How will Emenike do at West Ham?

As the Transfer deadline strikes and the day comes to  a close there are the classic major stories, such as how John Terry will not have his contract renewed.

However there are also the deals that go under the radar, such as Emmanuel Emenike’s loan move to West Ham.

Touted as a future star back in 2012 Emenike is well known to the football intelligentsia. Possessing a good goal scoring record everywhere he has been, and 37 Nigeria caps to match, Emenike’s powerful build and deceptive pace should fit in well to the premier league. This is certainly not a signing that should be ignored.

Naturally there are always the loan deals which occur with little result, Kim kallstrom is often used as a comical example however unfairly. (People often forget he sent Arsenal through to the FA cup final that ended their 9 year trophy drought) But hopefully Emenike will not be one of these.

He no doubt faces tough competition. With injury prone Andy Carroll firing once again along with Valencia and Sakho on the books opportunities may be scarce.

But with Zarate on his way out and Carroll notoriously struggling for fitness Emenike may prove to be an astute signing yet.

With Fernando Torres having his loan terminated,whats next for the former Liverpool star?

About 10 years ago he was the hottest property in the world of football. Now even a club where he’s a legend doesn’t want him. Despite being the fastest Liverpool player to ever reach 50 goals for the club, Fernando Torres went on an all too famous decline. Everyone is aware of his £50 million move to Stamford Bridge and the consequent dry spell, but with his move to back to boyhood club Atletico things started to look up. Unfortunately his form didn’t. Now he’s yet again on the market.

Despite a great start for Atletico Torres has ended up with just 5 goals in 35 appearances, and Diego Simeone has decided not to extend his stay. Fernando will now head back to the San Siro but with Carlos Bacca playing well, along with a rebuild underway, there seems to be little space for yesterdays man.

At 31 he still probably has a few years left, but he’s unlikely to reach his former heights. A shame as injuries probably took away that pace that once made him the worlds most feared striker and set in a decline before it was due. With little interest, it will be interesting to see whether he keeps going in Europe, or perhaps seeks one last paycheque in China or the US.

Whatever he decides he truly was one of the best, and people should not forget that.

What happened to Amr Zaki

When Wigan signed Amr Zaki on loan he was ranked by Fifa as the “World’s best striker”. With 27 goals in 48 games for Egypt you could see why there was some hype around the powerful forward, and with 35/88 for Zamalek the Premier league came calling. Steve Bruce said “He’ll do the business”and to be fair to the forward, for a while, he did. Playing for Wigan Amr Zaki scored 10 crucial goals which helped to keep Wigan up and some were truly spectacular. Just look at his two goals at Anfield below. It would be hard to argue he wasn’t destined for bigger things.

Something clearly went wrong however. After christmas during his Wigan loan spell Zaki was repeatedly missing training and his loan ended seeing him leave for Hull. He didn’t score. This set something of a precedent for Amr, and a bad few years followed. Despite another chance being offered with Portsmouth, Zaki refused to sign because of the presence of Israeli & Algerians at the club. Following reports which questioned his professionalism and this unsavoury reason for declining pompey’s advances, Zaki’s career took a fall. Since 2011 Zaki has scored twice and played for 7 separate clubs.

The man that Egyptians once called the ‘bulldozer’ for his fearsome physique and style of play, has become another sad story of a player who blew his potential.

Stories which are sadly becoming increasingly common in the modern day world of the beautiful game.

Should we be scouting the lower leagues instead of abroad?

With Jamie Vardy’s emergence and that ridiculously good goal from Dele Alli yesterday, it seems the flavour of the month is to now scout the lower leagues for homegrown English talent. Why not when it can produce such quality as this:

That’s a goal which would usually come from a £50 million player. However this individual was playing at MK Dons when tottenham signed him for just £5 million. He is not on his own either, with there being a long running theme of lower league players doing well in the premier league. Ian Wright wasn’t signed by his first professional club until he was 21, at which point he went on to be one the Premier leagues greatest ever strikers and becoming an Arsenal legend in the process. Others more recently include Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie, arguably one of the most skilful in the BPL, who used to play at Hillingdon Borough. So why search abroad?

Some argue that players are signed from abroad to appease fans. After all when you have had a mediocre couple of seasons a goal scorer from La Liga sounds far more entertaining than a Paul Miller who’s been playing well in league two. Though perhaps the tide is turning, particularly as the results seem to point towards the success of english players. Clubs such as Newcastle have invested heavily in foreign stars to simply remain in a relegation scrap while their fans have been clamouring for a local lad. They wanted Charlie Austin who used to play for Thatcham Town, instead they got Mitrovic from Anderlecht. Austin has a goal scoring ratio of 1:2 for the past 8 years, Mitrovic has 4 in 19. Austin cost £4 million, Mitrovic cost £13 million.

