There appears to be some confusion regarding the official end date of Manuel Almunia's current Arsenal contract. Whilst the man himself has publicly spoken about the year he has left at the club, the vast number of Gunners fans appear convinced he's deal expires at the end of the current season. Wishful thinking perhaps?
The boss himself has been suspiciously quiet on the matter, suggesting that the fans might be right and Arsene just feels the situation's too awkward to bring up in casual conversation. Preferring instead to just change all the locks at the training ground and leave him a post-it note on the fridge. Yet more proof is the fact he's drafted Jens Lehmann back into the club, a man who would take an almost psychotic delight in grabbing the Spaniard by the collar and tossing him out of the door.
Likely Destination: As far away from Jens Lehmann as humanly possible
Former Spurs, former England and former decent right-back Luke Young is, despite a recent resurgence in form, facing a Villa Park exit this summer. Even more worrying for him is that, regardless of what his surname would suggest, he's actually getting on a bit...
So, at the tender age of 31 and with a mounting catalogue of injury woes, where could he hope to ply his trade next season? Well, if he doesn't mind dropping down a division, his old club Middlesbrough have expressed an interest, and if he doesn't mind dropping down two divisions, so would Charlton presumably. However, thanks to the crazy tabloid, windmill-powered, transfer rumour generator, I can also report that Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Watford have been enquiring about his status. Your guess is as good as mine basically.
Likely Destination: Not even he'll know yet
England's 14th choice centre-back appears to be waiting to see how things pan out at West Ham before committing his future to any club in particular, which isn't exactly the example you want your captain to set. Although he might think that representing his country during the World Cup would be a boost to his CV, it's actually the worst thing that could have happened. The whole world saw him get taken to bits by the Slovenians and being borderline sexually assaulted by the Germans.
His only hope then, if he's not staying at West Ham, is to find a club who quite like him anyway and a manager who won't have seen the World Cup. Enter Birmingham City, a club he's already given years of loyal service to and are managed by a Scotsman who probably spent the whole summer in Benidorm off his tits on Irn-Bru.
Likely Destination: Birmingham City
They bloody well should as well, if they're paying Bebe a living wage to overhit crosses and have a silly name then they can afford to give Hargreaves a few quid to attend physiotherapy.
I'm always quite surprised that I feel sorry for Jonathan Woodgate, a man who essentially spent 3 years living in Madrid, getting paid to lounge in the sun and give Kate Lawler the hard-high one. But he went to Middlesborough after that, so I suppose he's suffered enough. Despite looking to have finally sorted his injury woes in 2008, he's managed just 4 games for Spurs in the last two seasons and he looks unlikely to be offered a new deal.
In fact, it's hard to see who would take a punt of Woody, despite probably having as much to offer a team off the pitch as on it, his wage demands (even on a pay-as-you-play deal) would put off all but the a few of the top sides, none of who really need him anyway. A real shame, as when he's fit he's a fantastic talent.
Likely Destination: Home
Sebastian Larsson's contract is up in the summer. Sebastian Larsson doesn't want to stay at Birmingham City. Sebastian Larsson wants to go to Newcastle United. We know all this because Sebastian Larsson has been telling us since the season began. So thanks for that, Sebastian Larsson.
What really works in his favour is that Newcastle United actually seem to quite fancy him, having made numerous attempts to sign him, for increasingly modest fees, over the past two seasons. This one looks pretty straightforward then, but with football being football, it probably isn't. His Birmingham team-mates have been pleading with the men upstairs to keep him at the club, but with their manager still recovering from a severe sunburn and Irn-Bru hangover (see above), the cries are falling on deaf ears.
Likely Destination: Newcastle United
Enter Birmingham City, a club he's already given years of loyal service to and are managed by a Scotsman who probably spent the whole summer in Benidorm off his tits on Irn-Bru.
Despite watching Ryan Giggs sign a new one-year deal and even being publicly encouraged to do the same by Sir Alex, the ginger midfield maestro is still to decide on his future. Quite possibly because, for the first time in his career, he's starting to become something of a passenger. His non-performance and needless dismissal against City, that arguably cost his side any chances of a treble, might well indicate that at the tender age of 36, he's finally past his best.
He's long harboured a desire to play for Oldham Athletic, his boyhood heroes, and could be tempted to see out his career helping the Latics push for a promotion to the Championship, should he feel that he just doesn't have an 18th season at the top level in him. Yes, you read that right, he made his debut in 1994, and he STILL can't tackle.
