Unai Emery Is Doing Great Things At Arsenal

As we head into the final stretch of the season, it seems right to have a look at Arsenal and how they’ve done under new boss Unai Emery.

It couldn’t have been a tougher start for Emery as he started life with The Gunners.

The club had been managed under legendary manager Arsene Wenger for twenty-two years and they’d been in a bit of decline in the last few of those seasons.

The playing squad looked stale and were playing in a comfort zone that seemed to accept mediocrity.

Unai had to come in and bring back some discipline and bring in a new footballing philosophy.

The Spaniard brought in new players in the form of Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Lucas Torreira. Midfielder Denis Suarez would arrive on loan from FC Barcelona in January.

Those new recruits were brought in to give The Gunners a new defensive spine.

Emery always wants to play from the back and have plenty of pace. He also likes to have more steel and discipline in central midfield. Plus all his players need to be pretty efficient when it comes to keeping the ball.

Now things didn’t start well this term as Emery’s new Arsenal side had to face current champions Manchester City and previous champs Chelsea in their opening two Premier League fixtures. Emery’s men would come up empty handed in both encounters but they played well in the second half against their London rivals and soon built on that display.

Arsenal would go unbeaten in their next fourteen league outings, winning ten of those games!

The side would press teams more, they started to understand the ways in which they could play from the back and flourished in the final third.

The team also looked much stronger in midfield.

A big part of that has been down to Granit Xhaka finally finding his form at The Emirates. The Swiss international looks to be comfortable if he has either Torriera or Matteo in beside him in the engine room.

All three central midfielders have an average passing success rate of 85% or better. They also make 1.6 tackles per game or more! (Stats From Whoscored)

The attack has also been great this term.

Unai Emery showed that he can adapt and do what’s best for the team. At the start of the season, Emery seemed determined to play just one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Yet the team always seemed to work better when the two played together.

So the Gunners boss then played the forwards from the start more often, with Aubameyang playing on the left wing and Lacazette as the central striker or as a duo up-top.

They work brilliantly as partnership. Pierre-Emerick has scored seventeen Premier League goals this term, only Sergio Aguero has scored more. French star Lacazette has banged in a further twelve goals for his club. Between them they’ve got eleven league assists this season.

The coach has also shown faith in younger players with Alex Iwobi and Ainsely Maitland-Niles processing well during this campaign.

I think, Emery did the right thing in playing veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech at the start of the campaign.

It could have been easy to stick new boy Leno straight into the team but Cech’s experience meant he deserved the chance to keep the number one jersey. The Czech goalie did look nervy early on but Unai gave him time to try and prove himself. Then Petr suffered from an injury and Leno didn’t look back and became the club’s starting keeper.

Unai Emery handled that situation particularly well, as it showed he respected his veteran players and that he would give everyone a chance.

The Spanish coach has also had to deal with Mesut Ozil.

The German World Cup winner is the side’s highest earner and on his day he can be a maestro. But his attitude has been called into question quite a few times during his career and he doesn’t seem to play well in the bigger games.

Emery hasn’t backed away from the Ozil problem and he hasn’t bowed down to Mesut. Player power ruined much of Emery’s time at PSG and he clearly isn’t going to allow that to happen at Arsenal. He’s dropped the attacking midfielder at various points this year and especially for the big games.

The Spaniard has then questioned Mesut’s desire to get back into the team (Source – BBC Sport):

“He needs to be consistent in training and for matches, without injury or being sick,” 

“Like that, we can see the best Mesut with us.”

Ozil has seemed to understand that Unai is the boss and has picked up his workrate (slightly) and even started in the Gunners recent win over Manchester United.

That’s another big thing, Arsenal are now showing up in the bigger games! They are no longer a side that just roll over against the rest of the big six.

They’ve beaten Man United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea this season and they’ve also picked up a draw against Liverpool. That’s because they no longer fear their opponents and they stick to Emery’s game plan.

