For an increasing number of young players in the Premier League, it is not the big move to a top club that ends up defining the success of their career, but the move they make after failing to break into the first team at that side. Having rarely featured at the top level for a couple of seasons, whether a player can still reproduce their best form when they move on to another side is always an interesting question.
Scott Sinclair will likely be the next man to leave Manchester City in an attempt to play regular football again, and so far Aston Villa, Everton and Southampton have already been linked with a move for the 23 year old. However there is another side in and around the top four of the league who could perhaps use a player like Sinclair, as Tottenham Hotspur have looked short of options on their wings in recent weeks.
In the past Gareth Bale's presence at White Hart Lane would have meant that a left winger would have arrived at Spurs knowing their chances of a first team place were limited. However with the Welshman now cutting inside Spurs have often ended up using players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, who are more naturally suited to playing in the centre, on the left side of their attack.
At the end of the season Spurs will have Andros Townsend back from his loan at QPR, and they might decide that bringing in another player would block his development. But as was shown with the transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor last summer, City are prepared to let players go cheaply if they have no use for them, and bringing in Sinclair would add depth to Spurs' attack at a Daniel Levy-friendly price.
Whether the player might shy away from another move to a side where his first team place is far from guaranteed could be a factor. Sinclair is a somewhat odd case, as he had experienced the frustration of failing to break into the first team at Chelsea before his move to Swansea City. Having then re-established himself, he chose to move to Manchester City despite the insight of how hard it is to impress at a top four club.
Moving to Spurs might throw up similar issues, but you would expect that Sinclair would get more chances there than at City, and White Hart Lane could be the perfect place for him to prove himself as a top class player.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald