Milan Duo Could Help Save Aston Villa’s Premier League Status

Aston Villa have been very unfortunate in the last month.

The Birmingham based Premier League club have lost four in their last six games and are sitting just outside the relegation zone, only a point away from the bottom three!

The Villains have also lost three key players to longterm injuries.

Midfield dynamo John McGinn has been up there as one of Villa’s top performers this term but will now miss around three months of action due to fracturing his ankle just before Christmas (Source BBC Sport).

Then days into the New Year, Aston Villa announced that both goalkeeper Tom Heaton and main striker Wesley would miss the rest of the season due to serious knee injuries (Via Sky Sports).

These injuries have provided Villains boss Dean Smith with a problematic headache as he needs to fill these gaps within his side if he and his players can keep Villa in England’s top flight.

Thankfully the manager has the month of January to bring in new recruits to bolster squad numbers for the rest of the current campaign.

I’m guessing Villa will want to stick to the loan market as their future in the league remains in doubt!

Smith has already gone into that particular market to bring in central midfielder Danny Drinkwater. The former Premier Legaue winner has arrived from Chelsea on loan and it’s hoped his vision for a pass can make up for the loss of industrious McGinn.

Villa have also been linked with a vast amount of goalkeepers and forwards.

Former England international shot-stopper Joe Hart (Source Daily Mail) has been linked as has AFC Bournemouth keeper Asmir Begovic.

Joe Hart hasn’t had the best of times since leaving Manchester City. He had two disappointing loan spells at Torino and West Ham United before moving to Burnley, where he failed to keep hold of the number one jersey. His confidence is shot and he probably needs a new longterm home rather than another short loan spell, if he’s going to rediscover his best days.

Birmingham Live have suggested that Cherries boss Eddie Howe will be reluctant to let Begovic leave for relegation rivals. To be fair to Howe, it really wouldn’t make sense for him to strengthen a fellow struggling team.

In the striking department, Christian Benteke has been linked with a return to Villa Park (Source The Sun). I’d urge Villa not to bring the Belgian back. The international marksman can’t get into the Crystal Palace starting line-up, he’s only started four times in the league so far this season. In his fifteen appearances the central striker hasn’t scored. It wasn’t much better last year, when Benteke scored just once for the Eagles!

Olivier Giroud has also been linked with a move to The Midlands but I can’t see the French World Cup winner leaving Chelsea for a relegation battle. It would make much more sense for Giroud to end up at Inter Milan before February hits.

A move for two AC Milan players could be the best solution for Villa, in my opinion.

The Daily Mail have reported that Villa have been offered the chance to sign veteran goalie Pepe Reina and that Dean Smith also wants to discuss bringing Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek.

Reina would be an experienced shot-stopper that would give stability to the backline. The Spaniard has plenty of Premier League experience from his Liverpool days and he has always been a reliable top class performer. At this juncture Villa need a veteran to come in and command his penalty area as they try and stay clear of the drop zone.

Piatek would offer an interesting solution in the number nine role. The Pole was sensational last season, scoring twenty-two goals in thirty-seven Serie A games.

Like so many for the Rossoneri, Krzysztof has found consistency hard to come-by during this campaign. Changing his location and finding himself the focal point in Villa’s frontline could help turn things around for the international hitman.

The Polish forward is a big frontman that won’t be scared to bully opposing defences. Last year he was taking his chances early and was able to finish with either foot or with his head. You’d imagine that he could thrive with the possible ammunition he’d get from Jack Grealish, Danny Drinkwater and Anwar El Ghazi.

A short term loan move with the possibility of making it permanent could suit all parties. Milan have just brought Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the San Siro, they may want to lose Piatek’s wage. While the player himself could want a move to get more guaranteed first team football between now and the end of this season.

A move for the Polish international may have to happen fast as Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur might also be interested in Krzysztof due to Harry Kane’s recent injury!

Moves for players based abroad could be the best Aston Villa get this month. Krzysztof Piatek and Pepe Reina could be the ideal individuals to come in and help try and save the Villains for relegation!

