7th June 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
Picked up from Inter Milan for Just £8.5million in January 2013, Philippe Coutinho has to be considered one of the greatest signings in Liverpool's recent history.
In his three-and-a-half years with the Anfield club the Brazilian playmaker has 42 goals in 182 appearances, marking himself out as one of the Premier League's finest creative talents along the way.
However, the 24-year-old's superlative form on Merseyside is a double-edged sword for the Reds; his performances have helped elevate JÃ¼rgen Klopp's men to Champions League qualification for next season, but they have also drawn the attention of Barcelona, who are reportedly considering a big-money summer bid for his services.
Liverpool will be reluctant to part ways with their star man as they look to build towards a title push next term as well as aiming to be competitive in
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7th June 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
- Posted: May 29, 2017Categories: Bayer LeverkusenRead more »
29th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Although it's been an utterly disappointing season for Bayer Leverkusen, the emergence of 17-year-old sensation, Kai Havertz, has been a massive positive.
In a season littered with terrible results that ultimately cost Roger Scmhidt his job and one that saw the club flirting with relegation before scraping home to finish 12th, Havertz has undoubtedly offered a rare bright spot of excitement for the fans.
Since debuting on October 15, 2016 in Leverkusen's loss to Werder Bremen, which saw him become the club's youngest ever player, he's steadily gone about adapting to life in the Bundesliga and showing what a remarkable talent he is.
Thereafter, on top of becoming Die Werkself's youngster goalscorer, he's gone onto make an impressive 23 league appearances and cement himself as a crucial component within the Leverkusen squad. And to round out his extraordinary breakthrough campaign, the German youth international put in a superb,
- Posted: May 22, 2017Categories: Arsenal, MiddlesbroughRead more »
22nd May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
With Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding, Gabriel Paulista and the soon to be arriving Shkodran Mustafi all ahead of him in the central defensive pecking order going into the season at Arsenal, it made perfect sense for Calum Chambers to head out on loan.
Joining Middlesbrough presented him with a fantastic opportunity to prove himself at the highest level and obtain the vital game time he craved. And although he's had his troubles with injury, most notably when he missed a crucial two month stretch between February and April, the Englishman's time on Teesside has unquestionably been littered with upside.
While Boro's campaign will end in relegation, Chambers is one of the few players that can hold his head high, as he's consistently shone brightly in their season of darkness. Incredibly, Chambers has already started more matches (23) this term in the league than he'd done thoroughout his entire time with Arsenal (20).
- Posted: May 17, 2017Categories: ArsenalRead more »
17th May 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
Since moving to Arsenal from Southampton a week before his 18th birthday in 2011, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has thrilled and frustrated fans inside the Emirates Stadium in equal measure.
His immense talent has never been in question and explains the £12million fee the Gunners initially forked out for the teenager, who had never played first-team football above the third tier of the English game at the time.
But, in a situational that for Arsenal fans will alarmingly draw parallels with another former Saints wonderkid, Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain's slow progress raises concerns over whether his true potential will ever be realised.
A major part of the issue has been that, at 23, the England international has failed to settle into a defined position, flitting between both flanks, centrally as a No.10 and, earlier this season,
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10th May 2017.
Any Manchester City fans stumbling upon coverage of a Roma game this season could be forgiven for not recognizing the tall, powerful forward banging in goal after goal for the Giallorossi. But the imposing figure in the No.9 shirt, the man who tops the Serie A scoring charts this season with 27 goals in 35 games, in none other than former City striker Edin DÂžeko.
In five season at the Etihad Stadium, DÂžeko, though a regular goal scorer, was never taken into the hearts of the City faithful in quite the same way as the more prolific Sergio AgÃ¼ero or diminutive genius David Silva.
When the towering, 6ft 4ins Bosnian was shipped out to Roma on loan in the summer of 2015, before then making the move permanent last year, there were few on the blue side of Manchester sad to see him go.
However, since settling in the Italian capital, DÂžeko has marked himself out once again as one of the deadliest forwards in Europe, netting a phenomenal 37 goal
- Posted: April 24, 2017Categories: Athletic BilbaoRead more »
Monday 24th April. By Edward Stratmann.
