Both Manchester Clubs Should Make England Star Top Transfer Priority

Sky Sports have been reporting that England captain Harry Kane is set to ask to leave Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, that’s if the North London club fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The striker might feel that it could be the right time to leave The Lilywhites. He’ll turn twenty-eight in July and will be in search of silverware while he’s playing at his peak.

Both Manchester clubs will probably be after a new hitman during the off-season.

Manchester City are losing striking legend Sergio Aguero in the summer and will be desperate to replace the Argentine’s goals.

Manchester United could also be set to lose a South American goalscorer with Edinson Cavani being heavily linked with a move to Boca Juniors this summer (Source – ESPN).

So, it looks likely that both City and United will be wanting a guaranteed marksman.

The Premier League giants will no doubt be interested in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland. I’d guess that both Real Madrid and Barcelona will also be earmarking the Norwegian as a possible target. United might feel that Haaland is a non-starter given his agent is Mino Raiola and they have a frosty relationship with the Italian (Via Football365).

Kane has been prolific for a number of years in England’s top flight, scoring 162 goals in 238 Premier League appearances.

He’s a scorer of a wide variety of goals. Kane can be a poacher, he’s very competent in the air and can score from distance too. The England hitman has been the closest thing to Alan Shearer the league has seen since his retirement in 2006.

Harry isn’t just a natural goalscorer though. As well as leading the scoring charts with his nineteen strikes this season, the Spurs man has also contributed with thirteen assists (he leads in that stat too).

He can be a focal point and stay up-top but he can also drop deep and receive the ball in those positions too. That in turn provides space for others to run into – Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min a particular benefactors in Kane’s unselfish play. The forward is also very capable in finding space and playing very cute through balls.

South Korean internationalist Heung-min recently explained how his relationship with Kane works:

“We have a lot of conversations. Harry knows what I’m going to do if he drops deep. And then I always know what he’s going to do – I try to find him too because he can create a lot of problems for defenders,”

Via Football.London

Both Man City and Man Utd have players within their ranks who would relish playing alongside Harry Kane on a regular basis. For example; City’s Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez would no doubt love getting used to Kane’s link-up play. The same could be said of Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes at Old Trafford.

Harry Kane is probably the best all-round striker in England at the moment. If he were to hand in a transfer request it would only make sense that both Manchester City and United would be desperate to get their hands on him.

He’s clearly ambitious as are they.

City want to create a trophy laden era with Pep Guardiola in charge. They will need to replace Aguero’s goals and Kane is well proven in that field.

United and their boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want to return The Red Devils to their glory days. They’ll feel that an attacker of Harry’s qualities can help speed that process up.

The biggest stumbling block will be convincing Tottenham to sell. Spurs supremo Daniel Levy is a tough negotiator and he too wants to win trophies. Kane’s contract expires in 2024, so even if a club or the striker can convince Levy to sell, it will only be done at a premium price.

That shouldn’t put the two Manchester sides off though, as a deal (even if extremely expensive) could be a difference maker when it comes to securing major titles in the future!

Liverpool Target Serbian Forward Who Could Ruffle Some Feathers

Liverpool have recently been linked with ACF Fiorentina striker Dušan Vlahović (Source Sports Witness).

I wouldn’t be surprised if Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is on the lookout for a young hitman to bolster his forward ranks. The trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino haven’t been quite as prolific in the Premier League this season.

As I mention on this website last month, this summer could spell the end of Divock Origi’s time at Anfield. The Belgian striker hasn’t reached his full potential on Merseyside and he’s no longer a viable back up either.

Dušan could be a player that would offer Klopp a different dynamic up-top.

The twenty-one year old has enjoyed a breakout year in Serie A this term, scoring thirteen league goals in his twenty-eight appearances. He has also broken into the Serbian national team, scoring twice whilst winning his first seven caps.

The Serbian is very competent in the air. According to Whoscored, the attacker on average wins 2.6 aerial battles per games and that’s far superior than what any Liverpool forward can manage. That ability in the air would provide The Reds with a different threat in the final third, it could become invaluable when you consider the balls that full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold can hit into the penalty area.

There’s more to Vlahović’s game though!

He has no issues in working hard for the team. The strong Serbian can come deep and receive the ball to feet while holding off opponents and he can also run into the channels. This can help in keeping the ball in sticky situations but it also creates space which would once again galvanise the likes of Salah and Mane.

A very instinctive finisher. Dušan will often score with first time finishes, which shows he can remain calm inside the box. He’ll also head straight for the penalty spot area whenever another forward has the ball and is pushing forward in the final phase of play.

The international striker would certainly add strength to the Reds attack, if he signed. A new added physical presence would give Liverpool something different to focus on, they’ve missed that during this campaign when their fluid front three haven’t been at the races.

