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Diogo Goncalves to Leeds United – Good move or bad?

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As per a report from Portuguese outlet , Leeds United are interested in making a move for Benfica forward Diogo Goncalves. The Whites have been through a series of ups and downs this season but with their chances of a promotion virtually nil for this season, it only makes sense for Paul Heckingbottom to scan the market and find quality options to build a team to his liking for the next season.

There will be a lot of pressure on the manager and the club to deliver strong results next term and it goes without saying that Leeds are in dire need of a new goalscorer.

Ever since Andrea Radrizzani took charge of the club as the sole owner, they have been investing in the future by bringing in younger players. While that is well and good, the fact is that they need quality players to address their many problems right now.

And 21-year-old Goncalves appears to be the latest name to adorn Heckingbottom’s list of transfer targets for the summer.

One might argue that Goncalves is quite young and relatively inexperienced as well but he boasts of ample skills and has played for Benfica in the Portuguese top-flight and has appeared in a few Champions League encounters as well. At present, Benfica are filled to the brim with talented attackers and Goncalves will be looking for an escape route to register more playing minutes.

If you are a close follower of this summer’s tournament in Russia, the Portuguese national team are likely to take Diogo Goncalves along with the 21-man squad and suggest he might even get a few minutes of action along the side the senior members.

As far as Leeds are concerned, one of their biggest problems has been the lack of power from their wingers. Ezgjan Alioski, HadiSacko and Stuart Dallas have been extremely inconsistent this season and because of that, Leeds have struggled in front of the goal. If the Yorkshire-based outfit are to do better and advance to the next level, they will need a new winger or two – somebody who can find the back of the net even in the most trying situations.

To that end, a move for Goncalves does make sense for the club. He is primarily a winger and can also play as a secondary striker. He is quite clever when it comes to his attacking prowess and he seems to have a creative side which Heckingbottom will be looking to explore at Elland Road. In addition to all that, Goncalves is very industrious and speedy, meaning he could prove to be missing piece for Leeds in the final third.

Hence, this move will have a certain risk factor associated with it since Goncalves is quite young but nevertheless, it is a deal worth pursuing.

 

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Signing this 22-year-old England superstar in January could be a shrewd move by Everton

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Everton should make a move for Ruben Loftus-Cheek in January

According to the Daily Star, Chelsea’s out-of-favour youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been tipped with a move away from the Stamford Bridge on a permanent basis.

Both Chelsea and Everton witnessed changes in the managerial position this summer. While the Blues have done exceptionally well in the Premier League and enjoy an unbeaten record so far, the Toffees have endured a mixed start with three wins from their first eight games.

Maurizio Sarri brought in Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the summer to bolster his options in the midfield and the Italian boss has favoured a 4-3-3 formation.

N’Golo Kante and Jorginho have established themselves as regular starters in Sarri’s eleven as a part of the midfield three, which has left the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesc Fabregas, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley to battle for the remaining one spot. The manager has opted to go in with Kovacic on most occasions but has given Barkley an occasional look-in for a few games.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has found it difficult to break into the first-team picture and has played only 33 minutes in the Premier League this season. The 22-year-old did start against Vidi in the Europa League but was subbed for Barkley after an hour.

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As a matter of surprise, Maurizio Sarri bashed the youngster for being tactically incompetent in the midfield. He stressed that Loftus-Cheek is very good technically and physically but needs to improve tactically to get into the team. (h/t Daily Star)

Loftus-Cheek spent time on loan last season at Crystal Palace and helped the Eagles to an 11th place finish in the Premier League. He scored 2 goals and registered 3 assists in 24 league appearances for Roy Hodgson’s side and his impressive displays earned him a spot in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia.

Everton has been linked with a move for free-agent Samir Nasri when his doping ban expires next month, claims the Daily Mail. Marco Silva is looking to add cover and competition for the likes of Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nasri is being considered as a possible option. (h/t Daily Mail)

Undoubtedly, Nasri has an enviable record in the Premier League and has won the competition twice with Manchester City back in his glory days. However, it might not be the wisest of moves to sign him at this stage of his career given that he is already 31 and has been out of action for almost ten months.

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As things stand, Everton should look to lure Loftus-Cheek to Goodison Park by offering him a lucrative contract. A versatile midfielder who can fit into any position in the midfield, the 22-year-old will be the perfect back-up for Gylfi Sigurdsson.

While he has the game reading ability and the physicality of a central midfielder and can break the play with crucial interceptions, he also has the vision, creativity and firepower of a central attacking midfielder and is capable of playing on either side of the pitch. Loftus-Cheek likes to drop back and win the back and then surges forward with pace to craft attacking moves. He has an excellent technique and can find the net from distance with powerful long-range efforts.

Read More:- Enough is enough – Everton must loan out this £27million flop in January

Everton need more depth in their squad, especially in the midfield, if they are to stamp their authority over their rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, Watford, Bournemouth, Leicester City and Arsenal. To be honest, signing Lotus-Cheek will boost their chances of making it to Europe next year.   

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West Ham must revive interest in this 24-year-old midfield powerhouse to replace Mark Noble

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West Ham United should consider signing Marvelous Nakamba

According to Belgian publication Voetbal Nieuws, Club Brugge midfielder Marvelous Nakamba was linked with a move to West Ham in the summer. However, a move to the London Stadium failed to materialise and the 24-year-old continued to ply his trade in the Belgian top-flight.

Nakamba started his professional career with Zimbabwean outfit Bantu Rovers having a brief stint with French Ligue 2 side Nancy but rose to prominence with his impressive performances for Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem. Belgian giants Club Brugge brought him in the summer of 2017 and he made a total of 35 appearances for the club last season.

