Five Characters I’d Like to See In and Out of the Premier League

Photo by Aaron Friedman

It’s been a long summer in the transfer window, primarily involving transfer sagas between Charlie Adam and Carlos Tevez. On the rare occasion when I’m not catching a Premier League game on the weekend, or if I get to see a Champions League game when I get out of school early, it is always entertaining to see a few players who would fit perfectly in the melting pot that is the Premier League. However, there are others that I would love to see move on. For some, it would be better for their career, while others are just a nuisance.

Below are listed the five players that I would like to see compete in the Premier League, who have never graced the competition before, and five that I would like to see take their business elsewhere. While players are the primary focus here, managers and owners are not off the hook.

Here’s the list:


Keisuke Honda: The CSKA Moscow midfielder can do it all. With his coming out party at the 2010 World Cup, he displayed his ability to act as a deep-lying central midfielder, advanced playmaker and set piece maestro. Over the last decade, players from the Far East such as Park Ji-Sung and Lee Chung-Yong have brought a different flavor to the league. Honda has proved himself as a successful player outside of the World Cup by leading Japan to its 4th AFC Asian Cup win back in January. The most valuable player of that tournament, Honda has led CSKA Moscow to the top of the Russian Premier League, 7 points clear of Zenit. It has been fascinating to watch the development of Asian football in recent years and Honda would solidify spots for Asian footballers in the EPL for years to come.

Neymar: The Santos striker from Sao Paulo lit it up against the USA nearly a year ago for Brazil in their 2-0 win at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Neymar is everything you can ask for in a striker, as he has speed, skill, the ability to finish, and that slight bit of arrogance necessary to scare defenders. At just 19 years of age, he has already scored 5 goals for his country and there will be plenty more to come over the years. One of the most skilled players of our time, Neymar would bring extra flare and skill to the Premier League.

Eden Hazard: With Gervinho off to Arsenal, one member of LOSC Lille Metropole’s attack has gone on to bigger and better things, and it seems the Belgian winger will follow suit. Rumored to be a target of Liverpool, in the January transfer window, Hazard has been tipped by many to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo. Hazard was Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 2010-11, helping Lille to league and domestic cup victories. Today, many consider Gareth Bale to be the best winger in the EPL, but Hazard could compete for that title. His style is much different from the Welshman’s, as he uses his intricate foot skills to keep the ball close to his feet in order to beat defenders with his fancy tricks. A brilliant young talent at the age of 20, Hazard is capable of bringing excitement to BPL viewers.

Lionel Messi: An obvious choice, whom we are all certain will never play a match at any Premier League club, the little man from Argentina would be fascinating to see week in and week out in England. Quite possibly the best player the world has ever seen, the advanced forward in the Catalan’s 4-1-2-1-2 is as good as it gets for football. His mazy dribbles and demolitions of the world’s best teams, including Arsenal, Manchester United, and Real Madrid, have made Messi the face of the game. According to analysts such as Andy Gray, La Liga defenses have been regarded as flat and soft, making it easy for Messi to cut through them. If Messi were to come to England it would be interesting to see how he responds to the more physical defenses of Premier League teams, such as Blackburn and Stoke City.

Freddy Adu: Yes, the young American has earned a spot on the list. While many thought the legend of Freddy Adu had died off after his move to Benfica, the winger came back with a bang at this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Left out of the first four games of the tournament, Adu impressed in his cameo against Panama. Replacing Agudelo, the winger was influential in various attacking moves by the Stars and Stripes, including Clint Dempsey’s game-winning goal to fire the U.S. through to the final. I think it’s fair to say that millions of jaws dropped when Bradley started the 22 year old in the final against Mexico. However, Bradley’s move was genius as Adu played a key part in both U.S. goals, despite the team’s eventual demise to Mexico, 4-2. While Adu may need a few years to further develop, he could prove to be successful at a lower end Premier League club, such as Wigan or Fulham, as he may reach a level close to that of Charles N’Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega.

Honorable Mention:

Scott Parker: FWA Footballer of the Year 2010-11

Diego Milito: Aging, but had a brace in last year’s UCL Final

Alexandre Pato: Fantastic, young, Brazilian striker


Carlos Tevez: The powerful Manchester City striker appears to have overstayed his welcome in the league. Playing for rival clubs, United and City, Tevez may be the most hated player in the EPL. In addition, it seems nothing can make the Argentine happy, not even Champions League football. Interestingly enough, Tevez appeared 63 times before departing for City, and now wants out after 63 games for the sky blue. While the striker has scored twice as many goals at City and won the FA Cup, ending the 33 year trophy drought, it gets tiring to hear the striker’s complaints year in and year out. It would be much better for City to give a younger striker, such as Sergio Aguero, a chance at glory.

