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Top 30 Players Who Will Be Looking for Transfers at the End of the Season

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentJanuary 14, 2013

Top 30 Players Who Will Be Looking for Transfers at the End of the Season

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    Here are 30 top footballers who will be looking for transfers to other clubs at the end of the season.

    The list only comprises players I’ve seen, which enables me to provide some insight worth reading.

    The likes of Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United may sign him and loan him back to Crystal Palace, according to skysports.com), Tom Ince (son of Paul; current Blackpool player), Will Hughes (Derby County prodigy) and others may end up transferring this summer, but I haven’t watched these players enough to form any analytical opinions.

    This list isn't exhaustive, so feel free to comment below with your suggestions.

30. Tom Rogić, AM, Central Coast Mariners

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    UPDATE: January, 16

     

    #ALeague: Deal between @ccmariners and Celtic agreed for transfer of Tom Rogic. More to come soon #sbstwg

    — SBS - The World Game (@TheWorldGame) January 16, 2013


    Philip Micallef at SBS is reporting that the transfer fee is $700,000 [£556,000]. 

    Great deal for Tom Rogić because Celtic are the most dominant team in the Scottish Premier League.

    Even if he struggles for playing time in the beginning, he'll get chances against weak opposition like Dundee, St. Mirren and Ross County. 

    It's a good stepping-stone into the English Premier League as Mark Viduka will attest to. 


    ---

     

    Nike's The Chance competitions show you how many aspiring professional footballers there are out there who are just a chance away from making it. 

    If not for this competition, Central Coast Mariners' young gun Rogić wouldn't be chased by various Premier League clubs and Scottish giants Celtic. 

    When Rogić made his international debut for Australia, he became the first Aussie to play for the Futsalroos and Socceroos. 

    He's a tall and elegantly creative player with world-class technique.

    Against an Alessandro Del Piero-less Sydney FC, Tom toyed with the Sky Blue's defence by scoring a brace in a 7-2 win. 

    CCM has agreed to sell Rogić to Reading for $600,000 [£392,000], but former Australian captain Craig Moore convinced Rogić to reject the Royals. 

    Since then, Rogić has been on trial with Celtic, who could sign him for basically nothing (by their standards). 

    Rogić's contract with the Mariners ends in two months, so the Central Coast have no leverage. 

    Is Rogić the best young A-League player right now? No, that would be Melbourne Victory's New Zealand international Marco Rojas, who has been a genius this season. 

    How good is the standard of the A-League? It began in 2005, so it's only eight years old. It's nowhere near the technical quality of the J.League, but there are gems playing in Australia. 

    Rogić is one, Rojas is another, and so is Tom's teammate, Mat Ryan. 

    It's low risk, high reward for clubs in Europe's elite leagues looking to poach some of the A-League's emerging talents.

    It's the approach Bundesliga clubs have adopted with the J.League's best players. 

29. Florent Malouda, LAM, Chelsea

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    Why should I throw fifteen million euro away when it is already mine? At the moment I signed it was in fact my money, my contract. Both sides agreed wholeheartedly. I could go elsewhere to play for less, but you have to understand my history to understand I would never do that. I used to be poor as a kid, did not have anything to spend or something to play with. This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunates who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership, but I don't care.

    To refresh your memory, according to ESPN FC, those were the words from former Dutch international Winston Bogarde, who outlasted Chelsea management in a war of attrition. 

    The Blues humiliated Winston by banishing him from the first team, forcing him to train with the academy and consider a transfer away from the club. 

    As Ernst Bouwes documented in a 2005 article for ESPN FC

    Later Bogarde did not even have a squad number or a shirt and spent his days on the training ground with Chelsea's youth team. He never considered a premature termination of his contract, whatever Chelsea offered him. 'That money is mine,' he said.

    He hung a calendar on the wall of his London apartment to cross out the remaining sixty days of his contract, like a prisoner would. Off the training ground his life those days consisted of Bacardi-cola, phone calls home and large stacks of DVD's.

