Aston Villa

Meet The Men Who’s Premier League Days Look Seriously Numbered

The transfer window may now be tightly shut until January, but there are still options available to managers looking to give their squads a desperate boost.  The free agent market is littered with high profile names who, for a variety of different reasons, find themselves scrambling for a club.

Although the likes of Michael Owen, Alessandro Del Piero and Salomon Kalou have ended months of speculation by signing for their respective new clubs, there remains a select few who are still waiting for the right club to come along with the right offer.

Here, we look at a list of players who are still available without a transfer fee attached, whom Premier League managers could be tempted to have a look at..

  • Emile Heskey

The former Aston Villa, Liverpool, Wigan, Birmingham and Leicester striker is looking for another club to prolong his indifferent career.  Heskey, who was released by Aston Villa this summer, has played over 60 games for England, yet remains the butt of many a joke and is struggling to find a new side to play for.

Just 9 goals in 92 appearances spread over three years for Villa has done little to stomp up much interest in Heskey, although he did turn down an offer from Ian Holloway to play at Blackpool for a paltry £90 a week.  With Stoke rumoured to be interested in the striker, Heskey could yet be reunited with Michael Owen, eight years after the pair played together for Liverpool.

  • Craig Gordon

When Craig Gordon moved to Sunderland in 2007, the £9 million transfer fee  The Black Cats paid Hearts for his services was, at the time, the highest amount a British club had ever paid for a goalkeeper.  Yet just 5 years later, Gordon finds himself without a club, although a number of teams are linked with the Scottish keeper.

An unfortunate succession of injuries blighted Gordon’s time at the Stadium of Light, but at the age of just 29 he is surely worth the gamble.  Unlike many of the free agents, Gordon shouldn’t find himself short of options as he is clearly a very talented goalkeeper who still has plenty of years left in him.

  • Owen Hargreaves

Another player whose career has sadly been dominated by injury.  Having played for both Manchester clubs in the past 5 seasons, Hargreaves may struggle to attract a team of similar stature again due to his fitness.  He trained with QPR earlier on in the summer, and although the London club have a recent habit of signing players aged over 30, they opted not to offer Hargreaves a contract, meaning his search for a new club continues.

When fully fit, Hargreaves would be a useful addition for the majority of Premier League sides, but the chances of him remaining injury free are slim, and this will put many clubs off.

  • Nigel Reo Coker

Reo Coker became a free agent this summer after leaving relegated Bolton.  He played in all but one of Bolton’s games last season, so fitness shouldn’t be too much of a problem for anyone weighing up a move for Reo Coker.  Ironically, Reo Coker found himself in a near identical situation last season following his release from Aston Villa, and despite his former Bolton teammate Zat Knight’s wishes for Reo Coker to make an immediate return to the Reebok, the 28 year old still believes his ability warrants Premier League football and is holding out for an offer from a top flight side.  Fulham expressed an interest in him earlier in the summer, and with the loss of Dempsey, Dembele, Murphy and Etuhu this summer, a move to Craven Cottage makes sense.

  • John Carew

A player now well acquainted with English football, Carew is once again looking for a new club following spells at Aston Villa, Stoke and most recently West Ham.  Having played a part in helping the Hammers return to the Premier League last season, Sam Allardyce decided not to offer Carew another contract with the club, meaning the Norwegian is once again a free agent.

Rumours had been circulating that Neil Lennon was keen to bring Carew north of the border to Celtic, but with clubs now having registered players for the Champions League group stages, that move seems to be unlikely.

  • James McFadden

McFadden departed Goodison Park for a second time at the end of last season, and once again has joined the free agents list.  The Scot featured sporadically at best for Everton last season, not making a first team appearance until April.  McFadden trained with Motherwell earlier this summer, the club he began his career with, but manager Stuart McCall declined to offer McFadden a contract.  Despite the setback of not signing for Motherwell, Scotland still seems the most likely destination for McFadden.

  • Papa Bouba Diop

Tough tackling Diop is another player who wasn’t offered a new contract with West Ham following their promotion back to the Premier League.  Like Carew, he signed a one-year deal at the beginning of last season at Upton Park and played 16 times for the Hammers but didn’t do enough to convince Sam Allardyce to offer him another deal.  At the age of 34, Diop is a player with limited years left to offer so might struggle to orchestrate a return to Premier League football.

  • Michel Salgado

Salgado surprised many when he moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2009.  Having spent the ten years prior at Real Madrid it must have been something of a culture shock to swap Madrid for Lancashire.  Now aged 36, Salgado has insisted his wish to remain in England and sign for another Premier League side, disproving rumours he was set for retirement.

The Spanish left back rarely featured during Blackburn’s relegation from the Premier League last season, so teams may be reluctant to offer Salgado a deal for fear of his fitness.  A return to Spain may be Salgado’s best option of getting more regular football.

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