Liverpool Are Already Winning This Transfer Window

Liverpool are flying high in the Premier League, leading the table by thirteen points and also possessing a game in hand over their rivals.

But The Reds boss Jurgen Klopp hasn’t rested on his laurels. The German manager first signed a new deal in December ( That news swelled the club’s already brimming confidence levels.

The league leaders also assessed their fantastic squad and worked out that they needed to strengthen their attacking options. Before the January transfer window opened the Anfield side agreed a deal with Red Bull Salzburg to bring in Japanese forward Takumi Minamino (Source The Guardian).

Klopp knew he needed a player that could come in and impress if one of his forwards got injured or suspended. Yes they have Divock Origi there and the Belgian can do well in the centre, as he showed in the latter stages of last term, but they needed someone who could be creative in the final third.

Minamino showed against Liverpool in the Champions League earlier in the campaign that he has the traits needed to succeed in a Jurgen Klopp squad. The Japanese international didn’t just impress with his goal and assist but also with his speedy passes, his guile and poise on the ball.

Now he won’t walk into the Reds first team. In Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah Liverpool have almost the perfect fluid front three.

Takumi will have to wait for his chances to shine. He played and looked decent in The Reds FA Cup win over Merseyside rivals Everton last weekend.

Jurgen Klopp was very happy with the twenty-four year old’s debut:

“Your first game in a team you don’t know, if it’s a settled team it’s already difficult – this team we threw more or less on the pitch with two sessions together. And then showing this kind of game understanding, football skills are exceptional, attitude is outstanding, led the chasing pack so often in different situations, which I loved.”

Via Liverpool Echo

But we can’t forget that Minamino has been brought in to bolster numbers not to walk into the starting line-up. Plus Klopp likes to bring in players and allow them time to adapt to their new surroundings before giving them regular game time. Klopp knows that strength in depth is important when battling for major trophies and that’s why Takumi has been brought in.

The Reds manager is also very much a forward thinker, it’s not all about the here and now. He knows that Rhian Brewster has a huge future at Anfield. But at the moment the nineteen year old needs more game time than Klopp can give him at Liverpool.

So today The Reds confirmed that Brewster was being loaned out for the remainder of this campaign to Championship side Swansea City (Via Sky Sports). If Rhian can prove himself at The Swans and score regular in England’s second tier then he’ll be all the better for it and come back next preseason to challenge for a top team spot at Liverpool.

Liverpool have acted quickly this January and they’ve bolstered their first team squad and they have also protected their future by loaning out Rhian Brewster.

The best sides strengthen from a strong position and they also prepare for the future. This month Liverpool have done both and look all the better for it!

Jesse Lingard Needs Manchester United More Than They Need Him

Making Mino Raiola your new agent could be seen as handing in a transfer request at Manchester United.

The super-agent recently said this about the Premier League giants:

“I wouldn’t bring anyone there now,”

“They’d also ruin Maradona, Pele and Maldini. Paul needs a team and club like the Juventus team he played in.”

Via The Mirror

That was a big statement given Mino is Paul Pogba’s agent, the French World Cup winner has been linked constantly with a move away from Old Trafford in the last few transfer windows. Both the player and his deal broker have done little to quell those rumours.

Raiola’s negative statement about United took another twist today as it was revealed by sources such as Sky Sports that he had agreed to take on Man United star Jesse Lingard as his latest client.

I’m pretty sure the Man United hierarchy won’t be jumping for joy at the news, they’ll know that Mino comes to the negotiating table with strict demands and is obviously not scared to run down the club to the press.

It’s a pretty bold move for Lingard.

The England international had an ordinary 2019, where he didn’t score in the league. As well as not scoring in the English top flight this term, Jesse has also failed to notch up an assist!

There’s plenty a Red Devil supporter out there that have questioned the forward’s worth to the team this season.

In fairness, Lingard did impress in United’s two impressive Premier League wins over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur. In such games, the twenty-seven year old leads the press, runs all day for his team and doesn’t go hiding.

