Some of the Premier League's most prolific strikers could be on the move at the end of the season, while others are returning from loan spells uncertain of their futuresANALYSIS
By Jamie Dunn
Euro 2012 may be taking place this summer, and the Olympics football tournament is already gathering plenty of attention months before a ball has been kicked, but there are likely to be as many column inches devoted to transfer speculation as there is to action on the pitch.
And this summer in particular, there appears to be a string of the biggest stars in the Premier League who find themselves in limbo.
Goal.com has picked 10 of the highest profile names in England who still do not know where they will be playing football at the end of this season.
|EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR - MANCHESTER CITY
|Possible Destinations: Tottenham
After a season in which he has transformed Tottenham’s front line, scoring 17 goals and playing a key role in Spurs’ push for a Champions League finish, it is easy to see why Harry Redknapp wants to keep loanee Emmanuel Adebayor at White Hart Lane.
The Togolese striker does not have a future at Manchester City and the Premier League leaders are unlikely to demand an exorbitant transfer fee to part ways with the former Arsenal man.
But it is Adebayor’s wages which could create a problem in making the deal permanent in the summer. Tottenham currently pay only a fraction of the 28-year-old’s weekly earnings and whether he would be willing to drop his demands to make the move to north London remains to be seen.
|NICKLAS BENDTNER - ARSENAL
|Possible Destinations: Sunderland
Arsene Wenger’s decision to make Robin van Persie the central striker meant Nicklas Bendtner’s first-team opportunities have been limited at Arsenal over the last 12 months.
A loan spell at Sunderland has afforded the Dane a platform to display his ability on a weekly basis though, and despite only scoring eight goals, the 24-year-old has shown the instinctive knack that can make him look so dangerous has not deserted him.
While Bendtner has enjoyed his time with Sunderland, as with Adebayor, Martin O’Neill and his board are likely to baulk at the striker’s wages, and with two years remaining on his Arsenal deal, where he will be playing next season is very much up in the air.
|DIMITAR BERBATOV - MANCHESTER UNITED
|Possible Destinations: Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain
He has had a string of prolific seasons in the Premier League, but Dimitar Berbatov has become a peripheral figure at Manchester United this campaign as Sir Alex Ferguson has shown a preference for Danny Welbeck and Chicharito.
The Bulgarian’s contract expires in the summer and the former Tottenham man is almost certain to leave Old Trafford for pastures new.
But with Ferguson reluctant to let the striker leave for absolutely nothing after having spent £30 million to sign him, the league’s second-placed side might still take the option to extend Berbatov’s contract for a further year in order to receive some sort of return on their investment.
|JOE COLE - LIVERPOOL
|Possible Destinations: Lille, West Ham
The poster boy for a transitional period in which Liverpool made a number of questionable signings, Joe Cole finds himself on loan in France with Lille, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Eden Hazard.
The former Chelsea playmaker could yet stay in France for another season – he has an option to extend his loan spell – as opportunities to return to England appear hard to come by.
West Ham are still keen to have Cole back at his boyhood club, but that would depend on the Hammers achieving promotion back to the Premier League, with a Championship play-off final approaching.
|DIDIER DROGBA - CHELSEA
|Possible Destinations: Shanghai Shenhua
Chelsea’s talisman for so many years, Didier Drogba continues to terrorise defences and play an instrumental part in a rollercoaster season at Stamford Bridge, scoring in the FA Cup final victory over Liverpool and leading the line to great effect against Barcelona on the path to the Champions League final.
However, with the club seemingly eager to continue overhauling their ageing squad, Drogba could still find himself available on a free transfer in the summer, regardless of the abundant quality the Ivorian still has to offer.
There would surely be several potential suitors for Drogba, with Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua, who are managed by former Chelsea man Nicolas Anelka on record as being keen to sign the striker.
|ASAMOAH GYAN - SUNDERLAND
|Possible Destinations: Al Ain
The situation involving Asamoah Gyan is one belonging very much to modern football. A £13 million record signing for Sunderland, the Ghanaian caught the eye of former manager Steve Bruce at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, before netting 11 goals in his first season.
But the striker ended up playing the 2011-12 campaign in the UAE after having his head turned by a financially lucrative loan deal, leaving Bruce and Sunderland short of firepower.
Gyan’s loan spell is set to end in the summer, but Al Ain are confident of keeping the Ghana star, and it remains unclear whether or not Martin O’Neill is interested in talking the striker into a return to the Stadium of Light.
|VICTOR MOSES - WIGAN
|Possible Destinations: Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle United
A part of the Wigan side to have earned plaudits for their attractive style of play whilst battling against relegation, Victor Moses has certainly caught the eye of a number of clubs this season after making the surprise move to the DW Stadium from Crystal Palace in 2010.
Wigan secured their Premier League safety for another season with a win against Blackburn, but Roberto Martinez has admitted he may lose the tricky forward in the summer, regardless.
Moses will not be short of admirers if he does agitate for a move in the summer, with Wigan reportedly ready to listen to offers in the region of £10 million.
|CARLOS TEVEZ - MANCHESTER CITY
|Possible Destinations: AC Milan, Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Santos
It seems we will never know for certain what was said between Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini that night in Munich, but the regrettable set of events that followed continue to take twists and turns.
Tevez was finished at Manchester City, according to Mancini, and came close to making a move to AC Milan during the January transfer window, while the Argentine had also been courted by Inter and a number of South American clubs.
Of course, Tevez has since returned to action with the Premier League leaders in time to likely pick up a title winner's medal, but whether the striker has a future at the Etihad Stadium beyond the end of May is very much unclear.
|ROBIN VAN PERSIE - ARSENAL
|Possible Destinations: Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester City, Real Madrid
Should the PFA Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year and 37-goal man Robin van Persie decide to leave Arsenal this summer, we are surely set for another transfer saga similar to that of Cesc Fabregas.
With meetings scheduled for the summer, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will fight tooth and nail to tie the striker to a new contract at the end of the season, or risk watching him walk away for nothing a year later.
It would, of course, be a huge blow for Arsenal to lose their captain just a year after the departure of Fabregas, but with Arsenal still not ensured Champions League football next season, the Dutchman’s mind is unlikely to have been made up yet.
|YAKUBU - BLACKBURN
|Possible Destinations: Reading, Southampton
Blackburn’s battle against relegation this season makes Yakubu’s goalscoring exploits all the more impressive, and while his efforts have ultimately been in vain, the Nigerian will certainly be targeted in the summer by a number of clubs.
Newly-promoted Southampton and Reading are both understood to be chasing the former Everton striker, who would be available for a relatively small fee, despite his 17 goals this season, given the financial uncertainty surrounding Blackburn and the Venkys group.