    Eventually the 14th of May 2004 arrived: he had won the battle. He shook hands with some employees at Chelsea and a couple of players and left for the airport. 

    Florent Malouda is doing a "Bogarde" as the Frenchman plays out his contract. 

28. Nicklas Bendtner, CF, Arsenal

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    Juventus were pretty blunt when they signed Nicklas Bendtner on loan, saying the Dane was only at the illustrious Italian club as a squad player and because he was the cheapest option. 

    Bendtner being Bendtner said with a straight face (via Inside Futbol): "I like it here and I still believe that my chance will come and that I probably will succeed at Juventus if all goes well."

    The first impression he made on the Bianconeri staff was a negative one after turning up out of shape. 

    For someone who said he'd never return to Arsenal, he was quick to take advantage of their medical staff when he suffered an injury (via BBC Sport): "The Danish striker was operated on in London last night by Arsenal consultant Ernest Schilders, for the reinsertion of the adductor longus tendon in his left thigh."

    Does Nicklas not understand the contradiction? 

    Since being productive on loan at Birmingham City as an 18-year-old, Bendtner has yet to score 20 goals in one season. 

    His performances for the Danish national team indicate that he can be an elite striker but he'll find a way to fall short. 

27. Andy Carroll, CF, Liverpool

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    "Death by football" is a mantra Brendan Rodgers lives by. If your team has possession of the ball, the other team can't score. 

    Rodgers' Swansea City, whose philosophy was set in stone by Roberto Martínez, became known as Swansealona. 

    Rodgers has instilled the same values in Liverpool, who are second in the Premier League when it comes to possession per game (59 percent; second to Manchester City's 59.4). 

    Rodgers wants his players passing and moving. Andy Carroll is at his best in a cross-happy offense, winning 10.8 headers per game, the most in Europe's elite leagues. 

    The average passing completion percentage for a Liverpool player this season is 85.2. Carroll completes 63 percent of his passes.

    Carroll is a misfit on Rodgers' team and will be forced to look elsewhere. 

    What a waste of £35 million. 

26. Andrey Arshavin, AM, Arsenal

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    Andrey Arshavin has been quality when he's been given a run by Arsène Wenger. 

    He had a goal plus two assists vs. Coventry and two assists in the epic 7-5 win over Reading.

    And who created the winning goal for Thierry Henry last season against Sunderland? Arshavin.

    Like former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov at Fulham, Arshavin will be a godsend for a mid-tier Premier League team. 

25. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, DM, Bayern Munich

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    With Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez operating in the two pivot positions, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will have to accept his limited minutes.

    Luiz Gustavo is raring to go after recuperating from groin surgery, meaning Tymoshchuk's chances of playing will diminish to no playing time. 

    Tymoshchuk is a realist and recently said (from kicker via Eurosport): "I do not know yet whether I will still be at Bayern come February."

24. Juan Quintero, AM, Pescara

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    Juan Quintero will find the weak link in the opposing defence and run at that defender all day long.

    It's partly the reason why he has completed 2.4 dribbles per league game, 0.9 higher than Cristiano Ronaldo

    As a 19-year-old, Quintero has been given the keys to the offence by Pescara management, enabling him to average 44.8 passes per game.

    He's such a silky passer that he'd be an excellent deep-lying playmaker later in his career, presuming he loses his pace.

    Writing for BBC Sport, South American football correspondent Tim Vickery highlighted Juan's upside:

    Colombia, too, have some promising midfielders. The wonderfully creative, left-footed Juan Fernando Quintero has already made his senior international debut and will be expected to organise the team's play, backed up by the all-round skills of Sebastian Perez. Brayan Perea, meanwhile, is a rangy, dynamic striker.

23. Yann M'Vila, DM, Rennes

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    Bleacher Report tactical analyst Sam Tighe made an astute point about Yann M'Vila: "He plays as a holding midfielder, but he's not a typical specialist in any given area. He's not a deep-lying playmaker, he's not a shuttler and he's not a destroyer."

