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Coming back to haunt you

With the recent sale of three of the younger members of the squad - Willo Flood, Lee Croft and Bradley Wright-Phillips, I had commented that I believed that the sale of all three was justified and that they had reached their potential and as far as they could go at the club.

One possibility crossed my mind though and that is whether or not any of the three were likely to make the move back into the Premiership at some point and prove Stuart Pearce's decision to be incorrect.

Personally, I believe of the three Wright-Phillips perhaps has the best chance given that he has had the least opportunity to prove himself at the club with only a handful of brief substitute appearances to his name wheras Flood and Croft have had decent opportunities and gone as far as they could. However, I cannot really envisage a repeat of a Paul Warhurst or Earl Barrett where a player let go for very little makes a succesful return to the top flight.

But what of other players who we have let go in recent times? Have decisions in selling and releasing players proved costly? Going back as far as when we last returned to the Premiership, I've put together the what I think is strongest team of players who we have let go to see if the decision has been vindicated:

Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard
David Sommeil
Mikkel Bischoff
Daniel van Buyten
Danny Tiatto
Shaun Wright-Phillips
Lee Croft
Paul Bosvelt
Kiki Musampa
Nicolas Anelka
Robbie Fowler

From the list of players let go, I would argue that van Buyten, Wright-Phillips and Anelka are the only players who could strengthen the current line up. Van Buyten was only a loan signing so the club may not have had too much power to prevent him leaving when Hamburg came calling, whilst to a large degree the sales of Wright-Phillips and Anelka were largely forced upon the club for one reason or another.

It could also be argued that the sales of Wright-Phillips and Anelka have hardly come back to haunt the club - although they have undoubtedly been missed, with Wright-Phillips struggling in his debut season at Chelsea and Anelka falling off the radar out in Turkey (and now appearing on the 'soon to arrive at Portsmouth' list).

I think it is fairly conclusive then that the decisions to release the players the club has done have by and large been the correct ones and there aren't many (if indeed any) regrets to be had. It is also fair to say that Stuart Pearce has - since his time in charge, cleared a lot of the 'dead wood' from the squad and that the current squad looks to be the strongest in terms of quality (if not necessarily in depth) that we have had since we got back to the Premiership.