I think that the hitman would be well suited to the Premier League style. I also believe that working under Jurgen Klopp would do a lot to improve him as a player. Vlahović shouldn’t expect to walk into the first eleven if he joined the Anfield club. He would have to wait for his opportunities and then grab them when they arrived. That’s the same method Klopp used with Robertson and Fabinho, they learned the Liverpool way and starred regularly when they got acclimatised to their new surroundings.

I’m guessing The Viola wouldn’t be in a rush to sell the young marksman but it might be out of their hands if they want a premium price. Dušan’s current deal runs out in 2023 and Goal.com have reported that he has turned down a new offer.

Dušan Vlahović might have been more inclined to sign those new terms had coach Cesar Prandelli stayed on at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. After the Italian manager departed the Florence side, the young striker stated:

‘ (I) cannot describe with words what I owe Cesare Prandelli’

Via Football Italia

Fiorentina won’t get a better deal for the goalscorer if they can’t tie him down to a new contract. That current contract standoff will alert potential suitors, who are willing to pounce this summer.

That could open the door for Liverpool to swoop in and buy the striker who has vast potential and would instantly compete with the current crop of forwards already at Anfield.

Arsenal Should Be Looking At Purchasing ‘The Dutch Vieira’

Copyright – Ajax.nl

Arsenal are seemingly in constant transition these days.

The era of them going out and bringing in already established world class stars seem to be over.

The North London giants should go back to a time when they spotted world class potential and go out and build their squad around talented youth players ready to break the glass ceiling.

Just like Patrick Vieira did in the late nineties.

He was a young French midfielder that joined from AC Milan and who soon dominated the Premier League with his commanding and energetic displays. He would soon become an international and help Les Bleus to World Cup triumph in 1998.

One player of a similar mould could be current Ajax starlet Ryan Gravenberch.

Still only eighteen years old, Ryan has already made himself a fixture in de Godenzonen first team.

His performances in The Eredivisie and in Europe have seen the youngster propelled straight into Frank de Boer’s Dutch national squad.

Although he’s predominantly a central midfielder, he can also be deployed in that holding role that protects the backline.

Gravenberch also has the ability to venture forward. He’s bagged himself four goals so far this term and more than a handful of assists too. He has no issues with lashing the ball goal-wards.

Like most Dutch internationals, Ryan is comfortable taking the ball to his feet no matter where he is on the park. The young midfielder has tidy ball control and is a natural dribbler and that helps get the ball into attacking areas. He also has the physique that makes it easy to brush opponents off, whenever they’re challenging.

In the league, Ryan Gravenberch possesses an 86.8% passing success rate. He also makes more than one tackle per game and 1.5 interceptions (Stats via Whoscored). He could and probably will improve on those defensive stats as he gets more experience in the bigger encounters.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has also suggested that this will happen:

“He has a lot of capacities, especially in an attacking sense … but he also comes to understand ‘that other work’ better and better,”

Via One Football

For Arsenal, Ryan would be strong if partnered alongside Thomas Partey. They’d create a strong midfield core that could be disciplined and also get the ball forward. The Gunners have definitely missed having an engine-room that can win the toughest of battles.

Granit Xhaka just isn’t good enough to get Arsenal back in the top four positions in the Premier League. I don’t think The Gunners will want to sign Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos on a permanent basis. Mohamed Elneny isn’t any more than a bit-part player.

To progress, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta will need to bring in another top class central midfielder.

I think Ryan Gravenberch would be a great fit but I’m sure some some of Europe’s elite sides will be scouting the Dutch youngster, in the hope of securing his signature. I am also not certain Ajax will be desperate to sell the teenager this summer!

Maybe The Gunners can offer a large fee to Ajax and give the player guaranteed first-team football, which would give Ryan the chance to shine in one of the world’s top leagues.

The Brazilian Wonderkid That Could Be Man United’s Next Ronaldo

A Brazilian teenager could be the catalyst Manchester United need to send them back to the top.

Gabriel Veron could be Brazil’s next footballing superstar.

The eighteen year old helped his nation in securing the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2019. In that tournament Veron wowed everyone with his ability and he go on to win the much coveted Golden Ball award.

Gabriel was also part of the Palmeiras squad that won the 2020 Copa Libertadores.

In January The Sun newspaper linked both Manchester clubs with his signature.

I think if United were to win that race and bring the youngster to Old Trafford, then the Red Devils would definitely get ‘Cristiano Ronaldo‘ vibes from that transfer.

When Ronaldo signed for Man United as a teenager, he was raw but you could always see the potential he had. He was always an exciting talent that would get supporters and managers alike off of their seats as he jinked past opponents. As he developed, the Portuguese forward would rejuvenate the United team and help them to claim top honours.

