Steven Caulker
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Coral consider Steven Caulker’s career options

| 22.07.2014

Highly-rated England centre back Steven Caulker is at something of a career crossroads. After suffering relegation with Cardiff City, the side he skippered last term, three teams are trying to keep him in the Premier League.

If international ambitions are to be realised, the former Spurs and Swansea player must be getting regular top-flight football. QPR, managed by ex-Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, lead the chase for Caulker’s signature, as he is reportedly undergoing a medical with the west London outfit.

Cross-capital club Crystal Palace and Southampton, who could be bracing themselves for another high-profile departure, are the other interested parties. Coral assess Caulker’s options for him, posing the question is a move to the Hoops in his best interests?

Only fellow promoted side Burnley are more fancied for relegation than Redknapp’s team at 2/1. Does Caulker really want to involve himself in a perpetual dogfight? He could become the next Scott Dann.

Looking at QPR in a more positive light, though, lessons may have been learned from their last stint in the Premier League when they brought mercenaries with money instead of making sensible signings. Being paired with ex-England captain Rio Ferdinand at Loftus Road would enhance Caulker’s reputation.

His younger legs mean he is likely to bench golden oldies Clint Hill and Richard Dunne, while Nedum Onuoha will also likely make way, unless he moves to right back. This experience around him is what makes the Hoops so attractive, and why he is close to a move there.

Crystal Palace
Coral believe Tony Pulis will struggle in his second season at the Eagles, as they are the 9/4 third-favourites in the relegation market. Palace had never stayed up in Premier League history, but that tale was rewritten with plenty to spare.

Maintaining that strong defence is essential, hence Pulis’ reported interest in Caulker. He could partner the aforementioned Dann instead of Irish 30-something Damien Delaney. Eagles options here are far from abundant, so Caulker could be confident of regular football, but if advised well he may realise Palace could be about to start on a downward curve.

Any club that is selling players left, right and centre, as the Saints have done this summer so far, must be approached with caution. Unlike the London clubs above, though, Southampton are not rated as relegation fodder under Ronald Koeman, but as 11/8 chances for another top 10 finish.

Dejan Lovren desires a move to Liverpool, which will leave a gaping hole in central defence at St Mary’s. Other English talents have turned out on the south coast, read Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert (both now Liverpool) and Luke Shaw (Manchester United), and received international recognition, so Caulker should consider this domestic hotbed carefully.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.