Tag Archives: Real Madrid

10 Stars Who Could Set A Transfer Record This Summer Ft. Man Utd, Arsenal & Chelsea Targets

The Premier League’s big spenders are set to do it all again this summer to bring some of the finest players to English football and strengthen their sides for the forthcoming campaign.

English football’s rise of TV revenue has lead to Premier League side’s paying a premium price on the transfer market and inflation over recent years has seen players cost more and more, with transfer records being set regularly.

Paul Pogba became the world’s first €100m player last year when he sealed a move from Juventus to Manchester United but his record is likely to be broken in the coming months, with audacious fees being mentioned- some in excess of £120m.

With the likelihood that records will be smashed this summer, we’ve identified ten players who could become the most expensive players in the history of world football in the coming  months if they secure a lucrative move- and it features a number of Premier League targets.

Kylian Mbappe (Monaco)

The hottest name in world football right now, teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe has been linked with a host of Europe’s top-sides this summer, including Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but Monaco are determined to keep hold of his services.

Mbappe’s ability and the fact Monaco don’t want to sell means his price-tag will be driven higher and higher, with reports already indicating a deal could cost in excess of £120m- a sensational figure for this year’s breakthrough star.

How Real Madrid can beat Juventus in the Champions League final:

Tonight, we will see two giants of European football face off in Cardiff for the UEFA Champions League final, something that both Real Madrid and Juventus cherish so much. Both sides could lay claim to being the “best’ in Europe, and this game will show who of the two really are the best, but it will not be that simple. Juve and Madrid have been outstanding this season and it will take a huge effort for one of these sides to win, but how can Real Madrid beat the Italian champions? Will they have a game plan, or will they have to rely on the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo?

As mentioned previously in the piece “How Juventus can beat Real Madrid in the Champions League“, Juve will allow Madrid to keep the ball and put pressure onto them. In previous rounds, this has worked for Juventus as they’ve managed to keep out Barcelona and Monaco this way, but Madrid can manipulate this to their own advantage. Barcelona and Monaco used their key attacking players to dictate play (Messi, Silva), Madrid have their two deep-lying playmakers to do this for them. Ronaldo, Benzema and Isco can roam free in the final third whilst Toni Kroos and Luka Modric sit deep and look to pick the Juve lock.

Kroos and Modric can float around the midfield with the ball and create space for the attacking trio whilst Casemiro sits deep and acts as the enforcer of the midfield. With them two roaming around, Juve’s midfield may find it hard to keep track of them and may let them slip through the cracks, but nevertheless, these two hold the key to the game and can be the match winners without even scoring a goal.

Defensively, Madrid are reasonably resolute with Casemiro occasionally dropping in as a third centre back when Marcelo and Carvajal bomb forward to support the attackers. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane will provide a solid base for Madrid, but they will have to be careful when Dybala is running at them, with Ramos prone to the odd red card every now and again. The central defenders may be a weak link, but the full backs are definitely a strong point in this team, especially Marcelo.

Much like Dani Alves for Juventus, Marcelo will act more like a forward than a defender, providing width to a narrow side. His pace on the counter will prove to be vital in forward moves from Los Blancos, but he will need to be switched on at all times and prevent the opposite full back stealing a march on him when he goes on his forward bursts.

Width is huge in this game but Madrid must not put all their eggs in that basket, especially with the talent they have. Much like the midfield, the forward trio will have enough license to roam free. Isco, Ronaldo and Benzema may be a group that Juve’s defence can deal with, but with fast flowing movement, quick, intricate passing and runs in behind can be what Madrid need to take home the trophy. Cristiano Ronaldo has the ability to change the game at any moment and with Isco in the form of his life and Benzema remaining consistent, Madrid have the attacking players to win anything but will need to be on top, top form to beat this Juventus defence.

This game is almost impossible to predict. These two teams are fantastic and have world class players across the pitch, but both teams can pick the flaws out of one another and will capitalise at any given moment. Kroos and Modric hold the key to success for Madrid, but in a Champions League final, you just never know what Real Madrid can pull out of their bag of tricks.

How Juventus can beat Real Madrid in the Champions League final:

This evening, Juventus and Real Madrid face off in the UEFA Champions League final in arguably the toughest Champions League final to call in recent memory. Both teams are well drilled with great attacking players who can turn the game on it’s head in an instant, whilst the defence and midfield could hold the key for both Juve and Madrid. No one can be certain as to who is the clear favourite, as the two teams are very capable of leaving Cardiff with the European trophy, but how can the Italian champions defeat this formidable Los Blancos side? Can Max Allegri’s side pull off the final piece of their treble shaped jigsaw, or will they fall at the final hurdle once again?

 

For Juve, it will certainly be a case of defence is the best form of attack and will need to use their famous back line as a base to work around. If they keep their defensive shape like they did against Barcelona and Monaco, they will be halfway to winning the game. Allegri is likely to set his side up in a 3-5-2, with Georgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci being the three at the back. They will sit deep and allow Madrid to have the ball in front of them, much like they did in the Nou Camp, and will have the help of the two full backs Alex Sandro and Dani Alves, who will be much more disciplined than their Madrid counterparts Marcelo and Dani Carvajal.

When you watch what Juve did against Barcelona and to a lesser extent against sides like Monaco and Napoli, they let them have the ball in the final third, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to break through them, but they would be play a dangerous counter attacking system. The two full backs would fly forward and with Miralem Pjanic on the ball, one of the most underrated midfielders in the world, Juve had someone who could always pick out a pass. His range of passing gives Pjanic the ability to find the full backs or even pick out forwards like Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado, who would then feed the ball into the box for Gonzalo Higuain.

