Following Vidic: 1 Senior Player to Leave Each Premier League Team This Summer
On Thursday, Nemanja Vidic confirmed that he would not be renewing his contract with Manchester United, paving the way for him to leave Old Trafford in the summer.
Vidic told United's official website:
I'm not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United.
I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies. However, I have decided I will move on at the end of this season. I want to challenge myself again.
I have had eight wonderful years here. My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career.
In light of the United captain's decision, we look at every club in the Premier League—and identify one senior player who might well be leaving his present club come the summer transfer window.
Arsenal: Nicklas Bendtner
It seems obvious that, whether or not he plays a significant part in the remainder of Arsenal’s title challenge, Nicklas Bendtner’s long-term future does not lie at the Emirates Stadium.
The Dane may perceive himself to be one of the finest strikers in the world, but it is clear that manager Arsene Wenger does not agree, trying (with varying degrees of determination) to offload his charge in the previous two transfer windows.
Right-back Bacary Sagna is another candidate to depart, as he continues to talk about (but not sign) a new contract, while other fringe squad members like Park Chu-young and Ryo Miyaichi figure to be allowed to leave also.
It seems certain Kim Kallstrom will also not be signed on a permanent basis—indeed, considering his recent injury it remains to be seen if he is ever even seen in an Arsenal shirt before his loan spell comes to an end.
Aston Villa: Shay Given
For all the consternation surrounding the playing style and performances of Paul Lambert’s Villa side this season, the team are punching above their weight in the league standings (although that can all change pretty quickly) and currently look on course to achieve their primary ambition—Premier League status for another season.
In the summer Lambert will look to continue to address his side’s major problem: the ludicrously inflated wage bill. Stephen Ireland was moved on in January, and Lambert will somehow be hoping to find a permanent buyer for Darren Bent, but it is perhaps Shay Given who Lambert will be most keen to offload.
Around £50,000 a week for a back-up goalkeeper is a sum even the world’s biggest clubs would simply refuse to pay, and Villa are potentially on the hook for Given’s salary for another two seasons.
It very much depends on how much Given—who is currently on loan at Middlesbrough—wants to play in the twilight of his career, but Lambert will do all he can to move the Irishman on.
Cardiff City: Craig Bellamy
Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously suggested Craig Bellamy will be very important to the club’s relegation fight, and the player himself has said helping his side stay in the Premier League would be one of the crowning achievements of his career.
Whether or not the club achieves that ambition, however, it seems highly possible that Bellamy will retire from football in the summer.
At the start of the season, the 34-year-old told the BBC:
My mood does change... I know I could change what I'm thinking.
But the way I'm feeling now, it could be my last season in football. I have so much to look forward to after football.
Life isn't just about football. The adventure starts when you finish and I'm looking forward to that.
I've been playing at a professional level for 17, 18 years now and there's more to life. I love the game, don't get me wrong, I've cherished every moment of it.
With plenty of interests outside the sport, it figures that Bellamy's future might not be at the Cardiff City Stadium, as much as he loves the club.
Chelsea: Ashley Cole
Ousted from the Chelsea team by Cesar Azpilicueta—a right-back by trade—the writing seems to be on the wall somewhat for Ashley Cole, whose skills have clearly started to decline over the past two seasons.
He remains a fine left-back, however, and is sure to attract interest from other clubs should he decide to leave Stamford Bridge.
Considering he has played in the EPL his entire career, Europe may yet be his most likely escape route.
Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni
The arrival of Wayne Hennessey in the January transfer window seems to signal the end of Julian Speroni’s long reign as Crystal Palace’s No. 1, to various degrees of consternation among the Selhurst Park faithful.
Whether Speroni remains first-choice until the end of the season is still to be seen (it would seem, until he makes an obvious mistake, that he will), it is likely that Pulis will move to Hennessey as his No. 1 in the summer, leaving Speroni's status somewhat uncertain
What will that mean for the shot-stopper? In a testimonial year, he could decide to stay as the back-up—or he might well decide to finish his career elsewhere. A return to Argentina would not be impossible, although he would surely not be short of offers from clubs around England.