Veron has those same qualities. If anything, he might instinctively already possess a better end product than Cristiano did at the same age!

In his first thirty-five games in professional football with Palestra, the attacker has produced ten goals and a handful of assists.

Whilst he’s had to deal with illness and injury during his early years at Palmeiras, whenever Gabriel Veron has entered the field of play he has excited those that have watched with his direct style. He attacks opposition full-backs and always wants to create something in the final third.

Veron is a wide-man that can be effective on either flank. He loves to dribble beyond opponents, has the vision to create something in the final phase of play and isn’t scared to hit a shot when required.

The youngster has no issues with the ball being played to him in tight spots as he has the control and presence of mind to get him out of most awkward situations. He also has that ability to spot what’s going on before most other players, to be able to read the game that quick is always a huge advantage.

Veron has electric pace and a wonderful skill-set that again echoes a young Ronaldo or compatriot Neymar. Whenever and wherever the eighteen year old gets on the ball, his first thought is to drive forward and make something happen!

His current manager, Abel Ferreira, has suggested it will take a fee higher than the one that Neymar went for in 2013 to get Gabriel out of Brazil:

“I’m going to tell a story. Luis Campos is director of Lille (from France) and he was my coach when I was Verón’s age. I went to talk to him about coming to Palmeiras. The first player he talked about was Verón. He knows all the youngsters with potential. He knows that he has a lot of quality. I always tell Verón to remember what brought him to this level. It is impossible for Palmeiras to sell this player for less than Neymar was sold to Barcelona “

Via Goal.com

Now Abel is a manager who loves to talk up his players and no doubt he’ll be hoping for a huge fee if he’s going to lose Veron’s services. The player’s contract has €60m release clause (Source Sport Witness) in it but it’s believed potential suitors will want the player for half that price.

Manchester United love bringing in players with world class potential. They may have been underwhelmed by the last Veron that trotted through the doors of Old Trafford but I believe they’d be getting a superb talent who could eventually lead the Red Devils back to glory if they were to sign Gabriel Veron!

Eddie Howe To Celtic – The Pros and Cons

It’s looking increasingly likely that former AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe will become the new boss at Celtic (Source Daily Record).

The Scottish Premiership side are hoping that the Englishman can come in and bring success and trophies back to Parkhead.

But as with every managerial appointment there comes to risk.

So here’s what I feel could be some pros and cons in Celtic appointing Howe as their next manager.

PROS

Excites The Fans

Out of all the realistic and talked about managerial targets, Howe was the one that most of the supporters wanted.

His arrival will remind them of Brendan Rodgers coming to the club in 2016. Howe is seen as a progressive coach, he’s a good communicator and was well thought of during his time as a gaffer in the Premier League.

Favours Attacking Football

Bournemouth, especially when they were chasing The English Championship title, liked to focus on an attacking brand of football. That changed slightly as they got used to life in England’s top flight but they never became overly negative, just more of a counter attacking side.

Being one of the big boys of Scottish football, I’d bet that Howe would once again look to attack opposition teams. That would add to the excitement at Celtic Park, The Hoops fans love to see their players on the front foot.

Can Make Astute Signings

Looking back at his earlier times at The Cherries and Eddie Howe brought in good players at a decent price. These are player who often remained at the club for a long time and probably overachieved.

Callum Wilson joined for £3.3m from Coventry City and would become an England international. Current Cherries captain Steve Cook has been at the club since 2012, when Howe returned to Bournemouth.

Trusts Young Players

David Brooks, Lewis Cook, Junior Stanislas, Adam Ramsdale and Ryan Fraser were all given prolonged spells in Bournemouth’s first team at young ages.

Some Celtic managers shirk at picking younger players, they get bogged down by the pressure of winning titles. I would imagine Howe will believe he can win silverware with talented youngsters within his first team squad. Those players are the ones that can be moulded and help with a club’s vision.

It would also fit the Celtic philosophy of buying potential at certain fee and then giving them a chance to shine before selling them on for a nice profit.

A Dedicated Professional

When you listen those that have worked with Eddie Howe in the past, you’ll notice most will point to how hard he works and his dedication to the job.

Former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick said:

“He’s very meticulous,”

“He’s detailed in his work and spends a lot of time getting to know his players.”

Via BBC Sport

In an interview with The Guardian in 2015, Howe showed how much detail went into bossing Bournemouth. Communication with his coaching team was vital. He would note everything down in diaries and he’d then delve back into those same diaries to give him the chance to reflect on what’s worked in the past. Every training session is filmed and is watched, as he craves learning from every detail and improving wherever and whenever possible.

