£50m ace among 10 Prem stars who have played zero minutes this season


The 2022/23 Premier League season is already over two months old. But some players, including Manchester United’s £50m man and a striker who has been capped 47 times by England, are still waiting for their first minutes of the campaign despite being fit and unable to go.

Denis Zakaria – Chelsea

The Swiss international arrived at Stamford Bridge on the last day of the summer transfer window. Just five weeks later, Zakaria’s future is already in serious doubt. The signing of Thomas Tuchel is not part of predecessor Graham Potter’s plans, with 90Min reporting that Chelsea are already looking to end his short-term contract in January.

Chelsea have a £25m buyout clause in Zakaria’s contract. One that, barring a remarkable twist, is destined to fail.

Cedric Soares – Arsenal

The sudden arrival of Ben White as a Premier League right-back, who is always a solid back-up option but rarely much more than that, has further limited Cedric’s already limited options in north London.

The former Southampton man is now Mikel Arteta’s third choice behind White and Takehiro Tomiyas. Cedric did not even feature in the Europa League this term.

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Japhet Tanganga – Tottenham Hotspur

The Tanganga academy graduate could have hoped his versatility would make him a key part of Antonio Conte’s plans at Spurs. But the fact he has been included in just six of the club’s matchday squads this term – left out entirely for the north London derby with Arsenal – speaks volumes for how far his stock has fallen in just 14 months since that event, Man of the Match with Manchester City under Nuno Espirito Santo.

Nottingham Forest were linked over the summer. Could they save Tanganga in January?

Paul Dummett – Newcastle United

Dummett, one of the longest-serving members of this Newcastle team, feels like something of a relic from a bygone era these days. The Welshman made his first appearance as a senior player under Alan Pardew almost a decade ago. However, his only action this term came against fourth-placed Tranmere Rovers in the EFL Cup.

Siriki Dembele – AFC Bournemouth

Earlier this week, Cherries boss Gary O’Neil hinted that the former Peterborough United talisman – who joined Bournemouth back in January despite strong interest from elsewhere – still has a role to play on the south coast.

“He’s not far out (of the first team) at all,” O’Neil told Dorset Live. “(All the players) are important to me at every moment. I’m considering all options. I always wonder how ‘Dembs’ could have an impact under any circumstances.”

But after narrowly missing out on a move to Turkey in the summer, it remains to be seen how much longer the former Grimsby Town man’s patience will last. Not long, one guesses.

Sam Johnstone – Crystal Palace

England goalkeeper Johnstone turned down Tottenham Hotspur at the beginning of the summer. He was reportedly nervous about his lack of first-team opportunities under Antonio Conte. Ironically, then, the club Johnstone joined instead has yet to give him a single Premier League chance, more than two months after signing on the dotted line.

Veteran Vicente Guaita remains Patrick Vieira’s number one at Selhurst Park. Any lingering hopes Johnstone had of securing a seat on the plane to Qatar were dashed.

Jairo Riedewald – The Crystal Palace

A key part of the first-team picture under Roy Hodgson, Riedewald has been hit harder than most by the former England boss’ departure at the end of the 2020/21 season. He has barely kicked a ball since; Vieira prefers more technical, progressive footballers in the center of the park.

Riedewald signed a long-term contract extension more than a year ago. A decision he might look back on with some regret. His new contract runs until 2024.

Morgan Sanson – Aston Villa

It’s easy to forget that Sanson, when he arrived from Marseille for £14m almost two years ago, was seen as something of a coup for Aston Villa at the time. Because he went from a marquee signature to a forgotten man in the blink of an eye. Jacob Ramsey, John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Emi Buendia, Boubakar Kamara and Leander Dendoncker are in Steven Gerrard’s pecking order ahead of Sanson these days.

A move to La Liga side Espanyol collapsed in August.

Amazing Nakamba – Aston Villa

Shortly after taking over from Dean Smith, Gerrard described the re-invigorated Nakaba as an “outstanding” talent. His performances in the Villa midfield; Awesome by name, awesome by nature.

However, since suffering the most cruelly timed of injuries – a long-term absence that has scuppered his hopes of building an impressive start to life under the former Rangers boss – Nakamba has joined the likes of Sanson and Frederic Guilbert in Aston Villa’s bombshell. platoon.

Theo Walcott – Southampton

They say “never go back”.

And while Walcott’s return to St Mary’s started promisingly back in 2020, it’s only been downhill since then. Capped nearly 50 times by England, the former Arsenal forward missed out on a move to Reading for the World Cup in the summer.

“We were close to closing a deal for Theo Walcott,” explains Royals boss Paul Ince.

“I spoke with him.” We had a good chat. But he has a year left at Southampton. We couldn’t get the figures to work which is disappointing as the boy wanted to come.’

Photo by Peter Cziborra – Pool/Getty Images

In other news, Michael Owen makes an interesting claim about Tottenham star Son Heung-min

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