The lifestyle of a Premier League footballer is something many of us can only dream about, however life at the top is not all as it seems. We have picked out five stars who will be counting down the days until the January transfer window opens.
Fans as pundits are quick to judge players nowadays and those lucky enough to have football tickets are first to voice their discontent from the terraces. Managerial fall outs, contract standoffs or rotting in the reserves here are five players who could be looking for the exit door in the New Year:
Mamadou Sakho – The French defender has had some well documented disciplinary issues, not to mention serving a drug test ban which was later quashed. Sakho was a key part of the Liverpool team last season but following his failed drug test he has been left out in the cold by Klopp at Liverpool.
Sakho has been hampered by injuries and was sent home from Liverpool’s pre-season tour of America after turning up late for a flight and missing a treatment session. Since then, Sakho has been away from the first team picture and has had to settle with playing regularly in the Liverpool Under 23’s squad.
The 26-year old is a well established international footballer who is far too good to be plying his trade with the reserves. At Liverpool, he finds himself well down the pecking order in the centre of defence behind Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan and Lucas Leiva. Liverpool’s fine form in his absence has compelled his misery as his days at Anfield appear to be numbered. Fans can click here for Liverpool tickets to watch Jurgen Klopp’s side in action.
There will be plenty of potential suitors willing to offer Sakho a route back into competitive first team football and a path out of Liverpool on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Sakho will feel that he still has unfinished business in the Premier League with a potential loan move to West Bromwich Albion being mooted. A move back to his native France may also appeal with a reunion with ex-Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli at Nice rumoured.
Yaya Toure – How times have changed for the five-time African player of the Year. Toure has had a glittering career which has included both Premier League and Champions League title success. However, he has been frozen out at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola as a cloud of misdemeanors threaten to tarnish his Manchester City legacy.
Toure has been a driving force behind the clubs rise to the top over the last six years, however he is well down the pecking order at The Etihad.
Toure was left out of the clubs 25-man Champions League squad and the 33 year-old has been involved in a stand-off between his agent Dimitri Seluk and City boss, Guardiola. Seluk was said to have been ‘humiliated’ when his client was left out of the squad and he demanded an apology from Guardiola. However, the standoff is now seemingly at an impasse and Toure is nowhere near the first team picture. His days at Etihad look limited and a January exit may benefit both parties.
Toure was a shock inclusion in the starting eleven for their recent trip to Crystal Palace and he proved to be the match winner with his two goals. Could this be a turn in fortune for the Ivorian?
Given his experience and calibre, a move to America or China could be on the cards as Toure enters the latter stages of a glistening career.
Memphis Depay – The Dutchman arrived in Manchester with a big reputation and a hefty £25 million price tag following his arrival from PSV Eindhoven in June 2015. However, the big money signing by Louis Van Gaal but has failed to live up to the lofty expectations at Manchester United.
The 22-year-old has made only four appearances totalling twenty minutes of football under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League this term and the highly-rated playmaker may be on the move. The former PSV man has played more minutes for his country this season and his future at Manchester United looks bleak to say the least as Mourinho looks to bolster his squad after an indifferent start to the season.
Dutch compatriot, Ronald Koeman is a long-term admirer of Depay and an escape route on loan to Everton could materialise in order to regain his confidence and gain some much needed game time. Memphis may be willing to stay in the Premier League and in the north-west in order to prove himself in English football. However, a move to Marseille or AS Roma have also been rumoured as possible destinations come January.
Cesc Fabregas – The Chelsea midfielder has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge this season after an injury-disrupted start to the season. The 29-year-old has made only one Premier League start under new boss Antonio Conte, a 3-0 defeat to his former side, Arsenal, in September.
There is no doubting the pedigree that Fabregas offers and he will feel that he has plenty left to offer at the highest level in order to add to his Premier League, World Cup and Euro titles.
Conte is believed to be impressed by Fabregas’ attitude despite his lack of playing time. However, Fabregas is one of the club’s highest earners on £160,000 a week and Conte is keen to free up the wage bill in order to strengthen his squad as he battles it out with Eden Hazard, Pedro, Oscar and Willian for a spot in the starting eleven.
That could lead to the prospect of a January departure for Fabregas – however, Squawka reports that while Fabregas is open to a loan move to an ‘elite club.’ The Spain international struggled under Jose Mourinho last season and is yet to hit top gear this season under Antonio Conte. Juventus, Real Madrid, AC Milan and West Ham are all touted as possible destinations for the former Arsenal and Barcelona star.
Daniel Sturridge – When he is fit, Daniel Sturridge is one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League. However, maintaining his fitness has been his biggest problem at Liverpool over the past 18 months.
Roberto Firmino has found himself as the preferred lone striker at Liverpool and Sturridge has had to settle for a place on the bench fighting it out with Divock Origi in order to deputise in attack as Sturridge continues to adapt to the physical demands implemented by Jurgen Klopp.
It is unlikely that Liverpool will sell after the long term injury to Danny Ings, however a player of Sturridge’s calibre is wasted sitting on the bench every week. The 27-year-old has a prolific reputation in the Premier League and plenty of suitors will be willing to offer Sturridge a leading role in their side. A loan move may suit both club and player with Arsenal rumoured as a potential short-term compromise.