Mikael Silvestre until very recently looked to be joining the litany of players spreading their footballing talent around the world as the increased globalisation of the game sees top leagues from around this dirty circle endorsing clubs bringing in marquee signings.
Del Piero to Australia, Drogba to China and Rivaldo to Uzbekistan have all been examples in recent history. The former Manchester United and Arsenal centre-back seemed to be on the verge of completing a similar move after discussions with Dodsal FC, who play in the recently revamped Mumbai Football league in India.
That deal has however fallen at the wayside as the former French international insists he can still bring something to the Premier League. The 35-year-old wants to finish his career in the top flight of English football.
Currently he is training with Manchester United in an attempt to retain his fitness and has Sir Alex’s blessing to remain with the club until he finds a suitable suitor to his signature.
So who could realistically chase the experienced and versatile defender?
Newcastle already have a large proportion of Francophone players currently at the club but while that allows potential for a deal it does not make it a likelihood.
However he could add some depth to a club who have suffered with injury problems of late. Shane Ferguson appears to be more of a winger then full-back and Silvestre could add depth to the left-back position. He is equally adept at centre-back where he could provide vital competition for Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson.
Easily appear to have the weakest defence in the league at the moment with the erratic Sebastian Bassong, out-of-depth duo of Ryan Bennet and Leon Barnett and simply awful Michael Turner currently rotating the positions.
Bringing in the stability of an experienced international with Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup medals under his belt would be solid business from Chris Hughton.
Concerns remain over the ability of Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld to step up to Premier League standards while Maya Yoshida is taking a while to bed in to his new surroundings. With Danny Fox also a concern defensively, Silvestre might help shore up a flimsy backline.
He is training with them at the moment and United are probably a Rio Ferdinand back injury away from offering him a contract. If it did happen you imagine Silvestre would wonder if he has been working too hard on his new rum business in St Bartha.
If he can prove his fitness and catch Fergie’s eye however he could come in to cover, Sol Campbell style, for the title race.
Where do you think Silvestre will end up?
image: © brizzlechris