English Football Transfer Wrap (Week 1)

Josh Barrett – Reading to Coventry (Loan)

Tim Krul – Newcastle United to Brighton & Hove Albion (Free)

Virgil van Dijk – Southampton to Liverpool (A$129.42 million)

Viktor Gyokeres – IF Brommapojkarna to Brighton & Hove Albion (Undisclosed/Market value: A$ 777,000)

Mikel Merino – Borussia Dortmund to Newcastle United (A$10.87 million)

Louis Moult – Motherwell to Preston North End (A$863,000)

Emiliano Marcondes – FC Nordsjaelland to Brentford (A$3.88 million)

Diego Costa – Chelsea to Atletico Madrid (A$98.36 million)

Ahmed Hegazi – AL Ahly to West Brom (A$6.90 million)

Adrien Silva – Sporting CP to Leicester City (A$38 million)

It took four months but Leicester finally landed their man. In September Sporting announced the sale of the midfielder, but FIFA rejected Leicester’s application to register Silva after they reportedly missed the deadline by 14 seconds. Leicester failed to appeal the decision, leaving Silva to train alongside his new teammates without the prospect of playing. Silva finally made his debut in the Foxes scoreless draw with Fleetwood Town in the third round of the FA Cup.

Adrien Silva playing for Leicester

Terence Kongolo – AS Monaco to Huddersfield Town (Loan)

After a less than impressive start to life at AS Monaco, Dutch centre-back Terence Kongolo will be hoping to show why Monaco paid A$23.1 million for his services in the summer, while on loan at Huddersfield. Terriers manager David Wagner was keen to bolster his defensive stocks in the hope of avoiding relegation. Wagner said Kongolo’s mobility will enable him to fit well into the side.

Daniel Rowe – Ipswich Town to Lincoln City (Loan)

Sylvain Deslandes – Wolverhampton Wanderers to Portsmouth (Loan)

Stephy Mavididi – Arsenal to Charlton Athletic (Loan)

Sean Goss – Queens Park Rangers to Rangers (Loan)

Sean Goss

Jordan Maguire-Drew – Brighton & Hove Albion to Coventry City (Loan)

James Hanson – Sheffield United to Bury (Loan)

Connor Ronan – Wolverhampton Wanderers to Portsmouth (Loan)

Adam Phillips – Norwich City to Cambridge United (Loan)

Yeni N’Gbakoto – Queens Park Rangers to Guingamp (Undisclosed/Market value: A$3.1 million)

Rafael Mir Vicente – Valencia to Wolverhampton Wanderers (Undisclosed/Market value: A$1.6 million)

Billy Bodin – Bristol Rovers to Preston North End (Undisclosed/Market value: A$765,000)

Billy Boden has been a shining star in an otherwise disappointing season for Bristol Rovers. The striker netted 11 goals in 24 games this season, before crossing to Preston North End. Rovers chairman Steve Hamer said the departure of Bodin was “probably” inevitable as the striker was to become a free agent in six months. It will be interesting to see if Bodin can make the step up to life in the EFL Championship.

Tom King – Millwall to Stevenage (Loan)

Sid Nelson – Millwall to Chesterfield (Loan)

Paul Jones – Norwich City to Exeter City (Loan)

Josh Kay – Barnsley to Chesterfield (Loan)

Jimmy Dunne – Burnley to Accrington Stanley (Loan)

Jared Bird – Barnsley to Yeovil Town (Loan)

Ike Ugbo – Chelsea to Milton Keynes Dons (Loan)

Conor Ripley – Middlesbrough to Bury (Loan)

Cameron McGeehan – Barnsley to Scunthorpe United (Loan)

Prince Oniangue – Wolverhampton Wanderers to Angers (Loan)

Robert Dickie – Reading to Oxford United (Undisclosed)

Konstantinos Mavropanos – PAS Giannina to Arsenal (A$3.28 million)

Arsenal snapped up the highly rated 20 year old centre-back for a merely A$3.28 million. According to Greek football journalist George Tsitsonis from AGONASport, Mavropanos was considered one of the best defenders in Greece and is known for his ball-winning capabilities and aerial prowess.

