With Manchester City announcing that they hope to trim their squad in January the image of TK Max style shop of footballers springs to mind. Man City’s wage bill for last season was £174m – the highest in the league and £21m more than their total turnover. High profile players such as Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez are the obvious players for sale but there are other players who could be attracting equal amounts of interest, and rightly so. There haven’t been many other opportunities where such a vast array of talented players are up for sale and what will probably be quite reasonable cost, and I don’t really see it happening again. With that in mind here is a look at the five best players who could be on offer come January.
Not much needs to be said about the Togolese striker. With a proven track record at Monaco, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Spurs the powerful forward will be attracting interest further a field than just north London. With 68 goals in 149 games whilst in England Adebayor has proved he can play at every level. Physically dominant with brilliant passing, touch and the ability to hold up the ball the former Gunner can play up front on his own or as part of a pair. His wages, reported to be around £160,000 per week, are the obvious stumbling block but money but the money saved on his transfer fee could go some way to solving that problem. His inconsistency in front of goal is many people’s criticism of him but with seven goals in ten games at Spurs the Togo forward is out to prove people wrong once again. His future may not be decided in January but by the start of next season it appears unlikely that he will be on City’s books.
The other obvious option, but obvious because he’s one of the best players in the world. Despite Mancini’s outrageous claims that he won’t be sold for less than the €50m asking price I think we all know he would be sold for about half of that. It’s not in City’s interest to hold out for too much money because every extra month they keep him they have to shell out an extra £1m in wages. With most of the teams linked with the Argentine only willing to take the striker on loan a fee representing just over half of the asking price might be enough to persuade City to sell. And at that price you would still have to consider the striker a bit of a bargain. He has been prolific at every club he has ever played for and offers far more than just goals. On top of that Tevez is approaching his peak years and providing he is mentally stable and happy he would be an excellent buy for any club that could negotiate his wages down.
I feel slightly sorry for Toure. His claims that he was forced out of Arsenal by Gallas meant that he couldn’t end his career at the club he wanted to. Playing alongside his brother was the only real attraction for Kolo and since his unfortunate incidents with his wife’s diet pills the Ivorian has lost his place in the team to Lescott. However Toure always was and always will be an excellent defender capable of playing either in the centre or on the right if necessary. Kolo has won the Premier League, making up part of Arsenal’s ‘invincible’ defence, and won the FA Cup twice. He also has huge amounts of Champions League experience and could well be available for a knock down price considering that City recently bought Savic as back up for the first team. Toure’s wages do not match the amount of game time he gets and City will be eager to move him on. Possible destinations include Paris St-Germain.
Roque Santa Cruz
Currently on loan with Real Betis Santa Cruz is another player whose time in Manchester has been slightly unfortunate. After a great spell at Blackburn where he rediscovered his form and When Mark Hughes moved to City he brought Roque with him. However since Hughes’ departure the Paraguayan has seen almost no playing time whatsoever, and with Aguero, Balotelli, Dzeko and Tevez all at the club this doesn’t look likely to change. However, just because he isn’t good enough for City it doesn’t mean he won’t be good enough for other managers who may still be able to get the best out of him. He is only just 30 and with the right team there are still a few years to be had out of the striker yet.
Whilst Onouha will never be lighting up the world stage he is a useful defender who can play either at centre back or right back and for a lot of teams in the Premier League he will be an attractive option. City have pretty much said that he doesn’t have a future at the club but having only just turned 25 the Nigerian born former England U21 international still has by far his best years ahead of him. Again with City’s main objective of slashing their wage bills it seems unlikely that the defender will be sold for an unreasonable price.
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