The step down from Premier League to Championship Football is one of the toughest financial depletions a modern Football Club can experience. Running a team of Premier League players with the income of a Championship side is not only unsustainable, it's outright lethal to many clubs. Mismanagement, regardless of investors, can see Premier League clubs topple to the depths of English football once they start rolling downhill. Sunderland exemplify this, though many other clubs can reinforce the point.
It's a double edged-sword. Relegated teams struggle to retain their players or improve their squad through financial demands restraining their budget, but also through the players' desire to be playing at a higher standard. Why play for less money, at a lower standard than now?
Many relegated teams do ensure their younger players are not overpaid in the first place, to ensure there's an incentive up their sleeve should they go down. However, this often isn't enough to persuade the young stars from seeking a higher quality of Football.
The likes of Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey, for example, were reportedly paid £5000 a week this season, though other sources suggest they were paid nearly double this. Either way, salaries under £10,000 a week in the Championship for the most promising players seems reasonable. The real question is whether they'll want to stay, or take a better pay at a better standard elsewhere should a bigger club come calling.
So there are two schools of thought when looking at players who'll leave a relegated side.
1. The younger players who are snapped up by bigger and better clubs, who desire to fulfil potential.
2. The players with a salary and ego that simply cannot be sustained at a lower level.
We've compiled shortlist of some players we believe could seek Football elsewhere as a result of relegation. Some are rumoured transfers that have been published in the media, others are merely our speculations. Are they perhaps an investment for you?
1. Todd Cantwell | Norwich
A solid season for the canaries, despite firmly finishing at the bottom of the table. Cantwell is still young, but has impressed at the top level of English Football. It's fair to see him stick with the canaries next season and in a bid to earn promotion again, but it's increasingly difficult to see him play his career in the championship. Many clubs around Europe in PB leagues could try to pry him away with an offer that Norwich would struggle to refuse. Sheffield United, Liverpool and Leicester have been linked throughout the season, and it's easy to see more speculation coming in the transfer window.
2. Gerard Deulofeu | Watford
Deulofeu led Watford in dribbles, assists and shots this season - despite being out injured from the start of March. He's no superstar, and has little interest on the index, particularly since sustaining his injury. However, the 26 year old winger was a Barcelona prodigy once upon a time. Having graduated from La Masia, he has played throughout Europe at a top level. He'll certainly be wanting to play elite Football again, given he's approaching 'peak years' of a professional contract. It's also worth noting he's on £60k a week at Watford, which won't be an easy monthly bill should they fail to bounce back up in one year's time. Should Deulofeu return from injury to a struggling Watford side in the Championship, there's little doubt he'll be looking for an exit in the winter transfer window.
3. Emiliano Buendia | Norwich
The Canaries standout player this season has seriously impressed Premier League fans across many areas of the pitch. Buendia lead Norwich in assists and tackles, showing his engaging style of play and work ethic on both ends of the field. He had the highest PB average of any Norwich player, at 96, and is still only 23 years old. There's certainly room for improvement, but he'll need a move away from Norwich to justify his £2.06 market value. If he can make it to a more successful attacking side, it wouldn't be surprising to see a few scores nearer 200 next season. If he doesn't move, he's a heavyweight burden to carry in your portfolio without PB eligibility.
4. Nathan Ake | Bournemouth
Already scattered across the media, Ake looks almost certain to be leaving Bournemouth this summer after they failed to stay up. The Dutch defender has been admired by many top clubs, including Man City and Chelsea. A cut-price for the 25 year old is on the cards, given Bournemouth won't be anywhere near the biggest club in the Championship and will be scrambling to rebuild their Premier League dreams. As such, an offer for Ake this season is likely to be the best they'll get whilst shifting the £40k wage bill off their books. The cool centre half hasn't got all that much PB to admire - though playing for a relegated side often means no clean sheet or win bonus. If he moves to a successful team, particularly one who've struggled defensively and are looking to improve - like his ex-club Chelsea - he could feature regularly posting respectable scores. Strong ties to Man City would mean a big improvements for his PB scores too, should he get game time.
- EDIT: City have since had a £41m bid accepted for Ake.
5. Max Aarons | Norwich
Already mentioned in the introduction, Aarons is not a huge burden on Norwich's books and they'll need to retain all the talent they can to ensure they can bounce back up in a years time. That said, with Spurs in the rumour mill to be eyeing up the full back, it's hard to see Norwich declining a double-digit million offer for their youngster. His PB is dismal, he's failed to post a score above 150 - but all things considered you have to take a step back from the numbers. He's played in the worst defensive team, who finished bottom. Clean sheets and win bonuses were not a regular. A pacey full back in a team with fewer defensive liabilities could easily boost Aarons' PB. That said, it's a big risk at £1.77 even if he earns a move.
6. Abdoulaye Doucouré | Watford
The Frenchman has actively spoken his intentions on leaving Watford should the opportunity arise. That was back in the winter transfer window, so it won't be any surprise to see links throughout the summer now Watford are back in the Championship. Doucouré reportedly earns £70k a week, an incredibly hefty salary for an unhappy player in the second tier. Everton have been linked for two years now, whilst PSG too have been named in the mill. It's hard to see him reaching Champions League football anytime soon, though a move to a PB eligible side looks likely now.
7. Callum Wilson | Bournemouth
The England International had a disappointing season in comparison to last years efforts, and was one of many elements that underwhelmed in Bournemouth's bid to stay in the Premier League. The striker has an atrocious PB, with a peak of 123 and average of just 22 this season. The papers are suggesting Bournemouth could part with the striker for as little as £10m, leading to Tottenham's interest in acquiring the striker. He's not prolific, nor a flair player, but he can certainly score a few in the Premier League. A figure as low as £10m for a proven forward is a very cheap option these days, so we wouldn't be surprised to see him return to the Premier for a different outfit. That said, it's very hard to see him repping an England shirt again, and he needs to drastically turn his PB profile around to make it worth an investment, even at his low price of £0.98.