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|SoccerAnchor EPL Transfer Special: Where will Blackburn's Junior Hoilett end up?|
SoccerAnchor has already taken a look at what the respective clubs need on the transfer market, but where could some of the big-name players end up by August? Tim Collins examines the prospects for Junior Hoilett...
One of the lone bright spots in a miserable season at Blackburn was the play of Junior Hoilett. Despite Rovers claiming only 31 points for the season and suffering relegation, Hoilett was a revelation at Ewood Park throughout an extremely difficult campaign. While Blackburn were very dangerous in attack, Steve Kean's side has its inability to defend to blame for their descent into the Championship. In attack, and despite finishing 19th, Rovers finished with 48 goals for the season, which is equal 9th in the league, and one more than a Liverpool side that finished in 8th place. Hoilett's play was a huge part of that substantial attacking threat.
The 21 year-old excited the crowds at Ewood park with his pace, dribbling skills and fearless endeavour which saw him consistently attack the defenses of opposing teams. The Canadian star played with a confidence and exuberance well above that of his team mates, which endeared him to the Blackburn faithful.
Hoilett scored seven goals in 34 starts this season, and led the team with five assists. While those don't seem like large numbers, it was the damage that the young star created in a number of areas on the pitch that really impressed on-lookers. Not only can he play as a striker when required, but Hoilett can also be devastatingly used as a left winger or attacking midfielder depending on the situation. The 21 year-old is perhaps at his most dangerous when cutting in from the left onto his right boot.
Hoilett is currently valued at £8 million in the transfer market, and due to his expiring contract, would be able to leave Blackburn subject to a tribunal fee. While it's possible for some of the other players featured in SoccerAnchor's Transfer Specials to remain at their current clubs, it's almost certain that Hoilett will be leaving Ewood Park this season, as his ability is far more deserving of Premier League football than that of the Championship. His hunger, drive and desire will ensure he'll be moving on in the coming months, but the question is where?
It is understood that the Champions League runners-up are keen to acquire the services of Hoilett for next season and beyond. Reports have suggested that Hoilett's representatives have visited Germany for talks on the Canadian's future, with Bayern interested in recruiting young talent similar to Tranmere star Dale Jennings, who was signed in July last year.
However, it would appear unlikely that a determined and hungry Hoilett would be willing to head to Germany at this stage. Bayern already have a plethora of attacking options in Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben, which would mean Hoilett would see very little playing time in Munich.
While the young star could possibly develop into a great player at Bayern under the guidance of those mentioned players, it's hard to see the dynamic Hoilett settling for a subdued role at this stage in his career.
CHANCE OF SIGNING: 10%
With the prospect of losing Robin Van Persie a distinct possibility, Arsene Wenger is looking to beef up his squad ahead of next season. Subsequently, the Gunners have expressed their interest in Hoilett, as they will need to find a replacement for Yossi Benayoun, who has an expiring loan deal from Chelsea.
Blackburn's young star would seemingly be a hand-in-glove fit at the Emirates given his skill set. He'd naturally slot into the left wing position vacated by Benayoun and provide the Gunners with pace and attacking flair on both sides of the pitch with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain competing for a spot on the right. Hoilett's ball control and dribbling ability would suit Arsenal's patient and possession-oriented game style, in which he wouldn't be regularly forced to use his under-par crossing ability.
After already signing Lukas Podolski, it appears Wenger is determined to give his side more attacking options, as the Gunners were very much a one-trick pony going forward for a vast majority of the season.
CHANCE OF SIGNING: 60%
Harry Redknapp and his men will be devastated at being knocked out of next season's Champions League after Chelsea claimed the European title to knock 4th placed Spurs out of qualification for next year's tournament. This could lead to an exodus of players at White Hart Lane, who will be eyeing their chance to join clubs in contention for Europe's greatest prize. Names such as Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, the stars of the Tottenham midfield, have been touted as potential summer departures given the interest in these two from the Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and the Manchester clubs, while it is uncertain whether Emmanuel Adebayor will remain in north London with his expiring loan deal.
If this proves to be the case, then Hoilett would be a logical target for Redknapp to help cover the losses of the previously mentioned players. Hoilett could be used on the left if Bale departs, and while the youngster isn't at Bale's standard just yet, he would certainly provide a similar level of excitement down the left with his endeavour, confidence and pace.
The Canadian could also be used more centrally as an attacking midfielder, sitting just behind the likes of Rafael van der Vaart. While he doesn't contain the same composure and reliability that Modric provides, he could still create many nervous situations for opposing back fours with his dribbling ability.
CHANCE OF SIGNING: 30%
It appears that Arsenal are the front-runners for Hoilett's services. He would comfortably slot into the Gunners line-up on the left and would immediately feel at home with their playing style. Given Arsene Weneger's commitment to strengthening his squad this summer, it's likely he'll pursue Hoilett hard. And given that the young star seems to be a very driven individual, playing at the Emirates in big games would be the sort of environment he's looking for.