Who’s Staying Up?
With the European domestic season coming to an end, everybody has already turned their attention toward Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It’s always interesting to see which nations have improved and declined since the last edition of the tournament, which players will announce their arrival on the international stage and which players will fail to show up. And probably the most important storyline at every international tournament that dominates the news in the subsequent months is, who will set themselves up for a big move in the Summer Transfer Window.
Diego Costa’s transfer to Chelsea looks all but done, and the likes of Edinson Cavani, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku could set themselves up for huge transfers if they have a good World Cup. These transfers and transfer rumours will dominate the window, but the rumours that will fly under the radar that will probably produce the most deals will be those involving smaller clubs and the players with less buzz than those expected to star at the World Cup.
The transfers that I want to address now are those that involve players who were relegated with their Premier League clubs in May. I will pick out three players each from Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff and tell you why they deserve to stay in the Premier League, as well as identifying a destination for them. Enjoy.
Signed: £2.8million from Leeds, July 2012
Position: Winger 2013/2014: 34 apps, 7 goals
Robert Snodgrass created a lot of buzz throughout his four years at Leeds and it was only a matter of time before a Premier League club picked up the Scottish international. His quality shone through immediately as he scored six goals and assisted eight to help Norwich secure an 11th place finish in the Premier League. Norwich were a shadow of themselves in the second half of 2013/2014 as their big money strikers flopped massively, leaving Snodgrass as the club’s main attacking outlet from midfield. Snodgrass should earn a transfer to another bottom-half Premier League club, preferably one that has lacked creativity this season.
Perfect Fit: West Ham
Signed: £4.8million from Twente, July 2013
Position: Midfielder 2013/2014: 32 apps, 4 goals
If things had worked out as planned, Leroy Fer could of been playing in the Europa League next season. He did eventually get his move to the Premier League, and was one of the early signings of the season as his energetic, box-to-box style helped Norwich to a respectable mid-table position at the turn of the year. The lack of goals from the strikers caused the club to collapse during the second half of the season and a hamstring injury to Fer which kept him sidelined for six games didn’t help, the Canaries picked up four points while Fer was out injured. Everton could still benefit from a player like Fer to bolster their squad during their potential 60-game season, as well as other Premier League clubs lacking some power in midfield.
Perfect Fit: Everton
Signed: £2.5million from Blackburn, July 2013
Position: Left Back/Left Winger 2013/2014: 37 apps, 1 goal
I was surprised when no-one picked up the Swedish international following Blackburn’s relegation in 2012 as he’d been one of their brightest performers throughout their final few years in the Premier League. He is the prototype modern full-back, which is what endears him to people. He was one of the bright spots during Norwich’s dismal season. Like any modern full-back, he can be caught out of position at times but his attacking contribution can’t be ignored and it should land him a transfer back to the Premier League in the coming months, obviously one seeking a natural, fit left-back.
Perfect Fit: Sunderland
Signed: £530,000 from Aston Villa, January 2011
Position: Midfielder 2013/2014: 41 apps, 8 goals
After a strong start to his Premier League career with Reading, Sidwell’s stock plummeted following disappointing spells at Chelsea and Aston Villa. Fulham have been known to sign experienced Premier League players over the years, so it came as no surprise when they rescued Sidwell from his West Midlands nightmare. After a slow start, Sidwell eventually gained a permanent starting berth in the Cottagers’ midfield and was unquestionably their best player this season, as well as their top goal scorer. He has earned the right to retain his status as a Premier League player, and should suit clubs looking for a box-to-box midfielder.
Perfect Fit: Newcastle
Signed: £4million from Tottenham, August 2013
Position: Midfielder 2013/2014: 33 apps, 2 goals
Sidwell wasn’t the only Fulham midfielder who had an excellent season, Scott Parker proved why he’s been playing Premier League football for the best part of 15 years. After the arrival of several new players at Tottenham, Parker was deemed surplus to requirements and made the move to get regular playing time and a potential World Cup place. While he failed at his attempts to get back in the England squad, he still had an excellent season and should attract potential suitors. His 2.9 tackles per game and 86% pass completion proves that he’s a perfect anchor for any mid-table club. Perhaps a return to one of his old stomping grounds will suffice.
