Football fans across the globe are eagerly anticipating news on when action can resume after the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic. The 2019/20 Premier League campaign has been suspended until the end of April but that means there’s plenty of time to debate who the most overrated player in the top flight is.
Members of the Express Sport team now weigh in with their verdicts on who takes the dubious accolade.
Should Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba be deemed most overrated? Or is it his team-mate Harry Maguire that should receive the gong?
Might Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha be more deserving? Or is Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the man who gets far too much credit?
Mesut Ozil, Nicolas Otamendi and Alisson are among the names to have come up but the question is, who’s your pick?
Who is the Premier League’s most overrated player? Our experts clash in the Big Debate
Mesut Ozil – Gideon Brooks
The word enigmatic in sporting context is generally taken as ‘talented yet unreliable’ and no one in the Premier League fits that bill better than Ozil.
A seven season top flight career has undoubtedly contained flashes of borderline genius. But the troughs in between have stretched and yawned with increasing length.
For a player with his skill contributions have dipped from a high in his third and fourth season with the Gunners (2015-16 and 2016-17) when he topped 30 appearances and scored 14 goals and provided an incredible 29 assists, to a trickle.
Last season five goals and two assists (in 24 appearances) and this campaign one goal and two assists (in 18) represent a cliff edge.
By way of balance, no one gets to be a a World Cup winner (Germany in 2014) without talent and this critique is purely based on football as there are plenty of admirable and courageous aspects to his complex character.
But it is hard to analyse Ozil’s career and not be left with a nagging feeling of what he might have achieved had, ironically, he had a little less natural talent not more.
Nicolas Otamendi – Neil Squires
Even Pep Guardiola has his blind spots. Otamendi belongs at a lower-table Premier League or top-half Championship side, not one of the big clubs.
Fernandinho has been better in defence for Manchester City this season than Otamendi and he is a midfielder.
The Argentine scores highly on commitment but you need more than that to stand out in the Premier League crowd.
He has done well to spin out his City career for five years.
Mesut Ozil – Matthew Dunn
If by “rate” you mean pay-rate then there can only be one possible answer – Ozil.
His exorbitant salary should have secured Arsenal a matchwinner capable of driving a team into the top four and beyond.
Instead it bought them a left foot as good as any in the world when it comes to kicking a ball, but which is sadly just as bad as his right foot when it comes to moving quickly. Or backwards.
When he fancies it, he will scamper forward in attack to clock up the occasional assist, but the cost is the hole he leaves and never seems to manage to fill.
Now, more than ever, football is a team game and it is little wonder players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are getting so frustrated at the club when they look around the dressing room.
Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi has failed to hit top form this season
Wilfried Zaha – Rhys Turrell
Make no mistake, on his day Zaha can be unstoppable. The Crystal Palace man has got all the attributes of a leading player: he’s quick, physical, tall and excellent with the ball at his feet.
So what’s the problem? Well, he needs to produce the goods EVERY week.
If Zaha wants to play Champions League football – and he’s got all the skill needed to do it – then he needs to step up his game and deliver in EVERY minute of EVERY game. Too often he’s easily shut down, or loses his composure when things don’t go his way.
To become an elite player it’s not just about producing magic moments, it’s about driving the team on from first whistle to last. If he can do that, he’ll prove he’s not ‘overhyped’ and is actually the real deal.
But at 27, he’s now running out of time to prove it.
Scott McTominay – Bruce Archer
McTominay gets my vote for most overrated player in the Premier League.
The Scot is a decent and tidy player but is only in the United side because of the dearth of talent and some horrendous transfer business.
He wouldn’t be anywhere near the starting XI at any other side in the top half and if United get a few midfielders in next year won’t be in theirs either.
Jose Mourinho picked him to make a point and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had to because until recently Nemanja Matic has been so out of form, Fred has been poor and Paul Pogba injured.
Bruno Fernandes has taken United to another level in the middle and if they can keep Pogba, Matic maintains his form or they bring in a Jude Bellingham, McTominay will find himself struggling for minutes.
A loan move could be on the cards…
Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have rarely featured together in Manchester United’s midfield
Paul Pogba – Luke Gardener
I really wanted to go for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah but you just can’t when you look at his superb numbers in terms of goals and assists.
So instead it is Manchester United midfielder Pogba I’m choosing. He has been inconsistent since his move back to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2016.
The 27-year-old has spent most of this season on the sidelines and has rarely been the star performer for the Red Devils when he does feature.
United should cash-in on the World Cup winner in the summer as he simply hasn’t taken games by storm often enough at the club. He’s certainly no Paul Scholes.
Reinvesting the £100m you’d likely get for Pogba could take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to the next level and bridge the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City.
Alisson – Matt Atherton
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has been a definite improvement on Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet; there’s no doubt.
But, he was named the seventh-best player in the world in the most recent Ballon d’Or rankings, and was given the inaugural Yashin Trophy, which named him as the best goalkeeper in the world. Really?
He’s not even the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, for me. Very good at getting credit for making saves that he should be making, such as the famed one against Napoli in the Champions League.
Prone to giving the ball away, and not the greatest shot-stopper in the world. Weird that he’s rated so highly.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has made some mistakes this season
Harry Maguire – Ryan Taylor
Not to get it twisted, Maguire is a good defender who does the basics very well. He tackles, is commanding and would head a concrete ball but for me, he is far from being up to the standard required of the world’s most expensive defender.
When compared with Virgil van Dijk who is elegant, gracious and makes defending look easy, Maguire looks clumsy and sometimes unpredictable.
He has a lot of quality bringing the ball forward, but there have been plenty of times this season where he has been exposed by rash decision making that mostly goes unpunished.
Probably one of England’s best defenders but that just goes to show the quality Gareth Southgate is lacking in that area. Nowhere near an £80m player.
Jordan Pickford – James Benson
Everton’s No 1 might go uncontested at Goodison Park, though how he gets in Gareth Southgate’s team when he’s not even England’s best current goalkeeper is beyond me.
Pickford’s a good lad and, occasionally, makes a cracking save, but’s living off the legend of that penalty shootout against Colombia.
Too many fanboys point to those World Cup heroics when defending Pickford, however, his weekly performances aren’t up to scratch.
Everton thought they’d played a blinder when they bought him from Sunderland for £30m.
But, if they’re to go to the next level under Carlo Ancelotti, they’ll need an upgrade in goal.