Transfer Updates

5 Better Alternatives To Turan That Can Replace Mesut Ozil At Arsenal

Arsenal have been heavily linked with Arda Turan in recent weeks, but I think there are better options on the market. Here’s five…

1 – Isco

Could Arsenal go to Madrid again to find Ozil’s replacement? It’s very possible. Isco could reportedly be sold for as little as £10.3million because Madrid want to stop him from joining Barcelona. That would be an absolute bargain for a player that has bags of potential and is still young at 24. In my opinion he has the potential to at least match the ability of Ozil, he just needs to be playing regular football. The fact that Barcelona are serious about signing Isco tells you everything you need to know, Arsenal simply have to be interested in the Spaniard if he’s on the market this summer.

Manchester United ‘On Verge’ Of Landing Prime Target In £86m Deal

Manchester United are on the verge of completing an astonishing deal for Jose Mourinho’s prime transfer target this summer.

Manchester Evening News reports that Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann is set to swap the Spanish capital for the North West of England this summer in a stunning deal worth £86m- which would put the French striker in the same bracket as world-record signing Paul Pogba.

Jose Mourinho is keen to land Griezmann’s services this summer and sources close to the French international indicate that a move is on the verge of completion– as Atletico are powerless to stop their star-man from leaving if his €100m release-clause is met.

Griezmann’s arrival would signal another major statement of intent from the Red Devils, who splashed the cash last summer to bring the likes of Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Old Trafford, and it would kick-off another summer of spending for Mourinho as he builds a new-look side.

How would he fit in?

Manchester United would have an abundance of attacking force with Griezmann’s arrival, as the Red Devils already boast the likes of Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. However, captain Wayne Rooney is likely to leave.

With Ibrahimovic turning 36 next season, the Swedish striker is also not a long-term option for Mourinho and Griezmann’s arrival would ensure that the Red Devils have a top-class striker ready to take the mantle when Ibrahimovic inevitably moves on.

It could trigger a change in set-up for United though as Griezmann would likely play alongside Ibrahimovic up-top, forcing Anthony Martial into a wide-role with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the other flank- which would hand United a sensational attacking line.

There is questions of what it would mean for Marcus Rashford though, as the England international would find opportunities increasingly difficult to come by. However, with Ibrahimovic likely only having another year left, the position is there for Rashford to grab in the future.

Would it be a world-record deal?

It’s unlikely that Manchester United would have to surpass the world-record fee they paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer, which came to £89m, as Griezmann’s release-clause of €100m equates to around £86m- £3m short than his compatriot.

Griezmann’s signature would certainly be right up their amongst the biggest fees in football history though and Manchester United would offer stunning wages in a deal to the Frenchman- with Rooney’s likely departure alone freeing up around £300k-a-week.

Whatever United spend would likely be recouped in sponsorship deals and shirt sales though, as Griezmann’s popularity worldwide would boost United’s bank account and add to the list of world-class players plying their trade at Old Trafford.

Arsenal & Spurs go head-to-head for international midfielder

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are ready to take their rivalry to the transfer market in pursuit of this top-class midfielder.

The Daily Mirror states Arsenal have joined their North London rivals in the hunt for Schalke ace Leon Goretzka, who looks increasingly likely to move away from the Bundesliga side this summer as his contract discussions have hit a dead-end.

22-year-old Goretzka, already a full international with Germany, has earned a stellar reputation in Europe for his fine performances, including in the Champions League, and Arsenal consider him to be a bargain option this summer as they brace themselves for the potential losses of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere.

Spurs, meanwhile, have become a haven for young talent and Goretzka’s arrival would see him join the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Keane, with Mauricio Pochettino creating a youthful side capable of launching an assault for Premier League glory.

Will a deal go ahead?

Goretzka’s current deal with Schalke enters it’s final 12 months this summer and the youngster has refused to put pen to paper on a new deal, which is understandable considering the club currently sit ninth in the Bundesliga and are braced for a spell away from European football.

The rise of Hoffenheim and RB Leipzeig this season has given Schalke more rivals in the battle for European spots in the Bundesliga and they already have to deal with the likes of Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.

There is a real threat that Schalke’s woes this season won’t be a short-term problem and the club are bracing themselves for bids this summer as their top players attract interest from elsewhere- and Goretzka is one of a few who could be on the move.

How much will he cost?

With all the inflation in the transfer market, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur could land themselves a real bargain in Goretzka as it’s stated a deal could be available for as little as £20m– which is a sensationally low price for a player of his calibre.

That fee wouldn’t be an issue for either North London side to match and both clubs could offer a higher sum if a bidding war was to emerge. However, Bundesliga players regularly move to other German sides so the Premier League pair must be prepared for interest to potentially rise elsewhere.

The most crucial factor in a deal could well be first-team opportunities, as Goretzka will be keen to earn a spot in Joachim Lowe’s World Cup squad next summer, where his nation will look to defend the title they won in Brazil three-years ago.

Liverpool join Everton in pursuit of highly-rated defender

Liverpool are ready to go toe-to-toe on the transfer market with arch-rivals Everton for the services of this highly-rated defender.

The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool’s interest in Burnley defender Michael Keane has raised following his impressive international debut this week, where the 24-year-old former Manchester United man started England’s 1-0 defeat to Germany.

Everton hold long-standing interest in Keane, and see him as the ideal fit for their defence in the long-term, but Jurgen Klopp is eyeing a defensive restructure of his own and sees Keane as the ideal central-defensive partner for Joel Matip.

Interest in Keane is extremely high though as Manchester City and Chelsea also hold interest, whilst Manchester United could explore the option to bring him back to Old Trafford- as they did with Paul Pogba last summer.

Will a deal go ahead?

Burnley are resigned to losing Michael Keane’s services this summer as the Lancashire side have unsuccessfully tried to negotiate an extension on his current deal. With Keane’s contract entering it’s final 12 months this summer, the Clarets will sanction a sale.

Where Keane ends up is anyone’s guess though and the youngster will have plenty to think about, as a spot in England’s World Cup squad next summer is within his grasp and playing Champions League football could improve his standing.

However, Gareth Southgate’s recent England selections show that playing in Europe’s elite competition isn’t necessary and Keane could bite off more than he could chew with a move to a top-four club. If he were to move and struggle, then his chances of further England opportunities would decrease.

In any case, Keane can expect to be playing European football next season but it’s not clear whether that will be in the Champions League or Europa League.

How much will he cost?

Despite Keane’s contract situation, Burnley are holding out for a large sum for the defender’s services and their asking price reportedly stands at £30m; a fee that seems fair given the price Manchester City paid Everton for John Stones last summer.

Burnley’s windfall will get a boost as Keane will fetch a premium price due to the fact he’s English but the Clarets will also be aware that they’ll owe money from any deal to Manchester United, as part of the agreement that saw Keane move to Turf Moor initially.

That in itself could bump up the price as Burnley would be looking to get as large a figure as they can, which Sean Dyche would then spend to bolster his own squad and increase the club’s chances of long-term Premier League survival.

Real Madrid aiming to raid Chelsea for signatures of star duo

Spanish giants Real Madrid are looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s success this season by launching a raid for two of the Blues’ most crucial players.

The Guardian reports that Zinedine Zidane’s Champions League holders are looking to launch an assault for the signatures of both Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard this summer, in a move that would leave Chelsea’s ranks severely depleted.

Real Madrid are looking to reshuffle this summer with the future’s of the likes of Alvaro Morata, Isco and James Rodriguez hanging in the balance, whilst they’re also preparing for life without Cristiano Ronaldo- and Hazard could be the ideal fit.

Between the sticks, Courtois is seen as a significant upgrade on Costa Rican Keylor Navas and the move sees Los Blancos cool their interest in long-term target David De Gea from Manchester United, as Zidane’s side seek alternative options.

How likely is a deal?

Chelsea would command a hefty figure for both players but could find it difficult to fend off the interest of Real Madrid, specifically when it comes to Thibaut Courtois. Whilst he has insisted he’s happy at Stamford Bridge, his family still lives in the Spanish capital from his time on-loan with Atletico Madrid.

With Hazard, the Belgian may feel the opportunity to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo is too great an opportunity to turn down and his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu would see Los Blancos shift away from their ‘BBC’ attacking trio- with Ronald likely moving central and Hazard filling the gap on the left, whilst Gareth Bale operates on the opposite side and Karim Benzema misses out.

However, Hazard still has three-years remaining on his current deal at Stamford Bridge and discussions have been held to extend his deal. Despite that, the Belgian reportedly remains open to a switch to Spain.

How much would they cost?

Both Courtois and Hazard would command a hefty price on the transfer market but Real Madrid could subsidise a deal by offering Alvaro Morata in exchange; as the Spanish striker is unhappy with the opportunities that have come his way since he returned to Madrid last summer.

Formerly of Juventus, where Antonio Conte used to manage, the Italian boss is a keen admirer of Morata’s talents and unsuccessful enquiries were made last summer. This year though, the situation could be different and Chelsea will be prepared for the possibility of losing Diego Costa.

