10) Aidan McGeady (Everton)
Given the thinness of Everton’s squad, particularly in attacking areas, it’s actually quite impressive that McGeady is yet to play a Premier League minute this season. The Irishman was hailed as a Roberto Martinez favourite when he signed, but it really hasn’t gone well since.
Now completely outcast under Martinez, McGeady must look for an immediate move. Still just 29, even dropping down to the Championship would enable him to impress Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill ahead of Euro 2016. McGeady played eight games in qualifying, but another six months without any football could put paid to his tournament hopes.
9) Andrej Kramaric (Leicester City)
A very weird move with a predictable ending. When Leicester signed Croatian striker Kramaric from Dinamo Zagreb, they fought off significant interest from Chelsea to make the deal happen. Roman Abramovich will be relieved about that every single morning while he’s eating his gold-plated cornflakes. Kramaric has been a disaster.
Still Leicester’s record signing, Kramaric played a part in 13 league games last season, but has managed just 22 minutes in the Premier League under Claudio Ranieri. He was left out of the match-day squad for the FA Cup tie at Tottenham, with his agent talking up a move to Fiorentina. Good luck with that.
“I don’t know why I’m not playing,” Kramaric said in October. “The fans love me, they support me and they are sorry I get so few chances. I deserve to play more, it affects my confidence. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Whatever the reason, the nightmare will surely end soon. With Jamie Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa and Shini Okazaki, Ranieri has enough back-up to let Kramaric leave sharpish.
8) Gaston Ramirez (Southampton)
In August 2014, we published a list of eight players with a point to prove, which included the following section on Ramirez:
‘In the hubbub surrounding Southampton’s recent sales, it’s hard to believe Gastón Ramirez is yet to be shipped out of St. Mary’s. The Uruguayan made just three league starts under Pochettino last season and his days appeared numbered under the Argentine.’
Seventeen months later, and Ramirez is still there. Having managed 24 minutes of league action at Southampton last season (and being loaned out to Hull City), the Uruguayan has at least passed that total already this season. He’s played 28 minutes.
Ramirez only turned 25 in December; a career is being ruined through stagnation. Yet maybe the player isn’t that fussed. There were reported talks in September to rip up his £45,000-a-week contract, but that ame to nought. Most at Southampton just wish he’d p*ss off so they can try to forget he ever happened.
7) Peter Crouch (Stoke City)
It’s pretty hard not to feel sorry for Peter Crouch’s waning career. After being widely mocked for at least five years, Crouch has now forged a reputation as a pretty likeable bloke.
Importantly, Crouch doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, which is incredibly endearing in professional sportspeople. There is a slight tinge of grateful disbelief about a career which could easily have dwindled, yet will end with 42 international caps for England and Crouch as England’s joint-16th top scorer of all time. A reminder too of my favourite Crouch statistic: His 11 goals in 2006 is the most of any post-war England player in a calendar year.
It would therefore be sad if Crouch passed quietly into the football ether. With 44 minutes of Premier League action this season, and a manager still intent on keeping him, it’s a real danger.
6) Federico Fazio (Tottenham)
The real surprise is that Fazio hasn’t already left White Hart Lane. Mauricio Pochettino asked for Mateo Musacchio from Villarreal, Tottenham balked at the asking price and signed Fazio from Sevilla instead. It really hasn’t worked out.
Having played Fazio in 20 league games last season without the Argentine ever looking convincing, Pochettino promptly bought Toby Alderweireld for only £3.5m more. With a proper defender in his way, Fazio has not played a league minute since.
Picked to face Arsenal in the League Cup in September, Fazio turned in such a dire performance that Pochettino was forced to answer questions about his defender after the game. “No I do not regret playing Fazio,” was the manager’s response. If that question is being asked, the answer doesn’t really matter.
5) Loic Remy (Chelsea)
When your club has struggled to score goals, only has three strikers and one of them is injured for two months, it must be a little disconcerting to see your name bandied about for a move. Yet the surprise isn’t that Chelsea don’t want Remy anymore, it’s that they ever wanted him at all.
