The squads from Premier League sides featuring in European competitions this season signalled the demise of a number of big-money stars.
Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil, Chelsea‘s Victor Moses and Tottenham left-back Danny Rose found themselves among the £237million-worth of talent completely omitted by their managers for the Champions League or Europa League.
Clubs were only allowed to select a maximum of 17 players defined as ‘non-homegrown’ while the remaining eight members of the 25-man squad must be homegrown.
But what happens next to the stars who have been discarded from European competition for this season? Sportsmail looks at what could be in store…
Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil (left) and William Saliba were left out of the club’s European squad
Arsenal’s £350,000-a-week star was informed face-to-face by technical director Edu that he would play no part in Arsenal’s upcoming Europa League campaign, but that would have made it no easier for the German.
Ozil has not featured for Arsenal since their 1-0 victory against West Ham in March, the final game before the coronavirus lockdown.
His exile was often the main talking point after last season’s restart and the subject was put to Mikel Arteta again this campaign after he was even left out of the Gunners’ Carabao Cup squads for their wins at Leicester and Liverpool.
Ozil looks set for an ugly divorce from Arsenal, who want to rip up his contract before January
Ozil has entered the final year of his contract, but next June appears a long way off and the situation appears to be getting uglier by the day as the German offered to pay sacked mascot Gunnersaurus’ wages for as long as he remains at the club in what appeared to be a clear shot at the Gunners’ hierarchy.
As revealed by Sportsmail, the club are set to re-open talks with the 31-year-old about ripping up his deal before the January transfer window, but after stubbornly refusing to move club in the summer despite a bleak outlook for him at Emirates Stadium this season, he is now holding out for almost all of his remaining £13m.
An omission from the Premier League squad announced on October 20 looks set to follow for Ozil, but there appears to be an unpleasant eight months ahead between the two parties before they can finally bring about their long-awaited divorce.
The Tottenham left-back was not even given a squad number by Jose Mourinho for this season, so his Europa League omission does not represent any big surprise.
But it is damaging not only for his Spurs career, but it also appears to have left any lingering hope of forcing his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England set-up hanging by a thread.
Rose has been at Spurs for 13 years now but saw his No 3 shirt ripped away from him by new £30m signing Sergio Reguilon, while youngster Dennis Cirkin looks able to provide back-up at left back if needed.
Danny Rose’s stand-off with Jose Mourinho has seen him not even given a Spurs squad number
Mourinho had advised Rose to move to Genoa in the summer after Amazon Prime had aired their heated argument during the 2019-20 season in their All or Nothing documentary.
And while that ship has now sailed, Rose’s best hope of playing appears to be a loan move to a Championship club before October 16, with EFL clubs and Premier League sides able to do deals until then.
The 30-year-old’s stand-off with his Portuguese boss does not look like ending any time soon, and therefore the Championship or sitting tight until January remain his only viable options at present.
The midfielder has had plenty more downs than ups since his £35m move from Leicester to Chelsea back in 2017.
He has made just 23 appearances since joining, and things didn’t go much better when he was farmed out on loan spells at Burnley and most recently Aston Villa, making only six appearances combined.
The former England international, 30, has been seeing a sports psychologist in a bid to kick-start his career with off-field incidents having plagued him over the last two years.
Championship clubs are unlikely to take a punt on Danny Drinkwater after recent incidents
Drinkwater has had recent run-ins off the pitch as he was charged for drink driving, he headbutted team-mate Jota while on loan at Villa and was left injured after he was attacked at a nightclub.
And it is those sort of incidents that may mean he has to sit tight until January, with no Championship side likely to take the risk at this stage on top of covering his £110,000-a-week wages.
The incidents would likely not have impressed Frank Lampard either and he has not featured for him this season, and after a terrible few years it appears there is still some time for Drinkwater to wait before there is any light at the end of the tunnel.
Amid all the complications around Chris Smalling’s eventual move to Roma, it was almost a footnote that his centre back partner on many occasions at Manchester United – Phil Jones – remains stranded at the club.
Jones made just eight appearances – four of those being starts – for United in 2019-20 as the 28-year-old endured yet another campaign blighted by injury and fitness concerns which ended in him having knee surgery which he is just returning from.