Manchester Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stated in a recent press conference that he believes Jesse has turned a corner after a poor 2019:

“Jesse has had his ups and downs as I’ve spoken about before,”

“Of course we want him back scoring goals and making assists, there is no one who runs as much as Jesse, he is a great trigger in the pressing, a bubbly character.”

“But say the games against City and Tottenham, they are examples of how important he can be for us.”

Via TalkSport

The problem is that the United faithful didn’t see enough of that determination in the last twelve months and they still expect their attacking players to either score or set-up goals for other attackers.

Jesse Lingard’s contract is up in 2021 and he was being linked with a move away from Old Trafford even before his change in agents. The Metro have reported that United are weighing up offering Lingard plus £45m for Leicester City playmaker James Maddison.

Now I’m not a firm believer that Manchester United want rid of Jesse Lingard this month. I do think Solskjaer really appreciates the traits the England star brings to United’s team when he’s on-form.

But the longer Lingard fails to produce the goods on a consistent basis, the easier it will be for Man United to say farewell to their youth product.

The player needs Man Utd more than they need him because I don’t think a bigger club will sign the player and give him as much game time. Mino Raiola might get him great payday elsewhere but it won’t be the same for Lingard if his performances aren’t being enjoyed at the Theatre of Dreams!

Ancelotti Could Turn Everton Forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin Into An England Star

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Everton have enjoyed an upturn in fortune during this festive period.

Since dismissing former boss Marco Silva, The Toffees have gone on a five game unbeaten run in the Premier League. That run has seen them climb up to tenth in the table.

Caretaker gaffer Duncan Ferguson revitalised the Everton squad and that brought with it positive results. The club then went out and brought in world class manager Carlo Ancelotti to take up the helm at Goodison.

The Italian has seen his side win both games in his first two outings as the Everton boss. The team look more settled and play with more discipline.

Players have stepped up and are now showing the Everton faithful what they’re capable of. None more so than young forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

During the club’s recent five game unbeaten run, Calvert-Lewin has scored five goals.

He was fantastic in his team’s win over Chelsea, the game in which started the recent impressive run. In it, the twenty-two year old didn’t let up on the Blues defence. He hurried and harried them, challenged for every ball in the air and made intelligent runs in behind the Chelsea backline. His performance was rewarded with a fine brace that helped his side to a vital victory.

While Dominic possesses pace and is good on the ball, it’s his aerial ability which is really starting to shine this term. He has a fantastic person to learn from in coach Duncan Ferguson. The Scotsman is one of the Premier League’s best ever in the air. Calvert-Lewin has wins on average 4.7 aerial battles per league outing thus far this season.

The number nine scored with a lovely diving header in Ancelotti’s first game in charge of The Toffees. That goal was enough to put Burnley to the sword.

The youngster followed that up with another double against Newcastle United on Boxing Day. Both his strikes were poachers goals and those are the kind that will see a striker consistently scoring double figures and that should be the aim for Dominic Calvert-Lewin!

His recent performances have also seen him linked with a move to Manchester United (Source The Guardian) but I don’t see that one happening this season as Carlo Ancelotti seems determined to have Calvert-Lewin as his team’s focal point in attack.

After the win over Newcastle, Ancelotti stated:

“He is a fantastic striker, in my opinion – fantastic with the head, clever in the box and sharp,”

“I think he is going to be at the top in England and in Europe. He has all the qualities to be a top striker.”

Via BBC Sport

Calvert-Lewin has all the potential to meet Carlo’s expectations. If he can do as the Italian wishes and continue to learn from Duncan Ferguson, then the striker could force his way into the England squad ahead of Euro 2020.

Obviously Gareth Southgate will have Harry Kane as his number one striking choice but then there’s a battle to be the next centre forward on the list.

With Jamie Vardy out of the reckoning, then it could be between Callum Wilson, Tammy Abraham, Danny Ings and Calvert-Lewin.

The Everton man has proven himself at under-21 level with his national team and he’s now showing us that he has the skill-set to be a top Premier League hitman too.

If he can continue this rich vein of form, scoring goals and hassling top defences, then an England call-up is surely just around the corner!

