Feb 072015
 

Manchester United travels to Upton Park on Sunday on the back of an impressive FA cup win over Cambridge United. It promises to be an exciting game. Below are five reasons why I think Manchester United will beat West Ham.

The 4-4-2 diamond formation, key to attacking fluidity:

It’s no coincidence that since Louis Van Gaal reverted back to four at the back and a diamond midfield, United have played better. They’ve moved the ball around quicker, the players are used to the formation and respond to the formation plus it guarantees goals. Should Louis Van Gaal continue with the 4-4-2 diamond formation, I expect West Ham to be soundingly beaten.

Maroune Fellaini/Rooney:

The big, afro haired Belgian who was key to United’s six wins on the trot just before the end of last year is back in form and will be important against Sam Allardyce’s men. Not just because of his aerial strength but the physical presence he brings to the fore in a midfield lacking grit at the moment.

We all thought it would be a few years before we see Wayne Rooney in midfield. Many United fans were expecting him to continue to play from the attack for at least some few more years but alas he’s played in the midfield more times this season than his favored attacking position just behind the front man. He gives his all, gets stuck into every tackle, can pick a pass and has re-invented the Scholes esque play of ghosting into the box from midfield to score goals like the match against Liverpool. He’s like a mixture of Bryan Robson, Roy keane and Paul Scholes rolled into one person. He’s been one of the stand-out performers this season.  With he and Fellaini in the middle of the pack, there is no stopping the red devils.

Stable Defense (no Injuries):

For the first time in a long while Manchester United will have the same back four starting back to back games as the back four that started against Leicester city is available for the West Ham game and I won’t bet against LVG fielding them. Defensive continuity is key, it helps the Goalkeeper the defenders and makes the defense line in sync with each other since they play with each other week in week out.

Angel Di Maria:

The club record signing started his OT career in spectacular fashion but after a couple of niggling injuries began to struggle. But he is slowly coming back to form at a crucial phase of the season, the signs are there. He was fantastic against Leicester city and in the FA cup against Cambridge united. He is expected to spearhead United’s midfield play against West Ham.

Jan 262015
 

The future of Wojciech Szczesny remains in doubt after reports claims that he has been informed that he can leave the club in the summer. The Polish goalkeeper has since lost his place to David Ospina after his errors against Southampton in the first match of the year led to a defeat. The errors were followed up by a foible in the team’s shower, when he smoked in the team’s shower after the match at the St. Mary’s. David Ospina has taken the reigns in the back stick and brought some calmness to an Arsenal back line that has not been used to such privileges this season. The Colombian has since kept three clean sheets in the last three matches and you can bet on him continuing as the number one goalkeeper unless he gets injured. Bet365 are already taking bets on Ospina maintaining his number one spot till the end of the season – you can use this bonus code for bet365 if you are a putter

What then are the repercussions for Wojciech Szczesny?

Firstly, I do not think he would be sold?  And the reasons for such is obvious. He was brought in by Arsene Wenger at a young age, 16 years to be precise in 2006, and Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal coaching staff have invested a lot in his development over the past nine years. And Arsene Wenger does not easily abandon any project of his after guiding such a player for a sometime. The Frenchman has a loyalty to his players that betrays a shred of ruthlessness he may have.

Although, it must be said that Wojciech Szczesny might have been a beneficiary of the club’s huge investment in youth players, his continuous battles with focus is rooted in his arrogance coupled with his cocky nature. Prior to his ascension to Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper in December 2010 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, he was of the opinion that he was a better goalkeeper than Manuel Almunia and Lukas Fabianski without publicly declaring it. It is such arrogance rooted in a sense that he is better than the other lot that has caused him to lose focus several times. The last time he was dropped for Lukas Fabianski in March, 2013, he later pointed out that it was something he needed having struggled with focus and form at the time. Now the same situation has resurfaced this season which has caused his latest drop from the side.

Conversely, apart from the investment that has gone into him since he arrived at the club, there are several physical attributes he has that David Ospina lacks, which could be key in certain matches. He stands at 6ft 5in, and with his stature and height, he has a capacity to dominate his penalty box as he showed at Upton Park against West Ham. It is that lapses of concentration that has been a weak point in his game. That ability to dominate the penalty box is not something that can be expected of David Ospina. He is just 6ft, and he has a little stature. His only attempt to punch clear against Manchester City was not convincing, not because it was not well executed, but he lacked the height to generate a lift on the punch.

