Lacazette Signing a Signal of Intent, But Arsenal Must Do Everything to Keep Alexis Sanchez.

Lacazette Signing a Signal of Intent, But Arsenal Must Do Everything to Keep Alexis Sanchez.

After years of empty speculation and rumours, Arsenal have finally got their man. Alexandre Lacazette has completed his £52million move from French outfit Lyon to the Emirates Stadium. The French hotshot has signed a five-year deal after Arsenal agreed a club-record fee with Lyon which could rise to the figure of £52M over the course of his contract.

Lacazette had initially had a verbal agreement with Atletico Madrid this summer but any potential move collapsed as Madrid were handed a transfer ban which was handed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Alexandre Lacazette signs a five-year deal at Arsenal, Sky Sources understand.

Arsenal’s opening bid of £39m was rejected last month, but Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas had confirmed that a deal was likely to be completed after the sides compromised on a fee that would eclipse the £42.5m Arsenal shelled out to sign Mesut Ozil in 2013.

Lacazette did say towards the end of the season that he would only move to a club playing Champions League football next season but it seems as though the lure to play under Arsene Wenger has softened Lacazette’s ambitions. He boasted the highest conversion rate of an striker in Europe last season (38.9%), scoring an incredible 37 goals in 45 games as Lyon secured a fourth placed finish in Ligue 1 and reached the Europa League semi-finals.

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Alexandre Lacazette is unveiled as Arsenal’s record signing surpassing the fee paid for Mesut Ozil in 2013.

There is a reason for optimism within the Arsenal faithful with the hope that Lacazette can continue the form that has seen him become of Europe’s most deadliest strikers. His goal-scoring record puts him among the very best in Europe. Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Robert Lewandowski have scored more goals than the Frenchman in the last three seasons. He is even above Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero too.

In actual fact, his numbers are improving every season. He notched 28 league goals and 37 in all competitions last term – his best ever return to date. He leaves Lyon as their best ever goalscorer in 30 years and the fourth highest in the clubs decorated history. It would be difficult to dismiss his record as anything but special.

The Frenchman promises to be a fine addition to a team that has been crying out for a deadly frontman for many years, since Robin Van Persie. But if Arsene Wenger repeats his failings from 2012, then Arsenal could be in danger of regressing yet again. The signing of Lacazette is all well and good, but Arsenal MUST do everything in their power to keep – yet still, the finest player in the dressing room, Alexis Sanchez.

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Could Alexis Sanchez be on his way out of Arsenal?

Sanchez recently said he knows where he will be playing next season, and is yet to reveal if he will be extending his contract at the Emirates.

Former Arsenal player Nigel Winterburn, told Sky Sports News HQ that it is imperative that Arsene Wenger retains his attacking players for next season and indeed he is right, Arsenal can ill-afford to lose Alexis seeing as he’s been their best player for the last couple years.

Wenger now finds himself in the same position he was five years ago with Robin Van Persie threatening to run down the last year of his deal. Wenger went on to spend £10m on an unknown quality who had just fired Montpellier to the French title, Olivier Giroud. Lets be fair, Olivier Giroud has been a fine servant to the club and has been excellent value five years on. He has given five good seasons at the Emirates scoring 98 goals in the process. It is no surprise as Giroud approaches his 31st birthday that teams around the Premier League are circulating for his signature.

To be honest, signing Giroud to replace Van Persie was a serious downgrade. At that point in time Van Persie was the best striker in the country, scoring 30 goals during the 2011-2012 season, the most by any Arsenal forward since the great Thierry Henry who scored 30 in the Invincible season.

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Arsenal can ill-afford to lose Alexis to a direct rival like Van Persie in 2012.

Arsenal scored 74 goals that season, and it was just last season that they beat that total for the first time since Van Persie left. Only now, Arsenal are starting to find their cutting edge in front of goal again, because only now do they have a World-Class centre forward. Certainly, Giroud is a quality striker, but he’s not one that can win you a League title. The use of Sanchez as the main man up front gave Arsenal much more impetus last season. Arsenal are a completely different proposition with and without him in the team, which is the reason why he, unlike Mesut Ozil, is worth breaking their contract barrier for.

If Sanchez does leave Arsenal this summer, then Wenger will find himself in the same position he did when he sold Van Persie, no matter how quality Lacazette is. Arsenal may be a clinical side next season, but with Sanchez remaining – maybe, just maybe Arsenal could find a formula that could claim them the Premier League title.

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Could this be Arsenal’s front three next season?

Lets be honest, a Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez attacking trio is what most teams could only dream of. A trio that could terrorise teams next season,  an Wenger would be foolish to allow Sanchez to leave next season, especially if its to rivals Manchester City.

If Sanchez does leave the club, then Arsenal face the prospect of a long summer trying to replace him. Sure, the club have been linked with the likes of Monaco’s ace winger Thomas Lemar and Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, but none of them can match the desire, the energy, the leadership, the determination and most importantly the ability to score incredible and crucial goals on his own. The only way to replace a world class player,  unfortunately, is with world class. No disrespect to Mahrez and Lemar but they are nowhere the level and class of Alexis Sanchez – they are not at the ‘World Class’ level as of yet.

The signing of Alexandre Lacazette is a clear statement sent by Arsene Wenger in what could be a last chance saloon to embark on a serious assault on the Premier League. Lacazette has been the calibre striker Arsenal have been longing for, a striker who could win points on his own – his record over the past few seasons clearly shows he is capable. The signing of the Frenchman is a step forward, but selling Sanchez could represent two steps back.

Its clear, Arsenal must do everything in their power to keep Alexis Sanchez. Lose him, and Wenger can forget about ending his long Arsenal tenure with Premier League success.

 

 

 

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo Wants Fairytale Return, But United Must Maintain Focus on Their Transfer Plans.

Cristiano Ronaldo Wants Fairytale Return, But United Must Maintain Focus on Their Transfer Plans.

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is interested in the possibility of returning to Manchester United this summer, Sky Sources understand.

It is understood Ronaldo has requested his agent Jorges Mendes to do everything in his power to make an emotional return to Old Trafford a reality this summer. The Real Madrid forward wants to leave Spain this summer and a source close to the player says United remain very close to his heart.

United do have reservations about signing Ronaldo this summer which centre around the fact that they do not want to be involved in the media circus regarding Ronaldo’s future.

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Cristiano Ronaldo – during his playing days at Old Trafford – still holds United very close to his heart.

Manchester United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for a world-record fee of £80million and they have tried to set up a deal for the Portuguese on a number of occasions most especially in 2013 when David Moyes attempted to take him back to the club.

