Premier League: The Nearly Men

Seeing all the talk of the Premier League Hall of Fame got me thinking about who I’d include in mine, then I got to thinking about the criteria for inclusion. Personally I think you’re at the back of the queue if you have never won a Premier League, so I said I’d do my own list of the best players to play in the Prem that have never managed to win it. I love a good countdown but I didn’t really see how I could rank these players against each other so instead it will be an unordered list. There is one rule for inclusion though:

A player must have completed two full seasons in the league to be eligible, therefore the likes of Bruno and Thiago Silva are exempt.

Let’s get into it!

Harry Kane

When it’s all said and done he could be the all time top scorer in Prem history. He’s probably the best striker alive today and has consistently been one of the best in Europe for the past 7 years. Yet with all this he has nothing to show for it, besides some golden boots. He’s won 2 Prem Golden Boots, been in the TOTY 4 times and has won the YPOTY award but unfortunately has yet to taste trophy success.

He’s went close twice, in 2015/16 when Spurs became the first team to come 3rd in a two horse race as they failed to catch Leicester before ultimately finishing below Arsenal aswell. The following year himself and Spurs went even closer as they finished on 86 points, 7 points behind a phenomenal Chelsea team. Kane was top scorer and their best player both these seasons, one can only imagine had he been in a team a little bit stronger, what he could’ve achieved.

A player this good should not retire without a Premier League title. The next 12 months for Kane are pivotable. I personally don’t see him leaving this year due to the £120m + it’ll cost to get him but next year with a year less on his contract it could be more likely. In the meantime he’s gotta keep scoring and stay fit cause coughing up close to or around 100m for a player who will be 29 next July, and also has injury issues could represent a big risk. I feel he could be a great Benzema or Lewa replacement should he go abroad but if he wants to remain in England then there’s only 2 realistic options, United or City.

Should he go to City he’s more or less nailed on to win the league sometime. However if he goes to United I think he could have a Van-Persie level impact and be known as the guy who brought the title back to United. It’ll be very interesting to see where he goes but one thing I know for sure is he will not be winning a title at Spurs, so a move sooner rather than later is needed for his sake. 

Fernando Torres

El Nino has to be included, at one point regarded the best striker in the world. He won literally everything in football besides the Premier League. Euros, World Cup, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, but no Premier League. He went close enough twice though, once with Liverpool in the 08/09 season which included his infamous performance at Old Trafford in Liverpools 1-4 victory against United. Unfortunately for Torres his club ended the season on 86 points, 4 behind United who won their 3rd title in as many years.  He was involved in another race again in 2011, this time at Chelsea but again he failed to overcome Manchester United as Chelsea came 2nd with just 71 points as United won again, making it 4 in 5 years.

Had he have replicated his Liverpool form at Chelsea, wonder would he have grabbed a title? I personally don’t think so, Chelsea were way off the pace that year and the following (well domestically at least). He could’ve drove them close but I think it was a case of right club wrong time for him.

Gareth Bale

Another current player. While never being involved in a Premier League title race, Bale has still been a phenomenal Premier League player, who has twice been crowned PFA Players POTY, His highest league finish was 4th in 2009/2010 with 70 points and his best season came in 2012/13 when he scored 26 goals in all competitions on his way to becoming POTY. It must be stated that had he played for a stronger club he most likely would have a Premier league title on his CV, the fact he was so successful in Spain speaks to this. Given his performances this season and his comments about wanting to return to Madrid, I think the door is closed on Bale winning a Premier League, but basing off what we see and know about him(very little) I doubt he’s too bothered. He he’s got 4 CL medals at home and 3 CL Final goals, his legacy is cemented.

Di Canio

A great player I wish I could’ve watched Live. A true Premier League icon. He played for Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton and most famously West Ham. This list isn’t just players who went close but the best and most Iconic players to play in the league. Di Canio fits perfectly into this description. Fans today would look at his G/A and say he was overrated but he was far from that. His best years were in Italy when he won the Serie A, playing for AC Milan but perhaps his most iconic moment came in a West Ham shirt..

