Who makes the Premier League 'Bomb Squad' XI?

Mesut Ozil is on £350,000-a-week but an outcast at Arsenal, Sergio Romero is Argentina No 1 but fourth choice at Manchester United while Phil Jones hasn’t played since January… but who else makes the Premier League ‘Bomb Squad’ XI?

  • This week Premier League teams finalised their 25-man squads for the season
  • A number of high-profile and notable names were left out by managers
  • Mesut Ozil is on £350,000-a-week at Arsenal but won’t get a game now
  • Who else made the cut for Sportsmail’s XI of out-of-favour top-flight players? 

This week the Premier League teams finalised their 25-man squads for the season, and it was Mesut Ozil who dominated the headlines as he was sensationally left out of Arsenal’s list.

The £350,000-a-week World Cup winner has likely played his last game for the club as he faces kicking his heels between now and January.

But the former Germany international isn’t the only big name who will be scratching around Premier League training grounds for the next few months. Sportsmail take you through the ‘Bomb Squad’ XI… 

Formation: 3-1-4-1-1

Sergio Romero (Manchester United)

Argentina’s No 1 has long been considered the best back-up goalkeeper in the Premier League. Now Sergio Romero has been relegated to fourth choice at Manchester United. 

The return of Dean Henderson from his two years on loan at Sheffield United had already bumped Romero down the pecking order. Even 37-year-old Lee Grant is ahead of him now, by virtue of his qualification for the home grown quota.

Romero can be considered unlucky, having barely put a foot wrong during his 61 Old Trafford appearances since he joined from Sampdoria in 2015, and in the past few years has appeared a safer pair of hands than David de Gea.

At 33 there is still life left in him yet. He has entered the last year of his contract and has wanted to leave since he was dropped for the Europa League semi-final defeat by Sevilla on August 16. Everton were reportedly interested towards the end of the transfer window.

Sergio Romero finds himself as fourth choice goalkeeper now at Manchester United

Phil Jones (Manchester United)

The second high-profile name excluded from Manchester United’s Premier League squad list was Phil Jones.

It has been a long and slow fall from grace for Jones. Earmarked as a future club legend by Sir Alex Ferguson he has instead become the butt of jokes and now an outcast at Old Trafford.

His last appearance came in January, in an FA Cup fourth-round victory at Tranmere. It has been nine years since the brightest talent of his generation swapped Blackburn for Manchester United, and though his longevity is to be applauded no one quite saw it fizzling out this way.

Solskjaer said he has been injured since June and the 28-year-old still has a contract until 2023, but he even Axel Tuanzebe and Tim Fosu-Mensah made United’s homegrown list ahead of Jones.

Phil Jones has also been excluded from Manchester United’s Premier League squad list

Sokratis (Arsenal)

Two years after he arrived as one of Unai Emery’s first Arsenal signings, Sokratis has found himself exiled by the new man Mikel Arteta.

The Greek centre back has featured only twice since the coronavirus lockdown first hit in March, and he has now found himself excluded from both the Premier League and Europa League squads.

Arteta is moving Arsenal forward in a new direction and the Gunners are well-stocked in central defence now. Even when he favours a back three, there is no way past Gabriel, Rob Holding, David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi or Pablo Mari.

Sokratis has lost out at Arsenal due to fierce competition for places in central defence

Danny Rose (Tottenham)

Rose has fallen spectacularly out of view at Tottenham since the arrival of Jose Mourinho 11 months ago.

He spent the second-half of last season on loan at Newcastle and was determined to find a new club this summer having been stripped of the No 3 shirt. With just a year left on his contract there appears no way back for him at Spurs.

His fallout with Mourinho was one of the highlights of the recent All or Nothing Amazon documentary. 

Amazon’s crew filmed a heated row Rose and Mourinho after he was dropped from the team, with the defender storming out of his office as he complained about a lack of playing time.

Danny Rose’s fallout with Jose Mourinho continued after he missed out on the 25-man squad

Mo Besic (Everton)

Incredibly, Mo Besic is still an Everton player six years after he joined from Ferencvaros. Back then, Roberto Martinez had just guided the Toffees to an impressive fifth-placed finish.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international is onto his fifth manager now at Goodison Park in Carlo Ancelotti and made the last of his 56 appearances back in December 2017. 