The Gunners have worked hard to become harder to beat and keep an attacking flourish. It’s seen them leapfrog United and Chelsea and get into the Premier League’s top four positions. They’re now just a point off Spurs in third place.

They’ve also managed to negotiate their way around the tricky fixtures that the Europa League throws up. Last night they secured a 3-0 home win over Ligue 1 side Rennes and that’s seen them reach the quarter-finals of a competition that their manager has managed to win on three occasions in the past.

There are still defensive issues to work out and the team could really do with an attacking threat on the right-wing but all in all it’s all looking rosy for Arsenal.

In Unai Emery, they’ve got a coach that’s brought a competitive streak back to the club and they need to back him because he’s done it on a budget compared to most of his competitors. The Spaniard has managed to consistently get the most out of his players and he could be just three or four players short in terms of getting The Gunners back challenging at the very top.

He has the ability to get things done at the Emirates, he’s already shown us that, but the board now need to give him the tools to complete the next part of the job!

Subbuteo, Slots and Spurs Lingerie: The Strangest Football-Themed Products

 

We’re a nation that loves the beautiful game. We play football, we watch football and we spend a lot of money on weird and wonderful football-themed products.

Topping the list of wacky football stuff currently on the market is Subbuteo. You may have thought the days of the figure-flicking game were long gone. But this retro table topper is making a comeback, with new editions available to buy both online and on the high street.

And Subbuteo’s not the only football game you can play without working up a sweat. These days, you’ll find plenty of footie slot machines at online casino sites. No doubt one of the strangest slots is Benchwarmer Football Girls. It stars a team of scantily-clad ladies on the reels, who do their best to help you net cash prizes as you play.

Thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre than that?

The madness continues in the official club shops, where you can find some surprising merchandise like shampoos, rubber ducks and dog beds.

Amongst some of the strangest things you can buy in the online Spurs Shop is lingerie. Why not find out what your other half makes of matching bras, knickers and garters sporting the Tottenham Hotspur club crest?

Majestic Sadio Mane Could Be Catalyst That Brings Glory Back To Liverpool

When Liverpool needed a hero in Germany last night, forward Sadio Mane stepped up and produced a wonderful brace that put Bayern Munich to the sword.

The Reds 3-1 triumph has sent them into the quarter final stage of the Champions League.

Mane’s twists and turns left Bayern’s defence in his wake for the game’s opener. The Senegalese international then headed home a Mohamed Salah cross to put the tie out of sight.

In 2019, Egyptian superstar attacker Salah hasn’t been firing on all cylinders. Mo has looked sluggish in front of goal and seems void of the confidence that saw him reach the greatest of heights in 2018.

As Salah started to slump, in terms of grabbing goals, Mane has produced the goods that’s kept Jurgen Klopp’s men in the hunt for a Premier League title and a Champions League trophy.

In his last ten appearances for the Anfield side, Mane has banged in ten goals!

For the season, Sadio has scored sixteen league goals and a further three in Europe.

The forward has started most games out on the left-flank but Klopp’s tactics allow him to get into the box at almost every opportunity.

If it’s on the right-hand side with Salah or Trent Alexander-Arnold, then Mane can get into the box and look to convert a cross just as he did so successfully last night.

Even when it’s on the left wing, Sadio can lay it off to left-back Andrew Robertson and head into the box for any potential second ball that may arrive.

You then have Roberto Firmino playing centrally as the club’s number nine. The Brazilian will often work harder than his fellow attackers. That will see him either going deep to get on the ball, which creates space behind him for either Mane or Salah to run into. Or he can take their place out wide and that gives one of the wide-men the chance to run into a position inside the penalty area.

Mane has great pace and has shown this season that he has the composure to find the back of the net on a regular basis. Against Bayern, Manchester United and in the Champions League final last year against Real Madrid, Sadio showed that he is also a striker for the big occasions.

His top class performances for Liverpool are the reason why Klopp and the Reds hierarchy were determined to keep the star at the club. He cost the club £34m from Southampton in 2016 and that fee now looks like an absolute bargain!

