Newcastle United Should Be Interested In Alfredo Morelos

Rangers fans will tell you that Alfredo Morelos is a terrific striker and that he’s destined to play in a top league.

Non Gers Scottish football fans will tell you that Morelos isn’t worth the risk because he’s a liability.

A wee gander at the Colombian’s stats will show you that both arguments have their merits.

The striker has scored forty-seven goals in eighty-seven appearances for the Glasgow giants in his two seasons at Ibrox.

In the Scottish Premiership last season, the attacker received four red cards in his thirty appearances.

It looks increasingly likely that Alfredo will leave Rangers this summer, as long as potential suitors look beyond his poor disciplinary record.

Newcastle United are the latest club credited with an interest in the player. The Scottish Sun have stated that reports from Colombia suggest that The Toon could make a £20m move this summer.

A lot will depend on the Premier League club’s owners. At the moment Sports Direct owner  controls the club and I’m unsure he’d wish to give such a big sum (or even half of that) to Rangers, given his courtroom battles with the Scottish side. But The Magpies are in the midst of takeover talks involving affluent Bin Zayed Group and they could offer up a hefty transfer kitty if they buy the English outfit.

Personally I think Morelos would tick a lot of Newcastle Utd’s boxes when it comes to recruitment.

At twenty-two years old, he’s still pretty young and will possess re-sale value if he does well at St James’ Park.

The young forward has been extremely prolific since touching down on European soil, first at HJK Helsinki and now at Rangers. His form at Rangers has seen him receive his first call-up to represent the Colombian national team, he’s now got three caps for his country.

While it’s true that Morelos didn’t score against Celtic, he did manage to find the net against every other top flight side in Scotland. He’s also score eight European goals in twenty-one continental appearances.

Current Rangers teammate Jermain Defoe knows a thing or two about scoring in the Premier League and he thinks Alfredo Morelos would score in England’s top league, given the chance (From The Scotsman):

“If you are asking me if he (Morelos) is good enough to play in the Premier League, of course. I believe that if he played in the Premier League, he would score goals. I don’t think anything would change. He is a natural goalscorer.”

Alfredo’s a forward that has grown into becoming a focal point for his team. He can lead the line and play as a lone striker, battling away with defenders and linking up with attacking midfielders. Plus he can also play as part of a striking team, running onto flick-ons or coming deep/go into the wings and create space for another hitman.

The fee of £20m is a bit on the high side and personally I think The Toon could negotiate that down. So instead of that you could bring him in for between £12m and £15m (all depending on the market and who else might be interested in his signature.

Newcastle’s need for a striker is well known, they’ll probably need at least two new recruits in that area.

Yoshinori Muto was poor in his debut season with the Magpies, Salomon Rondon’s loan deal is about to expire, it’s clear that Dwight Gayle doesn’t have a long-term future at the club and Joselu doesn’t offer you enough goals as a main striking threat.

Morelos has come on under Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez will believe that he has the tools needed to get even more out of the forward.

That’s why I think Newcastle United should be interested in the player, as he has a lot of raw potential.

Although that doesn’t mean that they should sign him.

They certainly would have to take into account his poor disciplinary record, although he didn’t have the same issues in Finland and I doubt he’d be as high profile a target in the Premier League.

Then there’s the last time Newcastle Utd spent big on a player from Ibrox. The memory of Jean Alain Boumsong struggling in a black and white jersey will still haunt some in Tyneside.

Personally, I think Alfredo Morelos would do better than many would think but I would certainly sign up another more experienced striker to help lead the line.

Why Signing Adrien Rabiot Would Make Sense For Manchester United

Recent media reports (Source – The Metro) suggest that Manchester United could be ready to make a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

Now many will look at that possible transfer with raised eyebrows.

The French internationalist has a history of ill-discipline and falling out with authority figures. According to The Independent, the player wrote to the French Football Association last summer to ask them to take him off the reserve list for the World Cup as he felt he merited a place in the actual squad.

He has had issues with turning up late for training and team meetings in the past and that’s seen him drop out of the team.