The role of Sami Khedira will also be vital against his former club, as he will be the one tasked with stopping Toni Kroos and Luka Modric dictating play. The Old Lady will know that if you cut off the supply to the likes of Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, you nullify their threat. The majority of Madrid’s play comes through them two, so to cut them out and prevent them from running the game, Juve will have the upper hand immediately.

Of course, you always have the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo and his ability to score at any time, but it isn’t about stopping Ronaldo (because sometimes you simply can’t) it’s about stopping those around him. If you cut off the creators in the Madrid team, something Juventus know they can do, you stifle Madrid and force them to use the flanks, which then brings in the two full backs.

If Juventus defend like they have done all season and expose Madrid on the counter attack by either using Dybala and Higuain down the middle or Alves and Sandro on the wings, they will be in for a treat. They need to stick to their game plan, not try anything dangerous or risky and force Real Madrid to do something incredible to win the game.

This is unlike most finals in recent years. There isn’t a clear favourite, there isn’t an upper hand pre kick off, it’s equal and it’s equal unlike it has been in recent years. Juventus and Madrid are equally matched and will not give one another an ounce of room. If Juventus defend strong, expose Madrid on the flanks and counter attack them with pace, we may be seeing the Old Lady return to the top of European Football.

Man United Continue To Be Linked To Superstar, He’s A Questionable Recruit

Manchester United’s debut season under Jose Mourinho has seen the Red Devils fall well short of expectations in the Premier League and money is sure to be spent this summer in an attempt to improve the club’s fortunes.

James Rodriguez continues to be the name on everybody’s lips ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Colombian seemingly set to leave Real Madrid after a disappointing few seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu where he’s failed to show the sort of form that set the 2014 World Cup alight.

Earlier this month, Spanish media outlet Sport stated James has verbally agreed to move to Manchester United this summer and fresh reports continue to appear on a daily basis, intensifying the South American’s links with a lucrative move to the Premier League.

However, James Rodriguez would be a questionable recruit for Manchester United due to their wealth of depth in attack and the Red Devils continue to be linked to further attacking additions this summer- so it’s difficult to see where exactly the Colombian fits in.

The debate is likely to rumble on throughout the summer, with James Rodriguez’ future shaping up to be the transfer saga of the 2017 summer window, and we asked our team for their thoughts on the 25-year-old’s potential move.

Josh Challies (@Challies11)

I’ve been left scratching my head ever since James Rodriguez was first linked to Manchester United as I can’t see where he’d fit in- added to the fact the Red Devils would have to pay an audacious sum to secure his services and it’s difficult to justify that amount.

The Colombian has failed to build on his exceptional form at the World Cup three years ago and he continues to be living off his reputation in that tournament, having failed to establish himself as a first-team regular for Real Madrid.

At Manchester United, there’s a real danger he’d be in exactly the same boat regardless of whether Mourinho viewed him as a winger or an attacking midfielder, so it really seems like United would be spending money for the sake of it.

Shane Burns (@MediaShaneBurns)

James Rodriguez signing for Manchester United could be a game-changer regarding their title aspirations. The Colombian is highly marketable in South America and he certainly has the talent to up his potential marketability.

Whether or not signing for United is a possibility, Rodriguez would add proven quality and depth to a frail United side. A Mourinho player? Probably not.

Sam Cox (@SamRCox_)

Players of James’ class are always welcome additions to the league.

When it comes to Manchester United, however, James’ arrival would rely on at least one of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata leaving. It’s been a tough year in Madrid for the Colombian and, while creativity has been lacking at Old Trafford, his presence would not fix the fundamental issues with the setup of the team.

It could work out, but right now it aches of a signing that will fizzle under Jose Mourinho’s management.

Tom Scholes (@TomScholes316)

A lot of people are raving about James Rodriguez to Manchester United, but I can’t help but feel that it isn’t the right move for the Colombian. United already have multiple play makers in their squad including Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and to a lesser extent Paul Pogba, and James would just become yet another big name signing with no purpose.

If United really want to get the best out of Paul Pogba, the last thing they should be doing is signing James Rodriguez. Adding another central attacking midfielder only pushes the Frenchman deeper in midfield, restricting him.

With the constant links seemingly every summer, is James to United the new Wesley Sneijder to United rumour?

European giant hand Chelsea boost by ending interest in star-man

Chelsea’s fantastic season is at risk of being handed a blow this summer, should star players decide to leave Stamford Bridge this summer in search of new challenges abroad.

One of the big names regularly linked with an exit this season has been that of Eden Hazard, who has been linked with a big-money move to Real Madrid. With Zinedine Zidane a keen admirer, and Hazard seeing the Frenchman as an icon, it’s easy to see why it would appeal to the Belgian ace.

However, The Sun now claims that Real Madrid have ended their interest in Eden Hazard as they will instead focus their attention of developing the talents of young Marco Asensio- who has exploded onto the scene this season.

Instead of spending what could end-up being a three-figure sum on Hazard, Real Madrid’s development of Asensio, who cost them just £3.5m, would see Los Blancos boast a new homegrown hero amongst their ranks.

Could it still happen?

As with any transfer report, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. Whilst Real Madrid may want to develop Asensio, turning down any opportunity to sign Eden Hazard wouldn’t be wise- especially in the coming years as Cristiano Ronaldo approaches the end of his career.