Mario Balotelli: From one Manchester City forward to another, Balotelli is City’s problem child. Super Mario has brought shame to City after being there for just one year. The ex-Inter striker’s arrogance and lack of common sense are a distraction for the club and demonstrate the lack of care the player has for the squad‘s success. Between racking up parking tickets, saving children from bullies, struggling to put on warm-up vests, and flubbed back-heels, it seems that we have heard more about his off the field antics than his performances on the pitch. There are hundreds of strikers around the world who deserve a place in the Premier League over Balotelli, and his departure from City may save the youth squad from being pelted with darts again.

Steven Gerrard: I love Captain Courageous as much as anyone. I have been a diehard Liverpool supporter since the age of 10, when I watched the Istanbul miracle in 2005. I have three Gerrard shirts and it would pain me to see the playmaker leave, but it needs to be done for the good of Liverpool. Rafa Benitez built a squad during his tenure at LFC, which peaked in the EPL with a second place finish. Since selling Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, everything has gone downhill for the Reds. When King Kenny’s reign began it signaled a fresh start for a club headed for disaster. Liverpool’s house cleaning, beginning with the departure of Fernando Torres, must be done and completed so that the club can begin a new era of success. In addition, it would be interesting to see where Gerrard would go. England is one of the few national teams with players who all play in the nation’s domestic league. While Beckham left for Real Madrid and A.C. Milan in the later half of his career, it would be fascinating to see Gerrard, a more powerful player than Becks, attempt to fit into a foreign league. Steven Gerrard will never be forgotten, and I’m sure he’ll play a major role at the club for the rest of his life.

Mick McCarthy: The Wolves manager is different to say the least. The slicked back hair looks like a fan is constantly blowing in his face, leaving the rest of us to say, “flipping heck.” His boring press conferences, which put us to sleep during the Premier League Review Show, compare to those of NFL head coach Bill Belichick. While his tactics are on par with those of other lower-end Premier League sides, there are better choices out there for Wolves, such as Sven-Goran Eriksson, who is too good of a manager to be at Leicester City.

Venky’s Limited: The new owners of one of the league’s most historic teams, Blackburn, have made the Rovers the laughing stock of the EPL. Over that past few months, many of us have asked what Venky’s could do to further tarnish the Blackburn name. From the humiliating chicken advertisement, to attempting to sign Ronaldinho, the Indian owners have proved they are in no shape to handle a Premier League team. While the chicken commercial may be affective (if Demba Ba told me to eat a piece of Venky’s chicken, I would definitely eat it), the attempted signing of Ronaldinho, was not even feasible. How the Brazilian would adapt to Blackburn’s smashmouth style of football I don’t know. Before the new bosses further embarrass the club, by possibly renaming Ewood Park to Venky’s Stadium, I would suggest the owners leave Lancashire before the Rover’s faithful revolt.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Bebe: A poor Sir Alex signing?

Christian Poulsen: Too old

With the new club season upon us, these names got me thinking and hopefully they’ll get you thinking too. Who would you like to see in the Premier League and to whom would you love to show the door?

49 thoughts on “Five Characters I’d Like to See In and Out of the Premier League”

  1. You lost credit when you compared Wigan & Fulham. Need I remind you where Fulham have finished each of the last 3 seasons?

  2. i agree that venky’s aren’t the ideal owners. but what you are saying is they are dishonorable because they tried to sign ronaldinio?? how about some logic before writing for one of the best epl sites.

      1. if that’s not satire then you can check out the the epl talk’s best epl sites poll held sometime in april or may…

  3. You need to learn the difference between “affect” and “effect”.

    “While the chicken commercial may be affective.”

    1. +1.
      like him or not, he’s a good manager. Not great, but definitely good.
      Sven going to Wolves ? Not unless they have money.

      Why hold boring news conference against him ? This is not a tabloid journalism: it’s a premiership. The managers are not judged based on the press conferences but on the result he can deliver.

  4. All I’ll say is that it’s an opinion piece, and definitely not everyone is going to agree. You guys say you don’t see the point of this article, well I think the title sums it up. It’s less about ability and more about “character.” That’s why he’d bring up Tevez. Yes, Fulham definitely has not earned being rated near a relegation candidate (and mind you, this year Wigan will be down unless they pull some moves out of Whelan’s bag of magic). But nonetheless, opinion articles are just that, and I think he’s made his point.

    1. So he has problems with Mick McCarthy, Stevie G and Christian Poulsen’s character ?

      So if it’s more about character, why he wants Neymar who instigated players brawl after Copa Libertadores final ?

  5. You really want one of the Premier Leagues best players to leave????? And the best English player of his generation to go???? My God man this is unbelievable are you a La Liga fan???

    This really says what your about though ‘Super Mario has brought shame to City after being there for just one year.’ Now how may we ask has he done this?. Your answer is that he received parking tickets and was found to be saving children from bullies while struggling to put on warm-up vest and the list of shame goes yes it gets worse, he then had the cheek to mess up a back-heel what a complete bxstard. Yes I can see how these things would be a major distraction to the Club and a blatant reason for him to leave! Unbelievable, reading over sensationalized media reports make you thick stop before it‘s to late. Balotelli is the media favourite person to follow and kick at the minute. Back to yourself you don’t seem to think a player who asked to be transferred because his club in his own opinion lacked ambition and went public on this who also committed adultery countless times, paid women for sex and screamed obscenities into a live international TV camera in prime time doesn’t even warrant a mention? Do you think this is good behaviours for the premier league???

    Venky’s are dishonourable why? The ‘humiliating chicken advertisement’ as you put it is an Indian commercial as I understand it and is excellent for both Club and Venky’s.

    What has poor Mick done to receive your scorn? Kept a way below average premier team up? Yeah sack him!

    Bebe has already left the building on loan.

  6. Wow, you want Gerrard to leave Liverpool ? That’s really nice. So, who will replace him then ? And you said Liverpool’s house cleaning, beginning with the departure of Fernando Torres, must be done and completed so that the club can begin a new era of success ? So you mean everyone from Rafa’s era needs to leave ?

    Christian Poulsen: if your reason is too old. Have you ever heard of Teddy Sheringham ? There are so many players above 30 who can still play well for their clubs.

    Messi going to premier league is only a wishful thinking.

    You wrote re: Ronaldinho adapting to English football ? But is there a guarantee that Gerrard can do the same ?

    I honestly think that this article is similar to article re: who will replace Fabregas in a sense that it throws names and speculation without deeper analysis.

  7. Not much of a Liverpool fan if you want MR. Liverpool to leave. Next you’re going to tell Jamie to get out too.

    1. Yes.. I’m a full believer in the Moneyball/Soccernomics theory. Henry has brought Comolli aboard for this reason. The club is signing players with potential, such as adam, suarez, Carroll, and doni. Lfc cannot be stuck in the past and the young players like spearing, shelvey, Flanagan, Robinson, and Kelly to play. That way the next Stevie G can be found (especiay through spearing and shelvey).

      1. I agree with Alex. With Gerrard out of the Liverpool squad, they play better as a team. Let’s see how the Reds do in the next couple of months while Gerrard is out injured.

        The Gaffer

  8. One author I’d like to see not write for this site any longer:

    Christian Fairchild: His unsystematic, impressionistic takes on football’s “characters” (gleaned from the Daily Star, no doubt) leave readers wanting. With less than a week before the season commences, the football world clamors for pieces with a bit more reasoning behind them than “he’s old,” “he’s injured,” and “he started a meaningless cup final which his national team embarrassingly lost.” Quite in line with a host of other EPLTalk articles that merely fantasize about football rather than analyze it, Fairchild replicates the humorless complaints about “arrogance” and “distraction” while baselessly hoping the greatest player in the world will leave his childhood club and knock it about with good English lads for a laugh. How such articles expand readers’ understandings about the already interesting, already dramatic football world (which needs no recourse to “what if” scenarios), is beyond me.

    1. This is an opinion piece written to generate debate, as are many other articles on this site. If you would like to read into the in-depth analysis, you may want to visit

    2. …did you just call Gerrard the greatest player in the world…???

      I completely agree with your take on the author and in the fact that the premier league would be dimmer without him, but Stevie isn’t even in the top 10 anymore.

    3. Give him a break if you read it he says he was 10 in 2005 so this is a 16 year old giving it a go. Yes there are some errors but stop being a keyboard warrior. If you can do better, do it or offer constructive criticism otherwise shut up you prat.

  9. Mick McCarthy’s interviews are priceless; what are you talking about?! I watch MOTD *just* to hear Mick’s post-game thoughts!

  10. Using a different name to avoid being confused with “Sanctimonious Robert”

    I expected Joey Barton to be at the top of the second list. Here are four others, just because I don’t like them:

    Nigel De Jong
    Karl Henry
    Rory Delap
    Luka Modric (What can I say? He’s ugly.)

    1. No one ever rated Bebe in the first place though did they? Maybe the Salvation Army when they were serving him soup!

  11. Fellas, the kid that wrote this is 16 years old. Consider the context and get a grip. He obviuosly penned a provocative piece.

  12. I think some of you (even though most are right) have been a little harsh on him.

    Oh and doesn’t Demba Ba play for Newcastle now?

  13. Mario Ballotelli – wow, grow yourself a brain and stop copying all of the rest of the media keep on following balotelli’s moves like vultures or harpees.

    Lionel Messi – really? uhm….yeah….hhhhmmmm….can I offer you a kids meal with that fanatasy?

  14. Guys, get a grip. This is an OPINION piece. It’s nice to be able to shoot someone down for expressing an opinion with which you disagree, but let’s be a little more mature here. This guy has stuck out his neck to express his point of view. Also, for those of you who think that this writer should no longer be featured on the prestigious epltalk, consider this: as an OPINION piece, the objective of this article is to express one person’s point of view and to generate talk, whether it be positive or negative. To the author: mission accomplished! You wrote a fine piece which, regardless to whether or not I agree with your opinions, has generated quite a response.

    Keep on writing.

    1. There’s a huge difference between writing a “smart” opinion vs just opinion. A lot of the visitors here are knowledgeable and well informed. I don’t think anyone wants to see a tabloid opinion here.

      I might get a bad rap for being an “elitist” here: couple of months ago I wrote a comment in article why the fans across the pond look down on soccer fans in the US. I said one of the reasons is: some writers/bloggers gave a bad name to US soccer fans. Here’s an example: one guy wrote in a popular sports website (that I won’t name): the 10 Man United transfers of All Time. Problems ? He only listed players from the last 4-5 years plus Solksjaer and Robbo and when one visitor asked “why there was no Denis Irwin or Steve Coppel ?” he said “oh honestly, I don’t know that they were United players (or something similar to that). You better have enough knowledge to write otherwise, you’ll lose credibility (and the site that publishes the articles will lose credibility too)

      I don’t mind articles or discussion saying: you have to pick a team to be a real fan vs you can enjoy other team, etc or how to pick a team. Everyone is entitled to his/her personal preference and opinion. I don’t agree with some of them but they at least ‘tolerable”.

      I can understand this article is written by a 16 year old but I won’t use age as an excuse. He can dream of having Messi or Adu in the premiership, that’s fine (although I don’t think it’ll happen with Messi). But saying that Mick McCarthy should go because of his appearance and press-conference style is more suitable for a tabloid than this website if this website aspires to be a credible EPL-related website. That’s just one example and you can see other comments related to inconsistencies.

      1. I think you need to have a better understanding of meaning of tabloid. To say that a lot of people who view this site are well informed. How do you know? It’s only measured by your own standards and no one else. So, I don’t think that is a creditable argument since I am going to guess that not everyone here knows anything about you.

        1. What I mean is not tabloid, but tabloid journalism.

          I don’t know personally anyone in this site but based on the comments I’ve read, a lot of them are knowledgeable and well informed, at least to my standard. I’m not sure what your standards are.

          Would you want to argue with me re: semantics ? I’m not sure what you want to achieve from your reply: do you agree with the OP or what ?

          1. The point I was conveying to you is that this article as much as you disagree with it, isn’t tabloid journalism. It doesn’t fit the definition or standard of tabloid journalism. This article is an opinion piece plain and simple.
            I am going to guess most people who post comments on here don’t know each other if they do it’s very little. So, we don’t know their background so we base their knowledge off our own knowledge. I wasn’t questioning what you don’t or do know, since I don’t know anything about you. That is the point. I am not sure if you have ever written a story for this blog. Let’s say you have someone might think you lack the proper knowledge even though you think you have plenty of knowledge of the subject. I just thought your statement was a bit overreaching and difficult to support without the proper evidence. I wasn’t trying to be pain just making an observation.
            I thought the article was ok but I think more analysis and evidence should have been presented in the story. The part about Mick McCarthy’s hair is an odd comment and don’t see the point.