Consistent Rangers Left-back Borna Barisic Deserves All The Plaudits

I’ve lost count the amount of times on this blog that I’ve stated fans need to give new players time to settle in at a new club. Patience is especially needed when it’s a foreign player arriving at a new country.

I often cite Didier Drogba as a prime example. He made a huge move from Olympique Marseille to Chelsea in a £24m deal in 2004. Yet the Ivorian struggled to be himself in his debut season in the English Premier League, it was only after a year in England that Didier started to establish himself as the team’s top striker. He would go on to become a Blues legend, helping them to win league titles and the Champions League.

A new example of a player just needing time to shine is Croatian left-back Borna Barisic.

Last season Rangers signed the Croat after he impressed playing against them in the Europa League. Yet for much of his maiden season, Barisic struggled to impressed.

Anytime he seemed to gain any momentum, Borna would suffer from an injury, fatigue or have a disappointing performance. That would see either Jon Flanagan or midfielder Andy Haliday coming in to replace Barisic.

Many questioned if the full-back would get a second season at Ibrox. Rumours circulated that Gers manager Steven Gerrard had lost patience in the Croatian international.

Thankfully for Rangers and their fans, Gerrard showed he had faith in the twenty-seven year old and boy has he been repaid.

Borna has enjoyed a terrific second season thus far at Ibrox. He was outstanding as he first helped his club to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League and then out of a tough group. He was particularly great as Rangers beat Feyenoord in Govan, just after the death of former Gers fullback Fernando Ricksen. It was an emotional night and it called for heroes to step forward and contribute and that’s exactly what Barisic did that evening!

He also scored a vital free-kick in an away fixture against St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership and that wonder strike was the goal that gave his side an important win.

Borna Barisic hasn’t just had standout moments this term, he has also added consistency to his game. He is now probably the best left-back in the Scottish game right now.

His showing against bitter rivals Celtic in Glasgow’s East End proved that to a lot of people yesterday.

Rangers beat their opponents on their own turf for the first time since 2010. Gerrard’s men outplayed and outfought the Scottish champions and totally deserved their win.

Barisic was key to their success. The left-back was dogged and disciplined in defence. He didn’t give Celtic winger James Forrest a sniff during the game.

Borna was also terrific when he went forward. When the ball crossed into The Hoops half, the left sided defender wasn’t scared to venture forward and offer himself as an outlet. He played a fine ball into the box that was then swept into the net by Ryan Kent for the opening goal. In the second half, Barisic would deliver a lovely pinpoint corner into the Celtic box and it was met with a superb header by countryman Nikola Katic.

Personally I felt Borna Barisic was the game’s man of the match.

In the last week, Gerrard has hailed his defender’s improvement in a Gers jersey:

“Very satisfied. I think he’s been a lot more consistent this season. I think he’s shown everyone the reason why he is the number one left-back for Croatia.”

“I think he was a player that we always knew had the talent and the ability. It was about him putting it together on a regular basis.

“I think he had settling-in issues and it took him time to win the dressing room and the supporters over, but at the moment he’s in a fantastic place.”

Via OneFootball

His outstanding performances have also seen him linked him with moves to a bigger league. The Daily Record have reported that Serie A clubs AS Roma and AC Milan are currently monitoring the Croatian left-back.

Rangers end 2019 just two points behind Celtic in the Premiership table with a game in hand. That suggests Rangers really could challenge for the league title in 2020.

For that to happen they will need to have all their players playing consistently well. At the moment Borna Barisic is showing us that they won’t have any issues in the left-back role, if more step up like that then The Gers could be in for a successful new year!

This Season Proves Jamie Vardy Was Right To Stay At Leicester City

After winning the Premier League with Leicester City in 2016, striker Jamie Vardy had a decision to make… Stay with The Foxes or leave for Arsenal?

Plenty of eyebrows were raised as the Englishman decided to turndown The Gunners and stay with Leicester.

Three and a half years later and it’s hard to think that Vardy regrets making that decision.

The Foxes are once again flying high in the English top flight, this time under Brendan Rodgers, and once again Jamie Vardy is leading in the scoring charts.