    Let's examine what Tighe said. 

     

    League Only Shots Created Per Game Long Passes Per Game Pass %
    M'Vila 0.3 5.7 85.4
    Andrea Pirlo  3.4 10.7 87.2
    Beñat 1.6 5.8 79.3
    Roberto Trashorras 2.6 6.8 82.6
    Xabi Alonso 2.1 6.4 81.7

     

    Being a deep-lying playmaker means the midfielder should have the capability of creating plays from deep.

    Clearly, Yann's 0.3 shots created per game does not warrant him being classified as a deep-lying playmaker, hence Tighe is right in his observation. 

    Here's Michael Cox's definition of a shuttler at Zonal Marking: "This refers to the two widest players in a diamond midfield, in between a holding midfielder and an attacking playmaker."

    Think Claudio Marchisio. M'Vila operates centrally, within a designated zone, so he's not a shuttler. 

    With regards to why M'Vila isn't a "destroyer", I published a comparison of him to a destroyer like Étienne Capoue last May:

    Étienne Capoue is arguably the most intimidating player in French football. His reckless tackling is the reason why he conceded two free kicks per game. Surprisingly, he only accumulated seven yellow cards and one red card. 

    Yann M'Vila is an opportunistic tackler. He tackles for the sake of winning the ball, whilst Capoue aims to strike fear. M'Vila was the only midfielder in Ligue 1 to complete 100 tackles, yet concede 0.9 fouls or lower per game. 

    Like Arturo Vidal and Javi Fuego, Capoue has an insatiable need to win the ball, which is why he's at his best if given a free role in midfield. M'Vila patrols his area and tackles anyone that dares to enter. 

    The reason why M'Vila will be seeking a move away from Rennes is his situation at the club has become untenable due to his disciplinary problems. 

    In fact, he won't be playing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup because of unprofessionalism, according to fifa.com.

    He has serious attitude issues which will hinder him from being great. 

22. Mario Balotelli, CF, Manchester City

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    Mario Balotelli has only scored once in the Premier League this season from 34 shots. 

    He was involved in a physical altercation with Roberto Mancini, but the manager said he'd give Mario "100 more chances," via bbc.co.uk.

    Why? Well, Mancini is interlinked with Balotelli, since the former Inter boss was the one who closed his eyes and signed Balotelli, knowing the youngster's disruptiveness. 

    When Silvio "Bunga Bunga" Berlusconi calls you a bad apple, you know you have some problems. Balotelli's  agent, Mino Raiola, quipped (via Sky Sports): "Balotelli is not a bad apple. He is a cherry." 

21. Nani, WAM, Manchester United

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    Nani has been hamstrung for the past few months, but it hasn't quelled transfer innuendo linking him with a move away from Old Trafford. 

    Sir Alex Ferguson responded (from The Daily Mirror via Sky Sports): 

    We won't be letting him go. We need a Nani. His contract isn't up for a year and a half. He offers something different from the other players. He's an incredible talent, the boy. He's got a future here. Why would I want to let him go?

    Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck haven't been producing at a world-class level. So, letting Nani go wouldn't make sense. 

    Though, if Manchester United do sign Wilfried Zaha, it would be the writing on the wall for Nani to leave. 


20. Bacary Sagna, RB, Arsenal

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    Arsenal supporters can lament Robin van Persie betraying the club, but the way management are treating Bacary Sagna shows weak character. 

    The club demands loyalty but doesn't repay it. 

    Prior to those two leg breaks in the same season, Sagna was year-after-year considered one of the best right-backs in the world. 

    He wants security in a multi-year contract extension as opposed to one year. 

19. Kaká, AM, Real Madrid

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    Angry, frustrated and restless are three words that describe the current Real Madrid team. 

