Transfer Updates

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.

Liverpool Linked With Signing Arsenal Star In January, Why He’d Be A Good Addition

Liverpool Football Club are reportedly considering a very ambitious move this winter with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain topping their wish list with the January transfer on the horizon.

Jürgen Klopp has identified the England international as an ideal addition to his red-hot squad and sees Chamberlain as an ideal temporary replacement for Sadio Mané, who is set to leave Liverpool in January to link up with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations. According to The Telegraph, the Reds are considering a bid.

Chamberlain has just 18 months left on his current Arsenal contract and there has been no sign of contract negotiations beginning despite Arsene Wenger insisting he wants the 23-year-old versatile midfielder to sign a new deal and extend his stay with the Gunners.

And according to the Telegraph, Chamberlain has been told very positive things about Jurgen Klopp with England compatriots Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson singing his praises whilst away on England duties.

Arsenal, who have many players with just 18 months left on their contract find themselves in a very sticky position regarding the Ox, they could sell this winter for a fee of around £25 million or risk him not renewing his contract and losing him for free next summer, something the Gunners will be reluctant to let happen.

There is plenty of evidence to show why Klopp is chasing the England man who is also being scouted by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City extensively with contract talks yet to take place. Chamberlain has also scored six goals and provided six assists thus far this season, being his best yet for the club.

But, there is growing frustration from Chamberlain’s side, wanting to seek more regular game time, with himself admitting it is frustrating to continuously be subbed off after the hour mark.

Chamberlain said; “There is that in my mind that I do want to get more game time. There comes a time in your career where you have to re-evaluate things and think, ‘Is that going to be here or elsewhere?’ which is a clear warning to the Arsenal manager.

Liverpool lose their star summer signing Mané in the next week to due international commitments, and as they stand just six points behind Chelsea, they may feel a signing of Chamberlain’s calibre will help them push on to catch and hopefully overtake Chelsea.

The Reds managed to deal with the absence of Philippe Coutinho who is due back imminently, but heading into the crucial part of the season they cannot afford to lose the goals which Mané provides without having a ready-made star to take his slot.

Chamberlain’s versatility is a key attraction to Liverpool, with him having the ability to deploy many midfield positions including on either flank or in an attacking or defensive midfield role with all positions being tested with the Gunners, but yet able to cement a place.

A deal between Arsenal and Liverpool will be extremely difficult to materialise, though. Since the Luis Suarez saga, there is certainly some sour feelings between one and another, with Liverpool reportedly inserting a clause in Roberto Firmino’s contract which stop’s Arsenal signing him for less than £80 million which shows the extent to which they will go to.

Both Mane and Chamberlain predominantly play on the right flank for their clubs but have the ability to cut inside and interchange with others, playing the position both players occupy you are expected to have the ability to create chances and both players impress in this trait. They are inseparable with the amount of chances they have created thus far this season with Chamberlain and Mané creating 1.77 chances per 90 minutes.

Creating chances is a natural trait that wingers should carry, but being able to contribute with that and assisting others is also very key and important for the team. The Arsenal man has double the assists of the Senegalese international with 0.50 assists per 90 thus far with Mané behind on 0.24.

Another trait versatile wingers carry is key passes, it shows they’re efficient in offensive areas and has hawk-eye vision in getting behind defences with defence split passes. Mané impresses in this stat and has thus far managed 1.52 key passes compared to Chamberlain’s 1.26.

Wingers usually have great stamina and have the ability to take on their man with pace / beautiful skill and this is something in which both players possess. Chamberlain has great upper body strength and pace which allows him to beat his man whilst Mané has pace and elegant skill whilst having the ability to glide past and in behind his man. The Arsenal man comes out on top for successful take on’s with an immense 65.85% with the latter narrowly behind on 57.53%.

Liverpool are top goal scorers in the Premier League and with their excellent Mané leaving in January may look to the market to replace his goals/creativity. Chamberlain has managed just 0.25 goals per 90 thus far this season compared to the Liverpool man who has managed 0.49 after having a prolific time in front of goal.

As you can see, Chamberlain, at just 23-years-old would be a decent addition to any club in and around Europe as he is still yet to fulfil his colossal potential but is blossoming this season. Klopp himself rubbished the rumours of a potential move for the Ox by saying “I don’t usually talk about other players, but I can make an exception – nonsense,”.