Perfect Fit(s): Newcastle or West Ham
Signed: £2.2million from Wolfsburg, August 2012
Position: Attacking Midfielder/Winger 2013/2014: 25 apps, 6 goals
Dejagah had a fairly disappointing first season in England, as he failed to score or find any sort of form at all under Martin Jol. The start of this season was worse, he didn’t play until November and still lacked form under Jol when he did get in the team. Once Jol got the sack, Dejagah’s role in the team began to change as he became one of team’s focal points as they nearly escaped relegation. A versatile player who can play anywhere across the attacking line, Dejagah showed the explosiveness and creativity required to perform in the Premier League. It won’t hurt either if he has a good showing for Iran at the World Cup.
Perfect Fit: West Ham
Signed: £8million from Tottenham, July 2013
Position: Centre-Back 2013/2014: 39 games, 5 goals
As with Scott Parker, Caulker’s move from Spurs to the Welsh capital was supposed to get him on the plane to Brazil. He might of made the cut had he stayed at Spurs and played 15-20 games, but he made the admiral decision to move for more playing time and became Cardiff’s most expensive player for about a week. Caulker and Cardiff got off to a good start early in the season as they took points off some of the big boys, while Caulker often found himself in the team of the week. Eventually, weaknesses in other areas of the team led to Cardiff’s demise, but Caulker performed excellently both offensively and defensively. If certain rumours are to be believed, Caulker may be set to become part of a certain revolution.
Perfect Fit: Liverpool
Signed: £1.1million from Birmingham, July 2012
Position: Midfielder 2013/2014: 37 apps, 7 goals
Club stalwart Peter Whittingham, as well as new signings Peter Odemwingie and Andreas Cornelius were supposed to supply the bulk of the goals that would keep Cardiff City in the Premier League. Jordan Mutch was supposed to be a spoke on the wheel, keeping it nice and simple and providing passes for his more attack minded teammates. With it all said and done, Mutch lead the team in both goals and assists and was the heart and soul of their survival bid. What happened? Well, besides the fact that his teammates played badly, Jordan Mutch finally came of age. Aaron Ramsey-lite, if you will. At 22-years of age, Mutch has a high ceiling and his versatility to play anywhere in midfield can benefit a lot of clubs.
Perfect Fit: Southampton
Signed: £11.5million from Sevilla, August 2013
Position: Defensive Midfielder 2013/2014: 35 games, 0 goals
It was one of the shocks of the transfer window when Cardiff City splashed out a club-record £11.5million to bring Medel to the Premier League. Medel was a regular for Sevilla, one of Spain’s big teams outside of the top two, and was an important member of the Chilean national team who were an emerging side on the international stage and yet here he was, joining a newly promoted Premier League side. Early on, it look like he made a good choice as he was a prominent figure as Cardiff started well in the Premier League. His defensive positioning, awareness and leadership was a must for a relegation threatened side, but like everyone else on the list, that wasn’t enough as the weaknesses throughout the team eventually relegated them. Although Medel would likely prefer a return to Spain, he will have no shortage of offers from Premier League clubs.
Perfect Fit: Swansea (Dare he?)
By the end of the summer, the majority of these players and a few of their teammates will probably be snapped up by some of the Premier League clubs I mentioned as well as the three promoted clubs. The nine I mentioned have performed particularly well this season, and it’d be a shame if they’d to play in the Championship next season.
My name is Gerard O, I’m a new writer here at Tru School Sports and look forward to bringing you one or two articles every week. Please forgive me if some of my early work is sloppy as it’s been a while since I’ve written for someone, I promise the content and quality will improve. I’ve had previous experience at Bleacher Report and a few small sites. Peace out.