    Antonio Adán was red-carded (much to the joy of the Santiago Bernabéu supporters, which allowed Iker Casillas to come on) against Real Sociedad. 

    With a two-goal lead against Celta Vigo, Sergio Ramos reiterated some of the nonsense conspiracy theories uttered by his manager José Mourinho, thus earning the Spaniard an untimely five-game ban.

    In a must-win game vs. a struggling Osasuna side, Kaká came into the game with the wrong attitude and earned a rare red card. 

    Two minutes in, he uncharacteristically kept his elbows up and made contact with Rubén, giving the Brazilian a yellow. 

    Then he bizarrely jumped straight in front of the Osasuna players as they huddled around to take a free kick. One of the players then kicked the ball into Kaká, allowing the referee to hand out a second yellow for delay of game. 

    Kaká knew instantly he was gone and turned his back on the referee as he made the lonely walk off the pitch—he had only been on the field for 18 minutes. 

    Four seasons since his €68.5 million move from AC Milan, it's safe to say that the Brazilian will never live up to his transfer fee. 

18. Fabricio Coloccini, CB, Newcastle United

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    Fabricio Coloccini and James Perch gave defenders a 101 on how not to defend in the Premier League when Arsenal put seven past Newcastle United. 

    Coloccini hasn't been the Coloccini that was included in last season's PFA Premier League Team of the Year. 

    Now, we know why. 

    He has informed the club of his decision to leave in a bid to resolve a personal crisis. 

    Luke Edwards at The Telegraph said:

    At the heart of the issue has been the poor health of Coloccini’s wife, who has already returned to South America, leaving him with their two children at the family home on Tyneside.

    If that is the case, please keep Fabricio's family in your thoughts. 

17. Frank Lampard, DM, Chelsea

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    Frank Lampard isn't and will never be a defensive midfielder. 

    Chelsea receive next-to-no defensive output from him, as he only completes 1.0 tackle and 0.7 interceptions per league game. 

    Ironically, he has scored seven goals in the Premier League, equal with Fernando Torres

    It's sad to see the club treating Lampard this way.

    They need to tell him right now that he has no future at the club as opposed to dragging the situation out. 

16. Lisandro López, LAM, Lyon

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    With Bafétimbi Gomis being Lyon's No. 9, the player wearing No. 9—Lisandro López—has started several games out wide, much to the Argentine's displeasure. 

    López even gave up the captaincy as it becomes more evident that he is angling toward an exit. 

    President Jean-Michel Aulas revealed that Juventus submitted a loan transfer bid for Lisandro (via Adam Digby at ESPN FC):

    I can confirm that Juventus asked us for Lisandro Lopez on loan but we don’t like that option and do not want to release him. If a proposal for the player arrives that we consider suitable for his value, then we will examine it and try to find a balance between sporting and economic needs.

15. Fernando Llorente, CF, Athletic Bilbao

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    Fernando Llorente is comfortable with the ball at his feet and has aerial prowess. 

    He's locked in a bitter dispute with Athletic Bilbao, who refuse to sell him and would rather let him play out his contract than sell him for a derisive transfer fee out of principle. 

    When he came on against Rayo Vallecano, he hit the woodwork, which summed up his season. 

    If only he could have left the club like Javi Martínez, who has avoided becoming public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of the Bilbao supporters. 

    Llorente is almost certain to join Juventus having begun preliminary contractual negotiations with the Italian club. 

14. Francesco Lodi, CM, Catania

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    Maybe Francesco Lodi was having a bad day in the lead-up to the Torino game because he took a swipe at Riccardo Meggiorini, leading to a red card after only 12 minutes. 

    It was out of character because Lodi hadn't even received a booking in Serie A this season. 

    Last July, he was one of my alternatives to João Moutinho for Manchester United:

    Francesco Lodi is a great example of why you should keep an open mind on players excelling at youth level.

    Lodi was world class amongst teenagers but lost his way when he came up against seasoned professionals. 