Klopp, as you thought has rubbished the rumours, which you would expect, but if he felt the Gunners man may be available this winter I have no doubt he would capitalise on it, Chamberlain would certainly be an exquisite signing for the Reds, but Arsenal will be reluctant to sell to a direct rival as they look to extend his current contract.

An In-Depth Look At Whether Or Not Victor Lindelöf Is Worth The Investment For Manchester United

Much has been made of a potential move launched by Manchester United for Benfica centre back Victor Lindelöf, who could, eventually, be joined by defensive counterpart Nélson Semedo in a historic double swoop.

The latest murmurs surrounding the multi-million-pound operation, however, suggest any hope the Red Devils may have had of gaining the Sweden international’s signature may have been dampened.

At the heart of the deal’s supposed collapse is the public dispute between Benfica and Lindelöf’s former club, Västerås, over alleged fees owed in his initial transfer to Portugal, although José Mourinho may also have had a hand in United turning their backs on a £42 million transfer. Just how accurate might that decision be?

Beyond the media storm surrounding Renato Sanches in Lisbon last season, Lindelöf proved to be equally as impressive and pivotal to Benfica’s run en route to the Liga NOS title last season, as he capitalised on injuries to first-team centre-backs to forge a stellar partnership alongside Jardel for over half a season.

The 22-year-old tasted defeat just five times in 45 games since breaking into Benfica’s XI, three of those coming in the UEFA Champions’ League against Napoli (2x) and Bayern Munich, with FC Porto and Maritimo also claiming rare victories against the Swede.

With 22 clean sheets under his belt, Lindelöf picked up “The Iceman” nickname for his composure and calculated interventions that has seen the defender gain just five yellow cards in the last 12 months.

Additionally composed and exemplifying qualities that fall within the modern-day ball-playing defender template, his talents didn’t go unnoticed by his national team when earning the call-up for Euro 2016, and now it appears Man United have followed suit in attraction to his traits.

Up against his United counterparts, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly, none of the aforementioned options to Mourinho have completed as many successful passes (51.71 per game), or indeed successful forward passes (47.21 per game) as Lindelöf in their respective league competition.

Only Bailly with 1.64 tackles won per game beats the rumoured United target, whereas it is Chris Smalling who is the only defender to lose out fewer times than the man lauded for his precision when defending. Although he’s some way off the top with a statistical register of 1.71 interceptions per game versus Bailly’s 2.82, the Swedish star does mix in well with Rojo’s 1.80 and Jones’ 1.75 score, both second and third ahead of Lindelöf.

Blocks made by the defenders paint a similar picture, with Bailly leading the way with 0.45 made per game to Lindelöf’s 0.36, but there’s one fact the core stats don’t highlight and that’s the degree to which the defenders in question are exposed to the threats of high-quality attacks.

Lindelöf has, undoubtedly, emerged as top performer for Benfica, but this has all come in a visibly inferior league. One shouldn’t have to remind many of the below-par figure that was ex-Liverpool and Sunderland centre-back Sebastian Coates, the same man who now, at the same time as Lindelöf, leads by example as one of the Portuguese league’s most consistent players at the back.

Likewise, Manchester City’s £32 million flop, Eliaquim Mangala, was totally imperious for much of his three-year-spell in Portugal when starring for the then champions FC Porto, meanwhile memories of the Frenchman in the blue half of Manchester weren’t as fond as his record deal promised.

A common attitude within the realms of Portuguese football sees most sides outside the traditional top four of Benfica, Sporting, Porto and Braga opt to “park the bus” and time-waste from the first minute as if it were the last when facing a big boy. In turn, that limits the pressure that key defenders like Lindelöf, Mangala etc. are subjected to, thus making it very tricky to truly judge the qualities that they possess.

It’s a decision Mourinho will undoubtedly continue to mull over, with the rumour mill still at its birth. In the meantime, the recent pairing of Jones and Rojo has stabilised the ship at Old Trafford, with Smalling still to return to the first-team, one would assume, following a lengthy foot injury.

The investment made in Bailly appears to have been a good one, and despite international duty making him unavailable for the best part of a month during the African Cup of Nations, United still have the versatile Daley Blind to fall back on.

And so for all the promise (and doubts) hanging over Lindelöf’s shoulders, just how necessary to Man United is the £38 million-rated man?

Transfers: Chelsea Could Sign Manchester City Outcast – We Look At How He’d Fit In

Chelsea could target Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart with fears that Thibaut Courtois could leave for Spanish giants Real Madrid, according to AS.