The names of Neto of Fiorentina might have been mentioned in dispatches as possible replacements for Wojciech Szczesny, but the reports that he could be out the door in the summer has little or no substance to it because it is not Arsene Wenger’s way to abandon a project.

Jan 252015
 

Arsenal travel to the Amex Stadium to face Championship side Brighton in the fourth round of the FA Cup in what is their first trip out of London in the FA Cup competition since the defeat to Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates in January, 2013.  Arsenal’s triumph at Wembley was achieved without leaving London last season. With the FA Cup competition the club’s best opportunity to win a silverware this season, and with several big name clubs no longer in the draw, we take a look a five reasons why Arsenal will beat Brighton in Sunday’s match.

  1. Saturday’s Results

The Arsenal players would have seen the way Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton lost at home to Bradford, Middleborough, Leicester City and Crystal Palace on Saturday. Any hint of complacency would have been erased from the player’s subconscious. Which means they would be expected to put up a flawless performance to beat Brighton by not taking the championship side lightly. Yesterday’s results would have also shown the players they now have a real chance of retaining the FA cup won last season.

  1. Players Eager to Prove Themselves

The likes of Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil are expected to start against Brighton, both players have been out injured and face competition for their positions from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla in top form. A strong performance from the duo should put Brighton to the sword. Wojciech Szczesny has sat out the last three matches after being dropped. He would be eager to put up an improved display to work his way back to the manager’s plans.

  1. Arsenal’s Recent Performances

Arsenal have won ten of it last 14 matches in all competitions, and the pick of the bunch was the convincing win over Manchester City at the Etihad last week. That victory lifted a weight of the players’ shoulders after having not won away to a top four rival since 2011. The result should spur them to play more without the hand brake starting with the match against Brighton. Arsene Wenger’s side should extend their run to four wins in the last five matches after today’s match.

  1. Brighton’ Home Form

Chris Hughton’s Brighton have only one win at the Amex Stadium since November. That win came as recently as last Wednesday in a 3-2 victory over Ipswich Town, With that Arsenal should add more misery to their poor home form by putting one over Brighton to advance to the next round of the competition.

  1. Recent History Between Both Sides

Arsenal beat Brighton 3-2 at this stage two years ago at the Amex Stadium, with goals from Kieran Gibbs, Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott the scorers. With the trio certain to start again today, the atmosphere should not be strange to the players, and they should produce a good performance especially with Mesut Ozil back in the side for Sunday’s match. Add should inspire another victory.

Jan 242015
 

Rave-making young Argentine striker labeled the ‘beast’ is attracting interest from Arsene Wenger as the Frenchman continues to search for top talents all over the world. Arsene smelled the blood with the signing of Alexis Sanchez last summer, and is set to go for another South American in his bid to secure the future of the club he has been managing since the past 19 years.

Maximiliano Romero is the name, and he is one of the most exciting youngsters in Argentina at the moment. According to an Argentine newspaper Ole (translated by byfarthegreatestteam.com), the 16-year old has attracted the attention of the Gunners who have put in a bid of £2 million for his signature. He currently plays for Velez Sarsfield, and scored two goals after a 5-star performance against All Boys, with reports in the media emerging that he could be a part of the full team against Boca Juniors next week.

The Velez Sarsfield young forward has had a phenomenal rise this season, which has also attracted a lot of clubs according to the newspaper. Perhaps it is time for Wenger to move in for the teenager, and that is why a bid reported to be in the region of £2 million is being quoted.

However, the £2 million bid said to have been put in by the Gunners was to secure parts of the right to the player as the paper reports. Arsenal do not want to take the player to London immediately, but wants him to continue his development in the Argentine league where they hope he would be nurtured into a world-class striker before moving him over to the Emirates. However, that offer seems to have been dismissed by Romero’s club.

It is thought that Velez want the young striker to continue his development in the club by also offering him a professional contract. Perhaps, his club may get a better offer for him if he continues in his fine form.

Arsenal are quite active in the transfer window this winter, and have already secured the signing of 17-year old Krystian Bielik from Poland and are also on the verge of securing the signing of Villarreal centre back Gabriel Paulista.

Jan 232015
 

Ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup clash with League 2 side, Cambridge United, later this evening, the defensive duo of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling will be missing in action, Red Devils Boss, Louis Van Gaal has announced in his pre-match conference. According to the Dutch tactician, the pair in addition to Ashley Young are definitely out of contention for a place either on the bench or on the field due to injury.

