Giggs, Vidic and 20 Premier League Players Potentially Bidding Farewell to Clubs

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

Giggs, Vidic and 20 Premier League Players Potentially Bidding Farewell to Clubs

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    Monday night's Premier League game saw Manchester United fans say goodbye to central defender Nemanja Vidic, who is departing the club this summer, while player-manager Ryan Giggs could well also be on his way out.

    Summer always brings about a period of change and evolution at football clubs, but this summer it looks as though a great number of fan favourites at different sides could be moving on.

    And there are a lot of players who have been there an equally long time, without necessarily being favourites too.

    Here are 20 of them!

Ryan Giggs

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    Ryan Giggs has played his entire career for Manchester United, moved into coaching of late and, since David Moyes' sacking last month, taken over as player-manager for the remainder of the campaign.

    He may or may not remain at the club next season, depending on who comes in as manager and what the new man's plans are for the backroom staff, but there are plenty who think Giggs could be the next United boss after that.

    Giggs is a legend of the English game, never mind just of United's, and his lack of presence will be noted when he retires from playing.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Any who want a highly rated, yet entirely unproven head coach...or Louis van Gaal.

Nemanja Vidic

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    Central defender Vidic is leaving Old Trafford after nine full seasons with the club.

    He has been their captain, won five league titles and the Champions League, been rated as the league's best centre-back in his time and has forged a longstanding partnership with Rio Ferdinand.

    After more than 200 league appearances, he's set to move to Inter Milan this summer.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Inter, as they've already signed him.

Rio Ferdinand

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    The other half of that partnership also looks to be on his way.

    Rio Ferdinand is out of contract, has struggled with injury for the past couple of seasons and has not looked close to his domineering best of yesteryear.

    His future is still less clear than that of Vidic, but an incoming manager will want changes to be made and central defence looks easiest to restructure with the old guard at the end of their deals.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Mid-table Premier League sides with a decent wage bill.

Patrice Evra

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    Still at United and over to left-back, Patrice Evra could be a third defender on the way out.

    He's clearly still capable of performing to a high level, but United have been linked with a number of new left-backs over the past three transfer windows and clearing the defence out and starting completely afresh must be an option the club are giving serious consideration to.

    The French defender will go to the World Cup, but his footballing career beyond that will probably lay outside of Old Trafford.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Monaco and top Italian sides.

Ashley Cole

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    We begin our tour of the rest of the league at Chelsea, where another veteran left-back seems on the verge of finally moving on.

    Ashley Cole has been at Chelsea since 2006 and a fixture of the first team for seven seasons since then—up until this campaign.

    Despite losing his place for most of the year and his obviously advancing years, the 33-year-old Cole remains capable of playing to a high standard and will have no trouble finding another top team to take on his salary and help challenge for titles.

    Which sides should be looking at him: PSG, Liverpool and...Arsenal?

Bacary Sagna

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    Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna is coming to the end of his deal, and there remains speculation about whether he will stay at the club or not.

    Seven seasons at the club have not yielded any trophies, but he could yet win the FA Cup in what would be his last appearance for the club if he moves on in the summer.

    Aged 31, he is an experienced member of the side, yet his natural athleticism and style of play means he is far from leaving the peak of his powers behind.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Most Champions League teams except Bayern, Dortmund and Barcelona.

Chris Brunt

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    West Bromwich Albion captain Chris Brunt has been at the club since 2007 and has been club skipper for almost half of those seven seasons.

    Reliable and hard-working whether on the wing or in midfield, Brunt helped West Brom to two promotions into the Premier League before helping them solidify their position in the top flight over the last four years.

    Still only 29, Brunt may have years left in the Premier League, but he may now believe, being available on a free transfer, that he has the chance to push for a squad place at a team with higher aspirations than West Brom.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Aston Villa, Newcastle, Sunderland, etc.

Joleon Lescott

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    Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott has been unable to win a regular place this season and is expected to leave the club in summer.

    While never a top-drawer defender even in his prime, Lescott certainly had ability and held his own in good sides. Aged 32 by the time next season kicks off, he's likely looking at a move to a lower-half Premier League team unless he moves abroad.

    Lescott has won all three domestic titles with City.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Anyone in the Premier League who needs experience at the back. As a regular starter, mid-table sides including West Ham, Swansea or Palace.

Phil Bardsley

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    Phil Bardsley is in his seventh season with Sunderland, the only club he has played for under a permanent deal other than his first side (Manchester United).

    Having played close to 200 games for them, he's been a fixture of the Black Cats' seasons of struggle for some time, but has also had a few run-ins with previous coaches.

    Even so, he's a proven top-flight full-back who offers versatility with his breaks forward from deep, tenacious defending and committed on-pitch performances. Aged 28, he still has plenty left to give.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Sunderland, with a new contract, if they finish the job and stay up.

Joe Cole

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    Joe Cole came through West Ham's youth ranks before embarking on a career with Chelsea and Liverpool and then returning to the Hammers just over a year ago.