Money is no object for Real Madrid though and they’d be looking to make a real statement of intent to respond to the growing prices of the Premier League, especially as Manchester United broke the transfer world-record last summer with their capture of Paul Pogba.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hazard’s signature fetch the same sort of price Pogba’s did last summer and Courtois himself could surpass the long-standing record for a goalkeeper, which currently stands at the fee of over £50m Juventus paid for Gianluigi Buffon.

Tottenham ready to offload transfer flop in summer window

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is ready to offload a transfer flop from last summer when the window reopens at the end of the season.

French outlet L’Equipe report that Moussa Sissoko will be one of many French internationals on the move this summer, naming Bayern Munich loanee Kingsley Coman and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette as other players that are expecting to land a summer deal.

Sissoko was signed from relegated Newcastle United last summer for a fee of £30m, having impressed in France’s push to the Euro 2016 final, but Sissoko has failed to live-up to his price tag or replicate the form he showed in last summer’s international competition.

Remarkably, Sissoko has played just 1029 minutes for Tottenham Hotspur this season and is expected to be offloaded this summer, as Pochettino looks to reshuffle his deck once again and push closer towards Premier League success.

Where will he go?

With Sissoko’s stock in English football falling dramatically, it’s highly likely that the 27-year-old will move abroad in the summer transfer window. Interest is fairly high, with TuttoMercatoWeb claiming Inter Milan are keen whilst Sky Sports previously claimed AC Milan were interested.

A move to French football would also be highly possible, especially as Sissoko will aim to force his way back into Didier Deschamps’ France squad after being dropped for the current international fixtures. With the World Cup next summer, Sissoko will have to be smart with his destination.

A stay in English football could still be a possibility though and Everton, whom Spurs beat to Sissoko’s signature last term, could reignite their interest- especially with the likes of Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu being linked with a summer exit.

What would Spurs get?

Spurs are extremely unlikely to recoup the full £30m they paid for Sissoko last summer but, with the inflated prices in the transfer market, their loss would probably stand at a maximum amount of around £10m- with Sissoko’s services likely to fetch at least £20m.

The Lilywhites could use Sissoko’s services to subsidise a deal of their own with a side interested in his signature- especially if Everton come calling, as Spurs have recently been stated to hold an interest in England ace Ross Barkley.

Report: Liverpool in battle with Barcelona to sign exciting midfielder

Liverpool’s season has been average at best so far, and it seems that Jurgen Klopp is finally looking at making some signings to improve on his limited options. 

Riyad Mahrez is one transfer target for Liverpool this summer, but they may have to rival Barcelona for his signature, according to Sport – the report claims Barcelona are interested but that Liverpool have already made an approach.

Where would he fit in?

Though it may not have seemed like it this season, Mahrez has very good stamina, and under Klopp I think we could see him excel in pressing from the front. He’d give the team some versatility in attack and would take one of the wide berths in the team, most likely the right wing role. I could see him dovetailing well with Nathaniel Clyne on the right hand side, and offering good balance to the Liverpool team.

How likely is it to happen?

I would be shocked if Mahrez were to remain at Leicester City beyond this season. There are several top clubs interested in him and Leicester will not be playing any type of European football next season (unless they win the Champions League!). I’m not sure Mahrez would get enough regular game time at the likes Barcelona, but at Liverpool he could easily cement a place in the starting eleven. Liverpool would feel like a good next step for Mahrez, as he looks to establish himself at a top club. Moving to a club like Barcelona too early could have detrimental effects to his career. For all Klopp’s ability as a manager though, he has struggled in the transfer market, especially to bring recognised names to the club. This summer that needs to change and signing Mahrez would be a good starting point.

Would he be a good signing?

I think it goes without saying that based on last season’s form, Mahrez would be an excellent addition to the Liverpool squad, and help take them to a title challenging team. This season he has been poor for the most part, but I think he needs a manager like Klopp to consistently get the best out of him. At Liverpool you do not get away with half-hearted performances, but many times this season that is exactly what Mahrez has delivered.

Conte’s No.1 transfer target ‘ready’ to join Chelsea this summer

Chelsea are in with a chance of finally signing Antonio Conte’s number one transfer target. 

According to The Metro, if Massimo Allegri remains at Juventus, then star defender Leonardo Bonucci could be looking to leave because of their poor relationship. The duo recently fell out on the touchline during a match and reports suggest that they have failed to recover from this event.

Allegri’s future is up in the air himself, but he does have a contract beyond this season at Juventus currently and it is looking more likely that the Arsenal and Barcelona target will remain in charge of the Italian Champions next season.

According to Yahoo, Bonucci is prepared to leave Juventus for the Premier League with Chelsea and Manchester City heavily interested, but the former favourites for his signature. Bonucci would almost certainly break the world transfer record for a defender.

How would Bonucci fit in? 

Wonderfully. The Italian would thrive in Conte’s 3-4-3 system and probably replace Gary Cahill. Alongside Luiz and Azpilicueta, Chelsea would perhaps have the best central defence in the whole of Europe. A man with Bonucci’s experience would need very little time to settle in, despite moving to a new league. He’s worked under Conte before too, so the manager would be able to handle his implementation into the team with ease.

How likely is this? 

We know Conte is a big fan of Bonucci and he tried to sign him during his first window in charge. Instead, Conte got David Luiz, and that’s turned out pretty well, but I have no doubt that if Bonucci were to come on the market, then Conte would do everything in his power to add him to what is already an extremely resolute Chelsea rearguard.

I think if Allegri stays at Juventus and Chelsea are prepared to spend like they normally are, then there’s every chance of this deal happening in the summer.

How much would he cost?

As I say, it would certainly break the world transfer record for a defender, I think Juventus wouldn’t listen to anything less than £60million, which seems a lot for a 29-year-old, but remember how much they spent on Gonzalo Higuain and how much they managed to sell Paul Pogba for. Bonucci is more integral to Juventus than Pogba ever was. The club will be desperate for him to stay and as well as paying a lot of money, Chelsea will have to hope that Bonucci forces the move, otherwise Juve will keep him at the club.

Would This French Goalkeeper Solve Liverpool’s Problems Between the Sticks?

We teamed up with Timothy Bailey, an expert tipster over at FootballPredictions.com. According to his insights Liverpool have had a problem in goal since the days of Pepe Reina, and the summer arrival of Loris Karius has only complicated the situation further, rather than giving the club an established number one.

Simon Mignolet and Karius have shared the burden of the goalkeeping jersey but according to reports, Liverpool could again look to improve their options in this position with the addition of a new signing.

Ruffier is 30 years old and has been involved in the national team set up on numerous occasions, but has only 3 caps having been stuck behind the likes of Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda over the last decade. Ruffier has been a mainstay in the Saint-Etienne eleven over the last 6 years, notching up a stunning 190 appearances. Before that he racked up more than 100 appearances for Monaco.

Liverpool fans may be a bit hesitant about invest in another goalkeeper that is not quite of the highest calibre. I would suggest that Ruffier is very talented and a more reliable number 1 than both Mignolet and Karius – however like Karius, he would need a period of time to adapt to the Premier League. Karius was one of the best goalkeepers in Germany, a league that is arguably stronger than France. The Premier League is a completely different environment, and it has proven on many occasions to take a long time for players to adapt to the league, particularly goalkeepers.

You could say that if Liverpool are just going to go and buy another foreign keeper, they would be better sticking with Loris Karius and trusting his potential to come through at some stage. We saw at Manchester United, David De Gea seriously struggle in his first few months at the club. Despite excelling in Spain, he really struggled to adapt to English football and that led to many pundits and fans writing him off. Now, the Spaniard is widely considered as the best goalkeeper in the league and perhaps even the whole world.

Ruffier is 30 years old and unlikely to improve in the future. I feel Liverpool would need to be sure he will be a substantial improvement on Karius to invest in him – otherwise they would be better allowing Karius to improve, because unless he goes out on loan, his progression will stagnate playing on the bench every week.

The best option may be signing a Premier League proven goalkeeper. I’m surprised Liverpool aren’t interested in Asmir Begovic. The Bosnian international was a top quality goalkeeper at Stoke, and is said to be keen on finding first team football again, as he is now consistently stuck behind Thibaut Courtois in the pecking order.

This Real Madrid Midfielder Could Replace Ozil Perfectly At Arsenal This Summer

Real Madrid star Isco could be on his way out of the Spanish capital this summer. He is in search of regular first team football again as he looks to release his colossal potential instead of having a stop-start career at Madrid. Could he do just that at Arsenal? Especially if Mesut Ozil were to leave. 

Isco turns 25-years-old in April and should be heading into the peak of his football career, playing regularly and improving frequently, but has instead found himself out of the side more than in Zizou’s starting XI which has left the Spaniard very frustrated as of late.

