A countdown of the top ten most-likely transfers when the window opens early next year.
10. Fernando Torres & 9. Pepe Reina
My sincere apologies to all Liverpool fans, but it may well now be merely a question of when rather than if Torres and Reina move on to pastures new in search of the silverware they must surely feel is long overdue them as, when on top of their game, the pair can quite legitimately claim to be the best striker and goalkeeper in the world.
8. Daniel Agger
Agger, meanwhile, appears to be little more than a peripheral figure at Anfield these days, despite the seemingly obvious fact that he is by far and away the best defender on Liverpool’s books.
A likely destination for all three could be Inter Milan. The trio were brought to the club under Benitez’s regime, and after stellar service few fans on Merseyside could begrudge them the chance to link up with their former boss and challenge for honours at the pinnacle of European football.
7. Benni McCarthy
West Ham may struggle to find offers for a player who, despite genuine talent, has not even been able to attain full fitness since joining from Blackburn in the summer.
6. Jason Roberts
As far as I’m concerned, Sam Allardyce is responsible for wasting the talents of Benni McCarthy, having left him to rot on the bench at Ewood Park. The same fate seems to have befallen Jason Roberts; despite scoring the winner at Newcastle last night to give Allardyce victory over his former club, the striker has not been offered a new deal to keep him at Blackburn and so is sure to tempt many managers looking for a bargain.
Early promise soon faded, and a string of injuries denied Anderson the chance to reassert himself at Old Trafford. Ferguson seems to have had enough of so many lacklustre performances, and a move to Portugal or Spain would probably do both parties the world of good.
4. Shaun Wright-Phillips
Another victim of his own early successes. Put quite simply, he should never, ever have gone to Chelsea; anyone could have told him he was just another token big-money move to keep the physio company on the bench at Stamford Bridge. Wright-Phillips won’t come cheap, although Liverpool may see him as the ideal replacement for a long line of wide players who they sorely miss, and never should have sold.
(Off the top of my head: Benayoun, Pennant, Bellamy, Kewell, Riise, Diouf…)
3. Michael Owen
It was a brave gamble which, sadly, just hasn’t paid off. Although United fans could take his winner against City last season as a good enough return on a payer who cost the club absolutely nothing, the fact remains that every time Michael Owen plays, it feels like a testimonial game, with all his teammates desperately trying to set him up for an easy chance. The Owen of today would not attract many managers, yet the return of his former Anfield boss, Gerard Houllier, may see him switch to Aston Villa in January, perhaps in place of…
2. John Carew
His bust-up with the manager well-documented, Carew is almost a cert to quit the club where he has enjoyed a frustrating time, inexplicably playing second-fiddle to Emile Heskey! John Carew is a big, strong match-winner who, aside from his obvious aerial prowess, is very gifted with the ball at his feet, a combination which normally requires two strikers at least. Villa won’t realise what they’ve got until he’s gone.
(And for the last time, no, Peter Crouch DOES NOT have a good first touch or ball control!)
1. Ade Adebayor
He just has to go, doesn’t he? Despite City’s endless spending, Adebayor remains the best player at the club, and the only natural goal-scorer they have. For God’s sake, he learned his trade playing alongside Thierry Henry! Yet despite this, Adebayor has never been given a chance at City, as the lone striker role is invariably reserved for Carlos Tevez, and Ade cannot afford to wait until the Argentine makes good on his promise to return to his native land. It was difficult to decide who looked the most disgusted with Mancini’s decision to replace Tevez with Adebayor in 93rd minute of the derby stalemate last night, so City may well soon find themselves playing six across the middle. Would you put it past them?
As for Adebayor, he would walk into practically any top-tier team: but keep your eye on AC Milan and Bayern Munich.
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