West Ham midfielder Scott Parker’s outstanding season has recently been crowned by winning the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award. With West Ham now relegated, Parker becomes the first player to win the award and get relegated in the same season. Having admitted he wants to continue playing football in the Premier League, the midfielder looks set to leave Upton Park this summer if the Hammers are relegated. But, having been a transfer target of several Premier League clubs in the previous two transfer windows, where would be the best club for the Englishman to move to?
Ex-West Ham boss Harry Redknapp was very keen to take Parker to Tottenham last summer. Despite his best efforts, Tottenham’s bids were rejected and Parker instead signed a lucrative contract extension at Upton Park. But, after a disappointing end to their season, would Spurs still be keen on the player this summer?
Admittedly he would be a great addition to a midfield that has lacked tenacity this season. However, Tottenham would have to change their playing style to accommodate Parker and, with the likes of Wilson Palacios, Jermaine Jenas and Tom Huddlestone already there and with the Brazilian Sandro having found form of late, surely the money could be better used to strengthen the team elsewhere on the pitch.
At a similar time, Aston Villa were linked with the player. Having had an indifferent season themselves he would do well to add some steel to their midfield. But, they spent big in January with the signings of Darren Bent and Jean Makoun and their biggest transfer issue this summer looks set to be keeping hold of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. More importantly, the club need to decide first whether they stick with Gerrard Houllier as their manager following his ill health and poor form on the pitch or look for a new manager.
Liverpool were linked with the player in January along with Mark van Bommel as they continued the search to add a midfield enforcer to their squad in place of Javier Mascherano. But, this was before Kenny Dalglish’s re-appointment as manager and the team have since found form with Lucas Leiva sitting in front of the defence.
The latest club rumoured to be interested in Parker’s signature is Manchester City. But where exactly would he fit in with Roberto Mancini’s plans? The Citizens are going to look to expand their squad as they prepare for the challenge of next season’s Champions League. But with the likes of Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry, Patrick Vieira and even Yaya Toure already on board, he would be far from first choice. Admittedly he could earn a huge pay rise and have the opportunity to play in Europe, but this was the also the case when he moved to Chelsea and, having wasted a year and a half at Stamford Bridge, he will surely have learnt his lesson.
Whilst there will undoubtedly be some big clubs after Parker this summer, it is important for the midfielder to remember why he has performed so well this season. A tenacious competitor who leads by example, he has galvanised a struggling West Ham side over the past two seasons. But, Parker is a player who relishes a fight and is perhaps best suited to the challenge of playing in a struggling team. Whether his inspirational energy destructive performances would be as well suited to a side playing a more continental style of football remains to be seen. However, if Parker hopes to continue his current form and add to his five England caps then he must look to stay in the top tier of English football.
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