While Smalling suffered his injury during a training session at the club’s Carrington training ground, Evans limped off during the team’s 2-0 away victory against QPR at Loftus Road. Though the defensive duo have been much maligned this season due to their unconvincing displays at the heart of the Red Devils’ back four, they remain the best option for Manchester United if they will stand any chance of catching the posse of teams chasing Champions League spots in the Premier League.

It’s not all gloom and doom from the injury room however as Robin Van Persie and Luke Shaw have been declared fit to feature for the Red Devils. The former Arsenal striker has struggled to replicate his stellar first season form this season as injuries and lack of fitness has restricted Van Persie while the team has suffered a lack of goals.

His return to the team is expected to boost the team’s options forward while offering the team experience which it has been solely lacking as Van Gaal’s trust in younger players has not yielded the much needed experience needed to win games. In contrast, Luke Shaw has not really had the opportunity to showcase the immense talent that saw Manchester United shell out an eye-watering £30m to secure his move from Southampton in the summer of 2014 due to a series of injuries that he has had to grapple with since joining the Red Devils.

New acquisition, Victor Valdes, who joined the Red Devils on an 18-month deal is also expected to be handed his first start after sitting on the bench for the games against Southampton and Queen Park Rangers. The Red Devils were handed a trip to Cambridge United for the fourth-round of the FA Cup after beating Yeovil Town 2-0 in the third-round.

Jan 232015
 

Ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup Fourth-round tie with League 2 side Cambridge United tonight, manager Louis Van Gaal is expected to face some questions with respect to on-loan Colombian striker, Radamel Falcao during a press conference.

The erstwhile Monaco striker has come in for heavy criticism in recent weeks due to his goals drought and fitness issues, leading many to question the wisdom in sanctioning a £43m permanent move for the striker seeing that he has failed to impress since making a summer move to the English giants.

Despite having a plethora of creative players supplying him with the requisite ammunition necessary for him to fire in the goals for which he was hired, Falcao has failed to shake the net as regularly as he did with all his previous clubs.

The voices of  discontent increased a few decibels higher when the striker fluffed a couple of glaring goal scoring opportunities in Manchester Unite’s colourless  2-0 Premier League victory over QPR at Loftus Road. Indeed it took the impact of Marouane Fellani and James Wilson to save the team’s blushes as the Colombian huffed and puffed in front of goal. If the Red Devils hierarchy are to make a decision to either keep or discard the player based on form and statistics, then the numbers don’t make for happy reading. 3 goals in over a dozen of games for the Red Devils, miserly as it were, tells part of the story. His shots on target per game ratio so far in his loan stint at Manchester United is 0.9. Compare that to a healthier ratio of 1.7, 1.76,1.56, and 1.41 during his time at Porto, Atletico and Monaco.

His camp, led by his agent Jorge Mendes have been critical of any ire directed at him, insisting that the Colombian hitman has been dogged by injuries which has hampered his renown lethal streak whilst he has not fully settled in to the English football milieu.

Despite the commercial success enjoyed by the Red Devils over the last couple of seasons, they know can ill-afford to spend £43m on a reputation and not form manifested in the form of goals and they will be careful to scrutinize the player over the coming months. However the odds are on that the striker may probably not have his spell extended beyond the end of this current season-long £6m, £285,000/week deal signed during the summer of 2014.

Jan 222015
 

The name of German midfielder, Marco Reus has only been mentioned in dispatches in this transfer window. Much of that had to with the fact that he was injured for last months of last year. The 25 year old has been linked to Arsenal in recent times; there were reports last week that he has an agreement in place to join Real Madrid.

The form of Borussia Dortmund has been used as a reason why most of the club’s key players could leave in the summer. Mats Hummels is another name that has been linked with a move away from the club if they fail to secure Champions League football.

However, Jurgen Klopp manager of Borussia Dortmund has now weighed into the debate. He claims he would have made a mistake with Marco Reus if he leaves this summer if Champions League football is not secured.

He told German publication BILD;

“I don’t think any of our players will leave if we don’t qualify for the Champions League next season.

“If Reus does ask to leave then I will have made a mistake with him.” Quotes via express.

