Given a chance, these footballers can play a vital role for their teams.
Every manager searches for different specific qualities in their players and then they proceed to make decisions regarding team selection based on the individual’s suitability to their system and style of play. The presence of diverse philosophies in the game suggests that certain players might not always fit perfectly in the plans of their gaffer. They are then widely labelled as out-of-favour but this does not necessarily mean that they are terrible footballers. Instead, they might flourish in another system at a different club.
Accordingly, we at Khel Now decided to form an eleven of such misfits and outcasts in our own footballing universe that could still find success despite their present bleak circumstances.
GK – Joe Hart
Starting in goal is a man that has witnessed an astounding fall from grace in the second half of the last decade. From a mainstay in goal for Manchester City and England to ending up without a club in a matter of a few years speaks volumes of the decline of the custodian.
Upon his arrival in the blue half of Manchester, Pep Guardiola made a bold decision of dropping Hart from his team due to his inadequate passing ability. Since then, Hart has spent time on loan at Torino and West Ham before a permanent move to Burnley prior to the 2018-19 campaign.
However, he couldn’t replicate the displays that once made him one of the most dependable keepers in the Premier League, which led to the Clarets decided against extending his contract. At 33, Hart is a free agent at present and he will be hoping that some club offers him another crack at resurrecting his career at the highest level.
RB – Alvaro Odriozola
Alvaro Odriozola joined Bayern Munich on loan in January after failing to obtain regular game-time at Real Madrid. The Spaniard moved to Madrid in 2018 after breaking out on the scene at Real Sociedad. However, with Dani Carvajal firmly occupying the right-back position at Los Blancos, the youngster has found minutes on the field difficult to come by.
Odriozola provides plenty of attacking threat, is a good dribbler and reads the game well. Although explosive going forward, he is equally reliable defensively and it wouldn’t be surprising if he excels in his trade when provided a fair run of games to prove his worth.
CB – Daniele Rugani
With the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci to compete with for a spot in the first-team eleven at Juventus, Daniele Rugani had to spend the majority of the 2019-20 season on the bench. The defender only managed to muster 10 appearances in all competitions for the Old Lady this term, accumulating to a mere 586 minutes on the field.
In any case, the 25-year-old possesses a number of admirable qualities and still has time on his side. Rugani has attracted interest from a couple of English clubs and he could be ready for a change in scenery next term unless his situation improves dramatically at his current club.
CB – Samuel Umtiti
A World Cup winner and an extremely talented defender, persistent injuries have sadly plagued Samuel Umtiti ever since he moved to FC Barcelona. The same issues have restricted the Frenchman to playing only 19 matches for the Catalans this year. Even when he was fit after football resumed, he fell out-of-favour with current boss Quique Setien as he was picked only once in five games before yet another knee injury brought his season to an end. A change in surroundings might do him a world of good because when he is fully fit, which evidently isn’t quite often, he is a dominant centre-half with fantastic technical ability and defensive acumen.
LB – Ricardo Rodriguez
Ricardo Rodriguez moved to PSV Eindhoven on loan from AC Milan in the January transfer window after being displaced from the side by Theo Hernandez. The 27-year-old only made a handful amount of appearances for the Dutch outfit before the league was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Back at Milan from his unsuccessful loan, the Swiss International’s contract expires next summer and he could be on the move in the coming window. A host of Bundesliga clubs have shown interest in acquiring his services and there is a good possibility that the left-back will be plying his trade in Germany next season.
CDM- Matteo Guendouzi
Matteo Guendouzi has been frozen out by head coach Mikel Arteta for his horrendous behavior in the defeat against Brighton last month. In the game at the Amex stadium, the young Frenchman grabbed Neal Maupay’s throat and even taunted the Brighton players about their salaries. The 21-year-old hasn’t been involved in any capacity for the Gunners since his despicable actions and is supposedly training alone, away from the first-team. Unless he reconciles with the gaffer, this doesn’t bode well for his long-term future at Arsenal with the club might be forced to sanction his sale given his questionable temperament.
RCM – Mario Gotze
After moving to Borussia Dortmund for a second stint in 2016, Mario Gotze failed to recapture the form that once made him one of the brightest young prospects in world football. The World Cup winner’s game time was significantly reduced last season as he made a mere 15 appearances in the league.
Persistent fitness issues have resulted in him losing that burst of acceleration, which was once one of his outstanding qualities. The 28-year-old has parted ways with Dortmund and he could be worth a punt for clubs in the current market, provided they can keep him fit and offer him regular minutes on the field.
LCM- James Rodriguez
Repeatedly overlooked and effectively frozen out by Zinedine Zidane, James Rodriguez will be expected to exit Real Madrid in the upcoming window. James spent two years on loan at Bayern Munich from 2017 to 2019 before returning back to the Spanish capital last year. He made a measly 16 appearances throughout the campaign. There is no doubting the exquisite quality in the locker room of the Columbian and despite an underwhelming time in Spain, he could be a massive coup for clubs across Europe that are looking to bolster their attacking options.
RW- Mesut Ozil
Moving to the attacking force, ostracized superstar Mesut Ozil will be lining up on the right of the front three in this team. Things aren’t looking good for the German attacker as he hasn’t played a single minute of football since the restart. The 31-year-old has just one goal and two assists under his belt across 23 matches this term.
It has to be noted that he is one of the highest-paid players in the league and it wouldn’t be wise to retain a player who doesn’t appear to be in Mikel Arteta’s plans, even keeping aside the financial losses incurred. Even if they do decide to cut their losses, it will be extremely challenging to find a suitor that is willing to pay his astronomical wages, especially in the current market.
LW – Philippe Coutinho
Ever since he forced his way out of Liverpool to move to FC Barcelona, things have gone downhill for Philippe Coutinho. When he completed his dream transfer, he had become the most expensive acquisition in Barcelona’s history, however, the move hasn’t worked out as he had envisioned. He was subsequently shipped to Bayern on a loan with an option to buy for around €120m.
The Brazilian playmaker registered 11 goals and eight assists in 45 matches for Bayern but it wasn’t enough to convince the Bavarians to sign him up permanently. Coutinho might have lost his way in the last few years but he still remains a highly-skilled technician capable of conjuring magical moments for his side and would be worth a gamble if the Spanish side is ready to offload him for a cut-price fee.
ST – Gareth Bale
Spearheading our attack is none other than Gareth Bale. Bale’s relationship with Zidane is beyond any repair, a fact that is pretty well documented. Zidane wanted the Welshman out of the club and there was even a deal in place with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last summer but it didn’t end up materializing.
The forward has 20 appearances to his name this season but didn’t play a single minute in the last seven league matches of the season. Nevertheless, on his day, Bale is a frighteningly good player but it is a pity that we might not get to witness his phenomenal talents in the Madrid jersey, given his bizarre current predicament.