After a season of mediocrity under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes, West Ham appointed Manuel Pellegrini as the manager to turn the club’s fortunes around. The Chilean was given a huge transfer budget and the Hammers made the headlines with the mega money signings of Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Issa Diop.

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Great things were expected when West Ham snapped up such high profile names in the summer but things didn’t quite go according to the script for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. In fact, West Ham made the worst possible start to the season with four consecutive losses, which must have given the fans some ominous signs of a bottom half finish once again.

However, the Hammers got their campaign back on track with wonderful performances against Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton and bagged five points from thee games against the top half teams.

It would be fair to say that Manuel Pellegrini’s tactical tweak helped the Hammers get back to winning ways. He changed the shape of his team from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 and deployed 19-year-old Irishman Declan Rice to shield the rearguard alongside Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble in a more advanced role. Rice obliged with his commanding displays in central defensive midfield and has earned rave reviews for his strong performances.

While Rice and Obiang have done really well, 31-year-old Mark Noble has shown significant signs of slowing down. Quite clearly, the veteran is just carrying his body around but his legs need an ice-bath at the halfway mark. Suffice to say, he doesn’t have the same tenacity anymore that used to make him such a potent midfield engine in his younger days at the club.

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Granted, Noble has been West Ham’s long-term trusted servant but Pellegrini shouldn’t let sentiments creep in. The Hammers should revive their interest in Nakamba, who should add a lot more value to the midfield and they should hesitate to offload Noble for that purpose.

The 24-year-old is a midfield powerhouse filled with a lot of energy who excels with his game-reading abilities. He is capable of operating as a deep-lying playmaker where he not only links up the play with short passes but is also adept at releasing his teammates into open spaces with perfectly measured long passes.

The Zimbabwean’s superb anticipation skills allow him to break up the play with crucial interceptions and he is not afraid to go into tackles. As a matter of fact, the 24-year-old averaged 3.5 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, 1.5 dribbles and 3.1 long balls per game in the 2016-17 season in the Eredivisie. These numbers should speak volumes of his ability as a central midfielder. Furthermore, he is a player defined by high levels of concentration and composure, which should make him all the more invaluable to the Hammers.

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Read More:- Signing this experienced Premier League veteran could propel West Ham United to the next level

In other words, he is the perfect long-term successor to Mark Noble and his style of play is a lot similar to Pedro Obiang. Hence, West Ham can reach new heights if Nakamba and Obiang complement each other in the midfield with Declan Rice in a shielding role.

That said, Pellegrini should not hesitate to revive interest and make a new offer for the African in January.

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14 goals in 16 games – Signing this 23-year-old goalscoring machine could go a long way in solving West Ham’s woes

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West Ham should go all out to sign Mbwana Samatta in January

According to Football London, West Ham are keeping a close eye on KRC Genk centre-forward Mbwana Samatta. However, the Hammers are not the only club interested in the in-form striker with Everton, Brighton and Burnley all lurking for a possible move to sign the 25-year-old.

Mbwana Samatta is perhaps Tanzania’s most recognized footballer of the modern era. Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Samatta started his professional career with Tanzanian club Simba SC and later moved to Congolese outfit TP Mazembe, where he caught the eye with his prolific goalscoring record. The Tanzanian international scored as many as 60 goals from 103 appearances and helped his club to glory in the 2015 CAF Champions League.

Belgian giants KRC Genk signed him in 2016 and he hasn’t looked back since then. Samatta has scored 14 goals in 16 games so far this season, with six of those coming in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

His wonderful goalscoring record hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Premier League clubs and West Ham should consider making him a top priority in January.

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The Hammers made a calamitous start to their Premier League season with four losses out of four but managed to get their campaign back on track with some valuable points against the top half teams, including victories over Manchester United and Everton.

The defeat against Brighton before the international break came at the worst possible time for Manuel Pellegrini’s men, given that things were just beginning to look up after a poor start.

However, they should have plenty of positives to take from their games against Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United. In fact, the manager must be looking to build on those positives when they take on Tottenham this Saturday.

Pellegrini was on a spending spree in the summer and did not hesitate to splash the cash to sign the likes of Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson. While these stars made all the headlines, Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena and Ryan Fredericks also made their way into the club.

In Marko Arnautovic, West Ham arguably have the best centre-forward outside the top five clubs in the Premier League and the Austrian has played his part with five goals so far. Wide men Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson have also contributed with goals and creativity. However, West Ham need someone who can take the pressure off Arnautovic’s shoulders.

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Javier Hernandez doesn’t look like the same player he was at Manchester United and the Mexican has scored only once this season. Michail Antonio works really hard and has the pace to trouble the opposition but doesn’t come up with the desired end product too often. Andy Carroll cannot be relied upon either due to his injury problems.

Read More:- West Ham should offload this £16m flop and pursue this 25-year-old Bundesliga goal machine – Agreed?

As things stand, West Ham need someone who can play a backup role for the No.9 position and Mbwana Samatta seems like a good option. The African is blessed with pace, strength and sharpness and has the instincts of an out-and-out centre-forward. He has a good first touch and combines it with his sharpness to turn away from the defenders in the final third.

The Tanzanian is unafraid to put his foot through the ball and is capable of scoring with powerful shots from inside as well as outside the penalty area. Furthermore, he is strong in the air and times his jump to perfection, which makes him a genuine threat from crosses and set-pieces.

Having said that, West Ham should beat their Premier League rivals to sign this prolific African goal machine. It might as well turn out to be the signing that powers the Hammers to a top-half finish this season.

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