Isco remains calm on his future but reiterates that he wants to play more: “I am calm with my future. I am worried about having minutes, the career of a player is short. So from here to the end of the season, we will make a decision because it is my future”.

The Real Madrid man is often linked with moves abroad, with the likes of Juventus, Chelsea, Arsenal and both Manchester clubs being heavily linked since it has become clear he is not happy with life in Madrid, and we take a look at why he could be perfect for the red side of North London.

Arsenal, without a doubt, on their day, play some of the most beautiful football across Europe. But, this season especially they have missed that creative flair in midfield which so often Mesut Ozil/Santi Cazorla brought to the team. Ozil has struggled for consistency after such an immense season in the 2015-2016 season whilst the Spaniard has struggled with an Achilles injury all season.

Isco is a very talented midfielder and his versatility means he can play in several positions, including on the flanks and centrally, and has even been known to play the second striker role. He has often played in a 4-3-3 system behind the lethal BBC and has thrived in having the creative role, feeding the three in front of him and joining the attack from deep.

Arsenal usually deploy a 4-2-3-1 system which has seen this get the best out of the likes of Mesut Ozil, but with the German struggling in his usual #10 role, and possibly leaving in the summer, Arsenal could look to play a 4-3-3 which replicates Madrid’s system with Isco in the midfield three and Ozil on the right flank, akin to his position for Germany.

Isco is frustrated with the lack of minutes he is currently getting in La Liga, and it is understandable considering the Spaniard possesses so many skill sets. A quick, skilful, creative, dynamic midfielder who is well known for his natural ability to pick out an inch-perfect pass with his hawk-eye vision and dribble effortlessly through numerous challenges.

Santi Cazorla’s injury seems to have hampered his Arsenal career as he now heads into the latter stages of his career whilst both Mesut Ozil/Jack Wilshere has just 15 months left on his contract with their long term futures in doubt.

Real Madrid have a packed midfield with many options, they arguably have the best squad in Europe, and with the lack of guaranteed minutes which Isco is getting, the Spaniards may struggle to keep hold of their man this summer.

Arsenal could relish with a signing of Isco’s calibre, whether that be under the management of Arsene Wenger or another manager. He would certainly give the club a lift in an abysmal campaign and kickstart his career again, showing the whole of Europe why he is destined to be one of the best.

The 24-year-old has just one year remaining on his contract and is reluctant to sign a new deal under current circumstances, so Madrid could risk losing him on a free if they were to refuse the departure of him this summer, with the likes of Manchester City heavily interested in the player.

Arsenal Reportedly Trying To Sign Chelsea Forward – Should Gunners Take The Risk?

Arsenal are monitoring Chelsea youngster Dominic Solanke’s contract stand-off in a bid to bring him to the Emirates Stadium this summer, according to Football.London.

The 19-year-old looks set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer after failing to agree terms on a new deal with his parent club, Chelsea. Solanke, who is reportedly on around £7,000 a week wanted his wage to be increased to £50,000 to commit to the club, an amount in which Chelsea are not willing to meet.

As the latter stages of the season kicks in and rumours start to pick up pace, a move could certainly be on the cards for the talented striker this summer with Antonio Conte admitting his destination will likely be away from the Blues this summer; “I think he will leave, I am not sure, but I think this is his will.”

Conte suggested he tried speaking to Solanke to understand his decision, but has concluded it is the norm in modern day football. “I have spoken with him to try to understand his decision. It is normal. We must have a great respect for every decision.”

In 2014 Solanke was named England Youth Player of the Year and has continued to blossom in his successful loan spell with Vitesse, scoring seven goals in 25 appearances.

Liverpool have been huge admirers of the England Under-21 international and with the track record in which Jürgen Klopp possesses with young players, would be an ideal signing for the reds this summer. But, according to Football.London, the possibility of switching to the Red side of London has become a real possibility with the Gunners being long-term admirers of the youth prospect.

Chelsea remain reluctant to bulk at the demands of Solanke and will likely sell him on in the summer and look at ready-made talent, with Alvaro Morata linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. But, the question marks arise around potential suitors also matching these needs of the player, especially with the Gunners not being known to splash the cash and not splashing flash on first team player’s contracts.

Solanke is demanding wages of a first team player but hasn’t made an impact since Conte’s arrival, failing to make a single appearance under the former Juventus boss.

Dealings between Arsenal/Chelsea will be a tough ask this summer, for a youth player or senior, rival clubs tend to block moves to one another however large the players are due to having that dominance on one another. But, Solanke may be keen to link up with Arsene Wenger (permitting he stays beyond this season) due to his morals in promoting youth players to the first team.

Football.London suggest Chelsea will be entitles to £8 million in compensation due to rules and regulations surrounding academy trained players. So for either Liverpool or Arsenal to cough up 8+ million pounds and 50,000 in salaries, I think this deal could be a very complicated one.

Solanke primarily plays as a #9 but can operate on either wing and in the #10 role, which highlights his versatile attacking approach which could be used in many ways for different set-ups and tactics. For someone who is just 19-years-old he has great physique and is very strong in possession, using this to have great ball retention too which highlights some of the youngsters qualities, and why he is gaining much attraction from top clubs.

Arsenal could be in the market for a new striker this summer with both Juventus and PSG sniffing around their star ma Alexis Sanchez, but Solanke will certainly not be a priority within the potential targets available. Instead, they must be looking elsewhere for a Edinson Cavani/Paulo Dybala type player to enhance the Gunners progress if they were to lose their Chilean.

The Chelsea youngster is far from the finished article, nor will he walk into the Arsenal starting XI but he would be a good investment if the Gunners pursued their interest. The North Londoners will be reluctant to pay his wage demands but will certainly give him opportunities in domestic cup competitions, something he is yet to experience under Conte.

Manchester United Transfer News: Forward Could Complete Big Money Move This Month

Manchester United have reportedly told Wayne Rooney he can choose if he wants to leave to go to China in the next week. 

The Chinese transfer deadline is on Tuesday and Rooney will have a chance to complete a big money move there before the deadline passes.

The news comes as an ‘exclusive’ from Yahoo, who are believed to be well connected.

With several reports linking United with a big money move for Antoine Griezmann in the summer, shifting Wayne Rooney off the wage bill would certainly help. Rooney is one of the highest earners at the club, believed to be earning around £300,000 per week.

It would be fair to say that his contribution on the field is not of such high value at this moment in time. United would be wise to move him on, but as the clubs highest goalscorer of all time, it is not that easy.

It’s hardly like Rooney is completely past it, he’s only 31, many professional footballers continue at the highest level well into their 30’s, you only have to look at Carrick, 35, who has made himself an important part of the United eleven this season.

That may make Rooney think twice before moving to China. If he waits til the summer to move, not only does he have a chance to win more trophies at the club, but he would be able to move to clubs of a higher caliber in the summer. If he doesn’t want to stay in England, I’m sure he wouldn’t be short of offers from the likes of Milan.

It’s understandable that United are making moving to China an option for Rooney. They will be aware that other European club would be unlikely to offer much money for him and also their wage offers are unlikely to tempt Rooney from his luxury lifestyle in Manchester. Chinese clubs would have no problems in matching his wage demands and United would probably receive a sizeable fee for him.

If the Griezmann stories are true, then United may have to break their own world record again to go and sign him. We are looking at around £100million, so if they can get £30million+ for a 31-year-old Rooney they will certainly be pleased.

Rooney must now decide if he wants to take one last payday and move to China, joining the others that have decided to cash in in Asia. He has a week to decide.

The latest reports from The Independent indicate that Rooney doesn’t want to move to China and is hoping an English club will match his wage demands in the summer. I can’t see that happening, personally.

What do you think he should do?

Swap Deal? Manchester United and Tottenham Could Do Trade Deal For Shaw

Tottenham Hotspur are considering making a move for Manchester united left-back Luke Shaw in the summer if the England International fails to force himself into Jose Mourinho’s plans, according to Yahoo Sports.

Former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino worked with the promising talent during his time at St Mary’s and would be keen to work with the 21-year-old again after remaining a huge admirer of the defender who moved to Old Trafford in the summer of 2014.

Jose Mourinho has questioned several of his United players this season and Shaw has been one of the star players to come under some strong/brutal scrutiny from the Portuguese manager after he was left less than impressed with Shaw after his performance in the 3-1 defeat at Watford in September and questioned his mentality/physical approach when he opted to pull out of the Swansea game due to an injury.

Since this public dispute, Shaw has found himself struggling for minutes within the first XI and has been put behind others in the pecking order, despite possessing so much promise.

Jose Mourinho was interested in Shaw during his time at Chelsea but lost out to him when the Red Devils came calling, now he is at the helm of the United side it was thought Shaw would blossom in the starting XI under Mourinho’s influence, but it has been nothing but a nightmare season for the former Saints player thus far.

He was firstly omitted from the United squad in the opening weeks of 2017 after this ‘injury’ spat despite being adamant he felt pain in his leg, he is yet to make a Premier League appearance for the Red Devils since October and looks unlikely to break through into the team due to United’s impressive unbeaten run.

