A Starting XI of Players Who Are Costing Their Club a Lot to Do Very Little

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale being Gareth Bale for Real Madrid | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

There is a fair share of footballers in the current age who make a considerably healthy living to kick a ball around some grass.

Equally, there are a decent few at the very top earning a king's ransom to sit on their backsides and just watch people kick a ball around some grass. Dream job, eh?

In most of these players' cases, it's no fault of their own. Either they're not fancied by managers that had nothing to do with bringing them to the club, they've struggled with fitness, or there's simply a better player in the way.

Here's an XI of expensive yet ostracised stars who can't get a game for love nor money.

Alphonse Areola (GK)

Areola
Areola is on loan at Real Madrid from parent club PSG | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £500,000

Arriving at Madrid as part of the deal to sell Keylor Navas to Paris Saint-Germain, it was thought Alphonse Areola could rival under-fire Thibaut Courtois for the number one slot. While he started the season in between the sticks, he was quickly relegated to bench duty.

27-year-old Areola has played just four times in La Liga this season, as well as making a pair of Copa del Rey appearances and playing 135 minutes of Champions League action.

Cedric Soares (RB)

Cedric Soares
Cedric signed two deals with Arsenal before even kicking a ball | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £340,000*

He might be starting to see action for Arsenal as of late, but four Premier League outings doesn't cut the mustard when he's been there for over six months.

Signed injured, then got injured again in training, all the while penning a new four-year deal without kicking a single ball competitively. All that money spent to warm up the treatment room.

*for Arsenal

Phil Jones (CB)

Phil Jones
Phil Jones in his trademark 'I got everything except the ball' look | Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £600,000

Phil Jones is still a Premier League footballer. Not just that, but a Manchester United footballer.

How that is the case is anyone's guess, as his influence on the team amounts to nothing more than presumed training ground banter when he pulls another funny face.

His tally this season is a whopping 135 minutes of top-flight football, with his only full display being that miserable defeat at home to Burnley.

It's weird to think Jones went to the 2018 World Cup...

Thilo Kehrer (CB)

Thilo Kehrer
Thilo Kehrer looking bemused as he plays an actual game of football for PSG | Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £350,000

A right-back by trade, Thilo Kehrer isn't unfamiliar with playing in the heart of defence. However, currently, he is unfamiliar with playing at all.

PSG forked out over £30m to sign him two years ago but his place in the team has become less and less frequent since, with his seven league outings this season adding to his grand total of seven the year before.

Warming the bench on PSG-sized wages is doing nobody any favours.

Marcos Rojo (LB)

Marcos Rojo
Marcos Rojo has been with United for over six years | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £500,000

When he's not busy burning toast, Marcos Rojo is busy doing pretty much nothing. A considerable distance away from the Red Devils' first team, his outings this season have been limited to the Europa League, with even those few and far between.

A loan move to Estudiantes de La Plata failed to reignite his career, making just one lowly appearance before he returned to Old Trafford.

Danny Drinkwater (CM)

Danny Drinkwater
Danny Drinkwater living up to his name | Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £1,150,000

Astonishingly still on the books at Chelsea, the fairytale move to a 'bigger' club after a remarkable Premier League title has ended up as more of a horror story. Only difference being if the subject in said horror is earning wads of cash throughout.

Three years at the Blues have brought with them a miserable 23 outings, while loans to Burnley and Aston Villa have been equally dismal.

Julian Draxler (CM)

Julian Draxler
Julian Draxler cost PSG £32m when he joined from VfL Wolfsburg | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £500,000

For someone once billed as the best German talent around, Julian Draxler has done little since to live up to that title. With all of Europe chasing his signature he opted for PSG, and while he's made 93 outings between 2017 and 2019, this season he's been very much on the periphery.

In 2019/20, Drax made just 11 outings in Ligue 1 (totalling 685 minutes), in turn falling out of the football limelight to the point where you probably forgot he existed until I mentioned him just now.

Mesut Ozil (CM)

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil has not played a single minute for Arsenal since the Premier League resumed | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £900,000

Oh Mesut Ozil, what have you become?

He won't leave Arsenal, the club don't want him and it's now just simply a waiting game; one that will continue to cost the clubs millions for someone not even making the matchday squad. Talent is there, but we won't see it for another year. Unless you've got Fortnite, of course.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (RW)

Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi was on the cusp of joining Bayern Munich but later committed his long-term future to Chelsea | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £390,000

What has happened here? A rising star with one of the biggest clubs in Europe chasing his signature is now finding his place in Frank Lampard's side limited to substitute appearances against already relegated sides.

His new £120k-per-week deal was set to be the springboard for stardom, but injury and off-field issues have led to Lampard opting for a different look in attack for much of the campaign.

Still time to go, mind, so we can hope it's only a minor setback.

Gareth Bale (LW)

b11, Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale desperately searching for a first team appearance somewhere in his jersey | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £1,300,000

Ahh, here we are, the crème de la crème of 'Players Who Are Costing Their Club Millions to Do Absolutely Nothing', Gareth Bale.

Now something of a pantomime villain in Spain, he's embraced his role with casual comedy and defensible detachment to the point where football becomes secondary.

With a deal that doesn't expire for another two years, we look set for countless more antics and Tweet-worthy gags that should be enough to write an entire book on. Show em' how it's done, Gareth.

Luka Jovic (ST)

Luka Jovic
Luka Jovic celebrating one of the few moments of joy he's had since joining Real | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Rough Cost in Wages Per Game This Season: £950,000

So much was expected of Luka Jovic when Madrid won the race - against basically the entirety of Europe - to lure him to Spain, but his short time at the club falls neatly into the 'flop' category.

Costing a substantial £53m and scoring just two goals hasn't helped his case, with the Serb now left to warm the bench behind star man Karim Benzema.

There must be light at the end of the tunnel for Jovic, but at present he's a nothing more than an innocent bystander.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!