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