The end of the Premier League season is close enough now that we can begin to predict which clubs are set to go down. Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leicester occupy the bottom three places at the moment, but Aston Villa, Sunderland and Hull City all sit precariously close to the drop zone.
Whichever three sides go down, they are bound to lose a number of players who want top flight action, but a certain few will remain loyal. Here are six individuals who would, or at least should stick around if their club goes down.
6. Scott Arfield
With Danny Ings likely to depart in the summer regardless of whether or not Burney stay up, Scott Arfield has an excellent opportunity to become the club's talisman, leading a promotion push next season, should there be a need for one.
Arfield has been ever present this season, missing just one of the Clarets' 31 games so far. The midfielder has shone on a number of occasions and has netted twice.
Sean Dyche, along with many Burnley fans, was surprised at Arfield's omission from the Scotland national side a few weeks ago, but if Burnley were to drop down to the Championship, he would once again have the opportunity to stand out in the league in which he scored 8 goals last season.
5. Mo Diame
Having forced a move away from West Ham United at the end of last season, Mo Diame arrived at Hull City in the summer. He had publicly expressed his desire to play for a top six side, but as the Hammer's chairman said once he had departed, 'he never said in which league,'
Having got the move he wanted (sort of), Diame owes it to Hull to remain at the club, rather than jumping ship again. If he does still believe that playing for a top six side is possible in his career, then a year to really stand out in the Championship would do him the world of good.
On an unselfish note, Diame staying would be hugely important for Hull City if they wanted to return to the top flight at the first time of asking, so an improved contract or little bit of begging could be on the cards if Hull fail to beat the drop.
4. Steven Fletcher
At 28 years of age, Steven Fletcher is reaching the end of his rather lacklustre career in English football. Having never netted more than 12 goals outside of the Scottish league in a single season, it seems that the Championship may be a better match for the striker as he ends his career.
Fletcher has scored 18 goals in his three years at Sunderland and that number will not likely improve by many between now and the end of the season. If he does leave the club, it will almost certainly be for another Championship club, so it would make sense for Fletcher to remain at the Black Cats and repay the £12m his side spent to prise him away from Wolves.
3. Alex Bruce
Hull City were certainly not expected to go down following one of the most impressive January transfer deadline day's in history. However, the tigers sit 16th in the table, just 2 points off the drop.
It is hard to see Steve Bruce being sacked if Hull go down, as his Premier League experience would be welcomed in the second tier. Not only that, but he has been given a good amount of money over his spell in charge to rebuild the squad, and he has done a fairly decent job at that. Therefore, it only makes sense that his son, Alex, sticks around to help Dad get his side back up to the Premier League.
There could be a fair amount of awkward encounters when a Bruce family meal pops up if Alex jumps ship once Hull go down. It's never a nice thing to leave when you're side get relegated, but Alex Bruce should certainly stick around.
2. Bobby Zamora
Bobby Zamora did manage to score a fantastic goal at the weekend and he did score the goal that sent QPR up to the holy land. However, it still doesn't make sense that Zamora is a Premier League player again.
Zamora has had a fairly successful career, although his goal to game ratio is actually rather disappointing considering he's a striker. The former West Ham and Fulham man has managed only 11 goals in 73 games for QPR, but it is hard to see him doing any better at a different club.
If QPR go down, the 34-year-old's best bet is to hang in there, pick up his probably large pay cheque, and hope for another opportunity to score in the Play-Off finals, making everyone think he has it in him to play in the Premier League again.
1. Gabby Agbonlahor
Gabby Agbonlahor is Villa through and through. He came through their academy and made his first-team debut all the way back in 2006. Aside from 10 games he spent out on loan in 2005, he has only ever played for the Villans.
Subsequently, it is hard to see his leaving the club if Villa fail to beat the drop. The likes of Christian Benteke may well leave in search of Premier League football, leaving Agbonlahor to lead the front line as he did a few years ago. Some players are just born to play for one club, and at 28-years-old, it seems unlikely that Villa's number 11 will be going anywhere, anytime soon.
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