Despite Jurgen Klopp’s best impression to firm up sentiments, Marcos Reus is unlikely to remain at Dortmund if they fail to secure Champions League football next season.

Already his buy out clause has been revealed to be around £20 million; several clubs would be willing to pay that, as it is not much in today’s transfer market.

The German international has so far not extended his deal with the club, unlike Mats Hummels that signed a new contract last season.

However, it is no panic station yet for the Signal Iduna outfit as Marco Reus still has two and half years to run in his contract. From an Arsenal perspective, he remains a player the club could do with, he is world class, and as being schooled in the pressing game that Alexis Sanchez brought to Arsenal from his Barcelona days.

Arsenal was closed to signing him last summer if reports were anything to by at the time. It is likely that there would be a high turnover of players at Arsenal in the summer, especially with the likes of Joel Campbell, Lukas Podolski and others that could leave, as a result there could be an opportunity within the squad for a player like Marco Reus to come into the team.

If Borussia Dortmund’s form does not improve in the second stanza of the bundesliga, and they end up out of the European places, it would be interesting to see whether Jurgen Klopp maintain his talk of a mistake. Either way, there should be an interesting scrap for Marco Reus’ signature from several top European clubs in the summer.

Jan 222015
 

Ahead of our FA Cup match against Cambridge on Friday, we bring you latest injury round up.

The team was handed a massive boost as Robin van Persie and Luke Shaw have been passed fit to take part in the match. Both players were not part of the team that took on Premier League strugglers QPR. RVP was ruled out due to an ankle injury while Luke Shaw didn’t take part in the same match as the manager wanted him to recover fully from his injury.

It is not known at this time if the former Southampton man would start or take part in the FA Cup match against Cambridge, but what better opportunity to prove his fitness than the match itself. Perhaps, the manager may consider resting RVP for the match. This is not an attempt to disrespect Cambridge, but I think the former Arsenal man should give way to Falcao who has not been given enough game time since joining on loan in the summer.

The FA Cup match could also serve as a massive opportunity for James Wilson to continue his fine form after showing the manager what he was capable of in our last match. Resting RVP is the key to help Manchester United maintain their position in the league and further secure a Champions League spot, which is the minimum target expected of the team this season.

The Dutchman used the occasion of his weekly presser to confirm the fitness of both players. All things being equal, van Persie and Shaw could be named in the starting line-up; whether or not they will both start the match is something for the manager to decide.

However, the team is still without Ashley Young, Smalling and Evans who will all miss Friday’s match against Cambridge.

“We have to wait until training but Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are out for sure,” Van Gaal told MUTV. “Robin van Persie is available, Luke Shaw is also available.”

Unleashing a full squad against Cambridge is perhaps, inevitable considering how much rest the players have had and the fact that United only have the EPL competition to play in since they are not in the champions league and are already out of the league cup.

Jan 222015
 

Arsene Wenger has confirmed to the media that talks to sign Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista are progressing. The Frenchman revealed this during his weekly presser. He was asked by journalist to confirm if there were truths to the stories of a bid for the 24-year old, of which he answered:

“The talks are progressing quite well. I don’t think there is need to say much more,” he told Sky Sport on Thursday. “We are talking at the moment, whether we can find an agreement or not, I don’t know.”

When asked by journalists to confirm the exact amount of the player’s release clause, Wenger had this to say:

“We are slowly progressing, but there is a chance. At the moment we are talking. The 20 million is euros, it’s £15m to transform the amount.

“We are ready to pay the price we think right for a good player, no matter what the price is. If we think it’s the right price we will pay.”

It was quite unlike Wenger to open up on a transfer the way he did today, which indicates a remarkable departure from what we have always known the Frenchman for. He is not the one to give away information about a potential transfer, let alone disclosing the exact details in terms of fees. This could only mean Wenger is sure of a deal been completed for the player any time soon.

Today’s press briefing also confirms various reports in the media on the Gunners’ interest in the quick and strong defender. Hopefully this transfer will be sorted out before the window draws to a close in about 10 days from now.

The fee may not be the only huddle to signing Paulista as Arsenal may need to convince the Home Office to grant the Brazilian a Work Permit based on the status of a special talent. The 24-year old is an uncapped player at international level for Brazil, and that might work against him.

However, Arsenal may be able to successfully get a work permit for the player through an appeal something West Brom have done successful when they sign Brown Ideye of Nigeria from the Ukrainian league.