Real Madrid were a fax machine away from signing David De Gea last summer and have now lost interest in the United shot-stopper whilst reigniting interest in former Atletico Madrid star, Thibaut Courtois.

With the Blues fearing the worst, they are said to be looking to sign 29-year-old Joe Hart after impressing in his loan move in Italy with Torino by slowly getting back to his best after being shown the door by City manager Pep Guardiola in the summer.

The likelihood of Courtois returning to Spain will be dealt with severity by the Chelsea board, with the goalkeeper himself never hiding his ambition of returning to the City where he won the La Liga title.

Joe Hart is a ready made England international and has all the experience you need for a goalkeeper after winning numerous titles with Manchester City, but any deal between Chelsea and Manchester City will be very tough considering ‘bis clubs’ do not like doing business with each other.

Thibaut Courtois is a crucial player for the Blues and helped them win the League title after returning from his loan move in 2014, he has gone on to become one of the top five goalkeepers in the world and at the age of just 24-years-old will only get better with goalkeepers being known to peak in latter years of their careers.

We take a look at how Joe Hart measures up against current Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and if he would be a good replacement if the Belgian star was to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.

A bonus for any goalkeeper is to finish the game with a clean sheet and Thibaut Courtois comes out on top here managing 0.61 clean sheets per 90 minutes thus far this season with Torino man Hart behind with 0.25. You could argue that this stat may be unfair with Courtois having one of the best defences in Europe in front of him as they sit top of the Premier League table.

The most crucial trait any successful goalkeeper must inherit is the number of saves he makes, this can be simple saves to game winning / immense saves, and Joe Hart certainly blossoms in this area making 2.69 saves per 90 minutes with Courtois trailing with 1.72. That said, Courtois impresses immensely with 3.10 saves per goal with Hart somewhat behind on 1.87.

Pep Guardiola shipped out Joe Hart to Italy for one main thing; his lack of distribution accuracy. The City manager is all for this new trait in goalkeepers where they must basically act as a fifth centre-back and have the ability to play out from the back, much like his former goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. But again, Hart (just) top’s Courtois in his distribution accuracy with 69% with the latter narrowly behind on 68%.

The goalkeeper’s job is to ensure he does not concede a goal within the 90 minutes, although new era of managers may want them to be more technical in build-up play, the most important asset for the man between the sticks is to ensure he does not concede. Again, the Chelsea man shows his form by conceding just 0.61 goals per 90 minutes thus far with Hart conceding more than double of the Chelsea man with 1.44.

Both goalkeepers are very good shot-stoppers and have both played a major part in their sides winning major titles, at just 24-years-old Chelsea’s Belgian star will only get better and for me, they have to do everything in their power to keep him at the Bridge. Although Hart is still respected as a very good goalkeeper. In my opinion, he is levels below the Chelsea man and I would be very surprised if Antonio Conte made a move for him with many talented young goalkeepers breaking through around Europe.

Everton Willing To Sell Ross Barkley To Spurs, But Koeman Wants This Man In Return

Ronald Koeman is reportedly eyeing a bizarre swap deal in the January transfer window that would see Moussa Sissoko swap clubs with £30m-rated Ross Barkley. 

On summer transfer deadline day, we saw Frenchman Moussa Sissoko seal a move to Tottenham Hotspur in dramatic circumstances. The Frenchman snubbed a move to Goodison Park, turning his phone off as Everton tried to get in touch regarding a deadline day move having agreed for a medical to take place.

It seems now that Ronald Koeman could use Tottenham’s interest in Englishman Ross Barkley to try and land his man that he dramatically missed out on back in August according to The Mirror. Whilst some reports have suggested Spurs will wait until the summer to make their move, others insist that Barkley is a January transfer window target for the Lilywhites.

Ross Barkley has endured a spell out of the Everton side this season following constant warnings from manager Ronald Koeman that he needs to offer more out on the pitch, but after another under-par performance against Liverpool at Goodison Park, the Englishman may now be seen as surplus to requirements. Especially following Koeman’s comments claiming that Barkley may never reach his full potential in his footballing career. With Tottenham interested, this might be seen as a good time for the Toffees to get rid of Barkley.