In November, Liverpoolfc.com confirmed that the forward had signed a new long-term deal. The player himself stated his ambition was to win trophies with his current club:

“I am very happy, very happy to extend my time at Liverpool,” 

“It is a great day for me and now I am looking forward to everything – to helping the team, to helping the club achieve our dreams and, especially, to win trophies.”

That’s what Liverpool need. They need game changing players that are determined to succeed and bring trophies back to Anfield.

Liverpool seem to be on the edge of greatness. If they are to succeed then they will need a team full of heroes.

Sadio Mane is in the form of his life and he could be the player that produces the goods needed to see Liverpool win a major trophy come May!

 

 

Manchester United Should Be Targeting West Ham United’s Declan Rice

 

 

Declan Rice’s meteoric rise continued as the West Ham United midfielder received his first call-up into the England senior squad.

Rice decided to turn his back on a chance to represent the Republic of Ireland and instead chose to join Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side.

The England manager has thrown Declan into the squad to face the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.

On his inclusion Southgate said this about the young midfielder (Via The Guardian):

“His form warrants it,”

 “It’s been a well-publicised situation with Declan. We’ve tracked him for quite a while … His form has been excellent. We like what we see.”

In fairness the England boss is right. Declan Rice has shone for The Hammers in the Premier League this season. The youngster has been one of the best holding midfielders in England’s top flight this term.

West Ham are currently inside the league’s top half and Rice has excelled playing regularly in the team’s engine room.

According to stats website Whoscored, Rice is the sixth best player when it comes to making the most tackles per league game as he makes on average 3 tackles per ninety minutes.

The twenty year old also has a strong passing success rate of 85.2% and on average he makes around 45 passes per game.

As a defensive type midfielder you are expected to win the ball back and Rice does that for The Hammers. As well as making his 3 tackles per league appearance, Declan also makes 1.4 interceptions and 1.7 clearances. He’s also pretty decent in the air and has won nearly 2 headers per Premier League game this year.

As he has began to start more games, Declan Rice produced some very mature performances. He allows players like Robert Snodgrass, Mark Noble and Felipe Anderson more time to shine in forward areas as they know he’s in behind them sweeping up any mistakes that may happen.

In the last few decades Manchester United have been a club that are constantly snapping up the best young British talent.

To be honest, I think they should earmark Rice as a potential signing.

Current midfield duo Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera aren’t getting any younger.

United have looked very strong since interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken control of the club and he, like legendary gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson before him, has benefited big time by trusting younger talent.

United have always been at their best with a core of young British stars leading the way. Having a player like Declan Rice in the boiler room spoiling things for the opposition would suit this current Man United team down to the ground, in my opinion.

Then there’s the versatility that Declan would bring too. As I’ve already said, Rice has been brilliant as a holding midfielder but his aerial ability and his smart tackling could make him a natural centre-half too. Big clubs like Man Utd love having versatile players within their pool.

The great news for West Ham Utd is that they managed to tie down the youngster to a new five and a half year contract just a few months ago (Source – The Independent).

Thus meaning that they hold a lot of the cards when it comes to a potential transfer. If they don’t wish to sell the player then they don’t have to or they could ask for a huge fee if they decide to cash in on the talented youngster.

I’m not even sure Declan Rice would be in a hurry to leave The Hammers. He’s featuring regularly and seems to enjoy playing for The Irons.

So any potential transfer wouldn’t be guaranteed but Manchester United should at least test the water if they want to sign a top class, young English talent that could improve their squad for years to come.

Zidane’s Real Madrid Return Could Spell Bad Eden Hazard News For Chelsea

BBC Sport have confirmed that Zinedine Zidane has returned to Real Madrid as their head coach, after walking away from the same job last summer.

The La Liga giants have already binned two managers since the Frenchman’s departure in May, with both Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari failing to impress in the Bernabeu dugout this season.