    It was touching to see Lodi surge back into relevance with some breathtaking performances last season. He led Catania in goals scored, goals created and shots created.

    It’s so sad to think what he could have been if he played like this throughout the majority of his career. 

    AC Milan (from Sky Sport Italia via Football Italia) and Inter Milan (Forza Italian Football) are reportedly interested in signing him. 

13. Wilfried Bony, CF, Vitesse

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    Is Wilfried Bony the best striker in the Eredivisie? No. 

    Feyenoord's Graziano Pellè is more complete, has better technique and is more calm in front of goals. 

    Even though Pellè is Pelé to De Kuip, he's 27 years old, whereas Bony is 24. 

    Why is this relevant? Premier League clubs are more likely to invest in Bony as opposed to Pellè. 

    What type of player is Bony? He has remarkable upper-body strength. He's such a tank that opposing defenders seem to bounce off him. 

12. Isco, AM, Málaga

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    Isco shouldn't have won the Golden Boy award, when Erik Lamela and Stephan El Shaarawy have proven to be more consistent. 

    Isco has been exceptional in the UEFA Champions League, but he has gone missing in La Liga this season. 

    Martín Demichelis, Willy Caballero and Ignacio Camacho are more important to Manuel Pellegrini than Isco. 

    The hype surrounding Isco is crazy because Lamela and SES deserve more media attention than Isco.

    You could also make the claim that Atlético Madrid midfielder Koke's potential is just as high as Isco.

    Like Iker Muniain, Isco is the flavour of the month, and people are too quick to jump on the bandwagon. 

    The Málaga midfielder needs to be more productive over an extended period of time.

    Speaking of Málaga, due to their financial problems, they'll most certainly sell Isco to the highest bidder. 

     

    League Only G SPG A SCPG P% CDPG
    Isco  4 10.8 1 1.0 85.1 1.4
    Lamela  10 5 1 1.8 81.3 2.8
    SES 14 4.8 3 1.4 83.6 1.4
    Koke 2 10 4 2.9 83 0.5

     

    G = goals; SPG = shots per goal; A = assist/s; SCPG = shots created per game; P% = passing percentage; CDPG = completed dribbles per game

11. Beñat, DLP, Real Betis

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    Beñat is feisty competitor who goes full-pelt into his challenges. He's one of the four players in Europe's elite leagues that have 10 yellow cards already. Cristian Sapunaru, Daniele Conti and David Pizarro are the other three.

    Though, when watching Beñat, it's not willingness to defend that you notice, it's his passing.

    The range, the vision, the style and the confidence to pull off high-risk passes. In this regard, there's a bit of Xabi Alonso in Beñat, who goes out of his way to play more adventurous passes in the hope of creating something out of nothing. 

    Alonso could easily complete 90-95 percent of his passes, but there's a reason why he creates 2.1 shots per game in La Liga. He makes a lot of penetrating passes, hence his passing percentage is only 81.7.

    The same applies to Beñat, who only completes 79.3 percent of his passes. 

    Oh, and Beñat is also a world-class set-piece expert. Gosh, he scores so many free kicks. 

    Is he worth €20 million? No. 

    No. 1 transfer rule: Don't overpay for potential. Real Betis would know that given they were swindled by São Paulo all those years ago for Denílson. 

    Two seasons ago, the tabloids weren't linking Beñat to any big clubs. 

    You could potentially spend a fraction of that amount on Roberto Trashorras from Rayo Vallecano. 

    For those wondering how Joel Campbell is going, he's had two good games in a row as a left attacking midfielder. But he's still very raw, extremely turnover prone and not ready for Arsenal as of now. 

    Also, if Rubén Castro was five to seven years younger, most of the Premier League clubs would be lining up to sign him. 

10. Kevin Strootman, DLP, PSV

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    If scouts were watching Kevin Strootman in the 1-1 UEFA Europa League draw against AIK last October, he would have received a 10/10. 

