In a season filled with some fantastic individual performances such as Gareth Bale’s dismantling of the Inter Milan defence or Nemanja Vidic proving himself week in, week out to be the best central defender in the Premiership, perhaps no footballer signified great individual performances more than West Ham United’s Scott Parker. Although the Hammers were not playing the best football during the 2010-2011 season, they were managing to stave off relegation due mostly to the Herculean efforts of their 30 year old central midfielder.
Being a Liverpool fan, the performance that lives long in my memory was watching Parker almost single-handedly dismantle the Reds’ defence at Upton Park in February. It was a mesmerising performance from a brilliant player who in the past has too often been overlooked in favour of more well known faces. The fact that West Ham were only officially relegated following the penultimate game of the season is something Parker can take the Lion’s share of the credit for. Having played his heart out for the Hammers, Scotty Parker now understandably feels he needs to move on from the club so as to keep playing Premier League football and maintain his place in the England team. In many ways he will go with the blessings of the Upton Park faithful who have seen him do everything in his power to keep their team in the top flight.
When the 2011 summer transfer window opened I fully expected for all the top teams to be fighting for the right to sign the Football Writer’s Association Footballer of the Year. And yet, here we are nearly four weeks into the transfer window and there seems to be very little interest in the 30 year old. Harry Redknapp is said to be keen on bringing Parker to Tottenham and there has been rumours of interest from Arsenal, but that’s it. There will arguably be six teams fighting for a top four finish next season so why are they not all battling to get Scott Parker?
I should note that it is somewhat understandable that there has been a lack of interest from Liverpool and Manchester City since both their midfields are now jammed full of talent, however I am surprised that neither Manchester United nor Chelsea have shown any significant interest in Parker. Although I doubt Parker would want to return to Stamford Bridge after his disappointing run there in 2004-2005 where despite playing very well he was unable to force his way into the first team ahead of the likes of Arjen Robben and Tiago. I am still surprised that the Blues would not even enquire about the services of the central midfielder since that is a position which they are clearly recruiting for so as to provide ammunition for striker Fernando Torres.
Manchester United, however, have no excuse for not looking to buy Parker. With Owen Hargreaves having been released due to injury woes, Darren Fletcher only just coming back from injury and illness, plus Paul Scholes having retired, United are left with fewer options in the centre of the park. They are enquiring about players like Wesley Sneijder despite the fact that there is a phenomenal creative midfielder, with the ability to play in an attacking or a defensive role, lying in wait only in London. Why has Sir Alex Ferguson not already bid for the player? I can’t explain it. Perhaps he is biding his time.
In this writer’s opinion, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal would all be lucky to have a player like Scott Parker join their ranks. Not only is he one of the best midfielders in the game today with a wealth of experience in the Premier League but he is also exactly the type of man that a manager would love to have in their dressing room (particularly gaffers the type of Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex Ferguson). After all, we’ve all heard the story of his inspirational half time team talk to the West Ham players as they were 3-0 down to West Bromwich Albion. The rest is history, as they say, as West Ham pulled the game back to draw 3-3 with Carlton Cole noting afterwards how moving Parker’s pep-talk was; “If you were there you would have had a tear in your eye.”
Hopefully there will be a sudden rush for the Londoner over the next few weeks. Scott Parker has grafted for his entire career and this last season saw him finally get the plaudits he deserves from the fans, the writers and the other players. He has earned the right to play for a bigger club and be an England international regular and I sincerely hope he is given the opportunity.
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