What a God damn goal.

Mesut Ozil

He divided opinion in his time in England but there’s no denying he’s one of the greatest playmakers we’ve seen in the last 20 years. In 2015/16 everything seemed set for him and Arsenal to win the league. United stunk, City were waiting for Pep, Liverpool were beginning a rebuild, Chelsea were a bottom half team and Spurs were Spurs.

At Christmas after 19 games Arsenal led the Premier League. All things pointed to them winning the league, but by the time the race was in full flow in March/April, they weren’t even involved. Some will tell you it was Giroud’s fault, others will say it was due to Ozil’s drop-off. But theres no denying without Ozil’s contributions they would have never been near top of the league, he managed 19 assists which is the second highest ever in a single season and was named Arsenal POTY. His Arsenal career ended sad but he came into the league as arguably the best no.10 in the world and in certain spells definitely lived up to this tag.

Now that he’s gone its fair to say he’ll never win a Premier League title but he’s tasted success at a world level so I don’t think he’ll lose too much sleep.

Paul Pogba

Another player who has divided opinion amongst fans, some United fans give him too much credit, some rival fans don’t give him enough, but nobody can deny his ability and the influence he has on United when he’s on it. He came back to the league at age 23 expecting to be apart of the next United dynasty but unfortunately he hasn’t had the success he would’ve liked in the league. His highest finish came in 17/18 as United came 2nd with 81 points far behind City with 100.

This current season he’s on course for his closest finish to the title which is promising for next season, he’ll be hoping himself (should he stay) and the club can start off stronger than this season. While never being in a real title race he has still had a number of great moments in the league including the 2-3 comeback against City and his epic run of form following Ole’s arrival which saw him lead United in basically every stat possible and named in the PFA TOTY.

Having just turned 28, I believe he’s entering his prime years for a midfielder, he’ll want to be as successful as possible in this time. A return to Juventus has long been touted but I honestly believe that would be a step down. I don’t think Madrid can afford him so to me that leaves either a move to Paris, which would be very tempting, play with Neymar and possibly Mbappe for another year, be in your home country and be at a top 3 club in Europe at the moment.


OR he can stay at United who are steadily improving and can mount a serious title challenge IF (big big if) they make the necessary signings needed this summer. I think he has unfinished business here and would love for him to stay but wouldn’t blame him for leaving after 5 years at the club.

Steven Gerrard

Couldn’t do the list without him could I? He personifies the list. In terms of achievements he’s probably the greatest player to never win the Prem given his 8 PFA TOTY nominations, the most of any player in Premier League history. Although he played in the Prem for almost 17 years he only really went close to winning it twice however, the first of which was in 08/09, as discussed earlier when Liverpool were four points off first. It was 2013/14 however which was his best chance. Fergie had left, Chelsea were rebuiling and City weren’t very impressive.

Liverpool were blowing teams away, including a 0-5 win away to Spurs, 4-0 in the derby, 5-1 at home to Arsenal and 0-3 away at Old Trafford, that game included Gerrard famously kissing the camera, before ultimately in the end, kissing his Premier League dreams goodbye. 

After a 3-2 home victory over Man City that left Liverpool 2 points clear with 4 games to go, it had seemed it was finally Gerrard’s time. He then gathered his team in huddle and stated “we don’t let this slip” and the rest as the say is history…

People always wonder if he had left Liverpool would he have been more successful, I’m sure he would have but I question whether he would’ve had left a mark on games like he did at Liverpool, he was the go to man there, the hero, he so often bailed them out but I wonder had he have went to Chelsea like was rumoured, would he have had the same impact in big moments? Besides the occasional world class player, he was often levels ahead of his teammates, whereas at Chelsea he would’ve just been another star. I guess we’ll never know how he would’ve gotten on but its fun to speculate. 

Thanks for reading !

Hope you enjoyed this list, let us know on social media if we left out anyone and maybe we’ll make a part two, stay tuned tomorrow for our Premier League bargains countdown and don’t forget to checkout our recent posts below!

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