In honour of the NFL draft, we imagine what would happen if current Premier League sides could each pick one of the competition's most iconic players.
– Teams take it in turns picking players.
– Picks are made in reverse order of the current Premier League standings. Norwich pick first, Liverpool pick last.
– Only players who won PFA Player of the Year or FWA Footballer of the Year are eligible for selection.
Pick 1: Norwich – Cristiano Ronaldo
Taking one of the greatest footballers of all time is a no-brainer for Norwich at the top of the draft.
With Teemu Pukki leading the line and Todd Cantwell on the left, Ronaldo slots in nicely on the right wing, where he primarily played for Manchester United during his 42-goal 2007/08 season.
Pick 2: Aston Villa – Thierry Henry
Needing a centre-forward to replace the injured Wesley, Villa are handed a choice of Henry or Alan Shearer with the draft’s second overall pick.
They opt for French va va voom over English brawn by taking Henry, who will be fed an endless supply of through balls by Jack Grealish.
Pick 3: Bournemouth – John Terry
Defence has to be the priority for Bournemouth, particularly with Nathan Ake likely to receive plenty of interest from other clubs in the transfer window.
They snap up Terry, a five-time Premier League winning captain who will take current skipper Simon Francis’ spot in the starting line-up.
Pick 4: Watford – Virgil Van Dijk
Watford have spent just £5m on centre-backs since 2016, so it’s about time that they upgraded.
It’s fair to say that Van Dijk fits the bill – and he’s already mates with Troy Deeney.
Pick 5: West Ham – Steven Gerrard
West Ham select the player who almost single-handedly robbed them of an FA Cup final win back in 2006.
Bringing energy, grit and the occasional screamer, Gerrard forms an all-English midfield with Mark Noble and Declan Rice that looks very nicely balanced.
Pick 6: Brighton – Alan Shearer
Shearer is a steal for Brighton at the no. 6 spot.
He may not be an ideal fit in Graham Potter’s free-flowing style of play, but passing up on the most prolific striker in Premier League history is hard for a side in need of goals.
Pick 7: Southampton – Frank Lampard
Southampton have been too reliant on Danny Ings for goals this season, with nobody else hitting more than four.
Lampard should guarantee them at least 10 from midfield, particularly with James Ward-Prowse picking out his late runs into the box from the right flank.
Pick 8: Newcastle – Luis Suarez
Who better to brighten up Newcastle’s average attack than Suarez, the man who can create and score goals all by himself?
The St James’ Park crowd will adore the Uruguayan for his unceasing work rate. He could be the perfect man to usher in a new era at the club.
Pick 9: Everton – Roy Keane
Everton have a lot of good players, but none who can boss the midfield with both a great engine and quality.
Not only will Keane provide those things, but he would give some slacking members of the Toffees squad one hell of a wake-up call.
Pick 10: Crystal Palace – Ruud van Nistelrooy
Despite the fact that they’re ninth, only Newcastle and Norwich have scored fewer goals than Crystal Palace this season.
That is unlikely to continue with Van Nistelrooy, who scored 20+ goals in four of his five Premier League campaigns, in the side.
Pick 11: Burnley – Robert Pires
Burnley look in solid shape, so they choose to sprinkle a little more stardust on top of their strong base.
Pires is used to playing in a 4-4-2 system from his Arsenal days. He will appreciate the hold-up play of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, and is capable of winning the points that will turn the Clarets into regular European contenders.
Pick 12: Arsenal – Wayne Rooney
While most would expect Arsenal to strengthen their defence in this spot, the contract controversy looming around Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang means a new striker wouldn’t go amiss.
They prepare for life without their captain by drafting Rooney, who scored more goals against Arsenal than any other player in Premier League history.
Pick 13: Tottenham – Robin van Persie
Desperate for a striker with Harry Kane out injured, Spurs have the pick of three of their former players. Will they opt for Teddy Sheringham, Les Ferdinand or Jurgen Klinsmann?
None of them, as it turns out. Instead they take former Arsenal star Van Persie, an ideal fit given that he, like Kane, both scores goals and provides them for others.
Pick 14: Sheffield United – Eric Cantona
Chris Wilder has built an excellent foundation at Sheffield United, and now they’re in the market for a bit of star quality as they push for a Champions League spot.
Cantona’s exactly the kind of maverick who can push them over the top, and he’s a perfect fit to play just off the striker in Wilder’s 3-5-2.
Pick 15: Wolves – Gareth Bale
An excellent squad with no glaring holes means Wolves can go in several different directions with their pick.
Bale adds yet another dynamic option to their already dangerous attack, and could even be used as an absurdly good left wing-back in Nuno Espirito Santo’s system.
Pick 16: Manchester United – Mohamed Salah
United look to their fiercest rivals to fill the void on their right wing.
Salah’s pace and finishing is exactly what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side needs, and a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Salah means United will be devastating on the counter.
Pick 17: Chelsea – Eden Hazard
With Pedro and Willian likely to move on when the season ends, Chelsea are in the market for a player to provide goals and assists from out wide. Didn’t they have someone like that quite recently?
The Blues take the opportunity to bring back Hazard, who scored 110 goals in his seven-year spell at Stamford Bridge.
Pick 18: Leicester – Raheem Sterling
With Salah taken two spots earlier, Leicester’s decision over who should fill their own gap on the right wing has essentially been made for them.
They take the best winger available, reuniting Sterling with the manager who brought him through as a 17-year-old at Liverpool.
Pick 19: Manchester City – Paul McGrath
With no other defenders remaining in the draft, City are almost forced to pick McGrath by default. The Irishman is, however, an excellent fit in Pep Guardiola’s side.
An elegant ball-playing defender who can also step into midfield, McGrath is exactly what City need given how they’ve struggled whenever Aymeric Laporte is unavailable.
Pick 20: Liverpool – Jurgen Klinsmann
Liverpool have been sniffing around Leipzig striker Timo Werner, but the draft affords them the opportunity to acquire an even better German poacher.
An all-round goalscorer who, like Jurgen Klopp, has a fiery personality, Klinsmann is the ideal player to compete for a place with Roberto Firmino up front.
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