He’s also a manager that really throws himself into learning about a club’s history. That sort of exhaustive dedication will impress both the Celtic hierarchy and the club’s faithful.

Open To New Ideas

The forty-three year old has always been keen to scour world football and highlight trends that are working in other countries.

Howe has visited many clubs on the continent to learn from various coaches and their techniques. Many felt that Neil Lennon had struggled to adapt to certain new nuances in modern day football and that he was stuck in a rut. That’s something that Eddie seems to try and avoid.

CONS

Struggled To Get Most Out Of Bigger Transfers

When established in the Premier League, Bournemouth would open their chequebook and spend a bit more on players. It can be argued that some of these signings struggled under Howe.

Current Rangers hitman Jermain Defoe said that he didn’t have the best relationship with Howe and that impacted on his performances:

“I didn’t really have a relationship with the manager. I was closer to (assistant) Jason Tindall, but I just felt like the manager, he probably didn’t know how to manage me for whatever reason. That was it really.”

Via Talksport

Other veterans Sylvain Distin and Asmir Begovic also seemed to fall out with the coach.

Jordan Ibe arrived for a record £15m fee, yet Howe could never get the best out of the forward. Ibe departed on a free four years later on a free transfer. In January 2019, England U21 international striker Dominic Solanke arrived in a £19m deal (Source BBC Sport). Solanke would play forty-two Premier League games for Howe’s Bournemouth and only managed a meagrely three goals!

Couldn’t Stop A Slump

Last season AFC Bournemouth won nine games, four of those victories came in their first eleven games. In that same timeframe they lost just three times.

In the next twenty-seven fixtures, The Cherries would lose a whopping nineteen times. Twice they went on five game losing runs.

Eddie seemed helpless to stop the slide. That might sound eerily familiar to Celtic fans and what they witnessed under Lennon this season.

Hasn’t Won A Major Trophy

Now this isn’t a major negative in my book, a successful manager always has to start somewhere. It was something people also said about Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers before they moved north.

It is a question mark that will surround Howe until he wins something, that’s just how it works in Glasgow.

He Needs To Understand Results Matter

Elphick would state to BBC Sport:

“The biggest message we were given was that the performance would always outweigh the result,”

“If the performances were there, the results would follow.”

That mantra has a pretty short shelf life in the Glasgow goldfish bowl. Yes, you will get given a bit of time to try and marry the two but you cannot afford too many slip-ups as your rival could soon runaway with the title.

Neither of John Barnes‘ or Tommy Burns‘ Celtic teams played bad football, they could be pretty entraining but they didn’t win enough games (Barnes) or trophies (Burns).

Sitting in second place in Scotland isn’t seen as an achievement at either Celtic or Rangers. So finding a good attacking brand of football is important but it’s essential to find a winning formula quickly.

Might Favour Attacking Football Too Much

Howe may have the same stubbornness to stick to his attacking philosophy that Rodgers had at Celtic Park.

That won’t really be seen as a negative amongst the Celtic support, especially not to begin with but it may hamper Howe in Europe and in bigger domestic encounters.

Rangers are now a different prospect to what Rodgers usually had to deal with during his era at Parkhead. They can win in various different ways and if Gerrard manages to workout a way of beating Howe’s Celtic, then can Eddie divert from his chosen attacking path?

If Gerrard shows teams how it can be done then others like Aberdeen and Hibs will try and use a similar template against Celtic.

Rodgers’ Celtic were humbled in Europe, can Howe change things in that arena to make the Glasgow giants competitive?

…..

If Eddie Howe is to become the next Celtic manager, as widely predicted, then it will certainly bring excitement and optimism to Glasgow’s East End.

I am not as quick to jump onto any hype train. He is still a manager that has to prove he has what it takes to step into such a major role.

But compared to others that were being linked with the job, I’d say that the pros outweigh the cons and Celtic will be a better and more attractive team next term!

James Tavernier Deserves Scottish Player Of The Year Award

Rangers have enjoyed an wonderful season this year with Steven Gerrard’s men securing the Scottish Premiership title last month!

Many of the Rangers players deserve a huge amount of credit for their club’s success this term and a few will probably receive nominations for individual awards once they get announced.

Veterans like Allan McGregor and Steven Davis have been superb. Centre-back Connor Goldson has been immense. Forward Alfredo Morelos has been a better all-round attacker, which has been a big bonus for his teammates. Winger Ryan Kent has also enjoyed a good season, especially at the start of the campaign.

Yet for me, I have to single out right-back and Gers club captain James Tavernier as my pick for Player of the Year.