Jonathan Barnett has stated that his client Luke Shaw is ready to fight for his place in the United squad, but without any luck thus far there is growing fears he might not be able to make his mark with United under Jose Mourinho.

Being left out of the United squad has left Shaw working considerably hard on his fitness levels internally/externally to ensure he is ready if recalled upon, with the growing hope wearing thin as we enter the latter stages of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino is a huge fan of the former Southampton academy graduate and a move could materialize in the summer with them both having a very good relationship with one another.

United would certainly look to add profit onto the £27 million they forked out for Shaw and could well ask about the availability of Danny Rose, whom they have admired for some time after the England star has established himself as one of Europe’s finest defenders.

Tottenham would certainly be a positive move for Shaw, they have come on heaps and bounds in recent years and are in the process of moving stadiums, possess a superb squad under one of Europe’s finest managers, but with Spurs already owning one of the finest left-back already, and at just 26-years-old, Shaw could find himself in a similar situation he is in at United.

Shaw is akin to Rose in some senses, both players possess excellent speed and desire in helping in all phases and support both defensive/attacking transitions. The United man also has great dribbling ability for a left-back which helps in attacking transitions as he intends to go on surging runs down the left-hand side channel. The 21-year-old is very technically gifted too, he’s very comfortable in possession and remains an outlet at all times which is crucial within build up play.

Shaw’s career is at crossroads, he must nail down a starting XI spot and despite Spurs being a very attractive offer if they were to pursue their interest, I just can’t see him getting into the starting XI over Danny Rose due to the latter becoming an expert in his position in Pochettino’s system. So, this leaves him in a similar situation to as what he is already in, he would play some cup games and cover Rose if an injury/fatigue occurred but for someone that promises so much his next step must be to start week-in-week-out to ensure he gets back to the colossal standard he was setting at Southampton.

Or perhaps, a swap deal for Rose and Shaw could be on? As Rose would surely be seen as an improvement to the starting eleven for United.

 

Transfers: Chelsea Tried And Failed To Sign This Serie A Star On Deadline Day

Inter Milan winger Jonathan Biabiany has turned down the chance to join Premier League Leaders Chelsea on loan, according to Sky in Italy.

The French-born Inter Milan winger has struggled to cement a place in the starting XI since his arrival in 2015 and has made just three appearances thus far this season, playing just 20 times in the 18 months he has been with the Italians.

Antonio Conte had reportedly identified the wide areas as a priority in the winter marker but had failed with an attempt to sign 28-year-old Biabiany as the Chelsea boss also held an interest in Michail Antonio, which also failed to materialize.

Chelsea target, Biabiany, has also been subject of interest from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool but has decided to stay and fight for his place in Milan despite being sounded out of the first team.

We take a look at what Jonathan Biabiany could have potentially brought to Stamford Bridge.

Biabiany is known for his acceleration and pace with the ball which would have been perfect in Contes 3-4-3 system, using his speed to help him in transitions whether that was getting back in defensive situations or trying to spring a counter attack.

The 28-year-old is a player who likes to be in possession and has proven to be very composed/efficient with the ball, which any winger would be asked to do, including good ball retention in tight areas.

The Inter Milan man likes to drive at defences and get crosses into the box which would have been ideal for Chelsea hitman Diego Costa, as he would thrive off the deliveries into the box. The offensive side of his game seems very positive and direct but his lack of defensive work would have been a nightmare for Conte, who demands his players to help in all phases.

A key stat which stands out for Biabiany is his lack of goals in recent years. From 2011 – 2017 he has managed just 15 goals which would have concerned Conte, especially as the Chelsea XI currently contribute with goals from all areas of the pitch on a regular basis.

The Frenchman, who has one cap at u21 level, may regret his decision if the Blues go on to win the Premier League title this season. But, it may turn out to be the right decision, despite not playing for Inter this season, it is unlikely he would have pushed into the Chelsea starting XI with the likes of Pedro/Willian both thriving at any given opportunity.

The interest in Biabiany highlights the position in which Conte wants to work on, but missing out on the Inter man is not drastic as they will look to sign a younger/better player in the same position this summer.

Transfers: Liverpool Could Agree Late Deal With Premier League Club For Defender

There was an awkward moment during Liverpool’s summer tour of the United States last year in which club boss, Jürgen Klopp, reciprocated Mamadou Sakho’s teasing, on-camera antics by outing the Frenchman’s poor time-keeping.

It didn’t take long for us all to realise the incident extended beyond the point of a joke between the two Liverpool fan favourites, with Sakho yet to appear for the first team this season and being reduced to Under-23s football since the start of the new campaign.

With the situation surviving the summer transfer window, it seems the Frenchman’s name will now be the most prominent cast member of deadline day in the red half of Merseyside, as the likes of Crystal Palace, Southampton and Galatasaray all reportedly make approaches before the closure of the window.

According to Sky Sports News, Liverpool have asked for a fee of £20 million for their want-away centre back, £4 million north of the fee that saw him arrive from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2013, whereas the defender’s towering £105,000-a-week wages may prove to be a further stumbling block for potential suitors.

But as Sam Allardyce, among others, trawl the back of their sofas for spare change, are the Reds making the correct decision in finally shifting the 26-year-old?

Liverpool’s depth has come into question since the turn of the year, as 2017 welcomed just one win in seven outings for the Premier League title hopefuls.

Within those games, Klopp’s men have shipped in a total of 10 goals, including the combined figure of five conceded at home to lowly-placed Swansea City and Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, as concerns over their defence threaten the outcome of this season.

Joël Matip’s absence over eligibility issues and a malleolar injury has been alarming, as the 25-year-old was replaced by another Bundesliga import, Ragnar Klavan, who’s blown hot and cold (very cold) throughout this season.

Could Sakho have steadied the ship?

In comparison with Matip, widely regarded as Klopp’s main man in the defensive sector, Sakho actually challenges the Cameroonian quite closely.

The France international leads the way in tackles won (0.91 per game vs. 0.85), as well the percentage of aerial duels won (61.74% vs 57.14%).

The range of interceptions made per game are almost identical, but the amount of tackles lost by Sakho (0.95 per game) and the leading figure of 0.14 defensive errors made in the same time indicate, as many have often suspected, that the ex-PSG captain doesn’t exactly cut a calming figure when called for duty.

Beyond basic statistics, the argument that Sakho is the inferior defender wouldn’t sound alien to many, whereas the outcome of a match-up between himself and Lovren is a little more debatable. What’s certain is that the six clean sheets amassed by a Matip – Lovren combo has presented itself in good light.

Beyond the duo relied upon by Klopp, Sakho certainly has room to contest it, with Klavan appearing to be the weak link and the injury-ravaged Joe Gomez still returning to full fitness.

The Frenchman is good, but not irreplaceable, however, and meanwhile it would’ve been ideal to have had the 26-year-old shadow those predicted to be ahead of him in the pecking order, the defender’s prolonged isolation is one Liverpool could do without.

In hindsight, the great error is not that Sakho remains an outcast during a moment of instability, but rather that his position hasn’t already been dealt with and rectified with a replacement, be it earlier in the current window or back in the summer.

It’s about putting the story to bed, now, and at anything close to the reported £20 million fee, an overdue Sakho sale should be welcomed without regret.

Chelsea Make Shock Transfer Move For Premier League Midfielder

It seems Chelsea may be targeting a player from a Premier League club to strengthen their wide options, and it’s not someone you may have guessed. 

According to Sky Sources, Chelsea have made an approach to Middlesbrough to ask about the availability of their winger Adama Traore.

The 20-year-old began his career at Barcelona and was originally brought to England by Aston Villa. This summer, following Villa’s relegation, Traore moved to Premier League Middlesbrough and has been one of the clubs most influential attacking players. His pace causes lots of problems for opposition defences and that is certainly something that will have attracted Antonio Conte to him.

Conte plays with wing backs and wingers, and it is possible that Traore could be an option in both of those roles. Although he is a more attacking player, Traore could follow in the footsteps of Moses and adapt to a more defensive position.

Chelsea were said to be looking for a couple of new wide players to add to their squad this month, and we recently brought you the news that they were considering moves for Michail Antonio and Jonas Hector.

With the news that Dimitri Payet wants to leave the club this month, I think there is no chance Slaven Bilic will part with Antonio this month, and that may explain why Chelsea appear to be interested in Traore, a possible alternative.

Traore has made 15 appearances for Boro this season, with 6 of them coming from the bench. He is yet to register a goal or assist in a Boro team that lacks a cutting edge moving forward.

Joining on deadline day, Traore reportedly cost Boro £7million, so Chelsea would probably have to pay more than that to convince Karanka to part with Traore, especially considering we are in the middle of the season.

