Relegation can be truly devastating for clubs. There’s a massive loss of income, as dropping to a lower tier means less revenue from broadcasting, sponsors, and possibly attendance. For some clubs, it leads to an atmosphere of instability and distrust, resulting in many teams having trouble returning to the top flight. Hamburg SV, for instance, has struggled to return to the Bundesliga, although that could change this season.
The biggest problem, though, is often the exodus of talent that follows relegation. When Bournemouth was relegated from the top tier in 2020, they lost a key group of players — including Nathan Ake, Aaron Ramsdale, and Callum Wilson — resulting in a struggle their first season in the Championship. Bournemouth are now back in the Premier League, but other clubs have not been so lucky.
As a result, many relegated teams have fire sales, selling their top players after the season for cut-rate prices. Here are some players that could leave relegated clubs in each of Europe’s top five leagues.
Only two teams have been guaranteed relegation from the Bundesliga: Schalke and Hertha Berlin. The final Bundesliga spot will be confirmed via a playoff between the third-worst Bundesliga side (Stuttgart) and the third-best Bundesliga 2 side (Hamburg).
Schalke almost avoided relegation thanks to an incredible run of form in the second half of the year. Midfielder Rodrigo Zalazar was a big part of this, with four assists in his final four matches. Schalke won just two of the 12 matches he missed all season. A versatile box-to-box midfielder, he could be an astute signing this summer.
Hertha Berlin’s relegation was confirmed last week, and, as a result, Dodi Lukebakio was left out of the squad for the team’s final match. The versatile forward has been a rare bright spot for Hertha, with eleven goals and four assists. He is definitely on his way out of the club and should be in a top-five league next season.
Three clubs have already been relegated in France: Angers, Ajaccio, and Troyes. The final spot will be decided when the league concludes next week and will be either Auxerre or Nantes.
Troyes was hoping recent investment would be enough to keep them in Ligue 1. Despite smart business, the club was relegated, and one of their stars didn’t even feature for them. 19-year-old Savio joined in July but was immediately loaned to PSV, where he barely played. However, he is starring in the u20 World Cup and will likely be pursued by some big clubs this summer.
Ajaccio has been poor this season, averaging under a goal per game and conceding two per game. However, one bright spot has been Vincent Marchetti. A well-rounded midfielder, he can move the ball forwards while being one of the better defensive midfielders in Ligue 1 this season. Ajaccio has lost all seven matches he has missed by a combined score of 21-2.
Angers was doomed from the start, losing several key players, while their controversial owner has created a bad atmosphere. One player that has thrived this season is no stranger to bad atmospheres: Nabil Bentaleb. A grizzled veteran, Bentaleb has four goals and four assists and was linked with a move away in January.
Two teams in the Serie A have already booked their spots in the second tier next season: Sampdoria and Cremonese. The final relegated team will be determined next week and will be either Hellas Verona or Spezia.
Cremonese always looked unlikely to stay up, but they failed to win any of their first 23 matches this season. They’ve managed to make their point tally more respectable (currently at 24) thanks largely to the goals of David Okereke, who has scored seven times and assisted two. The striker will likely play in a top-five league again next season.
The only Serie A team worse than Cremonense is Sampdoria, who has relied mainly on out-of-favor loanees and aging veterans. Despite their terrible performances, Manolo Gabbiadini has still impressed, earning a call-up to Italy for the first time since 2017. Ten goal contributions aren’t enough to help Sampdoria stay up, but it should earn him a move back to a top league.
The La Liga relegation race (which I tried to predict here) is going to the final week, and so far Elche is the only club guaranteed to go down.
Elche has been terrible this season, and, as I predicted, is guaranteed to finish last. No surprises here. Lucas Boye has at least provided some memorable moments with his five goals and three assists, including scoring his club’s first winner of the season (in March) and the equalizer against Getafe.
The Premier League relegation battle went to the wire, but in the end, Everton was able to stay in the top flight at the expense of Leeds, Leicester, and Southampton.
Leicester has crumbled since their Premier League-winning team, and ultimately had a very poor squad this season — always evident when Danny Ward has to start in goal. However, James Maddison is one of the best players to be relegated in recent years, as the club went down despite his ten goals and nine assists. He is guaranteed to move back to a Premier League club.
Leeds has a talented squad but few players have been consistent throughout the year. However, Tyler Adams has been crucial, and his absence from the squad due to injury was definitely a big reason why Leeds went down. He missed the club’s final 12 games, and they won just two of those matches. Before that, he had only missed two matches: both losses.
Southampton has a very good but inexperienced team, which ultimately was their downfall. Their team will likely be picked apart more than most, and Romeo Lavia will likely fetch the highest fee. The 19-year-old is one of the club’s top performers, and the versatile midfielder is being linked with top Premier League sides.
Image Courtesy of Антон Зайцев, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons.
Don’t worry if your comment does not show up, all comments must be approved to reduce spam. I hope you enjoyed, and as always, keep watching soccer!