Likely Destination: Oldham Athletic
The forgotten man of Scottish football hasn't kicked a ball since August, owing to some horrific knee ligament damage, and is still reportedly some distance away from kicking a ball in anger again. His contract situation though is a bit of a confusing one. His deal expires at the end of the current season, but Birmingham do have the option to extend it through until 2012. Alex McLeish has been saying since January that he intends to do so but, with only three games left in the season, hasn't.
At the risk of over-doing this Irn-Bru joke, there appears to be something strange stopping him putting pen to paper and this has alerted a number of other clubs to his availability, notably Celtic and Rangers. There's been no comment yet from McFadden about what his preference would be but, like any above-average Scottish footballer, he'll no doubt see out his playing days with one of the Old Firm, being heckled by the 7 people who turn up to watch Dundee.
Likely Destination: The SPL. Eventually..
Similar to the problem facing Jonathan Woodgate, Owen Hargreaves is a fantastic talent who has spent the vast majority of the last two seasons being poked and prodded by his club's medial team. Various reports have suggested that Manchester United might, purely out of sympathy and because he's a lovely fella, offer him a lifeline one-year extension. They bloody well should as well, if they're paying Bebe a living wage to overhit crosses and have a silly name then they can afford to give Hargreaves a few quid to attend physiotherapy.
If they don't though then he's another who's wage demands would put off any club who'd be willing to take a risk on him. 39 games in four seasons at Old Trafford isn't likely to tempt other sides to loosen the old purse strings either. But still, he's only 30, so it's not inconceivable that he could have a good few seasons left in him, but given that he's had more crushing setbacks than a game of 'Snakes and No Ladders' he might just decide he can't be arsed anymore. A big shame.
Likely Destination: Jonathan Woodgate's house.
A man who essentially spent 3 years living in Madrid, getting paid to lounge in the sun and give Kate Lawler the hard-high one. But he went to Middlesborough after that, so I suppose he's suffered enough
Probably still in a complete state of disbelief that he ended up at Manchester United instead of Hull or Stoke, Michael Owen has but a few games remaining on his current deal and, thanks mostly to the signing of Javier Hernandez, has been knocked down to 4th in the pecking order. Apparently he's still hopeful of being offered at least a one-year extension to his contract but so far there's been no progress. It's safe to assume his famous brochure is winging it's way to chairmen all over Europe as we speak.
But who would be interested? Despite appearing to have put his hideous injury record behind him, his best goal-scoring form has been lost forever as well. A boyhood Everton fan though, he might hope that David Moyes can take a Louis Saha-style punt on him and help him see out the remainder of his career with enough cash to keep the fuel in his helicopter. If not, then he'll just have to fall back on his real passion...
Likely Destination: Ascot
Gutted for Bolton fans, as they look set to lose their £8.2million record signing without recouping a single penny and with only a paltry 20-odd goals to show for it. Despite being a damning indictment of what loyalty remains in football, the fact remains that he'd still be a brilliant acquisition for most Premier League sides. Newcastle, Everton and Sunderland have all been strongly linked, but boss Owen Coyle has spoken of his desire to keep him at The Reebok.
Like most good looking (he sort of is, if you tilt you're head and squint a bit he looks a bit like a plasticine, student-y Frank Lampard) Swedish footballers, he's dabbled in a bit of modelling over the years. Not sure what any of this has to do with him getting a new club, but spending 100 words implying that he'll just go where ever the money is seemed a little predictable.
Likely Destination: The bank, laughing, etc.
Having been lovingly plucked from Monaco by Tony Pulis, he's found himself unable to dislodge the likes of Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones. This is, of course, not evidence that Stoke play horrid route-one football and have a game plan based solely around giant bean-pole strikers leading the line to win headers, flick the ball on bully the opposition. It's not. Not at all.
But he's since made a loan switch to Fulham, where he's won over both the Craven Cottage faithful, as well as manager Mark Hughes who he's labelled as leading a “Barcelona-style revolution”. If he's coming out with pish like that then he must really want to stay, so don't be surprised to see his loan move made permanent over the summer. However, his handful of punditry appearances for Sky have seen him hailed as insightful, smart and witty (compared to Souness and Redknapp anyway) so there's hopefully a big role for him to play after football as well.
Likely Destination: Fulham... then Sky
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