Sergio Ramos, David De Gea, even Cristiano Ronaldo. All names that have maintained their stranglehold over the headlines this summer and all players rumoured to be nudging closer to the exit door. While it is of course inevitable the heavier price tags will attract more interest from the media, seldom do we see them reach their potential as the most effective moves in the transfer market.Instead, the better deals tend to be those that give a club a lot for very little and there are a whole host of speculated switches brewing across the continent, but some individuals slip to the backs of our minds.I am not necessarily talking about the wonderkids who have plummeted from the dizzy heights of stardom to Sunday league football or even those past their prime and rotting away in the changing rooms of their life-long clubs. Instead my focus lays with the unfortunate crop of players who have been set back by injury or have witnessed a bigger name fill their boots, both cases which have forced them out of the first XI to the point where the club’s tea lady struggles to recognise their face. More often than not, the players in greatest need of a summer shake-up are those who have fallen down the pecking order at their respective club and, as these players have found themselves short of game time, they are unlikely to catch the eyes of the big guns. So, as a lover of the obscure and growing obsolete, I have shortlisted five players I believe are eager for a new challenge, whatever age, and have the potential to impress in a new outfit, depsite being under the radar somewhat over the past season or so.
#1 Fernando Llorente
A prominent figure in Basque country, Pamplona-born Fernando Llorente was not long ago propelling his beloved Bilbao up the Spanish footballing ladder with his clinical eye for goal, which saw him net 85 times for the club. Such sharp form earned him a switch to Turin where he made an immediate impression, scoring in his second and third Champions League appearances for new side Juventus. It was a fairytale start, but one that was not to last.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall come the official fall of the European football curtain last season when Llorente saw just five minutes of the final against Barcelona, indicating Fernando was falling out of favour. Ultimately though, it’s the Old Lady’s summer business which has all but eradicated the Spaniard’s hopes of fuelling the remainder of his career and thrown up questions about his future at the reigning Serie A champions.
Allegri has adopted a scattergun approach in this window, acting acutely to replace the outgoing oldies Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez. Changes in the attacking armoury have come like running water with the trio of additions Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and, most recently, Simone Zaza. Couple that with the emergence of Alvaro Morata as a key figure up-top and Llorente’s status as a star striker is fast diminishing.
Therefore, one cannot help but feel the forward will be sniffing out a move elsewhere over the coming weeks, as the young guns bash down the door to become first choice. Not all is lost for this experienced profile though, with talks about an impending diversion to the Emirates developing after a statement came through claiming Arsenal are looking to table an £8-million bid for the Basque striker.
North-London would be a prime location for Llorente to re-invent himself as the vital component he once was and, with the Gunners looking to add depth to their attacking options, it could be a match made in heaven.
Wherever Fernando’s future lays, it certainly looks like his time at Juve is up and, unless he puts pen to paper with another club before the start of September, it is inevitable he will decay at the lower end of the Italian club’s ranks.