Adrien was last involved in a PSG match back in December, when he made a seven minute cameo in the Champions League win over FK Crvena Zvezda. It’s believed that he was banished to the reserves after stating once and for all that he wouldn’t commit to signing a new deal with the Ligue 1 champions.

People are also very suspicious of his agent, who also happens to be his mother. She too has had run-ins with some of PSG’s hierarchy.

In fairness, I always think there’s three sides to a story. PSG will have their side, Rabiot will have his side and then the truth is usually somewhere in between.

What isn’t in doubt is the player’s skill-set. Rabiot is a very tidy and effective midfielder.

What’s also not in doubt is that Man United need more midfield reinforcements. The United midfield has never been at it’s strongest since Paul Scholes first retired in 2011.

Fred was very hit or miss last term and if we are being honest more miss than hit. Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira are still quite young and raw midfielders, great to have around the squad but still not quite first team regulars.

Tall Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini departed Old Trafford in January, combative star Ander Herrera has announced he’s leaving this summer and Juan Mata hasn’t put pen to paper on a new deal and he too might leave during this offseason.

There’s even chat that once again Paul Pogba is looking for a way out.

So Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to be on the lookout for a few new midfielders.

Rabiot is a very accomplished performer; who has international experience, has starred in the Champions League and has won trophies at his previous club.

In the last five seasons, Adrien has only once not made 90%+ in his passing success rates when it comes to appearances in the French top flight or in the Champions League!

United need players in the engine room that remain composed under pressure and who can keep the ball. Rabiot is excellent when it comes to ball retention.

Since Fellaini moved to China, The Red Devil’s midfield haven’t been as strong when it comes to aerial battles. Rabiot is 6ft 1 and is strong in the air, last season he was averaging 1.6 headers per league game according to Whoscored.

A potential midfield threesome of Pogba, Rabiot and Nemanja Matic looks to be a fairly balanced one to me.

The transfer will no doubt appeal to the United board given there’s no fee involved and that could allow them to bring in more targets during the summer transfer window.

Don’t get me wrong, Manchester United will have to sit down with Adrien Rabiot and his mum/agent and see where they are mentally. If he’s focused and hungry to prove himself as a top star then I think they need to make him an offer and encourage him to show the world that he is indeed a top performer.

Saluting Liverpool’s Champions League Winning Defence

Liverpool managed to win their sixth Champions League/ European Cup title last night as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

Now the match wasn’t a thriller as Jurgen Klopp’s men won 2-0 but the back four and their goalkeeper were terrific and have been all season.

The Reds lost to Real Madrid in last season’s final and a lot of blame was laid at the door of keeper Loris Karius. Now I don’t believe it was just the German’s fault, a team wins and loses as a team. That being said I don’t think Karius is a top class shot-stopper and doesn’t instil confidence into his defence.

Klopp and Liverpool were pretty ruthless and loaned Karius out in a two year loan deal to Besiktas. They then spent a whopping £67m on Brazilian number one Alisson.

The money was well spent as the number one has been superb in his debut season.

As well as being a great goalie, the keeper is also terrific when he has the ball played to his feet.

No team in the Premier League conceded less than The Reds twenty-two goals this year.

The Brazilian kept a cleansheet in yesterday’s final. He was hardly called upon in the first half but that didn’t impact on his concentration levels as Spurs started breaking through in the second half. He had two or three decent saves (Eight in total according to Whoscored) and made sure that he parried those efforts away from the danger zone.

His distribution was pretty good too and he even started a few counter attacks with his accurate passing.

The Liverpool defence are a lot more assured and comfortable knowing Alisson is waiting behind them!

Another vital cog in the Liverpool defensive machine has been Virgil van Dijk.

The Rolls Royce like centre-back has been an inspiration since he arrived at Anfield in January 2018. He never seems to panic, makes inch perfect interceptions and outruns most opposition attackers.

Since his arrival, Van Dijk has had to partner various defensive sidekicks and his presence always seems to get the best out of his teammates.

