Summer Transfers: 10 Over-the-Hill Players Not Worth Banking On
The rumour mill is churning right now, and players are starting to change clubs left and right. With the recently-concluded World Cup providing a showcase for many emerging talents this transfer cycle, many of the players moving or rumoured to be moving are either proven players such as David Villa or emerging talents such as Memet Ozil.
There are always clubs, however, that will look for a cheap veteran signing, much like Raul's at Schalke. It might be an attempt to rekindle old form, or an attempt to provide some veteran leadership in the dressing room. While signing older players is a risk in any sport, they often provide good options for clubs, especially those with limited means.
The following 10 players are good older players available on the transfer or free agent markets, but they might not be good enough to carry a team or bank on.
Roque Santa Cruz
Roque's not old—in fact, he's in his prime in terms of age. But Roque is just one of those players who feels older than he really is.
He's been oft-injured and out of form with Manchester City, and his glory days at Blackburn seem long lost. He's worth the risk if a club can get him on the super-cheap, but a £8M price tag seems prohibitive.
Best case scenario, Roque may turn out to be the next Mark Viduka, which ain't too shabby. I hope that he's past his injury problems and turns out to be the Roque Santa Cruz we've all come to respect.
Roque may have been one of the last names I filled out on this list (out of the need to list reasonably-known players), but Sol Campell was definitely the first name I filled out.
He's 35. He's slow. He's not as active and keen as he used to be. He's a traitor (Spurs to Arsenal), a money-grubber (Notts County, anyone?), and simply too old. He may think that he can still cut it in the Premiership, but most teams probably wouldn't take the risk of playing him regularly.
Start working on your coaching badges, Sol.
Camoranesi has been a well-rounded, box-to-box-type midfielder playing out wide, and he is a loyal servant to Juventus. But loyalty only takes players so far in today's game, unfortunately, and Juventus is now dangling Mauro on the transfer market.
He's been rumoured to be a centerpiece in a swap for AC Milan's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but that would be a poor move for Milan's inferior side. Mauro's getting older and is slowly losing his spark, and that's no good for a AC Milan team that is trying to move forward with youth.
Marchena has been wildly successful at Mestalla, but his Valencia career has been mutually proclaimed over. Other Spanish teams would be wise to get Marchena on the cheap (and Valencia, with its perpetual financial issues, would eagerly accept), but Marchena's not a difference-maker anymore.
Marchena wouldn't rescue an ambitious side or a side trying to avoid relegation.
Somewhat fat, somewhat old, and ways away from his glory days. It seems more and more like this Ronaldinho embodies the personality of his current club—an afterthought.
Ronaldinho may still be a technical wizard, but he's slowly creeping into the world of the Veron's and Riquelme's, rather than towards the distinct Ronaldinho we used to know in France and Spain.
Ronaldinho would be a good signing for many clubs, and a difference-maker at many as well, but it may not be worth the financial commitment. He's on the decline.
Old. Never prolific. Isn't Teddy Sheringham (who somehow managed to score much more than the weight of his form both on and off the pitch). Bolton may be signing him for his experience and for squad depth, but Coyle's probably trying to strike it rich again when there's nothing left to strike.
I've never been high on Craig Bellamy, but I definitely respect his generally well-rounded skill set and ability to make an impact at every club he has played at. Unfortunately, he's getting to be on the wrong side of 30, and his game will fall as the pace he relies on heavily diminishes.
The distraction may not be worth it.
Young's a good and popular player who has suffered some bad injury luck as of late, but he's not Liverpool-quality (or what we thought was Liverpool-quality). He's no better of an option than Insua was, and the Red of the Merseyside will see that on display as Hodgson tries to comes to grips with his fading squad.
UPDATE: As noted in a comment below, the Birmingham Mail confirms that Young has spurned a move to Liverpool due to contract terms.
Gudjohnsen is clearly a talented and well-rounded forward who many teams would love to have. Heck, he's the type of player Bolton expected when they bought Johan Elmander a few years back. He is the complete forward many teams would covet.
But Gudjohnsen is also on the wrong side of 30, and he was recently phased out of both Barca and Monaco. While his technical skill is still there, he can no longer be considered a focal point of a team. West Ham would be foolish to think that he's the guy who could save them from relegation.
A blend of Mauro Camoranesi and a reliable forward in his prime, Maxi Rodriguez crashed hard at Liverpool. We all thought he could rekindle the glory days of the Rodriguez-Torres combo at Atletico Madrid, but it just wasn't there. He didn't figure things out, lost a step, was often confused, and is closing in on the wrong side of 30.
A move back to a modest club in Spain would help resurrect his career, but he's never going to be the elite player we thought he could be at times during his long spell at Madrid's other club.