Vincent Janssen and Ross Barkley have more in common than you would think as they face a return to life at Tottenham Hotspur and Everton outside the transfer window.
Both made brave decisions to reject moves to others sides on deadline day from their respective clubs during a season when they would have had ambitions to play in a World Cup at its end.
Barkley at least had his injury to factor into his decision-making as well as the fact that his contract will be at its end next summer, giving him all of the power.
For Janssen, snubbing a permanent move to Brighton – with Dutch media claiming the 23-year-old rejected moves to other clubs during the window, makes less sense.
There’s one argument that his decision was admirable and that he wants to fight for his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s thoughts at Tottenham.
However, days later the news that he had been left out of Spurs‘ Champions League squad, as the manager wrestled with the homegrown quota required, made it very clear that the Netherlands international had made the wrong decision.
Most fans stuck with Janssen during his struggles in front of goal in his debut season, just six goals in all competitions and only two of those from open play.
His hold-up play impressed and he showed he could deal with the physical elements of the Premier League but if a striker can’t score he’s simply not seen to be doing his job, even if he’s adjusting to a new league, country and culture.
Pochettino soon lost trust in the player, criticising his training and match displays before Christmas and the Dutchman picked up an ankle injury which prevented him from getting game time during the manic festive period.
When he returned, he was given mere minutes and sometimes simply added time at the end of matches to make an impact if at all.
Despite a bright pre-season, the new Premier League campaign has started no differently for Janssen, with the manager even using central defender Toby Alderweireld up front as Spurs tried to find a winner against Burnley rather than turn to the Dutchman on the bench.
That should have told Janssen everything, yet he’s still at Tottenham.
That’s despite the club signing a proven Premier League goalscorer in World Cup winner Fernando Llorente, who will now be the second choice to Harry Kane and a player that Pochettino will have no hesitation in breaking with tradition to play with two up front occasionally, a luxury rarely offered to Janssen.
With Heung-Min Son also preferred as a striker, that means Janssen is now fourth in the pecking order – fifth if you want to throw in Alderweireld as Pochettino did.
Janssen needs a miracle now – either a stunning performance in the Carabao Cup if he’s picked or an injury crisis of the highest order.
If not, with that World Cup on the horizon, January must surely provide an exit door and this time the Dutchman is going to have to take it.