After three straight wins, we’re now into the top 10 and can finally look up opposed to down. We’re 10 clear of the drop and look set to stay up, allowing to enjoy the rest of the season and look forward to an important summer off the pitch.
With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the star players that could be up for grabs from the potential relegation candidates.
Here’s each team in and around the bottom three and a few players from each who Rafa may just look to sign this summer if they were to
Lukasz Fabianski – A goalkeeper that’s won Swansea a lot of points this season. Dubravka will sign in the summer but it wouldn’t surprise me if both Elliot and Darlow left to gain first team football. Rafa may want to have a makeover in the goalkeeping department and he’s a good one.
Aaron Mooy – He’s nearly always been Huddersfield’s stand out player when I’ve watched them this season. Would be a solid addition in an area of the pitch we’ll be quite light in once Saivet and Colback are sold.
*Zaha not realistic*
Christian Benteke – He’s scored just twice this season and is badly short on confidence, but I’d like to see what Rafa could do with him. When he’s on song and you play to his strengths, he can be an unstoppable force.
Andros Townsend – I know what you’re thinking ‘I don’t want him back’, but I bet Benitez wouldn’t say no. He did very well during his spell at St James’ and would soon be forgiven if he recaptured that form under Rafa. Can’t see them going down, mind.
Mario Lemina – Perhaps an unrealistic target given Liverpool’s alleged interest, but a player whose really impressed me since his summer move from Juventus. If Rafa wants another big signing to boost out central midfield options, he could be his man. We’d need a takeover to have any chance of this one, mind.
Cedric – The Portuguese right-back has sometimes been overshadowed by Bertrand on their other side (he’d be too expensive), but I think he’s a good little player. I reckon Rafa will be looking to bring in a RB to compete with Yedlin and Cedric would be a shrewd buy.
*Shaqiri not realistic (also bad attitude – not a Rafa player)*
Joe Allen – A tidy midfielder and a real grafter who would probably fit into our workmanlike side very nicely.
Ramadan Sobhi – The 21-year-old Egyptian winger is a real talent whose being wasted on the bench at Stoke. He’d be a smart signing. One for the future for sure.
Salomon Rondon – A real handful. Doesn’t score enough goals, but works hard and is unstoppable on his day. Probably a little expensive given his average goal record, but still a potential option with us needing a few strikers this summer.
Jay Rodriguez – A (very) poor mans Harry Kane in my eyes. Good technically and has an eye for goal. 10 goals this season in a very poor West Brom side.
Kieran Gibbs – Rafa was linked with a move for the left-back before he made his £7m summer move from Arsenal to West Brom. Could give us another option at LB and compete with Paul Dummett.
Other potential options:
Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) – His form has struggled after his superb start to life in England, but he’s a player Rafa signed at Napoli and one who’ll almost certainly be sold if they go down.
Badou Ndiaye (Stoke) – Benitez credited with an interest last summer and in January. Could revisit?
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) – Linked today. Good player, but not sure a first-team left-back is a priority?
Steve Mounie (Huddersfield) – Only 23 & has 9 goals in debut season in England. A handful & Joselu upgrade?
Leroy Fer (Swansea) – Midfield powerhouse and the sort of player Rafa likes.
Nacer Chadli (West Brom) – Injury issues aside, he could be the goalscoring number 10 we lack.
For what it’s also worth, I’d take a look at loaning one of Loftus Cheek or Abraham from Chelsea should Palace or Swansea go down.
Let us know your thoughts folks – who would you look at from the potential relegated sides?