Scott Parker’s admission that he wants to leave West Ham for the Premier League will have piqued the interest of many top clubs. The three sides thought to be heading the queue are Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, so here are the cases for and against the England midfielder joining each of them.
The case for: Parker is the tenacious yet technically able footballer Arsenal are crying out for. He has plenty of Premier League experience, meaning he would not need the period of adjustment many of Wenger’s foreign signings have required. At 30 years of age, he would bring considerable experience to a relatively young side. Parker is also forging a promising footballing relationship with Jack Wilshere in the national side, and if they were to play beside each other for club and country, it could bring the best out of both. Wenger would also be able to use Parker as a mentor for Wilshere, who is still maturing both on and off the field. Add to this that Parker is a leader (something which the Gunners sometimes seem to lack), and he becomes an ever more appealing option . Arsenal are the sole of the three sides which offers the chance of Champions League football next year, which Parker would relish. Furthermore, moving to another London club would mean no need for relocation and being able to stay in the city where he has spent the majority of his career to date.
The case against: Signing Parker would be a marked departure from Wenger’s usual transfer policy. Many would argue change is necessary, but it is yet to be seen whether Wenger would be willing to sign a player in his thirties. Arsenal may be more concerned with shoring up their patchy defence than their midfield, and if West Ham’s asking price is high, they may elect to use their funds elsewhere. Money may not be an issue for Parker, but considering Arsenal’s wage policy, he would almost definitely be able to command a higher wage at Liverpool or Spurs.
The case for: It is thought that Kenny Dalglish will ship out a fair few players this summer, and with midfielders Christian Poulsen and Joe Cole likely to be amongst them, reinforcements may well be sought. Although Lucas Leiva enjoyed a good season this year, his performances are sometimes erratic, and with Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing still learning their trade, Parker would provide consistency. Parker could also prove the talismanic figure Liverpool sometimes lack when Steven Gerrard is missing. Parker would also be a steadying influence on the crop of young talent establishing themselves in the first team squad at Anfield. Dalglish is a fan of buying British talent where possible, and the Kop would certainly take to Parker’s combative style. Liverpool are a club with rich history who are on the up, and to play for them under an inspirational manager in Dalglish, would be attractive for any player.
The case against: Liverpool are the only of the three clubs not to be based in London, and the major upheaval of moving may be unattractive to a player whose roots are firmly in the capital. They are also the only of the three clubs not to be playing European football this year, though the propsects of achieving it in subsequent years are very good. Liverpool are also debatably the club that need him the least of the three, boasting reasonable strength in depth in central midfield, and so may spend their kitty on other areas of the team.
The case for: Harry Redknapp is well known to be an admirer of Parker’s abilities as a footballer, and has been the most public of the three managers in his praise of both the midfielder’s physical and mental attributes, making the likelihood of Harry bidding for Parker very high. With Wilson Palacios increasingly being linked with a move away from the club, Parker would be a timely addition, providing the tenacity that Palacios gives whilst being good enough on the ball to fit into a stylish team. As with Arsenal, no major relocation would be required should he move to White Hart Lane, and like Arsenal, Spurs will feature in European football this year. Although Spurs are only in the Europa League, to play European football this year will be tempting for a player who is trying to establish himself in the England team.
The case against: Of the three clubs, Tottenham are the least fancied to get into the top four next year, and playing in the Champions League soon might be an opportunity Parker would be more likely to get elsewhere. Spurs may also need to sell before they can buy, which could lead to complications. There are also rumours that West Ham may not want to do business with Tottenham given the tension between the two over the Olympic Stadium, though this seems improbable.
Taking all of this into account, it appears that Liverpool is the least likely destination of the three for Scott Parker. They need him the least, and the geography of the move would be a sizeable deterrent. Arsenal certainly seem the most attractive proposition, and they are the team that most require a player like Parker, but with Harry Redknapp being such an admirer, and with Liverpool’s prestige, don’t rule any of these clubs out. No matter who wins the tussle for his signature, you can be sure that Scott Parker will be playing top flight football next year.
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