Zizou managed to guide Real to a Spanish league title and three Champions League triumphs during his first stint in charge at Los Blancos.

This season the Madrid side have struggled and currently lie in third position in La Liga. The current holders were also dumped out of the Champions League recently when Ajax humbled them 4-1 in Spain.

Zidane walking back through the front door of the Santiago Bernabeu probably means that the Spanish club will make major squad changes this summer.

It’s thought that the French coach decided to leave after hearing the transfer plans for last summer.

Real Madrid decided it was the right tine to sell talismanic world superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and they never really replaced him.

Instead Real President Florentino Perez decided to bring in Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as his headline purchase. The goalie hasn’t been as impressive as Perez would’ve been expected and that’s magnified the poor transfer business of last summer even more.

Zidane had issues with Gareth Bale before his departure, so I’d fully expect the Welshman to depart during the next transfer window. Isco is another creative player who will probably have to look for another club in the summer after Real Madrid opened up disciplinary proceedings against the player (Source – Marca)

If those two players are going to leave, after the Ronaldo sale, I’d expect that Zidane will get a hefty transfer war-chest to play with in the offseason.

Given his dramatic return, I also fully believe that Perez will back Zizou in terms of getting the transfer targets that the Frenchman identifies.

One main target could be Chelsea maestro Eden Hazard.

It’s believed that Zinedine wanted to make a play for Eden and Perez didn’t, thus one of the reasons why the legendary Zidane left Madrid last year.

The player is a creative genius and has the ability to unlock any defence. He also possesses that confidence needed to become a galactico.

Hazard might believe that he’s done all he can at Stamford Bridge. He’s been sublime and helped the team to claim two Premier League titles, a League Cup and a Europa League.

The Belgian international has been with the London side for seven seasons now and at twenty-eight years of age he could feel the time is right for a change in club.

This season, The Blues have struggled at times but Eden has been a constant inspiration. He scored a wonderful goal against Wolves last weekend and that’s taken his goal tally to sixteen for the season and he’s also produced more assists than anyone else in England’s top tier with eleven for the season.

The issue is that Chelsea didn’t make the Champions League this year and they might not be there next term either. Under Maurizio Sarri they’ve been too inconsistent and currently sit outside the top four positions.

Hazard won’t want to spend another year not playing in Europe’s elite club competition.

The player’s contract is coming to an end in 2020. The fantastic forward doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to re-sign with The Blues. So this summer could be the last time Chelsea can pocket any money for their star player.

Chelsea’s two year transfer ban complicates things but the club have confirmed that US international attacker Christian Pulisic will join the club from Borussia Dortmund during the offseason.

Worryingly for Chelsea’s support and hierarchy, Eden Hazard has not been shy when discussing his admiration for Zinedine Zidane (Football.London):

“Everyone knows the respect I have for Zidane as a player, but also as a manager. He was my idol,” 

“I do not know what will happen in the future. However, for sure, to play under Zidane would be a dream.”

I think Hazard’s dream could become a reality in the summer.

Real Madrid will no doubt open up plenty of funds for returning boss Zidane and I think the Frenchman will be desperate to have a great talent like Eden within his squad.

Chelsea may be powerless to stop yet another Belgian star leaving The Bridge for the Bernabeu.

Potential Signing Bruno Fernandes Could Be Liverpool’s Coutinho Replacement

If 2019 has proven anything to me thus far, then it’s that Liverpool have still to find a replacement for Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian left for FC Barcelona in January 2018 and since then The Reds haven’t had the majestic creator pulling the strings from slightly deeper positions.

In fairness it wasn’t overly noticeable in 2018.

The three forwards were all in superb form, especially Mohamed Salah who was scoring for fun. The two full-backs became great sources as attacking outlets with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson providing a fair amount of great, accurate crosses.

Jurgen Klopp’s preferred midfield has been James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and club captain Jordan Henderson. Brazilian holding midfielder Fabinho has also seen plenty of game time recently. That’s a bit of a pragmatic midfield.