Last night, Virgil made sure that he smothered Harry Kane any time the England captain received the ball. A clearly rusty Kane just couldn’t get a handle on the fixture. At one point Son Heung-Min made a breakaway into the Reds penalty area but the South Korean couldn’t escape Van Dijk’s clutches as the Dutchman strode in and steered the ball away for a corner.

Alongside Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip gave another assured performance.

He bossed the ball in the air, winning three aerial battles during the final. He also claimed an assist by setting up Divock Origi to claim the game’s second strike!

The Cameroonian international has had a terrific last six months and the Telegraph are reporting that Joel  is on cusp of signing a new deal at Anfield.

It was appropriate that twenty-two year old Joe Gomez was called upon to help see the game out. Joe was fantastic during the first half of the season before injury curtailed the youngster’s campaign. His pace and ball playing qualities were excellent alongside Virgil in those early months of the season.

Liverpool probably have the two best full-backs playing today.

Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have had terrific seasons. Between them they’ve created twenty-eight assists this season. That’s sensational and they’re the two players that make this Liverpool team tick and transition the team from defence into attack.

They are both disciplined when defending, charge forward all day long and put in fantastic crosses that cause havoc in the opposition’s penalty area.

Even as their team struggled in possession for much of last night’s encounter both Robertson and Alexander-Arnold still produced a number of great balls into the box.

The dynamic duo also give 100% to the team’s cause and those are two foot-soldiers that Klopp knows that he can always count on.

It was emotional to see Alexander-Arnold happy but remain grounded after the final whistle was blown (Source – Marca):

“I’m just another boy from Liverpool whose dreams have come true,” 

“When we look back we won’t remember that it was a boring game,” 

“We’ll remember that we won the Champions League.”

I’m pretty sure the defence will see some changes during the off-season. The likes of Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne might be allowed to depart Merseyside and replacements will be sought.

But Jurgen Klopp knows he has a tremendous defensive core and that group will be there battling during every game during next season as they did this term.

People always love to gush over creative forwards but sometimes we need to applaud a great defensive unit and Liverpool have a superb defensive unit!

The Front Three That PSG Should Have Next Season!

According to Sport, FC Barcelona want to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou.

The report suggests that the Catalan giants could be willing to add Ousmane Dembele into the deal as a makeweight and if I were Paris Saint-Germain I’d be willing to listen to such a deal as long as long as the La Liga winners also add at least £130m to the package.

I’m beginning to believe that Neymar is more of a distraction than anything else. The Brazilian superstar hasn’t made PSG better in the Champions League and that’s what he was brought in to do.

Yes he’s had injuries at important stages of campaigns but even with that he’s still a distraction as he parties away while his teammates toil.

Recent images from the Brazil camp show Neymar haul back a young Weverton, after the teenager nutmegged the forward. A younger Neymar would’ve been calling for more protection. after he’d rolled around the turf for five minutes, had it happened to him. While Weverton just looked non-plussed as he just got back into the training session.

That’s the thing with Neymar, especially since his move to Paris, he just doesn’t come across as a team player. He sulks when things don’t go his way and he’ll argue over set-pieces with teammates.

Don’t get me wrong, statistically Neymar is fantastic but you sometimes need more to be a great teammate. Ultimately, I believe the Brazilian attacker is bored with life in Ligue 1.

Dembele would return to France desperate to kick-start his career.

The French World Cup winner only started twenty league games in Spain last season and I’m sure the twenty-two year old will want to have more starts next term.

He scored eight league goals and created five assists in those La Liga outings and I think he’d get more if he played continuously throughout a season.

The youngster was at his best when he was performing for Borussia Dortmund and that was under current PSG boss Thomas Tuchel.

Ousmane shines on the left-wing and for France he works extremely hard for the team and sticks to his manager’s game-plan. That should be key if your main man is the centre forward.

PSG gaffer Tuchel told Skysports earlier this month that he could guarantee the future of key forwards Kylian Mbappe and Neymar:

“My wish is clear, but I can’t promise as that would be naïve and I don’t want to be naïve in this business.”

If it becomes a straight choice between the two, then I’d definitely keep hold of Mbappe over Neymar.