 Aaron Drinan – Waterford to Ipswich Town (Undisclosed)

Max Love – Derby County to Shrewsbury Town (Loan)

Marcus Barnes – Southampton to Yeovil Town (Loan)

Lewis Wing – Middlesbrough to Yeovil Town (Loan)

Jonathan Edwards – Hull City to Woking (Loan)

Jake Kean – Sheffield Wednesday to Grimsby Town (Loan)

Corey Whelan – Liverpool to Yeovil Town (Loan)

Aaron Ramsdale – AFC Bournemouth to Chesterfield (Loan)

Shay Facey – Manchester City to Northampton Town (Undisclosed/Market value: A$612,000)

Ross Barkley – Everton to Chelsea (A$26 million)

Having not played for seven months with a hamstring injury and with only six months left on his contract, Chelsea were able to purchase the talented Barkley on the cheap. Barkley’s valuation was cut by half from the summer when Chelsea offered A$52 million for his services. Aged only 24, Barkley has already made 150 appearances in the Premier League and by paying such a small total in todays market, Chelsea have completed the bargain of the transfer window.

Ross Barkley unveiled at Chelsea. Credit: Sky Sports

Liam Walsh – Everton to Bristol City (Undisclosed/Market value: A$383,000)

Gethin Jones – Everton to Fleetwood Town (Undisclosed/Market value: A$383,000)

Cenk Tosun – Besiktas to Everton (A$47 million)

Everton announced the four-and-a-half-year contract with the 26-year-old Turkey international striker at half time in their FA Cup tie against Liverpool. Everton manager Sam Allardyce said Tosun in “the best in the world” at that price. Tosun scored 20 goals for Besiktas last season and has so far netted eight league goals and four Champions League goals this season.

Callum Johnson – Middlesbrough to Accrington Stanley (Undisclosed)

 

*Market value’s courtesy of Transfermarkt.co.uk 

Sport Songs – Devil in Disguise

To the tune of Devil in Disguise by Elvis Presley. 

You look like an angel

Dribble like an angel

Cross like an angel

But you lied

You’re the devil in disguise

Oh Ryan Giggs

The devil in disguise

 

You fooled us with your charm

You cheated with your sister in-law

Sir Alex knows how you lied to us

You’re not the way you seem

 

You look like an angel

Dribble like an angel

Cross like an angel

But you lied

 

You’re the devil in disguise

Oh Ryan Giggs

The devil in disguise

 

We thought you were a gentleman

Who did everything right

Heaven help your brother Rhodri

You’re a Red Devil deep inside

 

You look like an angel

Dribble like an angel

Cross like an angel

 

But you lied

You’re the devil in disguise

Oh Ryan Giggs

The devil in disguise

 

You’re the devil in disguise

Oh Ryan Giggs

The devil in disguise

Oh Ryan Giggs

The devil in disguise

 

 

Premier League 2017/18 mid-season report card

With half of the 2017/18 Premier League season behind us, Brayden May, Christopher Chrysostomou, Mitch Keating and Tim Sperliotis from the English Football Podcast grade the form of every Premier League team from the season so far.

Arsenal

A not-so-great first half of the season for the Gunners. For the remainder, they need to keep getting victories and take a big scalp or two to return to the top four. Winning the Europa League is a MUST. A 3-3 home draw to Liverpool and 3-1 home loss to Manchester United could come back to bite them.

Retaining the services of Alexis Sanchez will go a long way in securing a spot in the top four.

Will Alexis Sanchez be at Arsenal after the January transfer window?

Grade: C-

Bournemouth

The Cherries are currently a threat of being relegated at the end of the season. Stuck on four wins, they need to grind out a few results and secure their safety. Key forward Jermain Defoe is missing until late February with a long-term injury. Will be interesting to see where they finish.

Grade: D

Brighton 

Brighton and Hove Albion fans will enter the new year with a big a smile following an impressive start to the campaign. Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan has produced several match saving performances thus far and looks a real smart summer purchase. They will be interesting to watch over the coming months as they aim to stay in the top flight.

Grade: B 

Burnley 

Having flirted with a top four place in mid December, the Clarets have proven they are the best side to break into the top six, as they comfortably sit in limbo between the Premier League giant six and the mid table.

A key factor for Sean Dyche’s success has been his consistent reliance on the starting lineup. Burnley average just 0.9 changes to their starting lineup – the fewest of any Premier League side, with the next fewest being Leicester’s 1.5 changes per week. Centre-backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been the shining light for Burnley’s season, with both defenders having put themselves into contention as the best half backs in the league.

James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been rock solid in defence.

The next month of football for Burnley will prove their worth in the league, with fixtures again Liverpool and both Manchester sides, the Clarets could see themselves press for a top six spot or fall into the middle of the table.

Grade: B+

Chelsea

It would take an almighty collapse from Manchester City for Antonio Conte’s side to claim back-to-back titles so now it’s about a top four finish.