Jones extended his United deal during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s caretaker spell through until 2023, but despite their defensive issues few consider him as a genuine solution to those problems and he will not be able to help out in any case in the Champions League.
Phil Jones is just returning from knee surgery following yet another injury-blighted season
Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Marcos Rojo represent the club’s other centre backs yet United do want to add another player in that position next year.
And while their success in that pursuit will not depend on their ability to move Jones on, the club would undoubtedly like to clear the build-up of defenders in that area.
Jones was linked with West Ham during the summer but with his injury record, few clubs appear willing to take the risk. A loan to the Championship could not only prove his fitness to top-flight sides but also show he is still capable of playing at the highest level.
The Nigeria international finds himself behind the likes of Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea this season and is one of the players the club find themselves lumbered with until January at least.
The Blues were scrambling to get rid of their deadwood during deadline day on Monday, with Moses among players to have fallen out of favour under Lampard.
Moses appeared to have had an exit route during the summer with a move back to Inter Milan who – like Chelsea – are preparing for a Champions League campaign.
Victor Moses saw a return to Inter Milan fall through despite impressing there last season
He had made 20 appearances on loan at the Serie A side last season, and scored five goals as he looked settled at San Siro.
But his return move fell through and he now forms part of a bloated Chelsea squad and wage bill.
Spartak Moscow may yet offer a way out for the 29-year-old, opening discussions with the Blues with an option to make the deal permanent for £8m.
But should that fail to materialise his best prospect of playing this season appears to rest on the hope Inter boss Antonio Conte will return for him in the January window instead, having not made the Blues squad this season.
The midfielder was Mourinho’s first signing as Tottenham boss but nine months down the line the 57-year-old has not been able to find space for his Portuguese compatriot.
The 21-year-old joined Spurs on an initial 18-month loan deal in January and despite the initial excitement he has played nothing more than a bit-part role at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This season he has failed to make the squad on all but two occasions, with his only minutes coming in a Carabao Cup clash against Chelsea.
Gedson Fernandes was Jose Mourinho’s first signing as Spurs manager but has not delivered
The Portuguese boss clearly believes Fernandes has not lived up to expectation and he now looks set to return to Benfica once his 18-month loan spell comes to an end.
Tottenham agreed to pay Benfica £56m should they decide to make the Portuguese midfielder’s move a permanent one next summer but it appears his move will remain as a loan and peter out into the ‘forgotten’ category in north London.
Spurs concluded a season-long loan with £36m option to buy for another Benfica player, Carlos Vinicius, in the summer, and they will only hope it brings about better fortune for both parties than the Fernandes’ deal appears to have done.
The Argentine has played just 15 games for United over the previous two seasons yet remains among the plethora of defensive options available to the club this season.
He has also struggled to break his way into the first-team picture in spite of the heavy competition, and a thigh problem prevented him from making any meaningful impact on loan at former club Estudiantes in the second half of last season.
Another player alongside Jones whose time at United has been plagued with injury issues, but his desire to leave is unquestionable given the limited playing time he has received when fit.
The summer transfer window proved to be equally as difficult for Rojo to find a new club. But whether United would be willing to drop his valuation in January enough to grant him a move is unclear, meaning it is nothing more than a waiting game for now.
Unlike some of the other stars left out of their club’s European squads, Rojo does have a glimmer of hope of seeing some minutes, but this latest setback confirms it is to be another frustrating year for the defender in a United shirt.
Marcos Rojo was again frustrated in his attempts to leave Manchester United in the summer
The links to the MLS and even Everton earlier on in the window were there for the goalkeeper, but as with so many players now considered surplus to requirements at Manchester United, a move failed to materialise.
The 33-year-old has dramatically fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford since Dean Henderson’s return from his loan spell at Sheffield United, while No 1 David De Gea and fellow veteran Lee Grant complete the goalkeeper allocation in United’s squad.
Romero’s wife took to Instagram around deadline day to vent her frustration at United for failing to let him leave, believing he was not shown respect for his service to the club by being granted permission to leave.
Sergio Romero was reportedly disappointed to see a move to Everton from United fall through
The Argentina international – who was reportedly disappointed to see a potential move to the Toffees fall through – is out of contract in 2021, with an option for another year, but the level of competition has increased immeasurably since Henderson’s return.