James joined the club back in 2015, when then boss Mark Warburton brought him up from Wigan Athletic (Source Sky Sports)

In his first season at Ibrox, Tavernier showed that he was a right full-back that loved being on the front-foot and bursting forward. He also showed in that year in the Scottish Championship that he had a keen eye for goal, notching up ten league goals during a campaign that saw Rangers win promotion to the top tier.

Then in his second and third seasons in Govan, Tavenier (like the team as a whole) were too inconsistent. Again there were no issues with him bombing forward but question marks surrounded his ability to defend, especially in the important fixtures.

Being a right-back, you are classed as a defender before anything else. You have to be able to get back and make tackles or you become a bit of a luxury and one your team cannot afford if they aren’t winning football matches.

Some of the Gers support started to wonder if Tavernier was too complacent at the back? Was he making too many mistakes?

Then Steven Gerrard entered in 2018.

The Gers gaffer handed his fellow Englishman the captain’s armband and Tavernier seemed to grow with the added responsibility.

James Tavernier gave his account on when he was given the captain’s role:

“He asked me where my head was and I said I was fully committed to this club, that I have unfinished business here and I want to see this club do well.”

“I could never have imagined being named captain of Rangers when I first arrived here but I always knew one of my ambitions was to be a captain one day. I have always seen myself as a leader and this has come at a perfect time.”

Via Daily Record

It’s interesting because if I had to sum up Tavernier as captain under Gerrard, ‘fully committed‘ hits the mark.

He’s a player that will always run and run. Even when things haven’t gone well, you’ll notice that James doesn’t shirk his responsibilities or go and hide from the ball.

Defensively, the right-back has developed. He’s stronger in the challenge. The twenty-nine year old doesn’t rush in, he has become smarter and pounces when an opponent makes a mistake.

As a team, Rangers have been dominant at the back.

They’ve only conceded ten times in thirty-three Premiership outings thus far. Tavernier has played a big part in that. On average the Englishman is making around 2 tackles per game, that’s more than any other player at Ibrox. It is worth noting that most of those tackles have been clean, the defender has only received two yellow cards in the league in his twenty-nine appearances.

While the marauding full-back has vastly improved on his defensive game, James also hasn’t stopped going forward and doing his bit in the final third of the field.

Incredibly the right-back (along with Morelos) leads his side’s Premiership goalscoring tally with eleven strikes to his name. Yes, quite a few of those have come from the spot but that’s still a phenomenal record for any defender in one season!

As if that wasn’t enough Tavenier also leads the way in assists. No player in Scotland’s top flight has bettered the nine assists he has provided for his teammates.

James Tavernier has stuck around at Ibrox, when other maybe less committed or hardy would’ve left. He’s probably the best player to point to when you want to show the impact that Steven Gerrard has had on the club, because of his determination to improve and give his all for the badge.

This term Rangers have simply been the best!

They have out scored all their opponents and they’ve also got by far and away the best defensive record in the league. Their club captain has been the epitome of both that free-scoring forward play and that stubborn backline.

That’s why James Tavernier would be my pick for Player of the Year!

Four Players Who Liverpool May Sell This Summer

It could be a busy summer for Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp.

The current Premier League champions have failed to put up much of a fight in retaining their title and it looks set to be heading back to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

The Reds will point to a defensive injury crisis as a major reason for their slump but maybe they were also too honourable in keeping a few faces around that should’ve departed last year.

I suspect the squad clear-out that should have happened last summer may happen when the transfer window reopens.

While Adrian isn’t amongst the four I’ve suggested to leave, I don’t believe his contract will be renewed beyond June. I also expect Georginio Wijnaldum to leave on a Bosman, with FC Barcelona his likeliest destination according to TeamTalk.

The four first team squad members that could be facing the chop are Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi, Joel Matip and Naby Keita.

Swiss star Shaqiri undoubtably has talent but he’s failed to hold down a regular spot in the last two seasons. He’s picked up too many injuries and that’s really stalled his career at Anfield.

He hasn’t proved himself when asked to play out wide and The Reds would want someone who offers more consistency.

Stated at the start of the campaign he wanted to play more and make an impact:

“When you are injured or just don’t play, you are disappointed. But I am looking forward to next season and will try to help the team at any time. So I have a chance to play again like in the first season.”

Shaqiri via Show Sport

That hasn’t worked out of Shaqiri this term and the attacker would benefit from taking a step back and getting first team football elsewhere.

While every Liverpool fan will remember Divock Origi for his famous goals against Barca in the Champions League and against Merseyside rivals Everton, the striker hasn’t realised his full potential at Anfield.

Has failed to score or create an assist this season and is no longer seen as a useful Plan B to have at the club. Would benefit in moving to a club that will use him as their focal point and give him a run of games as their number nine. It’s clear he won’t get that opportunity again at Liverpool.

