25 April, 2008

Going Down? Give Us Your Players then!

As the season draws to a close, several promotions and relegations throughout the four leagues have already been decided, so it’s time to start looking ahead to next season’s Premier League in some ways. How will the dynamic change without Derby, Fulham, and say Birmingham, and potentially with West Brom, Stoke City and Hull? What’s always funny at this time of year is the way that players who previously pledged their full commitment to a club suddenly bolt faster than women and children off the Titanic as soon as the drop is confirmed. Prestigious and big-name signings drafted in for that final push for safety, all of a sudden start looking elsewhere, and let’s face it, where better for decent wages and the old big-fish-in-a-small-pond syndrome than the newly promoted sides? Here then is our guide for who to look out for (as well as their estimated price-tag) as the promoted Championship three suddenly find themselves covered in money, and faced with the daunting prospect of scoring past Petr Cech, and keeping Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring double figures.

Now there will always be players who bridge the gap between the two top leagues; guys like Robert Earnshaw and Kevin Phillips for example, who have been basically too good for the Championship, but just nowhere near good enough to really cut it in the Premier League, all their careers. As they look set to each swap places once again, with Derby certainly down and the Baggies all but certainly back up, we’ve decided to pick five players each from the other five teams, from which two will definitely be facing the exciting prospect of Swansea away next season. Not only will the three newly-promoted teams be vying to get their hands on some of these, but also established Premier League sides have courted the likes of Kevin Nolan for years, so should these teams suffer relegation, you can guarantee some of the big-boys will be casting their eyes on this shopping list too…

Derby:

Roy Carroll – solid keeper but given so little help this year at Pride Park that a move is surely on the cards (£2m)

Tyrone Mears – athletic young defender who has a big physical presence, and alongside a more experienced head, could well form a decent central partnership for someone (£1.5m)

Giles Barnes – exciting prospect who shone last year, attracting the attention of plenty of Premier League clubs. A season plagued with injury has done nothing but lower his stock, however the potential is definitely still there at only 19 years old (£3.5m)

Robbie Savage – now an experienced pro, Savage would be a valuable addition to most sides’ midfield, despite struggling for form at Derby. A big price-tag might put off the Premier League new boys though (£3m)

Kenny Miller – Proof that Scottish league success doesn’t translate into the Premier League, Miller has failed to really make an impact this year, but in a confident team he will almost certainly still get goals (£2.5m)

Fulham:

Brian McBride – the talismanic star at Craven Cottage, McBride is physical and passionate, always giving you 100% effort. His future has to be in doubt, but the chance of a big-money move back home Stateside might be more likely should Fulham go down (£5m)

Clint Dempsey – stepping into the breach in McBride’s absence this year, the man also known as Deuce is a grafter in every sense of the world, and a potentially great addition to any squad (£4m)

Eddie Johnson – the final part of the attacking American trio at Fulham, Johnson is young and raw but a confident runner and ball-carrier (£2m)

Jimmy Bullard – a class act on the pitch and top draw joker off it, Bullard would be a great coup for any promoted side with the likes of Pompey and Villa also keen. Injury problems however in the past might prevent any of the big boys risking his signature (£5m)

David Healy – lethal at International level but unable to hit water from a boat in the Premier League, under the right management Healy could still forge a career in the top flight (£2.5m)

Birmingham:

Sebastien Larson – former Arsenal trainee that was fantastic last season and in patches this season, but is perhaps a little lightweight for the highest level. An excellent young flare player though on his day (£3m)

James McFadden – David Moyes has already said he regrets selling the Scottish starlet, so don’t be surprised if a top-6 team picks up McFadden in the closed season should the Blues drop (£8m)

Mikael Forsell – Used sparingly this season but has still continued to deliver at St Andrews when called upon after years bench-warming at Stamford Bridge. Guaranteed goals if he stays fit and happy (£2.5m)

Radhi Jaidi – a hulking physical specimen who has impressed at the centre of Birmingham’s defence this year. Would be an experienced and commanding addition to any promoted side’s back-line (£3m)

Cameron Jerome – perhaps not as successful in the top flight as his early season form might’ve suggested, but Jerome is still an exciting prospect who’s capable of the match-winning spectacular (£3m)

Bolton:

Kevin Nolan – inspirational captain, often courted by Liverpool in the past, who will almost certainly move to a top-6 club if Bolton go down (£6m)

Gary Cahill – cracking young defender who has improved dramatically throughout the season; big, strong and reads the game like an old head (£4m)

Ivan Campo / Stelios Giannakopoulos – both bit-part players this season, but each have the experience to add both creativity and also some calm to a newly promoted midfield lacking top-flight history (free)

El-Hadji Diouff / Kevin Davies – Diouff is wanted by several other Premier League sides so I guess he’s worthy of mention, but for me Davies is the pick of the whole team for a newly promoted side looking to add graft, experience and gamesmanship to an attacking line (£5m/£2.5m)

Matty Taylor – a strange decision to move from Pompey all along, Taylor will definitely be looking to stay in the top flight if Bolton get relegated as he’s still young (£3.5m)

Reading:

Ivar Ingimarsson – a rock in the centre of defence that has protected keeper Marcus Hahemann almost single-handedly at times this year (£3m)

Stephen Hunt – the tricky Irishman has had an impressive couple of years, and while he’s struggled to have the impact of last season, would still be a decent buy for almost anyone in the top flight (£5.5m)

Dave Kitson – the gentle ginger giant has been consistently good this season, but with Reading as a whole failing to score many goals, Kitson’s tally perhaps doesn’t reflect his work ethic and ability (£4.5m)

Kevin Doyle – after last season’s incredible haul Doyle was always going to be hard-pushed to match it this season. Injuries clearly haven’t helped matters, but given a good run in a side again next year you can guarantee the goals will come back (£5m)

James Harper – has made impressive progress this year in a somewhat flat Reading midfield who severely missed Sidwell pulling the strings. Also loves to get forward, and has chipped in with some vital goals for the Royals (£3m)

Wigan:

Chris Kirkland – a keeper for the future a couple of years ago, but a serious knee injury halted his career from reaching the highest levels and maybe even International caps. Still a superb shot-stopper though (£4m)

Emile Heskey – knows the league and will always do a job (£2m)

Wilson Palacios – highly-rated South American who has the pace and the trickery to play for almost anyone in the league (£5m)

Antonio Valancia – alongside Palacios, the strongest stock Wigan have to trade off should they go down; Liverpool and Manchester United are supposedly interested in the young pair (£5m)

Paul Scharner – the team’s unsung hero for the last two years, Scharner is as versatile as he is underrated (£2.5m)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

What exactly is going on in that Reading picture?

chalovesmonkeys said...

Simulated sexy business, with Kingsley the Lion.

I'm sure you approve. We certainly do!

Sadly, Kingsley will not be available to buy if Reading get relegated. Shame.

La Liga Review said...

Interesting that you mention Wilson Palacios - there are a few clubs in Spain who have been monitoring him. Has he looked good for Wigan? I enquired about him to a Liverpool supporting mate the other day and he'd never even heard of him.I think he may be one of those players that if he played for a more fashionable club he'd be a bit of a star.

Even Manyoo are interested I hear.

STT HQ said...

i have been very impressed with Palacios yeah. confident ball carrier and great passer, am definitely interested to see how he'd fare in a better team...as a replacement for say Pennant at Liverpool i think he could be ace next season

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