On the 10th of June, all the Premier League sides handed in their lists regarding the squad members for the following season. Some of the high-profile names to face the axe were Kolo Toure, Victor Valdes and Emmanuel Adebayor.
It was judgement day for all the Premier League clubs as tough decisions were to be made regarding letting go of certain players. Crystal Palace saw a major overhaul of their squad, when they decided to release a total of 15 players including the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Brede Hangeland, and former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Everton’s released list included two players who spent more than 15 seasons at Goodison Park — Tony Hibbert and Leon Osman, while Steven Pienaar was also shown the door. Astonishingly, Chelsea decided to retain a colossal 82 players for the following term.
Here are five big names to have faced the axe:
Kolo Toure (Liverpool)
The veteran defender from Ivory Coast is the biggest name to depart from Anfield after his contract expired this summer. Despite ending the season playing as a first-choice centre-back, the club decided it was time to part ways with the 35-year-old.
Dejan Lovren struggled for most part of the 2015/16 season. His partner Mamadou Sakho looked set to miss out on football for a long time after a failed doping test, but no further predicaments were added to the 30-day suspension, clearing the French international to play from the start of the 16/17 Premier League season. Defender Joe Gomez who impressed at the start of the past campaign, has recovered from an injury and will be vying for a permanent role in the starting lineup.
Kolo Touré: Made an interception more often (every 34.4 mins) than any other Liverpool player to start a Premier League game last season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 10, 2016
The former Manchester City defender spent three years at Anfield, tallying a total of 46 appearances during his tenure. He played as a left fullback during crisis situations and has been a hard-man in the Reds’ back line. It was also reported that he was offered a coaching role at the club, but turned it down as he wanted to continue his playing career.
Victor Valdes (Manchester United)
Louis van Gaal brought Victor Valdes to the club for reasons that were best known to him. With United’s number 1 David de Gea in the form of his life, the former Barcelona keeper hardly ever got a look into the side. Valdes, a World Cup and European Championship winner, was never welcomed into a United side that was struggling to perform on the field.
The Spanish stopper made only two appearances at the club, and was loaned out to Belgian side Standard Liege in 2015, after a reported fallout with van Gaal. Finally, the club decided it was time to let go of Valdes after he seemed unhappy with the treatment he received in the two seasons there.
Martin Demichelis (Manchester City)
The 35-year-old Argentine endured a torrid 2015/16 campaign at the Etihad and was already on the verge of being let go. With Pep Guardiola’s high-pressing style of play, Demichelis would be a misfit in the City defence that would be on their toes for a fair share of the game.
However, it was not all doom and gloom about Demichelis’ time in Manchester. He made over a 100 appearances for the side and guided the Citizens to a Premier League triumph in the 2013/14 season. The following season too, the Argentine continued his fine run of form, being a constant in Pellegrini’s matchday squad.
Even in his final term at Manchester City, Demichelis made 29 appearances, winning the Capital One Cup and making a semi-final appearance in the Champions League. Now that his contract at City has expired, he is expected to return to his native Argentina, and hopes to retire there.
Emmanuel Adebayor (Crystal Palace)
Once a lethal goal-scoring machine, Emmanuel Adebayor’s tough fight against injuries has kept him out for a large chunk of his post-Arsenal career. He is still capable of frightening defences on his day, but his constant lapses in form make him a tricky pick. Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace struggled to find goals in the fag end of the season, but they were not helped by the Togo striker they possessed among their ranks.
If it helps Adebayor’s case, fourteen other players were let go by Pardew, who seems intent on rebuilding a hapless side which narrowly avoided relegation. Fellow striker Marouane Chamakh was also released by the club.
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
On the back of their highest league finish in 10 years, Arsenal decided to bid farewell to their club captain Mikel Arteta. Ever since his move from Everton, Arteta has had injury concerns, which has seen him miss out on a lot of playing time. However, looking at his team-spirit and composure inside the dressing room, manager Arsene Wenger decided to hand him the captain’s arm-band.
While his influence has been exemplary off the pitch, he hardly featured on the field of play to make a difference. After persisting injury worries, the Spanish midfielder may decide to retire and is expected to take up a coaching role at Manchester City.
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