New recruits Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri haven’t had many starts this year.

Keita hasn’t settled into Premier League life as well as the Anfield club were hoping for. That doesn’t mean Naby won’t come good, in fact I believe he will, but he might just not be as dynamic as The Reds have been needing this season.

Shaqiri has been more attack-minded and has scored some vital goals this term, in total the attacker has scored six times for Liverpool. Yet he’s only produced three assists. Liverpool need someone that can create for others and Klopp seems to have a reluctance when it comes to starting the Swiss international on a regular basis.

Today Liverpool managed to see off Burnley’s challenge at Anfield and a big part of that was down to Adam Lallana. Unfortunately injury and fitness issues has meant that the former Southampton man hasn’t been able to produce such performances on a regular basis.

England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian is hopefully returning from his longterm injury soon. The Ox can make great runs forward but again he isn’t the best when it comes to creating assists for teammates.

Scotland captain and Reds fullback Andy Robertson currently leads the club’s assist chart with eight assists. The best midfielder for creating chances for others has been Milner with four and that’s not good enough.

Current champions and league leaders Manchester City have one massive plus point over Klopp’s men and that’s their creative players that they have. Bernardo Silva has stepped up his game this season, Leroy Sane is getting better after every year, David Silva is a Premier League legend, Kevin De Bruyne is a Belgian maestro that can unlock any defence and in Raheem Sterling City have got an attacking player playing world class performances week in and week out at the moment!

When you look at how Liverpool have gone about their transfer business in recent windows, bringing in talent for positions that need strengthening, I can only imagine that Jurgen Klopp will instruct his recruitment team to bring in a new creative marvel this summer.

That could lead the Merseyside club to Sporting Lisbon and in particular Bruno Fernandes.

The Mirror have stated that The Reds could land the attacking midfielder in a cut-price deal. Fernandes has an £86m release clause but Sporting lost a lot of talent last summer when certain stars walked out on the club after fans attacked the team’s training ground. That could mean that the Portuguese side need to raise more funds this summer.

Bruno is a versatile attacking talent that gets goals as well as create them for the forwards.

So far this term; the twenty-four year old has scored twenty times for Lisbon and created ten assists.

He can play anywhere in the attacking midfield positions. According to Whoscored; Bruno has averaged 3.4 shots at goal and made 3 key passes per league game too.

The Portuguese international spent the early part of his career in Italy, thus showing he can adapt to life in another country. He proved in Serie A with Udinese and Sampdoria that even at a young age he could find the net or supply the goalscorers.

Fernandes possesses great technique and has the dribbling skill-set to get beyond opposition players. He can be a danger from set-pieces and is also pretty handy with his shots from distance. He’s also got an eye for a great pass and a big part of that is down to his awareness of what’s happening around him and the ability he’s got to hit the right ball at the right time!

For me, Bruno Fernandes is a a Jurgen Klopp type player. He has that wee bit of magic that can unlock tight defences. He also has the ability to produce a wonder strike that can get his club on the front foot.

Classy Swiss Defender Would Be A Smart Signing For Tottenham Hotspur

For me, Fabian Schär has to be classed as one of last summer’s best bargains of the transfer window.

Sky Sports reported that Newcastle United signed the defender in a £3m deal from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruña.

Before joining the Premier League club the twenty-seven year old won three Swiss league titles with FC Basel, played in the Bundesliga with 1899 Hoffenheim and then had his season in La Liga.

The twenty-seven year old has also collected forty-six caps for Switzerland and he was included in his national team’s squads for 2016 Euros and the World Cup in Russia.

Schär has used all that experience to settle in well at The Toon.

Newcastle Utd have been pretty solid under boss Rafa Benitez, with the defence being particularly strong this season. They’ve only conceded thirty-eight goals so far this term, only five English top flight sides have conceded less this season.

Benitez has praised his recent signing (From The Shields Gazette):

“We knew he had experience and had some quality on the ball, especially with his right foot. He has done really well. We have some really good centre-backs.”