Moussa Sissoko’s start to life at Tottenham has been a struggle. He has failed to establish himself as a first-team regular in his first few months as a Spurs player, but the Frenchman has put in a couple of encouraging displays in games against Manchester United, Hull City and Burnley. Sissoko has two assists in the last few weeks, and will be looking to build on this going forward.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino challenged Sissoko to offer more in training and in turn out on the pitch after the Lilywhites forked out a substantial £30m for the 27-year-old in August. It seems that the former Newcastle man has responded to his manager, with a few positive displays in recent weeks. With Sissoko’s performances improving, it seems unlikely that Spurs would let him go in the January window.

It seems bizarre that Spurs are reportedly willing to pay £30m for Ross Barkey, considering the uninspiring form he has been in this season. It seems even more bizzare that Moussa Sissoko would join the club he snubbed just a few months earlier leaving the club he favoured a move to. This deal looks so unlikely it’s unbelievable, but stranger things have happened, that is for sure.

West Ham Plot January Moves For Manchester United, Liverpool & Chelsea Stars In New Year Shake-Up

It is fair to say that this season has not gone to plan for Slaven Bilic and West Ham. In a bid to turn the Hammer’s fortunes around, the club have reportedly sent letters asking their Premier League rivals for help in the January transfer window, according to The Telegraph. 

Tottenham are the only one of the Premier League big hitters not to receive a letter from West Ham chiefs as the Hammers plan some very smart January transfer business. Letters were reportedly sent to Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City asking if any of those clubs have fringe players that the Hammers can sign on loan for the rest of the season.

With many players not becoming available that Slaven Bilic will want to sign until the summer transfer window, this plea to sign players with Premier League experience at the top clubs would seem like a good plan. Having sent a general letter to those five clubs, The Telegraph claim that West Ham have further enquiries regarding loan moves for Michy Batshuayi, Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as their search for a striker to sign in January begins.

In addition to this, the Hammers are also going to make enquiries over the availability of Chris Smalling, Branislav Ivanovic, Mamadou Sakho, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson. However, many of the highlighted players above are unlikely realistic targets for West Ham for two reasons.

First of all, it is well documented that clubs are often not prepared to loan out or sell players to Premier League rivals, unless it is at the right price. With loan moves being proposed by the Hammers, it is unlikely that clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool will allow key players such as Sturridge and Martial to leave the club, even if it is on a loan basis.

Secondly, I feel the wages that West Ham would have to pay these players would not be within their price range, they simply would not be able to compete with the Premier League big boys. Would the players highlighted take a pay cut in favour of a move to West Ham when many get regular game time anyway? Probably not.

Although West Ham’s idea of taking Premier League players on loan for the rest of the season seems good business at first glance, the proposed deals not only look unlikely, but they look impractical as well.

There are some players there that are more realistic though, with the Gunners reportedly willing to allow Debuchy and Jenkinson to leave should the offer be right. But Jenkinson’s most recent spell at West Ham didn’t go too well, so I’m not sure how the fans would feel about that one should it happen. Smalling is also an interesting one should Manchester United sign their reported target, Victor Lindelof. The young central defender is being linked with a big-money move to United and with Eric Bailly already at the club and Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones impressing at the heart of defence at the moment, how much football will Smalling be playing in the new year?

Report: Arsenal Plotting Transfer For £30m-Rated Defender

Arsene Wenger is said to be planning ahead of new signings in the summer, despite his own future still remaining in doubt. 

Arsene Wenger is chasing a new left-back with the promising talent, Jose Gaya leading the list of potential candidates, according to the Daily Mirror.

Gunners boss Wenger has identified the left-back position as a weakness that will need rectifying come next year with the likes of Nacho Monreal ageing and Kieran Gibbs being a squad player. The Frenchman wants to sign someone who can make that place their own for years to come.

Monreal has struggled thus far this season and has not been himself since hitting form in the 15/16 season where he was arguably amongst the top five left back’s in Europe for his ability and consistency. He became a fan favourite that season, with many labelling him ‘Mr. Consistent’ – but he doesn’t look the same player this season.

Kieran Gibbs’s position within the club is also a predicament, with just 18 months left on his contract and uncertainty arising whether he will be offered an extension – it is likely we will see the Gunners man leave the North Londoners next summer.

21-year-old Gaya is thought of as one of Europe’s brightest prospects and has been linked with the Gunners in previous years. After suffering from non-stop muscle injuries in recent months it seemed to take a hit on the defender, halting his progress but the Spaniard is now looking to realise the colossal potential he possesses.