Jan 222015
 

Manchester United could be in line for a shock capture of Barcelona mega star, Lionel Messi. According to the Metro, the mammoth deal worth over £200m is expected to be facilitated by German kit manufacturers, Adidas.

The Red Devils will however face competition for the forward’s signature from runaway league leaders, Chelsea. While a few seasons ago such rumours would have been dismissed as the fiction of the febrile imagination of a still-recovering convulsion patient, the aura of incredulity around such a once unthinkable idea has unraveled with unnerving insidiousness.

First, the departure of club legend and record-setting coach, Pep Guardiola on a supposed sabbatical was the beginning of a domino effect which snowballed into a series of  separate and unrelated events that threw the club into turmoil, thereby unsettling the Argentine captain.

Soon after, Tito Vilanova, who took over from Guardiola lost his battle with cancer. More troubles followed as Messi had to face court charges for tax evasion.

The Neymar fiasco followed and although the club was cleared of wrongdoing, it was euthanasia administered as a placebo. Due to the stench that emanated from the Neymar saga, Sandro Rossell had to step down as club president.

Niggling injuries dogged his steps and more woe was to befall his club as Barcelona were banned from purchasing players for 2 seasons by UEFA  after they were found guilty of employing underhand methods in their purchase of underage players.

The latest in a long litany of afflictions that has unsettled the Rosario-born native is his reported bust-up with his current coach, Luis Enrique. All these contributed in no small way in causing Messi to re-evaluate his options.

At 27, he is at peak condition and still nurses a huge appetite to win more honours. His hunger for success is also fueled by his endless rivalry with Real Madrid legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.

For him to keep pace with the Portuguese wizard he will need a stable club environment free from the distracting influence of power-hungry politicians.

Can Messi move to Manchester United? It is very possible and plausible. Despite the Argentine’s brilliance, many still argue that Cristiano Ronaldo is the better player as he has featured in the notoriously difficult English Premier league and even ruled the roost unlike Messi who has spent the entirety of his career so far in the Spanish La Liga.

And what better place to prove his doubters wrong than the Theatre Of Dreams, that hallowed turf where Ronaldo earned the adulation of an adoring fanbase?

Another plausible reason why the Barcelona ace may join the Red Devils is because from next season, Adidas would start kitting Manchester United as part of the £750m shirt sponsorship deal signed in 2014. Adidas also doubles as Messi’s sponsors and they are quite keen to bring together both entities whom they view more as commercial interests devoid of sentiments.

Manchester United possess the lure, tradition and platform for Messi to thrive and it will take some loyalty for him not to swap the Blaugrana jersey for the famous Red shirt of Manchester United.

Jan 212015
 

Arsenal’s hopes of signing Paulo Dybala may have hit a hitch as reports say the 21-year old is being offered a new contract by Palermo. What a player the 21-year old has been this season; scoring 10 goals and turning provider for others.

Arsenal are interested in the young forward, and this has not come to anyone as a surprise considering what he brings to his current team. Dybala is a forward whose style of play would fit in to Wenger’s system. He offers something different from what we currently have in the team; adding pace and skill to his game, which is something both Giroud and Welbeck do not offer right now.

His playing style has been compared to that of Sergio Aguero. He has terrorized defenders in the serie A this season just like Aguero has done in the EPL this season. His skill and goals have also attracted a couple of other clubs in Europe including Manchester United. Club President Maurizio Zamparini recently claimed he had turned down an offer for the exciting forward from Manchester United.

While a transfer out of Palermo may not be ruled out for Dybala this window, the likelihood of a departure in the summer is more of a possibility. Zamparini is adamant the Argentine will put pen to paper on an improved offer, and does not expect him to leave before the summer.

“He [Dybala] will renew his deal and sign a three-year deal,” Zamparini told GR Parlamento ( translated by Guardian). “And if he continues to play that well in the next six months then a big club from abroad will sign him.

“Where will he go? Abroad. In order I would say England, France, Germany and Spain, because the two big clubs in Spain [Real Madrid and Barcelona] already have a lot of forwards.”

“He is a world-class player who is being compared with Javier Pastore, so his price tag matches the skill,” said Zamparini. “We’re talking £31m and upwards.”

Jan 212015
 

Chelsea In Shock Cuadrado Move?

Fiorentina exciting winger, Juan Cuadrado is been lined up for a move to former European Champions, Chelsea. The Stamford Bridge outfit, according to respected Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio are planning to lure the Colombian star to London.