The hitman grabs goals, works harder for the team, is younger and is the player I’d build this PSG team around!

Kylian would definitely be my number nine and it would be his responsibility to fire Les Parisiens to European glory. He wants more responsibility after all (Source France24.com)

With the money that I’d expect them to bring in for Neymar, as well as Ousmane Dembele, I think the Ligue 1 champs should do their upmost to bring in Nicolas Pepe from Lille OSC.

The Ivorian was a sensation on the right-wing for Les Dogues. He possess electric pace, is very direct and has that key ability to know what to do when he reaches the final third.

Only Mbappe scored more than Pepe’s twenty-two French top flight strikes last season. The wideman also grabbed eleven league assists and that was the second highest in Ligue 1.

At twenty-four years of age, Pepe proved last season that he can excel in France and has all the tools needed to become a world class player.

If PSG have a front three of Dembele, Mbappe and Pepe then you have a fluid , balanced and hungry frontline. Importantly you would have forwards that will work well with each other and who will be there for each other.

I would also have an experienced back-up within the squad that can come in and help out. If Edinson Cavani is willing to play that role then great but I doubt it as he could get a lucrative first team offer elsewhere.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting should be nowhere near this pool of players. I’m still scratching my head thinking about that transfer, he must have the best agent ever!

Then you should give more time to young forwards coming through the ranks.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Timothy Weah. He didn’t get the minutes required during his loan spell at Celtic but that wasn’t really his fault and he still did well with the minutes afforded to him. It might make sense to loan him to a fellow Ligue 1 side next year.

All in all, I think PSG need to start a new cycle. They need to bring the age of the squad down and make it all about Mbappe!

If that means dumping Neymar, then so be it.

Looking At Aston Villa Transfer Target Ryan Kent

congratulations to Aston Villa Football Club, who yesterday achieved promotion back into the English Premier League.

As ever for newly promoted teams, a good summer recruitment policy is essential if you’re planning on staying up.

The money that the TV deal gives you in the top flight allows clubs like Villa the opportunity to spend a bit more on transfer fees and it opens up more opportunities when it comes to attracting a better calibre of player.

In recent days, The Villains have been linked with £10m move (Source The Scotsman) for Liverpool wideman Ryan Kent.

The former England youth international enjoyed a loan spell in the Scottish Premiership last season with Glasgow giants Rangers, who want to hold onto the twenty-two year old.

Gers manager Steven Gerrard is a big fan of the Reds younsgter but he told the BBC that it’s going to be tough to keep him as interest is growing:

“Ryan knows we want him but we have to be respectful that the kid has a big decision to make,” 

“I’m sure there are clubs queuing up for him because he’s a top player.”

If Villa are indeed interested in the winger, then with their promotion and their spending power you’ve got to make them favourites for the players signature.

So what would the be getting for their money if they were to sign Kent?

Well the player showed in Scotland that if he’s got a manager that’s got confidence in him then he can become a consistent threat.

Gers boss Gerrard allowed Ryan a few games to get used to the Rangers playing style but as soon as he smartened up he became one of the club’s best players in the 2018-19 campaign.

He was a player that seemed to come alive in the bigger games, and was particularly important in the two Rangers wins over Celtic. His pace and direct play caused Swedish international full-back Mikel Lustig no end of trouble in December and Kent provided the assist that saw Ryan Jack score the winner in that derby encounter.

His performances in Scotland saw Ryan Kent pick up the PFA’s young player of the year award.

The forward also made nine appearances in the Europa League this term and he generally did well in those ties. Again if he sees plenty of the ball then he’s a happy boy. It also shows you the trust Gerrard had in the youngster to continuously play him in the big occasions and give him such a pivotal role in the team!

As well as being direct, good on the ball and having pace Kent also works hard for the team when they don’t have the ball. He’ll work diligently and track back when needed. That could be the kind of work ethic Villa gaffer Dean Smith is looking for in new recruits as they prepare for life in the Premier League.

The player has shown during his loan spell that he has become more reliable, that he works hard for his teammates and enjoys the big games. He also has the ability to either stick to the touchline or come in off the wing and like up with the midfield or the strikers.