No striker has managed to outscore the thirty-two year old, who has bagged a magnificent sixteen goals in the opening seventeen games of the Premier League. He’s contributed 40% of Leicester’s league goals this term!

Ironically it’s an Arsenal hitman that’s second in the scoring charts but Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is five goals behind Vardy.

Arsenal are also lagging behind Leicester City in the league table. The Gunners are in tenth spot and a whopping seventeen points behind the second placed Foxes. In the start of November, Jamie Vardy scored one and assisted in another as his side beat Arsenal at The King Power Stadium (BBC Match Report).

Rodgers has transformed Leicester back into a team that can threat any other side in the Premier League.

Jamie is once again the go-to striker, play him in behind any defence and you’ll be betting on him hitting the back of the net!

The former England international might be a veteran now but he still has the pace that can take him beyond opponents. He also has that lethal ability to put away chances.

In that 2016 title winning season, Vardy scored twenty-four times in the league. I believe he’ll beat that tally this term. But he was a good scorer in all the seasons since that win; scoring thirteen in 2016-17, twenty in 2018 and eighteen last term.

Some might say that Vardy would’ve been better served leaving and winning trophies elsewhere like N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez.

I tend to disagree.

Firstly, Arsenal haven’t done much in the league or the Champions League in that timeframe.

Then there’s his hero status at The King Power Stadium. Now he’ll always have that and would’ve kept it had he left but it’s just grown in the years after the title win. Out of all the title winning squad, Jamie Vardy is probably the player that really resonates with that magical Foxes season!

He worked up the leagues, much like the club. He too was written off in previous years. He was consistent throughout the whole campaign.

He has a terrific manager in Rodgers, a boss that always believes in his experienced players. He got an extra great season out of Steven Gerrard at Liverpool and he also got another level out of club captain Scott Brown at Celtic. Brendan will have seen Vardy’s skill-set and also the player’s relationship with the home support and decide to build his team around the hitman. Jamie thrives when he’s the main man and that’s why he is flourishing this term.

As well as causing a constant threat by staying on the shoulder of defenders, Vardy’s smart runs also creates space and that’s seen James Maddison shine.

Rodgers is understandably delighted with his striker:

“Jamie’s playing consistently at a very high level.”

“For me, it’s like having two players up there because of his work and his threat.”

“People sometimes ask me, ‘Why don’t you play with two strikers?’ Well, when you have the likes of him and Luis Suarez, who I had at Liverpool, it’s like having two. They are so good and offer such a threat.”

“I mentioned Luis because he played as a single striker for me as well. They are so good that they can occupy defenders on their own.”

“You look at his speed last week when he was breaking away – it’s a huge testament to him, how he’s looking after his body.”

“He’s so dangerous and I think you’ve seen his intelligence as well. He’s getting better in how he’s setting up the game.”

Via The Mirror

Only Liverpool are outperforming Leicester City in the Premier League. The Foxes currently sit ten points behind the league leaders. If any team were to have a fairytale run to catch Jurgen Klopp’s men then it would be Leicester City, especially if Jamie Vardy can continue his fine scoring form.

But even if Leicester don’t go on and win the league, they have an excellent chance to qualify for the Champions League in only their second time in their history. That would be another dream season and cement Jamie Vardy’s hero status for the club and prove he was right to stay there.

New Jurgen Klopp Deal Is A Huge Early Christmas Present For Liverpool

Liverpool Football Club announced today that charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp had signed a new deal to stay with the Anfield club until 2024 (Source

Liverpool and Klopp have enjoyed a wonderful year in 2019. The German guided the Merseysiders to the Champions League trophy in May and The Reds also currently command an eight point lead at the top of the Premier Leaguetable.

Winning their first top flight English title since 1990 has to be Klopp’s ultimate goal and by inking his new deal that dream could now be a step closer.

This festive season is coming full of fixtures for The Reds. They’ve got to play at least eight, possibly nine, fixtures between now and the sixth of January. That involves games in the league, League Cup, The World Club Cup and The FA Cup.