Real Madrid have established themselves as a club who boast some of the best players in the world and missing out on the likes of Paul Pogba and then potentially Hazard and Antoine Griezmann could really cause issues in their fanbase.

On a personal level for Hazard, moving to a club that have won two Champions League finals in three years would be understandable as Chelsea are unlikely to challenge for Europe’s elite crown anytime soon.

Is Asensio the real deal?

Simply put, yes. The 21-year-old has impressed at the Santiago Bernabeu following spells with Mallorca and Espanyol, scoring four goals in 18 La Liga appearances. Here’s also impressed in the Champions League, scoring two goals in five appearances- including a strike against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

He’s now made his international debut for the Spanish national team and is one of the youngsters to watch at the World Cup next summer, where he could make his full emergence onto the world stage.

Arsenal Prepared To Rival Liverpool For Signature Of La Liga Starlet

Arsenal and Liverpool both have work to do in the summer transfer window to make their squads capable of pushing for Premier League glory and the two English giants are set to square off in the transfer market.

Spanish outlet Don Balon state the two Premier League outfits are rivalling the likes of Juventus and Sevilla for the services of Real Madrid’s attacking midfielder Marco Asensio, with The Daily Star adding the Spaniard is valued at a hefty £40m.

Asensio has made a positive impression in Zinedine Zidane’s side this season after excelling on-loan with Espanyol last term, where he made 34 appearances, and he’s since gone on to claim 23 appearances for Los Blancos across all competitions.

Real Madrid, and chairman Florentino Perez in particular, value the youngster extremely highly but both Arsenal and Liverpool could test their resolve in the summer transfer window.

Who needs him more?

Liverpool’s attacking ranks already look well stocked by Marco Asensio could give Jurgen Klopp an alternative option in that earlier, whilst the Spaniard could also adopt a more deeper role to partner captain Jordan Henderson in midfield.

Arsenal, on the other hand, face the prospect of losing Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez this summer, with the Gunners potentially seeing Asensio as a replacement for either of the duo, or they could also use him in a deeper role and establish the 21-year-old as a long-term successor to Santi Cazorla.

However Asensio, who has been capped twice by Spain’s national side, will be keen to ensure any club he joins has Champions League football to offer as he seeks to establish himself in Julen Lopetegui’s squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Will he be sold?

Real Madrid’s midfield ranks are well stocked with talent and that competition for places means that Asensio could be tempted by the offer of guaranteed first-team football. However, Real Madrid will dig their heels in and will seek to block any move.

Asensio could establish himself in Real Madrid’s starting line-up in the long-term too as speculation persists that suggests both James Rodriguez and Isco will leave the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, which would significantly reduce the competition for places that Asensio faces.

On top of that, midfield stalwart Luka Modric turns 32 in September and Real Madrid will be keen to ensure they have a ready made replacement for the Croatian, which is something Asensio can be for the Spanish giants.

Chelsea Set To Make Decision On Pair Ahead Of £70m Swoop

Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but Antonio Conte is ready to shuffle his deck during the summer window to ensure his side remain competitive next term.

With Diego Costa’s future remaining under scrutiny, Antonio Conte is likely to enter the transfer market for a new striker as the Blues could lose the services of their Spanish forward, whilst Michy Batshuayi has failed to impress following his move from Marseille last summer.

The Sun states Chelsea are prepared to splash as much as £70m on a new striker but are debating whether to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge or push to land Alvaro Morata’s signature, with the Spaniard frustrated with a lack of game time with Real Madrid.

Belgian ace Lukaku has refused to pen an extended deal with Everton and is expected to be a big mover this summer, whilst Morata is also likely to be on the market after failing to establish himself in Zinedine Zidane’s plans following his return to Madrid from Juventus last summer.

Who’d be the better fit?

With Romelu Lukaku already well established in the Premier League and having previous links to Chelsea, the Belgian striker could be the perfect fit into Antonio Conte’s side and his physical presence is comparable to that of Diego Costa.

However, Alvaro Morata would likely be significantly less expensive and is keen to prove himself ahead of the World Cup next summer. Taking that into consideration, many may feel that the Spaniard presents the best solution for Chelsea.

Signing Lukaku would be a real statement of intent from the Blues though, as they’d have to spend a club-record on their former striker, and it would show they’re happy to go toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs in the transfer market.

Which deal is more likely?

Whilst Romelu Lukaku is pushing for an exit from Goodison Park, Everton have a decent standing in negotiations as the Belgian striker is still penned down to a contract and boss Ronald Koeman is keen to dig his heels in and prevent a summer sale.

Pushing for Lukaku’s signature will likely be a long, drawn out process and Chelsea may prefer to swoop for Morata, as a deal for the Spaniard would be easier to complete. However, negotiating with Real Madrid could result in Los Blancos pushing to land the links of Thibaut Courtois or Eden Hazard in return.

All in all, there’s no simple solution to Chelsea’s search for a new striker but they’re likely to have cash in hand to spend, as Costa is expected to seal a lucrative transfer away from Stamford Bridge and that sale will boost Conte’s spending money.

Chelsea look to keep star-man with record-breaking new contract

Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but face a fight to keep their star-men this summer, as Europe’s elite look to make a move in the transfer target.

Real Madrid continue to eye the services of Belgian ace Eden Hazard but The Sun states Chelsea are ready to fend-off the interest of the Spanish giants by handing their star-man a contract worth £300k-a-week; which would make Hazard the highest paid player in the Premier League.