At the moment, United are wary of being drawn into another transfer saga that could leave them with nothing, a similar situation two years ago when Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos declared he wanted to leave the Santiago Bernabeu only for United to suffer as the Spaniard used that as a bargaining tool to gain an improved contract at Real Madrid. The general feeling around this saga is that Ronaldo will be staying in Madrid.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly been accused of tax evasion worth £13million.

Ronaldo’s advisors, though, have been told to find him a new club outside Spain. His apparent discontent stems after the 32-year-old forward was accused of evading tax of £13million between 2011 and 2014. He has grown frustrated at the situation that he has reportedly decided to leave the Spanish giants.

There are very few clubs who could afford the Ronaldo’s transfer fee, and his wages. Paris Saint-Germain have held a long-standing interest in the Portuguese forward, and AC Milan’s Chinese owners have been in contact with agent Mendes after Ronaldo’s bombshell.

China is also another option in which clubs hold the financial power to maybe lure Ronaldo away from the Santiago Bernabeu, however, that could prove difficult due to the change in rules regarding the transfer of foreign players to the Chinese Super League which involves a 100% tax.

“Any Chinese club wanting to sign Ronaldo, for say £200m, would also have to pay £200m into a national fund to develop young Chinese players, bringing the total cost of the transfer to £400m – before wages are taken into account.”

–   Sky Sports News HQ

Although, it is believed that Ronaldo is very pessimistic about the opportunity to move to China as he would prefer to carry on playing in one of Europe’s top leagues.

A Bola – the Portuguese newspaper that broke the news story claiming Ronaldo wanted to leave Real Madrid last week – are also confirming that the player strongly desires a return to Old Trafford, yet there is a lot of hurdles to be crossed before the transfer of this decade could become a reality.

There are also suggestions that Ronaldo will be content to remain at Real Madrid if the club pay the tax bill he is disputing, amid claims that both his coach Zinedine Zidane and captain Sergio Ramos have phoned the 32-year-old asking to remain at the club.

However, Ronaldo’s bombshell could come as a stumbling block for United with widespread reports suggesting that United have put their summer transfer business on hold with Woodward possibly being enticed by the prospect of striking a deal for Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club. Most notably, the potential deal for Alvaro Morata – another Real Madrid forward seeing his future away from the Spanish giants – his agent currently in negotiations with United, while the Spaniard is away on his honeymoon. It would be difficult to imagine Real Madrid wanting to release BOTH Ronaldo and Morata, though former CNN reporter Ben Fairthorne , below, quickly dismissed the notion.

To back that up, reports in the Mirror claim that United will treat Morata’s deal as a separate negotiation with any potential Cristiano Ronaldo talks.

The total cost and complicated nature of any potential deal for Ronaldo’s services are also making United wary of becoming embroiled in a transfer saga that would overshadow their preparations for the new season.

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Ronaldo’s transfer debacle could delay any deal for fellow team-mate Alvaro Morata to join Manchester United.

Up until the weekend, it seemed as though United were close to reaching an agreement with Real Madrid for Alvaro Morata who were holding out for a fee close to £80million which would make the forward the most expensive Spanish player of all time, but now that Cristiano Ronaldo has thrown a spanner in the works, a potential deal for Morata could take a little while longer.

What do this debacle mean for Mourinho who is known to be a shrewd operator in the Transfer market with most of his deals most likely being done before pre-season kicks off at the beginning of July. United, understandably, have been drawn into flirtation with a player who made his name in front of the Old Trafford faithful, but the Old Trafford club cannot become distracted from their pursuit for fellow team-mate Alvaro Morata – with Zlatan Ibrahimovic being released because of a serious knee injury, United are desperate to find a replacement quickly and Morata certainly fits the bill. As far as targets go, Ronaldo is a dream. Morata is a reality.

Moreover, Morata can certainly leave a longer and lasting impression.

Ronaldo is in the bracket of superstar signings Woodward dreams of delivering to investors on the New York stock exchange – a list which also includes Gareth Bale, Neymar and Thomas Muller.

So far these moves have come up with nothing.

Which is why Woodward – and Jose Mourinho – will be cautious in what will prove to be a pivotal summer for United. A summer in which the club have already suffered a disappointment with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann declaring that he would rather stay in Madrid than go for pastures new at Old Trafford – a supposed dream signing for Mourinho this summer which has seemingly failed.

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United can no longer afford further disappointments this summer.

United must remain super cautious if they are to pursue Ronaldo’s services this summer. It is understood Mourinho is searching for a specific type of striker and maybe Ronaldo doesn’t fit the bill, even both countrymen sharing the same agent in Jorge Mendes. Morata is the main target and he should remain the no.1 man to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic and maybe Wayne Rooney, two of the greats in the game. Admittedly, Rooney’s decline has weakened the impact of his own departure, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence is sure to be more keenly felt at the club. Twenty-eight goals, an imposing playing style and the big-game mentality craves and all so searching for this summer.

In Morata, United will have a forward they would aim to build their attack around. Few managers are as appreciative and reliant on a bullish-type centre-forward who is also mobile, and if there was one weakness in Ibrahimovic’s game is that he lacked the required speed and mobility to trigger devastating counter-attacks, a trait that Mourinho has become massively associated with over they years. Ronaldo offers slightly more in that respect – but for how much longer?

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Morata could be the future of Old Trafford for years to come… no need for United to dwindle on past glories.

By contrast, Morata is a thoroughly modern breed of striker; at 6’2 he is physical presence that defenders will struggle to deal with, but he is also blessed with pace and clever movement. Many will question the huge sum that is required to secure his services, a player who was predominately used as a substitute last season behind the likes of Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, a player who only has 40 career league goals, but he is the exact profile of forward that Mourinho desires and has used to such great effect in the past. Benzema, Drogba, Diego Costa, Zlatan and Diego Milito to name a few.

But how will the Old Trafford faithful react if Mourinho does not pursue a deal to bring Ronaldo back home?

A question Woodward will certainly be asking himself as the summer progresses.

In a summer when Woodward has been tasked with the responsibility of delivering four key summer signings – Ronaldo not included – he can ill-afford to be distracted by a wild goose chase. That happened under Moyes when failed moves for Gareth Bale, Ronaldo, Thiago of Bayern Munich and Cesc Fabregas ultimately resulted in a deadline-day swoop for Marouane Fellaini.

Ahead of a season, where Mourinho is expected to deliver an even bigger success with the Premier league and Champions League to fight for, he does not want anything to get in the way of his transfer business. At the same time, Woodward would loathe to see his ultimate target sign somewhere else.