Traore is unlikely to make a big difference in Chelsea’s title charge this year, as he is far from the finished product at this stage. But aged 20, he has the raw attributes to develop into a top level player. His pace and dribbling ability are certainly his most attractive traits and Conte may want to sign him purely to add another dimension to his attacking force.

If you consider that he hasn’t scored or assisted a goal this season, Conte may have him in mind to play as a wing back. His pace will help with defensive security and also stretching opposition defences with overlapping runs. Training with a squad of Chelsea’s calibre and working alongside a manager of Conte’s calibre, Traore’s technical ability would surely only improve.

Looking deeper into Traore’s statistics, there is one that really stands out. That is his dribbles per game which averages at a huge 5.2. His pace means he plays with a very direct style and that may suit Conte’s structured and efficient system. He is only dispossessed 1.6 times per game on average. His technical ability and reliability on the ball is a bit of a worry though, completing just 68.8% of his passes..

It’s an interesting move if it does happen. I would think that being in such a strong position to go and win the title, Conte’s focus should be on strengthening his squad in the short term. An extra injection of senior quality at this stage would make his team strong favourites for the title.

Someone like Antonio would be a better addition, but Traore is perhaps a more realistic one and he would certainly be cheaper.  I’m interested to hear Chelsea fans thoughts on this one. Be sure to comment below or tweet us your thoughts @FreshFootball.

Could This Bayern Munich Man Be On The Way To Chelsea?

Chelsea could be lining up a Diego Costa replacement from Bayern Munich, according to reports. Chelsea fans, would you be happy with this?

The Express claim an ‘Exclusive’ that Chelsea are targeting an unsettled Thomas Muller to replace Diego Costa should the Spaniard leave the club. Conte stressed that Costa missed the game at the weekend due to a back injury, but widespread reports suggest that this is not, in fact true. Costa appears to have fallen out with the hierarchy at the club and could move on. Chelsea won’t sell him cheap though, with a £80million price tag touted by several sources.

If he was to go, Chelsea would have a large fund to try and find a replacement. But there is a lack of top number 9’s on the market right now. This might mean the club will have to opt for an alternative option. It seems Muller could be just that and perhaps he could be amongst a very small group of top players that could transfer in January.

Muller is reportedly unhappy at the German Champions after failing to hold down a regular spot in the Bayern Munich team under Carlo Ancelotti. He has started just 10 Bundesliga games this season.

“The last game against Leipzig was not optimal for me personally, since I did not play,” Muller told German newspaper Bild.

“There was more space than in the games before. It was a game I could have enjoyed. Of course, I’m not sitting there with a grin on the bench.”

That’s a very public statement of frustration. The reports suggest that Muller would be allowed to leave for a fee in the region of £75million. A huge amount of money, and something similar to what Costa would probably move for.

I can believe that Bayern would be open to selling him for such an amount, especially because he has not been an important player for them this season. They have recently signed the young attacking duo of Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman, as well as handing a contract extension to Arjen Robben. Muller is no longer an integral part to this Bayern Munich team under Carlo Ancelotti.

But would swapping Costa for Muller improve Chelsea? Personally, I think Costa is perhaps the best number 9 in world football right now, and even with Muller at the club, I think Chelsea would be better off with Costa. He’s more of a natural 9 that is incredibly well suited to the style of play under Conte and I think that at least initially, Muller would struggle to make such a profound impact and difference.

Both players are in the prime of their careers, with Muller one year younger than Costa. They are both natural goalscorers but I feel Costa has that aggression and clinical attitude that makes him a slightly better player than the German, or at least, more suited to the Premier League.

I’m interested to hear about what Chelsea fans would think about swapping Costa for Muller. Although he is not a natural striker, Conte showed that Chelsea worked well with Hazard in the number 9 role at the weekend. Does the 3-4-3 formation require a traditional number 9, or could Muller work there?

Manchester United Linked With £50m Striker: Is He A Better Option Than Griezmann?

Whilst strikers such as, Suarez, Griezmann or Ibrahimovic steal all the headlines, one European goal scorer is sneaking under the radar.

Paulo Dybala is quickly becoming a fan favourite in Juventus. The 23-year-old has scored 23 goals in his 45 games in the Serie A, also making five assists. The Argentinian managed to score 20 Serie A goals faster than THE Juventus legend himself, Del Piero.

But with such a great goal scoring record already, it wouldn’t be long before he attracted attention from other giants in Europe, with Manchester City, Real Madrid and Manchester United all fighting for his signature, according to The Sun.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, despite what he says himself, won’t be able to play forever and will soon have to hang up his boots, which will leave the Red Devils once again needing a proven goal scorer, and it could potentially be Dybala, who will not be sold for under 50 million.

But with Manchester United heavily linked to Antoine Griezmann, would it be wise to ditch the Frenchman and steal Dybala out of Madrid and City’s hands?

I think not, Griezmann has proved himself in the tournaments such as Euro 2016 and has also scored 12 goals in 28 Champions League appearances, and also scoring 51 goals in 91 La Liga appearances, compared to Dybala’s 60 goals in 171 showing that he just has the edge on the Argentinian.

Griezmann may only be two years older than Dybala but he is much more experienced, after playing in huge games such as the Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have proved that playing in the biggest games is important for a player, both scoring goals this season when it matters most.

Another advantage of signing Griezmann is that he can fill in at striker, right wing and in the number ten role. It would be a smart decision to sign a player that has played world class in three different positions.

For the cost that you would have to sign either of them, I think the money would be better off going towards bringing Griezmann to Old Trafford, rather than Dybala. Both will be expensive transfers but any teams planning to pay so much for Dybala may be a gamble, but there is no doubt him and Griezmann will be battling against one another for the crown of best striker one day, whoever they play for.

It’s very unlikely that a deal for either of these players would happen in the January window, but when the summer rolls around, it would be worth keeping an eye on both players situations and the cash-rich Manchester United are likely to re-invest more millions into their team.

Analysis: Arsenal Reportedly Trying To Beat Juventus To Signing Of This Bundesliga Ace

Arsenal are set to battle it out with Juventus for Schalke 04 left-back Sead Kolasinac, with the Bosnian’s contract expiring in June.

Schalke have tried and failed to land the 23-year-old on a new deal and he looks destined to leave the Die Königsblauen, whether that be this month or in the summer.

Schalke seem unwilling to sell their man half way through the season, but face the dilemma of losing their player for free in the summer if they do not sell this month.

Juventus are also huge admirers and have reportedly already sent in a bid to the German club, but according to reports, Arsenal have now entered the fray for Kolasinac.

Schalke continue to publicly say that the player will not leave this month, meaning that Arsenal could sign him for free on a pre-contract, should negotiations go well.

Kolasinac has been with the Germans for five years and has played 81 league games for the club thus far scoring three goals. Although he was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, he opted to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina and has since gone on to be capped 17 times.

Italian giants, Juventus are likely to lose Patrice Evra this month and will be in the market for a new left-back despite today announcing the signing of Mattia Caldara and the Gunners look to strengthen their left-back position after unconvincing performances from Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs thus far this season.

With Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs fighting for the number one spot in the starting XI, the arrival of Kolasinac could see one of the Arsenal men shipped out, with the likelihood of the latter leaving the Gunners.

We take a look at how Kolasinac compares to the Arsenal men this season.

Playing in the defence, one of the main traits each player must carry is the amount of tackles they win, and the Schalke man certainly impresses in this area winning 1.97 tackles per 90 minutes thus far this season with Monreal in second with 1.44 and Gibbs last 0.85.

Another key asset to a defenders game is the amount of aerial duels they win, and standing at 6ft it is not surprising the powerful Kolasinac has managed to win 63.04% of his aerial duels which again puts him ahead of the Gunners men, with Gibbs and Monreal both trailing on 45% and 39.68% respectively.

Playing for the Gunners, you have to share and adapt to their identity which they have built on over the years, that being efficient, free-flowing beautiful possession based football, something the club has been praised with heavily over the years. It is not surprising that Monreal and Gibbs are not separable in this area, both managing 83% pass completion which puts them both ahead of Kolasinac who managed 70%, which is impressive but could certainly be worked on.

The Schalke man impresses with a number of total duels he has won per 90 minutes thus far this season, managing to win a total of 51.49% in the 11 Bundesliga games he has played, which is superior to both Monreal and Gibbs with the former managing 40.96% and the latter 39.53%.

The Bosnian international is a forward-thinking full-back who is eager to push on and help the attack whilst remaining strong in his defensive duties, utilising his pace for good recovery mode too. The stats above prove he would be an top signing for the Gunners and would certainly have a chance of starting.

Manchester United ‘Leading The Way’ In Race To Sign This £85m-Rated Superstar

Antoine Griezmann lit up Euro 2016 in the summer, scoring six goals, assisting two goals, and claiming the player of the tournament award, and it seems that his hard work is being noticed in Manchester.

The Frenchman has scored seven goals in 16 games this year, which is impressive for a player who went on a three-month goal drought. Mark Ogden, from ESPN, has said: “Griezmann is expected to leave Atletico this summer and he will have the pick of the world’s elite clubs to choose from, with Manchester United currently leading the way.”