  15. Doni is 31. He is there in case Reina gets hurt and to play in Carling Cup matches. Spearing and Shelvey have showed almost nothing in their chances thus far and I’m not convinced either one will become a first-team player. Kelly, Flanagan, and Robinson are all defenders, so I don’t know what that has to do with the idea of letting Gerrard go.

    Gaffer, you think LFC are better off with Gerrard? Based on one season where he struggled? Completely unfair. Other than Kuyt, he was surrounded by completely ineffective players last year, while struggling with injuries.

    Alex, you fully believe in Moneyball, huh? So, how’s that working out for the A’s, the model for that line of thought? I’d rather LFC not finish at the bottom, thanks!

    1. While the A’s were the first team to use this principle they never perfected it. John Henry signed Theo Epstein to handle the Red Sox and he uses the ideas of Moneyball and that’s worked out very well for the Sox

    2. The basic principle behind moneyball was to identify characteristics in ballplayers that help win ballgames, but are grossly undervalued by the marketplace. Moneyball isn’t about drawing walks, and running bases conservatively. In 2002 that happened to be the approach taken by the A’s based on the market place. Times change and teams come around on ideas. As to what the A’s are doing now? Its not the same as it was ten years ago. They draft high school kids now, whereas in 2000 they weren’t doing that. Baseball is cyclical and the A’s will be back. Especially in that division.

      1. I understand Moneyball, kids. The point is teams are more likely to win by spending money. The Red Sox started winning when they started spending. Though I am a Liverpool fan, I don’t think spending the money that was spent on Carroll, Henderson and Downing could be considered buying players that are grossly undervalued. LFC may have paid too much for these players. If they challenge for the title and get back in the Champions League then I’m fine with that.

        The growing use of all kinds of performance metrics helps. That’s not really a new concept, and neither is selling a player when his value is high and replacing him with a younger player with potential.

        1. “The Red Sox started winning when they started spending money”

          Define winning please. Do you mean winning World Series, or just generally putting out a competitive product that competes for post season births on an annual basis?

          Either way, you are wrong.

          I’ll just assume you know all this, but I’ll rehash it for anyone who still cares about this thread to read this far down. Material (key word here) disparity in team payroll in MLB didn’t really exist until the 90s. The reason for this is that free agency didn’t exist until the mid 70s and even then the owners colluded to keep free agents salaries down through the 80s (they were found guilty of this charge and were forced to pay millions in damages to the Players Union. In order to pay this bill they expanded the league and used those fees to pay their litigation bills).

          So when evaluating the correlation between the Red Sox spending and their winning (however you want to define it) you can really quite simply look at their payroll over the last twenty years.


          Take this data an compare with their performance over the last twenty years

          and generally speaking you see a franchise that consistently spends AND!!!!! competes (who knew!). This is the very reason why Red Sox fans are insufferable blowhards who try to play off like they are the lovable losers when in fact they pull the same nonsense (albiet on a smaller scale) as the “hated” Yankees.

          The only thing large buget payrolls enable a team to do is absorb poor decisions. The Red Sox have the ability to make mistakes in free agency, which in turn enables them to take gambles that often times result in big returns (David Ortiz is the prime example of this).

        2. Right… Downing whipped the most balls into the box last season out of anybody, and Gerrard is on the downturn, but some club is sure to pay a high fee for him if he is transfer listed.

          1. Why?: you’re very picky… Bebe is still in the league, as he is on United’s payroll.. what i meant by the transfer statement is that if liverpool were willing to let gerrard go they could probably pull in £25 million for him, which would pay for the signing of henderson.

  16. Bebe is still a Utd player but he is not in the premier league as he now plays for Be?ikta? in Turkey simple you got your wish!. Gerrard is now 31 and injury prone and has had poor form lately when not injured, if they put him for transfer he would unlikely sell for more than £10-£15m. When players go for big money it is mostly because the club the players at do not want to sell therefore the buying club has to pay over the odds otherwise they will not buy the player! When players are transfer listed it means the club no longer wants them and the buying club will mostly pay less than the selling clubs valuation as they want rid of the player. Gerrad would have sold to Chelsea some time ago for around £40m because pool did not want to sell. Now if they transfer listed him at that time it would have been much lower.

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