That kind of fixture pile-up could distract and dismantle a lot of teams. Liverpool can’t afford that to happen to them. Yes, some competitions could become less attractive like the two domestic cups but keeping that winning feeling is a habit Klopp won’t want to see his squad lose this month.

The German will want to see his side claim the mantra of being the best in the world and have them taste the feeling of winning silverware again in Qatar. He will also want them to keep a hefty gap between themselves and their nearest challengers in the league.

By signing his new deal, Jurgen is showing that he’s fully committed to the club. No one can now talk about potential sabbaticals looming in his near future.

Klopp has stated his love for Liverpool and his belief that things can only get better, that’s why he’s staying:

“When the call came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other; if anything, now I feel I underestimated that. 

“It is only with a total belief that the collaboration remains totally complementary on both sides that I am able to make this commitment to 2024.

“If I didn’t, I would not be re-signing.”

Via BBC Sport

Jurgen Klopp will now hope that this news and his positive words can keep the desire burning within his players. They can now go again and be as passionate and as committed as their manager. In fairness they already give him everything!

I think it’s excellent timing by Liverpool and it will give the whole club a renewed focus to bring back the league title and get ready for the busy times ahead.

Is it coincidental that on the same day Steven Gerrard penned a renewal at Rangers that will see him tied up until 2024 also? (Source

Well only time will tell if he is indeed the successor to Klopp’s throne, thankfully we still have plenty more time to enjoy the German’s antics on the Anfield touchline!

Rangers Face Biggest Of Games

Rangers host Young Boys at Ibrox this evening in the Europa League, in what’s become their biggest game of the season so far.

They don’t come into the fixture on the back of good results.

The Gers threw away a two goal lead to draw with Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership last week, a result which saw Steven Gerrard’s men fall behind Celtic in the race for the league title.

They then followed that up with a loss to fierce rivals Celtic in the League Cup final at Hampden this past weekend. Rangers hammered The Hoops but couldn’t find that all important goal and then suffered as the opposition found the net with one of their few chances.

It’s now vitally important that Gers manager Gerrard halts that slide of poor results and gets a positive one tonight.

Not just will it be enough to see the Glasgow giants through to the next round of the Europa League, a huge boost for the Light Blues given their tough group but it will also see them ready to go full tilt in the league again after a nice much needed confidence boost.

The club should also be buoyed by the fact that their manager is on the verge of signing a new deal at Ibrox:

“The Club approached me probably a week, 10 days ago about a new deal and it’s a pretty simple decision as far as I’m concerned,”

“I’m happy here and I’m as hungry and determined to get the good days back here as I ever was so talks have been pretty straightforward and positive.”

Via The Mirror

That news was followed up with more positivity as The Herald reported that key veterans Allan McGregor, Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe were also about to pen new deals to stay in Govan.

While new contracts will offer the support a boost, a win over Swiss side Young Boys will be huge for the club as a whole.

The Light Blues will feel that they owe Young Boys one, after throwing away an advantage the last time they met in Bern, two mistakes from captain James Tavernier cost Rangers that night.

A jumping, loud Ibrox will provide a different atmosphere for their Swiss counterparts and it could be vital that Rangers take advantage.

To stay in Europe beyond Christmas would have felt like a pipe dream back in the summer of 2017, when Rangers failed to beat Progres in Luxembourg during initial qualifying in the Europa League that year.

That shows you just how far Rangers have come under Gerrard. A positive result tonight could once again provide them a platform to build the rest of their campaign around.

Another big blow and the wheels may just come off!

It Could Be Perfect Time For Manchester United To Sell Paul Pogba

I should start this blog by stating that I really enjoy watching Paul Pogba. When he’s on form, he’s a truly wonderful player.

The problem for Manchester United is that the stories of him wanting to leave Old Trafford only grow larger during each and every transfer window.

With January fast approaching, the media will once again go into a frenzy linking the midfielder with a move away. FourFourTwo have already reported this month that La Liga giants Real Madrid will make a move for the French World Cup winner next month.

A big problem with all this speculation is that neither Pogba nor his agent ever come out and deny it. They release cryptic soundbites that can easily be interpreted to suggest he wants to go.