Old Trafford has a French connection now, with close friends Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba both playing for the side, which could very much tempt the Atletico Madrid player. But with Manchester United playing so well at the moment, some fans may wonder where he would fit in.

With Michael Carrick ageing and yet to sign a new contract at the club, it’s unsure whether he will be in the side in August, meaning another Manchester United midfielder could fill his position, leaving the number 10 position open.

Griezmann has been known to play as a striker, right-winger and number 10 for Atletico, scoring 76 goals in La Liga since 2012/13, which is 3rd best behind Messi and Ronaldo, showing that Griezmann will make an impact wherever he is played. Henrikh Mkhitaryan could also fit into the number 10 role and allow Griezmann to play right-wing. A manager such as Jose Mourinho would be able to work out how to fit in a player with such a large amount of talent into his starting 11.

In the 2015/16 season, Griezmann achieved 22 league goals, Martial was Utd’s top scorer in the league with 11 goals. Griezmann also made five assists in La Liga which was only topped by Wayne Rooney with six. Griezmann ended the season picking up the player of the year award, the first player to beat Messi or Ronaldo to the award since they were established in the 2008/09 season.

Since signing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Manchester United have brought back their fear factor. When opposition defenders saw players such as Ashley Young or Jesse Lingard line up against them, it wouldn’t intimidate them, but now United are recruiting the world’s biggest stars, it’s all they can think about, and Antoine Griezmann would be the final piece to the already star-studded attack.

Memphis Depay seems to be heading out of Old Trafford, leaving another space for an attacker to take, and also leaving the iconic number seven shirt up for grabs, which is of course, the number Griezmann prefers to wear as his idol was the United legend, David Beckham, it seems everything is falling perfectly for this transfer to take place.

It would be quite an expensive deal, potentially breaking the world transfer record which United recently broke for Pogba, but we know Mourinho isn’t afraid to spend and he seems determined to make Manchester United the world beaters that they once were, so come August, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw Antoine Griezmann putting on the famous red shirt.

The Times Say Chelsea Want To Sign These Two Wing-Backs: But How Good Are They?

Antonio Conte is expecting to be busy this month with Chelsea looking to sign two new wing-backs, despite their excellent 13 matches unbeaten run and impressive defensive record.

The Chelsea manager is looking to improve his top of the table squad with the wing-back position being his prime priority. Since his change of formation to a 3-4-3 Chelsea have been immense in both offensive/defensive phases, impressive wing-back pair Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses has been pivotal to their recent success but may find their position up for grabs once the window slams shut.

West Ham United star Michail Antonio and Jonas Hector are on Conte’s wish list this month according to The Times, who say two wing-backs are the main targets for Chelsea this month.

Slaven Bilic will be reluctant to sell his star man this winter as he has been the bright spark in a dark season for the Hammers. The 26-year-old has thus far managed eight goals in 27 games.

The former Nottingham Forest man cost West Ham just £7 million in 2015 but Bilic will know they could demand more than triple if they were to part ways this winter.

Conte as reportedly eyeing Hector before opting for former Fiorentina man Alonso in the summer, with him going on to cement himself in the starting XI and making a positive impression in the first half of the season. But there remain doubts over Alonso’s ability in the long run and also the depth in his position.

Chelsea are currently six points clear at the top of the Premier League table and are in formidable form despite their hiccup at White Hart Lane, the signing of Antonio/Hector will give the Blues boss many options on the wing-back/defensive positions and will help to continue their momemtum until the end of the season.

Both players have had experience playing the wing-back role, and have both been thoroughly impressive thus far this season. Germany man Hector has managed to win 1.62 tackles per 90 minutes this season which puts him ahead of Hammers man Antonio who has managed just 1.05, which in itself is still impressive.

Occupying the role Conte will want either to adapt too will see both players utilising their pace to get past their man, whether that’s to spring counter attacks or get out of defensive positions. Hector again comes out on top of Antonio, managing 69.23% successful take ons whilst Antonio trails on 57.65%, which again is impressive and over the half way mark.

Being a German, and learning his trade within his native country it was almost inevitable Hector would be impressive in possession and this shows with 85% pass completion, again leading Antonio on 72%.

But, something the West Ham man does have over Hector is his eye for goal, he has a fair few goals thus far this season managing to find the net 0.44 times per 90 minutes compared to Cologne man Hector, managing zero. This will again have caught the eye of Conte who knows he can add goals to his game which is a massive plus for any manager. It’s possible that Antonio could be deployed in the most advanced right wing berth of the 3-4-3 formation.

Not just a goal scorer, but a creator too, Antonio has managed to create 0.94 chances per 90 with the German ahead of him on 1.44, which shows he’s certainly more of a creator than a goalscorer.

Antonio would be an immense signing for Chelsea, versatile, direct & good in 1v1 situations in both phase whilst Hector also possessing similar abilities.

Conte seems set on signing new full-backs this winter and has already recalled the impressive Nathan Ake to strengthen the squad with the title race in full flow. Both clubs will be reluctant to sell their stars this transfer window, but when Chelsea come calling, and having the offer of having the chance to win the Premier League title, I think it will be hard for both players to say no.

La Liga Midfielder Linked With Arsenal, Man City & Chelsea: We Look At Who Needs Him Most

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are all interested in signing Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi this transfer window, according to reports.

All three Premier League giants are looking to strengthen their midfield with N’Zonzi on each of their radars according to The Express, with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City reportedly opening talks over a potential deal and moving ahead of interested parties.

The Frenchman has previous Premier League experience which will appeal to the three clubs, two spells in England with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, but he left the Potters in 2015 for Spanish side Sevilla where he has found tremendous form.

The former Stoke City man has reportedly rejected a new contract meaning the club will look to offload him this January, with them pricing their man at around £25 million.

N’Zonzi has been impressive in both La Liga and the Champions League this season, helping his side to second in the league table thus far.

The Gunners are interested in the 28-year-old as they look to get cover for the injured Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, leaving them significantly short in midfield with Mohamed Elneny out of action due to international commitments.

Antonio Conte is also interested in bringing him to Stamford Bridge as they look for that extra boost to push them on for the title.

It seems N’Zonzi is keen on a return to England and will reportedly demand around £90,000-a-week if he was to return to the Premier League.

We take a look at if N’Zonzi is needed at each of the mentioned clubs.

Arsenal

New season, but the same Arsenal injury crisis. The Gunners are now down to just two central midfielders with both Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey being the only natural fit CM’s. There will be a worry of overplaying both in the hectic Premier League fixtures in the coming weeks with the latter being a concern due to his hamstring injury troubles which has kept him out of numerous weeks already this season.

When all personnel are fit for the Gunners, they are packed in central areas, but with the latest setback they may now have to dip into the market. Although N’Zonzi is not a guaranteed starter in the starting XI with the Gunners already having many gifted midfielders in their ranks. But, he will certainly bring stability/physicality in the middle for the short term.

The Gunners may dip into the market before another injury occurs, which will then certainly be a crisis. Arsene Wenger will be attracted to N’Zonzi’s previous Premier League experience, meaning he will not need too much time to adjust to the league.

Chelsea

This is probably the most surprising link, Chelsea seems very steady in the central area and have found a winning formula with the correct personnel. N’golo Kante and Nemanja Matic have been superb since Antonio Conte transforming to a 3-4-3 formation with Cesc Fabregas itching to make an impact from the bench and doing so superbly.

How things stand I think they’ll be happy with the depth in midfield, and he is certainly not a priority as they target an attacking player to fire them to the Premier League title. If Cesc were to leave however, that may change.

Manchester City

For me, this is N’Zonzi’s most likely destination. Pep Guardiola will certainly be in the market after a mediocre opening half to the season, and with the injury to Ilkay Gundogan, the club will certainly be looking for a new central midfielder.

Fernandinho has been sent off numerous times for City thus far this season and has been proven to be a liability in his disciplinary, Yaya Toure is ageing and will struggle to play continuous games with Fernando not being the level of player Guardiola will want to start regularly.

N’Zonzi would be an immense signing for Manchester City. The Frenchman is calm and composed in central midfield, he’s very physical in his play and has high stamina levels throughout the 90 minutes whilst offering quality at both ends of the pitch.

Stats behind his game this season

The Sevilla man has played 15 games this season and has been influential for them thus far. Deploying the central area in midfield, he takes on many different tasks during the game, he has been immense in both offensive and defensive transitions which is backed up with the 28-year-old winning 1.20 tackles per 90 minutes and creating 0.47 chances too.

Another trait which will impress all interested teams is his positive/efficient play whilst in possession. N’Zonzi has thus far managed 49 forward passes per 90 minutes which is considerably more than his backwards passes, whilst showing his composure in possession managing an 89% pass completion this season.

Standing at 6 ft 3, it is not surprising he is a dominant force in the air, and that is backed up with the midfielder currently winning 75% of his aerial duels this season, which will certainly appeal to all three interested clubs, especially with the physicality of the league.