Ronaldo is the complete modern footballer. He is a commercial dream that United would reap benefits in any realistic outlay. Ronaldo is also a game-changer, a match winner in the most important of matches as his double against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final showed.

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Could Ronaldo’s latest request be used as a ploy to get something out of Madrid?

Ronaldo is the focal-point of Madrid’s current era of Champions League domination – the antidote to the modern idea of the influence of the super coach.

But lets face it. As stated previously, Ronaldo is the dream. Alvaro Morata is the reality. United can ill-afford to dwindle upon a fairy-tale as their rivals secure their own long-term targets. Ronaldo’s latest bombshell could be all a ploy for his own end at Madrid, it is why Woodward must restore his focus on securing a World-class talent such as Alvaro Morata. A player, who could hold down the United no.9 shirt for a decade. He is the signing they need, not a pipe dream they don’t.

Atletico Madrid’s Transfer Ban Puts Arsenal, Liverpool and United on High Alert For Alexandre Lacazette.

Atletico Madrid’s Transfer Ban Puts Arsenal, Liverpool and United on High Alert For Alexandre Lacazette.

Arsenal, and other interested clubs around Europe looked to set to miss out on top target Alexandre Lacazette earlier this month after the French international admitted that he was keen on a move to Atletico Madrid.

“I want to wait until the end of the season to discuss things with my agent and make the right choice for my future,” said the Lyon forward. “You need to have some proposals on the table in order to make a choice, so I prefer to wait until the end of the season.

“Atletico Madrid are one of the clubs that have been linked in the press. They have a great coach, nice fans, a project and they obviously have Antoine Griezmann.”

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Lacazette looked set to be on the move to Atletico Madrid this summer, but for the clubs transfer ban.

Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas even took it upon himself to reveal that Atletico Madrid had even reached an agreement with the player:

“Alex has a verbal agreement with a club, Atletico, but there is no certainty, since we have to wait for CAS to lift the ban on recruitment,” said Aulas.

But any potential deal to Atletico Madrid has been killed off, for the summer at least. Discrepancies regarding their recruitment of youth players led FIFA to hand Atletico a transfer ban and significant fine. The Spanish club appealed to the Court Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but while their fine has been reduced, the ban still remains. As a result, Atletico are banned from registering players until January 1, 2018.

As Kaveh Solhekol from Sky Sports News HQ, states Arsenal should be front of the queue and move heaven and earth to try and secure the services of Alexandre Lacazette.

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Lacazette finally could be on his way out of Lyon this summer.

Atletico Madrid’s ban has a lot implications on a number of deals also with United said to be cooling their interest on star man Antoine Griezmann which be could good news for Atletico and coach Diego Simeone. The bad news is, Atletico will not be able to secure Lacazette, even if they could, he won’t be able to play for the club until after January 1, 2018 in which he could be cup-tied for any European games if Atletico Madrid make it through to the Knockout stages next year.

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Atletico’s transfer ban means they may be able to keep star man Griezmann for next season.

According to Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Simeone is disappointed in the fact that he won’t be able to sign Alexandre Lacazette, the Argentinian coach had plans to bring the French forward to the club. He felt that his forwards let him down this season and had he had the opportunity to sign Lacazette, it would have meant more goals for Atletico and more of a cutting up-front without the over-reliance on Antoine Griezmann.

Nonetheless, Atletico’s loss could be Arsenal’s gain or even Manchester United who, according to the Daily Mirror are now interested in Lacazette as Mourinho has made signing a No.9 a major priority this summer rather than pursuing Griezmann.

Lacazette finished the season with 36 goals in 44 appearances.

It is indeed very surprising the French hotshot has not moved to a Champions League club already despite his goal scoring prowess that only a few players in Europe can match. Lacazette has encompassed rising from the academy ranks to becoming one of Europe’s most coveted goal scorers. He is one of only four players – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane – to have hit the 20 goal mark in one of Europe’s top five leagues to three successive seasons.

Lacazette has notched 126 times for Lyon in 274 games. When one considers he broke into the first team as a winger under former coach Claude Puel, its even more impressive 110 goals in 182 games since the switch to becoming the main man upfront, after the iconic Lisandro Lopez moved on. In those last three campaigns, the 25 year old has notched 88 goals in 128 (73 in 96 in Ligue 1 alone). Astonishing.

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Arsene Wenger has recently signed a two-year extension to stay on as Arsenal manager until 2019.

It is believed Arsene Wenger is a huge admirer of Lacazette and is eager to add to his squad with rivals Manchester City and United already making moves in the Transfer market. The confirmation of his two-year deal means that Wenger will have another opportunity to deliver a trophy that has eluded him for over 13 years.

However, the only stumbling block is the fact that Lacazette is desperate to play Champions League football next season, and Arsenal will not be able to provide him with those opportunities as the club will be plying their trade in the Europa League in the new season. What could be even more frustrating for Arsenal is that various reports are circulating around stating that United are set to offer £50million to secure Lacazette’s services. Liverpool are also interested in his services and can also offer Lacazette the prospect of Champions League football next season.

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Lacazette has notched an astonishing 37 goals in all competitions this season for Lyon.

Lacazette has two years left on his current deal, but is desperate to go for pastures new this summer, and there is no better place to ply his trade than in the Premier League. With that said, Arsenal, Liverpool and United must all battle it out for the Frenchman’s signature this summer.

Whoever comes out triumphant in securing Lacazette’s services come the start of the season will have snapped one of Europe’s best goal scorers – a player capable of winning vital points on his own. A vital cog in a League title winning machine.

Monaco’s Fabinho Reportedly Close to Joining Manchester United; What Could he Offer?

Monaco’s Fabinho Reportedly Close to Joining Manchester United; What Could he Offer?

While many Manchester United fans are licking their lips and biting their nails at various social media outlets and news reports on the potential signing of French forward Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, news from France and other news outlets are claiming that Manchester United are close to agreeing a deal for Monaco defensive-midfielder Fabinho.

Fabinho is one of many Monaco players reportedly leaving the Stade Louis II this summer. After Bernardo Silva left to join Manchester City last week for a fee of around £43million, reports are also circulating that left-back Benjamin Mendy could be joining Silva at the Etihad stadium within the next few weeks.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are reportedly leading the race to sign the Brazilian midfielder, and Jose Mourinho is determined not to miss out on Fabinho after narrowly missing out on the signing of Bernardo Silva, although, he was not heavy on the list of Manchester United’s transfer targets this summer as Pep Guardiola jumped the gun and secured the Portuguese wing-maestro’s signature.

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Bernardo Silva signed for Manchester City much to the dismay of some United fans.

