I would just like to say I’m sorry for the inactivity on the blog for the past 10 months or so and I should be back to writing more regularly. 🙂
The 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season has finished and we’re currently in the awkward phase where our Saturdays and Sundays are empty and your life seems all the more dragging along slowly waiting for the clock strike 00:00 on the 1st of July; The opening day of the summer transfer window. This means we’re only a couple of weeks away from the transfer window being opened. Last summer we saw a lot of great players join the Premier League such as Arsenal’s new pint-sized magician, Alexis Sanchez to former Champions League final MOTM player Angel Di Maria to a man who once put 4 goals past Petr Cech, Radamel Falcao. Granted, some of the summer moves have worked out better than others although they’ve all been added to the plethora of talent that have all graced our top division. The top 4 teams have all been linked with world-class players and all these transfers, should they all materialise, would benefit all parties involved. Excluding rival teams of course.
In: Raphael Varane
Out: John Obi Mikel
First I start with the Champions of England, how do you improve such a well-balanced team that completely dominated the league from game week 1 to game week 38? When you look at their first team it isn’t hard to see why they won the league with relative ease. A goal mammoth like Diego Costa which they’ve needed for so long, a midfield so perfectly mixed with twinkle toed number 10s like Hazard to men who could find a perfect pass blindfolded like Fabregas to absolute bruiser like Matic, to an almost impeccable defence conceding just 32 goals all season. Mourinho’s team isn’t exactly a bunch of OAPs either, with an average age of 27.08. Although when Mourinho took over for the 2nd time, they were a few anomalies to this, such as Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o, who have been let go by the club and more recently Didier Drogba, but this was on more sentimental terms rather than a harsh release from contract. But there is one big glaring anomaly in the name of John Terry. As superb as the captain has been and playing all 38 league games at the age of 34 is no lean feat, he isn’t going to be around forever and will need replacing sooner than later, even it is an understudy to him rather than him being fully shunted out the side. Terry’s replacement is a hard one, as Mourinho sees Zouma’s future more as a midfielder, Nathan Ake unlikely to make the cut as well as Tomas Kalas, although who did show good signs in the late parts of the 13/14 season before being loaned out in the season just gone. Varane already has a pretty good relationship with Jose Mourinho from their time at Real Madrid together, in fact it was Jose who brought the Frenchman from Lens to the Bernabeu and thrived under him. Last season Varane played 39 apps for Real in all comps, scoring 3 goals and averaging 1.4 tackles and 0.6 blocks a game. The French international would be an amazing coup for Chelsea and set them for further success for when JT does hang up the boots.
John Obi. A player that I personally think is criminally underrated and when you’re dubbed the ‘human full-time whistle’, for coming off the bench, it’s probably time for you to move on. Before Matic’s return to The Bridge in January of 2014, Obi Mikel was Chelsea’s main defensive midfielder after the man who had a positional role named after himself, Makelele, left the club in 2008. The Nigerian international joined the Blues in the summer of 2006 from Norwegian club Lyn and was the lynchpin in Chelsea’s title-winning team, doing the nitty-gritty dirty work which allowed players like Lampard, Drogba, Malouda and Anelka to create and score goals without having to track back and worry to their teams being to being less susceptible to counter attacks. John has recently found himself omitted from the latest Nigerian squad and at 28, is in his prime years and a move to a club which can offer him regular first time football could be the first step to avoid being dropped for his country again and help lose the nickname associated with him at the moment.
In: Paul Pogba
Out: Stevan Jovetic
Why can’t Manchester City ever put a decent attempt at retaining their league title? They finished 11 points behind champions Manchester United in the 2012/13 after snatching the league title the season before and again one the title in 13/14 on the final day, not quite dramatically however. They were supposedly the only team that could challenge Chelsea to the wire for the title and yet finished 8 points behind Chelsea. When I looked at City’s shortcomings this season, I remembered a comment Gary Neville said earlier in the season talking about the spine of the City team, stating that they’re not getting any younger and this was the final chance for them to go for European glory but these dreams were ended by eventual winners Barcelona. When you look at the spine of the City team which is Hart – Kompany – Toure – Silva – Aguero, most of them played well this season to a certain degree, Hart caught the golden glove award for most clean sheet, Silva has one his best seasons in terms of goal scoring which is something which he has slightly lacked in his game, and of course Aguero won the golden boot, despite being injured numerous times during the course of the season. the two that had bad seasons were Kompany and Toure, and I empathise with Kompany, it just seems like he is always having to concentrate on covering for his centre-half partner and his own personal game suffers from it. Although with Yaya Toure, he just looks so dejected and so disinterested in-game and looks a shadow of his former self, a complete contrast to him last season, who took the league by storm. He has been heavily linked with a move to Inter Milan and at 32, he may just take the move to Italy. As to replace him, there is only one real target isn’t there? Former United player Paul Pogba, who’s blossomed since he left the Red Devils for the Old Lady. He can do all the things Yaya did for City last season, get forward, track back, pick a pass, making a crunching tackle and do it thrice over in a game. Plus being 10 years Toure’s junior, he could run all over the pitch. He would cost an astronomical amount of money, which I doubt City would have that much problem to send to Juve. Pogba as a Cityzen at Old Trafford in the Manc derby would be quite a scene wouldn’t it?