Following Athletic Bilbao's barnstorming 5-1 win over Las Palmas, Ernesto Valverde couldn't have been more pleased with his team, who played with remarkable intensity and purpose throughout.
In what was the perfect way to celebrate his 300th match in charge of Athletic, he noted how "the key has been our aggression in the robbery" which was certainly apt, for his side put on a masterclass in how to press a wonderfully talented Las Palmas outfit. Quique Setien's men were hardly given a moment's peace, as they were placed under duress every time they attempted to implement their usually incisive passing game.
The fact Athletic were successfully able to nullify some of the most press resistant players in La Liga such as Jonathan Viera, Roque Mesa, Vicente Gomez and Tana served as a testament to Valverde's structure. And how well his men adhered to it.
- Posted: April 21, 2017Categories: Atlanta B.C.Read more »
Friday 21st April. By Edward Stratmann.Â
Atalanta's Rafael Toloi continued his wonderful season by putting in a tremendous showing vs one of his former employers, AS Roma, on the weekend.
The Brazilian, who's been a mainstay of Gian Piero Gasperini's brilliantly managed outfit, illustrated emphatically why he's been one of Serie A's finest defenders this season, while also showing his former club what a quality player he's now become.
Throughout the 1-1 draw, La Dea's right sided central defender, undertook his role in an aggressive, whole hearted, yet highly thoughtful manner, as his positioning and approach served as a fascinating component of Gasperini's game plan.
The most eye-catching aspect of his performance was the way he was given clear licence to step out and apply pressure to Diego Perotti, Roma's left winger, when he was unmarked in the left half space. With Roma customarily funneling many of their attacks down their left hand side, 41%
- Posted: April 19, 2017Categories: Atletico Madrid, Real MadridRead more »
Wednesday 19th April. By Ryan Baldi.
An unwritten "non-aggression pact" between Real Madrid and cross-capital rivals Atletico Madrid means that the two sides do not pursue each other's players for the sake of neighbourly relations. But according to widespread reports in the Spanish media, the European champions are preparing to break the agreement to sign 19-year-old left-back Theo Hernandez from Los Colchoneros this summer.
It's not completely unknown for players to swap one side of Madrid for the other, with Real legends Hugo Sanchez and Raaj both having been poached from Atletico, while Argentinian winger Santiago Solari made the same switch in 2000, but such examples are relatively few and far between.
Indeed, several of Atletico's best and brightest stars have reportedly been on the radar of their all-white
- Posted: April 18, 2017Categories: Athletic BilbaoRead more »
Tuesday 18th April. By Edward Stratmann.
Speaking ahead of a massive week for Athletic Bilbao, which saw them play four games in the space of less than two weeks against Osasuna, Espanyol, Villarreal and Las Palmas, Oscar De Marcos gave an intriguing insight into what an frustrating, interrupted season he's endured. However,Â Athletic Bilbao's right-back, Oscar De Marcos - enjoying a solid season despite injury setbacks.
"It has been strange for me but I have been quite good, I have had some injury setbacks but I have recovered quickly. This dressing room helps you recover and now I do not even remember that I have been injured," he recalled.
The Lions' utility, who's capable of fulfilling multiple roles in midfield and defence but has now settled into the right-back slot, has been forced to miss large chunks of action through irritating ankle and adductor injuries. But his manager's unyielding faith in him has been a great source of motivation and positivity
- Posted: March 22, 2017Categories: MonacoRead more »
22nd March 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
After marking himself out as one of the best right-backs in Europe, a summer of speculation over Fabinho's future ended with him singing a new contract with Monaco.
The Brazilian, who moved to the Principality from Rio Ave in 2013, initially on loan, has so impressed in his time at the Stade Louis II that Manchester United and Manchester City were reportedly hot on his tail at the end of last season, with £25million bids mooted.
However, since shunning interest from the Premier League in favour of remaining part of Leonardo Jardim's exciting Monaco project, Fabinho's career has taken an unexpected turn, with the player re-inventing himself as a central midfielder and excelling in his new role as much as he had at right-back.
When the Ligue 1 side signed Djibril SidibÃ© in a £12.75 million deal from Lille in the summer, many obs