Fabinho was another star in Monaco’s exciting and free-scoring side that lifted the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 17 years, and reached the Champions League semi-finals. One of Mourinho’s priorities this summer is to sign a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick in defensive-midfield and Fabinho could be the ideal candidate to follow in Carrick’s footsteps. The Brazilian maybe the steel in midfield Mourinho is searching for alongside Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera.

Mourinho’s side have looked light in strength in midfield this season after they sold Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger in the January 2017 window. Marouane Fellaini has certainly been a beneficiary of that and Michael Carrick who has signed a new contract with the club is at the twilight of his career.

It is very cleary to see that Mourinho has made signing a midfield enforcer a priority this summer. Over the past few weeks, United have been linked with various midfielders around Europe according to numerous reports: Radja Nainggolan of Roma, Eric Dier of Tottenham, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko, both of Monaco and even Nemanja Matic from Chelsea.

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Roma’s midfield maestro Radja Nainggolan is one of many midfielders being touted for a move to Old Trafford.

Whether United get any of those names on their list, it would send a clear signal of intent from Mourinho that he means business. The signing of Fabinho would be a boost not only for the club in the midfield department but also personally for Paul Pogba, the presence of Fabinho behind him in a probable midfield trio would allow the French superstar to focus on being the player he was for Juventus at Old Trafford. In his time in Turin, he had the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio beside him to do the dirty work which in turn allowed him to truly play his best football.

Fabinho has been a massive presence in the Monaco midfield this season alongside Bakayoko or Jao Moutinho. The 23-year-old Real Madrid reject has played for Monaco since 2014 and netted 10 times for Leonardo Jardim’s side this season with 4 assists to boot. A fantastic return for the midfielder who has enjoyed his best season in a Monaco shirt. Reports are suggesting that the Brazilian will complete his move when he gets back from holiday. Also, that he has become frustrated that his team-mates and “best friends” Bernardo Silva who has signed for City and Benjamin Mendy on course to also follow the Portuguese attacking-midfielder out of the club.

United have also been interested in the services of Eric Dier from Tottenham who has been instrumental in much of Tottenham’s success this season, it is believed that Mourinho is a huge admirer of the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder but any deal for him would be unlikely because of the frosty relationship between Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and the United board.

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United manager Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier.

Fabinho would definitely add some much needed steel and security to Mourinho’s midfielder if the deal was to go through. United would need to act quickly if they are to get their man as Pep Guardiola is a huge admirer of the Brazilian but it is said he prefers a move to Old Trafford.

Mourinho experimented with his midfield on a number of occasions last season with a 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 set up, and Fabinho’s adaptability and versatility would prove useful, with the Brazilian also able to play at full-back or even wing-back.

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Fabinho can also fill in at Full-back and Wing-back, an incredibly versatile and adaptable player.

 

Juventus have also been reported to have interest in Fabinho but have just recently pulled out of the running which allows the two Manchester clubs to battle it out for his signature, but it is also said that Pep Guardiola is fully focusing on strengthening his defence and full-back positions with Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy his main targets which gives United the green light to fully pursue the Brazilian.

As reported, Fabinho would represent a steady addition to the United overhaul this summer, a player blessed with huge physical presence and is tactically sound – a trait Mourinho admires. Fabinho could be a dream signing for United this summer.

My End Of Season Report on Manchester United.

My End Of Season Report on Manchester United.

After United lifted the UEFA Europa League trophy, instantly Mourinho’s first season at the helm was considered a huge success after he secured the club a return to the elite competition, the UEFA Champions League. At the start of the season, a return to Europe’s top competition was the target for Mourinho, but after a 6th placed finish, the Portuguese coach threw all his eggs in one basket and focused on prioritising the Europa League with just 3 Premier League games left. It was a gamble that paid off as goals from Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swiftly saw off the threat of a youthful Ajax side in Stockholm.

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Pogba celebrates scoring United’s first goal against Ajax in the Europa League final.

It was a victory of pragmatism, and a performance which showed that Mourinho is merely focused on results rather than becoming football’s William Wordsworth. United soaked up pressure from Ajax’ attacks and killed them at vital moments, in a professional and swift manner. Now United have the luxury of playing Champions League next season, Mourinho will be aiming over the summer to take United to the next level… or even United’s Chief Executive Ed Woodward, seeing as Mourinho is on his summer break.

After an up and down Premier League season, United have a lot to work on if they have any dream of bringing the Premier League back to Old Trafford.

As a fantastic season has drawn to a close, this is my End of Season report on Manchester United:

What is your overall verdict on the Season, hit or miss?

Personally, I see this season as a hit simply because our main target at the start of the season has been reached, and that was to secure Champions League football. Certainly, we secured it through the back door but you gotta be in it to win it, and we did. The Premier League has been a hit and miss throughout, but I have always thought we were never going to challenge for the Premier League title as many predicted at the start of the season. This has been a season of merely, laying the foundations and Mourinho has done that with aplomb. We look a much better outfit in defence that under Van Gaal and Moyes, Mourinho has eradicated the silly and unnecessary mistakes; players such as Rojo, Bailly, Blind and Phil Jones have certainly raised their game due to the tactical pragmatism of Mourinho – a coach well known for his defensive mind-set and focus.

However, its our attack that needs work. We’ve played some scintillating football at times but our finishing has really let us down. Our inability to kill teams off in the final third probably was the main we didn’t finish as high as we would have wanted, and I’m sure Mourinho will be solely focusing on attending to that issue during the summer transfer window.

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United frailties in front of goal brought a huge dent to their top 4 ambitions.

What’s your highlight of the season?

Winning the Europa League. As simple as that. As a United fan, I don’t think I would have been able to cope without another season of Champions League football. Mourinho got the job done in Stockholm. It was nice seeing us lift a major trophy as well as the League Cup – another highlight considering the way in which we had to struggle against the pressures of Southampton – it is a trophy that has merely eluded us for so many years. At the end of the day, it is about winning trophies despite our disappointing league position – to see us lifting our third trophy in two years was a joy to behold. United is a club so richly blessed with Major Honours and it was good to carry on that tradition.

Also, the signing of elite players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic (I really do hope he stays next season), Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan showed that we could compete with the best financially even without the allure of Champions League football.

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What is your lowlight?

Our finishing. Diabolical. Frustrating. Disheartening. Imagine where would be if we would have won like 10 or 11 of those 15 games, we would have been up there fighting with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham for the League title, however, it wasn’t to be. It is a major problem we must address in this summers window.

Who’s your Player of the Season?

