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John Brewin profile picture Posted by John Brewin
Sep 2, 2014

Premier League stars left in limbo after the transfer deadline

ESPN FC's Ian Darke and Alison Bender review the biggest winners and losers of the transfer window.

They are the remains of the day, those unwanted players left on the shelf when the transfer window closed. In some cases, there were no takers. In others, negotiations broke down.

Tom Cleverley was almost one of them. The consensus among those in the game is that the Manchester United midfielder needed a move to reboot an ailing career. Avenues to Aston Villa and Everton opened. Valencia held passing interest, too, for a player who admires the Spanish game. Spain was never an option since Cleverley recently became a father and didn't want a move to unsettle domestic life.

Villa's move to sign him on a permanent deal broke down due to high wage demands, while Everton would not pay the 7 million pound fee United wanted. Cleverley met Villa assistant boss Roy Keane last week, and previously enjoyed working with Everton manager Roberto Martinez. Yet until Villa made their 11th-hour loan approach, it looked as if Cleverley was mired at United, with the club having purchased a set of players far above him in Louis van Gaal's pecking order.

Cleverley needed to look only at contemporaries like Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck for those whose cachet has risen after a sideways or even downward move. Cleverley looks to have got his move, but others have not got theirs.

ESPN FC selects those Premier League fallen stars who are either sitting it out or wondering if they might engage the services of a better agent.

Tom Cleverley might yet escape obscurity at Old Trafford.

Anderson (Manchester United)

Two days before the summer transfer window closed in 2011, Cleverley partnered with Anderson in midfield as United monstered Arsenal 8-2. Fate dictates that Francis Coquelin, an opposite number in that Sunday slaughtering, is similarly lagooned at the Emirates.

Like Cleverley, Anderson's contract ends next summer. Unlike Cleverley, nobody wanted to offer him the chance to revive his career. A putative link with Porto earlier in the summer came to naught, and the barrel-chested Brazilian is set to see out his disappointing time in Manchester.

Last January, he was sent to Fiorentina on loan but clearly failed to convince anyone in Italy. Anderson, after trophies collected led to bonuses being triggered, is believed to have cost Manchester United 25 million pounds in transfer fees, plus heavy wages, too. Highly guilty in the embarrassment at Milton Keynes last week, his arrival as a sub for Angel Di Maria at Burnley was met with hoots of derision.

Dedryck Boyata (Manchester City)

City are currently in the business of filling quotas to meet UEFA financial fair play sanctions. Boyata, highly unlikely to play beyond League Cup ties, seems most happy to be a number on a list, rather than a smaller concern's leading man.

As City scrabbled to meet those bureaucratic needs, the Belgian's status as a homegrown player, having begun at the club's academy, won him a wage increase from 15,000 pounds-a-week to 35,000 pounds-a-week. No club moved for him as he was simply not for sale. Meanwhile, a poor performance in the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal suggested why Boyata has settled for his lot as administrative apparatus.

Scott Sinclair (Manchester City)

Sinclair has become a classic of the genre, a name on the squad list who fans of his club would struggle to recognise without a name on the back of his shirt. While Jack Rodwell (to Sunderland) and Micah Richards (Fiorentina) were able to depart Eastlands in search of new ventures, Sinclair could not get a loan move anywhere. Stoke were interested but withdrew once it was clear that Oussama Assaidi would be making a return from Liverpool, while West Brom, where Sinclair was parked last season, did not ask for him back.

Having fulfilled a similar function at Chelsea, Sinclair's sole role at the club would now seem to be that of fulfilling a homegrown quota for the Champions League, a competition in which he has no chance of kicking a ball.

"They know they are not part of the squad because we have enough players for the squad," said Manuel Pellegrini last week, of Richards, Sinclair and John Guidetti, whose move to Celtic may yet be revived after it missed the deadline. Sinclair, though, was in the no-takers category. He will remain far better known for his actress girlfriend -- former "Coronation Street" star Helen Flanagan -- than for football.

Fabio Borini (Liverpool)

It was in mid-July that Liverpool agreed with Sunderland on a 14 million pounds fee for Borini, who had impressed in the northeast and become a folk hero for two match-winning performances against Newcastle. Yet Borini remains on Merseyside, having turned up his nose at returning to Wearside, and also having refused to travel to West London to talk to Harry Redknapp and QPR. It was 90,000 pounds-a-week he wanted; Rangers would pay a mere 55,000 pounds-a-week.

That Liverpool had lowered their price to 10 million pounds when QPR came calling indicated their readiness to get rid of Borini, yet he is still their player. Brendan Rodgers, who made the Italian his first-ever signing for the club in July 2012, made his position clear. "For him, it's best to move on and get playing regularly," said the manager. "But that's something he has to decide."

Borini decided to stay.

Fabio Borini was a wanted man but is happy to stay in Liverpool's reserves.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham Hotspur)

Assou-Ekotto's diffidence to football culture has long been known. Harry Redknapp would regularly joke about how the left-back never had any idea which team he was playing against. There will be no such problems for the Cameroon now, since he will surely be required only for Tottenham's Europa League nothing game as he sees out the final season of his Spurs contract.

Former Spurs boss Redknapp offered him a Championship escape route at Loftus Road last year, but Assou-Ekotto chose not to for the Premier League. With Ben Davies signed to challenge Danny Rose for the left-back position, Assou-Ekotto is free to pursue his other interests, which include an involvement in the local community around White Hart Lane and charity work back in Africa. There should be plenty more time to travel around London on the Underground, as is his transport preference.

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