    He completed 91 percent of his 100 passes, won back possession nine times and, if not for the woodwork, would've scored. 

    His defending has dramatically improved in recent memory. He can turn his way out of trouble, is a world-class passer and is still only 22. 

    He's just one of the many Eredivisie young stars. 

9. Léo, CF, Rayo Vallecano

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    Bleacher Report writer Samuel Marsden coined a nice nickname for breakout Rayo Vallecano star Léo—BaptistWOW

    Baptistão joining Atlético Madrid is all but guaranteed, especially after this observation from B/R La Liga expert Michael Cerna. 

     

    Leo Baptistao is at the Calderon watching Atleti win. I imagine he's dying to start playing with Arda Turan & Co. next season.

    — Michael Cerna (@MichaelCernaBR) January 13, 2013

     

    Though, if Léo's deal with Atlético does collapse, it could be open season for the many clubs interested in Baptistão. 

    Francisco Acedo at Sky Sports reported a few days ago that Vallecano hadn't received an official bid for Léo (yet). 

    ESPN FC Spanish correspondent Dermot Corrigan pointed out that radio station Cadena Cope stated Rayo had agreed to sell Baptistão for €6 million. 

    The 20-year-old striker is my No. 1 footballer poised to become a star in 2013. 

    In a profile of Baptistão, Marsden's observation illustrates the sliding doors phenomena in football (via B/R):  

    The most ironic thing about his development is that while most clubs are cursing not taking a chance on Michu, Vallecano are—to an extent—happy that his sale has allowed Baptistao the platform to become the player they always hoped he would.

    What if Michu decided to stay? Would most La Liga aficionados be raving about Léo? Probably not. 

8. Iago Aspas, DLF, Celta Vigo

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    Iago Aspas has netted 42 percent of Celta Vigo's league goals and has created three goals. Therefore, he accounts for 11 of Celta's 19 goals in La Liga. 

    This guy is often marked by two or three opposing players, who know that Aspas' teammates aren't that good. 

    Stop Aspas and you'll stop Celta. 

    He's too good to be playing for a club like Celta. A Premier League club should certainly sign him. 

    For a more in-depth look at Aspas, please read this article

7. Nuri Şahin, DLP, Real Madrid

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    Home, sweet home. 

    Goal.com cartoonist Omar Momani lampooned Nuri Şahin's loan spell at Liverpool. 

    Nuri is still in his Liverpool kit as he runs away from Brendan Rodgers and into the arms of Jürgen Klopp. 

    The adulation, the fame, the success and the critical acclaim got to Nuri's head as he foolishly thought he could beat out Xabi Alonso for a starting position at Real Madrid. 

    He should have signed with Arsenal on loan rather than the Reds. 

    Şahin coming back is not good for Moritz Leitner and spare a thought for Aussie Mustafa Amini. 

    Nuri adds more depth to Klopp's Borussia Dortmund as they cling on to the feint hope that Bayern Munich implode like Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United. 

6. Robert Lewandowski, CF, Borussia Dortmund

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    Is  Nuri Şahin's humbling experience not enough to persuade Robert Lewandowski to stay with Borussia Dortmund? 

    Lewandowski should check out Manchester United's starting XI this season and find out who wears No. 10 and No. 20. 

    Lewandowski wouldn't have received his chance for BVB if Lucas Barrios didn't get injured at Copa América and then fall out with Jürgen Klopp. 

    The proposed move to Manchester United is also odd given his frosty relationship with Shinji Kagawa, via Yahoo Sports.  

5. Sebastian Rode, DM, Eintracht Frankfurt

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    Sebastian Rode was my No. 1 midfield recommendation for Manchester United last October and he has kept up his powerful performances for Eintracht Frankfurt.

    He receives the ball, looks up, and pings it 30 yards to his teammate constantly. 

    If he doesn't see a clear opening, he'll get past his marker, attack the space, drag a defender out of position and play an excellent pass to the likes of Alexander Meier or the overlapping full-backs. 