Cuadrado, 26, played a starring role as his team reached the Quarter-Finals of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Capable of running and dribbling at an astonishing speed, the former Lecce and Udinese winger who can also function as a wing-back has been strongly linked with top sides in Europe after his eye-catching displays in Brazil.

As a matter of fact, Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal, himself an active participant at the global soccer showpiece, was reportedly interested in bringing the exciting winger to Old Trafford during his new team’s massive summer recruitment drive.

He had met with the player’s representatives and discussions were held. However it seems the talks were not fruitful as the player later committed his immediate future to the Viola, securing a deal that handed over full ownership of his rights to Fiorentina.

The Florence-based club promptly inserted a £26.8m buy-out clause into the player’s contract. However the reports indicate that Chelsea Boss, Jose Mourinho is confident that he can match the club’s valuation of their star man and can land his target during the current winter transfer window.

Marotta Fears Pogba Exit

Paul Pogba, one of the most exciting talents in world football is a subject of a transfer tug-of-war between a slew of Europe’s top sides. The English duo of Chelsea and Manchester United are keen to ferry the Lagny-Sur-Marne born native across the English Channel.

The other club in a dogfight for the French midfielder’s signature is 10-time European Champions, Real Madrid. Knowing Madrid and their relentless pursuit of any player that catches their fancy, it might probably be a question of when not if the player would join Los Blancos or any other member of the trio who wields enough financial clout to gazump the deal.

Juventus supremo, Giuseppe Marotta has resigned himself to losing the youngster, affectionately dubbed Il Polpo Paul (Paul The Octopus) by the Italian media. Marotta was quoted as saying;

“We will do everything within out limits to hold on to Pogba, but we must not forget Italy is a country in transition,” the Juve general director said.

“The problem we have is that of offers coming in from other clubs offering him a salary that we are not able to match due to our financial situation.

“At the moment, there’s no reason to believe that Pogba will definitely leave Juventus for another team, but we have to bear in mind that we cannot compete with the wages that are being paid elsewhere. We have our limits.”

Eden Hazard Praises Cesc Fabregas

Eden Hazard has heaped praise on his Chelsea teammate, Cesc Fabregas, claiming that the Spanish maestro knows everything about football. Hazard himself, 24, who has been in stellar form for the Blues this season, ripping defences across England and Europe apart with his quick feet, explosive pace, delightful touches, has combined well to devastating effect with Fabregas, striking up an almost telepathic understanding with him.

The former Lille man said, ‘With Cesc, you don’t need to work for years together, we just needed one game, one training session and we knew each other.”

“It’s a pleasure to play with him because he knows everything about football.

“He’s a brain – you can see that because he has 15 assists in the league already, in January.

“He’s very good and he has the same vision as me, so I like playing with him.”

Hazard would be hoping that their current flourishing partnership yields a handsome harvest of honours at the end of the season as they continue their hunt for domestic and continental glory. Hazard, a £32m acquisition from Lille in July 2012 has settled well to life in London, helping them to win major domestic and European trophies and is expected to be a serious Ballon D’Or contender in a couple of seasons.

Jan 202015
 

The January transfer window is just four weeks away from opening. And the press has been running with stories that Arsenal could bring in more than one player when the transfer window reopens, while most of the musings from Arsene Wenger has pointed to the fact that he is considering signing at least one player in January. However, there are indications if media reports are anything to go by, that the club could bring in more than one player.

The defensive problem the team has faced this season has been borne out more out of a dearth of adequate defensive cover when other players have been out. A case in point has been Nacho Monreal’s deployment as a centre half in seven straight games, before Laurent Koscielny returned last weekend. Besides the defensive concerns, there have also been the issue of inadequate cover and protection afforded the defence from midfield, and the constant injuries to Mikel Arteta has not help the team’s course this season, and as a result, there are indications that the club could address this problem in January.

To this end, several defenders and central midfielder have been linked to the club.

Sevilla’s defensive midfielder Grzegortz Krychowiak has been the subject of speculations in recent months, the 24 year old Polish international has been in good form for Sevilla since he was signed from Reims in the summer. He has reportedly been scouted several times by Arsenal. And with his time playing in France, he should be known to Arsenal French scout Gilles Grimandi. He has also being linked to Inter Milan,

And there is also James McCarthy of Everton. The 24 year old who reports claims could be the subject of a bid from Arsenal in January. Both players are expected to cost Arsenal between £16-£18 million. With club’s reluctance to sanction moves for their players in January because of difficulty in finding replacement within a short period, it could be difficulty for this to pull through.