Talks of a renewal were set to start at the end of the season but, given Real Madrid’s growing interest, the Blues have brought forward discussions as they aim to prevent Los Blancos from sealing a major transfer this summer.

Zinedine Zidane has been very public with his admiration for Hazard and many feel he’s the perfect long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has limited years left at the top of European football. Naturally though, Chelsea are desperate to keep him.

How important is Hazard?

Eden Hazard’s performances over the past three seasons for Chelsea have been mixed, as he was a key-part of their title-winning success under Jose Mourinho but performed poorly last term. This season though, Hazard is back to his best and is again proving to be a huge catalyst for the Blues’ success.

Keeping Hazard is crucial for the side’s set up but the most important factor is the message that it would send to their rivals, as it would show the Blues are capable of going toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs to boast the best names.

By handing Hazard a Premier League record-deal, Chelsea would show their willingness to fight and match the spending from Manchester United and Manchester City. If he was to leave, Chelsea would find it hard to replace him and it would also issue a negative message.

Is Hazard worth it?

Hazard’s performances for Chelsea have made him a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge but many do expect more from him and the Belgian can expect to receive further scrutiny if he was to command this record-breaking deal; as we’ve seen with Paul Pogba this season.

To be classed in the same calibre as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard will need to find consistency and perform domestically as well as on the continent. Having only just turned 26 though, there’s plenty of time for him to adjust.

Securing this deal would allow Antonio Conte to continue building a side around the Belgian, which is likely to include the arrival of a new striker this summer as question-marks on the future of Diego Costa consider to be raised.

Liverpool Keen To Secure Deal, Top Four Finish A Necessity

Liverpool will have to secure a top-four finish if Jurgen Klopp is to land one of his prime targets at the end of the season.

The Daily Mirror states the Reds are confident of luring James Rodriguez to Anfield from Real Madrid at the end of the season as the Colombian ace has grown unsettled in the Spanish capital, following three-years of troubles.

Colombia’s World Cup hero from 2014 secured a move to the Santiago Bernabeu in the wake of the international tournament in South America but, with the next World Cup just around the corner, the former Monaco man hasn’t established himself as the superstar many thought he would become.

That could work into Liverpool’s hands, as the Premier League seems a likely destination, but they’ll face a challenge in the final two months of the season to establish themselves in a position where a deal could be completed.

Why is top-four so important?

James Rodriguez is keen to ensure his next club is playing in the Champions League and that puts the ball in Liverpool’s court, with the Reds currently sat fourth in the Premier League standing and having a favourable run in the back-end of the season.

However, Klopp’s side have struggled against bottom-half clubs this season and fans will be concerned that those struggles could continue- especially as five of their remaining nine fixtures in the league are against side’s sat in the bottom-half.

Their other opponents, Everton, West Brom, Stoke and Southampton, can also be seen as potential banana skins for the Reds to avoid and the fact that both Manchester United and Arsenal have two games in hand makes Klopp’s position look even more difficult.

If Liverpool don’t finish in the Champions League spots, their chances of securing a move for James Rodriguez this summer would look significantly bleaker.

Where would James fit in?

With an attacking line that boasts the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, amongst others, it may be difficult to see where James would fit-in at Anfield. However, the threat of losing Coutinho is something Liverpool may have to face up to.

The Brazilian continues to attract the interest of top-clubs in Europe, including Barcelona, and the South American star may consider a move to boost his chances of being a crucial part of his national side in the World Cup next summer.

However, securing Champions League football could be enough to persuade Coutinho to stay for at least another year and if they were to keep him amongst their ranks, then a move for James wouldn’t be necessary.

Should Chelsea Consider This Swap Deal For Eden Hazard?

Spanish giants Real Madrid are keen to sign Eden Hazard from Chelsea this summer and could be prepared to offer a stunning swap deal.

The Daily Mail, citing claims from Spanish outlet Marca, claim that the Belgian star has held ‘positive’ discussions with Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead of a potential move at the end of the season- with Los Blancos being long-term admirers of Chelsea’s attacking wizard.

However, Chelsea are keen to ensure they do not come out of a deal empty-handed and are looking to exploit the situation to land Colombian ace James Rodriguez in return- who’s set for an exit this summer after struggling to make a regular stake for first-team football over the last three-years.

A deal could end working out well for all parties but fans may be concerned about a potential swap deal, as they’ll question whether James would fill the void left by Hazard.

How to they compare?

Hazard has played significantly more football to James this season, with Squawka showing the Belgian has played 2155 minutes compared to James’ 683, but there has been enough in the Colombian’s performance to suggest he’d be a decent asset to Chelsea’s ranks.

James boasts 87% passing accuracy this season, compared to Hazard’s 84%, and has contributed with five assists in 14 games- whilst Hazard boasts four assists in 24 matches. In front of goal though, Hazard has a significant advantage of 11 goals compared to James’ two.

All in all, James has been a direct part of seven goals in 14 appearances whilst Hazard has been involved in 15 in 24 matches- meaning both have been impressive this season and it shows that James could be able to fill Hazard’s void.

Would James fit in?

Perhaps the most pressing concern would be whether James Rodriguez fits into Antonio Conte’s set-up at Stamford Bridge as, whilst capable of playing out wide, the South American asset is most effective playing just behind the striker.