Alvaro Morata has been a revelation since crossing from Real Madrid in the summer, scoring on a consistent basis. Last season’s title winning defence has been chopped and changed throughout and those rotations have seen the Blues pay.

Alvaro Morata has been a revelation at Chelsea.

Grade: B-

Crystal Palace

The 2017/18 season could not have started any worse for Crystal Palace. After losing their opening four matches without scoring a goal – the first team in 93 years to have begun a top flight season in such fashion, Palace sacked manager Frank De Boer, making him the shortest reigning manager in Premier League history.

De Boer was replaced by Roy Hodgson who also had trouble changing the clubs fortunes. Hodgson lost his opening three matches in charge without hitting the scoresheet, before a 2-1 victory over Chelsea ended the Eagles seven game winless start to the season.

Since the victory over Chelsea, Palace have achieved three victories and six draws and have moved out of the relegation zone. A lot of Crystal Palace’s resurgence has to do with Wilfried Zaha returning from injury. After missing the start of the season, Zaha has netted four goals and has drawn the interest of Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Crystal Palace will be hoping to hold onto Zaha if they are going to avoid a relegation battle.

Grade: C-

Everton

How do you grade Everton’s season? Pre season expectations were high at Goodison Park after the Toffees spent £153 million on new signings. But without Romelu Lukaku up front the Toffees lacked a goal scorer and come late October the club sat in 18th place and sacked manager Ronald Koeman.

David Unsworth was placed as caretaker manager but even he couldn’t restore the sinking ship, winning only two of his eight matches in charge.

The announced appointment of Sam Allardyce had an instant impact on the club and in Unsworth’s final match as manager, Wayne Rooney scored a hat rick to give the Toffees a 4-0 victory over West Ham.

The appointment of Allardyce has drawn criticism from Everton fans, but it is undeniable Allardyce has been able turn the Toffees season around. By the time Koeman was sacked, the club had conceded 28 goals in the league. Under Allardyce, Everton have kept five clean sheets in seven league fixtures. The Toffees have also gone undefeated under Allardyce and sit in ninth position on the table.

Sam Allardyce has steady the ship since becoming Everton manager.

Despite the recent upturn in Everton’s fortunes the 2017/18 has been a failure for the club, given they were expected to challenge for a top four spot this season.

Grade: D

Huddersfield

A great start to the Premier League season for the newly promoted side. Not many expected they would be higher than the bottom half of the table, however they currently sit in 11th position. Aussie Aaron Mooy is key to their success and could be the one to help them finish in the top half.

Grade B+

Leicester 

Many questioned the appointment of Claude Puel following Craig Shakepeare’s sacking but it has worked a treat. The Foxes are back playing some of their best football and it has been a joy to watch. They face a major challenge in January in trying to keep hold of Riyad Mahrez who has been heavily linked to Arsenal and Roma.

Grade: C

Liverpool 

It was made well aware that Liverpool will be relying on their fire power up front to keep them afloat with the fellow top six sides before the season had started.

The inclusion Mohamed Salah has proven to be the signing of the season with the Egyptian having scored 17 goals and five assists to date.

Mohamed Salah has netted 17 goals in the Premier League this season.

Reds fans will be delighted with the signing of Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk, as Jurgen Klopp looks to repair his sides defensive woes after conceding 20 goals away from home. Klopp will be eyeing the mid January fixture against Manchester City at Anfield as the game that  could shape the Reds’ season and hopes for a top four finish.

Grade: B

Manchester City 

Just two points dropped at this stage of the season has Pep Guardiola’s side well on their way to the Premier League crown. The Sky Blues have been exciting to watch not just for their own supporters but also the neutral. Their free flowing football is only going to get better. Right now it’s almost hard to see them losing a match in the league. While Champions League glory is not out of the question.

Manchester City have enjoyed great success in 2017.

Grade: A+

Manchester United 

Surely a team sitting in third place would consider the 2017/18 season a success? That is unless the team has spent close to £300 million in two years and are 14 points behind the top of the table Manchester City. Manchester United have not sat this high up on the table since the Sir Alex Ferguson era came to an end in 2013. Yet there is a sense of disappointment in the fans who have begun resenting Jose Mourinho’s constant negativity.

The fans have been unhappy with Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Shaw has been Mourinho’s whipping boy for over a year and Mkhitaryan has found himself on the outer since his signed for the club last summer. Mourinho has also lamented the clubs lack of depth and claimed he will need to spend even more money to compete with Manchester City.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has found life difficult at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho.

