Steven Taylor, the much-hyped (and promising) Newcastle United defender:
“The longer I hear nothing from the club the more I fear they want to sell me. If there is no offer on the table by the summer then I will have no choice but to look at my options.”
So, assuming that Newcastle United get relegated / Taylor is not offered a new contract / Taylor is sold, where will he go?
Let’s find out:
Toure and Gallas are first-choice for the near future, Senderos and Djourou in backup. Unless one of those four leave, Arsenal will not be buying and even if they do, will Steven Taylor fit Wenger’s transfer criteria? He might, but then so would a cheaper (and probably more technically assured) defender from the continent.
Taylor may have more games in the played column compared to Pique or Evans, but those two highly promising youngsters are next in line to the current center-back lineup of Ferdinand, Vidic and Brown. A good move if Taylor wants more money but not the playing time his career needs at this time. And from Manchester United’s perspective, not needed at all unless Rio moves away, and that’s highly unlikely.
Agger and Carragher form an impressive partnership and Hyypia, if he signs on, along with Skrtel are there to provide backup. Taylor could push for being 3rd choice if he played well (ok, partner Carragher if he was playing blindingly great), and with Liverpool expected to consistently challenge in Europe, they would be an enticing target for him.
But do Liverpool need Taylor when they’d rather blood a youngster like Hobbs into the first team squad? Liverpool need to strength in other areas, so it will be interesting to see what sort of transfer funds Rafa has and whether Rafa stays or not.
Terry, Carvalho, Alex – 3 players who would start ahead of Taylor when fit. He could easily replace Ben-Haim in the squad but like the other big sides, would stay on the fringes of the first team for quite some time. Then again, with Chelsea looking to cut spending, buying an expensive English defender wouldn’t be their first priority.
This is where things get interesting. King and Woodgate make an excellent partnership but both have a history with injuries. Kaboul and Dawson are able deputies but Taylor *should* be able to start ahead of those two (as well as Gardner / Rocha, if they stay) if he’s playing well.
Still, it depends a lot on Ramos and how he wants to build his squad – a clear-out is expected in the summer and if Taylor’s angling for a move, he’d have a good chance of getting games at Tottenham.
Another club where Taylor could push for a starting place alongside Yobo or Lescott, although Everton fans might disagree. At worst he would be jostling with Jagielka for the 3rd central defender berth and with Everton looking to build on their success of recent years, Taylor will bring quality to the squad.
His wages, asking price and the need for Everton to strengthen elsewhere will probably put a stop to this move though.
While Taylor may not disturb the Richards / Dunne partnership, he’s certainly good enough to be 3rd choice and with Manchester City pushing for Europe, he’d be certain to get a lot of games if he heads to Manchester. City have the money to afford him as well, and now all depends on where Eriksson would decide to strengthen his squad.
Small squad and needing reinforcements if they want to make a strong challenge in the cups and make a play for Europe. Taylor would be a good pick for Martin O’Neill (if he goes, he could be in the starting XI alongside Davies for Aston Villa next season), and Aston Villa can afford him too.
Ferdinand (Anton) and Upson may be first-choice but Taylor, again, is good enough to challenge for a starting place at Upton Park. West Ham have the funds and the need, but would West Ham be able to match Taylor’s ambitions the way the above clubs might? Then again, Taylor could be the focal point of a new team Curbishley would build to challenge for Europe.
The only question worth asking here is – can Blackburn afford Taylor? The answer is ‘probably not’, which makes the rest of this discussion pointless.
Still, both Blackburn and Taylor would benefit each other – Taylor will be part of a team that’s more used to winning and Blackburn will have a quality young defender to build a solid defense around.
No, seriously? Portsmouth are a side often underestimated – both on the pitch and off it (financially). Taylor would fit well in the Portsmouth side but once again it’s a question of ambition – that of the player. If he’s not getting into the big four though, Pompey (like Blackburn), is a decent team to be playing for.
The chances then are:
Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Aston Villa, West Ham and Portsmouth.
In my view Newcastle United are probably waiting to secure their season before signing contracts with players like Taylor – and that’s a smart thing to do if they want to run a stable, financially independent ship.
Taylor will have to wait a while before he can find out what happens in his future. One thing though – it’s not fair to condemn him for wanting more money – after all, footballers have a short time at the top and this is often their only real chance to make money. Then again, if the board doesn’t rate him…
Where do you think Taylor will be playing next season?