Monthly Archives: July 2016
- July 29, 2016
29th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
Having risen through the ranks of Leicester City's academy, it's great news for the club that one of their prized assets, Ben Chilwell, looks set to stay with the Premier League champions.
The 19-year-old's been heavily monitored by Liverpool, who had their £7 million bid for him rejected last month, but now appears ready to sign a new five-year contract with the Foxes. "He is very close [to signing a new deal] and he will stay with us," Claudio Ranieri told the Leicester Mercury.
"He is our future. We are building and looking for good, talented young players. Ben is one of our players and we believe in him."
Having previously played under David Wagner, a former colleague of Jurgen Klopp who plays a similarly dynamic brand of football, when he was on loan at Huddersfield Town, it's understandable why Liverpool identified Chilwell as one of their key transfer targets.
Despite Chilwell being Christian Fuch's able deputy
- July 27, 2016
27th July 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
In four years with Paris Saint Germain, Zlatan Ibrahimovi? helped Les Parisiens win Ligue 1 four times, the Coupe de France twice and the Coupe de la Ligue three times. The charismatic Swede netted 156 goals in 180 appearances for PSG to become the club's all-time highest scorer. And last season, despite turning 34 in October, Ibrahimovi? broke the 50 goal barrier for the first season in his career.
Ibrahimovi?'s arrival in Paris in 2012 was the first major signifier that the club's Qatari owners were deadly serious about their ambition of turning PSG into a global force, one comparable to Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Granted, the previous season they had signed Argentinian playmaker Javier Pastore for €39.8 million from Palermo, and they were already major players in the Ligue 1 title race. But the arrival of Ibrahimovi? for €20 million from AC Milan marked the first occasion that Les Rouge et Bleu's
- July 25, 2016
25th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
It was encouraging to see Aaron Mooy look so comfortable playing against the intensity and quality of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. The Australian, who's just been loaned out to Huddersfield Town, having recently joined Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, appeared unfazed by the step up in class throughout his 45 minutes of action.
Mooy, formerly of A-League side Melbourne City, rightfully received rave reviews for his excellent performance. The local newspaper certainly didn't waste anytime in voicing their satisfaction with the new signing. "On a night when a sell out crowd came to the John Smith's Stadium, there was one man wearing blue and white stripes who stood out above the rest," wrote Alexandra Porter of the Huddersfield Examiner.
"Aaron Mooy continues to win the hearts and minds of supporters with a string of accomplished pre-season displays to kick off his loan from Manchester City."
From his midfield station, the 25-year-old
- July 22, 2016
22nd July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
After losing Grzegorz Krychowiak to PSG for a whopping £28.56 million and Ever Banega to Inter Milan, their two most influential midfielders from last season, Sevilla have quickly gone about bolstering their ranks in this area of the pitch ahead of the new season.
Under exciting new coach, Jorge Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America with Chile (the first in their history), the club have signaled their intent by bringing in some hugely gifted yet entirely suitable players.
To play within Sampaoli's high octane, attacking system, the Argentine manager clearly wants players that are dynamic, fit, aggressive and full of intensity. "Undoubtedly I am a person who is tremendously passionate about attacking" he insisted.
"For that we need a rebellious group. We need a lot of spirit spread to the group of players so we try to make this team respected throughout Europe, as it is now. I hope I can fulfil the expectations that the
- July 20, 2016
20th July 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
It feels like a distant memory now, with Juventus having lifted their fifth consecutive Serie A title, but during the early months of last season, Massimiliano Allegri's men were struggling. Badly.
After a defeat to Sassuolo on 28 October 2015, the reigning Italian champions found themselves 12th in the Serie A table, with just three wins from their opening 10 matches. Hardly an ideal title defence.
The Bianconeri had won the scudetto in each of the previous four seasons not to mention the fact that they'd also won the Coppa Italia and reached the Champions League final in the last campaign -- but it was looking increasingly likely that new champions would be crowned in May, with Juve needing a remarkable turnaround just to clamber into the European qualification places.