The gap between the two Manchester teams was no more evident than their first meeting of the season. At the time City were only eight points ahead of United on the table. Mourinho deployed a team that would hit City on the counter but against a side that don’t give the ball away, United did not have a chance to exploit City’s defensive weaknesses.

In the six matches after the Derby Day misery, United were held to three draws and a humiliating defeat to Bristol City in the League Cup.

This season was suppose to be the campaign where Manchester United showed themselves to once again be a Premier League force. Despite being well behind their city counterparts, United have proven to be the ‘best of the rest’ and for the most part of the season, but a recent dip in form has hampered their progress.

Grade: C+

Newcastle 

The Magpies are still a threat to be relegated. Need to win as many matches as possible in order to stay another season in the league. January will be an interesting time to see whether they sign a couple of players to help their fight. However, they will likely survive.

Grade: D

Southampton 

The Saints have only two wins to show since mid September. With just 13 points from a possible 33 at St. Mary’s Stadium this season, Southampton have fallen into the relegation conversation.

The Saints have struggled to piece together a run of consistent football throughout the season as they fail to capitalise on winning positions. They now sit just two points ahead of 18th placed Bournemouth following a lacklustre December.

Virgil Van Dijk’s departure will leave a hole in the Saints defence.

Come January 1st, the Saints will lose half-back Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool, giving Mauricio Pellegrino a chance to improve his side through signings with money in the bank. Picking up three points against an out of form Manchester United would be a perfect end to the year in the Saints’ hopes of avoiding a drop to the relegation zone.

Grade: D+

Stoke

When Mark Hughes replaced Tony Pulis as manager of Stoke in 2013, it was believed the club would finally break away from the direct, robust style that made Stoke one of the most boring teams to watch in the league. Four years on and Stoke are still a team ever reliant on Peter Crouch up front.

Stoke are a team complacent with being mid table in the Premier League, despite having the most Champions League winners of any Premier League team in their squad.

This season has seen Stoke toil with the prospect of relegation. The Potters sit three points above 18th place Bournemouth and calls for Mark Hughes sacking have intensified.

Stoke have not had a happy end to 2017.

At times this campaign Hughes has deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation, but with the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Mame Biram Diouf and Erik Peters in the team, Hughes using this formation is like trying to build a house out of plywood.

Stoke’s main aim is to avoid relegation, which they so far have managed to avoid the drop zone but a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea will surely put Hughes’ job in jeopardy.

Grade: D

Swansea

The drop seems inevitable for the South Wales club this season, as a change of manager hasn’t appeared to help their cause just yet. Goals have been difficult to come by with just 13 goals to date – which is simply terrible for this level of football. The absence of Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a major reason for their downfall.

Grade: F

Tottenham

Following their second place finish last season, there were hopes Tottenham may make the leap forward and win their first title since 1961. But like fellow teams, the Spurs have been outshone but the undefeated Manchester City. Tottenham sit fifth on the table and have struggle for continuity while playing home matches at Wembley Stadium.

Injuries have tested the depth of the Spurs squad and with Toby Alderweireld having been injured for a majority of the campaign, Spurs have conceded 20 goals so far, six less than their total for the 2016/17 season.

Dele Alli has struggled to recapture last seasons form, but fortunately for Tottenham, Harry Kane has taken his game to another level. Kane leads the EPL scoring with 18 goals.

Harry Kane fast becoming the most lethal striker in the world.

Tottenham may look to improve their squad depth in the January transfer window in the quest of clinching a top four spot.

Grade: C+

Watford

With a forgetful last month and a half, Hornets fans can thank their strong start to the season for their position in mid table. The shining light for Watford’s season has been the emergence of Abdoulaye Doucouré and Brazilian forward Richarlison. The duo have netted a total of 11 goals, with Richarlison also managing four assists this year.

Richarlison has been a shining light for Watford.

Marco Silva will be praying for a change in form come January with his side only managing three wins since October 21st, after losses to newly promoted sides Brighton and Huddersfield and 16th placed Crystal Palace.

Grade: C+

West Brom 

For a club known for its strong starts to a Premiership campaign, the Baggies have had a forgetful first few months to the 2017/18 season.

Oliver Burke has failed to make an impact at West Brom.

With Alan Pardew now at the helm, West Brom are eyeing an alteration for on-field performances. They are currently winless in their last 10 matches and continue to fall deeper into the bottom three, as they currently sit just two points above last placed Swansea. The inclusions of Oliver Burke, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Jay Rodriguez have failed to spark the side and Pardew will now have to spend in January to keep the Baggies in the Premier League.