Everton: Apostolos Vellios
Roberto Martinez seems to have a good handle on his current Everton squad and how he wants to develop it in future, with few squad members seemingly surplus to requirements at present.
Long-serving defender Tony Hibbert has made just one appearance for the club this season, but he could play more over the conclusion to the campaign and seems likely to be willing to accept a back-up role at the club he has been at his whole career, rather than walk out in search of greater playing time this summer.
With loanees Gareth Barry, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku set to return to their parent clubs in the summer (although, in the case of Barry especially, a permanent deal is not impossible), Martinez will be focusing more on adding talent than letting it go.
The exception, however, might be Apostolos Vellios. Martinez is very big on his young players getting first-team experience on loan before they are ready to contribute to the first team at Goodison Park—yet Martinez has previously expressed his disappointment with Vellios’ unwillingness to move elsewhere temporarily.
If the Greek is not prepared to prove himself elsewhere, Martinez may reluctantly decide he has no option but to offload the talented youngster.
Fulham: Brede Hangeland
A desperate season for the Cottagers could yet be capped off with a potentially catastrophic relegation to the Championship, in which case the number of departees could reach double figures.
Even if they do stay up, however, Brede Hangeland could be one of the players who departs Craven Cottage. The Norwegian has been a reliable servant for the club since joining in 2008, but at 32, his powers are clearly in decline and he may just decide that there is another challenge out there for him as he enters the final phase of his career.
Hull City: Matty Fryatt
Having pushed out the boat to sign not one but two strikers in January—Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long—it is clear that Hull will need to trim some of the fat in the summer, and Matty Fryatt figures to be the first to go.
The forward has made just six Premier League appearances this season (all from the substitutes bench) and is clearly not in manager Steve Bruce’s primary plans.
About his only chance of staying at the KC Stadium would appear to be if the Tigers are relegated, in which case his array of Championship experience may be cherished.
Liverpool: Martin Skrtel
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ summer preoccupation looks likely to be adding players rather than subtracting them, with the so-far-fruitless pursuit of another attacking wide player (Yehven Konoplyanka, finally?) likely to once again be his main concern.
However, it remains somewhat evident that the Reds’ squad is slightly overstocked in defence, especially after the summer transfer acquisitions of Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori.
Offloading a centre-back to reduce the wage bill and raise funds to strengthen elsewhere would seem a probable plan of action, and it seems possible that it could be Skrtel who is ultimately deemed surplus to requirements.
Sebastian Coates also looks likely to be shown the exit door.
Manchester City: Jack Rodwell
The selection of Martin Demichelis in the recent defeat to Chelsea likely foreshadows the eventual departure of Jack Rodwell, who has failed to truly settle at the Etihad Stadium due to a combination of poor form and injuries.
The use of Demichelis in a midfield role underlined a slight weakness in City’s squad, one that is likely to be addressed in the summer—only pushing Rodwell further down the pecking order.
At 22, Rodwell needs to be playing regular games if he is to fulfil his undoubted potential. Rumours abounded after the transfer deadline that old club Everton had made a loan approach for Rodwell, and a permanent return in the summer might be the perfect outcome for both clubs and the player himself.
Manchester United: Rio Ferdinand
Vidic has already announced his decision to search for a new challenge away from Old Trafford next season, and it seems like only a matter of time before Rio Ferdinand comes to a similar conclusion.
The former England international has been similarly injury-prone and even less impressive than his long-term defensive partner this season; if United were to continue with one of the two centre-backs next term, it was surely Vidic they would have preferred to keep.
Patrice Evra is also out of contract in the summer and has been strongly linked with a return to France, although surely losing three defenders of such experience is almost unthinkable for United.
Newcastle United: Steven Taylor
Close (ish) to moving to Norwich in the January transfer window, it seems Steven Taylor’s time as a key part of the Newcastle defence has passed, with Alan Pardew looking to go forward with different options.
As a result, the long-serving centre-back may find him searching for a new opportunity when the summer transfer window opens.
Pardew may be more concerned about which star players he is able to keep a hold of, however, with Mathieu Debuchy, Davide Santon and Hatem Ben Arfa among those likely to be the subject of some enquiries.