But as you’d expect from a twenty-two year old wide player, he’s still not the finished article.

I don’t think he has the necessary skill-set to break into Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team next season and it’s probably the right time for him to leave Anfield on a permanent basis. That could be seen as a positive as you could get a talented young British player for a decent fee.

Ryan scored six times in forty-three games for Rangers and he should’ve had more. He needs to work on that and become more ruthless when chances arrive. He also needs to provide more assists too.

i think he could make those improvements at Villa Park but only as long as Dean Smith gives the player plenty of minutes on the football pitch.

Steven Gerrard has shown that to get the best out of Ryan Kent then you need to have faith in the youngster and make him a focal point in the starting eleven.

Only Celtic Could’ve Spoiled Their Own Treble Treble… And They Kind Of Did!

Celtic’s historic treble treble triumph should have been celebrated for days, especially when you consider it was completed on a bank holiday weekend.

There was euphoria directly after the Scottish Cup final but it soon became pretty muted.

A big reason for that has been decisions that the board have taken.

The Hoops hierarchy had already jarred supporters with the decision to rent out Celtic Park for a rugby cup final on the same day as the Scottish Cup final, meaning that the supporters couldn’t congregate at their spiritual home to celebrate their fantastic feat!

It was yet another business decision that was taken above the wishes of the faithful.

Celtic clearly had to take to social media to remind fans not to go to Parkhead after the Hampden win and that reminder went down like a lead balloon for a lot of the Celtic fanbase.

Then about an hour after beating Hearts to secure yet another year of Scottish dominance, the Hoops board announced that they had offered current short term boss Neil Lennon the manager’s job on a permanent basis.

It’s very strange for any club, particularly a big club, to announce that they’ve offered someone the managerial hot-seat. Surely they can wait until they’ve done a deal and announce it properly.

I also think it is extremely bizarre that Chief Executive Peter Lawwell and majority shareholder Dermont Desmond would go into the dressing room and take Lennon into the showers and offer him the gig. We are talking about one of the biggest roles in Scottish football.

Another major issue with this is that a large amount of Celtic’s support aren’t keen on the idea of rehiring Lennon. They appreciate the job that he’s done keeping the team focused this term after Brendan Rodgers left them in the lurch and that he’s a club legend but they’ve seen what Neil brings to the job and it feels a bit stale and outdated.

Lennon left the job in 2014 and in his next two jobs at Bolton Wanderers and Hibs he didn’t set the heather alight. He’d leave both clubs in acrimonious circumstances.

If you look at their CVs and how they set up their teams, Lennon feels like a downgrade from Rodgers.

Now we all know that Lawwell and Co. can run a business, I’m pretty sure accountants will cream themselves when the look at Celtic’s books. Yet I don’t think entertaining their fanbase is a main priority for the board.

Lawwell has pretty much confirmed this with recent statements (Source Daily Record):

“I’m not online, I
 don’t go on it. But honestly, I’ve said hundreds of times, you need blinkers in this job.”

“And if you react to online, or social media, or media, then you’re dead. You just need to keep on doing the right things and believe in yourself and making the right decisions.”

“That’s what we’ve done – without any outside influences.”

“We had approaches from many, many agents, many representatives of managers across the board. We put them in the file, just left it and kept our word to Neil, really.”

We should remember that Celtic are a Public Limited Company and it should be Lawwell’s job to keep in touch with the supporters/stakeholders. I think you have to be open to criticism and look at alternatives. Surely on both a business and  sporting level it would have made sense for the Hoops hierarchy to research the field, interview potential candidates and appoint the best person for the job.

By sleepwalking into the Neil Lennon appointment, Celtic won’t be as strong as they’ve been in recent seasons (in my opinion) yet they’ll still probably secure nine in a row.

The problem is that if the Celtic team become a robust outfit rather than a slick attacking team then the fans will become more disgruntled and a greater chasm will grow between Celtic’s hierarchy and their support!

How Much Time Should Be Given To Ole Gunnar Solskjaer At Man United?