Further damaging still, he was not selected as one of the four goalkeepers called up by Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni for the latest round of international fixtures.
And ahead of next year’s Copa America, he is unlikely to force his way back in unless he sees regular minutes, and with the Championship an unlikely switch he may have to sit and wait until January and hope a club registers their interest.
If not, he will just have to be ready to step in if De Gea and Henderson suffer injuries or suspensions.
The signing of Joe Hart on a free transfer appears to have drawn the curtains on the former Southampton goalkeeper’s career at Tottenham.
Mourinho appears to prefer the former England No 1 despite his recent arrival, having played him in two Europa League qualifying fixtures so far this season.
Gazzaniga, meanwhile, has yet to register a single outing and was reportedly the subject of interest from Liverpool and Everton on deadline day.
The Evening Standard have since claimed the north London side are hopeful of finding Gazzaniga a move when the transfer window re-opens in less than three months’ time.
Mourinho has previously praised the 28-year-old as ‘magic’ in December last year when he came in for injured No 1 Hugo Lloris, and therefore he could yet force his way back in by featuring in cup competitions. If not, his departure is likely to be far more amicable than some of his fellow European competition absentees.
Paulo Gazzaniga has yet to register a single outing following Joe Hart’s arrival in the summer
A committed and reliable centre back who despite his many attributes does not appear to fit the project Mikel Arteta is trying to build at Arsenal.
The 32-year-old Greece international has, like Ozil, not featured since the restart despite the apparent trust of Arteta before the lockdown, appearing in some form in both of the Europa League ties against Olympiacos.
He also scored in an FA Cup win at Portsmouth but was being deployed in the right back position, which Arteta confirmed the former Borussia Dortmund man had moaned about.
Reports have claimed Sokratis is happy to see out his final year despite his lack of minutes
That does not appear to have gone down too well with the Spaniard and the Gunners were consequently happy to try and get him off the wage bill, with Napoli interested in his services if they needed to replace Kalidou Koulibaly.
However, the Senegalese stayed at the San Paolo and despite late interest from Roma, Sokratis remains at Emirates Stadium.
The simplest explanation for his lack of minutes appears to be the fact he is not seen as particularly comfortable in a 3-4-3 formation.
But despite just three minutes of football – in an FA Cup final no less – under his belt in the summer months, reports have claimed he is still happy to see out the last year of his deal before leaving for nothing.
The young French centre back’s arrival in England has been anything but smooth ever since Arsenal and Saint-Etienne fell out over his involvement in last season’s Coupe de France final.
The Gunners fan-base have been forced to wait for the 19-year-old’s first-team debut despite his growing reputation in France following some stellar displays in Ligue 1, and that bow will not come in the Europa League now either.
Arsenal are weighing up the pros and cons of sending Saliba on loan to the Championship
Arteta insists Covid-19 and injuries cost him a crucial year in his development and the club are weighing up whether a loan deal to the Championship would be in his best interests after a return to St-Etienne was not completed in time on deadline day.
Saliba is also understood to have had some personal issues since arriving at Arsenal which is believed to have made adaptation to life in England harder, but he is still reportedly seen as a huge part of the club’s future.
What sort of message it will send to him if Arsenal opt for him to drop a division following his £27m arrival is also likely to be factored in, but it remains a distinct possibility that reported interested parties Brentford or Watford could be the stage to provide Saliba with that key year of development the club deem necessary.
The winger was the only recognised name left out by Liverpool ahead of their quest to reclaim the Champions League. And reports claim with the Welshman’s prospects of involvement in this season’s Premier League also marginal, the probability of a departure to the Championship has increased.
The Anfield club plan to hold talks with the 23-year-old when he returns from international duty with Wales, who face Ireland and Bulgaria in the next few days following their defeat to England on Thursday.
The winger was close to a permanent move to Burnley prior to deadline day but Sean Dyche’s side ultimately refused to meet Liverpool’s demands.
However, Wilson had two excellent stints at Hull and Derby before stepping up to the Premier League with relegated Bournemouth last season, and he could therefore prove to be an attractive signing for those second-tier sides that harbour promotion ambitions.
Harry Wilson could be an attractive proposition to Championship clubs given previous success