form, Lyon will be set for a hefty payday should he leave the club next summer.

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