In conte’s 3-4-3 set-up in West London, there isn’t really a central role where James could slot into the side and the Colombian would have to play out wide- where he’d slot into Hazard’s vacant position, should he seal a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Therefore, Chelsea may find it better to pursue an alternative target to James as they’d be able to get a quality wide-man with the figure they would receive for Hazard’s services and James himself would probably be better off moving elsewhere.

Real Madrid aiming to raid Chelsea for signatures of star duo

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

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

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

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

How likely is a deal?

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

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

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

How much would they cost?

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

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

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

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

Real Madrid Held Talks To Sign Manchester United Star This Summer: Were They Lucky?

Last week, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane confirmed to the media that record-breaking signing Paul Pogba could have in fact signed for Los Blancos instead of Manchester United over the summer transfer window. 

Madrid are currently in second place in La Liga, and will be looking to sneak into top spot ahead of their Madrid rivals over the coming weeks after the international break, and speaking last week, Zidane did mention that the Frenchman could have put pen to paper for Real Madrid, saying:

“It could have happened. There were conversations, but it didn’t go ahead.”

However, Zidane saw Pogba sign for Manchester United for a fee of around £89m, but he been worth the investment?

In the opening weeks of the Premier League season, we have seen Pogba deployed in a deeper midfield role with a number of partners such as Marouanne Fellaini, but now Ander Herrera plays alongside the Frenchman. This has worked better and Manchester United are now well set for their weekend game against Liverpool – get the best football tips ahead of that huge fixture.

Pogba has usually been the man to push forward and look to cause more of an attacking threat for United while Herrera sits back, and the partnership seemed to be effective against Leicester City, but United could only manage a 1-1 draw with Stoke at Old Trafford a week on.

Looking at his statistics alongside those of his defensive midfield partner Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba wins more of his total duels, but only just. The Frenchman wins 52.58% of his total duels, whereas the Spaniard wins 50%. On the other hand, Herrera wins 75% of his aerial duels, and Pogba wins 59.09% of his aerial duels.

Herrera also makes more interceptions per game than Pogba. The Spanish international makes 3.38 per ninety minutes, but Pogba makes on average just 1.33 interceptions per game. Herrera also makes more tackles per game than his French teammate. Pogba makes on average 1.33, and Herrera makes 2.25.

However, the story is a little different when going forward, which is effectively what Pogba is there for. The Frenchman on average creates 1.83 chances per game, and makes the same number of key passes per ninety minutes. Herrera on the other hand makes just 0.56 per game of each.

We have seen flashes of brilliance from Paul Pogba since he joined Manchester United in the summer, but nowhere near so far what £89m should get you. In short, no, Pogba has not so far been worth the huge amount of money invtested in order to bring him to the club, and needs to up his game after the international break.

Report: Jose Mourinho Plots Incredible €120million Bid For La Liga Ace

Manchester United have completed a £31million move for Villarreal defender Eric Bailly and now are setting their sights on another La Liga ace, but this target is a little more expensive.

El Confidencial, who are normally quite a reliable source say that Jose Mourinho has been given a €250million budget to spend at United. He has already spent €40million of that on Eric Bailly, and now he wants to spend €120million more on Gareth Bale, according to the Spanish news outlet.

They say Mourinho believes Bale wants to return to England and playing for Manchester United, he believes the Welshman can be tempted. If this did happen, there is unlikely to be much movement until after Euro 2016, with Bale currently fully focussed on succeeding with Wales in the tournament.

The report goes on to say that Madrid are interested in signing Paul Pogba this summer for exactly the same amount, €120million.

Manchester United are long time admirers of Bale, whilst Mourinho has also been a fan. There has always been a feeling that if Bale did one day return to England it would be to play for Manchester United. The English clubs lack of Champions League football may make a transfer more difficult at this stage. At first glance it seems very unlikely that Real Madrid would sell, but with Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent contract renewal and a move for Pogba on the horizon, it becomes more plausible that Madrid could accept such a huge bid from United.

Bale managed an incredible 19 goals and 10 assists in just 23 La Liga games this season. Like Cristiano, he has really flourished in Madrid and developed into the world class player he showed the potential to be when playing for Tottenham. Aged 26, he is the perfect age for United to make such a large investment for. He has the maturity and experience to perform consistently and at the highest level, whilst also having time on his side to continue to develop into an even better player and play his best years in Manchester.

Bale has mainly played on the right wing for Madrid, a position that enables him to cut inside onto his stronger left-foot. He is very versatile though and can also play behind the striker or on the left wing – he even played two league games as a striker last season.

Despite his great form, Bale has still been harshly judged on some poorer performances from Madrid, with fans on occasions booing the winger. Although he has previously shrugged off the boos, they must have some psychological effect and may play a part in him deciding to move back to England.

If Mourinho can assemble an attack made up of Bale, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial, the club would surely have an attacking trio that is up there with the best in Europe. For now, this move still appears overly ambitious, but the reports from Spain will be encouraging for United fans who are hoping for world class signings to arrive under Mourinho this summer.

Real Madrid Planning To Accept €50million Arsenal Bid For Striker This Summer

Arsenal could finally land their man this summer after years of interest, it has been reported this morning that Real Madrid will use their buy back clause to sign Alvaro Morata and then sell him to Arsenal to make an instant £16million profit. 

According to fresh reports this morning from Tutto Sport, Arsenal are front runners for the Spanish strikers’ signature but Liverpool and Manchester United are also showing genuine interest, The 23-year-old could cost the Gunners as much as €50m if the deal goes through.

Real Madrid have a clause in Morata’s contract where they can activate his buyout clause for just €30m, the clause only becomes active in the first 2 weeks in July, if activated the club will then look to sell Morata for up to €50m to help fund moves for their key targets this summer. Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba have been rumoured to be the main targets for the Spanish side.

Morata started his career in Madrid, with 10 goals in 37 games for the Galactic giants. But when Benzema was signed for £30million in 2009 Morata’s career looked in danger as he was sounded out of the 1st team.

Morata has admitted he wants his future resolved as quickly as possible, in a recent interview with Cadena Ser Morata said:

“It’s difficult for me not knowing where I’ll be next season”

“It’s a strange situation. I wish the matter could be solved soon. I’m happy here [at Juventus] but I want to know where I can buy a house.

“My return to Real is a concrete possibility because there is a deal. Butragueno’s words? I talk frequently with him. Being a part of Real Madrid is a pride for me getting messages from him after matches.”

Arsenal are likely to be in the market for a striker this summer as goals have dried up for the North Londoners, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud haven’t been able to repay the faith that the manager has kept in them and have both struggled to get in the team since Welbeck’s return.

Analysis Focus

Morata

A stat that really impresses me is the shots outside the area, Morata clearly likes to test the keeper with an impressive 1.19 per game, Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck are considerably behind as shown on the table, the worrying thing is for the Gunners, they have only scored 2 goals outside area all season, Morata could clearly improve that. Welbeck leads with the best shot accuracy on 75% with Giroud just behind on 60%, Walcott 52% and Morata on 43%, you have to take into consideration that Welbeck has been out for 10 months too, Arsenal need a clinical goal scorer, Morata has had the most shots 4.42 but only converted and scored 0.34, whilst Giroud has second highest on goal shots 3.90 but has more goals scored with 0.56, although Welbeck has the biggest amount of goals scored with 0.96, he has featured in a lot less games this season.

If Arsenal want to snap up Morata they will have to move quick with Manchester United and Liverpool waiting in the wings. In summary Morata would be a smart signing for the Gunners, at only 23 years old he can only get better, The Gunners are clearly interested as they have been in recent seasons, but there is nothing more to it yet.

Follow us @FreshFootball to stay up to date with the latest developments. 

Real Madrid Reach Agreement With Chelsea, Swap Deal On The Cards?

According to Spanish publication AS, Real Madrid have an agreement already in place to sign Chelsea star Eden Hazard. The Belgian International has consistently been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, and it seems Real Madrid have won the race for his signature ahead of Paris Saint-Germain.

If the claims from sources close to the Spanish club that Chelsea have agreed a deal in principle for the transfer of Eden Hazard are true, this could offer an explanation for the 2014/15 player of the season’s poor form throughout the current Premier League campaign. The 25-year-old midfielder has registered just 2 goals and 4 assists in 37 appearances this season, with both goals coming in the FA Cup. When compared with last season (19 goals in 52 appearances), the Belgian has clearly, to his standards, been under-performing.

Nevertheless, Hazard’s undeniable ability means Chelsea are still demanding a substantial amount of money – reportedly a sum in the region of £78million. This transfer fee is not unrealistic, as Chelsea have in the past been able to sell players such as David Luiz and Ramires for arguably extortionate prices. Other reports have suggested Madrid players Isco and James Rodriguez could potentially be included in a deal for the Belgian.

Cashing-in on Eden Hazard at the end of the season could be a wise move for Chelsea as they look to build a fresh start under their incoming new manager, who will almost certainly be Antonio Conte. Hazard has recently referred to Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane as his “idol”, saying he wants “to work with the best managers in the world”, hinting at a move to the Bernabeu.

Hazard’s shocking drop in statistical performance has highlighted the mental aspect of football and how big a part it plays in a players performance. With that in mind, Hazard’s performances are showing us that there really is a lack of desire from the Belgian and for one reason or another, his mind is somewhere else. It is best to sell him and move on, especially if Madrid are willing to offer such a large amount (£78million).

A swap deal could be a great option for Chelsea to explore, with the likes of Isco and James Rodriguez reportedly up for sale this summer.

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Agent Confirms Arsenal & Real Madrid Want To Sign Pass Master From Serie A

Arsenal are reportedly very interested in signing Napoli’s midfielder Jorginho this summer. The Brazilians agent has told a local radio station that the Gunners hold a firm interest in his client amid speculation of a bid in the summer.

The player’s agent Joao Santos told Radio kiss: “Interest from Arsenal? It’s true,” it’s not all good news for the Gunners though as he also confirmed that Real Madrid has paid compliments to the midfielder.

Arsene Wenger knows he has to strengthen the spine of his team this summer with the likes of Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky all out of contract. Jorginho is 24 and has been at Napoli since 2014 where he has already played more than 60 games in all competitions.

Jorginho certainly fits the bill to play for Arsenal as his key areas to his game are his passing, through balls and forward thinking. One worrying thing the Gunners make take into consideration is aerial duels are his weakness and playing in the deep role that could be key, especially as the Premier League is allegedly the toughest league in the world.

Arsenal fans shouldn’t get carried away with Joao Santos comments as it could just be a warning to Napoli that teams are keeping tabs on their star midfielder and may be looking for a new contract.

The Gunners need competition in midfield and need to strengthen their core, Jorginho could give them that given the injury concerns of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

I have paid close attention to Jorginho and Coquelin, this is due to the fact Jorginho would be brought in to the squad to play as a deep lying midfielder, Wenger has repeatedly indicated that he sees Wilshere and Ramsey as more attacking players for the Gunners.

