Supporters are rarely keen to see their players angling for a move away through the odd subtle comment or use of a dubious agent. Yet for some it is the only viable way to return to regular first team football once more. The 25-man squad rules failed to throw up any prominent casualties but below are ten Premier League players who will see more of the bench than the pitch this season.
This Scottish international has found himself out of contention at White Hart Lane. The former Rangers man who cost the club £9 million is still eager to prove himself in the PL. In the absence of first team football and Vedran Corluka’s form, he was loaned to Sunderland for the second half of last season.
Hutton’s former team-mate at the Stadium of Light, Ferdinand is another defender weighing up his future. The ex-Hammer cost Sunderland £8 million in 2008 and has attracted interest from Sicilian club Palermo. The recruitment of Titus Bramble, John Mensah, Paolo da Silva and Nedum Onuoha mean his chances under Steve Bruce will be limited further this year.
Manchester City’s undisputed No1 is now the club’s No2 after the return of Joe Hart from a season long loan at Birmingham. The young England keeper is in imperious form and is clearly enjoying his game. Few believe that Given will be able to reclaim that coveted place in the team. The thoroughly respected Irishman will attract interest again in January.
“Only once in my life have I felt like I needed a psychiatrist … I was looking at Yuri Zhirkov and all I could see was a rib-eye steak,” writes Carlo Ancelotti in his autobiography. Knowing that nugget of information, Zhirkov may be forced to seek a move away from west London. The left-sided player joined from CSKA Moscow for £18 million last summer but has not become a regular at the Bridge. With Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole in front of him that task will not get any easier.
Marooned in a helicopter on transfer deadline day, Babel has since denied he was looking for a way out of Anfield. He has struggled to hold down a starting place since arriving there in 2007. His talent is evident but less so is his optimum playing position. Recently deployed as a lone striker against Trabzonspor, taking advantage of injuries and obscure European ties will be his best hope of gaining favour at Liverpool.
The Brazilian has been out of the United squad since suffering a knee injury against West Ham in January. The midfielder was additionally involved in a car crash in Portugal during the summer. His manager has warned him of the need to mature if he is to realise his full potential at Old Trafford. Signed for £18 million, the sizeable task ahead of Anderson is to reclaim his midfield spot and justify that bulky price tag.
Roque Santa Cruz
Hotly tipped to be leaving Manchester City or even fail to make their PL squad was Santa Cruz. The Paraguayan is still at Eastlands but remains enthusiastic about a loan switch to Lazio, saying he has always dreamt of playing in Rome. Maybe Roberto Mancini does not wish to burden his former club with this once prolific but injury prone striker.
Only £5 million would have taken Yakubu to Upton Park this summer but the London club’s debt prevented this. The Nigerian forward who missed a gilt edged chance against South Korea at the World Cup, has not returned to his former self since rupturing his Achilles in November 2008. In his inaugural season at Goodison he was the first Everton player since Peter Beardsley in 1992 to score more than 20 goals in a campaign. Jermaine Beckford and Louis Saha are currently preferred by David Moyes.
The former West Ham captain was once an overwhelmingly likely candidate to be an England mainstay. The combative, defensive midfielder has regressed since joining Aston Villa. His career there has been hampered by the form of Stylian Petrov but training ground bust-ups with former manager, Martin O’Neill did not help. The £8.5 million signing now has a golden opportunity to impress a new Villa boss.
This burly striker was thought to be leaving Ewood Park this summer. The club had eagerly lined up Gaziantepspor forward Ivelin Popov in anticipation of his exit. No interest was forthcoming but Sam Allardyce has told the player he will still get games. Expect his chances to be restricted by Mame Diouf, El Hadji Diouf, Junior Hoilett and Niko Kalinic.