Conversely, several defenders have been linked to the club. Tyrone Mings has been at the top of the speculations linking players to the club. The 21 year old is a left back, but he is thought to have a long term future as a centre half because of his physical attributes. The Ipswich Town defender has been instrumental to Mick McCarthy’s side push for promotion from the Championship this season. He is thought to have same attributes as Calum Chambers who can play both right back and centre half.

Other defenders that have been linked within this period include Celtic’s Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk. He claimed in the past that he is open to a move to Arsenal in January. While Aston Villa defender and Captain Ron Vlaar has also been mooted as his contract has just seven months to run at Villa Park.

One theme that is prevalent from the players that have been linked to the club is that few are better than what the club already have, which means, Arsenal scouts would have to come up with the goods this time around.

Jan 192015
 

The Daily Star reports that Manchester United are mulling over signing Everton defender Seamus Coleman, whose transfer value is put at £25million according to the same paper.

Coleman is one of the most gifted defenders in the EPL, and signing him would represent a huge statement of intent by Van Gaal. He is a player who would easily slot in to the current United defence, and bring a lot of stability, which seems to be lacking in the backline at the moment.

Though Antonio Valencia seems to have made the right back his own at moment, a player like Coleman would bring competition and make the backline more formidable. It would also give the team the much needed depth, which is lacking at the moment especially with injuries to some key players.

£25 million is a huge amount of money, but British players are known to attract high transfer value and Coleman is not one player that would command anything less considering the club involved. Everton are known to play hardball when it comes to transfers and Manchester United should be prepared to meet the club’s valuation or be prepared for an extended negotiation or forget signing the player. A recent example of how tough Everton can be was the case of Fellaini, whose negotiation dragged on before a deal was eventually agreed. The player was said to have put in a transfer request before he was allowed to move to Old Trafford two seasons ago.

Last Thursday during his presser, Van Gaal had tried to play down his club’s need to sign any player this window; but it remains to be seen how he plans to secure top four with injuries plaguing some of his defenders.

“I don’t think that we shall be very active as not many players of a certain level are available.

“When we buy a player he has to be better than the players that are playing now and that is a difficult job.”

Jan 152015
 
German side Borussia Dortmund have reportedly been making plans to sign Arsenal youngster Chuba Akpom in the January Transfer Window. Jurgen Klopp is said to be a big fan of Chuba Akpom and would be looking to lure the 19 year old starlet to Dortmund knowing they could also land the youngster for a small fee in the summer if Arsenal refuse to sell the youngster in this transfer window. The 19 year old British whose contract expires at the end of the summer is being admired by Dortmund Coach Jurgen Klopp and might find it hard to turn down a move to the German side if first-team football is offered.
Chuba Akpom has found it hard to feature for Arsenal this season having appeared for Arsenal five times this season failing to beat the likes of Welbeck, Giroud, Sanogo to a starting place. The British youth international started playing for Arsenal at the age of 6, playing for the Arsenal U18 at the age of 15 before going to play in the Arsenal U21 team and consequently making his competitive debut for Arsenal in a 3-1 Premier League win over Sunderland. Chuba Akpom can be regarded as one of the brightest players of his generation; the 19 year old can play anywhere upfront and is known for his quality finishing, great off the ball movements and good composure.
Due to Arsenal’s shortage of striker and Wenger’s reluctance to burn the cash, it would be wise to loan young Chuba Akpom out on loan to Dortmund and not sell him. Arsenal simply cannot risk selling Akpom and be like Manchester United who sold Pogba to Juventus only to end up regretting selling a great player that could solve their midfield problems. Few times I have found myself watching an Arsenal U21 match and I always end up being captivated by Chuba Akpom’s exceptional all-round brilliance and great performances.
However, no one will complain if Wenger sends the player to Dortmund in order to enable him sign Marco Reus. Marco Reus it would be recalled was close to joining Arsenal in the summer just before the window but got injured which put an end to the supposed move. The player was reportedly in London to hold talks with Wenger before the injury.
With the player showing his worth so far this season, Many Arsenal fans will be happy to have him don the colours of the club even if it means Akpom will have to go the other way.
Jan 152015
 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has launched a £2 million bid to sign Brazilian goalkeeper Neto, who plays in the Serie A side Fiorentina, according to the Daily Star.

