Shaun Wright Phillips has a choice to make, and at age 25 that choice will come sooner rather than later. After his first season at Stamford Bridge following his, much-maligned 21 million move, he would have hoped that his career was reaching its peak about now rather than starting all over again. Last season things improved and he was given a proper run of games under Jose Mourinho and went some way to rebuilding his reputation with a series of top class performances, most notably against Spurs in the FA Cup and in Chelsea’s 4-1 drubbing of West Ham.
However more than half of his appearances in the Premier League were coming off the bench and in the Champions League he has started only one game in two years. So however much faith Jose now has in the 25-year speed merchant as a super reserver, it may still not be enough for a player who is beginning to develop a following among those in positions of power in North London.
Tottenham have shown a keen interest with an alleged 12 million bid already tabled – and the blessing of his Gooner legend dad. Spurs may have Aaron Lennon and Steed Malbranque already but Shaun Wright Philips would give them another proper winger with true pace with the ball at his feet. All three players can play on both wings, giving Martin Jol the kind of tactical options he likes.
Arsenal are also supposedly in with a shout. Over the past few seasons the losses of Jose Antonio Reyes, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and the aging of Freddie Ljunberg has sapped the squad of much of its lightning pace. Wright-Philips isn’t really the type of player to play Wenger’s preferred pass-and-move, and playing at Chelsea as their ‘runner’ on the wing hasn’t really done much to change that. But he’d help stretch teams and create space for there rest of them to get with their little passing triangles.
West Ham are the last London club sniffing around with bags of cash, and they’re in greatest need of SWP’s talents especially after losing Yossi Benayoun. Bellamy’s arrival from Liverpool has given them one fleet-footed midget, and adding SWP would make them quite vicious on the counter attack. Track record hasn’t been the best this summer and they’ve already been rejected left and right this summer it’s difficult to see Wright-Philips picking the Hammers instead of either Arsenal or Spurs.
But what the hell do we know, where do you reckon Shaun Wright-Philips should play next season?