The main question everyone is asking right now is if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to lead Manchester United and how much time should be given for him to prove his case.

The Norwegian impressed as the interim manager after Jose Mourinho was sacked, but the end of the season run-in was horrendous, with United missing out on a top-four finish.

What the club needs to figure out is if that was just a bad spell or if the manager doesn’t have enough experience to guide a team the size of United.

In the past, it was somewhat normal to give a manager some time to get things right, but nowadays if you lose six games, you are already in big trouble. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a Manchester United legend and many, like Robin Van Persie, believe he should be given plenty of time (Source BBC).

When Mourinho was sacked on the 18th of December the club said that they will appoint Solsjkaer until the summer while they were looking to fill the managerial vacancy permanently.

Under Solskjaer, United went on an impressive run of 15 games unbeaten and also had a 100% winning record in their first eight encounters. Under the Norwegian, United achieved a dramatic away win over Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League. On the 28th of March the club decided to give him the full-time job.

After that, something has happened, and United ended their campaign with six defeats and only two wins in their last ten encounters. At that time, everyone was saying to give Ole a permanent deal. But since then the luck went away, and they’ve lost a lot more games that they shouldn’t have.

Solskjaer now has a three year deal with Man United and it’s essential to look at the bigger picture.

The way the Norwegian is working is in line with expectations. He has a positive attitude and is keen to achieve great things with the club.

‘Surely it is a man of the club’ said Ethan Rowe football editor in chief of Best betting sites.

He has played for Manchester United for more than 10 years and has also given the Champions League with his own goal. ‘He knows Manchester United inside-out. He has been a coach of the reserves and in some ways he is similar to Ferguson. Ferguson was Manchester United and the same can be said for Solskjaer.’

‘In my opinion, he should be given at least another 12 months to prove his worth. He had a fantastic first period and then a tough one. It can happen, but now he has the opportunity to pick the players he really wants and go from there.’

Rowe continued:

‘I don’t believe that United’s current issues will be necessarily be resolved by overspending in the transfer market. After all, this is what they have done in the last few years. Has it worked? It hasn’t. The club now needs stability. Players have to know that if they are not good enough, they are going to leave United before the manager. When Alex Ferguson was there, no player would have imagined that he would have been sacked if things didn’t go in the right direction. With Mourinho, it was true the contrary. Some players just act to get him sacked and though they had such power in the club. That was an error and shouldn’t be repeated with Solskjaer.’

Ethan Rowe concluded:

‘The same should apply to players. Now if a player has a couple of bad games, fans are already talking about selling him. Back in the day, players used to get more time. They had the opportunity to make mistakes and learn. Stability is the only way to develop and the only one I can see for United to get back where they were.’

Vincent Kompany – Manchester City’s Greatest Premier League Star

Now calling Vincent Kompany Manchester City’s greatest Premier League player is going to be subjective.

People will have their own opinion. Some will state that it’s David Silva, others will point out Sergio Aguero’s goals and then there will be those that will be adamant that it’s Yaya Toure.

To be fair, I think those players all have terrific merits and they too helped put City back on the footballing map.

Maybe some of the older generation will point out the majestic skill Georgi Kinkaldze brought to Maine Road, people will feel cult hero Shaun Goater deserves a mention and others will fondly remember the goals Uwe Rosler brought to The Citizens.

Yet for me, no one touches Vincent Kompany. His contribution to Man City’s cause have been unmatched!

The Belgian signed just before the big takeover and has since spent ten seasons at the club.

In the early days of the new era funded by the Abu Dhabi elite, players came in and left the Etihad Stadium like a revolving door as the new regime tried to find a route to success.

Like every other player Kompany had to find a way of settling into the side and keep his place. He would often be deployed as a holding midfielder in his debut season but once he found his place in the heart of defence he was set for life!

Vincent gave the backline much needed stability. He was an all-rounder that could win aerial battles, make inch perfect tackles and calmly take the ball of out defence.

The centre-half was strong, yet at the same time he was elegant.