    Rode also wins back possession 5.1 times per game.

    It's like having two players in one.  

    Eintracht chief executive Heribert Bruchhagen was unequivocal in his stance on the possible transfer of Sebastian to Bayern Munich (from Bild via Stephan Uersfeld at ESPN FC):

    Rode is sheer quality. He basically is involved in every Eintracht goal. Therefore it is important to state that every offer, as high as it might be, bears no relation to the economical risk we take by getting relegated for the second time. Thus he might leave on a free in 2014.

    Frankfurt are this season's Borussia Mönchengladbach.

    Meier is a beast. Bastian Oczipka is near-unstoppable when rampaging down the left flank. Sebastian Jung is pretty handy but he needs to be more productive. Kevin Trapp has been elite in goals. 

    Would Rode signing for Bayern be a good deal? For Die Bayern, it would be, because their midfield would be stacked. 

    Potentially, Bayern could have two world-class pivots (Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez) and two elite DMs (Luiz Gustavo and Rode) for the "2" of the 4-2-3-1.

    Getting a bit greedy, Matthias Sammer? 

    Rode needs to be smart.

    If he wants to become a household name, he needs guaranteed playing time, and Bayern can't offer him that. 

    A fully-fit Schweinsteiger is arguably the best in the world. Martínez cost the club €40 million, so he'll be given leeway to fail.

    Then there's the boisterous Gustavo, who is hit-and-miss in the tackle, but one of the most efficient passers you'll ever see. If he improves his tackles per foul, there's no doubt he'd receive more credit. 

4. Yohan Mollo, LF, Nancy

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    In his first game on loan at Saint-Étienne, Yohan Mollo created a goal for Loïc Perrin via a brilliantly flighted cross. 

    A distinctive trait of Mollo's game is his ability to whip in accurate crosses, completing 33 percent of crosses, which is marginally better than Leighton Baines (32.2). 

    By the way, Nancy not only lost their most mercurial player in Mollo due to a dispute with manager Jean Fernandez, but Jean also bid au revoir to the club. 

    French football correspondent Jonathan Johnson talked about Mollo:

    Mollo is very talented but very inconsistent. His attitude is also extremely questionable hence his loan to Saint-Etienne. He never fully settles at a club and that will hinder his ability to ever truly become a star.

3. Edin Džeko, CF, Manchester City

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    Only Roberto Mancini could turn one of the world's best strikers in Edin Džeko into a limited goal poacher, who seemingly plays better as an impact sub than a starter. 

     

    League Only G SPG A SCPG CDPG
    Džeko 09-10 22 6.9 7 1.1 2.0
    Džeko 10-11 [1] 10 5.9 1 0.8 1.6
    Džeko 10-11 [2] 2 16.5 2 0.6 0.7
    Džeko 11-12 14 6.6 3 1.1 0.7
    Džeko 12-13 10 4.7 1 0.9 0.3

     

    G = goals; SPG = shots per goal; A = assist/s; SCPG = shots created per game; CDPG = completed dribbles per game

    [1] played for Wolfsburg during the first half of the season.

    [2] transferred to Manchester City in the January transfer window.

     

    What happened to the Wolfsburg Džeko? 

    Where's the Džeko that would take on defenders in the box?

    The Džeko that showed glimpses of Zlatan Ibrahimović's creativity? 

    Edin spoke about the possibility of leaving City (from The People via Sky Sports):

    We have four strikers and I suppose we can bring in another one, but only after one of us leaves the club. Anything is possible. I wouldn't rule out leaving now or in the summer, but I'm trying not to think about it. It is up to me to try to use the opportunities I am being given at City, everything else is beyond my powers at the moment.

2. Marouane Fellaini, DLF, Everton

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    Ed Chamberlin: I asked Gary [Neville] a few moments ago this question: What is he [Marouane Fellaini] now? Is he a centre forward? 

