The stunning £148m XI who could be relegated this season - including West Ham, Everton, and Leeds stars

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Southampton, Everton, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, and West Ham are still in danger of going down.

Football isn’t played on paper. If it was, the likes of West Ham and Leicester City would be absolutely nowhere near the quagmire that is this season’s relegation battle. More than most in recent memory, the scrap for survival this term has sucked in a number of clubs who would have had high hopes of avoiding it, and even more players who, by rights, should be miles away from it.

The reality is, however, that football is not played on paper, and for three clubs, the end of May will represent the end of their time in the top flight. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the biggest and best talents who could be relegated this season, and tried to put together a starting XI of the most prominent names...

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GK - Keylor Navas

There can’t be many three-time Champions League winners who have needed to go to Selhurst Park on the final day of the season and get a result in the hope of avoiding relegation to the Championship. Maybe that fate won’t befall Keylor Navas, but as things stand, it’s not out of the realms of possibility. The Costa Rican has been decent since he joined Nottingham Forest on loan from Paris Saint-Germain in January, but the defence in front of him has done him few favours.

RB - Kyle Walker-Peters

A flying full-back who has been linked with top six clubs on more than one occasion. Walker-Peters has been a fine servant for Southampton over the past three years or so, and few would argue if he was sold to a Premier League side if and when the Saints’ relegation is confirmed.

CB - Armel Bella-Kotchup

At just 21 years old and with two full Germany caps to his name, there’s no denying that Bella-Kotchup has a big future ahead of him. The centre-back gives of the distinct vibe of a player who, in five to six years time, will be rattling about in the upper echelons of the European game, and who very few of us will even remember had a Premier League relegation on his CV.

Armel Bella-Kotchap of Southampton Armel Bella-Kotchap of Southampton
Armel Bella-Kotchap of Southampton | Getty Images

CB - Nayef Aguerd

Hampered by injuries this season, the West Ham defender has still shown enough flashes of promise in his 15 Premier League outings to suggest that he could be a real player. Let’s not forget, he was part of a Morocco squad that shocked everybody by making it all the way to the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar last year. If the Hammers stay up, he has enough about him to become a genuinely integral presence for David Moyes’ men. If they don’t, he will surely leave in the summer.

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LB - Junior Firpo

Am I including Firpo in this article purely so Leeds United have some kind of representation in our starting XI? Maybe, maybe not. The left-back certainly hasn’t reached his full potential at Elland Road, but there’s not getting away from the fact that it would be quite the turn-up to see a former Barcelona regular in the Championship. Perhaps more a case of reputation than anything he’s actually done in England, but there you go.

CM - Declan Rice

There is an argument to be made for Rice being the best player in the Premier League outside of the traditional top six. The West Ham midfielder is one of the finest young talents in world football, and would walk into most sides in the country. The Hammers have battled and battled to keep hold of him in recent seasons, but it does feel as if their look might finally run out this summer.

CM - James Ward-Prowse

Is Ward-Prowse the greatest free-kick taker in Premier League history? It’s either him or David Beckham, and that’s quite the company to find yourself in. Aside from his set-piece prowess though, Ward-Prowse is the heartbeat of this Southampton side. His range of distribution is admirable, and his footballing intelligence is second to none. For a long time now, he has been touted for an exit from St. Mary’s, and if he does go this summer, somebody will be bringing in a superb player.

Southampton skipper James Ward-ProwseSouthampton skipper James Ward-Prowse
Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse | Getty Images

CM - Youri Tielemans

There is a reason why Tielemans is constantly being linked with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal. The Belgian is a top tier talent, and while few Leicester City players have truly shone this season, there’s not doubting that he would be an asset to just about any squad in the division.

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AM- Jarrod Bowen

When Bowen is on song, he is unplayable. Versatile and direct, the West Ham forward is a nightmare for defenders when he properly gets going. This season has been less prolific for the 26-year-old, but show me a Premier League fan who wouldn’t be tempted to take him at their own club, and I’ll show you a liar.

AM - James Maddison

There was nearly a widespread revolt at the prospect of Maddison being omitted from England’s World Cup squad last year, such is the extent to which he has impressed in recent seasons. The Leicester City talisman, much like compatriot Jack Grealish during his time with Aston Villa, feels destined for Champions League football, and is sure to be in demand this summer.

ST - Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Perhaps more than anybody else in this article, Calvert-Lewin has failed to live up to his own high standards this season. The Everton striker has scored just twice in 14 Premier League outings this term, and while injuries have played their part, he will surely be disappointed with that kind of return. Nevertheless, when he is at his best, the England international is a proper handful. Here’s hoping he can rekindle his spark going forward.

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