Importantly he was also a natural born leader. It was easy to see why Roberto Mancini gave the international defender the captain’s armband by the time the 2011 season kicked off.

He would then captain them to their first Premier League title in 2012.Before adding three other league winner’s medals to his trophy cabinet.

A huge part of Kompany’s quality is that he can remain composed no matter what happens around him.

In his time at City Vincent has had to partner with the likes of Richard Dunne, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Stefan Savic, Matija Nastasic, Martin Demichelis, Eliaquim Mangala, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi in the team’s defence.

Some were better than others but whomever partnered Kompany always looked better when they had him playing alongside them.

Now it seems like Pep Guardiola has found a healthy partnership in Laporte and Stones but when the chips were down and they needed to close the season out with an unbeaten run, the rock that is Vincent Kompany was flung back into the starting line-up.

That’s because the captain brought with him an assurance that no other centre-back yet possesses at Man City. He would lead the team in thirteen games in 2019 as the won their first back-to-back top flight titles.

His goal in City’s penultimate game against Leicester City was an absolute peach and showed that top class players stand up to be counted when they’re really needed.

Vincent Kompany announced in the last seven days that he was leaving the Etihad and was set to become the new player/manager at Anderlecht.

His departure has been met with understandable sadness. The club will no doubt spend £60m+ on a new central defender as they try and find a replacement and even that kind of money won’t guarantee that they’ll get a defender in to embody the club like Vinny did,

As I say, I don’t think anyone has contributed more (both on and off the park) to cement Manchester City’s place as an elite football club. He is respectful, he’s loyal, a great ambassador and a world class footballer.

Guardiola stated that his club were really going to miss their captain (Via The Mirror):

“I think we’re going to miss him a lot,”

“I’m going to miss him, but he’s going to see us in the future because he’s coming back – sooner or later.”

“It’s the best way to say goodbye after an incredible season together. He was a real captain, he helped us a lot and we’re going to show him how we love him.”

I think Pep was hinting that Vincent Kompany might one day comeback to Manchester to take on the managerial hotseat at the Etihad.

I, for one, won’t be surprise if that ends up being true. Kompany is extremely intelligent, dedicated and has an aura about him that will have footballers believing in themselves.

But for now Man City fans should applaud one of their greatest players and wish him all the best in his new adventure!

Assessing Steven Gerrard’s First Year At Rangers – Not Great, Not Terrible!

 

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers team trudged off Rugby Park this afternoon having lost their last game of his maiden year as a manager.

The Gers boss will now understand just how tough life in Glasgow is because some will slate his debut year and call it unsuccessful. Others will try and say that Steven has in fact done a terrific job at Ibrox.

In truth Rangers have had a mixed season, it’s not been great and it’s not been bad either.

For me, Gerrard has managed to guide Rangers to what was expected of him and his players. Along the way he has suffered disappointments and he’s also enjoyed some great times too.

I think it’s worth remembering that Rangers were celebrating winning Scotland’s bottom tier just six years ago and are now onto their fourth permanent boss since 2013. That’s meant that the squad has been restructured quite a few times.

The task was never going to be an easy one for the rookie gaffer!

I think consistency has been an issue for this current Light Blues squad. They dropped points in fifteen Scottish Premiership fixtures (Losing six and drawing nine). If they are going to challenge for the league title next season then they need to win more games and go on a strong winning run earlier in the campaign.

Rangers could be helped by the fact that Gerrard managed to find a side that he trusted towards the end of the season and it’s not a surprise that when he did, a winning streak developed. If the Liverpool legend can keep the core of that side and supplement it with new, hungry signings then they might get off to a flier next term.

The signings under Gerrard have produced a bit of a mix bag.

Some have been great like Allan McGregor, Ryan Kent, Connor Goldson, Glenn Kamara and Scott Arfield. Others like Kyle Lafferty, Eros Grezda and Gareth McAuley have been flops. While Jon Flanagan, Joe Worrall, Borna Barisic and Lassana Coulibaly didn’t do enough throughout the whole term.

The recruitment team will hope they get more stars than duds in the door during next transfer window.

