With FIFA’s financial fairplay about to kick in, many teams across Europe are looking to balance the books before splashing the cash. Even Manchester City have kept their wallet safe. So with many teams looking for a bargain and many players coming to the magical ’12 months left’ stage of their contracts who are the best buys in the Premier league at the moment?
I have compiled a list of players in no order that could be snapped up on the cheap and make a big impact, along with some teams I think would go for them:
- Dimitar Berbatov
Now fourth choice on the list of strikers at Old Trafford and with one year left, Berbatov is most likely out the door this summer. At 31 he wants to play regularly and won’t be guaranteed that in Manchester.
People have given him a label of lazy but I think it’s just his style and the stats of his time at United tell a very different story. Everyone knows he was joint top scorer in the league the season before last but last season he managed a goal for United every 74 minutes.
Some Manchester United fans regard him as a failure but those are the ones spoilt by success. Berbatov could become a hero for a club with European ambitions and at a snip of the £32.5million United paid for him.
Potential suitors: Aston Villa, West Ham and Fulham.
- Clint Dempsey
With 17 goals and 7 assists the 2011/12 season was easily Dempsey’s most prolific. He was able to drive the ball toward attack from defence at Craven Cottage and was usually at the end of the move to finish with aplomb.
Fulham seemed resigned to letting him go and with his contract nearing the end they will want to make some money off a man looking for European football. Roma have been interested, as have Liverpool so the fact his contract is nearly out won’t matter too much to Fulham as they can certainly get a bidding war going for the American.
Around £10million is the figure I would expect him to go for and for a player that was responsible for 24 goals last season I think that’s a good deal. With Liverpool’s USA connections they will seem to be the number one contender for his signature but how much could Manchester United have done with his services last year.
Potential suitors: Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and Roma.
- Daniel Sturridge
If someone had told me in January that Daniel Sturridge would be available for sale I would have laughed at them but then again I wouldn’t have imagined Chelsea winning the Champions League either.
This young striker has the potential to be something great but right now he is too selfish. For this reason he fell out of order with Di Matteo and now that Abramovich wants to do some shopping he looks to be ready to do a Berbatov and leave under a dark cloud after a good start.
His goal against UAE shows his class and 11 goals last season didn’t happen by accident. Someone will buy Sturridge for a fraction of what he is worth and someone could reap the benefits of this. Who that will be is a tricky one but whoever they are prepare for a big ego and a lot of goals.
Potential suitors: Tottenham and Arsenal.
- Victor Moses
At the start of every season Wigan are always relegation favourites and by the end of the season we are all left scratching our heads wondering how on earth they stayed up.
The answer, apart from the eloquent and intelligent Roberto Martinez, is that they always have a player that excels just at the right time. Last year it was Hugo Rodallega and before him Antonio Valencia. Last year the Premiership got its first glimpse of Victor Moses and we liked it.
He has pace, power and creativity and looks to be on the move. At only 21 he may want to look for a team willing to play him regularly, making Chelsea a no go. Perhaps a team that wants to break into Europe under a manager who never quite did it before say Martin O’Neil?
Whoever buys this man should use him now whilst he is young and bold and will probably get an excellent winger for about £8-10million.
Potential suitors: Sunderland, Newcastle United and Chelsea.
- Scott Sinclair
A man brought to Wales by the man who brought Wales to the Premier League. Scott Sinclair showed us last season that Chelsea were wrong to let him go without a chance and with a new man in charge it isn’t clear if Sinclair will be around next season.
With his pace and the ability to play the passing game Swansea were famed for under Rodgers he could easily ply his trade further up the league. Another player with a year left on his contract could go for less than £10million if he was desperate for the move and considering the amount of clubs watching Adam Johnson, they would do well to journey westwards to watch a player that could be available at a lower price and with lower wage demands.
Potential suitors: Liverpool, Newcastle United and Sunderland.
- Frank Lampard
At 34 many of you will be wondering why I put Frank on this list? Well for those of you asking that question I will give a two word answer: Andrea Pirlo. Last season the Italian was released by AC Milan and many thought his career was over but instead Juventus snapped him up and he was a revelation.
I don’t think that if Arsenal sign him they will win the title but I do think he can play an important role in many teams midfield. His passing and shooting ability are reflected in his consistently excellent stats for Chelsea since he joined. Last season he became the first midfielder to reach double digits in the scoring charts for 8 consecutive seasons.
For this reason any team playing in Europe looking for a wise head to sit back and control a midfield should splash a few million on Lamps if he became available. Due to his Chelsea connections he would probably move abroad but never rule out a move back to his first club.
Potential suitors: West Ham, LA Galaxy and Inter Milan.
- Theo Walcott
Another speedy winger with 12 months to go is Walcott. It seems as though each season is the one that Walcott will finally fulfil his potential but either injury or poor form disrupts this.
Even so he is a firm fans favourite and has contributed 8 goals and 11 assists last season which would make you wonder why Arsenal are leaving it so late to tie up his contract. This leaves the door open for a team looking to get Walcott on the cheap and rumours of Chelsea have been circling.
Walcott could be ready to move on from Arsenal and it may be the thing that finally turns him into the superstar we all thought he would be, only one way to find out though.
Potential suitors: Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
- Moussa Dembele
Much has been said of the overtly improved Belgian midfielder since his arrival. His dribbling and passing have earned him such admirers as Manchester United and Liverpool. He hasn’t been able to turn his technique into a game changing ability just yet but his quick adaptability to the Premier League shows that if at the right club he could go far.
Martin Jol would love to keep him at Fulham but once again Europe beckons. Manchester United is an easy option for his next destination but I think joining up with AVB’s revolution in north London would also make a lot of sense.
Potential suitors: Manchester United and Tottenham.
- Yossi Benayoun
The only member of the list not to be in the last year of his contract Benayoun. This is due to age and the fact Roman Abramovich has probably forgotten who he is but Benayoun can certainly still play.
His loan spell at Arsenal wasn’t littered with extravagant displays but his work ethic and constant running made him an important asset. Fulham are rumoured to be interested and they could probably get the midfielder for couple of million. Any other team in a similar situation to Fulham should consider making an inquiry at least as he could become an important squad player and has shown he is able to pop up with the odd goal too.
Potential suitors: Fulham, West Ham and Sunderland.
In his debut season in the Premier League Brunt caused a few shocks with his powerful left foot. He showed he was able to score from distance and whip in a beautiful ball too.
Last season he slipped off the pace a little but he has been a consistent performer since his arrival from Sheffield Wednesday 5 years a go and always gives 100%. With the clock ticking on his contract the offer of a new challenge could entice him away from the Hawthorns.
Potential suitors: Stoke City, Reading and Norwich City.
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