With the Premier League relegation ‘race’ entering its end stage and QPR, Reading, Wigan, Villa, Sunderland and Stoke scrap it out, those who stay afloat in the top flight will be looking over the potential gems they can pick off over the summer if and when their current club plummets through the trap door. We’d love to hear your suggestions of who would be worth a punt in the transfer market. Here is The Football Pink’s list of potential and half-decent close season transfer targets who could be looted from the drop victims:
Goalkeeper: Asmir Begovic (Stoke)-The Bosnian stopper has been in fine form this year for the Potters, so much so his name has been mentioned in dispatches regarding a move to Manchester United. Big, strong and commanding in his area and an excellent shot-stopper. Just edged out Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet in our selection.
Right Back: Phil Bardsley (Sunderland)-The Old Trafford educated full-back has missed a lot of the season through injury and the Black Cats have missed his speed, composure and distribution from the back. Solid and dependable in defence.
Centre Back: Chris Samba (QPR)-The giant QPR centre-half made a big money return to the Premier League after a spell in Russia. Despite his efforts, Harry Redknapp’s side look certs for the drop. Will Samba stick around at Loftus Road? Unlikely, given that there will be several clubs queuing up to try to tempt him to make an immediate return to the top division.
Centre Back: Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)-The Stoke skipper has gradually improved in his time playing in the Premier League and has even managed to get a call up to the England squad. A solid and dependable type, good in the air and in the tackle, who will put his body on the line for any employer.
Left Back: Maynor Figueroa (Wigan)-The Honduran is a big physical presence with several years of experience at Premier League level. Decent enough in defence and is capable of troubling the opposition at corners or with his long range shooting.
Right Midfield: Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa)-Although the young Austrian is more recognised as a centre forward, he has spent most of this campaign as an attacking right sided player using his skill and pace to add extra threat to Paul Lambert’s inexperienced side. Capable of scoring and creating, his new role could see the best of him in time.
Centre Midfield: James McCarthy (Wigan)-It is very likely that McCarthy will move on this summer whether Wigan perform one of their usual Houdini acts or not. The Scottish international has been watched by several big clubs recently and will command a decent fee for the Latics when he departs. An impressive, young all-round midfielder with the proverbial ‘good engine’ who is still to reach his peak.
Centre Midfield: Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland)-The Swede has proved versatile enough to play all across the midfield during his time in English football, so his adaptability allied to his set piece quality could make him a target for several clubs.
Left Midfield: Shaun Maloney (Wigan)-The diminutive winger struggled on his first assignment in England with Aston Villa, but after rebuilding his confidence at the DW Stadium has proved to be an incisive threat both on the flanks and through the middle for Wigan. Capable of changing games with his mazy dribbles and probing through balls.
Striker: Loic Remy (QPR)-The Loftus Road club gambled on the French international striker as part of their survival push and he is one of the few to have done exactly what they hoped in his time in west London with a flurry of goals. If costs need to be cut once relegation is confirmed, his speed and finishing will be much sought after.
Striker: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)-If Villa manage to avoid the dreaded drop then Paul Lambert will be grateful for Benteke’s contribution throughout the season. However, should they go down, the vultures will be circling over the Belgian powerhouse who has shown himself to be a top quality target man with his pace, power, ability to hold the ball up and give defences a proper going over.