Grade: D

West Ham

A horrible start to their season for the Hammers. Manager Slaven Bilic was sacked and replaced by David Moyes. You would think that the former Manchester United and Everton manager will guide the Hammers to safety. Some momentum will see them finish mid table. The 1-0 victory over Chelsea and the draw against Arsenal in December will no doubt give them some hope and confidence.

Grade: E

You can hear Brayden, Mitch, Tim and Chris weekly by subscribing to the English Football Podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud

“We are struggling,” says Conte

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is eager to see his team respond from Tuesday night’s 3-0 Champions League defeat to Roma.

Speaking ahead of Monday morning’s match with Manchester United, Conte has called for his players to show character through a time of adversity.

“We are struggling a lot, because we are facing a lot of important problems,” Conte said.

“To solve these problems is not simple. In this moment you can see it you are a winner or a loser.“

“It’s important to show character, to be strong, to face the problem in the right way.”

Conte said he will try to transfer his suffering to the players in the quest of turning the Blues fortunes around.

“I try to transfer my suffering to my players. Sometimes I am able to do this, to have a good answer.”

The Blues sit nine points behind top of the table Manchester City in the Premier League and defeat to Manchester United this weekend will make defending their championship all the more difficult.

But Conte insists he is happy with the commitment of his players.

“I’m happy to work with my players. The commitment is always good but this season we are struggling a lot because we are facing a lot of problems and resolving these problems is not simple.”

The Blues will host a Manchester United team that includes former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and former player Nemanja Matic.

Last year Mourinho criticised Conte for trying to humiliate him, after Chelsea’s 4-0 victory over the Red Devils.

Conte refused to add to the animosity when asked about his relationship with Mourinho.

“It’s not important, the relationship between the coaches. We have to respect the job of the other coaches.”

“He’s an opponent and I’m an opponent for him. After the game it will be the same.”

Conte will be hoping for the return of midfielder N’golo Kante for the weekends match.

Kante has been sidelined for six matches in all competitions since picking up a hamstring injury on national duty in early October.

Conte said Kante is “progressing well”, but will not risk the midfielder if there is any chance of reinjuring his hamstring.

 

 

British managers ‘foreigners’ in local league

Last week, former England manager Sam Allardyce labelled British managers as ‘second class citizens’ in the ‘foreign’ Premier League.

Speaking on beIn Sports ‘Keys and Grey Show’, Allardyce said British coaches were deemed uneducated, compared to their foreign counterparts.

“I think you are almost deemed as second class because it is your country,” Allardyce told beIN Sports.

“It is a real shame that we are highly educated, highly talented coaches now with nowhere to go.”

“The Premier League is the foreign league in England now…when you look across the owners, the managers and the coaches [and] the players, that is exactly what it is now.”

Allardyce’s views draw sentiment to the opinion that British football is losing its grip on the world’s biggest league.

Foreign investors own 13 of the 20 Premier League teams and 65 per cent of Premier League managers are from foreign backgrounds.

Since Ossie Ardiles became the first foreign manager in the Premier League when he was appointed manager of Tottenham in 1993, the league has transformed from a predominately British coaching structure to one that see’s a scarcity of home grown management.

Despite being in a self-imposed retirement, Allardyce is one of few British managers who would attract interest from numerous top-flight clubs. But the interest would only be from the mid-tier sides, instead of the top six clubs.

When appointed England national manager in July 2016, Allardyce was considered the best candidate of any British manager.

But following his controversial departure 67 days after being appointed, Allardyce returned to club management by joining Crystal Palace at a time when they were in the midst of a relegation battle.

The lack of interest from top clubs in the Premier League to sign British managers is a worry for English Football.

The reports Everton are interested in appointing Burnley manager Sean Dyche as their new manager is seen as a step forward for British management.

Despite being ranked the sixth biggest club in England by the Daily Mail, Everton have averaged an eighth place finish in the Premier League for the past 10 years. With little involvement in European football, the Toffees can not be considered one of the leagues top clubs.

The foreign takeover of English football has also begun to seep its way into the lower leagues. The Championship was once home to English players who were not good enough for top-level football, but could still have a thriving career. Today, foreign consortiums own 14 of the 24 clubs in the EFL Championship.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have set the championship alight this season, largely due to the number of foreign players in their team.

Wolverhampton owner, Fosun International have a close relationship with Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes, who helped the club sign Ivan Cavaleiro, Helder Costa and Roderick Miranda.