(Money doesn’t guarantee success)

Also there are an abundance of players who did well with similar stories, Ricky Lambert, Grant Holt, Malcolm Christie. It shows that if you give someone a chance the odds are someone who has done well somewhere else will take it.

World Class players are rare and so are very good players, they cost a lot of money and every club can afford them now. The likes of Shaqiri at Stoke, Cabaye at Crystal Palace, and Ighalo at Watford you probably do need to buy. But these are the star players at their clubs, for the rest of the side there is no reason you cannot find a brilliant gem down the road at Sutton United, and for a lot less money.

So why not look there?

 

 

 

Why is nobody talking about Joel Ward?

Whenever you go on Sky sports these days all you see is praise for English players on the fringe of the England set up. Every year there seems to be the “Peoples choice” for who should be the next hero to lead the three lions or what is essentially in football the Hipster choice. But they never last and most are just in a rich vein of form. Harry Kane was last years who is indeed a good player , but other years have seen the likes of Grant Holt, Rickie Lambert and this year Jamie Vardy all build up to a crechendo where the whole country is calling for their first cap, but there it usually ends, it even happened with Jimmy Bullard, and Ryan Shawcross for god’s sake. SO WHY DOES NOBODY TALK ABOUT JOEL WARD.

He’s not a striker and I get that so he is never going to garner the same headlines, but he has got to be one of the most versatile players in the league, second surely only to the underrated James Milner. Joel Ward has been known to play in attacking midfield for Crystal Palace and is usually a right back, but few realise that his natural position is Centre back. So why would England not take a player with this versatility and drive (which he has in abundance) to the Euros in the summer. Joel Ward attacks more proficiently than any full back since Leighton Baines in 2012, and he causes havoc in oppositions defences, just like he did against Arsenal earlier this year. His powerful running and surprising creativity put him among the best full backs in the league and by God he can tackle.

Joel Ward.jpg

So please someone in big media please pick this up and give the guy the credit he deserves.

A sad end for Joe Cole

In the summer of 2006 Joe Cole was one of the hottest wingers on the Planet. Having just scored the goal of the tournament in the 2006 World Cup and after stealing the show as Chelsea secured their second consecutive title against Manchester Utd, the sky seemed to be the limit for the tricky winger from Islington.

 

Joe Cole goal sweden.jpg

 

However injuries, as with so many players seemed to derail what was sure to be a fantastic career. Not that it wasn’t already, as Joe Cole has had a career to match anyone. But there will alway be a question mark of what could have been had he not burnt out so young. Because sadly Joe cole shared extremely similar career fortunes to another member of the side who beat Sweden in 2006. The other player was Michael Owen. Both blazed onto the scene, both won trophies, both were diminutive players with pace, but sadly both also lost their pace quicker than they could say Stoke or Coventry.

Which somehow is where the great player that is Joe Cole has ended up. Coventry.

The decline began with a series of injuries at Chelsea, with his later years being limited to just a few appearances in 2007 and 2009. But he was still a great player.  Joe not having the role he once had at chelsea sought a move, and in 2010 he took what seemed a great transfer to Anfield with Liverpool. Promised to spearhead a new generation after the departure on Benitez, Cole’s debut brought a red card, and it set the tone for what would be a frustrating time in Merseyside.

But the man that Pele once described as having the “skill of a brazilian” got a lucky break with a loan to Lille. Few English players go overseas these days, but Cole did something few could do. Not only was he successful but playing in his natural No 10 Joe became one of the players of the season in Ligue 1, qualifying for the Champions League in the process.

Joe Cole Lille 2011/12

Lille saw what has become a rare glimpse of Cole’s clear ability.

Liverpool beckoned expecting his form to continue but after another season of disappointment it seemed there was no return.

Cole went back to his roots and had some respite on a loan with his boyhood club West Ham. But the Hammers faithful who had expected the actions of his youth would have been disappointed, and in truth it was more a spell of sentiment and nostalgia than real success. Aston Villa came next but playing with an ageing squad Cole struggled.

Which brings us to Coventry, and 3 appearances at the Ricoh Arena.

It sounds harsh but it upsets me. Despite being an Arsenal fan since birth I always appreciated Joe Cole. He was exciting, he was passionate, he was rare, particularly for an english player. He was meant to be like Gascoigne and for a while he nearly was, but in the end it has not been the case.

Joe cole villa

I still pray he gets a break, or Villa take him back to build an emergency team around him.

They are bottom of the league…

Whats the worst that could happen?