Would Zlatan fit in at Arsenal?

It is widely known that the 8th wonder of the world Zlatan Ibrahimović is leaving for pastures new in the summer, and indeed some reports point to the possibility of an Emirates return.

The reason I say return, is because even though Zlatan never signed for Wenger’s side, he did in fact have a trial. A trial that he notoriously declined.

At the age of 34 Zlatan is probably past his prime, but that would not detract from the undoubted talent he can still use to aid Arsenal’s ambitions next year. Arsenal tend to use a target man within their side anyway (witness the likes of Giroud and less successful players like Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo) so Zlatan could slot right in and give Arsenal that star they have been so desperately craving. Not to mention a character, which the Arsenal squad does not currently possess aside from arguably Jack Wilshere. The Swede’s experience, leadership, and finishing could see the Arsenal side improve overnight, and Gunners everywhere will be hoping to see these skills in North London next year.

 

The only problem of course will be the money aspect. Even though Arsenal are reportedly flush with disposable cash these days, Zlatan has apparently made demands of over £500,000 a week to counteract the UK’s high tax rates for wealthy individuals. The argument can be made that since Ibrahimović would be a free transfer, some of the potential transfer funds could be diverted into the striker’s wage packet. But this still brings into question whether a 34 year old forward is worth such a wage. One higher than that of Messi or Ronaldo.

Regardless, all Arsenal fans would take him in a heartbeat at the moment.

He doesn’t refer to himself in the third person for nothing.

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Liverpool in for another defender

After Mamadou Sakho’s drug offence, Liverpool are naturally seeking a new defender to replace not just the French defender, but also an ageing Martin Skrtel.

Joel Matip is already coming in over the summer, but Jurgen Klopp is now looking to add more, this time with Jonas Hector of Cologne. Standing at 6’1 Hector is large for a left back and perhaps poses an alternative to speedy wing back Alberto Moreno. Nonetheless the Cologne player possesses more than just size.

 

With over 120 Bundesliga appearances and aged 25, the German has a lot of experience and his attacking instincts may fit well into Klopp’s GungHo style of play. As such priced at just £6m by transfermarkt.com, Hector could be a great purchase for the Reds.

Anyhow it seems that Klopp’s Anfield revolution is finally taking shape.

The Meteoric Rise of Kingsley Coman

If I am being totally honest. Kingsley Coman wasn’t a name I’d heard before the Champions League Quarter final between Juventus and Bayern. It was this night he announced his arrival among Europe’s most gifted, and he did not look out of place.

Ironically the game was one between his two employers (he is currently being on loan from the Old Lady) and controversially played a major part in knocking them out of the tournament. But the style in which he did so, creating a goal for Thomas Muller and providing the final goal left fans across the continent purring over the prospect of such a talented player at such a young age.

So where did he come from?

Kingsley has grown up really in football royalty, he is no Jamie Vardy. He came through the PSG youth set up, becoming their youngest ever player along the way, and then went on to Juventus in 2014. Here he featured 14 times before going on loan to get more first team football…. at Bayern Munich. Bear in mind this guy is still only 19.

But his talent is why these opportunities are afforded to the young frenchman. He already has 3 French caps…

So if you too like me where wondering where on earth has this guy come from, the answer is champions, everywhere he has been. Indeed he has never been in a team which hasn’t won it’s domestic league that year.

So Kingsley Coman it’s fair to say has had quite the footballing education, he is made for big things.

Swansea for a Champions League place?

This morning most people were talking about the fact that Riyad Mahrez became PFA player of the year. So they may have missed a quite bold claim by Francesco Guidolin.

The statement was that similar to champions elect Leicester, Swansea too could have a meteoric rise. Specifically saying that the Swans could secure a Champions League place.

So is the Italian mad, or does he have something to really work with in South Wales.

The answer in all likelihood is no.

Despite a good start to the year, with Ayew & Gomis showing the form that made Swansea buy them, the Jacks didn’t keep it up. Indeed for most of the season they have been battling relegation. But then again look at Leicester…

The difference is that Swansea don’t have the same squad. Leicester’s team though not clearly talented to the untrained eye, was always very balanced. Swansea’s defence on the other hand is dismal, and simply not at the same standard as their midfield. Talented attacking talent such as Ayew, Sigurdsson and Montero are let down by less competent defenders such as Neil Taylor.

Therefore unless Swansea took a new approach, say getting a new manager and updating their defence, they won’t be getting anywhere near the top four. I think they may struggle to attract a manager of Ranieri’s calibre, but then again Benitez is now at Newcastle. Their Transfers have been fairly good historically though, with Swansea punching well above it’s weight in the talent it brings in.

Then again due to Leicester and West Ham’s sudden attack on the upper echelons of the Premier League. I guess anyone has a chance.

 

 

 

Are Rangers back?

Naturally the promotion of the Gers to the SPFL has seen the papers awash, with news that “The Old Firm is back!” and “Scottish football is saved!”

But is it?

Obviously today’s result shows Rangers may well be better than some of the top tier, as few ever beat the Bhoys or even give them a game for that matter. Indeed they are going to the Scottish cup final because of this peach.

However nobody would argue that Rangers have the better players, as they don’t. If you made up a composite 11 of the Glasgow sides. Barrie Mckay and Kenny Miller are good players, as is Danny Wilson. But they would still not displace many celtic players.