Ander Herrera. I was thinking Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Valencia, but then I thought the Spanish midfielder has been ever-present for us this season – Deserved winner of the Manchester United Player of the Season award too – a player who has been perfectly moulded into the Mourinho-type midfield destroyer. When Herrera joined the club 3 years ago, he was considered an attacking midfielder. Van Gaal couldn’t see no use of him in his starting XI, and his self-proclaimed “philosophy” suffered as a result – a philosophy so hell-bent on possession football and movement which required the abilities of Herrera, who is blessed with that midfield thrust and an eye for the extraordinary pass (just check his assist for Mkhitaryan against Tottenham and for Rashford against Chelsea). Only God knows why Van Gaal couldn’t realise his mesmeric abilities in the midfield. He has been called upon to change his style under Jose Mourinho and he has duly delivered. His passion, determination and fighting spirit on the pitch has been outstanding. Add in his passing abilities and he has turned into the perfect midfielder this season. Captain of United in the making? I wouldn’t put it past him.

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Herrera has flourished under the guidance of Mourinho this season.

Most Improved Player?

Marcos Rojo. Let me be honest, when Van Gaal bought him, I couldn’t see anything special but a rashness in his game that would get him in trouble every time he flies in for a tackle. I hardly knew him anyway, but under Mourinho this season, the Argentine has finally found his feat (well not literally, seeing as his season ended prematurely because of a bad knee injury). Under Mourinho’s guidance, Rojo has dominated the air, his opponents and the threat around with an assuredness and composure that was so far-fetched when he joined in 2014. I would have picked Antonio Valencia for this gong, but Rojo has impressed me the most.

Best Goal of the Season?

This Goal.

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Mkhitaryan’s ‘Scorpion’ goal against Sunderland.

 

Simply Amazing. Don’t care what Olivier Giroud thinks. Henrikh Mkhitaryan did it first.

What areas need to be strengthened for next term?

Definitely a Prolific Striker, a goal scoring winger, a defensive midfielder and probably a centre back too. Mourinho knows what he needs to do, who am I to comment?

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Antoine Griezmann is top of Mourinho’s transfer targets this summer.

 

If money was no object and you could sign any player in World Football, who would it be and how would they fit into your team?

Neymar. My favourite player in World Football. I really enjoy watching this guy play football, his ability to take on his marker with consummate ease is a sight to behold. We have been linked with him in the past couple of transfer windows. Although the interest seems far fetched, I would love to see him at Old Trafford sometime in the future. I don’t think he will become a one club man and stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career, I feel the Premier League needs someone with his extravagant abilities and I’m sure he would love to test himself in England too.

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Could we see Neymar at Old Trafford in future?

United still is the place to fulfil dreams and ambitions and Neymar will be the centre of those lofty ambitions. He hasn’t got that ‘main man’ tag at Barcelona because of Lionel Messi, so why not become the main man at Manchester United and become the best player in the world just like Cristiano Ronaldo did. Even winning the Ballon D’or.

There is no better place to achieve that than at Old Trafford.

What would represent a successful season next year?

Well, that does depend of whether Mourinho secures his top targets this summer, that is why I feel this summers window could be United’s biggest yet. If we do secure those targets for next season, then why not go far in the Champions League as well as winning the Premier League? Mourinho has won the League title at every club he has been at in his managerial career, and I am hugely confident he will carry on that trend during his time at Old Trafford. We won three trophies in an otherwise average season to be fair, with a team/squad that is not fully moulded into the Mourinho image. Imagine what we could next season if Mourinho successfully tunes his squad into the way he wants next season.

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This Summers Transfer Window could be United’s biggest ever.

There will be difficult obstacles in his way such as Pep Guardiola across the city at the Etihad, as well as Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Champions Chelsea all battling it out to win the Premier League next season. But you have to ‘beat the best to be the best’. Mourinho has been there, done that on many occasions in his decorated managerial career, who’s to say he can’t achieve another next season at Manchester United.

It promises to be another magnificent battle of the new and improved ‘Top 6’ next term. I for one cannot wait.

Major Transfer Deals Most Likely to Happen This Summer. (Part 2)

Major Transfer Deals Most Likely to Happen This Summer. (Part 2)

Now lets take a look at Part 2 of our expected major transfer deals to happen this summer:

Alexis Sanchez – Manchester City/Bayern Munich/Chelsea

How Arsenal fans would rue Alexis Sanchez leaving the Emirates this summer; lets face it, the Chilean forward deserves more than what he is getting at the club. A player of his calibre should be winning major honours but he won’t do that as long as he remains at Arsenal. Sanchez has reportedly stated himself, he is frustrated at the lack of ambition and drive shown by his fellow team mates and the club. Don’t be surprised to see him walk out on the club in the summer with Manchester City and Bayern Munich believed to be sniffing down his neck with the former the most likely destination due to his past ties with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.

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Alexis Sanchez has enjoyed another fruitful season in front of goal.

Nonetheless, individually Sanchez has enjoyed another great season in front of goal taking his all time tally Premier League tally for the club to 50 goals. He is player who will not at stop at nothing to get a victory – a characteristic shown on many occasions this season when he throws a strop or at his fellow team-mates.

Maybe the time he starts winning the trophies he so well desires could be away from Arsenal, who knows?

Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal/Atletico Madrid/Liverpool

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Lacazette has revelled up front for Lyon in Ligue 1 for three consecutive seasons.

A player who has been on top of his game for a long while now. A player that has carried the weight of Lyon’s world on his own shoulders for a number of seasons. Step forward, Alexandre Lacazette.

I am very surprised he has not moved to a Champions League club already despite his goalscoring prowess that only a few players in Europe can match. Lacazette has encompassed rising from the academy ranks to becoming one of Europe’s most coveted goalscorers. He is one of only four players – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane – to have hit the 20 goal mark in one of Europe’s top five leagues to three successive seasons.

Lacazette has notched 126 times for Lyon in 274 games. When one considers he broke into the first team as a winger under former coach Claude Puel, its even more impressive 110 goals in 182 games since the switch to becoming the main man upfront, after the iconic Lisandro Lopez moved on. In those last three campaigns, the 25 year old has notched 88 goals in 128 (73 in 96 in Ligue 1 alone). Astonishing.

So its natural Europe’s finest should be interested in his services, and a move to the Premier League or even La Liga is on the cards this summer with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid believed to be lining up a big money move for the French hotshot.

Tiemoue Bakayoko – Manchester United/Chelsea

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Tiemoue Bakayoko is wanted by both Manchester United and Chelsea this summer.

