Rabu, 22 Jun 2011

Ten Players Who Need To Move

10) Paul Konchesky (Liverpool)
Unfortunately for a decent if unspectacular left-back, he has become the symbol for everything that was bad about the Liverpool reign of Roy Hodgson. Never mind that he cost a relative pittance (a tenth of an Andy Carroll), he was never going to be considered good enough for the Reds faithful and his confidence must have taken one hell of a battering. Escape came with a successful loan spell at Nottingham Forest but Konchesky needs to scale the fence once again - before the return to Merseyside for pre-season training at Melwood knocks him down again. Hopefully, Konchesky will find his level once again at West Brom or Fulham and forget a nightmare spell that was doomed from the outset. 

9) Nedum Onuoha (Manchester City)
According to recent reports, Onuoha will snub a £6m move to Sunderland this summer because he wants one more crack at making the grade at Manchester City. You can't help thinking it's about time he took the hint. Sent out on loan because he was behind Micah Richards, Jerome Boateng and Pablo Zabaleta at right-back and also behind Kolo Toure, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Dedryck Boyata at centre-half last season, what are the chances that he will get more football with City set to strengthen again ahead of their maiden Champions League campaign? The worst-case scenario? He stays at City and finds himself outside of City's 25-man Premier League squad. And he's far, far better than that. 

8) Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham)
When Daniel Levy talks of slimming down the Tottenham squad he's looking squarely at the likes of Jenas along with Robbie Keane, David Bentley and other players left behind by a Spurs side chasing Champions League places. Jenas simply isn't top-six material and at 28, he should be looking towards a club that would give him 30-plus Premier League starts a season. A victim of Luka Modric spectacularly finding his feet in central midfield, Jenas has become nothing more than a fall-back option across the midfield. It's difficult to believe he last started for England only 18 months ago. He may never reach those dizzy heights again but a club like Fulham could give him the chance to become a bona-fide Premier League footballer once more. 

7) Shay Given (Manchester City)
When you come to the end of a season, do the maths, and you've played more than twice as many games for your country as your club, it should be time to move on. Given is not the world-class goalkeeper that our Irish readers would have us believe, but he is far too talented to be sat on a bench at the age of 35. Given can probably perform at the highest level for another two-three years - and by 'highest level' we don't mean semi-retirement at Celtic - and we have a sneaky suspicion he may live to regret not making the leap if Aston Villa or West Brom come calling. The wages may be lower but at least he'll get to use his gloves between international commitments. 

6) Darron Gibson (Manchester United)
When you're so unpopular with your own club's fans that you last less than three hours on Twitter before quitting in the face of torrential abuse, perhaps it's time to move on. Gibson has been told by national team manager Giovanni Trapattoni that he has to be playing regular first-team football to secure a starting spot with Ireland. If that wasn't hint enough, Manchester United did not hesitate to accept the combined £12m bid from Sunderland for him, John O'Shea and Wes Brown earlier this month. To be fair to Gibson, it seems that another stop-start campaign of bench-sitting and Carling Cup football has taken its toll and it looks very likely that he will be firing a steady stream of 20-yard shots into the Stadium of Light crowd next season. 

5) Joe Cole (Liverpool)
Earning £90,000 a week for doing very little sounds rather marvellous, but earning £90,000 a week for doing very little while the world thinks you're a money-grabbing has-been cannot be too comfortable for Joe Cole, whose childhood dreams probably involved actually playing football for his mammoth wages. At 29, Cole should be at his footballing peak but instead he's watching Kenny Dalglish build a new Liverpool side in which he will play nothing but a cameo role. Injuries permitting. He could carry on picking up his wages at Liverpool while playing the odd cup game, or he could do himself and his club a massive favour by taking lower wages with a club willing to build a team around one of England's most mercurial talents of recent times. Wouldn't the latter make a refreshing change? 

4) Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)
When Tottenham pulled off the quite considerable coup of signing Rafael van der Vaart in the final hours of last summer's transfer window, Defoe was probably as chuffed as everyone else associated with the club. What he didn't realise is that the Dutchman would flourish in a free role behind Peter Crouch and that Defoe - formerly Crouch's natural partner - would become almost surplus to requirements. Last season his goals came against less-than-stellar opposition in FC Twente Enschede, Young Boys, Charlton, Wolves, West Brom and Blackpool and he largely missed out on Tottenham's great European adventure. Defoe talks of sticking around to become a Spurs legend but so far, sticking around has seen him drop out of the England reckoning behind Andy Carroll and Darren Bent, while the true love of Spurs fans still escapes him. Time to go? 

3) Jonny Evans (Manchester United)
Being fourth-choice centre-half at Manchester United - and winning a Premier League winner's medal - may well have been enough for Jonny Evans last season. But being a distant fifth-choice centre-half when the third and fourth picks are young, English and already forming a partnership at international level, should not be enough for Jonny Evans next season. The Northern Irishman has gone backwards and the £16m-plus purchase of Phil Jones was a clear message from Sir Alex Ferguson that he does not see a long-term future at the club for Evans - not that there's any shame in not being quite good enough for the second-best team in Europe. Make for the door now and this time next year he could be Sunderland's reigning Player of the Season. 

2) Salomon Kalou (Chelsea)
"It's been difficult watching from the sidelines these past few weeks. If an opportunity doesn't come, that's when you sit down at the end of the season and think about it," said Chelsea's perennial substitute Salomon Kalou in March. As he went on to start five of the Blues' final 14 games of the season, we think it's safe to say that the opportunity never really came for Kalou. And this is by no means a new story. In five years at Stamford Bridge, Kalou has rarely been first choice for longer than five minutes and has been forced to play third, fourth or fifth fiddle even while Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres and Florent Malouda have been hitting bum notes. Last season he scored 13 goals - his highest tally in English football - and yet there's a very good chance he will drop even further down the pecking order after Chelsea's summer transfer business. You may laugh but a fair few clubs across Europe would gladly stump up £12m for the Ivory Coast man - perhaps it's time to start dropping a few more hints and nudging one or two into action, fella. 

1) Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal)
"I can promise that there won't be another season like this one. I have decided 100 per cent that I must leave Arsenal," said Bendtner after starting just three Premier League games in an Arsenal shirt during a season he will be keen to forget. It's little wonder that he fluffed the chance that would have given the Gunners a bizarre and undeserved Champions League victory over Barcelona - he could barely remember how to play football. Bendtner may not be half as good as he believes, but he's an awful lot better than being stuck in Arsene Wenger's Carling Cup side at the age of 23. We have an inkling that in five years' time he might be worth rather more than the £12m he will cost this summer. 

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