Because a player is for life, not just for…okay so this metaphor has broken down…
Juan Mata (Manchester United)
Nobody likes to think of Mata being gloomy. It’s like picturing Mickey and Minnie Mouse breaking down over their impending divorce, or Dermot O’Leary being forced to tell an elderly relative that their dog has passed away. The image of tears rolling down a fountain pen as lovely Juan pens his blog is enough to make your heart pang.
Unfortunately, there is going to be rainfall before the sunshine. Jose Mourinho has not yet made the decision public, but the suspicion is that the new Manchester United manager is preparing to sell Mata for the second time in three years. Everton have been mentioned as a possible destination, with a stay in the Premier League enough to make us all go gooey. And he’d look good in blue, wouldn’t he? Course he bloody would.
Joe Allen (Liverpool)
It’s all very well Joe Allen playing like Toni bloody Kroos at Euro 2016, but that doesn’t change his difficult position at Liverpool. Since Jurgen Klopp was appointed, 17 different Liverpool players have started more league games than Allen. That list includes Jordon Ibe.
While Allen started eight league games from October 8 onwards, Lucas Leiva started 15, Emre Can 22 and James Milner 20. Even Jordan Henderson, injured for long periods of last season, managed 13. Liverpool’s captain will surely walk straight back into the side in August.
That leaves Allen on the fringes of the first team, Jurgen Klopp’s perennial 82nd minute substitute when winning the match. I can’t help but feel that he deserves a little bit more than that, and also can’t stop thinking about how much sense a move to Celtic – and Champions League football under Brendan Rodgers – makes.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle)
Newcastle are being greedy enough having Rafa Benitez as manager in the Championship without also boasting six potentially decent strikers. Papiss Cisse, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dwight Gayle, Siem de Jong, Ayoze Perez and Emmanuel Riviere; it’s just too much.
Of that group, Mitrovic is the one we’d love to see back in the top flight. If you can’t find place in your heart for a striker who is as likely to score a wonderful goal as flop out his member during the celebration to show the word ‘Geordie’ written down its length, then you’re think about things wrong. Put it this way: could any other Premier League player get himself into this situation?
This looks like a scene out of the Geordie remake of The Matrix. pic.twitter.com/zpHu6KaToP
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) March 20, 2016
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)
Every year, the same story. Around February, opinion pieces understandably suggest that Oxlade-Chamberlain might have to leave Arsenal to get regular first-team football. Then the rumours start, inevitably throwing in some big clubs (Chelsea, Manchester City) alongside the more realistic options (West Ham, Crystal Palace, Southampton). Finally comes the claim in June that Oxlade-Chamberlain is ‘prepared to fight for his place at Arsenal’.
Sorry champ, but we just can’t buy it this year. Of course he has had injuries (which may or may not be exacerbated by being at Arsenal), but Oxlade-Chamberlain turns 23 next month; he still hasn’t reached 50 Premier League starts in five years at the club.
Sometimes I get over-confident about certain opinions, only to be shot down in flames; not this time. I’m challenging you to think of anything that makes more sense that Oxlade-Chamberlain going to Everton this summer. Told you.
Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace)
While at least three of the previous four players on this list have been shifted out of their club’s first team, with Bolasie the issue is entirely different. Crystal Palace would surely love to keep the winger, but now is the time for Bolasie to move upwards in order to test himself at the highest level. He’s 27 – it might be now or never.
Furthermore, Palace are hardly short of replacements. Alan Pardew has a squad of 24 players, of which five (Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako) are suited to life on the wing. Selling Bolasie would give Pardew further funds to invest in defence and up front, while we would get to see if an exciting talent could flourish under the spotlight. Make it so.