Fabian has been one of The Magpies top performers. His strong defensive displays have now seen the centre-back linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur (Source – The Mirror).

I think it would be a move that would make a lot of sense for Spurs if they could agree a deal with Newcastle United. Rivals Arsenal have also been linked with his signature.

Although he’d obviously be brought in for his defensive qualities, it should be noted that the Swiss internationalist has scored three times in his eighteen league appearances so far in this campaign.

One of those strikes was an absolute stunner against Burnley, which gave Schär the goal of the month award in February.

According to football stats website Whoscored; Schär has won around 3.1 aerial duels, makes 2.4 tackles per Premier League appearance, completes 2.6 interceptions and makes nearly 6 clearances too.

His passing stats aren’t the best at 67.7% but in his last six games for Switzerland he has an average  passing success percentage of 85%. The amount of passes he makes also jumps up when he’s on international duty. He has also provided two assists in his last three games for his national team.

That shows us in the right team, not one worried about a relegation battle, that Fabian is efficient with the ball at his feet. Which would attract Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.

It could be a big summer for the Tottenham defence.

It looks likely that the North London club will probably lose Toby Alderweireld. Tottenham Hotspur decided to trigger the experienced Belgian centre-back’s one year contract extension but that means the player can leave in the summer if a club meets his £25m minimum release clause (Via The Telegraph).

Toby’s possible departure would leave a big hole in the Spurs backline.

There’s no doubting Jan Vertonghen’s ability at the back. He’s a solid performer, who has continually helped Tottenham’s ambitions of reaching the Champions League. The main issue is that the thirty-one year old always seems to miss parts of a season due to injury issues.

Colombian international defender Davinson Sanchez hasn’t looked as reliable this season as he did last. Errors have crept into the twenty-two year old’s game and Pochettino doesn’t seem to trust him as much.

Twenty-one year old Juan Foyth has a lot of potential but the Argentine is still pretty raw. At times this year he’s looked a bit nervy and will probably need more time to settle in before he’s ready to play week in and week out in England’s top tier.

So you’ve got to imagine that Spurs will want to bring in another experienced centre-half.

One that’s just entering his peak years, one that can keep things tight at the back, one that will be able to pass the ball out of defence and a player that has experienced life in the Premier League.

Newcastle United central defender Fabian Schär seems to fit the bill and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tottenham Hotspur were to make a more for the Swiss star when the summer transfer window opens.

Picture Blog: Chelsea

Last month I was down in London and managed to pay Stamford Bridge a visit before Chelsea’s Premier League home win against Huddersfield Town.

Here’s pictures I took of the ground and the surrounding area.

Checking Out The Ajax Star That May Have Caught Arsenal’s Attention

Ajax rolled back the years and produced a European masterclass to eliminate current holders Real Madrid out of the Champions League.

It’s no surprise that the Dutch giants will be hosting a lot more scouts after such a classy victory. In fairness their talented group of players had already attracted the attention of some of the continent’s top clubs, with FC Barcelona already confirming that they’ll sign midfield sensation Frenkie de Jong for €75m in the summer (Via BBC Sport).

Talented Danish forward Kasper Dolberg will no doubt be interesting various top sides and Matthijs de Ligt is a superb defender who has recently been linked with a move to Liverpool (Source – Talksport).

Another player that’s being talked about with a possible move to the Premier League is left-back Nicolás Tagliafico. 

The Argentine is on Arsenal’s radar if The Daily Mail are to be believed.

So why would the North London club be interested in the Ajax defender? 

Well The Gunners will no doubt be interested in recruiting a new left-back when the summer transfer window reopens.

Nacho Monreal isn’t getting any younger, at thirty-three years of age, and the Spaniard seems to pick up various niggling injuries during a season.

Back-up Bosnian Sead Kolasinac looks vulnerable when he’s being tasked defensively.

Tagliafico would offer Monreal sterner competition for the left-back spot.