Ivan Cavaleiro

The on-field success of Wolves will see more championship clubs focus on recruiting foreign players instead of developing English talent.

2017 has been a successful year for England’s national junior setup, which has won the under 20 and under 17 World Cup’s and the under 19 European Championship.

With so many talented youngsters, England are on the cusp of a golden generation, which will not see fruition in the current English football climate.

The amount of money on offer in the Premier League has led owners and managers being unwilling to risk the possibility of relegation for the sake of youth development.

Chelsea and Manchester City have the best youth set ups in England, but both do not promote academy prospects to their senior line-ups.

Some young talents have moved overseas to try their luck in breaking into first team football, with Jadon Sancho, Reece Oxford and Kaylen Hinds moving to Germany in the quest for senior football.

Jadon Sancho unveiled at Borussia Dortmund

One way to ensure academy players get a chance in England would be to deploy ‘B’ teams in the divisions below the Premier League, as evident with Barcelona B in Spain’s second division.

Last years Uefa Youth League final was between Benfica and Salzburg, two teams that have second string sides in the lower national leagues.

Another way to ensure youth development would be to appoint a sporting director and head coach, a system deployed in other leagues across Europe.

Germany’s RB Leipzig have had success developing youth with Ralf Rangnick overseeing the whole club, including nurturing young talent, while head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl focused solely on first team affairs.

“In former times and that is still the case at some clubs today, there is a manager doing the head coach and sporting director role and is responsible for everything,” Rangnick told The Sun.

“But if you sack the manager another one comes in and says ‘I don’t want these players… we should sell them’.”

“But there is a tendency things are changing, a few clubs are now thinking about bringing in a sporting director who is then in charge of the medium and long-term plans of the club.”

If English football continues as it has in recent years then there will be no room for Englishmen in the local league. But with a few changes to the way of thinking, British managers and players may once again rule the English game.

 

 

 

 

 

The definitive guide to the EPL transfer window

With the transfer window opening on July 1, we take a look at what to expect during the transfer period in our ‘Definitive guide to the transfer window’.

 

  1. Do not trust newspapers named after stars

According to the ‘Daily Star’ Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United in August 2013.

The ‘Daily Star’ even went as far as to predict the date of when Ronaldo would return.

Four years on and United fans are still waiting for the favourite son to return.

Being one of the smaller newspapers in overcrowded UK market means the ‘Daily Star’ must make bold claims to gain consumer attention.

But the ‘Daily Stars’ click bait headlines has resulted in the paper having little credibility.

The same can be said of ‘The Sun’.

‘The Sun’ is a tabloid newspaper owned by News Corp and is structured like a gossip magazine.

Instead of hard hitting stories, ‘The Sun’ is focused on delivering readers the latest gossip on celebrities and risque stories.

‘The Sun’ publishes the latest news about theWAGS and social lives of footballers, instead of their on-field exploits.

‘The Sun’s’ credibility took a hit in 1989, when it published false accusations about Liverpool supporters in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.

pp-hillsborough-sun-front

Front page of The Sun four days after Hillsborough

Liverpool FC have since banned the paper from Anfield.


  1. Manchester United will be linked to hundreds of players

Over 100 players are linked to Manchester United every season.

Being the biggest club in the world means managers and teams want to link their players to United because it boosts the publicity of the player and can increase their value.

To distinguish between a real and fake transfer, work out which sources are trustworthy.

Guillem Balague of Sky Sports and Gabriele Marcotti of ESPN are the more trustworthy reporters.

Also while reading rumours think if the club would really want the player they are linked to.

Would Manchester United want Alvaro Morata?

A 24 year old world class striker, of course they would.

download

Morata Manchester United bound

Would Manchester United to spend £71million for Saul Niguez?

Highly unlikely.


  1. Arsenal linked to Cavani and Lacazette

When weren’t Arsenal linked to Cavani or Lacazette?

1976005-41515596-640-360

Lacazette and Cavani

The Gunners are crying out for a world-class striker but manager Arsene Wenger refuses to splash the cash on talent.

Instead Arsenal purchase Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez and rue another missed opportunity to win the league.

The Gunners usually wait until the final week of the transfer window to finalise purchases, so expect a quiet July from the Gunners. 


  1. Teams will overpay for British talent 

With so many foreigners in the Premier League, quality English players are few and far between.

The lack of talent means teams will spend enormous sums of money to purchase English players.

Last year Manchester City spent £50 million on John Stones and the year before they spent the same amount on Raheem Sterling.

