Yes nearly every year, at least one player from a relegated squad becomes a difference maker of some repute on a safe Premier League side.
So who will it be this year? Here are some candidates, though several may look to help their clubs rebound back to the top flight.
Neil Etheridge, GK, Cardiff City — The PL’s first Filipino player nearly kept the goal-starved Bluebirds in the top flight, somewhat similar to Lukasz Fabianski‘s work at Swans before moving to West Ham. Is there a spot for him somewhere in the top tier?
Philip Billing, CM, Huddersfield Town — The Swiss defensive midfielder averaged 2.7 tackles and two interceptions per game for the Terriers, and is just 22 years old.
Victor Camarasa, MF, Cardiff City — Five goals and four assists for a side that couldn’t find the back of the net shouldn’t be scoff material. At just 24, someone should take a look.
Aaron Mooy, CM, Huddersfield Town — Capable of unleashing a rocket, the former Man City pupil wasn’t as good in year two at the John Smith’s Stadium. Most weren’t.
Callum Paterson, DF, Cardiff City — Also just 24, the versatile Scot can deputize at defense, midfield, and occasionally forward for his new side.
Ryan Babel, FW, Fulham — The winger may be 32, but did he ever look quite this good on his first run through the Premier League. Five goals and three assists in 16 appearances following a mid-season transfer.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, MF, Fulham — He’s a bit of a card accumulator, but Fulham was better with him than without him. The 23-year-old was also outstanding at Marseille in the Ligue 1 club’s run to last season’s Europa League Final.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, FW, Fulham — He’s now scored and angered defenses on two offense-hungry clubs, and rang up 11 goals while nabbing an almost silly 6.5 aerial wins per match. He’s still only 24.
Below we take a look at the top new arrivals from the entire campaign.
Raul Jimenez: Top goalscorer for Wolves as the Mexican striker made his loan move permanent and was a revelation in the Premier League. Proper target forward.
Alisson: Helped improve Liverpool defensively and is set to be their number one for a long time. A few dodgy moments with his feet, but Jurgen Klopp wants him to take risks.
David Brooks: Bournemouth’s Welsh winger was simply superb in his debut PL campaign. Not much was expected when he arrived from Sheffield United but he added goals and assists and his pace is scary.
Sokratis: The Greek defender has been a rock for Arsenal and even though they have still had defensive issues, Sokratis has tried to hold things together as best as he can.
Lukasz Fabianski: Under the radar signing last summer, but Fabianski has excelled at West Ham with a string of fine displays. Solid, reliable goalkeeper.
Lucas Digne: Emerged as one of the best left backs in the Premier League, the Frenchman has got better and better since his move from Barcelona. Very dangerous going forward.
James Maddison: Fantastic young talent who is fearless on the ball and created the most chances in the league. Will be key to Leicester’s hopes of European qualification in the coming years.
Lucas Torreira: A fans favorite at Arsenal already, he and Matteo Guendouzi have added extra bite to their engine room. The Uruguayan midfielder has class on the ball and wins it back so quickly. Exactly what the Gunners needed.
Gerard Deulofeu: His loan move from Barca was made permanent last summer and Deulofeu has scored some stunning goals. He drifts off the left wing with ease and is so tough to mark. He’s form was vital in Watford’s impressive season.
Richarlison: Started and ended the season really well. Had a dip in the middle, but the Brazilian is still extremely young. At his best playing off the flank and is already being linked with a big move after a really good first season at Everton.
Joao Moutinho: One of a host of new names at Wolves who excelled in their first season in England, Moutinho was calm on the ball and his set piece deliveries set up so many chances. Oozed class all season.
Ryan Babel: Arrived at Fulham in January and is set to leave in the summer, the Dutch winger was a real bright spot for the Cottagers but couldn’t help them stay in the Premier League. Can be a key contributor elsewhere in the Premier League.
Ricardo Periera: The Portuguese right back has been a revelation for Leicester and adds a real attacking threat down the flank. Good business, once again, from the Foxes.
Fabinho: Took him a while to get going, but once the penny dropped he was a key player in Liverpool’s midfielder. Defensively sound and comfortable on the ball, he is now loved by Klopp.
Fabian Schar: Very solid first season in England for the Swiss defender, who also scored a stunning goal. Newcastle got themselves a bargain.
Ben Foster: One of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Watford snagged him from West Brom last season and Foster produced so many crucial stops.
Felipe Anderson: Arrived from Lazio for big money but proved his quality at various stages of the season. A bit up and down, but has the potential to be one of the best wingers in Europe.
Rui Patricio: The Portuguese national team goalkeeper look at home in the PL and used all of his experience in their fine season.
Youri Tielemans: Arrived in January from Monaco and has been sublime in central midfield. Leicester may struggle to sign him permanently after his fine displays.
Andre Gomes: See above. Arrived from Barcelona on loan and Gomes’ quality on the ball and surprising strength mean he is a perfect fit for the PL. Huge clubs are lining up to sign him, but the Toffees are trying their best to keep him at Goodison.
Victor Camarasa: One of Cardiff’s best players, the Spaniard scored some great goals and was a driving force from midfield. Has quality and not afraid to roll up his sleeves. If Real Betis do not want him back, plenty of PL clubs will look to sign him this summer.
Kurt Zouma: In the second half of the season he really kicked on and the Chelsea defender has finally put his horrible luck with injuries behind him. Everton are keen to sign him permanently, but with Chelsea’s transfer ban they may not let him go.
Salomon Rondon: What a signing he has proven to be. Arrived on loan from West Brom last summer and the Venezuelan striker knits Newcastle’s attack together. Such a handful for opposition defenses. Newcastle may not have the cash to splash on Rondon this summer.
Already-relegated Fulham won a third-straight Premier League game with a shutout as they beat Cardiff City 1-0 at Craven Cottage to push their opponents closer to the drop.
Ryan Babel smashed home an incredible strike to win it for Fulham who impressed throughout, while Cardiff sat back and then pummelled the Fulham goal late on but a combination of Sergio Rico making stops and poor finishing saw the Bluebirds lose.
After a third-straight win Fulham move on to 26 points, while Cardiff have 31 points and face Crystal Palace and Manchester United in their final two games of the season. Neil Warnock‘s side will likely have to win both to stay up, and even then it may not be enough.
Mitrovic spurned a glorious chance at the start of the second half as Tom Cariney picked him out, but the Serbian striker fired way over the bar. At the other end Cardiff started to push men forward as Leandro Bacuna slipped at a vital moment.
Late on Cardiff threw themselves at the ball as Joe Bennett denied Joe Bryan with a great last-ditch tackle. Mitrovic curled another effort just over as Fulham looked the more likely to score and then they did.
Babel curled home a magnificent strike to make it 1-0, as his sensational strike from distance was his fourth goal in his last six games. But that strike sprung Cardiff into life as Sergio Rico saved on multiple occasions.
Bennett went close but Rico saved, then Hoilett hit the crossbar and Rico then denied Bennett, Morrison (twice) and Danny Ward who all should have scored.
Somehow Fulham held on for the win which pushed Cardiff closer to relegation.