A player central to the successes of Monaco this season – I mean literally. Tiemoue Bakayoko has been a massive presence along with Fabinho in the centre of Monaco’s midfield throughout the season. His power, ball-playing ability and defensive awareness has seen him gather interest from top clubs in Europe such as Manchester United and Chelsea all soaring for his services this summer. Blues boss Antonio Conte sees the French international and his fellow countryman N’Golo Kante as the perfect partnership in Chelsea’s midfield.

Chelsea are confident of sealing a deal for Bakayoko but have Manchester United to contend with for his signature. It is believed Bakayoko would prefer a move to Old Trafford, but only if they are in the Champions League next season.

However, the Premier League Champions Chelsea, have been leading the chase for the Monaco midfielder, who they want to make an early summer signing with an offer of £30million.

Benjamin Mendy – Manchester United/Manchester City

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Benjamin Mendy has been integral to Monaco’s success this season, expect a big move for him this summer..

Another player who has flourished this season for Monaco, making a huge contribution to the team’s formidable attacking force, French left-back Benjamin Mendy. The defender has been a major outlet on the left for Monaco with his marauding runs and devastating deliveries, he has contributed more assists across the league and Champions League than any other defender in Europe – more than Marcelo of Real Madrid and David Alaba of Bayern Munich. The 22 year-old has been instrumental for Leonardo Jardim’s men who are on course to win their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years.

Benjamin Mendy is now being touted by Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea because of his performances this season. It is understood he is now valued at around twice the figure Monaco paid Marseille for his services – a sum of £12million pounds – and his of interest to all of the top 6 teams. However, sources close to the player have told Sky Sports that Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte are the most keen to secure Mendy’s services.

All 3 managers have cause to search for a new left-back especially City manager Pep Guardiola who has had to rely on the services of Gael Clichy – a player most certainly expected to be part of Guardiola’s summer exodus as the former Barcelona coach looks to build the Etihad club in his own image and Mendy fits perfectly in his plans. City are in desperate need of a major reshuffle in defence which could mean Guardiola going all out for Benjamin Mendy.

Expect there to be a major bidding war for the French international left-back this summer.

Andrea Belotti – Manchester United/Chelsea/Arsenal

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Andrea Belotti has enjoyed a breakout season at Italian outfit Torino.

Torino president claimed to have rejected a £56m bid from Arsenal for striker Andrea Belotti. A man who has enjoyed a fantastic breakout season in Serie A, has attracted interest from a host of top clubs in Europe. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been linked with Belotti the past couple of months and his stats shows why.

After failing to score in his first 10 games for Torino following a move summer move in 2015, a goal against Bologna that year sparked a major turnaround. Since then, the Italian has never looked back, he has scored 28 goals in 42 appearances for both club and country. He has also created 33 goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates – more than any other centre-forward in Italy. His speed unsettles defences, while his strength and determination can turn seemingly lost causes into openings for his team.

His €90 million release clause would be sure to drive out clubs trying to signing the player; however, the Italian striker has dismissed claims his buy-out clause reaches that figure.

Michael Keane – Everton/Manchester United

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Will Michael Keane make a return back to his boyhood club this summer?

 

Manchester United are interested are interested in re-signing Burnley defender Michael Keane, according to Sky Sources.

Keane, 24, left United to join Burnley permanently in 2015 for £2m, four years after he signed a professional contract at Old Trafford. United are understood to have a 25% sell on clause standing from the deal, meaning they would be due a quarter of any fee paid to re-sign Keane back. No talks have been made regarding a potential deal yet, but Mourinho is a keen admirer of the centre-back after an impressive campaign for Sean Dyche’s steady Burnley side.

Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool are all believed to be interested in Keane, who has just one year left on his current contract – which could prompt Burnley to cash in this summer.

Ross Barkley – Tottenham/Arsenal

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Ross Barkley has yet to put pen to paper on a new contract at Goodison.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman earlier this month gave Ross Barkley a deadline to sign a new deal at Goodison Park. Barkley has just one more year on his current deal but has so far refused to put pen to paper on a new deal as he considers his future at the club.

Tottenham are amongst a number of clubs thought to be monitoring Barkley’s situation and Koeman stated Everton are not prepared to wait for until the start of next season for a decision from the England international.

Everton are already on a look out for his potential replacement if he was to leave this summer with Ronald Koeman said to be interested in Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ajax’ attacking midfielder Davy Klaassen, though the former has stated he is happy to stay at the Liberty stadium beyond the summer.

Whatever Barkley decides this summer, he’s got to make the right call because his immediate future and supposed ‘potential’ is on the line… No pressure.

Leonardo Bonucci – Manchester City/Chelsea/Barcelona

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Could Leonardo Bonucci be on his way out of Juventus this summer?

According to widespread reports, Barcelona are trying to coax Leonardo Bonucci to the Nou Camp. Spanish media Outlet, Don Balon reckon the Catalans view the Italian defender as the ideal candidate to bolster their back line. It has been suggested Barcelona will move for the defender if Juventus are victorious in their pursuit of the Champions League trophy against Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid.

The Premier League’s elite have also been heavily linked with Bonucci. Chelsea were desperate to secure his services last summer, but Juventus knocked back their advances. However, other reports such as the Telegraph say the Blues are still in the hunt for the defender – along with Manchester United and City.

Kyle Walker – Manchester City

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Various reports have suggested a fall out between Kyle Walker and Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino. Could he be on his way out?

Reports in the Daily Mail suggest Chelsea and Manchester City are both interested in the services of Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker amid growing rumours in various other news outlets that there has been some unrest between the England international and Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino behind the scenes at White Hart Lane, as a result, Walker has been recently left out of the Tottenham first 11 in key games such as the North London derby against Arsenal.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was already set to slap a significant price tag on the 26-year-old if he is to sell to a direct rival. But a potential tug-of-war between City and Chelsea will drive the price ahead of what promises to be a hectic summer for Kyle Walker.

Though, Tottenham are believed to be relaxed about the situation seeing as Walker is contracted to the club until 2021. Pep Guardiola’s City face an uphill summer as the Spanish coach aims to revamp his squad for the 2017/18 upcoming season and Kyle Walker could be central to those plans as Guardiola is desperate need for a new full-back after Argentine City legend Zabaleta confirmed he would be leaving the club in the summer. Guardiola sees Walker as the ideal replacement and believes the England international has all the ingredients for the perfect Guardiola-type full-back.

Bernardo Silva – Manchester United

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Bernardo Silva has been one of the many young shining stars in an outstanding Monaco side.

Another rising star among the brilliant crop of players unearthed and Ligue 1 champions Monaco. Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva has been hugely impressive this season, his understanding with his fellow forwards such as Kylian Mbappe, Falcao and Thomas Lemar has been the bedrock of an exciting and devastating attack as we’ve ever seen from any Monaco team.

