Premier League: Top 10 Players Who Need to Move Clubs in January
A change of scenery can work wonders for a footballer—it can revitalise one's career and provide a fresh impetus needed after a previous period of stagnation.
The Premier League is full of talented individuals who no doubt feel like they're getting a square deal at their current club.
Here are the 10 best examples of this, ranked in order of how desperately each player is in need of a transfer.
10. Marouane Chamakh
I remember Marouane Chamakh's barnstorming performances for Bordeaux in the 2009-10 Champions League tournament and thinking here was a player of some talent.
When Arsenal secured his services on a free transfer at the end of that season, it had seemed like the Gunners had pulled off a coup, signing a striker to provide a real foil for the smaller, more agile players in the squad.
But Chamakh has never settled in North London—sad, really, because he is a footballer of genuine quality who seemed overawed by the bright lights of the Emirates and the stern gaze of Arsene Wenger.
His ability in the air could not have diminished during his long periods of reflection on the bench last season, and he could very well come in handy for another club in Europe.
Just one without the pressures and expectations of Arsenal, that is.
Manchester United fans' love/hate relationship with Nani seems well and truly in the hate phase at the moment, and not without good reason.
The mercurial winger has not looked up to the task this season when featured, disappointing even when given opportunities on his favoured right flank.
His skill and acceleration has never been in doubt; it's his decision-making abilities that perplex those who remember the game-changing player of only a few years ago. He who once collected the club's prestigious Player's Player of the Year Award.
If a decent bid arrives in Sir Alex Ferguson's lap in January, I'm sure he will not hesitate in pulling the trigger.
A pity, because Nani so often seemed poised for greatness, only for an injury, an act of stupidity or a sudden loss of form to get in the way.
8. Michel Vorm
Unlike most of the other footballers on this list, Michel Vorm is not an inclusion due to lack of playing time at his current club. He is well deserving of a move to one of Europe's elite.
Forget their excellent start to the season, Swansea City are a club in real turmoil at present, as news of a behind-the-scenes rebellion dominates the back pages in Wales (via ESPN).
A pity considering their blistering start to the current campaign, as Michael Laudrup oversaw periods of quite outstanding passing football prompted by the likes of Leon Britton and Nathan Dyer.
But the optimism has quickly dissipated as the Swans have had to increasingly rely upon the shot-stopping abilities of Vorm to keep them in games.
It may seem premature to suggest this, but Swansea may just be a team in danger of relegation this season. If this is the case, Vorm must abandon ship before he risks tarnishing his reputation by association.
7. Florent Malouda
Florent Malouda is a player who, unfortunately, doesn't quite seem to fit into Roberto Di Matteo's youth-driven, new-look Chelsea side.
At 32 years of age, his time in West London has passed, and unless he simply wants to turn up to training five mornings a week, collecting paycheck after paycheck without seeing decent minutes in any important games, he must hand in his transfer request this winter.
A key player the last time the Blues won the Premier League, Malouda's impact at the club will not be forgotten any time soon. If he wants to build his legacy rather than rest on it, though, a move, most likely abroad, must happen soon.
6. Sylvain Marveaux
Injury has plagued Sylvain Marveaux in recent seasons, preventing him from making the impact many tipped him capable of early in his career.
The French winger was fantastic for Rennes the one season he played fully fit, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.
But a move to the Premier League to Newcastle has not worked out for him in the slightest, and the fact that Liverpool once came close to signing him can only mean that the Anfield faithful now breathe a sigh of relief that the transfer never came to fruition.
Now fit and keen to re-establish his name, a change of clubs seems the best option for Marveaux.
5. John Guidetti
John Guidetti is far too talented and bright a prospect to toil in Manchester City's reserves for the season.
The Swedish striker scored an astonishing 20 goals in 23 Eredivisie appearances for Feyenoord whilst on loan last campaign, capturing the attention of many a scout for his domineering performances in attack.
Now back in Manchester and unlikely to get a Premier League game ahead of the likes of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko or Mario Balotelli, City run the risk of letting the momentum Guidetti has built up go soft.
Whether they decide to sell him for a high price or, preferably, loan him out again, a decision on his future needs to be made as soon as possible.
A young player like Guidetti needs plenty of first-team football at this point in his fledgling career.
4. Andrei Arshavin
Despite sporadic spells of quality, Andrei Arshavin's move to Arsenal has never really looked like a good bet, and to be honest, I'm surprised he's still on the club's books.
Having spent a short stint on loan at Russian side Zenit earlier this year, it seemed like a permanent move back to his home nation was an inevitability.
But alas, his exorbitant wages remain on Arsenal's books, as does his lackadaisical attitude to the game.
The 31-year-old may now be a little over the hill, but a decent showing at the Euros proved he's not completely washed up. He could still be of use to a team in need of his services.
3. Darren Bent
Let me preface this brief blurb by saying that Darren Bent, at no point in his career, was ever worth £24 million. Not even close.
If it weren't for some bigger sums being paid for the services of the likes of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll in recent years, Bent's transfer would surely rank as one of the most inflated in the history of strikers moving clubs.
He is, at best, a top-class poacher with a happy knack of often being in the right place at the right time.
His speed is often exaggerated, his attitude questionable, his work rate (despite the sweat dripping from his shirt in the picture) is poor at best and his finishing overrated.
That being said, he scores goals. His career strike rate in the Premier League is a tad under a goal every two games, which isn't completely terrible.
But the future of Aston Villa seems to lie primarily in the hands of new signing Christian Benteke, leaving Bent's position at the club rather marginalised.
A move away from the Midlands needs to happen sooner rather than later because even though he is still only 28 years old, he seems a very old and sluggish 28.
2. Kenwyne Jones
There was a brief period of time, not long after he made the move from Sunderland to Stoke City, that Kenwyne Jones was considered one of the elite big-man strikers in Britain.
But he has struggled under the unsympathetic, hard-nosed Tony Pulis, scoring only a single league goal last season for the Potters.
At 28 years of age, he is a player supposedly in his peak, but opportunities at Stoke remain at a premium.
Given a choice, if I were an EPL manager, I'd sign Jones any day of the week before Bent, despite his poor recent record.
With his price sure to be reduced from the £8 million paid for him in 2010, a real bargain could be had in the January transfer window if the right bidder comes along.
1. Stewart Downing
Now a bit of a laughing stock for his failures at Liverpool, Stewart Downing's reputation seems to decrease with every passing week he spends at Anfield.
His relationship with Liverpool has just never looked like working out, most likely because he never looked capable of coping with the pressure that playing for the famous club brings.
Downing's tale is one as disappointing as it is inexplicable—the £20 million paid for him may have looked slightly inflated at the time, but he was a player of genuine quality at Villa and looked set for stardom at 'Pool.
Now playing under new boss Brendan Rodgers, Downing's style of football is far from being suited to the quick passing game now implemented, signalling his days at the club being unquestionably numbered.
But although Liverpool will struggle to recoup half of what they paid for him, Downing should be a player that many of the league's midtable clubs would welcome the opportunity to sign come January.
The long road to redemption will then start for a player once considered one of England's most promising young wingers.
Which other players could use a change of scenery in January? Are any of the inclusions here unfair?