Monthly Archives: August 2017
- August 30, 2017
30th August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
For the second summer in a row, Real Madrid have not made a superstar signing. The club whose modern history is defined by their success on the field and their spending power off it, routinely breaking transfer records for "GalÃ¡ctico" purchases, have, for the most part, decided to stick rather than twist.
They have, after all, just won the Champions League for the second year in a row, becoming the first team to defend the title since AC Milan of the early 1990s, so it's hardly as though sweeping changes are required. Manager ZinÃ©dine Zidane can already count upon the services of four-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luka Modri? and Toni Kroos, to name but a few of Los Blancos' foremost luminaries.
It is also true that, were it not for the almighty spending power of Paris Saint-German,
- August 29, 2017
29th August 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
With three wins from his first four matches to start his reign as manager of Saint-Etienne, Oscar Garcia's appointment is certainly proving an inspiring one.
While it'll take some time for the man who's wedded to the ideals of Johan Cruyff, that he was introduced to during his playing days at FC Barcelona and subsequently honed as a B team coach at the famous club, to implement his methodology at Les Verts, there's been plenty to admire about his fast start.
Consisting of a nice blend of exciting youngsters, experienced veterans and players in their prime, Garcia has so far done a solid job of transmitting his managerial nous into his interesting squad. Using the skillsets of his players to good effect, his attacking and midfield operators have emerged as real highlights. Featuring the pace of the
- August 25, 2017
25th August 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
When Aleksandar Kolarov ended his successful seven year association with Manchester City, where he won two Premier League titles, two league cups and an FA Cup, to join AS Roma, his decision was met with disgust by the Lazio fans who labelled their former star a traitor and a worm.
Upon deciding to join Roma, he must have known the Lazio supporters that used to cheer him on wouldn't be happy, but instead of calming the situation, his comments on the move only added fuel to the fire. "I cannot, and do not want to, deny my past. But now I am with Roma and just as I gave 100 per cent when I was at Lazio I will now give 100 per cent and more for Roma," he proclaimed.
"Lazio was a good experience for me, but from today they are my rivals on the pitch. My aim is always to win. I will give 100 per cent to win every game and try and
- August 23, 2017
23rd August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
With the 2017/18 season now under way in the major European leagues, all eyes are focussed on the stars of the previous campaign, many of whom have switched clubs for huge fees, to see whether they can maintain the form shown last term.
Kylian Mbappe was undoubtedly the youngster who made the biggest impact in 2016/17, breaking into the Monaco first team to star domestically and in the Champions League, helping the Monegasque side earn a first Ligue 1 title since 2000, when the prodigious forward was only 18 months old.
But the new season also presents a chance for new stars to emerge, young hopefuls primed to take the next step in their development and establish themselves as genuine stars of the game.
Here are seven young players from across Europe set for breakout campaigns this season.
Adam Ounas Napoli
Before his move to Napoli this summer in a deal which could reach up to €12million
- August 21, 2017
21st August 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
The future of Max Gradel has been a topic of much contention this summer, with conflicting reports regarding where he'll be plying his trade this season whirring relentlessly.
Having not started a single Premier League game last season for Bournemouth, the injury troubled Ivory Coast international unsurprisingly attracted the interest of the likes of Toulouse and Sunderland. Eddie Howe, the Cherries manager, however, insisted the explosive winger was still very much a part of his plans for the 2017/2018 campaign, especially after his strong work in preseason. "His attitude has been so good that we would be very reluctant to lose him. He has had a good pre-season so far, he has trained very well and is an important part of our squad," Howe explained.
"This preseason, he has shown he is back to his best.
- August 18, 2017
18th August 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Having prepared for the new Premier League campaign brilliantly by enjoying great success in the transfer market and in terms of their preseason results, Manchester City importantly got off to a winning start in their league opener, comfortably brushing aside newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion, 2-0.
Controlling the game comfortably throughout on their way to amassing 768 passes and 78% of the possession, Pep Guardiola was largely happy with his team's performance against the deep sitting, defensively well organised Seagulls. He made a particular point of highlighting his team's tremendous work rate, saying: "We run a lot. People say we are a big team but we run like a League One or a Conference team. You don't see one player on my team that doesn't run. That is when I am proud.
"It is all I demand of my players
- August 16, 2017
16th August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
In a summer that's seen the transfer market reach giddier heights of inflation than previously imagined possible with Neymar's switch to Paris Saint-Germain doubling the world transfer record and talk of €200 million bids for Kylian MbappÃ© Â it's puzzling that a player of Jean MichaÃ«l Seri's quality, said to have a measly €40 million release clause, has not been snapped up.
The Ivory Coast midfielder shot to the attention of the wider European football-viewing public with his stellar displays for Nice last season, pulling the strings in midfield and guiding the CÃ´te d'Azur club to a third-place Ligue 1 finish.
Having initially attracted interest from Barcelona, Roma and Arsenal, Seri is now being linked with a potential move to Liverpool as the Reds eye up an alternative to Naby KeÃ¯ta. But the fact that no potential suitor has yet stumped up the asking price for the 26-year-old playmaker remains baffling, with inferior players
- August 14, 2017
14th August 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
At the completion of the 2016/2017 Premier League crusade, where Liverpool finished a credible fourth and secured their chance to qualify for next season's Champions League, their fans were expecting plenty of spending to bolster the squad.
Although the Reds have bought in dynamic Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma for a sizeable €42 million, former Hull City fullback Andrew Robertson for €9 million and ex Chelsea starlet Dominic Solanke on a free transfer, many have still been left scratching their heads at the lack of strengthening.
The defence was considered an area that could do with improvement, and Southampton's elegant centre-back, Virgil van Dijk, looked like he was the man do just that. But unfortunately Liverpool were forced to pull out of the race to sign the Dutchman due to the Saints reporting Liverpool to the league for tapping up the player.
- August 10, 2017
10th August 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Radamel Falcao marked his 50th Ligue 1 appearance in fine style by putting in a lively shift throughout AS Monaco's league opening 3-2 win vs. Toulouse. Moreover, his wonderfully taken headed goal impressively saw him notch up his 33rd strike in his 40 starts and 10 substitute appearances in France too, a figure that's especially admirable due to his battles with injury.
Having now scored 22 goals in the last 30 matches for the Monegasques, the 31-year-old is certainly showing no signs of slowing down. From the outset, the Colombian hitman was a persistent nuisance to the Toulouse backline, and his direct opponent, Christopher Julien, in particular, bore the brunt of his fine exertions.
Starting with his thoughtful movement, Falcao used his aptitude in this regard to find space in between the Toulouse midfield and defensive line, where he then used his strength and technical skills to hold up the ball and find a teammate with
- August 09, 2017
9th August 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
It's been a quiet summer for Napoli. While those around them in the Serie A landscape have undergone major upheavals, the Partenopei have largely stood still, and that could prove to be their best move.
AC Milan, following the completion of a takeover by new Chinese owners, have spent an eye-watering amount of money to tool up coach Vincenzo Montella ahead of the new season, with the express aim being a return to something approaching their former glories as soon as possible.
Champions Juventus have lost star defender Leonardo Bonucci to Milan, no less while spending big to boost Massimiliano Allegri's attacking options with the additions of Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, with Mattia De Sciglio arriving from the Rossoneri to fill the Dani Alves-shaped void at J Stadium.
Roma, last season's runners-up in the race for the Scudetto, have been active in the transfer market too, as new sporting