Despite the huge money and prestige on offer to home-grown talent in the Premier League the lure of playing in a foreign land is becoming more and more attractive for English players looking to either escape the media glare or face a new challenge.
Already this season we have seen Joey Barton make a success of his loan spell at Marseille while Emile Heskey continues to prove effective for Newcastle Jets Down Under. Last season Joe Cole was one of Ligue 1’s best players and David Beckham recently joined the French party signing for PSG.
So which players would benefit most from a season or two abroad? Here are our top-five foreign exports for football
Carlton Cole: Striker, 29, West Ham
Having seen little game time over the past few months Cole is certain to exit Upton Park after seven years at the club. Cole never cemented his place as number-one striker and if he looks at the success team-mate Joe Cole had abroad may fancy his chances in France.
Jermaine Pennant: Winger, 30, Stoke City
Pennant made a relatively obscure move to Real Zaragoza in 2009 but lasted just two years before Stoke brought him back to the Premier League. Despite starting the season at the Britannia he was quickly shifted out on loan to Wolves and hasn’t done much since. A move back to one of Spain’s middling sides may do Pennant good – especially as his contract is up this summer.
Ross Turnbull: Goalkeeper, 28, Chelsea
Despite 11 years in professional football Turnbull has never matched to his early promise, playing the ‘reserve keeper’ role at Chelsea for the past four seasons. The stopper is out of contract this summer and there are a number of clubs reportedly on his tail – most notably coming from Scotland.
Gary Hooper: Striker, 25, Celtic
If Hooper is ever going to earn an England call-up he must leave a Celtic side that offers little competition for places in the Scottish Premier League. The forward has outgrown the Hoops and although boss Neil Lennon is determined to keep him interest from both Germany and Russia is growing. Spurs (you can check out Spurs’ current Premier League football odds in the top four finish betting market with bet365), Liverpool and Norwich are also eyeing the 25-goal forward but a big move abroad is not out of the question.
Shaun Wright-Phillips: Winger, 31, QPR
Despite making 22 appearances this season Wright-Phillips is unlikely to be in the QPR side next term whether they stay up or not. His wages are simply too large for a club facing severe financial problems and both Australia or the MLS would be perfect destinations for him to see out a faltering career.