    The 32-year-old has had fitness and consistency issues since rejoining the London club, but still plays a fairly prominent squad role for them. No longer the creative young wizard of old, he now offers link-up play and tries to support in the penalty area from wide starting roles.

    Cole's 18-month deal is up, though West Ham could extend that.

    Which sides should be looking at him: West Ham if they have no other options for a sub role, or QPR if they come up.

Marc Albrighton

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    Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton has come back from injury to feature frequently in their end-of-season run, but he has never quite managed to make himself an indispensable part of the team since breaking through in 2008-09.

    A pacy winger with good crossing ability, Albrighton was tipped for the top as a young player but, now aged 24, is on the verge of leaving his childhood club on a free transfer.

    He certainly has plenty of intriguing traits, but are any of them enough to take him any higher than he is now?

    Which sides should be looking at him: Villa should renew if they can't spend to replace him. Most lower-half Premier League clubs would appreciate his pace and width for a rotation player.

John Arne Riise

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    Fulham left-back John Arne Riise has played 10 seasons in the Premier League, the last three with his current club.

    He is out of contract in summer and, with the west London side having just been relegated, is a certainty to depart.

    The 33-year-old is past his best, no longer having the great engine and acceleration of old to get down the flank with regularity. Riise has lost his place in the team this year.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Lower-half teams in any major European league in need of depth and experience.

Lukasz Fabianski

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    Arsenal's longtime second-choice goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski should finally leave after seven years at the club, having made barely 30 league appearances.

    A competent and capable stopper, Fabianski clearly requires first-team football now, having been an understudy his entire career and now having turned 29 years of age.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Despite not having the chance to consistently perform at the top level, the suspicion is that Fabianski could likely be a No. 1 stopper at a high level. Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga sides looking at European football could do worse than to take a chance on him.

Shola Ameobi

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    Shola Ameobi, Newcastle United's long-serving striker, is out of contract this summer and should finally depart from St. James' Park.

    Having made his debut in 2000-01, he has played 14 seasons for the Magpies, with only a loan spell at Stoke City breaking his career-long service to the club.

    Never a regular scorer, Ameobi's strengths have always lay in his link-up and hold-up play, while he has been used as an impact sub too.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Championship sides.

Craig Gardner

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    Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner is one of several Black Cats performers up for renewal or release, with the versatile player probably in a better position than some of his team-mates with regards to future requirement.

    Although he does not always start, Gardner has been an important part of the squad who is often called upon to either reinforce or provide additional attacking impetus.

    His three-year deal ends this summer and he should have no problem staying in the Premier League, if not the same club.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Most bottom-half clubs.

Nicklas Bendtner

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    Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner made his debut in 2005-06, but has really only had three seasons as part of the Gunners' first team as a player whom Arsene Wenger would call upon.

    Loan spells at Birmingham, Sunderland and Juventus did not help him secure a spot in the Gunners' starting XI, despite being a regular for Denmark's international team.

    A powerful forward whose best attribute might just be his self-confidence, Bendtner isn't likely to be missed at the Emirates once he departs on a free in summer.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Jussi Jaaskelainen

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    Veteran goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is now 39 years old and is out of contract from West Ham United in the summer.

    Though a regular last season, he has been usurped by Adrian in goal this year, finally ending his status as Sam Allardyce's longtime preferred No. 1.

    The Finnish stopper isn't likely to get another gig as a first choice in the top flight.

    Which sides should be looking at him: West Ham should renew if he's happy to stay as No. 2. Otherwise, it's the Championship, retirement or a move to a minor league.

Robert Koren

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    Hull City's Robert Koren has been at the club since 2010, staying four years to date and captaining the club during that time. He also played at West Brom beforehand, giving him a total of close to eight years in English football by this summer.

    A versatile midfield playmaker, Koren has considerable ability on the ball, though injury and age have robbed him somewhat of his ability to break forward quite as consistently as in previous years.

    He remains a good passer of the ball and an experienced player, but with Hull progressing he is likely to leave this summer.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Promoted sides or top-end Championship clubs.

Julian Speroni

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    Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni looks set to leave after a decade at the club, having evolved from an inconsistent but promising young keeper to one of their most reliable and favoured stars.

    The Argentine-born stopper is 34, into his final years and could opt to move out of the Premier League if he is not offered a first-team place elsewhere.

    Which sides should be looking at him: If Palace don't retain him, a free transfer outside England looks likely.

Frank Lampard

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    The biggest for last? John Terry is likely to stay at Chelsea, but Frank Lampard's future seems less clear-cut.

    He has not been a regular starter this season (or last), making just three 90-minute appearances in the league in 2014 so far. Although he still has talent to offer, Chelsea have a host of younger, more dynamic midfielders at their disposal.

    Lampard might be happy to take a pay cut and a reduced involvement to stay, but beyond that, this could be his final month at Chelsea, where he has been since 2001 and has won three league titles and the Champions League.

    Which sides should be looking at him: Any top-half Premier League sides in need of experience and depth in midfield. Manchester United and Everton might be a good fit, but Manchester City or Liverpool rather less so.