Joel Matip is a solid defender and has looked capable when playing alongside Virgil van Dijk (Who hasn’t?) but the twenty-nine year old is very injury prone.

When Van Djik and Joe Gomez were sidelined with longterm knocks, a lot of pressure was heaped onto Joel’s shoulders and unfortunately he succumbed to yet another injury setback.

Has missed far too many games during his Liverpool career and with The Reds being linked heavily with RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate (Source Daily Mail), I feel it might benefit Liverpool to move Matip on.

Much was expected from Naby Keita when he first arrived in England during the off-season of 2018. Unfortunately the Guinean has never found his rhythm on Merseyside.

The twenty-six year old has missed twenty-three games this season due to injuries and illness. When fit he hasn’t shown Klopp what he’s really capable of. In his fourteen appearances this term, he hasn’t scored or created an assist. During his two and a half seasons at the club, Naby has only scored four league goals and only has four assists to his name.

Naby Keita hasn’t lived up to the £48m price tag (Via BBC Sport) and it may be best for all involved if he tries to resurrect his career elsewhere next season. Now Liverpool won’t recoup that large fee that they forked out a few years back, so maybe they could loan him out for a season and see if that helps him rediscover his form and then take it from there!

I would also suggest that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ben Woodburn and Ben Davies should worry that their futures at Anfield are also under threat.

Getting rid of those four players, plus seeing Adrian and Wijnaldum leave on frees, will see a sizeable load lifted from The Reds wage budget. That would then allow Jurgen Klopp a chance to freshen his pool of players up and get them ready to wrestle the title back from City next term.

Replacing Sergio Aguero Will Represent Man City’s Toughest Task

Argentine striker Sergio Aguero took to social media yesterday to announce that he’s going to leave Manchester City at the end of this current season.

It will represent a huge loss for City and their fans as the hot-shot goalscorer has been at the club for the last ten seasons. In that time he has bagged 257 goals in a Man City jersey and he’s the fourth highest Premier League goalscorer of all-time.

It was Sergio’s dramatic last gasp winner against QPR back in 2012 that secured Manchester City their first every Premier League title (BBC Match Report). That was in the forward’s debut season at the Etihad and he scored a whopping twenty-three league goals in that campaign.

In his ten seasons with the club, the thirty-two year old has scored twenty or more during a campaign in six occasions.

Aguero has been partnered up-top with the likes of Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo, Kelechi Iheanacho and Stevan Jovetic – And he’s outlasted them all!

Along the way the Argentine international has helped his club to four league titles, five League Cups and an FA Cup triumph. If he can stay fit for the rest of this term, then he’ll no doubt help City to more silverware this year too!

Now as the list above regarding the talented strikers that didn’t manage to stick around at City suggests, it’s not easy to lead their line and be that main focal point to the team.

Some were better than others but none of them ever consistently reached Aguero’s level.

City have lost great players in the past but they’ve always seemed to plan for it. Having Kevin De Bruyne softened the blow of losing Yaya Toure. Ruben Dias has now replaced Vincent Kompany. David Silva was sensational at City but when he left last summer it was just expected that Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva would take up the slack.

Replacing a goalscoring phenomenon like Sergio Aguero isn’t going to be simple.

While Man City have ran away with the league this season, they’ve done so without a proper scorer leading the line. Aguero has missed a chunk of the campaign due to injury and the goals have been shared around the team rather than have a main goalscoring threat.

That has seen midfielder Ilkay Gündogan lead City’s domestic goalscoring charts with twelve strikes to his name.

The man seen as potentially being Auger’s long term replacement has been Gabriel Jesus. Yet the Brazilian has often failed to live up to the pressure of being a top level striker. This should really have been his time to shine, given Sergios injury issues, yet Jesus has scored just seven times in the Premier League.

Midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne has stated just how good he thinks Sergio Aguero is:

“He’s obviously one of the best strikers I’ve played with,”

“He’s a striker who’s there in front of the goal. When you don’t see him a lot in a game he can pop up and score three. His record speaks for itself. Everyone knows about Sergio.

“You try to learn how he plays so that you can create as many opportunities as possible for him. The more opportunities he has the better it is for our team because he’s the guy who scores the most goals. For us he’s really important in that way.”

De Bruyne via Sports Mole

For the past eight months The Citizens have been linked with a stunning move for Lionel Messi (Source Sky Sports).

But Aguero’s departure at the Etihad may actually see any possible Messi to City deal dead in the water. It’s thought that Lionel would like to partner up with Sergio next season, hence why Sergio is now being linked with moves to PSG and FC Barcelona (Via ESPN).

Any other potential replacement, which won’t be a long list, will probably cost £100m plus.