One doesn’t want to be too cruel, but when you’re an international striker and linked to Aston Villa and Newcastle in their current guises, things haven’t gone that well. Remy has managed 145 league minutes at Chelsea this season, yet has at least managed three goals in all competitions.
Remy is the ultimate ‘could do a job’ January signing. He comprehensively isn’t good enough for Chelsea, but othet clubs in the bottom half should be falling over themselves to sign a striker who has only just turned 29. He has got 27 Premier League goals since March 2013, and that’s despite starting only nine times since May 2014. Get to it.
4) Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City)
‘Forty-six days after appearing for England in their victory over France at Wembley, Shelvey was left out of Swansea’s 18-man match-day squad for the trip to Manchester United,’ said our Winners and Losers last week.
A week later, and things have hardly improved. Shelvey started for Swansea in their FA Cup defeat to League Two Oxford United, before reportedly having a disagreement with supporters. The best thing for all concerned is for him to leave the club, and Shelvey might not have to wait long. Reports suggest that Newcastle are keen on bringing him to St James’ Park, although Mike Ashley would like to sell a midfielder first.
Shelvey’s career now stands on a knife edge. Become a success at his next club, and the 23-year-old still has years to eke out a fine Premier League career. Make a wrong move now or fail to impress at a sinking Newcastle ship, and another wonderkid (for that’s what Shelvey was hailed as) will be lost on the wind.
3) Saido Berahino (West Brom)
For the sake of avoiding repetition, let’s go across to Football365 idiot Daniel Storey for his take on the Berahino situation in this weekend’s 16 Conclusions:
‘Saido Berahino’s West Brom situation is entirely unpalatable. The player has decided that he would like to leave (which is nothing unusual nor despicable), the club have decided they would rather keep him (which is nothing unusual nor despicable) and we therefore have a total impasse.
‘The best thing about keeping hold of your star asset is that you get to play him. Tony Pulis has regularly spoken out against Berahino’s efforts in training, but having a demotivated player at the club losing value and damaging his career benefits nobody. The best situation for all would be for Berahino to leave the Hawthorns this month. If not, and West Brom continue to dig their heels in, it must be worth starting him over Victor Anichebe and Lambert.’
2) Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal)
“I think there is a possibility that Debuchy leaves,” said Arsene Wenger after the victory over Sunderland. “I already said that in a previous press conference.” Aston Villa are now the favourites to sign Debuchy. How quickly a career can fade.
When Arsenal paid £12m for Debuchy in July 2014, he became the most expensive defender in the club’s history. Eighteen months later, the Frenchman is completely unwanted. Part of his downfall has been due to the startling rise of Hector Bellerin, but Debuchy has played his own role in this slump. His performances have been unsatisfactory almost since he joined the club.
Debuchy might be desperate for a move ahead of Euro 2016, but vying with Alan Hutton for a slot in one of the worst Premier League teams ever is a massive lurch downwards.
1) Victor Valdes (Manchester United)
On March 26, should Valdes still be at Manchester United, we must hold a sombre ceremony. That date will mark two years since Valdes’ final La Liga appearance for Barcelona, the 3-0 home victory over Celta Vigo during which he was stretchered off. Since then, he has started one league match, a 0-0 draw at Hull City on the final day of last season.
Valdes played 535 times for Barcelona. He has won six domestic titles, eight domestic cups, three Champions League titles and four other continental trophies. He has won the European Championship and the World Cup. Yet he is a spare part at Old Trafford, less useful than Nick bloody Powell.
“I don’t think it’s very wise to purchase players in January,’ said Van Gaal at the weekend. “When it’s possible and we think someone can give us a contribution of our level of course we shall do it. But normally we don’t do that. We didn’t last year, I believe.”
Well you did, Louis. You signed one of the most decorated goalkeepers in history, actually. You’ve just forgotten about him, like an unwanted Christmas present pushed to the back of the spare room cupboard. How sad.