Nine Premier League Stars Who Could Be Back with a Rival Club Next Season
The summer, a glorious time for football managers.
A time to recharge the batteries after a gruelling campaign.
A time of mental preparation, where one can think extensively about how to right the wrongs of the previous season or how to build upon the past year's success.
And perhaps most importantly for football fans, a time where transfers can be made and a club's future plans can be shaped.
This offseason will of course be no different. At clubs throughout the English top flight, signings will come, and players will go.
With that in mind, here's a look at nine Premier League stars who could be donning the colours of a rival club this summer:
9: Darren Bent (Aston Villa)
Something of the forgotten man of English football, Darren Bent has seen very little action under Paul Lambert at Villa Park this season.
The £24 million striker has found himself relegated to back-up status due to the ascension of Christian Benteke.
According to the Daily Star, the striker will be allowed to leave this summer, and Fulham are said to be interested in taking Bent back to London.
However, any such deal would need to see Villa lower their £12 million valuation of the 29-year-old.
8: Scott Sinclair (Manchester City)
To say that the £6.2 million winger's move to Manchester City hasn't worked out would be an understatement.
After an impressive debut campaign in the Premier League with Swansea in 2012-13, Sinclair has barely had a look in at Eastlands, with just three starts to his name. Thus his career has stalled.
His nightmare spell with the Citizens could be set to come to an end this summer, however.
7: Luke Shaw (Southampton)
The 17-year-old left-back has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water, proving to have a wise head on young shoulders defensively and no lack of offensive talent.
However, with the uncertainty currently surrounding Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese and manager Mauricio Pochettino, The Express are reporting that Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are preparing to make a move for the highly rated youngster.
"Any player who makes a breakthrough at the age that he has is absolutely unbelievable," Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is quoted as saying.
Having seen Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all move from St. Mary's Stadium in recent times, the Premier League's big-hitters would be loathe to miss out on the young defender, who is already being touted as Ashley Cole's international heir.
6: Peter Odemwingine (West Bromwich Albion)
The Nigerian hitman has turned from hero to zero at the Hawthorns following his antics during the January transfer window and subsequent outbursts on Twitter.
According to John Percy of The Telegraph, West Brom boss Steve Clarke has confirmed the 31-year-old will be allowed to leave the club this summer: "He can leave but only for a price that we believe to be acceptable." Steve Bruce and newly promoted Hull City will offer an escape route to the KC Stadium.
5: James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic)
With Wigan Athletic's relegation having been confirmed with their 4-1 defeat by Arsenal last Tuesday evening, change is expected at the DW Stadium this summer.
One such move could see the departure of highly rated Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy, a clever technician as well as a decent all-rounder.
The 22-year-old was imperious at the heart of the Latics midfield during their FA Cup final success against Manchester City.
4: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
The Belgian powerhouse has enjoyed a wonderful campaign on loan at West Bromwich Albion, his 14 league goals and all-round performances having been a key reason for the Baggies' best-ever Premier League finish.
The 20-year-old returns to Stamford Bridge this summer and will no doubt intend on working his way into the club's plans, no matter who the new manager is.
However, if the Europa League winners feel that another season out on loan is for the best, then there will be no shortage of takers, with West Ham United the frontrunners for the former Anderlecht prodigy, according to the Daily Mail.
The article also states that Swansea City have intimated their interest in Lukaku, who will need regular first-team football if he's to stand any chance of heading to Brazil with his country, assuming they qualify.
3: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers)
The 33-year-old goalkeeper's current club, Queens Park Rangers, may have been relegated, but the Brazilian international could well remain in the Premier League next season.
QPR are reportedly prepared to let Cesar go for a minimal figure, potentially even on a free transfer, so as to get his £70,000-a-week wages off the books.
Additionally, the move to north London would be extremely enticing with the Gunners in Europe next season, whilst Cesar needs to continually show his best at the top level to current Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, ahead of the World Cup next summer.
2: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
The 22-year-old Belgian striker has been one of the finds of the season since arriving at Villa Park for £6 million from Genk last summer.
The player's agent, Eris Kismet, has certainly let it be known that there is interest in his client, telling the Metro newspaper:
A lot of scouts from many teams have an interest in Christian. Now Villa’s future in the Premier League is decided we will know more.
It is natural for many teams to show an interest when Christian has had such a good season.
Villa boss Paul Lambert would no doubt be disappointed to lose his leading marksman, but a big money offer could well change his thinking.
1. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
The 27-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs both at home and on the continent, but according to The Mirror, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to pay whatever it takes to entice Rooney to Stamford Bridge.
His £250,000-a-week wage packet will prove too pricey for all but the footballing elite, whilst his recent on-field displays have offered anything but value-for-money in that respect.
Nonetheless, on his day he remains one of English football's brightest talents, and any Premier League side willing to sanction a move for Rooney would no doubt be buoyed by not only strengthening themselves, but also by weakening the champions.
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