In the current tough economic climate, football clubs are sure to be seeking value for money when the transfer window opens next month. Clubs boasting players that have a few months remaining on their existing contracts will also be keen to part with out of favour squad members or recoup some kind of return on contract rebels that can leave for nothing in the summer.
Wigan are struggling to tie down some of their key performers; the much improved Jordi Gomez, Arsenal target Hugo Rodallega, Maynor Figueroa, Hendry Thomas and Mohamad Diame will all soon be free to talk to potential continental suitors. Chelsea have already parted company with Nicolas Anelka, but Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa are all yet to resolve their Chelsea future.
Craig Gordon is one of the Premier League’s better goalkeepers, but injury has blighted his Sunderland career. Resigned to leaving under Steve Bruce, whether the appointment of Martin O’Neil will alter Gordon’s stance remains to be seen. Polish stoppers Lukasz Fabianski and Tomasz Kuszczak, of Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, will be keen to seek more first team opportunities ahead of the European Championships and could represent shrewd acquisitions. In the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen’s highly regarded German international Rene Adler will also soon become available.
Andy Johnson and Dimitar Berbatov are both 30 and will both be hoping for one final bumper contract, whereas Danny Guthrie and Darron Gibson are both 24 and will be looking for a suitable environment to fulfil their potential. Some of the Championships brightest talents are up for grabs with Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard, Crystal Palace’s Nathaniel Clyne and Leeds United’s Jonny Howson all stalling on agreeing new long term deals. Reading winger Jimmy Kebe and Ipswich’s midfield dynamo Grant Leadbitter are in a similar position, with Joe Lewis and Robert Green, goalkeepers with lingering international aspirations.
Serie A also offers plenty of interesting options, for example, Manchester United would be foolish not to make a play for Roma’s driving force Danielle De Rossi, with midfield issues that require addressing. Sulley Muntari is out of favour at Inter Milan and has Premier League experience, Mathieu Flamini is running down his contract once again with Fiorentina’s creative fulcrum Riccardo Montolivo also yet to put pen to paper.
Not exactly akin to shopping on a shoestring, but certainly the equivalent of hitting the January sales, there is plenty of value for money to be found amongst the outcasts and contract rebels scattered throughout football. As with the sales, competition will be fierce for the biggest discounts, with plenty of activity expected while stocks last.
Check out the Euro 2012 odds and get some tips on the European Championships betting.