After the Premier League announced the list of players that clubs had decided were surplus to requirements last week, the dust has now settled for those players to look to pastures new. Some players will be fighting off offers from potential new clubs, while others will have their agent working day and night to find them a club that meets their ambition (or large wage demands). Here are 4 players, in no particular order, who should be on the shortlists for Premier League clubs up and down the table this summer.
Steve Sidwell – Released from Fulham
In a season that provided few highlights for Fulham fans, Steve Sidwell shone out while others around him failed to flatter themselves in glory. Often seen as just a typical athletic English midfielder, Sidwell’s performances this season have attracted praise from neutrals for other areas of his game. He topped the charts in nearly every area for Fulham from a defensive view, attempting and winning the most tackles (121 to 93), as well as ground duels (355 to 185) and aerial duels (123 to 63). Sidwell also surpassed his previous goal scoring record for the season with 7 goals in 35 matches, which was the same amount the former Reading and Aston Villa midfelder had achieved in 56 appearances for Fulham beforehand in the league. Now in demand from a range of clubs in the English top flight, Sidwell will have a choice between Newcastle, Leicester, Stoke City, West Ham, AND Crystal Palace if reports in the press are correct.
Ashley Cole – Released from Chelsea
After losing his place in the side halfway through the season, Ashley Cole’s future at Chelsea has been in question for a while and tears in the final home match of the season seem indicate his departure. Alas, despite Mourinho suggesting he might stay, Cole’s contract wasn’t renewed. Still a quality player despite his advancing years and dropping from the England squad, there was been reported from Liverpool and Tottenham as well as abroad. The latter seems a more likely destination for Cole, but his experience and excellent defensive ability means he would a good signing for any club in the Premier League.
Gareth Barry – Released from Manchester City
A player who saw his reputation tarnished heavily after the 2010 World Cup, Gareth Barry’s season on loan at Everton provided success for both the club and player. His lacking of any pace whatsoever is made up for by his excellent ability to read the game and saw him make 61 interceptions. Barry’s preferred destination this summer would be at a team who play similarly to Everton under Martinez, where he can sit deep and isn’t exposed for his lack of pace while also dictating possession – Barry completed the most passes for Everton (1872) and had a passing accuracy of 87%. With European football on offer at Everton and the club’s need to follow up their impressive season, extending the former Aston Villa midfielder’s stay by another year could offer repeated success.
Joleon Lescott – Released from Manchester City
Signed for a £24million in the early stages of the Mansoor era at Manchester City, the English defender has found games hard to come by in the last couple of seasons as both Mancini and Pellegrini looked to progress upon the season before and preferred their own signings in Nastasic and Demichellis. Lescott, however, played a big part in City’s first Premier League title as his partnership with Vincent Kompany provided a solid foundation for the rest of the side – they only conceded 22 goals in Lescott’s 31 appearances that season alongside 14 clean sheets. While the former Everton and Wolves defender is pass the peak of his career, a run of games could see him return to a respectable level of form and be a good asset for top half Premier League side.