    Phil Neville: I personally think his best position is when he's causing problems in the attacking third.

    I think with his sheer size and his ability to catch the ball with his chest. Sometimes the ball is coming up to his head and he catches it on his chest and he brings people into play. He's such an awkward player to play against, when he's free and he can roam around.

    You know we've lost Tim Cahill [to New York Red Bulls], who has been this club for nine seasons and has been fantastic for us, but Fellaini can fit into that now and give us something extra.

    He's full of energy and him and Jelavić look like they can form a good partnership. 

    Gary Neville: Hello, Phillip. 

    Phil Neville: ...Hello, Gary. 

    Gary: *Chuckles*

    Ed Chamberlin: *Laughs*

     

    This was a segment on Sky Sports after Marouane Fellaini scored the winner, hit the woodwork, won nine headers and created three shots as a deep-lying forward against a Michael Carrick-Nemanja Vidić centre-back partnership. 

    The beauty of football is that sometimes you can look like a prophet or you can be very wrong about your opinions.

    I was adamant that Marouane should only play as a defensive midfielder, yet Bleacher Report commenter Ben Dewison vehemently opposed that view:

    I do disagree about Fellaini, as I think he is better at attacking midfield. I really don't know how you think otherwise because he's just been so dominant whenever I've seen him there. His tackling is also his only weakness but we all have our own opinions. 

    Remember, this comment was made before Marouane dominated as a DLF, so Ben took into consideration Fellaini's physical attributes and foresaw the possibility of him playing better up front. Whereas I had tunnel vision in him being a DM. 

    Ben was right and I was wrong.

    That being said, Fellaini would rather play as a No. 6 (from the Daily Mirror via Sky Sports):

    I prefer defensive midfielder because I know my job when I play there. More things are in front of you. It is difficult to play with your back to goal. It is not my position but the manager likes me there and I am happy to do it. I think I am a defensive midfielder.

    This is because he is slightly uncomfortable with being the focal point of Everton's offence, and his identity is still stuck with being a destroyer in midfield. 

    It's his first full-season as a DLF and he's already one of the best in the business. Can you imagine how good he could possibly become if he plays in this role for the rest of his career?

    If Chelsea sign him, they better not stick him in one of the two pivot positions. 

1. Falcao, CF, Atlético Madrid

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    Falcao doesn't want to leave Atlético Madrid, but his agent Jorge Mendes and Atléti management want him to leave—why? Here's why

    Will Los Colchoneros sell El Tigre to cross-town rivals Real Madrid? 

    Sergio Agüero (2006-11): 101 goals in 234 games, sold to Manchester City for €45 million

    Fernando Torres (2001-07): 91 goals in 243 games, sold to Liverpool €36 million

    Christian Vieri (1997-98): 29 goals in 31 games, sold to Lazio for €25 million

    Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (1999-2000): 35 goals in 47 games, sold to Chelsea for €22 million

    José Mari (1997-99): 20 goals in 84 games, sold to AC Milan for €18 million

    Salva (2000-01): 21 goals in 33 games, sold to Valencia for €11 million

    Diego Forlán (2007-11): 96 goals in 197 games, sold to Inter Milan for €5 million
    With the exception of Salva, who ended up flopping at Los Che, Atlético have a policy of selling their forwards to foreign teams.
     
    Yes, Mendes does have a heavy influence at Los Blancos, as he represents Cristiano Ronaldo, José Mourinho, Pepe, Fábio Coentrao, Ángel di María and Ricardo Carvalho.

    But, at the rate Mourinho is going at Real, he won't be there at the end of the season. 

    Falcao will most likely end up at Chelsea, with the Blues packaging Thibaut Courtois plus €50 million.

    The other option is Atlético forcing the Blues to meet Falcao's €60 million [£49.9M] buy-out clause.

    What is the most sensible option for Chelsea? Sell Fernando Torres to any club willing to buy him.

    Give Romelu Lukaku the reigns as the No. 9.

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