Gaya has been a huge success since his breakthrough from the Valencia academy and has gone on to make 56 appearances for the club in the league. The academy graduate is one of the only things right at the club right now with the club sitting in 17th position in La Liga and being on a downward spiral.

Gaya is yet to make his international debut despite being called up twice to the Spanish national squad, but his arrival would increase the pressure on Monreal.

Gaya has been a potential target for the likes of Real Madrid in previous years. The Spanish man loves bombing up and down the flank and helping out offensively whilst remaining defensively sound and this is something which will attract potential suitors, with managers expecting their defenders to become an outlet at all times when going forward. He’s of similar ilk to Hector Bellerin, but on the left side.

Playing as an attacking full back, this has allowed Gaya to play more as a wing-back, ensuring he gets into greater attacking positions, this would be a much welcome strength for Arsene Wenger as it gives him options if he did decide to change up his famous 4-2-3-1 formation.

Arsenal have been known to be vulnerable on the counter-attack, and the thought of having an attacking full-back may worry some fans, but another trait the Spaniard carries is electric pace which certainly rescues him/team in a defensive sense.

We take a look at how he measures up against current Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal and how he would fit the Arsenal system.

Being a defender in the modern game, although you are asked to possess many different qualities the number one trait all managers will want is tackles won, and Gaya comes out on top of the Gunners man Monreal by winning 2.24 tackles per 90 minutes with the latter managing 1.26 thus far this season.

The 21-year-old also impresses with successful take ons, having the burst of pace and ability to get past their man in a defensive transition is key, and the Valencia man again comes out on top ahead of the Arsenal star by completing 59.09% with Monreal just behind on 58.33%.

The Premier League, as many people know, it is the toughest / most physical league in the world and as a defender you must be cut out to win aerial duels against the opponent, and again Gaya comes out on top, standing at 5 ft 7, managing to win 54.55% of his aerial duels with Monreal managing just 40%. You could argue La Liga is far less physical in that aspect but the stat itself is still very impressive.

Arsenal Football Club holds an identity which is well known across Europe, and that is to play beautiful football, which the man himself Arsene Wenger brought to the club. Being prodigious in possession is key for any member of Arsenal’s squad and Monreal does top his Spanish compatriot in this trait with 83% pass completion which is just ahead of the Valencia full-back (75%).

But, being efficient in possession is even more key for Arsenal with Gaya again impressing with key passes, accomplishing 0.85 per 90 minutes which is far better than Monreal, 0.38.

As you can see from the stats above, Gaya would be a great signing for the Gunners. He is still very young and raw, but given Wenger’s speciality for developing young talent, Gaya has the potential to be a significant upgrade on his compatriot Monreal and with much more time on his side.

Looking at the prospect of having Hector Bellerin (21) and Jose Gaya (21) the North Londoners would potentially have their full-back pairing for the next decade sorted. They’re both extremely exciting talents and are destined to become world class players, the club will likely have to cough up around £30 million for his services, but investing in someone carrying such ability, the club should prioritise his signature next summer and save him from the crisis at Los Che Els Taronges.

It’s worth remembering that Arsenal recently dealt with Valencia, bringing Mustafi to the club.

Manchester United’s Reported Summer Transfer Target Available For Just £5million In January

Jose Fonte could be on the verge of leaving Southampton after the club refused to offer him a long-term contract in addition to a pay rise, but the club refused to extend his deal beyond 2018. 

The centre-back’s current deal runs until 2018, and the 32-year-old now looks like he wants to leave St. Mary’s after a contract dispute, leaving Manchester United on red alert, who are reportedly interested in his services. The defender is also upset by the fact he does not feature in the Europa League for the Saints – a competition they are not out of.

MaisFutbol, a Portuguese publication claim that Southampton will be willing to sell up if they receive a bid upwards of £5m, which is more than within Manchester United’s capabilities.

Manchester United were widely linked with Fonte in the summer, so, of course this news is likely to have alerted Mourinho.

Would Fonte be an upgrade on what United currently have at centre-back?

Due to injuries, Jose Mourinho has had to revert to a centre-back partnership of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. This has worked well recently, but when all fit, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are likely to be Mourinho’s first choice centre-backs. So, how do they compare to Jose Fonte, and would the Southampton man be an upgrade on what United already have?

