10 Premier League players who should have left their clubs
Transfer Deadline Day has passed, and it was a day filled with all sorts of emotions such as excitement, frustration and surprise. Mesut Ozil and Mamadou Sakho were two of the biggest names to arrive in the Premier League on Monday, whilst Gareth Barry and Marouane Fellaini were amongst the big-name movers from one Premier League side to another. Whilst these players all managed to complete moves, there were several other players such as Demba Ba and Shane Long who were on the verge of potential switches that failed to materialise. The transfer window is now shut until January 1st, but here are ten Premier League players that should have looked at potentially moving on to a new club either on loan or permanently yesterday when they had the chance.
One surprising thing about Luciano Becchio is that despite only joining Norwich City back in January, he is the club’s longest serving striker. Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson, Chris Martin and James Vaughan were there before him, but they all left this summer and were replaced by Johan Elmander, Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Since signing from Leeds United at the start of the year, Becchio has been unable to cement himself a starting spot up front as Holt was Chris Hughton’s preferred choice for the lone striker role last season, and van Wolfswinkel has been his preference this season. So far, Becchio has managed nine appearances for Norwich since joining, and only two of those have been starts.
After Elmander was given the nod ahead of Becchio for Norwich’s 6-3 Capital One Cup victory over Bury last week, the 29-year-old Argentine was rumoured to be near the end of his relatively short stay at Carrow Road, with a move back to The Championship considered the most likely option. No official moves were made though, and Becchio remains a part of Norwich’s Premier League squad, but as the fourth choice striker in a team that plays a 4-5-1 formation, it’s hard to see him staying at the club beyond the next transfer window in January.
Sunderland were one of the busier sides on Deadline Day, tying up deals for Fabio Borini and Andrea Dossena whilst allowing Stephane Sessegnon to depart, but one player who had been expected to follow Sessegnon out the exit door but didn’t was former captain Lee Cattermole. The midfielder hasn’t featured for the club since February due to a knee injury, but Paolo Di Canio made it pretty obvious that the 25-year-olds future was in jeopardy earlier in the summer when he stripped him of the club captaincy and his number 6 shirt.
As well as off the pitch problems in the past, Cattermole has built up a reputation on the pitch as a tough tackling midfielder, which has earned him a total of seven red cards throughout his career. Despite not getting a chance to see him play since taking over at the Stadium of Light at the end of March, Di Canio doesn’t seem to fancy taking a chance on him. The Italian has signed three new central midfielders for the club this summer, and it seems that Cattermole’s only chance of getting back into the Sunderland team at the moment is if there is a major injury crisis. The former England Under-21 International will now likely spend most of his time with the Sunderland youth squad until the time comes for the chance to move and make a fresh start.
Despite being a regular in the Southampton team last season, the addition of Victor Wanyama from Celtic this summer is likely to keep Jack Cork frustrated on the sidelines for the majority of Southampton’s season. The 24-year-old had been linked with a move away from St Mary’s yesterday, with Fulham a rumoured destination, but no moves materialised for him. Signed from Chelsea for an undisclosed fee in 2011, Cork featured in all of Saints league games as they secured promotion to the Premier League, and his performances also earned him a call-up to Great Britain’s football team that competed at the 2012 London Olympics.
Cork featured heavily in midfield with the likes of Steven Davies, Morgan Schneiderlin and James Ward-Prowse last season, but the arrival of Wanyama means that one of last year’s regulars is bound to feature less this time around. Schneiderlin was the club’s Player of the Year last season, whilst Davies has plenty of experience at this level and Ward-Prowse looks a very exciting prospect. Cork is still a good player too, but if the first few matches are anything to go by, he could have to make do without a chance of playing often for the first-half of the season until the opportunity to potentially move in January comes along.
After missing all of Arsenal’s pre-season preparations through injury, Emmanuel Frimpong was surprisingly named on the substitutes’ bench for the club’s opening competitive matches of the season. The midfielder was unused in all of the matches in question, but after Mathieu Flamini’s return to the club last week, the Frenchman was named on the bench against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday instead of Frimpong, which led to talk of a potential move away from the Emirates for the youngster.
The Gunners have let a lot of players leave this summer, but there were no more departures yesterday. Frimpong looks to have a decent future in the game, but is believed to have only a year left to run on his Arsenal contract and finds himself far down the central midfield pecking order at The Emirates stadium this season. Fulham were rumoured to have an interest in making a permanent transfer offer for the player after he spent time on loan at Craven Cottage last season, but nothing came of this, and for now, Frimpong will remain with Arsenal and likely come in if there is an injury crisis in midfield.
Almost five years ago, Shay Given was a new signing at a Manchester City side that was looking to establish itself as one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, today, he finds himself as the third choice goalkeeper at an Aston Villa side that narrowly avoided relegation to The Championship last season. Whilst it isn’t the worst fall from grace in history, it’s done no favours for the man considered one of the best Premier League goalkeepers of all time.