Last year he made 13 appearances for Sheffield United but did not get a permanent move. Having signed a five-year deal at Everton back in 2016, the 28-year-old now has less than a year left on his deal before he is free to find a new club. Rangers had been linked, but were unable to complete a deal.

Mo Besic has not played for Everton in nearly three years but remains at Goodison Park

Yannick Bolasie (Everton)

Besic isn’t alone in being on the Everton scrapheap. Ronald Koeman parted with £25m to bring in Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace in 2016.

The DR Congo winger has made only 32 appearances in the four seasons since, and has had loan spells at Aston Villa, Anderlecht and Sporting Lisbon in the last three.

He was on the brink of joining Middlesbrough on loan on deadline day this month but a deal could not be reached, with Neil Warnock blaming the 31-year-old, who had claimed he was ‘willing to give up a lot’ to make the switch.

‘He was disappointed, but he was partly to blame as well. There were things I should have known before four o’clock on Friday afternoon about his problems at Everton’, said Warnock.

‘They were problems that we couldn’t overcome. Well, we tried to, and eventually we did, but it was too late.’

Yannick Bolasie nearly ended his Everton nightmare but a move to Middlesbrough fell through

Henri Lansbury (Aston Villa)

Villa were back in the Championship and pushing for promotion when they signed Lansbury from Nottingham Forest in 2017.

He made 30 appearances in his first two years but has fallen down the pecking order under Dean Smith.

The midfielder managed 10 Premier League appearances last season, but it was not enough to assure him of making the 25-man squad list this time around. Despite three appearances in the Carabao Cup already under his belt, he faces an uncertain future.

Henri Lansbury didn’t do enough in three Carabao Cup appearances to merit a squad place

Jean Michael Seri (Fulham)

It appeared that Fulham had pulled off a transfer coup when they snapped up Jean Michael Seri from Nice for £18m on their last promotion to the Premier League in 2018. 

A host of top European clubs had been interested in the Ivory Coast international, so it was certainly a surprise to see him at Craven Cottage. But the move proved a disaster.

Fulham went through three different managers as they sank straight back down to the Championship. Seri spent last season on loan in Turkey and remains at the club having failed to find a new side.

Jean Michael Seri has fallen from view after his £18million move to Fulham from Nice in 2018

Christian Atsu (Newcastle)

Christian Atsu has seemingly been around forever and yet he is only 28. The Ghana winger was on loan at Everton and Bournemouth before he made a permanent move to Newcastle in 2017.

Atsu has consistently been involved under both Rafa Benitez and Steve Bruce, but now finds himself out of favour at St James’ Park. 

He has a year remaining on his four-year deal, but is now behind Allan Saint-Maximin, Ryan Fraser and Miguel Almiron in the pecking order.

Christian Atsu has found himself out of favour under manager Steve Bruce at Newcastle

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

What more is there to be said about Mesut Ozil? Unused by Mikel Arteta since March, the German is facing an acrimonious and bitter last year at Arsenal on the sidelines.

He has been frozen out, and reacted to his recent omission by releasing a statement that slammed the club for a lack of loyalty.

Though he believes his exclusion may be down to commercial interests, adding that he will continue to use his global profile to fight against inhumanity in his statement, Mikel Arteta insists it is otherwise.

‘Everybody is free to express his feeling,’ Arteta said.

‘That’s just a football decision that my conscious is really calm. I’ve been really fair with him, my level of communication with him has been really high.’

Mesut Ozil is on £350,000-a-week at Arsenal but won’t get a game between now and January

Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace) 

Wickham signed a one-year extension to his Crystal Palace deal in May 2019, keeping him at Selhurst Park until 2021, and he may now wish he hadn’t bothered. 

Injury has curtailed his impact in south London, restricting him to just 50 appearances for the club in five years. There was hope of a brighter future for him with a six-month loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday last season, and though he was able to stay through the restart in the summer he has now returned back to Palace.

He finds himself behind Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke in the forward options, and even loan signing Michy Batshuayi.

Crystal Palace striker Connor Wickham has struggled with injury issues in recent seasons


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