Norwich City: Wes Hoolahan
He wanted to leave Carrow Road in January when Aston Villa came calling, and it certainly seems the playmaker only has a limited future at the club as long as Chris Hughton remains manager (which is not exactly a foregone conclusion).
Presuming the Canaries stay up, or indeed even if they don’t, it seems probable Wes Hoolahan will be allowed to depart (but possibly not to Villa) when the summer window opens.
Southampton: Gaston Ramirez
Gaston Ramirez has been one of the more frustrating enigmas of Southampton’s Premier League adventure to date—the creative, wily attacking midfielder failing to push himself to the fore in a team that has developed a reputation for a playing style that would seem to fit his gifts perfectly.
After some trouble with injuries, the Uruguayan has gradually forced his way into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans with more regularity over the past 12 months, but nevertheless remains something of a fringe option.
Given the opportunity to perhaps return to Italy in the summer, it seems difficult to imagine either club or player being reluctant to end their relationship. Although that might be influenced by Pochettino’s ability to keep hold of some of his other stars (Adam Lallana, for example).
Stoke City: Wilson Palacios
Just 13 Premier League appearances (four as a starter) so far this term tell the story for Wilson Palacios, who has found it difficult to break into Mark Hughes’ starting XI ever since having to pull out of his manager’s first XI of the season with an ailment.
Still a key player for Honduras, however, the World Cup could prove a brilliant shop window for Palacios—who may well earn a move on the back of some decent performances in a group that includes Switzerland, France and Ecuador.
Sunderland: Andrea Dossena
He lasted 18 months at Liverpool, but it looks like Andrea Dossena will manage will manage just a solitary year in his second crack at English football.
The Italian signed for Sunderland on a free transfer last summer but has subsequently made just six appearances for the club—seemingly failing to impress new manager Gus Poyet (he hasn’t been involved in a Premier League squad since New Year’s Day, when he was an unused substitute) enough to earn regular football.
With that somewhat unlikely to change before the end of the season, Dossena’s departure in the summer looks somewhat nailed on—especially if the Black Cats are relegated.
Swansea City: Chico Flores
Interim head coach Garry Monk may insist that he has no problems with Chico Flores, despite speculation of a previous training ground altercation, but the Spaniard’s recent behaviour (and especially odd tweets) seem to indicate he may be one player angling for a move come the summer.
The Michael Laudrup acolyte is unlikely to be short of interest from other clubs in England or back in Spain, and depending on who is appointed the club’s new permanent manager (and whether they stay up), the Swans may decide to cash in when the chance arises.
Tottenham Hotspur: Etienne Capoue
Summer signing Etienne Capoue figures to be one of the more likely Tottenham players to be shown the exit door in the summer, although the club’s uncertain management situation clouds the matter somewhat.
At the moment, it would seem little more than a 50/50 proposition that Tim Sherwood remains the club’s manager beyond the summer, and the likes of chairman Daniel Levy may decide he wants to keep the current squad intact until the new manager has completed his own evaluations.
But if Sherwood does stay, then Capoue figures to be one of the first to go—especially after expressing his displeasure at the club last month.
Capoue told L’Equipe (via Metro) in January:
It’s hard. I went from undisputed holding midfielder to someone applying to play. This is the first time I saw that.
If I do not play, it will be difficult [to be at the World Cup]. If something presents itself, we will discuss.
I’m not surprised [about having to play at centre-back]. This is the English mind. They do not know much about foreign players.
West Brom: Diego Lugano
The Uruguayan defender, to put it somewhat bluntly, has not been great for West Brom this season—and figures to be one of the first casualties of the Pepe Mel revolution whether or not the Baggies maintain their Premier League status.
His international pedigree and wealth of experience should mean that at least one club around Europe is willing to take a chance on him.
West Ham: Jussi Jaaskelainen
It seems that Adrian is slowly usurping Jussi Jaaskelainen as Sam Allardyce’s preferred No. 1, a situation that is highly likely to see the Finn allowed to leave at the end of the season.
Jaaskelainen has shown no desire to end his career as a benchwarmer, and he will doubtless be allowed to leave should a good offer come in for him.
However, should West Ham be relegated, then Jaaskelainen’s departure might just be one of many.