The attack can often rely on runners from midfield, and N’Zonzi certainly possesses a strong glide from deep into offensive areas. His ability to take long strides has been a useful weapon with him so far managing to be successful with 70.59% of his take ons.

It feels inevitable that N’Zonzi returns to England this month, and putting all things into perspective you would suggest he is Manchester City bound to boost Pep Guardiola’s squad ahead of an intense battle for the top four.

Defender Left Out Of Squad, Fuels Speculation Of A Transfer To Manchester United or West Ham

It looks as if a former Manchester United fans favourite is on the move, and he might well be going back to his old stomping ground. 

Evra is now 35 and his contract at Juventus is due to expire at the end of the current season, thus allowing foreign clubs to begin negotiations over his signing.

West Ham and Manchester United have been linked with the experienced full-back and with the player now left out of Juventus’ squad, it seems more likely that a move back to England may be on the horizon.

Evra has only made 6 Serie A appearances this season, with the younger Alex Sandro now seemingly the clubs favoured left back option. It is not clear whether Juventus intend to extend Evra’s contract beyond the conclusion of this season and that would allow either West Ham or Manchester United to sign him for free, or pay a small fee in January and get him now.

However, his agent Federico Pastorello played down the chances of the France international departing the Italian champions midseason.

“It’s not certain he will leave Juventus,” Pastorello told Juvenews. “We’ll see what happens over the next few days.”

It’s probably silly to bother looking at Evra’s statistics from this season considering how little he has played, so let’s go back to last season, where he was still a fairly regular presence in the starting eleven.

Making 26 appearances in Serie A, Evra proved that despite his age, he is still a very reliable defender, averaging 1.49 interceptions and 1.53 aerial duels won per 90 last season. He was also influential going forward, as always, completing on average 23.92 forward passes and on 1.01 key passes per 90, a good amount for a full back.

His attacking influence may fade as he continues to age, but the experience and defensive know-how that Evra has is mental and will only get stronger with age. As West Ham’s ship continues to shake, you can see why they would like a player of his ilk and experience in their defence.

For Manchester United, they do not have an established left back at the moment, with Luke Shaw struggling to return to form since his long term injury and Darmian seriously struggling to impress. Marcos Rojo is another option in that position but he is playing a lot better in central defence and I’m sure that Mourinho will be keen to try and keep him in that favoured central role.

If Evra has an offer from both clubs it’ll be interesting to see what decision he makes. At West Ham, he is more likely to play regular football, but his history at Manchester United will surely have a huge impact on his decision. I think if United’s interest is genuine, then Mourinho will be keen to add Evra for his off the pitch contribution as much as anything else.

Manager Confirms Premier League Defender Will Be Moving To Chelsea This Month

Chelsea look set to welcome another defender to their squad this month, with the club keen to add to their defensive options.

It appears that Antonio Conte will continue to favour playing young players over external recruitment with the Italian manager seemingly set to recall Nathan Ake from his loan at Bournemouth.

Ake has been brilliant during his loan spell at Bournemouth so far, and with Conte now deploying a 3 at the back formation, Chelsea would really benefit from having another central defender in the squad. Despite the clubs overall good defensive displays, Gary Cahill has come under a fair amount of criticism and Ake may have his eyes on displacing the Englishman.

Another option would be to shift Cesar Azpilicueta to the right or left wing-back role and then bring Ake into central defence. Crucially Ake’s recall will give the club more options and more depth.

Bournemouth boss Howe said Ake’s exit was “not 100% finalised yet”. But in saying that, all but confirmed that he would be heading back to the capital.

He told BBC Radio Solent: “It would be a huge blow to us as he’s done so well. It is easier said than to done to say we are going to go and recruit a player of a similar stature to Nathan.”

Chelsea will now be negotiating with Bournemouth for a cancellation fee, as it is likely they will have to pay one due to cutting the season-long-loan deal short.

Howe added: “I am not sure there are too many out there, hence why Chelsea would recall him. With Simon Francis’s suspension and Marc Pugh’s injury and now Nathan going back, our defensive resources are certainly stretched.”

Ake turns 22 next month and will hope to continue his progression this season at Chelsea. The player is also capable of playing in midfield and at left back, so his versatility will certainly come in handy for the club.

In 10 Premier League appearances Ake has netted 3 goals, highlighting his ability to attack well and make the most of opportunities in the other box. For his height, he’s very good in the air, winning on average 2.07 per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season. He’s also won an impressive 1.82 tackles per 90.

An energetic defender, Ake has also made 1.22 interceptions per 90. He’s a defender that is more than capable of playing out from the back and his pass completion of 88% highlights that.

Summer signing David Luiz has really excelled in the defence since re-joining the club, but with Cahill now 31, could Ake be the England international’s long-term replacement? He’ll certainly hope so.

What is refreshing to see is a manager that is willing to give young players a chance, and Conte seems to be doing just that.

Report: Manchester United Have Made An Offer For Serie A Ace, Would He Be A Good Addition?

Manchester United appear to be moving fast in the January transfer window and have already lodged a bid for AC Milan forward M’Baye Niang, according to reports in Italy.

Reports breaking from Italian daily Il Giornale, suggest the Red Devils have made an offer for the 21-year-old as they look to bolster their squad ahead of a crucial second part of the season.

M’Baye Niang is under contract until 2019 so the Italians will be in no desperate need to sell their man, Milan are said to want to keep their prized asset and were hoping he would sign a new contract but reports from Italy said talks over an extension has buffered, despite the Frenchman reportedly willing to renew.

Reports suggest Milan’s takeover by Chinese investors has complicated the renewal, which has left Jose Mourinho with fresh hope for his signature.

Since his arrival to Serie A, he has gone on to play 64 league games for the Italians scoring eight goals, although he has represented France at youth level, he is yet to make his first-team appearance.

Although he can play the 9 role, he has been deployed on the left-hand side of a 4-3-3 more often which is where his long-term future seems to lay. The Milan attacker often uses his pace to stretch defences and get in behind backlines, an attribute that will attract Jose Mourinho due to his positive style of play.

United are now using a similar formation in the Premier League, and may have an eye on M’Baye Niang for the left-hand side of the front free for rotation purposes. Memphis Depay looks like he could be on the way out, so perhaps Niang is earmarked as a replacement? It’s hard to say which player would be better for United, both are still far from the finished article and I find it hard to beleive that if Mourinho is not willing to give Memphis time, that he would want a player like Niang. Jose does still have options on the left with Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Mata, Rashford and Martial all able to play there.

Although Niang has been playing at the top level for several years, he is still very raw in many aspects, he is yet to master his issues in front of goal and lacks that clinical edge and this shows with the fact he has scored just 0.26 goals per 90 minutes thus far this season. But, he is still young and has shown glimpses of his goal-scoring pedigree in him, which will be another bonus for on-looking potential suitors.

The forward was a target for Everton and Arsenal when he was still playing for Caen, despite turning down England for Italy four years ago, he firmly believes his long-term future is in England as it suits his style of play.

The Red Devils would have a battle on their hands from clubs around Europe if he was made available, with earlier reports suggesting Arsenal, Monaco and Borussia Dortmund are also monitoring his availability closely.

3 Big Signings Manchester United Could Reportedly Complete This Month

With Manchester United on a good run of form going into the second half of the Premier League season, Jose Mourinho might be looking at bringing in some January additions to the squad. Here are three transfers that the Red Devils could complete in the next seven days.

1) M’Baye Niang

Jose Mourinho has reportedly already had a bid turned down for the AC Milan star, but could return in an attempt to make a January swoop for the forward.

It has previously been reported that the Manchester United boss is on the lookout for a long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and has his eye on Harry Kane in the summer transfer window should Spurs finish outside of the top four.

However, looking into the more immediate future, Mourinho is ready to take a gamble on this AC Milan forward according to Il Giornale, who has struggled to hit top form this season, having not scored in his last eight appearances for the Italian outfit.

Niang looked to be on a good run of form at the start of last season, but his season was ended early after a car crash, and has never returned to top form since. Obviously Mourinho feels that Niang can hit top form once again at United.

As the long season of English football starts to affect Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Niang could come in and provide some backup, but can also influence games from the wider areas. As I have mentioned, Mourinho has already had a bid knocked back, but with a strong second bid, and contract extension talks stalling, Niang could become a Red Devils players in the very near future.

January Transfer: Why This Bundesliga Ace Is A More Likely Signing For Chelsea Than Arsenal

Chelsea and Arsenal are set to battle over the course of the January transfer window for Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, with both clubs reportedly keen on signing the Bundesliga man. 

The Sun claim that Chelsea have made the first move in an attempt to secure the services of Rodriguez, with Antonio Conte keen to strengthen his squad ahead of the title race and run-in, which is set to reach boiling point in the next few weeks.