This summer, Paul Lambert was quick to pick out which players at Aston Villa he felt had run their course at the club, and 37-year-old Shay Given was one of the unfortunate ones to be told that he was not needed at Villa Park anymore. Brad Guzan is the first choice goalkeeper for the club, and now 20-year-old Jed Steer has taken the backup spot that the man capped 125 times for his country occupied last season. Unable to secure himself a move away yesterday, he will stay at the club and cover for any injuries if needed until the chance to move elsewhere for first-team football comes along.
Since joining Tottenham in 2008, Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has made a number of high profile errors whilst playing for the club. Despite still being under contract at White Hart Lane, it seems that the only chance the 32-year-old has of playing for the first-team again is if current first choice and backup Hugo Lloris and Brad Friedel pick up injures.
Gomes spent last season on loan at German side 1899 Hoffenheim, and many didn’t think he’d return to Tottenham after the loan deal ended, but lo and behold, he found himself part of the team’s pre-season preparations and even featured in some of their friendly matches. But despite this, he doesn’t appear to be trusted when it comes to competitive matches, and unless another club does want to take a chance on him when the transfer window reopens in January, he will likely remain a Spurs player until the end of his current contract.
Many forget that John Heitinga played in the 2010 World Cup Final for Holland, but it is probably something he often wishes to forget too, as during the game he picked up a red card for a foul on Andres Iniesta, who then went on to score the only goal for Spain in their 1-0 victory. Heitinga has not featured for his country since October of last year after struggling to hold down a starting place in Everton’s central defence last season.
Ex-manager David Moyes favoured Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka as The Toffees centre-half pairing last year, and so far new boss Roberto Martinez has opted for the same partnership. Heitinga rejected the offer of a contract extension at Goodison Park this summer as his future appeared unclear, but despite the signing of Antolin Alcaraz for extra competition, Heitinga still remains at the club for the time being. One thing is for certain though, if Heitinga doesn’t get enough first-team football this season, there will be little to no chance of him making Holland’s potential 2014 World Cup squad next year, and as such, no opportunity to erase any bad memories of the previous tournament.
Last season was one in particular for Martin Kelly to forget. Not only did his Liverpool side fail to qualify for one of this seasons European competitions, but he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament last September and missed the rest of the campaign as a result. The defender has now recovered though, and was named on the bench for his team’s 1-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
Capable of playing on either the right-hand side or in the centre, Kelly’s chances of playing in the latter position this season are slim to none, especially after the additions of Sakho and Tiago Ilori yesterday. There is also still competition for the right-back position with Glen Johnson still the first choice for that position despite a recent injury. Kelly will battle it out with Jon Flanagan and Andre Wisdom for that place if Johnson isn’t fit for the club’s next game against Swansea on September 16th. Should Johnson return quickly, games could be few and far between for Kelly this season, especially with the lack of European matches, meaning that a move away from the club to get game time and a return in sharpness wouldn’t have necessarily been a bad idea, but Brendan Rodgers has decided to keep him at Anfield for the coming months at least.
Newcastle United had been expected to bring in at least a couple of new faces on Transfer Deadline Day, but there was no transfer activity of any kind to report from St James Park yesterday much to the frustration of supporters. Manager Alan Pardew claimed “financial constraints” stopped any new arrivals, but many will believe this could have been resolved if the club had moved to try and get rid of players that are surplus to requirements, such as Gabriel Obertan.
French winger Obertan joined Newcastle from Manchester United in 2011 after an incredibly underwhelming two-year spell at Old Trafford. His time on Tyneside has gone along similar lines as well, with the only difference being that he’s managed far more appearances for The Magpies. Championship side Nottingham Forest were rumoured to be looking at the 24-year-old with a potential loan move in mind, but nothing came of it. Obertan will now stay with Newcastle for the time being, but after not even making the substitutes’ bench in the club’s 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over Morecambe last week, the only chance he’ll get to play this season it seems will likely be when no other wide men are available due to injury or suspension.
Ian Holloway made it more than abundantly clear in recent weeks that he wanted to strengthen his Crystal Palace side, and he managed to do just that yesterday by bringing in five new players, making his club one of the most active on Deadline Day. Whilst it’s all very well having a large volume of players in your squad, it won’t mean anything unless they all have the qualities to help keep the team in the league. That is why when the club signed Cameron Jerome yesterday, they should have been looking to move Aaron Wilbraham on to a new club.
While Jerome might not be the greatest striker to grace Premier League pitches, he’s proven in the past that he can score goals at this level. Wilbraham scored once in the Premier League for Norwich City when he was part of their squad two seasons ago, but achieved the exact same tally for Crystal Palace in the Championship last year. The Eagles desperately need goals this season to be in with a chance of staying up, and in Wilbraham, all they get is a big man that plays up front, but possesses no end product. With Chamakh, Gayle, Jerome, Murray and Phillips all striking options at Selhurst Park this season, Wilbraham’s playing time is likely to be reduced considerably, but if any of those strikers mentioned picks up a serious injury, supporters won’t be filled with confidence if the club are struggling for points and Wilbraham is their next best striking option.