The Premier League Bargain Bin

It’s that time of the year, when the season comes to a slow and inevitable end. With only one weekend and the Champions League final away from the official close to the season, attention has already starting shifting towards transfer rumours, with big movers and shakers set to write their own headlines this summer. Unlike prior years, the relegation battle in the Premier League has not gone down to the wire on the last day despite the small point gaps between the teams of the bottom half, QPR and Reading were confirmed as relegated almost 2 weeks ago and Wigan, after seasons of nail-biting, kicking and screaming their way to safety have finally been slated for relegation after their 4-1 loss to Arsenal. Between these three clubs, despite their relegated status, contains quality players that deserve to remain at Premier League standards. Here in The Bargain Bin, I’ll be covering the potential steals, the clubs that would be keen to sign them, the price at which they’ll go for and an overall rating for each player highlighted.

The Bargain Bin

1. Queens Park Rangers (QPR)
2. Reading
3. Wigan Athletic

Park Ji Sung

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http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article8079390.ece/ALTERNATES/w460/SS25-12-QPR.jpg
Age: 32
Club: QPR
Position: MR/L, CM, CAM
Potential value: 2 million pounds

The first Korean player to win the Premier League and Champions League, dubbed “The Nation’s Captain” by his country, and possibly the greatest Korean player to ever live, Park Ji Sung has fallen from such lofty heights after his transfer from Manchester United. Being made club captain was an odd choice by Hughes when there were more influential members like Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen; Ji Sung may be hard-working and determined, but nevertheless he doesn’t exude that leader-like charisma and swagger needed to marshal and galvanise a team. Combine that with aging legs of a player on the wrong side of 30 and you’ve got a recipe for disappointment, as shown by a poor season by Ji Sung’s high standards.

In 19 appearances this season, he’s achieved an average of 6.58 according to Whoscored.com. Defensively, he averages 2.5 tackles a game, 1.1 interceptions and 0.7 fouls. In his final days at United, Ji Sung had moulded his game to that of a defensive winger, providing that extra running and legs to harass and press the opposition and his defensive prowess definitely shines through from the stats above. Offensively, he averages 1.3 key passes, a pass completion % of 83.8 with 3 assists. It’s clear that Ji Sung has definitely lost a fair portion the subtle offensive capacities that thrilled PSV and United but nevertheless he’s still a solid defensive outlet and in good physical shape. He’s a model professional, a  proven international with a bucketful of experience that will come in handy to any team.

Potential teams: Teams that would need a versatile utility player around the midfield area. Fulham, West Ham or Norwich would be a good fit for Mr. Three-Lungs.

Rating: 7/10

Julio Cesar


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Age: 33
Club: QPR
Position: Goalkeeper
Potential transfer value: 2 million pounds

Much like Park Ji Sung, Julio Cesar has fallen a long way down in the footballing world. Once considered one of the world’s best shot-stoppers bar Casillas, Cesar now finds himself keeping the sticks in unfancied QPR. The possessor of lightning reflexes, he’s saved QPR from additional embarrassment in multiple matches and his performances even granted him a recall into the national side, a sheer mark of his talent and capabilities. He may be 33 but by goalkeeping standards he still has a fair way to go (Jussi, Friedel and VDS played till they were 40) and has the experience and capacity to put a good shift in for any top-tier side.

Potential teams: Officially confirmed to be leaving the club, Arsenal would be the only ideal fit in the Premier League but there are other teams like AC Milan and AS Roma keeping an eye out for the Brazillian Jay Leno lookalike.

Rating: 7.5/10

Esteban Granero


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Age: 25
Club: QPR
Position: AMC/AMR/CM
Potential transfer value: 5 million

Once considered the hot prospect of world football alongside names like Juan Mata and Javi Garcia, Granero, like many of Mark Hughes’ haphazard signings, has fallen from grace. El Pirata has not enjoyed the same level of success that his compatriots in Mata, Cazorla, Michu revel in and he has not done much to enhance his reputation. Lacklustre and disinterested performances has drawn criticism and there’s still doubts regarding his ability to adapt to the English game. Despite this his key attributes still shine, his passing, technique and shooting skills are still top-notch and offensively, he has contributed 2 key passes a game, an accurate cross a game, 3.2 accurate long balls a game and an 83.3% pass completion rate. Perhaps in the company of better players that are able to allow him to carry about his job without fuss, El Pirata might just have his name mentioned in the same breath as his compatriots next season.