3709D7BF00000578-3731105-image-m-25_1470758106116

John Stones signing for Manchester City

So far this season Everton have spent £30 million on Jordan Pickford and are set to pay £25 million on Michael Keane.

Reports also suggest Manchester United are willing to spend £200 million on Harry Kane.


  1. Transfer records will be smashed

Premier League clubs spent £1.165 billion on transfers in 2016/17, surpassing the £870 million spent in 2015/16.

Thirteen EPL sides broke their transfer records and a total of £155 million was spent on deadline day.

_90989663_total_spend_10years

Transfer figures over the years. Courtesy: BBC

The increase is due to the new £5.1 billion broadcast deal, which came to effect last season and saw the revenue of all clubs rise.

Chelsea received £38 million in prize money for finishing first, while the seventh placed Everton were awarded £26.6 million.

Clubs around the world know Premier League teams have enormous amount to money to spend and will request large sums for their players.

This will see the transfer records smashed yet again in 2017/18.

Fairy tales to flops – How 2016’s underdogs are 2017’s underachievers

298 days after winning the Premier League title for the first time in their 133 year history, Leicester City have done the unthinkable and sacked manager Claudio Ranieri.

The man who brought sport it’s most fairy tale moment and will no doubt have a statue resurrected in his honour in the city of Leicester was sacked in the cruellest of fashions.

Leicester sit 18th in the EPL and look like a team void of confidence but with Champions League football still to play, the question remains; Why was Ranieri sacked now?

Manchester United persisted with David Moyes until they were eliminated from the Champions League and by then they were sitting a lowly seventh in the Premier League.

Leicester were never going to win the Premier League this season and the owners were not deluded enough to believe they had a chance of backing up last years feats.

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddanaprabha’s only expectation for the club this season was to avoid relegation, while focussing on having successful Champions League campaign.

It’s safe to say the club have done there best to not deliver on this expectation and for this reason Ranieri has been sacked.

But Leicester isn’t alone in failing to deliver a season after achieving unexpected success.

2016 will be remembered as the year of the fairy tale story in sport.

Teams like Leicester and the Chicago Cubs broke droughts that span over 100 years, while others like Adelaide United and the Sydney Thunder won their first championships.

But as already been evident in 2017, these unlikely winners have failed to deliver in their title defence and have returned to positions they have routinely held.

Leicester have always been a ‘yoyo’ club, constantly moving between divisions and never really established as a Premier League side, having only been in the Premier League for 11 of the competitions 25 yeas.

It’s highly unlikely Leicester will ever win the title again but it is plausible that they will be relegated in the year’s to come.

For a man that brought so much joy to a small team, the Foxes owners were swift to axe the history maker.

2016 saw two teams in Australian sport break their ducks and win their first titles.

Adelaide United were crowned A-League champions for the first time following a 3-1 victory over Western Sydney in the final.

A-League Grand Final - Adelaide v Western Sydney

Courtesy: A-League

In the post season the Reds lost key players including Bruce Djite, Jimmy Jeggo and Stefan Mauk and have struggled in their title defence, winning only three of their first 21 games and sitting bottom of the table.

Another team who created history last year was the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash league.

The Thunder have always been the seller dwellers and had finished last in three of the opening four seasons of the competition.

But under the captaincy of Mike Hussey, the Thunder claimed their first title in the fifth year of the competition, only to again finish last in 2016-17.

The form drop of these teams is a warning to the Western Bulldogs, Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Both the Bulldogs and the Cubs have yet to start their title defence but the Cavaliers have proven it is difficult to achieve.

Apart from a catastrophic form slump the Cavaliers will win the Eastern conference and feature in the NBA playoff finals series.

But Cleveland’s form is not as good as last season and pressure has shown, evident when LeBron James ranted about needing a playmaker.

LeBron James

Clevelands LeBron James

Few of the underdogs from last season may have success this year but for most, 2017 will be the year the underdog returns to their rightful place in the pecking order.

Squad rotation for FA Cup says Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed he will be rotating his squad for United’s FA Cup tie against Reading.

Mourinho has guaranteed starting spots for goalkeeper Sergio Romero and captain Wayne Rooney, but has also predicted more changes to preserve his squad’s fitness, ahead of some important January fixtures.

Rotations to the team could see Bastian Schweinsteiger start for the first time in almost a year.

Schweinsteiger was frozen out of the squad by Mourinho at the start of the season but in recent months has regained his spot at training and made a four minute cameo as a sub against West Ham in the EFL Cup in November.

“He’s selected again so he can start, he can be on the bench. He’s an option for us,” said Mourinho.