A lot of the players need to look at themselves when it comes to their discipline on the park. They received too many red cards for me and a lot of those could have been avoided.

The big games also offered up mixed fortunes for the Govan giants.

Gerrard managed to guide his team to two home victories over champions Celtic, being the first and only Gers boss to get a win over a Brendan Rodgers managed Hoops side. It should also be noted that they bossed those two games at Ibrox.

They also lost important games against Aberdeen and Kilmarnock. Now I think in recent years The Dons, Killie, Hearts, Hibs and St Johnstone have upped their game both on and off the park. No team lie down to Rangers these days and that’s a credit to Scottish football. That being said Rangers spend more than every team outside of Celtic and that means they’re expected to win those tough games when it really matters and that’s not always been the case this season.

The Rangers supporters will have been delighted with the team’s efforts in the Europa League. A year previously, Rangers were dumped in Luxembourg in what was their poorest European performance. In this campaign, Gerrard guided his troops beyond all the qualifying rounds and ended just a win away from qualifying out of a tough group. Wins over Maribor, UFA and Rapid Vienna were impressive as was the team’s two draws with La Liga cracks Villarreal.

Domestically the same support will have been disappointed to end the campaign without a trophy or a final appearance at Hampden. I think they bottled it twice against Aberdeen and they’ll be expected to do better next term.

Securing second place in the Scottish Premiership is a good achievement and it should be used as a springboard to go onto bigger and better things next year. But Celtic will look to be stronger and Aberdeen, Killie, Hearts and Hibs will also look to come again. Nothing is going to be guaranteed for The Gers!

I think if you are being realistic, Rangers have finally achieved what was expected of them since they arrived in the top flight in 2016. They have progressed  this year and now their young manager needs to keep that progression going.

To do that they need to find more consistency and hope for some luck when they need it.

This season’s report card says Steven Gerrard has improved the mood around Ibrox but performances could be better. It’s up to the management team to get more right next season.

Mauricio Pochettino Would Make An Ideal Juventus Manager

It could be a huge summer for Mauricio Pochettino.

Before the Argentine gets to go on holiday the coach has the chance to create history and become the first manager to guide Tottenham Hotspur to a Champions League title.

Win, lose or draw in Madrid, Pochettino will probably have a big decision to make.

Can he continue to work wonders at Spurs?

He hasn’t bought a player in the last two transfer windows but he has assembled a quality squad for The Lilywhites. That has allowed them to finish in the Premier League’s top four positions and get to that Champions League against Liverpool.

Can the Tottenham board give their manager the funds that will allow him to attract the players needed to compete with Manchester City for the league title? 

Maybe Mauricio will think he’s taken Tottenham Hotspur as far as he can.

He seemed to suggest as much just before his side’s European semi-final clash with Ajax (Via The Telegraph):

“To win the Champions League with Tottenham, in this circumstance, in this season, maybe I need to think a little bit to do something different in the future, for sure. Because to repeat this miracle, you know…”

It’s would be hard to argue if Pochettino did decide he’d taken this Spurs side as far as he can.

There’s also a big job out there and that role could be ideal for the talented manager.

Serie A champions Juventus recently announced that their current boss Massimiliano Allegri will be leaving the Turin giants this summer.

I have no doubts that Pochettino will be a name that will get a mention when Juve’s hierarchy are discussing a managerial shortlist.

He’s a coach that marries together a strong disciplined defence together with a creative and inspiring attack.

Mauricio also gets the best out of his players, works to a budget, trusts homegrown footballers and is very loyal to a club.

The fact he has established Spurs as a top four side in England and then guided them to a Champions League final will undoubtedly pique the interest of those in charge at Juventus.

In return they are a club that will back a boss and give them the tools necessary to compete at the highest level. They have a rich tradition and that will interest Pochettino and they’re also a team that show loyalty to managers that are successful with their side.

As a manager many will feel Mauricio Pochettino has overachieved at Tottenham Hotspur, that argument will go stratospheric if they win the Champions League in June.

Juventus might just want to see if the Argentine can finally bring them back the Champions League title!