Potential teams: Swansea might be keen to add to their Spanish armada, while Norwich might want that little creative spark in offence. Sunderland could do alot worse than El Pirata to help reduce the burden in attack on Sessegnon.

Rating: 7/10

Loic Remy


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Age: 26
Club: QPR
Position: ST
Potential transfer value: 10 million pounds

Remy was signed on to score goals to keep QPR safe; in a way he’s achieved half of what he was bought for. 6 goals in 13 appearances is not terribly impressive but considering the defensive, rigid nature of QPR under Redknapp, such a tally is a good effort and creates a tantalizing prospect of knowing how much more he’s capable of if he was in a better team with better service. The scorer of wonderful goals, he’s reminiscent of another electric French forward with a classy finish in Theirry Henry. While some (myself included) would consider it a sin to compare the two, it cannot be denied that both have similar styles. Offensively Remy takes 2.8 shots per game with 1.1 key passes a game. Not the best dribbler with 0.8 dribbles per game but he’s built his game around poaching so it’s not a terribly bad stat to have. Remy would be an ideal purchase for a club looking for a mercurial, lightning striker who’s about to enter his prime. Not to mention he is a Ligue 1 winner. If that makes a difference.

Potential teams: Tottenham, who need someone to pick up Defoe’s slack when he’s off-form. Arsenal, who need someone to pick up Giroud’s slack when he’s useless. Newcastle would be interested as well. Swansea might also be interested.

Rating: 7.5/10

Alex McCarthy


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Age: 22
Club: Reading
Position: GK
Potential transfer value: 2-4 million pounds

Alex McCarthy first came into the major limelight when he single handedly kept Liverpool out for a full 90 minutes, making an astonishing 27 saves that game to leave the scoreline as Alex McCarthy 0 – Liverpool 0. Prior to that stand-out match, a string of promising performances from the young keeper early in the season prior to his shoulder injury had piqued the interest of a number of clubs, who were keen to add the talented young shot-stopper to their squad, and after a successful return to the first-team picture, would probably still be keen to do so. The possessor of quick reflexes, agile and quick on his feet, McCarthy has the makings of a good goalkeeper and would definitely be one to watch in the future. 

Potential teams: West-ham will be looking for someone to replace Jussi, Sunderland, who would be resigned to losing Mignolet or even Everton, who would want a replacement for Tim Howard with Mucha not providing that same stability.

Rating: 7/10

 

Shaun Maloney

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http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/65351000/jpg/_65351870_154835598.jpg

Age: 30
Club: Wigan Athletic
Position: AMC/AML
Potential transfer value: 3-5 million pounds

Roberto Martinez was once ridiculed for calling Maloney “the perfect no. 10” when he purchased the diminutive Scotsman from Celtic for less than a million. A season later and a stellar form that has seen Maloney pick up 6 goals and 8 assists in 35 appearances, an FA Cup winners medal and numerous plaudits from the same critics that ridiculed him, Maloney has established himself as one of the league’s creative players, a dynamic, all-action attacking midfielder who has that spark to change games. A superb passer of the ball (1.8 key passes a game and a 89.8% pass completion rate), a ferocious shooter and a dead-ball specialist, Maloney would be a key asset to any team in the Premier League. 

Potential teams: Sunderland, who desperately need a creative spark in their attack. Norwich, who would welcome his all-action displays upfront. Fulham, who might see him as an ideal partner to Berbatov or even Everton or West Brom.

Rating: 8/10

 

James McCarthy


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Age: 22
Club: Wigan Athletic
Postion: CM/DM
Potential transfer value: 5-7 million pounds

One of the rising stars of the Premier League, James McCarthy has quickly established himself as the heartbeat of Wigan Athletic alongside his partner in crime and fellow namesake James McArthur. Having impressed throughout the season with mature and solid displays, McCarthy has established himself as a Premier League standard midfielder, able to stand toe-to-toe against far superior midfields. Across 37 starts, he has accumulated 3 goals and 2 assists. Defensively, he has contributed 2.6 tackles a game, 2 interceptions a game, 1.6 clearances a game and 1.2 fouls committed, showing that McCarthy has the potential to be a solid defensive outlet in the midfield. Passing-wise, he has a solid 87.6% pass completion rate and is one of the league’s long-ball specialist with 4.6 accurate long balls per game. Offensively he has alot to work on with only 1 key pass a game. Creativity may not be McCarthy’s key strength, but nevertheless he has proven to be a solid defensive outlet that helps recycle possession. 

