Shinji Kagawa and 20 Premier League Players Who Need a Summer Transfer
With the summer fast-approaching and the 2014 FIFA World Cup firmly on the horizon, there are hundreds of players around the world readying themselves for transfers—and all for different reasons.
Here, we've taken a look at 20 Premier League players who need a change of scenery pretty sharpish, else they risk falling into the background and burying their careers in mediocrity.
Please note, we haven't included players whose contracts are set to expire this summer and therefore will move for free. Nicklas Bendtner, that's you out.
There's no future deal for Victor Moses at Liverpool given the paucity of quality he's shown in a red shirt, and he doesn't fit the Jose Mourinho blueprint at Chelsea either.
That leaves the Nigerian to find a new club this summer and the 2014 World Cup comes at a perfect time. The tournament in Brazil will be a veritable shop window for the attacker, and he'll know he's potentially playing for his next contract.
Javier Hernandez has made just four Premier League starts this season and is clearly frustrated with his lack of playing time.
His lack of match sharpness shows when playing (poorly) for Mexico and if he plays even remotely well this summer at the World Cup, he knows he'll receive offers from elsewhere.
Much like Moses, he could be playing for his future.
Shinji Kagawa is a bit of a cult hero at Manchester United, but his playing time hasn't gotten any better this season and it doesn't figure to in the years to come.
As per The Daily Mail, the Japanese ace's former manager Jurgen Klopp "weeps" when he sees such a talented playmaker utilised in such a bit-part role.
There'll be no shortage of teams looking to use him right if he's allowed to go.
Alan Hutton has been frozen out of Aston Villa's plans completely.
He was sent on loan to Real Mallorca last season and on his return was forced to train with the U-18 squad and does not interact with the first-team. Paul Lambert has been trying to find a suitor for him but to no avail, and the best either Scot can hope for is a Championship loan.
Still, £40,000-per-week soothes the pain.
Jack Rodwell was a surprise deadline-day transfer in 2012, costing Manchester City around £12 million.
His reputation as a promising young centre-back/central midfielder was without question, but you couldn't say the same thing about his injury record.
He has made just seven Premier League starts over the past two years because of knocks and niggles and even when he is fit, he can't get into the side because of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho.
Kyle Naughton plays a reasonable amount of games as backup left-back and right-back for Tottenham Hotspur, so from a playing time-perspective he's doing OK.
The problem is, Spurs fans are somewhat sick of him, and he would do well to find a club that appreciates what he brings to the table a little more.
He hasn't developed as they'd hoped after plunging around £5 million on him as a youngster.
If there's a petition produced to get you removed from contention to play for your nation, you probably know where you stand with the fans.
That's where Tom Cleverley is right now, and there will have been plenty of Manchester United fans who signed the petition given his near-untenable position with them too.
He's actually a good player, not that anyone cares, and he could carve out a career in La Liga with ease.
Iago Aspas landed his dream move to Liverpool last summer and impressed greatly in preseason but from the first game of the campaign it's pretty much been downhill for the Spaniard.
He needs to get out as soon as possible, as while Brendan Rodgers may see him as adequate backup, that's all he'll ever be at this point in time.
If you're fourth or fifth choice at a club that only plays one striker, you need to go.
Jos Hoovield asked to leave Southampton in January, but Mauricio Pochettino blocked a move, say Sky Sports.
That's hardly a surprise when you consider that Dejan Lovren was injured and the Dutchman represented Saints' only cover at centre-back for six weeks, but the summer will be his chance to go.
And go he should. He's not a bad player, but his Premier League record has been tarnished by unfortunate own goals.
When you don't even make the bench for the Capital One Cup final, you know your career is in a state of flux.
That's what Jozy Altidore faces after a wholly unimpressive spell in his first season back in the Premier League so far. He's a big-bodied target man who can put himself about, but his distribution and touch has been absolutely dreadful and he gives the ball away in key areas.
Premier League Mark II has been a failure.
Realising Alou Diarra is still on West Ham's books represents one of those genuine moments where you'd completely forgotten the player still exists.
After starting for France at Euro 2012, he moved to the Hammers in what was lauded as a fantastic piece of business. He boasts technical skill and physical prowess, but he's barely played under Sam Allardyce.
Granted, he had a nasty knee injury but even when fit he has not been selected.
Unlike Javier Hernandez, Wilson Palacios doesn't let his lack of playing time for Stoke City effect his form for his national team.
That said, he owes it to himself to look at a move away from the Britannia Stadium, as he's started just three Premier League games under Mark Hughes this season.
He's a very capable player in the right system and many clubs would be happy to have him.
Neil Taylor's promising career has been knocked badly by a broken ankle and just two years removed from starting at the Olympics for Great Britain, he's firmly on the sidelines at Swansea City.
He told The Mirror recently that he needs to find a way out of the Liberty Stadium with his path blocked by the impressive Ben Davies, and Premier League clubs should be falling over themselves to bid for the 25-year-old defender.
In November 2013, The Liverpool Echo confirmed Apostolos Vellios' Everton career was on the brink after refusing to go out on loan.
He was once a promising striker who could make a real impact off the bench and even scored the first Roberto Martinez goal (a header in preseason), but there's no chance of him featuring now.
He'd be wise to find a permanent solution as quickly as possible.
John Obi Mikel
It would be hard to leave such a successful side if you were John Obi Mikel, but it feels like his opportunities at Chelsea are lessening by the day.
For a long time he was their most dependable anchor midfielder, but he's always played better further forward for Nigeria and arrived at the club as a creative No. 10.
Now Nemanja Matic is top-dog, so Mikel can't even get a look in at his converted position. Time to go?
According to David Anderson of The Mirror, Liverpool rejected Rafa Benitez's approach to take Daniel Agger on loan to Napoli this winter.
It feels like a delaying technique at most, as when Mamadou Sakho returns to fitness he will slot straight in at left-centre-back and look to hit the form he was in pre-injury.
Agger was once the golden boy at Anfield, but he's fallen from grace in recent years. If he wants continued first-team football he should think about Naples again this summer.
Papiss Cisse must be wondering what on earth he has to do to score a goal.
He's only managed a single strike this season and that was a gift from the penalty spot. Every other chance he's been supplied with he's either sliced it to kingdom come or blazed it miles over.
The situation is a far-cry from his outstanding half-season cameo after joining from Freiburg, and it feels like his Newcastle United nightmare won't end until he...leaves Newcastle United.
Etienne Capoue's transfer to Tottenham Hotspur last summer was unheralded, but Ligue 1 aficionados knew the Premier League side had landed a great deal.
The Frenchman started off well but after a short injury lay-off has never really managed to catch fire. He has been unable to displace fan-favourite monster Sandro, and Tim Sherwood trusts Nabil Bentaleb explicitly.
Could be time to move again.
Massadio Haidara's need to leave Newcastle United isn't as urgent as the 19 other players in our list, but his grand total of zero Premier League starts this season has to be a concern.
His rawness at Nancy was apparent and while he possessed obvious power and instincts, his technical skills and decision-making were not up to scratch.
Rarely do these things get better sitting on the bench. In truth, he may have made the move to the Magpies a year or two too soon.
Demba Ba has made just two Premier League starts this season due to the presence of Samuel Eto'o and Fernando Torres up front.
With Romelu Lukaku set to return to Chelsea next season and take up the startling mantle for the team, that should be sounding off serious alarm bells in the Sengalese's head.
A season-long loan move to Arsenal was blocked last September, according to Jamie Sanderson of The Metro. That may not happen again if the Gunners were to ask a second time.