The point is that Celtic are at a low right now. Ronny Deila has overseen an era of stagnation and Rangers are on a high right now after their promotion, which they have every right to be. But people forget that their financial affairs are still dire and they operate on a loss annually. This means that all those people thinking Rangers are going to suddenly race out of the blocks and get a great squad again are deluded.

The sad truth is that Celtic are still established and Rangers are not. It will take years to get back to where they were and even then they will not be back to their heyday any time soon. There will not be european stars like Gattuso and Gascoigne again.

Next year the TV money that will go to relegated premier league teams will reach £100 million, the SPFL Champions will get £5 million.

Unless there is a crop of outstanding young talent in the SPFL, the future for not just Rangers but also Celtic, looks very bleak.

Strugglers looking to Sambou

Everton and Newcastle are two great english football clubs, institutions even. However this term both have been struggling, and need something new.

This is why both are linked with a certain coventry youngster by the name Bassala Sambou. Bassala was born in Hannover and is just 18 years old, but that hasn’t stopped him getting 25 goals year in the Coventry youth ranks.

With Newcastle almost certainly going down they are looking for some fresh blood and Sambou looks perfect, with a host of players set to move on.

Equally Everton may be losing players, though not for the same reasons. With a low mid table finish guaranteed many of Everton’s young stars may seek pastures new, most notably Romelu Lukaku. Wanting Champions League football it would be a surprise if the Belgian was still at Goodison next season. As such Sambou could come in as a future replacement, though presumably not to be leading the line straight away.

Whichever route Sambou takes, both clubs have a long history of giving youth a chance, and England may have another Striker to choose from in the not too distant future.

Andre Pierre Gignac due a return to Europe?

Not many will have heard much about Andre Pierre Gignac in the past few years, with some maybe just presuming he was in some reserve team, or otherwise older than you had originally thought and subtly retired after an injury, or a dip in form.

BUT NO!

Far from falling down any pecking order, Gignac’s form for Mexican side Tigres has seen him become LIGA MX’s top goalscorer, with 24 goals in just 29 games. Indeed it is this form that has brought Gignac’s name back into the French national fold, and with Benzema potentially injured, a space as back up to Premier League stars Giroud & Martial could have just opened up in the Euro 2016 hosts squad.

This would be Gignac’s first taste of the big time however, having played for Marseille in the Champions League during his stint between 2010-2015 Gignac is a big name, which makes it particularly interesting that Stoke City may be interested.

Gignac scored 59 goals during his time in the south of France, and played up front for Les Bleus on 25 occasions. His time at Marseille started poorly, but in his last season he scored 21 Ligue 1 goals and his time at Tigres has cemented his pedigree to do it anywhere.

Gignac has said he wants to stay in Mexico. But with an ageing front line including Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch, and Peter Odemwingie Stoke may want something new and put forward a tempting offer…

The Brittania could be treated to the likes of this soon:

 

Newcastle calling it a day on Steven Taylor

Some had predicted he’d become a legend in Tyneside, and for a while it was looking that way.

Somehow though Steven Taylor will leave a fallen figure.

Reports claim that there is Zero chance of a contract renewal and it will bring an underwhelming end to a 13 year stint in the North East for the Centre Back. With few suitor’s lining up, the St.James stalwart may have to go down a division or two for regular games. Ironically where he may face his current employers.

A decade ago Taylor was an academy graduate with the stands singing his name. He was an regular England U21 player, and he stuck with the club upon their relegation in 2009.

However since his heyday performances have only declined, and many now see him as a cumbersome liability rather than the rock at the heart of the back four.

Given he is only 30 Taylor should be in his prime, but Benitez has reportedly stated that he has played his last game for the Magpies.

He played a total of 264 of them in the Newcastle stripes, so it is a sad end for the centre back.

Rewind a few years and he had probably imagined a testimonial as a pose to a Bosman.

 

 

Leicester’s first big time signing?

If Leicester win the league, or should I ay when, there will suddenly be a whole new world of players available to the midlands club. Many of whom may have never previously heard of the Foxes, but awash with champions league funding and a premier league title under their belt, players will surely take notice of this new potential suitor.

One of these men is Fiorentina’s creative star Josip Ilicic. Playing in behind the striker or on the wing, it is thought that the Slovenian could pair up well to feed Jamie Vardy next year. With 12 goals in 25 this year he poses a goal threat too, and at 6’3 he has an unorthodox frame for a man in his position.

Reports state £11 million as a ball-park figure to prise him from Serie A,but with the new TV deal that would be affordable for a bottom place side, let alone the winner. Not just will Leicester fans see a phenomenal team, but now some star talent as well.

Not that Mahrez isn’t doing that already.

 

Arsenal scouting Croatian Youngster

Josip Brekalo, Croatian Wonderkid, is reportedly coveted by the upper echelons of Arsenal’s scouting set up.

Ex-Arsenal defender Gilles Grimandi watched the winger who has been impressing in this years UEFA youth League, and the 17 year old’s performances for Dinamo Zagreb’s youth sides have made Europe’s best sides take notice.

Josip Brekalo

Given Brekalo is not a first team regular it may be a somewhat odd move by the Arsenal recruitment team who are under pressure to buy a big name proven striker in the summer. Despite his future potential. Dissent in the fan base has grown in recent months with Arsenal’s weak title challenge and many would see another long term purchase buy Wenger as unnecessary and almost arrogant.

Anyhow! The guy is only 17 after all and the price tag would presumably not be too high.

If these skills are anything to go by, he may be one to keep an eye on.