Silva has expressed his dreams of moving to a “top club” in future. The £70million rated winger helped his side capture the Ligue 1 title after his side’s 2-0 win over St Etienne. Monaco could be hit by a mass exodus this summer with Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho and Thomas Lemar all being coveted by Europe’s top clubs this summer.

Much of Bernardo Silva’s future does hinge upon the rest of his team-mates as it is looking massively unlikely most of the top stars at the club will be seeking greener pastures this summer. Jose Mourinho sees Bernardo Silva as the ideal signing to boost his attacking options for next season. United have struggled in front of goal this season, and Mourinho has made plans to solve that issue with a World Class striker and another attacking midfielder being added to his shopping list this summer.

Silva does hold Champions League ambitions, and Mourinho will try everything in his locker to ensure he is triumphant against Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday to match those ambitions.

Radja Nainggolan – Manchester United/Chelsea

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Nainggolan has been a key figure in Roma’s renaissance over the past few years.

 

According to Sky Sports News HQ, Manchester United have entered the race to sign Belgium and Roma. Sky Sources understand that Mourinho is looking to trump Antonio Conte to the signature of the 29-year-old, one of the most sought after midfielders in Europe.

It is understood United’s interest is at an early stage and no deal has been agreed with AS Roma. Last summer, Chelsea made several offers for the Belgian powerhouse to join Stamford Bridge, a bid which was rumoured to be in the region of £34million.

Since joining Roma permanently in 2014, following a loan spell at the Stadio Olimpico during the 2013/14 campaign, Nainggolan has become a vital part of the resurgence of Roma in recent years, making 120 appearances, scoring 26 goals in the process. Outside of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera, Mourinho is short of options in the middle, with Marouane Fellaini reportedly in talks with Turkish side Trabzonspor about a summer transfer and Michael Carrick turning 36 by the time the new season kicks off, Mourinho will be looking for ideal candidates to stock up his midfielder especially if they have ambitions to successfully compete in the Champions League next season.

Major Transfer Deals Most Likely to Happen This Summer. (Part 1)

Major Transfer Deals Most Likely to Happen This Summer. (Part 1)

As another exciting and dramatic Premier League season draws to a close, all eyes will be drawn to what will be an interesting spectacle in the Summer Transfer window. Yes, the football on the pitch will be over, but the action off it continues. Feast your eyes on what is likely to be the most captivating Summer window yet with clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, and the La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona sure to spend buck loads of cash.

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After a difficult first season for Guardiola at Man City, he will certainly be dipping into his mega-bucks transfer funds this summer.

With Chelsea and Tottenham running away with it in a two-horse race, both Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will be slightly disappointed they have been able not to match the ambitions of both the London clubs. Expect both coaches to pull out big cheques this summer to strengthen their squads for the new season. Arsenal on the other hand, are facing an uncertain summer as the future of Arsene Wenger continues to be in question, will he still be at the helm this summer? Reports are emerging that the Frenchman will sign a two-year extension to his current deal.

And what about in La Liga? Barcelona themselves will be facing a hectic transfer window as they not only will be looking to strengthen their squad but will be on the hunt for a new man at the helm to replace Luis Enrique. Will Real Madrid be looking for another Galactico? Eden Hazard maybe? Kylian Mbappe?

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Could Eden Hazard become the next Galactico signing at the Santiago Bernabeu?

There are a lot of questions, debates and uncertainty that will need to be answered as we enter into the summer transfer window. Nonetheless, it will be an enthralling summer filled with transfer surprises and of course, a number of mega-buck signings.

But which of these major signings can we expect? Lets take a look at Part 1 of the expected major signings to happen this summer:

Antoine Griezmann – Manchester United

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Could Antoine Griezmann be joining up with his French team-mate Paul Pogba at Old Trafford?

A transfer saga we are tired of seeing on our front page of the newspaper, our social media platforms, or even on the news but its a potential transfer that is sure to light up the Barclays Premier League if Manchester United succeed in getting the deal over the line. Lets face it, Antoine Griezmann has grown into one of the biggest stars in World Football. Once considered too small a player to make it on the biggest stage during his early stages at Real Sociedad, the French superstar has defied his earlier critics with some outstanding performances for Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone. It is now 3 successive seasons Griezmann has surpassed the feat of 20 goals in all competitions in a calendar season. The current season hasn’t been as good a season as we would have expected from Atletico but they are on course to compete in the Champions League again next season by fighting for a 3rd spot with Sevilla.

Antoine Griezmann just maybe the calibre signing United need right now, with the uncertain future Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his significant injury , Jose Mourinho is in desperate need of a top quality striker and Griezmann fits the bill. United’s record in front of goal this season has been nothing short dismal plus with Ibrahimovic out, they only have Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney to call upon… Mourinho is in desperate need of Griezmann’s services. If that is to happen, Champions League football must be secured for next season.

Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea/Manchester United

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Who will Romelu Lukaku be joining this summer?

Reports in The Sun Newspaper are stating that Romelu Lukaku could turn his back on a potential deal to rejoin Chelsea due to his worry about fitting into the style of Antonio Conte. It is believed the Belgian forward is torn between going back to Stamford Bridge and the prospect of moving to Manchester United. Lukaku, who is on course to finish the Premier league season with the Golden Boot with 24 goals to his name with the season drawing to a close, desperately wants to play Champions League football next season. While that luxury may not yet be certain at Old Trafford, the prospect of joining Chelsea might be Lukaku’s only real option.

Chelsea’s sporting director, Michael Emenalo will behind the move if Lukaku is to return to Stamford bridge and with Diego Costa surely on his way to China, Conte will be looking for an ideal replacement; however, the £80million asking price Everton have slapped on the Belgian may hinder Chelsea’s chances to make a move on the Belgian and the may swing their attentions elsewhere, with Alvaro Morata at Real Madrid likely to become available in the summer. Wherever Romelu Lukaku could end up this summer, lets just hope he makes the right move for his career. Champions League football may have to wait a little longer…

James Rodriguez – Manchester United/Chelsea/Juventus

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According to Sky Sports La Liga expert, Guillem Balague, Manchester United are clear favourites to sign Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez. The Columbian superstar and United manager Jose Mourinho both share the same agent – Jorge Mendes. It is believed that James is being touted by many of the top clubs in Europe but he sees United as the ideal club for the next stage in his career.

According to Colombian Radio Station RCN, James Rodriguez has agreed a deal in principle with Manchester United. It is also believed, James and his agent Jorge Mendes, have met with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to discuss the players discontent with his situation at the Bernabeu.

