13 Premier League players who should move to keep their Euro 2016 hopes alive
1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal & England)
Unlikely? Perhaps – but a move could make sense. While Arsene Wenger would be very reluctant to sell Oxlade-Chamberlain, the 22-year-old has slipped far enough down his club’s pecking order (there are some nine or 10 players who, when fit, take precedence in midfield or on the wing) that he may fear for his hitherto guaranteed place in the England squad.
Who should take an interest? Liverpool want Alex Teixeira, but with the Reds and Shakhtar Donetsk supposedly some way apart in their valuations, they’d do well to consider Oxlade-Chamberlain to provide much-needed pace. Given his youth and the potential for Champions League riches, even a fee of £20m-£30m would represent a good risk-reward ratio – and still cost them less than Teixeira. A loan seems more likely.
Would also fit: Southampton, Chelsea.
2. Loic Remy (Chelsea & France)
Even if he’s made only a single league start thus far, a goal-laden second half of the season could mean Remy is reconsidered by France, who’ve suspended Karim Benzema. It’s easy to forget Remy played semi-regularly for Les Bleus as recently as 2014, including in the World Cup.
Who should take an interest? Swansea, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Schalke and Spartak Moscow are all said to be interested, as are West Ham (that’d go down well), but all signs point towards Crystal Palace. Remy would surely start for a team with money, ambition and a severe goal shortage: primary out-and-out striker Connor Wickham has one for the season – a penalty – and no Palace player has scored in the league since a week before Christmas.
Would also fit: Schalke, Swansea.
3. Paddy McNair (Man United & Northern Ireland)
The young centre-half started only two of Northern Ireland’s 10 qualifiers, at right-back, and came off on both occasions. McNair will probably make Michael O’Neill’s squad, but defenders crave a starting berth due to limited opportunities as sub. Craig Cathcart, Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans are all playing regular Premier League football; McNair, with three United starts in all competitions, is on the periphery.
Who should take an interest? As ridiculous as it sounds to suggest Sunderland need a sixth centre-back, loaning McNair would benefit both parties. The path from Old Trafford to the North East is a well-trodden one – just ask the Black Cats’ current partnership, John O’Shea and Wes Brown – and McNair would be a fine temporary option to challenge them ahead of Sebastian Coates, Younes Kaboul and Jan Kirchhoff, who showed on his disastrous Woodgate-esque debut that he needs time to adapt.
Would also fit: Newcastle, Watford.
4. Ryan Mason (Tottenham & England)
Hear us out. Mason’s long-term interests are best served with Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs. However, having nabbed an assist on debut, he’ll feel he has an outside chance of making England’s squad if he can get match time before May. Injuries are a major factor, but with Mousa Dembele undergoing a renaissance and Eric Dier, Dele Alli, an improving Tom Carroll and a fit Nabil Bentaleb all in his way (all younger, too) Mason is currently sixth choice in a three-man midfield.
Who should take an interest? Mason would serve several Premier League clubs well on loan. He’d suit Swansea, who look light on midfield creativity and have yet to replace Jonjo Shelvey.
Would also fit: Norwich, Sunderland.
5. James Chester (West Brom & Wales)
Chester isn’t the first player to fall prey to Tony Pulis’s fleeting transfer whims. Even by Pulis’s standards, though, it was odd to sign a centre-half for £8m, play him at right-back, then permanently drop him after a single match in his unfavoured new position. Right now, Chester can’t get into a backline consisting of four central defenders, and is desperate to go almost anywhere else for the sake of his nascent Wales career. He said as much as far back as mid-November.
Who should take an interest? The Baggies’ refusal to accept much less than the substantial fee they paid for Chester, and the destruction of his confidence since then, means he’d represent a risk for any teams battling relegation. A few months in the Championship seems the best bet. Burnley are in the market for a centre-back...
Would also fit: Brentford, QPR.
6. Divock Origi (Liverpool & Belgium)
A January move is less likely for Origi than others, given the Belgian has featured under Jurgen Klopp (albeit mostly from the bench) and won’t return from injury for another couple of weeks, yet a move isn’t out of the question. The 20-year-old will certainly be keen to get more minutes under his belt before the Euros, having fallen out of Marc Wilmots’ favour of late.
Who should take an interest? Hannover would love anyone to score for them in the Bundesliga right now, not least their strikers. Origi would certainly get game time there if he does choose to go, though a relegation battle might not be up his street. Plus, his wages could be an issue for any short-term suitor.
Would also fit: Roma, Sampdoria (who look set to lose top-scorer Eder).
7. Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal & England)
Once the heir to Ashley Cole, now Wenger’s wing equivalent to human stoppage-time board John Obi Mikel (until Guus Hiddink arrived, at least) – Gibbs is facing a career crossroads at 26. And yet he has been in Roy Hodgson’s previous 14 matchday squads and started six games, despite facing stiff competition for England’s left-back slot and losing his Arsenal place irreversibly to Nacho Monreal. He can’t guarantee that’ll last: even with Luke Shaw injured, Gibbs may well lose his Three Lions squad place to one of Ryan Bertrand, Leighton Baines or Danny Rose.
Who should take an interest? Gibbs will be worried by rumours that Wenger wants Leicester teenager Ben Chilwell. For now, a loan would help his England chances. Newcastle could do with his pace.
Would also fit: Aston Villa, Bournemouth.
8. Darron Gibson (Everton & Ireland)
Gibson has played less than an hour of Premier League football this season – not enough for a player in the Irish team until 12 months ago, since relegated to the bench. The 28-year-old still has a lot to offer, implying a permanent exit. Nevertheless, Roberto Martinez says that even after listening to Gibson’s concerns, he’ll keep the midfielder at Goodison except in the event of a specific loan deal that’d allow him “to achieve something, whatever it is”. Bit harsh, Bobby.
Who should take an interest? Gibson’s Everton contract ends in the summer so he’d be a cheap buy now for anyone who can persuade Martinez to sell. Aston Villa or Swansea might be drawn into low-risk punts.
Would also fit: West Brom.
9. Adnan Januzaj (Man United & Belgium)
After scoring the winner at Aston Villa in his first appearance of 2015/16, Januzaj went on loan to Borussia Dortmund – and it couldn’t have gone much worse. In four months he started three matches, all in the Europa League, as a flying Dortmund proved simply too strong for the 20-year-old to command a place. On his return to Old Trafford, coming on against Southampton with five minutes remaining, he immediately fouled Charlie Austin, then allowed him a free header for Saints’ winner. Oops.
Who should take an interest? Januzaj does have a future at Manchester United; however, with Euro 2016 on the horizon and Belgium well-stocked in attacking positions, he needs a loan with someone who’ll play him. The Salomon Kalou-propelled Hertha Berlin are third in the Bundesliga despite only one midfielder netting a second goal. Januzaj could help their push for Europe – should FIFA permit the move.
Would also fit: Inter, Napoli.
10. Martin Olsson (Norwich & Sweden)
Norwich shipping 11 goals in three matches suggests that winger Robbie Brady’s time at left-back may not last much longer. For the moment, though, the fact remains that one-time regular Olsson hasn’t started a Premier League game since Boxing Day, and faces competition in the Swedish team from Pierre Bengtsson and Oscar Wendt. Again, his squad place seems assured, but a starting role?
Who should take an interest? Aston Villa need an attacking but reliable left-back – and Olsson could be the man. They may have to hurry: Leicester are apparently considering him as a squad-bolstering option, not that it would help his Euros chances much with Christian Fuchs having nailed down the place.
Would also fit: Newcastle, Derby.
11. Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa & Ireland)
Remi Garde said in November that while he rates Clark, the 26-year-old has “a way still to improve”. And that was when he was still picking Clark in league matches. The former England youth international has been in and out of the Irish first team, too, and while Martin O’Neill doesn’t have a wealth of defensive options, Clark could do without several more months of bench-warming.
Who should take an interest? Leaving Villa in a hurry would be anathema to the one-club man, but a short-term spell elsewhere could do the world of good. You wouldn’t put it past QPR to make an enquiry.
Would also fit: Burnley, Fulham.
12. Eder (Swansea & Portugal)
Apart from that one bloke, Portugal’s national setup isn’t overwhelmed by talented forwards clamouring for a place in the team. Even so, and even having won 21 caps in three years, Éder will feel his place in their 23-man Euro 2016 squad is under threat having found his opportunities in south Wales limited at best.
Who should take an interest? Oddly enough, Eder could replace Eder at Sampdoria. The Italy striker is rumoured to be leaving Samp for Inter, leaving them in need of a replacement, and a slimming Swansea might be persuaded into getting their own off the wage bill – even if they have turned down a loan bid from Wolves already.
Would also fit: Braga.
13. Adam Matthews (Sunderland & Wales)
Celtic fans may view Matthews’ season with bitter amusement. The ex-Cardiff full-back swapped Celtic for Sunderland last summer because “the league in Scotland isn’t great”, adding that playing in the Premier League would help his Wales chances. It probably would, but not for only 40 minutes on the opening day of the season (plus a cup appearance against Exeter).
Already reserve to 64-cap Chris Gunter, Matthews has now seen Fulham’s Jazz Richards excel in Wales’ wing-back role and faces the sad, surprising probability that he’ll miss out on a historic campaign in France.
Who should take an interest? Fortunately, Sunderland want Matthews to move as much as he does, and two Championship clubs are mooted to be preparing a loan offer. With Sam Byram having joined West Ham, Leeds would be a good fit.
Would also fit: Cardiff, Wolves