Don’t get yer knickers in a bunch, we’ve got more World Cup coverage coming! But you should probably keep the Premier League in the back of your mind, since the backroom machinations are still ongoing. Several clubs can’t wait for the tournament to end to start their wheeling and dealing.
Burnley: Wade Elliott (ENG)
Burnley’s Player of the Year, At The Rails has already sung the praises of Wade Elliott. He created width down the right while adding some grit to the Clarets: he led the team in both fouls and yellow cards. A team leader on last season’s version of Blackpool.
Future: While Burnley descends back into the Championship, Elliott will likely remain behind with one of the Prem’s lesser lights. Reports say his former boss Owen Coyle will offer Burnley 750,000 pounds to bring the winger to Bolton.
World Cup-bound? No, but at least it would have been nice to see him get a taste. Alas, playing on a relegation-bound club shut him out of Don Fabio’s plans immediately.
Chelsea: Frank Lampard (ENG)
This is going to bring the wrath of my fellow ATR writers: Fat Frank should have been the league’s Player of the Year. After a shaky start, he was the real leader of Chelsea when Captain Schtupping was busy…. um, getting busy. The axis around which the entire team rotates, Lampard had 22 goals (as a central midfielder!) and led the league with 14 assists. Rooney had a stunning season but Frank was the complete player.
Future: Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS.
World Cup-bound? Yes but where to play him? And who with? Barry or Gerrard?
Everton: Leighton Baines (ENG)
Last Monday’s performance notwithstanding, Baines was a model of consistency this season. He started more games than any other Everton player and proved to be a force on the left side, defending and attacking with equal measure. He also led in time of possession for the Toffees.
Future: A Scouser who grew up in Wigan’s system, he seems to finally be home. Let’s hope his England experience will leave him with something to prove next season.
World Cup-bound? No. Apparently Baines is painfully shy… and now the whole world knows. Ugh.
Fulham: Mark Schwarzer (AUS)
The Cottagers allowed one more goal than Manchester City this season, and Schwarzer was a big part of that. The big Aussie faced a barrage of shots this season in the League, not to mention the club’s improbable run to the Europa Cup final. In fact, the last two seasons have been improbable for tiny Fulham. Guess when Schwarzer showed up?
Future: Schwarzer has one more year on his contract. But there are rumours Arsene Wenger wants to bring him to the Emirates… because Almunia is sh!te.
World Cup-bound? Yes. Pim Verbeek has built his team around Schwarzer and a strong back-four. Many a punter has picked the Socceroos as their dark horse this tournament.
Hull City: Stephen Hunt (IRE)
Is he a bad luck charm or is he just unlucky? Hunt has been relegated from the Premier League twice… but it’s not been his fault. The Irishman led the Tigers in scoring, even though he was injured for the last two months of the season. An intense midfielder, he was voted Player of the Year by the Hull faithful.
Future: Hull will be selling and he doesn’t appear to want to go back anyway.
World Cup-bound? Ask Thierry Henry.
Up Next: Liverpool to Stoke City