Just look at this comment earlier in the year:

“Like I’ve always said, Real Madrid is a dream for anyone. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. There is also Zidane as a coach and it’s a dream for anybody who likes football. For now, I’m at Manchester. We don’t know what the future holds. I’m at Manchester and I’m happy.”

Via Bleacher Report

He doesn’t say that he wants to leave Old Trafford but saying playing for Real and Zidane is a dream shows that he probably isn’t the most committed player at Man United either.

In the summer it would have been folly for United to sell Pogba. The Frenchman was the club’s most influential star in the previous campaign and the board owed it to coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give him the best possible squad for this Premier League season.

Now it’s true, United haven’t been extremely consistent this term and at times they’ve looked a bit weak. But in Midfield they’ve probably looked at their strongest and most consistent and for the most part Paul hasn’t been a part of that due to a longstanding ankle injury.

In recent weeks, United have seen an upturn in results. They’ve picked up big wins over Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Those victories have seen Ole’s side climb up to fifth in the league table and they could now challenge Chelsea for the all important fourth Champions League spot as there’s only a five point gap between them.

Midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred have played a big part in United’s upturn in fortunes.

McTominay has, for me, been The Red Devils best player this season and he is leading by example with his performances.

Those big wins and performances should show Solskjaer and the United hierarchy that they can indeed live without Pogba within their ranks!

The thing about Paul Pogba is that everything needs to go through him. That can upset a team’s balance and let’s face it the twenty-six year old still has off days and United instantly suffer when he has those on the pitch.

It could make a lot of sense if Manchester United cash in on their biggest asset this winter. The player’s heart just doesn’t seem to be in it for United and they need stars at Old Trafford who want to be there 100%.

Sell him to Real Madrid for £120m and bring in players that will help the squad. Like another central midfielder and another attacker.

For me, Paul Pogba could now become more of a hindrance and United might have to finally show him that no player is bigger than the club.

Freddie Ljungberg Isn’t The Manager Arsenal Are Looking For


Sometimes bringing in a club hero as your caretaker boss can bring instant positive results, just look at Duncan Ferguson at Everton this past weekend as a prime example.

Then there’s other times that it just doesn’t work and the bounce doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately for Arsenal and Freddie Ljungberg they haven’t had a confident bounce since the Swede has taken over the Emirates hotseat from Unai Emery.

The Gunners have played twice with Freddie in charge and he has watched on as they drew with Norwich City and then lost at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. Those results and the team’s performances suggest that Ljungberg isn’t the man to lead Arsenal in the longterm and probably not even too much longer in the short term either.

A big issue, for me, is that Freddie has very little coaching experience and he was part of Emery’s backroom staff.

The current Gunners squad need a man that has experienced turning things around at a club, that’s brought with him success and a new voice to engage with the dressing room.

This Arsenal side are underachieving. They have a team that should be very capable of challenging for a top four spot but they need belief and that’s not coming from their current interim boss.

Massimiliano Allegri is the bookies favourite to takeover at the Emirates. That would be a smart and astute choice. The Italian has a winning pedigree and he could help shore up the Gunners backline (which needs to be worked on).

A big issue could be convincing the former Juventus boss. Allegri has stated that he won’t take on any new job until next summer:

“In June. I don’t know if you can call it a sabbatical or not,”

“As soon as the relationship with Juventus came to an end, the decision was to take a year out.”

Via Football.London

I wouldn’t be adverse in waiting for Allegri, if he committed now to accepting the role in the summer but I would still look at another option to takeover until the summer instead of Ljungberg, for example I would have Steve Bould in that role.

Brendan Rodgers has just signed a new deal at Leicester City, so that looks a no goer (Source The Independent). Then you’ve got Mauricio Pochettino, who was successful at North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. That would be a statement appointment but would they be a good fit?

Personally, I if I were the Arsenal hierarchy, I would sound out former Liverpool and Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez and see if they can convince the experienced gaffer to leave China and come back to the Premier League.

I think the Arsenal board shouldn’t have sacked Unai Emery until they had a plan in place to bring in his successor. They are now finding out the hard way that they can’t just promote within and get better results!