I’ll keep this one short and simple. Like his City career. Jovetic needs to leave City as soon as possible. He is not going to get any minutes at City anytime soon unless some freak incident happens where the 3 other strikers get injured, Stevan’s city was all but sealed when he was dropped out of the Champions League roster for new striker Wilfried Bony and with only 17 appearances in the league and only 9 of those being starts, he needs to move to get regular playing time. Despite this he did clock up 5 goals and 3 assists in the league which is decent, showing what he can, and would he could do if he was the vocal point of team’s attack, which won’t happen at City.
In: Petr Cech
Out: Mikel Arteta
Arsenal are still on the hunt to replace Jens Lehmann who left the club in 2008 with a world beater or world stopper in better words. They’ve gone though a few mediocre keepers since the big German left the sticks at the Emirates such as Alumina, Fabianski and more recently Szczesny, who’s partial to a fag or two after letting in a few goals like his job is to actually let the other team score. Currently Arsenal have David Ospina, who is doing pretty well since taking the number one spot over Szczesny. Not to take anything away from either of them, but they’re hardly world-class in their position, and a club of Arsenal’s magnitude should be having a De Gea of United, a Courtois of Chelsea or even a Lloris of Tottenham. Petr Cech would be a great fit for Arsenal, especially with a tactician at the helm in the form of Arsene Wenger, similar to Jose at Chelsea. If Cech did move across London, he would be the undisputed number one at the club and at 33 which may seem old, could serve the Arsenal for at least 4 years, look at Edwin Van Der Sar, he joined United at 35 and left at 40, giving United 5 years of good service. Petr could do the same. From the 10 appearances he made in both the Premier League and Champions League he made 23 saves and a save percentage of 59.8%. He would make a great keeper for Arsenal and could be used to ease the wound of seeing Cesc play in the Chelsea blue for Arsenal fans.
Mikel Arteta may just be the most useless captain in Premier History. The Spaniard barely played for the Gunners last season, featuring for the North London outfit just 10 times and scoring 1 goal, meaning that the vice-captain Per Mertesacker is essentially the captain. Before January, Mikel was being kept out of the first team from the central midfield pairing of Ramsey and Flamini then near the turn of the year the Welshman got injured and with this occurrence, many people thought this would beckon the return of Arteta back to the side, in fact what is done was put him further down the pecking order, as Wenger pulled a stroke of genius and brought back Francis Coquelin from loan from Charlton Athletic, who has since been Arsenal’s best player behind Alexis Sanchez which says a lot, considering he was playing in the Championship in 2014. Coquelin and Santi Carzola are now Arsene’s prefered midfield two, with Santi surprisingly thriving in his new slightly withdrawn role. Now this leaves Arteta out in the cold. He is now 33 and at the twilight at his career, I think it is best for Arsenal that he leaves to free up squad space and lessen the wage packet, as well it being in Mikel’s best interest to leave and move to somewhere where he is going to get more minutes.
In: Morgan Schneiderlin
Out: Jonny Evans
Manchester United’s midfield has been poor for at least 5 years now and it’s time for Louis van Gaal to fix the problem Sir Alex left for David Moyes and the problem who tried hopelessly to rectify. To be fair to David, two of the midfield signings he make have had great seasons so maybe Moyes didn’t do that bad? Moving on. The most important midfielder United have is Michael Carrick, the former Spurs man being absolutely pivotal to Manchester United getting back into the Champions League, albeit via a qualifying round to actually do so. When Carrick has been in the United team, their win rate ratio has been 72% and without him there it dropped down massively to a measly 35%, which just highlights his importance to his team. His calmness and ability to read and dictate play is second to none, you don’t get terrence chants comparing you to Paul Scholes for nothing. But Carrick is 34 next month and won’t around forever and one thing that United don’t need is a the Roy Keane problem mark II, the problem being Keane left in 2005, it’s been a decade and he still hasn’t been replaced. So they won’t want a repeat with Carrick when he goes, and his perfect replacement in my eyes is Southampton’s Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin. Morgan has been one of the Southampton’s best players in 2014/15 and one of the Premier League’s most consistent players since Southampton were promoted in 2012. He plays in a similar role as Carrick sitting back in front of the back line and can get the ball, look up and pick and execute a killer pass, as well as being very calm in a pressure situation, much like Carrick and what Manchester United so desperately. Schneiderlin played 26 Premier League games last season and got 4 goals and an assist, which isn’t something he is renowned for but it’s good that he can chip in for goals. Michael Carrick is prided in his passing and he has a 89.6% passing success rate and Schneiderlin’s was 89.3%. Morgan also made 3.7 tackles in a game on average and wins 1.8 aerial duels in a game. Schneiderlin would be a great signing for United for the longevity of the midfield of Manchester United.
What a disappointing and utter underwhelming season it has been for the Northern Irish defender. When Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic left in the summer to Inter and QPR respectively, Evans was United’s oldest defender at the age of 26 which just highlights how young and inexperienced they were, especially when Louis van Gaal bought in 18-year-old Luke Shaw. When the captain candidates were being said, Jonny’s name was spouted and what a mistake it would have been to give him the captaincy. Despite him being the oldest and therefore more ‘experienced’ he made the most defensive errors which led to an opposition shot on goal with 4 errors, the joint highest with Marcos Rojo, 2nd being Smalling with 2 errors, McNair and Blackett with 1 and surprisingly, Phil Jones with 0 defensive errors. As well as Evans’ poor form, Evans was further blasted by fans and the media following the spit gate with Newcastle’s Pappis Cisse, which resulted in a 6 match ban from the FA on Evans. Unfortunately Evans’ United career has taken one too many sour turns and to revitalize his career, Jonny should just leave Manchester United.
Should all these signings happen for the respective clubs, they could really make the title race next season even more of a spectacle.