In response to losing Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez during the summer of 2015, Allegri experimented with using a 4-3-3 formation
- July 18, 2016
18th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
After Russia's hugely disappointing Euro 2016 campaign, Oleg Shatov, one of their star men, has quickly gotten over the disaster courtesy of some timely distractions.
The birth of his second child was fantastic for him and his family, quickly putting things into perspective that it wasn't so bad after all. "We arrived back on the 21st, and then on the 22nd my wife gave birth to a second son, so our thoughts are only on this. For me, my family is the most important thing in my life," Shatov told the FC Zenit website.
"So I immediately switched my attention, not to forget about everything, but football went by the wayside."
He then added: "Those who look only to the past, will have no future. I am 25 years old and I like football, and the Russian team as a whole has a future there. From any bad experience you can learn a lesson and go forward."
Now almost a month on, his happiness on a personal level and his admirable
- July 15, 2016
15th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
After rising through the ranks of Le Havre's prestigious youth academy, which he joined in 2006 as a 10-year-old, all it took was one full season of professional football for Lys Mousset to earn himself a transfer to the Premier League.
Having done their due diligence on the French sensation, Bournemouth's astute acquisition of Mousset from under the noses of the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Europa League kings Sevilla is a testament to the club's exciting, youth friendly project under Eddie Howe.
After bagging 14 goals and three assists in 29 matches for the Ligue 2 outfit, the 20-year-old inherently attracted plenty of interest, but the Cherries' offer appealed to him most. "I think that I will adapt quickly. At Bournemouth, there is a desire for me to progress," stated Mousset.
"I have been told that they are going to make me work. It is a project that I liked. I felt a lot of confidence and respect for me and
- July 13, 2016
13th July 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
They are the two greatest players of their generation: that much is an undisputable fact. They are both also among the best footballers to ever lace up a pair of boots, with the astonishing ability to break record after record with a regularity that makes such achievements appear like menial quotidian chores.
And for the mere fact that they exist within the same era, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will forever be inextricably bound to one another, whether they like it or not.
As a footballing public, we would be lucky to see one player of such otherworldly quality strut his or her stuff within a period of decades. But that we get to enjoy the immense talents of Messi and Ronaldo together, week to week on opposing sides of one of football's greatest club rivalries, is a fact for which we should be eternally grateful.
Yet it seems many are too caught up in the need to compare and contrast the two living legends, to fully
- July 11, 2016
11th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
Leicester City's astute capture of Nampalys Mendy is another fine example of the club buying players that fit their philosophy.
Unlike many of the Premier League's biggest clubs who regularly buy based solely on talent and then worry about fitting them in later, the Foxes's expertise in identifying players that will suit their system and have the right mentality is a testament to their scouting and capacity to address their needs. On last season's evidence, their square pegs for square holes approach clearly worked wonders.
Mendy's previous relationship with Leicester manager, Claudio Ranieri, who he worked with at Monaco three years ago, also played a crucial role in him choosing the reigning Premier League champions. The player duly noted this upon his arrival, saying: "My reunion with him (Ranieri) went very well.
"I was able to have a first discussion with him and he put me at ease straightaway. He was happy to
- July 08, 2016
8th July 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
There's been some wonderful central defensive partnerships on show at Euro 2016. We've had, to name a few, Italy's formidable BBC, consisting of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, Iceland's dogged duo of Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kari Arnason and Germany's slick pairing of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.
While all of those brilliant defensive units have all justifyably received widespread acclaim, Poland's magnificent backline, and in particular centre-backs Kamil Glik and Michal Pazdan, seem to have been slightly forgotten. Glik and Pazdan have barely put a foot wrong all tournament for Adam Nawalka's side, as they've formed the basis of what's been one the finest backlines at the Euros.
Their terrific understanding, which saw them always willing to sacrifice themselves to support a colleague, in combination with their physicality and organisational qualities, ensured Poland only conceded two goals in their