Rodriguez is frustrated at the lack of game time being handed to him by Zidane at the club, despite that, he has reached double figures in terms of goals for the season in Madrid’s 4-0 victory over Granada couple weeks ago – a testament to his qualities which came to light at the 2014 World Cup, the reason Real Madrid invested so heavily on him straight after the tournament.

James is one of Europe’s most coveted talents and he obviously feels he won’t be able to reach his potential on the bench at Real Madrid, and of course he is right. The Columbian is just too good to be languishing on the sidelines, but how will he fit into the starting XI at United or Chelsea? Another question we’ll have to find out in this transfer window.

Alvaro Morata – Chelsea/Arsenal/Manchester United

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Could Morata be on his way to Stamford Bridge?

Another player on the cusp of leaving the Santiago Bernabeu. Another forward too good to be languishing on the bench. Alvaro Morata is in desperate need of a change of scenery; observing from the bench at Real Madrid just won’t do him any favours. Morata has notched an impressive 21 goals this season, 15 La Liga goals in 11 starts, an astonishing return despite being no.2 to Karim Benzema – a testament to the quality he adds to the team as Real Madrid continue to battle for trophies both on the European and Domestic front.

According to Sky Sports La Liga expert Guillem Balague, Alvaro Morata wants to see what happens with the situation at Chelsea regarding the potential sale of Diego Costa – there is a choice to be made between Morata and Lukaku, the first one preferred by Conte and the second preferred by the club. There is a debate as to who would suit Chelsea more, it is believed that Morata would be the better option tactically. His movement, understanding of the coach and his intelligence leading the line may swing Chelsea towards the signing of the Spanish international.

There haven’t been many reports about links with Arsenal but why not Wenger go for the young forward? Arsenal are in desperate need of a top-quality forward and Morata certainly fits the bill. Wenger would be wise to move for him too.

Eden Hazard – Real Madrid?

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Premier League title winner Hazard is happy at Stamford Bridge but will he be tempted by a move to the Santiago Bernabeu?

A potential transfer deal that would truly damage not only Chelsea fans but the Premier League neutrals also. Eden Hazard has become one of the most exciting players to watch over the years with his unerring pieces of skill and ability on the ball. If Hazard was to move to La Liga this summer, we will be losing of the Premier League’s most prized assets. We all talk about Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar but Hazard should be breathed in the same class.

Various reports have emerged that Hazard is more than happy to stay with Chelsea one more season as the club return into the Champions League after a year out. The Belgian superstar has two Premier League trophies to his cabinet already and he will be dreaming of a Champions League medal. Hazard would need to decide this summer, which club can match his ambitions this summer? A move to the mighty Real Madrid who are on course for yet another European gong to their decorated Champions League cabinet or stay it out at Chelsea to see what happens. Hazard does look like he is staying at the Bridge next season but when a transfer deal involves Real Madrid, you just never know…

David De Gea – Real Madrid

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Will David De Gea finally get the move he desires this summer?

Twice over the past three years Real Madrid had failed in their attempts to secure the signature of Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea. This summer may just be the year Madrid finally get their man. Widespread reports have suggested that the Bernabeu club will go all out for the Spanish goalkeeper once the transfer window reopens.

A goalkeeper who has grown into one of the World’s best after a difficult start to life at Old Trafford under Sir Alex, he has matured and grown considerably since then. His confidence and belief in his own outstanding abilities his biggest attributes over the years at United.

It is reported in various news reports that United are trying everything they can to offer De Gea a contract with only two years left on his current deal, however, it seems as though De Gea has his heart set on a move back to his homeland.

If that was to occur, Jose Mourinho will have a tough job on his hands trying to replace an incredible asset – a goalkeeper worthy winning points on his own, a goalkeeper that can win you a Premier League title in fact.

Kasper Schmeichel – Manchester United

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Could Kasper Schmeichel follow in the footsteps of his father in succeeding at Old Trafford?

This deal could be in direct response to the above. If David De Gea was to leave Old Trafford – it is believed – according to Sky Sources that Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel could be the potential heir to the Spanish goalkeeper’s throne. And why not? Schmeichel represents a steady replacement for David De Gea, if you look at his form and abilities over the past few years. Schmeichel’s heroics last season in Leicester City’s remarkable Premier League title triumph and his performances in the Champions League this season has catapulted him to greater heights and he could find himself at a top club like Manchester United before the start of next season.

Bearing in mind, his father used to be an Old Trafford legend. Prophecy?

Virgil Van Dijk – Man City/Liverpool/Chelsea

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Will Virgil Van Dijk remain at St Mary’s next season?

Southampton manager Claude Puel stated he is adamant Virgil Van Dijk will be staying at Southampton beyond this summer. Clearly the French coach does not his board well, in over the past 6 years Southampton have received reasonable money for star players for example; Sadio Mane, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne Dejan Lovren have all been sold by Southampton for large sums (mostly to Liverpool) and that won’t change this summer regarding the future of Van Dijk.

Strong, agile, steady and solid. All you need in a top class defender plus he great ability on the ball is a huge asset to the way Southampton play, no wonder why they have sorely missed his presence at the back for most of the season.

Expect clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool to submit high bids for the Dutch international who is valued at an incredible £50million pounds. Southampton will gladly accept that kind of offer with open arms.

Marco Verratti – Barcelona/Bayern Munich

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Marco Verratti has stated he likes the PSG project at this moment in time, but a move to the Camp Nou could sway his decision.

The ideal successor to Andres Iniesta’s throne at Barcelona. The Catalan club have been trying to sign the Marco Verratti for a while now, and it easy to see why. The diminutive Italian seems the perfect fit for Barcelona’s midfield that you’d think he’d been moulded from the earth found under the Camp Nou pitch. It’s quite unerring how good a match this would be if Verratti were to seek pastures new and move to Barcelona this summer.

Marco Verratti is a playmaker extraordinaire. Capable of dictating play, threading balls through the eye of the needle – into feet, onto runs. He can run with the ball, and while he’s no Neymar, he certainly has the ability to dribble past his opponents with ease. More than his ability to attack, he is a great defender. A shield to the back four at PSG – tenacious in the tackle, and his zeal for dispossessing his opponents. The perfect man to replace the great Andres Iniesta. I ain’t a Barcelona fan at heart, but I would be very excited at the prospect of watching Verratti dominating La Liga for years to come.

Bayern Munich are believed to be interested in the Italian’s services also – a perfect replacement for Xabi Alonso who is retiring at the end of the season. Though his ability would make him a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Wonderful player.