As the 2011/2012 season nears it’s completion, most clubs will already have a good idea of what areas they need to strengthen. Positions will have been identified as one’s that could be stronger, either in terms of back-up or a better player in the first eleven. In many cases, individual players will have been mentioned already in conversations between managers, board members, technical directors and scouting staff. Here are five players currently playing in the Premier League that are likely to attract interest amongst other clubs:
This Canadian 21 year old has been a shining light in Blackburn’s struggle of a season. He great pace, dribbling ability and a fearless direct approach to attacking his opponents. As with most inexperienced wingers, his end product can be a little inconsistent. But this could be said of many wingers of far greater experience than Hoilet, and that is unlikely to deter any potential suitors when the transfer window re-opens. At the time of writing, Hoilet has 13 goals to his name in 60 starts for Blackburn. He’s also shown his versatility in being able to play on either flank, as well as being paired with Yakubu as a centre-forward on several occasions. He already seems to have matured and grown as a player, even since last season when he still appeared as slightly raw. But the rate at which he’s improved, created chances and scored goals for a struggling team is bound to attract interest from clubs higher up the league that have the money to put in a bid to match their interest.
The Sunderland left-winger has had a huge impact on Sunderland’s season. After completing a £350,000 transfer from Derry City last summer, Steve Bruce was reluctant to give McClean a chance in the first team. Instead preferring him to gain some experience of English football by playing in the reserve team until Christmas. McClean only ever appeared as an unused substitute under Bruce. Bruce was then sacked as Sunderland manager in late November and was replaced by Martin O’Neill. In O’Neill’s first game in charge, McClean was sent on as a second half substitute with Blackburn leading 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. McClean helped his team complete a dramatic late comeback as the Black Cats scored twice in the final 6 minutes to turn the game on it’s head. McClean has not looked back since, going from strength to strength and being rewarded with a new three year contract in March. The fact that he has recently signed a new contract could either act as a deterrant to other clubs, or it could just push any potential transfer fee much higher than it would have been on his original contract. But for a man who turns 23 this April, he may be tempted by the lure of European football if a suitable offer comes in. His ability is not in question. He can beat players, is physically strong, decent in the air, quite quick and has an eye for goal. The only gamble for any potential interested parties is whether he can sustain such good form over a longer period of time.
Fulham’s talented 24 year old has added to his growing reputation with a string of impressive performances in midfield this season. A key thing to note here is that Dembele’s contract expires in the summer of 2013. It is thought that Fulham are in the process of trying to agree an extension to his current deal, which as it stands could see him leave for free at the end of next season. If no new deal is agreed within the next couple of months, it may be that Fulham would rather recieve a fee for him now rather than see him leave for nothing 12 months from now. A player they only signed for £5million from AZ Alkmaar in 2010 would surely more than double their money if sold, after showing a stylish touch and technique that could see him fit comfortably in a team chasing honours or playing European football.
Bolton midfielder Mark Davies is a player who has developed really well in the last couple of years. He is an energetic, intelligent midfielder who links up well with players around him. He isn’t afraid to run with the ball and always seems to have good awareness of what’s around him when he receives the ball. He seems to have flourished under the management of Owen Coyle at Bolton and at the age of 24, still has room for improvement. Much like Dembele, he doesn’t have an impressive goal return for a midfielder. And he hasn’t been a consistent starter at Bolton, with nearly half of his appearances coming as a substitute in his 3 years at the Reebok Stadium. But his quality on the ball, spatial awareness and energy in midfield could attract clubs with more financial clout than Bolton. And if Davies has ambitions to play for England, then he would surely be tempted to move to a club where history suggests players are more likely to be selected for England.
After expressing a desire to leave Tottenham last summer, Modric eventually settled down to return to the Spurs side after Chairman Daniel Levy defiantly refused to sell him. He has again performed admirably this season, being an essential part of one of the most entertaining attacking teams in the country. However, Modric may be slightly frustrated that Tottenham still don’t appear to be ready to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title. As well as the way he has been forced to play on the left or the right of midfield in the absence of Gareth Bale or Aaron Lennon in recent months. For someone who is really the focal point of the Tottenham team, and is an integral part of the way they play, manager Harry Redknapp damaged the Tottenham side by limiting the influence Modric was able to have on games from this position. Last summer the potential buyers were Manchester United and Chelsea. United are still lacking that something special in central midfield so could still be interested to find a replacement for Paul Scholes. Whilst Chelsea would almost certainly welcome him into their side where he would no doubt link up well with the gifted Juan Mata. But after Tottenham’s insistence last year that he would not be leaving so soon after signing a 6 year contract, the same outcome could occur whether Modric wishes to leave or not.