Arsene Wenger is also keen to bolster his defensive options ahead of a title push, which took a huge blow last point despite the Gunners earning a point against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium after being three goals down with just twenty minutes to go.

The Gunners currently have Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs in their squad that can fill in that left-back position, but Arsene Wenger is reportedly targeting this area for strengthening over the January transfer window.

The Blues have reportedly contacted the player’s agent regarding whether his client would be interested in a January switch to Stamford Bridge in an attempt to get negotiations underway.

Arsenal have been keeping track of the left back’s progress for a couple of months now, but Antonio Conte is keen on securing the services of Rodriguez for £21m as he starts his New Year squad strengthening ahead of the title run-in.

Who will win the race for Ricardo Rodriguez? 

The 24-year-old seems like a player who likes to get forward and cause problems for the opposition defence. The left-back has scored two goals this season as well as providing two assists in 14 Bundesliga appearances. If he does enjoy getting forward and becoming an attacking threat down the left, then a move to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea might be the move for him.

Conte’s 3-4-3 system has proved to be a real success this season in the Premier League, with the Blues sitting proudly at the top of the table, despite a stuttering start to the season. The 3-4-3 formation allows a lot of freedom for those wing-backs. Although they have to work extremely hard down their respective wings, their positions give them a license to regularly join the Chelsea attack as well as help out defensive tracking wingers. This seems like a system that Rodriguez would enjoy playing in.

With Chelsea making the first move ahead of Arsenal, and with the Blues reportedly willing to offer £21million for the left-back, it seems that they are in pole position to sign the 24-year-old in this January transfer window.

Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton & Tottenham Spotted Scouting Top Quality German International

Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton are all interested in signing a German sensation after all clubs were found to be scouting the midfielder. 

A report from The Sun suggests that all four previously mentioned clubs have been extensively scouting impressive German midfielder Julian Brandt. The news was originally picked out from this piece in the Mail.

The 20-year-old wonder kid has been in exceptional form thus far this season and is scoring goals and assisting as Bayer Leverkusen attempt to get back on track and fight for the European places after a slow start to the season.

The impressive versatile midfielder has been in exquisite form in the first half of the season and has attracted interest from major clubs around Europe, as scouts from the four clubs mentioned were in attendance in Leverkusen’s matches in recent weeks.

Premier League top gun Manchester United and Arsenal are the most eye-watering names for the youngster whilst Spurs and the Toffees have also sent representatives out to check out his performances in the past.

Brandt is considered as one of the finest talents coming out of Germany in a new German era of colossal talents, with the player already being capped a handful of times for his country.

Something which will attract top clubs to this fine talent is his versatility, he can play on either wing and can also be deployed in the attacking midfield role, as he has the brilliant capability at driving at defences and attack the space provided.

The German youngster is tied down until 2019 with the Germans, and with the inflated prices with regards to the transfer market, any interested club will probably have to cough up around £25-30 million to secure his services.

It is clear why some of the biggest European top guns are sniffing around Leverkusen’s prized asset, he is quick, direct and technically superb on the ball. He has developed rapidly in recent seasons which is mostly down to his maturity, as his attitude is simply admirable.

Sporting director, Rudi Völler classes Brandt as “one of the most talented players in German football” and he is certainly living up to his high praise.

Being so young in his premature career, of course, he is not yet perfect, the German youngster needs to work on his defensive attributes as he often gets beaten too easily, or bypassed in a defensive phase.

Brandt has played a part in all 16 Bundesliga games for the German side thus far this season and has showcased his quality already. Predominantly playing on the wing, he has an eye for creating chances and has created 1.89 chances per 90 minutes already this season.

When he has the ball he will drift in from the wing and occupy the #10 space as he looks to drive at defences and create chances or use the byline as his attacking approach. As previously noted, he has already created chances this season but has managed 0.45 assists per 90 this season, an impressive end product, then.

All Premier League clubs mentioned with interest usually dominate play and have an identity of keeping the ball and racking up possession. Clubs like United and Arsenal would expect the winger to be efficient on the ball, and Brandt is OK in this area with 75% pass completion thus far.

Modern day football relies heavily on wingers contribution to goals, with the likes of Sadio Mané, Dimitri Payet, Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez all sharing the same versatility trait of being able to play anywhere across the front three midfield positions, with the latter also covering the #9 role.

These players all chip in with goals and are relied upon by their respected managers to score and create at will. Brandt, although not as efficient in front of goal as the players above, has still scored 0.15 goals per 90 thus far to show he has an eye for goal, although this is an area that will certainly need work on in the near future.

The exciting youngster would be a top class signing for any of the clubs mentioned and would certainly help boost competition for places within their ready-made squads. Although Leverkusen will be hopeful of keeping hold of their prodigious playmaker, a move to England could be the stepping stone he needs to reach the next level of his career which promises to be beautiful, as he looks to blossom from his colossal potential and reach the heights many expect him to reach.

Manchester United Reportedly Line Up Sensational £80m Move For Premier League Striker, Is The Deal Possible?

Manchester United are lining up a sensational £80m move for Tottenham striker Harry Kane as a long-term replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford. 

Jose Mourinho’s side currently sit 6th in the Premier League table, and CalcioMercato say that United are ready to splash the cash in the summer in an attempt to bolster their long-term attacking options.

However, the Daily Express say that in order for the deal to be remotely realistic, the Red Devils must secure a finish in the top four and Mauricio Pochettino’s side must miss out on a place in the Champions League.

Harry Kane made it a 100th Premier League appearance to remember, bagging himself a brace as Spurs began the new year in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road. Kane did sign a new deal with Spurs as recently at November, but the Daily Express report that this might not be enough to keep him at White Hart Lane beyond next summer.

Kane is a proven prolific Premier League goalscorer as proved by his record, netting 59 times in 100 Premier League appearances, and is a player that every top flight club can only dream of having in their team.

Is this deal realistic, and could it happen in the summer?

The short answer to that question is in my opinion no. Spurs are in a very good stretch of form, winning their last four Premier League matches since their defeat at Old Trafford, making a move into the top four for the first time since October.

The way things are looking at the moment, Spurs are much more likely to finish in the top four than Manchester United, so come the summer, Spurs may have Champions League football, whereas the Red Devils may not.

Despite the wages that United would be likely to offer being very lucrative indeed, that might still not be enough to persuade Kane. The Englishman has repeatedly talked about how he wants to become a one-club man, become club legend and achieve great things with Spurs.

Mauricio Pochettino is building something special at Spurs. Performances in the Premier League have been good over the last couple of seasons, a new stadium is coming up in a few years, and the club are making huge steps to keeping this current team together. The future is bright for Spurs, and would Kane really trade all that in and leave White Hart Lane for a move to Old Trafford to an unsettled, inconsistent team. I very much doubt it.

Could Chelsea Complete This Stunning £60million Move For Premier League Star In January?

Chelsea are top of the Premier League table, but according to reports, Antonio Conte is still looking for reinforcements in the January transfer window, and is not afraid to spend big in order to land his key target. 

Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk is at the top of Antonio Conte’s January wishlist, having impressed the Chelsea boss with a strong string of performances on the south coast. In fact, the Italian has been so impressed with the Dutch international so far this season that he is prepared to pay up to £60m for his services according to the Daily Express.

The Blues are on a highly impressive winning streak in the Premier League that stretches back thirteen games, a run which has seen Conte work his magic since the switch to a three-at-the-back system following the loss at Arsenal.

Chelsea are top of the league, and Conte is keen to consolidate their position at the summit of the top flight, and sees the signing of Virgil Van Dijk as a way of strengthening the defence and helping Chelsea to lift the Premier League trophy come May.

Southampton boss Claude Puel is reportedly adamant that Van Dijk will not be leaving the club over the January transfer window. With this knowledge, Conte is ready to make an offer that Southampton simply cannot refuse that will make Van Dijk the latest big player to leave St. Mary’s in the last few years.

Despite sitting 9th in the Premier League table, the Saints have struggled in front of goal, scoring just nineteen goals this season, often having to rely on their defence for results. Despite conceding six goals in their last two games, Southampton’s defensive record remains solid, shipping 23 goals in total this season.

A £60m deal would not only see Virgil Van Dijk make the move to Stamford Bridge, but it would also see Pep Guardiola at Manchester City miss out on one of his key targets. Manchester City’s defensive problems have been well-documented this season despite the £47.5m signing of John Stones over the summer. Guardiola also appears keen to bolster his defensive options over the January transfer window.

Is this deal possible or likely? 

Yes, the deal is possible. Chelsea could well offer £60m for Van Dijk at some point in January. They certainly have the financial capabilities to do so, and I am sure £60m for the defender is an offer that Southampton would not be able to refuse.

Is it likely though? Not for me. Chelsea’s defence has been very good this season, and they hold the best defensive record in the Premier League, conceding just thirteen goals this season. If they were to look to bolster their defensive options, Chelsea might do that with a £60m bid for Van Dijk in the summer, but I can’t see this deal happening in the January window.