In terms of tackles won, Fonte wins on average 1.23 tackles per game, and that sits right in between Smalling and Bailly. The Englishman wins just 0.43 tackles per game, Bailly winning the most 1.78. However, Smalling loses the least tackles, also 0.43 per game, Fonte and Bailly both lose 1.44 and 1.46 tackles per game respectively.

Eric Bailly is the best at bringing the ball out confidently from the back, successfully completing 85.71% of take-ons. Fonte completes 50%, whereas Smalling has failed to complete any take-ons this season in the seven Premier League games he has played in this season.

However, Smalling wins the most aerial duels out of the lot. He wins 78.26% of his aerial duels, Fonte wins 58.49% whereas Bailly wins the least with 53.33%. In terms of total duels, Smalling also wins the most with 70.59% of his total duels, Fonte wins 51.30%, again Bailly wins the least with 50% of total duels.

Looking at the stats, it looks like Fonte would bring the best of both worlds. He wins for duels than Bailly, but more tackles than Smalling. With United struggling to see out games, they could really do with another defender at the club. At the price of just above £5m, I think that Jose Fonte would be an excellent signing for Mourinho and Manchester United.

Arsenal Linked With January Move For West Ham Ace: Why He’d Be A Great Signing

Arsenal’s squad looks stronger than ever and considering their performance to date, the Gunners fans must surely be happy with the team’s performance and their summer activity in the transfer market.

But with the title race so close this season – Arsenal could always benefit from additional talent. But signing a player in January is always a risk, especially if it is a player that will have to adapt to a new league and possibly a new language – so winter signings can often have an adverse effect on momentum. But the possible signing I want to talk about is Dimitri Payet, who has been linked with a move to the club in recent weeks. The experienced West Ham midfielder rose to prominence last season and excelled in England and on the international stage at Euro 2016. But this season he has seriously struggled in a very poor West Ham team, he looks disinterested and appears to be pushing for a move away from the club. Aged 29 it would be understandable if Payet was eyeing a move to one of Europe’s bigger clubs before the sun sets on his career. West Ham are seriously struggling this season – after their European adventure was cut short, they are now languishing around the relegation zone and it does not look like they will be able to match the player’s ambitions moving forward – he wants to be playing Champions League football and his quality deserves it.

Should he become available I’m sure there would be a long list of admirers. The likes of Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain were linked in the summer, but if Arsene Wenger were to offer him an option to stay in England and London then I think he would certainly be interested.

Do Arsenal need Payet? Should he join the club I think he would have to settle for a role on the wing, but I think he can still play very well in that position. Whilst Arsenal do have plenty of wide options, they are all still very inexperienced and inconsistent, I think a player of Payet’s quality would certainly aid the squad in their title quest and in Europe moving forward. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide would not see their development damaged too much with the arrival of Payet. Iwobi is still only 20 and has proven that this season he cannot perform at a high level consistently, he still has a lot to learn and players like Payet are brilliant to learn from. Jeff, aged 18, is not yet ready for the limelight – a loan spell would do him good. Whilst Arsenal are looking to give the Ox a new contract, the 23-year-old is also one who struggles for consistency. Welbeck (26),  Lucas (28) and Walcott (27) are the other wide options with Alexis Sanchez now finding his best form through the middle. Walcott and Welbeck can both be considered injury prone after their records in the recent past and Lucas is still settling in to English football, with his best form coming in the Champions League.

A player of Payet’s quality is always welcome in my opinion. He’s proven his quality in the Premier League and for France – and Wenger will not have missed that.

Yes Arsenal’s options would be crowded should Payet join, but Arsenal so often suffer from injury problems in the latter stages of the season and that derails their title challenge. They also struggle when trying to contend in Europe, the league and the FA Cup, with the squad being stretched and tired legs seeing the team drop points. Not only would Payet be an option out wide, but he’d provide a great rotation or backup option for Ozil at number 10. Arsenal have no natural replacement for the German should he suffer an injury and trying to shoehorn Ramsey or promote Jeff too quickly would surely not be a good idea. Payet could provide that extra bit of quality that helps Arsenal go all the way in the title race, and perhaps to the next stage in Europe.

Arsenal fans, would you pay £30million for Dimitri Payet should he become available for that price in January? Let me know in the comment section below.  

3 Players Arsenal Should Sign In The January Transfer Window

Arsenal moved up to second in the Premier League table after a 5-1 win over London rivals West Ham on Saturday, and having already secured qualification into the knockout stages of the Champions League, Arsene Wenger will be looking to add to his squad depth over the January transfer window so that he can make a push for the Premier League title as well as progress in the Champions League. Here are three players that Arsenal should try to sign in the new year.