“I think that’s the best way to describe it, for many months he wasn’t an option, when we brought him back in the first couple of weeks he was not an option, not ready to compete but since then working very well, never an injury, he was ill last week. His body is fine, is training very well, he’s ready to play.”

Luke Shaw also looks set to be handed a starting spot after missing eight games with a groin injury.

Mourinho has publicly criticised the 21-year-old on two occasions this season; the first being for his part in Watford’s second goal against United at Vicarage Road and again when he said the defender was “not in the condition” to play against Swansea in October.

Marcus Rashford looks set to be given an opportunity to play in his preferred striking position, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be given a break after a chaotic festive season.

Exciting prospect Timothy Fosu-Mensah also has a chance of a rare starting appearance and with his versatility, could play either in midfield, full back or centre back.

The 19-year-old made 10 appearances for United last season but under Mourinho he has only started two games in the EFL Cup and in the Europa League.

Two players who will not partake in the game will be Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, as both are seeking to leave the club in the January transfer period.

Schneiderlin looks set to re-join former coach Ronald Koeman at Everton and the Toffees are also said to be interested in signing Depay.

“Their situation is exactly the same,” Mourinho clarified. “I will allow them to leave the club, I will allow them to leave if the right offer comes and until this moment, no.

“We are waiting for something that a couple of weeks ago looked 100 per cent. In this moment, it looks like zero per cent because we don’t have any offer that is close to the quality the players have.”

Jose not to blame for Manchester United’s failures

Another day and another poor performance by Manchester United. A nil-all draw to Burnley at home, in a game where United created 37 shots on goal.

While the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and even Liverpool seem to play attractive football week after week, United struggle to find a scoring and passing rhythm.

It seems to be a recurring theme for United in the past four years since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

So what is it that is making Manchester United struggle?

Surely it isn’t all Jose Mourinho’s fault because it began prior to his time at the club.

Under David Moyes the club had an ageing list that required rejuvenation but not to an overdramatic proportion. Unfortunately for Moyes, he had the inexperienced Ed Woodward running the transfer business and his incompetence to land targets never gave Moyes a fair chance at succeeding.

Watching Moyes on the touchline was like watching the Titanic sink. No matter how hard he tried, Moyes had little chance of succeeding because the players he inherited didn’t support his philosophies that were only proven to succeed at mid-table clubs.

While the players didn’t support Moyes, Moyes himself must take some of the blame for his failures. Moyes sacked long standing United assistance, Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen, in favour of his right hand men from Everton Steve Round and Jimmy Lumsden.

The change in coaching staff was the start of Moyes’ demise because the United players who were once training to compete with the likes of Carles Puyol and Xavi were now at training being compared to Phil Jagielka.

While Moyes’ demise was the result of the players and his own failure to change, Louis Van Gaal’s failed tenure at United was solely due to his own misgivings.

Van Gaal had an agenda to change the entire playing list and culture at the club. While some coaches would have looked at the success the club achieved in 2012/13 when they won the title in Ferguson’s final year, Van Gaal still believed the club needed a dramatic overhaul to become successful.

In his first year, Van Gaal sold and loaned out Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Tom Cleverly and Javier Hernandez.

All nine players featured prominently in Ferguson’s final season and many were considered leaders at the club.

Van Gaal’s ruthless player turnover tore the heart out of the club and the lack of leadership on the field was the result of many of United’s lacklustre performances during the Van Gaal era.

So now to the Jose Mourinho era, which hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. Why are United continuing to struggle under the self proclaimed ‘Special One’?

Mourinho’s first problem is the playing list. Mourinho has said countless times that he is happy with his playing list but in reality Mourinho would wish he had inherited Ferguson’s squad.

Mourinho has a squad of players purchased by three different managers. Having a squad of players from three different managers results in dysfunctional performances and a lack of balance, which is evident in many of United’s performances. Mourinho needs time to work out which players are required and which do not fit his philosophy.

Another key reason for Mourinho’s lack of success is the amount individuals in the team.

Liverpool, Tottenham and Leicester’s recent success is due to the team playing as a team, with players working for one another. At United there is a sense of players playing for themselves instead of for the team.

A lack of pressing and covering for players is a reason the team has struggled so far this season and were smashed 4-0 by Chelsea.

Only Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford have shown any heart for the club, while the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini play every week but seem to be sponging off the clubs finances.

There is no ‘I’ in team and the quicker Mourinho realises there is no time for individuals, the quicker the success will return to the Theatre of Dreams.