This move by Rodgers is coming on the heels of some poor performances put up by Simon Mignolet who has been quite erratic this season. The Belgian has given away a lot of cheap goals, which has badly affected the performances of the Kops this season.

Brad Jones, the cover for Mignolet doesn’t look set to step up, which has now made the manager to step up his search for a capable replacement.

The Kops are struggling this season, after losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona over the summer. Though, they seem to have picked up form in their last few matches; the club cannot afford to continue dropping points and losing matches the way it did when the season started.

Fiorentina keeper Neto is thought to be a top target, with reports suggesting the player is the subject of a £2 million bid from Liverpool.

Reports also link the Fiorentina goalkeeper with a move to Italian Champions Juventus. The Italian club sees him as a capable replacement for club legend Gianluigi Buffon. The Old Lady are considering a swap deal that will see Sebastian Giovinco move the other direction. It is not known if Fiorentina would agree to this plan.

Liverpool may also have to battle another Italian club, Roma, whom reports say are tracking the Brazilian. His current club, Fiorentina are also keen to tie him down to a new deal, should he decides he wants to remain in the club.

The 25-year old has been in blistering form this season, which has attracted a lot of suitors.

Liverpool’s season has not gone the way the club had planned, and making top four is even more difficult considering the form of Southampton and West Ham. Both teams make it even more difficult for the Reds to secure top four this season; and it remains to be seen if they can secure a Champions League spot.

Jan 152015
 

Liverpool have confirmed the departure of Oussama Assaidi to Dubai based club “Al Ahli”. The 26-year-old Moroccan signed for the Reds from Dutch side Heerenveen in 2012 but struggled to hold down a place in the team and made just 12 appearances for the team.

The player spent last season on loan at Stoke, where he scored five goals, and returned to the Britannia this term. However, his spell with the Potters has been cut short in order for him to complete a permanent move to Dubai.

Assaidi, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the United Arab Emirates club, was Brendan Rodgers’s third signing as Liverpool boss – after Italian forward Fabio Borini from Roma and Welsh midfielder Joe Allen from Swansea – with the manager saying at the time: “He fits our style perfectly.”

Moving away from that, the importance of Liverpool bringing in more players cannot be over emphasized as they have looked a shadow of themselves this season compared to their upsurge of last season.

The team’s strikers have done very poor this season hence I expect the focus to be in reinforcing the striking department of the team. With Suarez gone to Barca and Sturridge struggling with injury ,there’s a sizable hole left in the team that needs to be filled. Although 20-year old Raheem Sterling has been doing his part to fill in the gaps, he still needs some support and he is definitely not a striker anyway.

In the last six months, the team has dropped considerably in performance and quality, Rodgers needs to get on top of this fast to create a better cohesion on the pitch.

Although the team is looking very unlikely to get into the champions league places at the most, all that can change with a couple of addition here and there. They could do with another CB, a very good creative midfielder ( seeing Coutinho has been a shadow of himself so far this season.

Aside bringing in the right players in the winter transfer window, Liverpool need to ensure they can get back Sturridge as soon as possible and keep him fit. Because lets face it, whoever they bring in will still need sometime to settle down but with Sturridge, they do not need any bedding him period since he has been in the league and club for sometime now.

Jan 152015
 

After a dominant display in the middle of the park against Manchester United, Southampton midfield linchpin, Morgan Schneiderlin has reportedly been penciled down as a potential transfer target for Manchester United this January. According to Daily Express, Louis Van Gaal is set to sanction a £25m bid for the Saints star.

If the speculation turns out to be true then such a move comes across as being more of a vanity signing than a necessity as this current United is bulging at the seams with Midfielders, both creative and grafting. A team boasting the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Darren Fletcher, the posse being grafting midfield anchormen, has no business signing another midfield anchorman.

Instead, such transfer funds should be invested in the purchase of playing personnel who would be immediately deployed at the back, most importantly a Centre-Back because all through this season, Manchester United’s defence has looked at sea, conceding silly goals and generally delivering error-strewn displays that have cost team vital points.

It is obvious that the team needs a vocal leader at the back in the mould of departed former captains, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand both who forged a strong defensive partnership few seasons previously.