Potential teams: Arsenal, though they have Arteta, they would definitely want some depth in the defensive midfield role. Fulham would want a player of his quality to ease the burden on an aging midfield. Norwich wouldn’t mind his all-action role and even Swansea might take a fancy to him as a replacement for Leon Britton.

Rating: 7.5/10

 

And that wraps up the Bargain Bin for this Premier League season. These are the players most deserving of a move from the respective clubs so keep an eye out for them during this transfer window!

Honourable Mentions:
Adel Taarabt, Stephane Mbia, Chris Samba, Junior Hoilett, Le Fondre, Hal-Robson Kanu, Sean Morrison, Arouna Kone, James McArthur, Jean Beausejour, Callum Mcmanaman.

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Ferguson. Scotsman. Manager. Legend.

As of 8th May 2013, Alexander Chapman Ferguson, better known to many as Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that he’ll retire at the end of the season on his 1500th game in charge of Manchester United when United faces off against West Brom.

Over the course of his 26 odd years in charge of United, he has won a staggering 38 trophies including 13 of United’s 20 titles and 2 Champions League trophies. He has crafted team after team of staggering quality, spirit and indomitable fortitude. From the craft and flair of players like Ronaldo, Cantona, Beckham, to the goal machines of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Mark Hughes, and the brute strength and steel of players like Steve Bruce, Nemanja Vidic, Roy Keane, Robson and Jaap Stam. And let’s not forget the silent workmen of Ferguson’s era at United, Park “Three-Lungs” Ji Sung, Dennis Irwin and the Neville brothers. The quality of players that Ferguson has overseen through his time at the club is immense and could easily fill up 5 squads of indisputable class. Such a statement is sheer testament to Ferguson’s quality in selecting, training and nurturing character, skill and class in his players.

The will to win, the fierce determination, the strict discipline and standards to which he holds himself and his players is something Ferguson will always be famous for. His “My Way or the Highway” approach to management has often seen players the likes of Beckham, Heinze, Stam, Ince leave the club in acrimonious circumstances but inspite of this, United has continue to stand strong with the club full of players with character and strong mentalities (something Ferguson admired and rewarded) as a result of Fergie’s strict rule.

Despite the common impression of Ferguson as an angry Scotsman, it’s often surprising that Ferguson is in fact quite the opposite. A fiercely loyal and caring father figure to many players, his patience and faith in his player’s abilities is legendary. Players like Carrick and Evans can testify to such patience. An active spokesman for the Manager’s Union in England, he may be ruthless on the pitch, but off it, he often looks out for the newer managers and ensures that they are treated well and in a fair manner by club owner.

There’s many things to be said about Ferguson and many more things to be said about his massive reign at United. But for now, there will be nothing but silence from United supporters and fans, mourning the departure of the greatest manager the game will ever see.

Tara Fergie. You magnificent bastard. A winner till the end.

#thanksfergie

Re-launch for 2013

Hey all

It’s definitely been a while, a year in fact, since I’ve last touched this blog and at long last, I’ve finally have enough motivation to finally start a real, solid effort to maintain a proper footy blog. So I’ll be aiming to update this site regularly enough, with a variety of different posts regarding not only United, but also other trends and interesting facets of the world game.

I’ll be introducing different categories of articles over time but as of now, I’ve prepared 5 to kick things off.

1.) Season Review:
As the name suggests this article would come once every year and I’ll be covering close to everything regarding player performances, tactical trends, potential issues, potential transfers in and out and hopes for the next season. This season review would only be for Manchester United.

2.) The Bargain Bin:
This would come every transfer window, here I run down the list of potential steals of the season. The summer windows are dedicated to players that come from relegated clubs in the major leagues who can still perform at the top level and january windows are dedicated to players that are flying under the radar in the major leagues. As of now, I’ll only be limiting the Bargain Bin to the Premier League.

3.) The Curious Case of:
This is where I analyse particular trends in football, be it tactics, roles, formations and even odd players that don’t quite fit in yet find success.

4.) United Tactics Board:
This is where I cover the tactical trends regarding Manchester United, potential switches and players that can fit into the United squad to improve quality.

5.) Random musings:
Where I talk about anything and everything.

Hope you guys enjoy the upcoming content. In two weeks, I’ll be coming up with the Manchester United Season Review 2012/2013 and the Premier League Bargain Bin.

Cheers!
Song.