On average the Ajax defender makes more tackles (2.2), interceptions (2.2) and makes more crosses than the Gunners duo. According to stats from Whoscored, Nicolás also wins more aerial duels and makes more clearances than Kolasinac.

We all know that Arsenal coach Unai Emery likes his players to be good in possession and likes to see his full-backs push forward when they can and Tagliafico ticks those boxes. This season the Argentine has completed 85.7% of his passes in the Eredivisie and he makes on average 54.8 passes per league game too.

Tagliafuoco is a smart defender who gets himself into good positions both in attacking areas and when he’s defending.

Nicolás has played in twenty-six games for de Godenzonen this termand in that time he’s scored five goals and created three assists.

The left-back also represented Argentina in last summer’s World Cup and he now has twelve international caps.

Being twenty-six years old, the full-back should also be entering his peak years and that will probably interest Emery.

Then there’s the potential fee. The Sun are reporting that Ajax will be happy to double their money on the player who cost them £4m in January 2018. If that’s true then £8m for an Argentinian international left-back would be a great deal, especially for one who has shone in this year’s Champions League.

One potential stumbling block could be that Atletico Madrid are also being linked with the defender.

Nicolás Tagliafico stated that he was proud to have Atletico boss Diego Simeone interested in him:

“If Simeone is interested in me and really wants me it means I’m doing well but the important thing now though is to think about Ajax.”

If Arsenal are indeed looking for a new left-back and have a tight transfer budget to work with, then bringing in Tagliafico could be a great deal for the club as long as they can get his signature before any rivals swoop in!

German International Jonathan Tah Could Help Solidify Man United’s Defence

Manchester United look to be a different side under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The club has gone back to an attacking ethos but even with that the defence has also become more of a solid unit than it was under former gaffer Jose Mourinho.

That being said I still believe that Ole, or any new United boss, would want to bring in a new centre-half when the summer transfer window reopens in the summer.

Man United have been linked with a host of central defenders recently.

The Manchester Evening News suggested in February that the Old Trafford club were lining up a world record swoop to bring in highly rated Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. While The Sun believe that Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar tops United’s summer transfer wishlist.

But if the Premier League giants want to look away from Italy for a new defensive recruit, then they might be best served looking at Bayer Leverkusen stalwart Jonathan Tah.

The twenty-three year old has been one of the Bundesliga’s top defenders this term. His performances have helped get Leverkusen up to sixth position in German’s top tier.

At 6ft 5in the big centre-back can dominate when the ball comes into his team’s half of the field. According to Whoscored, Tah has made on average 4.5 clearances and wins 2.1 aerial duels per Bundesliga outing. He also makes 1.7 tackles per match.

He isn’t a clumsy or dangerous defender, proven by the fact that he’s only received two yellow cards this term.

That strong, confident presence in beside a more mature Chris Smalling or a rejuvenated Victor Lindelof could give Man United a very strong partnership for next season.

But Tah is also very good on the ball. He remains calm and collected, plus he doesn’t mind a dribble or two either. So far this season, Jonathan has a superb 89% passing success rate and he makes around 70 passes per game too.

The young defender has four international caps to his name. With German head coach Joachim Löw recently stating that he’ll no longer pick experienced defensive duo Jerome Boateng or Mats Hummels, Jonathan Tah could now cement his place within the German national team.

Former national team coach and current Leverkusen director Rudi Voeller told his club’s website that he believe’s Jonathan is a top,top talent:

“Jonathan has progressed fantastically at Leverkusen, exceeded our expectations and is now one of the top German defenders. A number of top clubs have shown an interest in him.”

Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and FC Barcelona have all been linked with Tah in the past.

The German centre-back seems to have all the qualities needed to help solidify Manchester United’s defence. He might not be as proven as a Koulibaly but that will mean that he’d cost less in the transfer market.

Man United have a history of bringing in growing potential and turning them into world class stars. If they were to bring in Jonathan Tah then maybe they could do the same with the talented centre-half.