Bouma can talk to other clubs and Harewood is. Actually, Bouma has been able to talk to other clubs and probably has since January. None of us should really be surprised at this.
We shouldn't be surprised to learn that other players might be off too. Nigel Reo-Coker for one, although I suspect he will wait out his contract and earn even more money next summer. There are others too that will be leaving.
I wouldn't be surprised if some of the younger players, given the opportunity, also left. They know, deep down, they are not going to get the opportunities under O'Neill and they all have agents these days and they can all easily find a new club. Bannan had a good spell at Blackpool this season and he wont be short of offers if it was known he wanted a new club.
But it is all good. O'Neill basically needs the money as Mr Lerner isn't going to give him more money to waste on players that are never going to play. It isn't just about money to bring players in, it is about paying the salaries each week and the club is paying a lot in salaries for players that are never going to play. It doesn't make sense.
You don't need a squad of proven Premier League players if you are not going to play them. We need to get rid of the dead weight and we need to have a core of seventeen players plus a few academy players and as long as we can keep the core away from serious injury, we will be fine. Fat Frank at Chelsea can play over 50 games a season every season, why can't our players?
I have a feeling there will be lots of players leaving this summer and one or two coming in. For all the talk of squad size, it is blarney from O'Neill but it is blarney only he can talk, so it's all good.
Blackburn Sunday, preview tomorrow. I'm up for a few beers tonight and next week I'm going to be picking my second team and I am leaning towards a German team, only because in Germany you can smoke inside, not because I still smoke, but just knowing there is a civilised country that allows smoking inside, in rooms designed for smokers - it just reminds me of a time when things were done right.