Analysis Focus

This season Jorginho has by a clear mile made more successful passes in the league than Coquelin, so far this season Jorginho makes an average of 98 passes a game, nearly double that of Coquelin. Playing in the deep role for Arsenal, the players are expected to win tackles and make clearances, Coquelin excels in this area, making almost twice as many tackles and clearances. With the per 90 metric, Squawka’s statistics show that Jorginho just edges Coquelin with his overall score. But has the emergence of Mohammed Elneny changed Arsene Wenger’s mind at all? The Egytian appears capable of playing in that deep lying midfield role, perhaps a more physical midfielder is what is needed.

It would be a fair observation to suggest that Jorignho may be a like for like replacement for Mikel Arteta, who used to dictate the game from deep. But should Arsenal be looking to sign a player that can combine both technical and physcial qualities? Jorginho may be too similar to Arteta and not add anything new. Someone like William Carvalho could be a better fit? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter by tweeting us @FreshFootball.

In summary, Jorginho would be a good singing for the Gunners and give them the competition they so desperately need, there is clearly interest but nothing more… yet.


 

Stats sourced from Squawka

Gossip: Kroos Considering Arsenal Offer, Man Utd Want Barca Star & Chelsea’s Roma Raid

We’ve had a look over the latest rumours emerging from around Europe. Today’s gossip column looks at several hotly tipped big moves including Toni Kroos potentially coming to the Premier League. You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.

Toni Kroos considering offer from Arsenal (AS)

Reports in Spain suggest that Arsenal are one of a number of Premier League clubs that have made an advance to sign Toni Kroos from Real Madrid this summer. The German is reportedly considering his future at the club and Madrid may be willing to let him leave as part of their planned squad overhaul. According to the report originating from AS, Madrid have earmarked Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante as a replacement as he would offer more defensive security. The chance to sign Kroos cannot be missed by the Gunners. He’s a world-class player and the perfect player to keep that midfield ticking from deep. If Kroos were to become available, you would expect the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City to get involved in the bidding. The news comes from AS who can sometimes publish reliable rumours, but they do often speculate and can sometimes publish stories to suit their agendas so don’t buy the t-shirts just yet.

Manchester United eyeing Barcelona stopper to replace David de Gea (Daily Mirror)

Manchester United are reportedly eyeing Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as a replacement for David de Gea, who they are anticipating will join Real Madrid this summer. Ter Stegen is playing in Barcelona’s Champions League fixtures, but Claudio Bravo remains the teams number one in La Liga. The chance to become the undoubted number 1 at United would surely be tempting for the young German. Whether Barcelona would be willing to approve a deal that would allow arch-rivals Real Madrid to strengthen is another matter. If Manchester United managed to seal this deal then they wouldn’t miss de Gea too much, as Ter Stegen isn’t far off his level and has plenty of time to improve, aged just 23.

Chelsea to make £30million offer for Roma defender Kostas Manolas (Il Tempo)

Reports from Italy suggest that Roma are desperately trying to extend the contract of their star defender Kostas Manolas, amid interest from several top European clubs. The report lists Chelsea as a possible destination, whilst Arsenal have long been linked with the Greek defender. But Chelsea seems like a more likely move, with the London club set to release John Terry and concerns remaining over the form of Gary Cahill. Signed for £10million from Olympiacos, Roma will not want to sell Manolas, but they wouldn’t be short changed in any sale.

Jack Butland set to commit long-term future to Stoke City (Telegraph)

23-year-old Butland is thriving at Stoke City and he has no intentions of moving on anytime soon. The Englishman is reportedly set to sign a new five-year contract, committing his long-term future to the Potters. A move to a bigger club would make no sense at this stage of his career, unless he could be guaranteed as first choice. The only big club that might be able to offer him that status anytime soon is Manchester United, if de Gea did leave in the summer. Either way, Stoke are not going to sell Butland for a low amount of money and a new contract would only raise his value even more. This is brilliant news for Stoke City fans.

You can follow all the latest news and gossip as it happens by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball.

Manchester United Fans Excited About ‘Dream’ Sergio Ramos Signing

It’s an exciting time to be a Manchester United fan as it seems Sergio Ramos’ transfer to the North West is a genuine possibility- and not just leverage for a new contract in Madrid.

From being tipped to leave, asking for the club to listen to offers and now reportedly declaring his intention to join Manchester United, the fans are left in a dream situation- and the mammoth-sized deal isn’t lost on them.

Fans across the world have pleaded throughout the season for Louis Van Gaal to strengthen his defence this summer but few, if any, predicted or believed that Sergio Ramos could be prized away from the clutches of Florentino Perez and his Galactico side.

However, the hype is beginning to pick up and many fans simply cannot believe a deal is happening, reminiscent of the feeling Arsenal fans got in 2013 when they signed Mesut Ozil.

Could this be one of the biggest deals in Premier League history?

€100m Chelsea Target Reportedly Close To Joining Man Utd, Fans Unsure

Some reports amongst English media over the last 24 hours have suggested that Gareth Bale will join Manchester United this summer, and the fans aren’t quite sure what to think.

Bale has not had the best year, his latest contribution for Madrid was to miss a sitter in the Champions League semi-final. His own fans want him to leave, and so that has fuelled speculation of return to the Premier League for the Welshman.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been the most heavily linked clubs with his signing, as the duo seem to be the only realistic Premier League clubs with enough financial power to successfully orchestrate a deal.

But has his poor form in Madrid been enough to make fans forget about his incredible Spurs performances? Many United fans have responded to the rumours by suggesting that his price tag is over-inflated for his actual quality. It seems most would view him as an unnecessary luxury signing, especially since the purchase of winger Memphis Depay was confirmed.

How much do you think Bale is worth after a mediocre first season in La Liga?

Here’s how the fans are reacting to the latest transfer talk on Bale:

Spurs Fans React To Happy Day After Derby Victory

On Saturday afternoon the race for the top four really hotted up… But in North London, bragging rights were also up for grabs as Spurs met Arsenal.

The two sides drew 1-1 in the corresponding fixture back in September, and following booking their Wembley place, Tottenham fans had eyes for a Champions League place too. However although that would the unthinkable for Arsenal supporters, unlike the fans of EastEnders as they watch the script of ‘Who killed Lucy’ unfold, the story that developed for them at White Hart Lane was far more predictable.

Following a bright start, and Ozil giving the Gunners a first half advantage, Arsenal reprized their familiar character in the final 15 minutes – ‘Prior to their Etihad exploits’.
Bedlam as per usual in the Arsenal penalty area from a Spurs set piece and former Millwall loanee Harry Kane was left unmarked at the back post – where he simply couldn’t miss.
But if the first goal was gift-wrapped, the second was handmade by Kane himself. From a Bentaleb cross the tall front man leapt above two Arsenal defenders and guided a header into the far corner, causing Ospina to stand hapless, and pundits and supporters to quickly call comparisons to a former great – Teddy Sheringham. Upon leaving the pitch, their inform striker glared down a TV lens knowingly that surely now everyone in the country could see him.
But if there is a question as to whether Real Madrid fans saw Kane deliver two knockout blows, Arsenal fans did, and for the first time in a while Spurs supporters had an opportunity to dance in their neighbours misery courtesy of their latest hero.
So after a derby weekend to remember, usually mundane Monday’s for Spurs fans, were actually all white today…

Manchester United Fans React On Twitter To Transfer Swap Rumours

Half way through the January transfer window and Manchester United have added to their squad by bringing in Spanish international Goalkeeper, Victor Valdes, 33, on a free transfer having left Spanish Giants Barcalona.

 

But the real talk of late in the gossip columns are of the current United stopper David De Gea, and an audacious swoop whatever way you look at from Real Madrid, involving Gareth Bale moving in the opposite direction and many millions of pounds/euros involved.

The question is though, would it be a good move if such a rumour actually materialised? Now Gareth Bale is no doubt a top footballer, and just as significantly, he is a ‘Galactico’, playing at the top club in the world right now. But would the arrival of a player of such quality be worth if it meant United would lose arguably the best goalkeeper in the Premiership?

De Gea is still very young for a goalkeeper at 23, and as things stand, he is destined to be a world class footballer for probably quite a while.

If United were to sell, it would definitely be some achievement by the club to replace him with a player of similar quality with the same longevity.

Would be a risky move… although a Gareth Bale may go some way in softening the blow.

Gossip: Arsenal & Saints Battle For Midfielder, West Ham Target Atletico Star

Welcome to the Fresh Football gossip column. Each week (or maybe slightly more regularly) we will review the gossip, give our thoughts and then pick out the best tweet from the fans for each rumour.

Arsenal and Southampton battle for 21-year-old Juan Quintero of Porto (Daily Star)

With the two sides locked in a battle for the final Champions League place, their new arena will now be off the field. Quintero is wanted by the Saints on-loan, whereas Arsenal have been linked with a permanent offer. To be honest, Southampton would be the better fit for him as he would get more game time, rather than in an already jam-packed Arsenal squad.

West Ham Target Atletico Madrid’s Mario Suarez (Daily Mail)

West Ham are looking optimistic in the transfer window as they want to bring Atletico Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Mario Suarez to the Boelyn Ground. However, the La Liga winner is set to have offers from AC Milan, whilst Arsenal have also been linked with his signature. Whilst it’s certain he will improve West Ham’s squad, you’d have to question whether he would leave a Champions League side for the East End of London…

Real Madrid Beat English Sides To Martin Odegaard (Various)

A major blow has been handed to a number of Premier League sides, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, with the news that Martin Odegaard is set to join Real Madrid.

The 16-year-old is one of the most highly-rated youngsters in world football and he will go straight into the first-team at the Bernabeu. Given his talent, it’s a real shame we won’t get to see him establish himself in the Premier League- and a massive blow to the other interested parties.

‘Curse Of The Golden Generation’: Twitter Reacts To Euro Clash

Belgium hosted Wales in tonight’s round of European Championship Qualifiers, which saw the two teams battle out a 0-0 draw. Wales will undoubtedly be the happier set of players as they retain their spot at the top of group B, although Israel could go ahead of them if they win their game against Kazakhstan. Belgium, who were the favourite for this one, fall to fourth in the group following Cyprus’ 5-0 thrashing of Andorra.

The main talking point before this game, other than Wales’ achievement in the tournament so far, was the tie pitting Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard against one and other. There have been reports over the last week that claim Carlo Ancelotti is looking to sell Bale for a fee of around £90million, in an attempt to bring Eden Hazard to the Bernabeu. It is of course most likely nonsense, but that didn’t take away the added spice it gave the clash.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to the game: