West Ham United: Where will Robert Green start the 2012/13 season?
Most people at West Ham assumed that Green would sign a new contract once the Hammers secured their return to the Premier League but it appears that he is looking for a new challenge elsewhere.
Green joined West Ham for £2 million from Norwich City in 2006 and he has experienced some huge highs and lows with the club. He has put in some man of the match performances and endured some hairy moments trying to stay up, before finally falling through the trapdoor in 2011. At 32 he is probably looking for one final big day to secure his family's future and I'm sure he leaves Upton Park with the best wishes of most West Ham fans. After all, he didn't just walk out on the club following relegation like a certain Jermain Defoe. Green more than played his part in helping the Hammers back to where they belong.
So where will Rob Green end up next? Will he remain in the Premier League or does his future lay further afield?
QPR are apparently the front-runners for his signature. Mark Hughes is desperate to add some international experience to his goalkeeping options and it looks as though Paddy Kenny could be on his way out of Loftus Road. Green is more than a safe pair of hands. Despite his howler against the US in the 2010 World Cup for England, Green is one of the best keepers England have to offer. He may not be mad like Bruce Grobbelaar or vocal like Peter Schmeichel, but Green is agile, brave and confident. He would definitely save more than he conceded if he joined QPR.
West Bromwich Albion are also in the race for his signature, which is strange as, at the time of writing this, the Baggies still hadn't confirmed their new manager. Although Ben Foster was immense last season for the Albion, Foster is still a Birmingham City player and it remains to be seen whether the two sides can agree a deal for him. With Green soon to be a free agent West Brom could well sign a quality keeper and spent their money elsewhere.
Tottenham Hotspur could also be interested. Spurs and Harry Redknapp love nothing more than going across the capital to raid the Hammers for their prized possessions. Although Brad Friedel, signed last summer, has been a great addition for Spurs the American is getting on a bit and needs stronger competition than Gomez for a starting spot. Spurs could offer Green European football but would he be happy playing second fiddle to Friedel or would Green become Redknapp's number one?
Sunderland, who have released their £9 million keeper Craig Gordon, are on the lookout for a new keeper and Green ticks all the right boxes for Martin O'Neill. I'm not sure if Green would be keen on a move to Wearside but Sunderland are definitely a club going places under the enthusiastic former Celtic and Aston Villa boss.
Green could well fancy a change of scenery and a place in the sun by joining Malaga. The Spaniards have been long-time admirers of Green and maybe he feels that this would be the ideal opportunity to sample another culture.
Fellow promoted clubs Reading and Southampton are also rumoured to be keeping a close eye on his situation. Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins are fine young managers and will be looking to take the Premier League by storm this season, but Green will be concerned about going straight back down. With the World Cup in Brazil just around the corner, Green will be desperate to be pushing Joe Hart all the way for that number one shirt. If he's back in the Championship there's a risk he could miss out.
And finally could he swap the claret and blue of West Ham for the claret and blue of Aston Villa? Paul Lambert has just been confirmed as Villa boss and he may want to have two experienced internationals in Given and Green fighting it out for the number one spot. Again, I'm not sure Green would be comfortable with having spells on the bench.
Here is the latest betting odds:
West Brom 9/4
Aston Villa 25/1
Calling all West Ham fans. How do you feel about Green leaving Upton Park? Who do you think Allardyce should sign now to replace him? Does Jaaskelainen excite you? What about former Sunderland and Scotland ace Craig Gordon? Whatever your view we would love to hear from you below.