1) Cesc Fabregas

Arsene Wenger has always rejected the idea whenever put to him that he wants to bring Cesc Fabregas back to the Emirates Stadium, but if he was given the opportunity to work with the Spaniard once again, then I am sure he would.

The Gunners could have the chance to secure the services of Fabregas over the course of the January transfer window according to reports emerging on Sunday morning from the Sunday Express. The 29-year-old has not featured regularly under Antonio Conte this season, despite playing in the 3-1 win over Manchester City on Saturday.

Santi Cazorla has been sidelined for three months, and despite denying it, Arsene Wenger will be keen to find a replacement in the new year. The signing of Fabregas would also add to Arsenal’s squad depth as they look to make a charge for the Premier League title whilst progressing as far as they can in the Champions League.

If Arsenal were able to secure the services of Fabregas, it would be an excellent signing for the Gunners. The Spaniard still has a lot to offer in the Premier League, and you just have to look at the ball Fabregas played up to Diego Costa for the equaliser on Saturday to see the quality he can offer.

Report: West Ham ‘Preparing’ £25million Offer For Premier League Ace

With the January transfer window right around the corner, clubs  are preparing themselves to sign the right players, whether that be to push them for the league title or to guide them to a European place / relegation freedom.

One rumour in England that has caught everyone’s eye is that West Ham United are apparently preparing to offer up to £25 million for Bournemouth hot shot Callum Wilson once the transfer market reopens in January, according to the Guardian.

The Hammers have been injury riddled thus far this season with injuries to the likes of Andy Carroll and a fresh injury to Diafra Sakho, which will see the West Ham forward miss six weeks. They’re stretched for depth in the forward department, with England born Wilson leading the list of potential incomings to reduce the problems for Slaven Bilic.

After fighting hard for a European place last season, their poor start to the season see’s the Londoners just one point ahead of the relegation zone after struggling to settle into their new home after leaving Upton Park.

Summer signings Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri have struggled to settle in the Premier League and are both shadows of what abilities they posses, with the former coming under strong criticism from the Irons faithful with a new petition going around with fans willing to pay for his flight back to Turin.

Although West Ham are willing to offer up to £25 million for the striker, Bournemouth will remain resilient and not flirt with any ideas of a sale for their top goal scorer, especially after the start they have made sitting 12th in the league after some great displays. After rejecting a £15 million offer from West Ham back in May, it’ll be interesting to see what happens after the player signed a 4 year contract in July.

Wilson himself seems happy in Bournemouth and is a key player to Eddie Howe’s impressive project, he would certainly challenge the likes of Zaza and Calleri to become number one at West Ham but we take a look at how he compares with the Hammers forwards.

Playing the number 9 role is all about scoring goals, of course. But, in modern day football you are also relied upon to create chances too with Zaza coming out on top in this trait by creating 1.56 chances per 90 minutes thus far this season, Wilson is in second place with 0.72 with Hammers man Calleri third 0.65.

Speaking of more responsibilities than just scoring goals in the number 9 role, assists is another key ability to possess as an attacking player and the attacking trio are yet to manage a single assist between them in the league with 13 games gone, which, to be honest is quite a worrying stat to say the least.

When you receive the ball in between the lines as a striker you can often be expected to pick up the ball and run at the defence. Zaza again impresses significantly with successful take on’s managing 60% with West Ham compatriot in second place on 50%, Cherries man comes last in this race with 26.32%.

Of course, now the most important trait deadly strikes must carry, goals. Bournemouth hot shot Wilson annihilates his two opponents in this genre with 0.41 goals per 90 minutes thus far, with both West Ham players hitting blanks, scoring zero goals so far this league campaign. This is one stat which will certainly sparkle in Bilic’s eye as goals for the London side have dried up, and Wilson will certainly add to that.

At 24-years-old, Wilson would be an immense purchase for West Ham, he is still young and will only improve as times goes on. The problem for them is, Eddie Howe will be reluctant to sell and has no need at all, after the TV money injection last summer clubs the size of Bournemouth are in no need or desperation for money, money which 5 years ago they would only dream about.

The plus side for Hammers fans is the club look set to sign a striker in January, but in my honest opinion I don’t think they will persuade Bournemouth to sell, better yet, I do not think Wilson will want to leave either with his current club currently in a promising place under the talented Eddie Howe.

Report: Manchester United Lining Up January Deal For Chelsea Midfielder – Is It A Good Idea?

We are coming up to the festive period and that means one thing… silly season is back! And so are the rumours. Throughout this period we will be monitoring the rumours and adding our unique analysis to the stories that catch our eye. 

Jon Obi Mikel to Manchester United? That’s the claim from The Sun who earlier this week claimed an ‘Exclusive’ and said that Mourinho is aiming to raid his former club with an ‘incredible cut-price deal’ January. 

Mikel is the forgotten man at Chelsea as with Matic and Kante excelling in the central roles, there’s no real space for the Nigerian in the team. It’s very believable that the player would be open to a move away from a club where his opportunities have been so restricted this season.

But would Jose Mourinho want him? The former Blues boss used Mikel sparingly during his time at the club, but certainly more regularly than Conte and I would imagine that Mikel would be open to a reunion with his old manager.

It is no secret that United have been most impressive this season when playing with Michael Carrick at the base of the midfield. But aged 35, the Englishman struggles to play regularly and the club cannot afford to be reliant on him. Mikel is of a similar ilk, perhaps less perfect in possession and more proactive defensively. He might be somewhere between Carrick and Fellaini, both of whom Mourinho is a fan. The Portuguese manager also said that he’d love to have Carrick ? years younger. Aged 29, Mikel is 6 years younger than Carrick and that may mean he has the extra durability to be relied upon. 

Of course United nearly signed Mikel ahead of Chelsea when he first came to England, so, despite all the change at the club since then, there is a long standing admiration of the player, even though he has failed to reach the heights many expected.

Despite that Mikel is a seasoned international with 78 caps and having played regularly in the Premier League for some years now (more than 200 games for Chelsea in his 10 year spell), he would certainly bring something to the United squad.

Considering he would be competing with the likes of Carrick and Fellaini, I thought I’d take a look at the stats and compare the trio. 

What do you want from a defensive midfielder / deep lying playmaker? The 5 areas we chose to analyse were pass completion, interceptions, tackles won, aerial duels won and total forward passes. We opted to use the statistics from last season to use a larger data set. Mikel leads the way in two of these areas with an impressive pass completion rate of 90%, Carrick is 2nd with 86% and Fellaini last with 83%. Mikel also wins the most tackles on average with 1.86 per 90, Fellaini is not far behind on 1.52 and Carrick last on 1.23. In the 3 areas Mikel is not 1st, he is 2nd! With 1.61 interceptions per 90, 0.85 aerial duels and 40.91 forward passes per 90.

Mourinho has spent millions on the likes of Paul Pogba already so maybe it is a low key signing like this that United need to compliment their squad. I’m not saying that Mikel would get into the starting eleven, but in a January market where options are not aplenty, Mourinho may have to look for shrewd additions like these to add to the quality and depth in his squad. 

New Year Clearout? 10 Manchester United Players Who Could Be Sold In January

Jose Mourinho’s start to life in Manchester hasn’t gone exactly to plan. The Red Devils are already eleven points below Premier League pace-setters Chelsea, who extended their winning streak with a 2-1 home win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Mouinho’s men sit in sixth place in the top flight, and the Portuguese coach could be looking to plan a massive squad overhaul in January and the proceeding transfer windows, some players leaving, and some coming in. Here are ten players that could leave Old Trafford in the New Year according to Manchester Evening News.

1) Bastian Schweinsteiger

The midfielder has struggled for first team minutes, and has virtually been frozen out of the Jose Mourinho setup since he arrived at Old Trafford. The World Cup winner has become extremely frustrated with his treatment this season, and could seek a move away from England.

Schweinsteiger did however return to the squad in the Premier League 1-1 draw with West Ham on Sunday. Sky also say that he could in fact start in the same fixture but in the league cup tonight. Chicago fire are reportedly interested in his services, and could make the move there over the January window.

2) Memphis Depay 

The £26m signing has failed to make a big impact since his arrival at Old Trafford, and that can mostly be put down to the lack of first-team minutes, particularly this season. He has appeared just four times for the Red Devils in the Premier League this term, not creating a single chance, but he has just played 42 minutes.

Depay has not been the preferred choice in the Europa League, playing just 65 minutes in that competition this season. There are still a few clubs that would quite happily make use of the services and talent of Depay, and United might look to cash-in.

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