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is the hitman that’s on everyone’s lips at the moment. The Norwegian would be a superb get for Man City but they’d be competing with Real Madrid for his signature (Source The Sun). The could be a deal that goes to about £150m.

Manchester Evening News are reporting that City are interested in England captain Harry Kane. It’s another natural move. Kane, especially this season, has shown us that as well as being a world class goal-getter he can also do a wonderful job linking up and creating goals for others. That could see him and Raheem Sterling forming a great and devastating partnership. But again that potential transfer would command a huge fee, Tottenham Hotspur would always demand a premium price.

A forward that might pique City boss Pep Guardiola’s could be Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.

The Argentine has scored fourteen Serie A goals in twenty-one starts. He also has five assists. He has great at dribbling at opponents, can score various types of goal, links up well with fellow attackers and he can come deep create space for others.

But no matter who Manchester City bring in and how much they cost (A LOT!) that person will have a huge job to replace a legend and that’s exactly what Sergio Aguero is!

Chelsea Should Make Former Hitman A Top Priority This Summer

A quick glance at Chelsea’s goal tally in the Premier League this season and you’ll soon see just why boss Thomas Tuchel will be asking the Blues’ recruitment team to purchase a world class striker this summer.

Seven teams, including West Ham United and newly promoted Leeds United, have bettered Chelsea’s forty-four league goals so far this term.

Striker Tammy Abraham and defensive midfielder Jorginho are the club’s joint top scorers with six Premier League goals apiece. That’s an atrocious stat for any side that wants to challenge for major honours!

The London giants paid a big fee to bring in German international forward Timo Werner (Source Goal.com) last year but alas the former RB Leipzig man has just five strikes to his name.

Now there’s talk that Tuchel wants to swap Werner for Borussia Dortmund hotshot Erling Haaland (Via The Sun).

That would be a sensational deal, Haaland is well on his way to become one of the world’s best marksmen. The Norwegian has bagged twenty-one goals in as many Bundesliga appearances. He’s also hit the net a whopping ten times in just six Champions League outings!

The only issue is that in that kind of form every European superpower will want his services.

The Mirror claims that Real Madrid want to buy both Haaland and Kylian Mbappe during the next transfer window. Meanwhile Si.com have stated that Manchester City are active suitors. Sportslens are also reporting that FC Barcelona want the Norway international to replace Lionel Messi (If the Argentine decides to leave Barca).

So let’s say one of Europe’s other top clubs gets their hands on soon to be global superstar Haaland, Chelsea need to have a different option to turn to in the transfer market.

They should probably look no further than former Chelsea hitman Romelu Lukaku.

Then Belgian was always earmarked to lead the line at Stamford Bridge. It just didn’t work out first time around, mainly because then manager Jose Mourinho didn’t have the patience to let the forward develop in West London.

Apart from at The Blues, Lukaku has been a scorer at every other club that he’s represented. I include Manchester United in that, his record of twenty-eight league goals in sixty-six games isn’t bad when you consider how United misused him.

He departed Old Trafford in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since his move to Inter Milan.

The all-round forward has whacked in a stupendously impressive fifty-nine strikes in just eighty-five appearances.

The twenty-seven year old has looked a different player and has gone up to another level.

He has no issues bullying defences with his power or coming from deep and beating opponents with his electric pace. Lukaku also possesses wonderful close control and this allows him to create space and avoid challenges when he’s inside the oppositions penalty area.

As a striker Romelu is definitely that type who loves nothing better than seeing the ball hit the back of the net. If that’s via a tap-in great, or by a well struck shot then that’s great too.

At twenty-seven, he is only just hitting what should be his peak years. Yet he has already struck 246 club goals!

If Inter were to win the Scudetto this season and there’s a strong possibility that that will happen, then maybe the Belgian international goal-getter will believe that his job there is done.

Romelu may also believe that he has unfinished business at Stamford Bridge. He only made ten league appearances there and failed to score for The Blues. A move back there could right that wrong.

Before his original move to Chelsea, Lukaku stated:

“Chelsea is my favourite team.”

“I have always said it and I have never hidden it”

Via ESPN

Could the Premier League giants pull at his heart strings again and re-sign Romelu Lukaku?

Well you wouldn’t be surprised if he were on their potential shortlist. They need goals and very few in Europe are as proven in that regard as the Belgian star. He would certainly give The Blues a formidable focal point to their team and he could actually work well with Werner, if Timo stays at the club.

The striker himself might be eager to prove himself at the one place that it didn’t work out for him. He knows the league and would like to show everyone in England just how good he really is.

