It is difficult to have much sympathy for Scott Sinclair, given that he has no doubt been well paid for his limited services to Manchester City this season, but it is always a shame to see a talented young player not being given an opportunity to develop.
Sinclair knew what he was getting into at City, with many predicting his lack of playing time before he completed the move from Swansea in the summer. Adam Johnson's stalled career gave him the clearest example of all of what might happen at the Etihad, but Sinclair has been even more peripheral than Johnson was at City, and must surely be looking for a way out this summer.
He will likely have to take a considerable pay cut, but if he is prepared to then there will be plenty of teams interested in signing Sinclair. Aston Villa and Everton have already been reported as tracking his situation, with the Villains ready to make a bid if their Premier League survival is secured over the next couple of months.
Either of these teams would be an excellent move for Sinclair, and at Aston Villa he would become part of a talented young squad with an ambitious manager. That youth and inexperience has clearly contributed to Villa's current predicament in the league, but it is also the factor that has helped them to their back to back wins over Reading and QPR, and if they stay up Paul Lambert will have a lot to build with next season.
Everton are in a very different situation, and Sinclair would be joining one of the top teams in the league if he went to Goodison Park. However there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the ownership, David Moyes and several key players at Everton at the moment, as well as more competition for places that Sinclair might not relish after his City experience.
There is clearly still plenty of time for Sinclair to fulfil his potential, and perhaps more importantly a move this summer might give him a sniff of making the England squad for the World Cup in 2014 if he can produce an impressive season at another Premier League club. Both Everton and Aston Villa would be excellent destinations for Sinclair, but the most important thing is that he leaves Manchester City.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald