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The number of players that have the ability to vanish mid-game would take a long time to go through if you asked fans, but some players really do seem to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. Last season’s “new Ryan Giggs” soon becomes this season’s bench-warmer at a newly promoted Club or an impact sub at a lower league team. Here’s our Premier League Top 10:-
10. Michael Owen (Stoke City)
The former Golden Boy of English football has been anything but inconspicuous despite the relative lack of football in recent seasons, still high-profile some fifteen years after that goal against Argentina but unable to break into Tony Pulis’ Stoke side this season. With less than twenty league appearances since the start of the 2010/11 season, the injury-plagued striker’s career looks close to the end.
9. Fabien Delph (Aston Villa)
The twenty-three year-old attacking midfielder had the World at his feet in the summer of 2009, capping a great year as Football League Young Player Of The Year and choosing a £6M move to Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa over a host of other Premier League Clubs. A cruciate ligament injury curtailed a Villains career that has never really recovered since, although a contract extension to 2015 is a sign that the Yorkshireman is still part of Villa’s longer-term plans.
8. Jay Bothroyd (Queens Park Rangers)
Brilliant for Cardiff City during their 2010/11 campaign, even winning an England cap in a friendly against France, Bothroyd chose to move on a free transfer to QPR in the summer, however, the former Arsenal trainee has managed just two league goals since and looks set to move out on loan to another Championship Club, having scored just once during a 14-game loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.
7. Luke Young (Queens Park Rangers)
Capped seven times for England, Young has been a consistent performer throughout a hard-working career at Spurs, Charlton, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, but following the changes at QPR, the defender finds himself left out of the R’s Premier League squad and facing an uncertain future.
6. Dan Gosling (Newcastle United)
When his contract at Everton ran-out in the summer of 2010, Gosling was considered one of England’s bright young things. Still only 20, the dynamic midfielder signed a four-year contract with Chris Hughton’s Newcastle United but has only managed thirteen league appearances since, injury and loss of form the ever-familiar problems.
5. Mauro Boselli (Wigan Athletic)
You could be forgiven for wondering who the hell Mauro Boselli even is. Few outside Argentina or Wigan will have a clue as the striker’s abortive Latics career continues to meander towards an inevitable conclusion. Top scorer in the Argentine Primiera Division and Copa Libertadores with Estudiantes, Boselli looked a great £6.5M acquisition in the summer of 2010, but has since failed to settle in England or score a league goal, voted Wigan’s worst ever foreign signing to boot, the four-time Argentine International will probably never play for Wigan again.
4. Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal)
At one time the hottest property in European football, Arsenal beat off the likes of Barcelona to grab Arshavin’s signature in February 2009, the Russian in sublime form for Zenit St. Petersburg and his country. He started his career in England brilliantly but suffered a dramatic loss of form, and some say appetite, at the start of the 2011/12 season which eventually led to a loan return to his boyhood Club Zenit, but the forward has been a peripheral figure since returning.
3. David Bentley (Tottenham Hotspur)
For a while, you would have to have thought quite hard to be sure that you hadn’t just imagined David Bentley. The reported £17M singing from Blackburn Rovers started well enough with a spectacular goal against former Club Arsenal in a 4-4 draw, but loss of form and the emergence of Aaron Lennon saw the winger drop down the pecking order, disappointing in a season-long loan at Birmingham City before spending a spell in Russia with FC Rostov. Bentley recently re-joined former Club Blackburn on loan until the end of the season as he searches for the spark which almost made him an England regular.
2. Scott Sinclair (Manchester City)
After a series of successful loan moves, Sinclair eventually joined Swansea City in the summer of 2010 having worked with Brendan Rogers at Chelsea’s academy. Spectacular for The Swans, the zenith of his career was a hat-trick in the 2012 Championship play-off final before a move to Premier League Champions Manchester City in an undisclosed multi-million pound move on August deadline day, however, the City number 11 has barely figured for Roberto Mancini, with just seven appearances and no goals to date.
1. Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
One of Jose Mourinho’s first signings at Chelsea, the versatile defender is now in his ninth season with the Club, despite never really commanding a first-team place under any manager since The Special One. It’s a surprise to many outside of Stamford Bridge that the Portuguese International is still there, but his intermittent cameos are well appreciated by Chelsea fans, some even calling for Ferreira (having recently completed his coaching badges) to be made head coach in place of the unpopular Rafa Benitez.