Yet I feel Antonio Conte and Inter will hold a lot of the answers. If Conte wants to keep him and Inter can afford to turn down bids, then I can only see him staying in Italy for another season. Conte moved heaven and earth to bring Lukaku and he has coaxed the very best out of the sensational goalscorer. I don’t see Romelu forgetting that and pushing for a transfer, unless it suits all sides.

It’s definitely an intriguing deal to watch out for this summer.

Four Possible Right-Back Solutions For Arsenal

It’s looking likely Arsenal will be on the lookout for at least one new right-back this summer.

The Daily Mail has suggested that Hector Bellerin and Gunners boss Mikel Arteta may have come to an agreement to let the Spanish full-back go during the next transfer window. To be honest Bellerin hasn’t be quite up to scratch in recent seasons and it could be an ideal time for all involved if he were to depart in the near future.

That would leave Cedric Soares as the club’s only other recognised right-back and while the Portuguese internationalist is a reliable squad player, he’s not good enough to be classed as an automatic starter.

Here are four right-backs that may have potentially piqued Arteta’s interest:

EMERSON – REAL BETIS – FC BARCELONA

Ok let’s start by trying to figure out who actually owns Emerson. It seems both Real Betis and Barcelona own half the player, with Betis currently holding his rights but with Barca having a €6m option to sign him this summer.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Barca taking advantage of this clause and then selling the Brazilian on. Not because of his ability but more due to there need to raise cash at the moment.

That could allow Arsenal the chance to swoop in.

He’s a direct runner, who doesn’t miss a chance to attack the opposition down the right flank. Has the tricks to get beyond opponents and he can also deliver a wicked ball from wide positions.

The twenty-two year old has one Brazilian cap to his name and has all the attributes that makes us hark back to Dani Alves.

Defensively Emerson stands up well to those running at him, he makes smart interceptions and tracks back vigorously.

In La Liga this term the right-sided defender has contributed with a goal and four assists. More importantly he averages 2.8 tackles per game, has a passing success percentage that’s above 80% and makes around 2.4 clearances per league out too (Stats – Whoscored).

Could be a viable option if all the cards fall in the right place this summer between Betis and Barca.

RUBEN AGUILAR – AS MONACO

At twenty-seven years of age, Aguilar would offer a more experienced head than the others on this list.

He rampaging runs, his superb crosses and his solid tackles have made him invaluable this term. So much so that Didier Deschamps gave Ruben his first Les Bleus cap back in November.

Aguilar is a tough opponent to beat and also a strong competitor whilst on the ball. Ruben is also good in aerial challenges, winning almost two per game.

Mikel Arteta would also be impressed by the fact Ruben Aguilar has a passing success rate that touches 86%.

The all action defender has scored twice and created two assists in the league. His measured and often standout performances this term have propelled Monaco up the league and they’re still challenging for the Ligue 1 title.

Definitely a player who would give his all for the cause.

NOUSSAIR MAZRAOUI – AJAX

As we all know, Ajax is like a conveyor belt for creating exciting talented players and Noussair seems to fit the bill.

The talented Moroccan international uses his pace to his advantage, both defensively and in attack. He can stay touch tight to wingers as he’ll bet on himself winning any potential foot race. He can also make his speed count when cleaning up any other mistakes in the backline. He can then use his pace as a good transitional tool to get the ball out of defence and into attacking positions.

Mazraoui is also dogged in the challenge and often won’t give up.

Likes bursting forward and can create either when hugging the touchline or by cutting inside and laying the ball off. That could see him develop a devastating understanding with Bukayo Saka at the Emirates (if he were to sign for The Gunners).

Could do with adding more assists to his game.

The right-back does have Champions League experience and it was in that competition where he showed how good he can be defensively, making over three tackles per European appearance!

At just twenty-three years of age, Mazraoui still has time to develop and learn from Arteta.

MAX AARONS – NORWICH CITY

England currently have an abundance of top quality right-backs at their disposal and Max Aarons is the one that is impressing for the under-21s.

The twenty-one year old enjoyed a good spell in the Premier League last season and he’s kicked on again this year in the Championship.

A very composed and accomplished performer, Aarons is extremely comfortable on the ball. He is also his side’s main outlet in bringing the ball out of defence and constantly has an awareness of what’s around him.

Max enjoys and even seems to thrive in one-on-one battles.

Canaries major shareholder Deila Smith has already stated she expects to lose the full-back before too long and has tipped him to become one of the world’s best players:

“They’ve got a nice temperament and Max Aarons is one of the best. He is going to be one of the top footballers and it won’t be at Norwich.”

Via Sky Sports

A stumbling block could be the potential fee for the player. Norwich may want as much as £35m, with German giants Bayern Munich rumoured suitors (Source – FourFourTwo).

But if Arsenal want to compete at the top and want to bring in top English talent, then that all comes at a hefty price!