Premier League managers and owners are currently taking stock of everything at their club and they are likely asking one thing amid the current suspension: who is the one player we can’t do without?
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As transfer rumors swirl, contract runs down and the financial situation for clubs continues to get more serious, there is one player at all 20 clubs who is deemed as indispensable.
Even if owners are starting to think about which players they can sell to help their clubs rebuild and bring in some much-needed money, selling the 20 players below shouldn’t cross their minds.
Who are they and why are they so important to each Premier League team?
Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Scores goals galore and even though his contract is up next summer and he’s 31, Arsenal have to do everything they can to keep him. Mikel Arteta knows that but the big boys around Europe are circling.
Aston Villa: Jack Grealish – Aston Villa’s key playmaker makes them tick and he has been linked with several big boys as Villa battle against relegation. Grealish is Villa’s heartbeat and captain and without him they’d be in even deeper relegation trouble.
Bournemouth: Nathan Ake – The Cherries are in a relegation scrap and Ake is trying his best to hold together their leaky defense. Big teams want Ake and Bournemouth can only afford to cash in if they are relegated.
Brighton: Lewis Dunk – You can’t call Brighton’s defense leaky and that is the main reason they are sitting above the bottom three. They can’t score goals but captain and local lad Dunk organizes the Seagulls so well.
Burnley: Ashley Barnes – He leads the line so well and proves a valuable focal point. Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and Nick Pope are vital defensively but Barnes gives them a much-needed cutting edge.
Chelsea: N’Golo Kante – When he’s out injured, Chelsea miss him badly. Back at home in holding midfield, he has brought out the best in Jorginho alongside him. The shield Kante provides is vital to this shaky Chelsea defensive unit.
Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha – He may not have scored that often this season as he had his head turned last summer, once again, but Palace sit deep and give the ball to Zaha and he takes the pressure off. His pace, power and trickery makes him their go-to guy, even though Jordan Ayew is scoring the goals.
Everton: Andre Gomes – He returned quickly after his horrific injury and it was clear Everton had missed their pass master. Richarlison and DCL get them going in attack but Gomes dictates the tempo of the game and is a Rolls Royce engine in an Everton side reminiscent of a car saved from the scrapheap by Carlo Ancelotti.
Leicester City: Wilfred Ndidi – Sure, Jamie Vardy and James Maddison will got most of the plaudits, and rightly so, but Ndidi has become one of the top young holding midfielders in the world. The Nigerian destroyer does his job week in, week out and Leicester’s midseason wobble occurred when he was injured. Take him out of their team and their system falls down.
Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk – There are so many players you can pick from this incredible Liverpool side but VVD takes it. They have missed Allison through injury but got by and even with Salah, Firmino and Mane out of the team they keep scoring goals, but without VVD they would struggle. He calms everybody down and makes everyone around him better.
Man City: Aymeric Laporte – I was going to pick Kevin de Bruyne for City and he is the one player driving them towards Champions League glory, but there’s no doubt that without Aymeric Laporte their entire defensive unit falls down. The Frenchman is underrated and is so calm on the ball and is a pure reader of the game with a fine left foot. He is so, so important and his absence through injury is why Man City are a distant second in the table.
Man United: Bruno Fernandes – This was a tough one. David de Gea and Marcus Rashford would usually get the nod but the former has made mistakes and the latter has been out injured and United kept winning. That is because Bruno Fernandes arrived to steal the show and his creativity has made a massive impact. With Bruno on board, United will be serious top four contenders next season. Special mention to Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka who have slotted in seamlessly too.
Newcastle United: Allan Saint-Maximin – A box of tricks who is capable of winning games all on his own, Saint-Maximim is already a fans favorite at St James’ Park. Nobody, including himself, knows what he will do next. That is why he is so dangerous.
Norwich City: Teemu Pukki – Norwich City have a few key men but Pukki’s goals have kept them within touching distance of safety all season. Even though they are bottom of the table and seven points from safety with nine games to go, Daniel Farke’s side believe they can get out of trouble. Pukki’s predatory goals is the main reason why.
Sheffield United: Chris Basham – How do you pick one player from a team which is greater than the sum of its parts? Basham is the captain and leader in defense and one of the key cogs in Chris Wilder’s side flying up from League One to the upper echelons of the PL. He is Mr. Consistent and the Blades are so grateful to have him marshalling everything.
Southampton: Danny Ings – Simply put, without local lad Ings banging the goals in Saints would be bottom of the league. He has scored 15 of their 35 goals and his energy is crucial to the high-pressing style Ralph Hasenhuttl loves to play. Ings is finally injury free and Southampton cannot afford to sell him. At any cost.
Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane – Another player who has been badly missed when out injured. Like Raul Jimenez (see below) his link up play gets overlooked because his goals are so important and Spurs’ forward line just doesn’t work the same, even though Son tried his best. Kane’s recent comments will worry Tottenham’s fans.
Watford: Abdoulaye Doucoure – Watford have been in a pickle all season but Abdoulaye Doucoure has helped drag them out of it in recent months. His driving runs from midfield, combative displays and incredible engine make him the perfect man to lead the Hornets away from the bottom three. He has been consistently excellent since he arrived at Vicarage Road.
West Ham: Lukasz Fabianski – Just look at how poor West Ham’s defensive record was during his spells out with injury. The Polish goalkeeper was sensational at the start of the season and you could argue his injury cost Manuel Pellegrini his job.
Wolves: Raul Jimenez – Wolves have so many key players (Traore, Coady, Patricio, Neves) but Jimenez is the man who knits their attack together. His clever flicks and hold up play often gets overlooked as his goals have been so crucial in their push for a top four finish and into the latter stages of the Europa League. The Mexican striker is the one player Wolves cannot afford to lose.