It looks very much like Liverpool and Tottenham will have to pay somebody to take their unwanted men, while Jonny Evans should surely be able to find a club. The countdown is on…
10) Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Norwich)
“Ricky understands his situation,” says Norwich boss Alex Neil. And what is his situation exactly? Fourth- (or possibly fifth-) choice striker despite costing £8.5m and earning too much to get a move to the kind of lowly club that might be interested in his unreliable services. He scored once in 25 Premier League games for Norwich in 2013/14, five times in 24 Ligue Un games for Saint-Etienne in 2014/15 on loan and now one goal in one Under-21 game for Norwich this season. When you’re behind Cameron Jerome, Lewis Grabban and Gary Hooper (and Kyle Lafferty?) in the pecking order, take the hint and bugger off.
9) Victor Valdes (Manchester United)
It appears that Victor Valdes’ parting gift to Manchester United might be a telephone conversation with Pedro in which he told his former teammate to stay well clear of Louis van Gaal and all his talk of philosophies (“When you are not willing to follow the principles of the philosophy, then there is only one way and that is out,” said the Dutchman when asked about the future of Valdes). Burn. While David de Gea will clearly be assimilated back into United’s first team if his move to Real Madrid fails to materialise, Valdes has a week to save his season. The bonus of being so far out in the cold? He didn’t have to watch that 0-0 at Old Trafford in the directors’ box with the rest of United’s bizarre glove triangle.
8) Yoan Gouffran (Newcastle United)
If you want an illustration of the problems at Newcastle United, then take a look at the players in Steve McClaren’s ‘senior leadership group’, as confirmed in July: Jack Colback, Cheick Tiote, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Daryl Janmaat. Just one of those players started against Manchester United, with Janmaat suspended, Tiote benched, Sissoko injured and Gouffran very much for sale along with lumbering defender Mike Williamson. Shame. We would like to think that Gouffran will be fondly remembered as the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer to score in five consecutive games at St James’ Park when he inevitably joins Nantes on loan.
7) Charles N’Zogbia (Aston Villa)
“He can be anything he wants to be – I really mean that,” said Tim Sherwood in March. Presumably he can now be anything he wants to be as long as it’s not at Villa. The enigmatic Frenchman, Philippe Senderos and Kieran Richardson are thought to be the trio of players Tim Sherwood was pushing towards the exit door when he said “there are still some players here who know they can find other clubs”. Unfortunately for Sherwood, there are still some players at Villa who know they will not earn £65,000 a week elsewhere. N’Zogbia’s last Premier League goal came in April 2013 against a Fulham side featuring his fellow ice men Senderos and Richardson. We wonder whether they reminisce about those sepia-tinged glory days when they actually used to play football.
6) Andros Townsend (Tottenham)
After a losing battle with logic, we have come to accept that Andros Townsend’s performances for England merit his place in Roy Hodgson’s squad and fully expect him to go to Euro 2016 ahead of Theo Walcott; this despite him playing fewer Premier League minutes for Tottenham last season (754) than Etienne Capoue, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado. “Andros’ mind is on Tottenham. He’s grown up at the club and that’s where he wants to be,” said his father Troy earlier this month. Thankfully for him, Daniel Levy believes a regular England international should be worth £15m so he might be stuck at a club where he’s about as welcome as Gunnersaurus with his dinosaur c*ck in his hand.
5) Michu (Swansea City)
“I am little surprised that nothing has happened yet. Michu is a good player,” said Swansea bosss Garry Monk when asked quite why the Welsh club were still paying sizeable wages to a player who will never pull on Swansea colours again. “Hopefully it can be sorted soon because that’s the best for both parties,” continued Monk, who insists that it was Michu himself – after his stuttering second season – who was desperate to leave the club on loan last summer. He probably received a whole host of death threats from angry Fantasy League bores who brought him in after his phenomenal 18-goal season only to discover he really was only worth £2m after all. Now he’s waiting patiently with arms crossed for the Swans to pay him to sod off back to Spain.
4) Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal)
“Competition makes you better,” said Mathieu Flamini in May whilst staring wistfully from the bench at Francis Coquelin being a one-man tackling machine in a resurgent Arsenal midfield. It turns out that competition actually makes you a bit bored, as Flamini has not started a single Premier League game in 2015 and can now only dream of a place in the match-day squad. “I spoke to him. At the moment he is not involved but he has no intention of leaving. He will be involved at some stage. He works very hard and his intention is to stay,” said Arsene Wenger earlier this month. If we were Flamini, 31 and twiddling thumbs, our intention would be to leave sharpish for a last big contract in Turkey.
3) Jonny Evans (Manchester United)
We keep reading that Jonny Evans ‘favours’ a move to Everton and thinking ‘well, he bloody would, wouldn’t he?’ when the alternatives are West Brom and Sunderland. After 131 Premier League games and three league titles, Evans is – at last count – the seventh-choice centre-half at United and is very much free to leave. There should be no shortage of admirers for the Northern Irishman, who was absent from the directors’ box on Saturday. It’s utterly bizarre that on August 24, Evans is still officially a Manchester United player. Come on Newcastle, Evans has to be better than Steven bloody Taylor.
2) Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham)
We would recommend that Tottenham sell Emmanuel Adebayor for tuppence-ha’penny, borrow him back for a bigger loan fee, tell him he’s playing for a permanent contract and then watch as he fires in 20 goals. It’s rather more likely that Tottenham will end up paying half his wages so he can hop the 13 miles from Tottenham to West Ham, who are so desperate for strikers that they will happily take a massive punt on Bilic + Adebayor = goals + mucho fun. If this comes off, we will have no choice but to stand up and salute Adebayor for forcing Daniel Levy to dance with the iron-clad devil.
1) Mario Balotelli (Liverpool)
Brendan Rodgers called the signing of Mario Balotelli a “calculated risk” and admitted that he was signed because he “was the one right at the very end who was available”. A year on and Balotelli is very much available once again – a £16m transfer fee, £4.5m in transfers and just one Premier League goal later. And now Liverpool will have to pay half his wages to shunt him back to Milan. The kick is that absolutely
nobody everybody saw this coming.