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Good job Sarri: Chelsea dodged a bullet by signing £71m superstar instead of this error-prone Ligue 1 man

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Why Chelsea have dodged a bullet by not signing Alphonse Areola

Chelsea went through a lot changes in the summer of 2018. First, Maurizio Sarri replaced Antonio Conte as the club’s new manager and then, midfield duo Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic arrived shortly. But the club’s biggest summer signing was saved till the end.

The young Kepa Arrizabalaga sealed a move to Chelsea after the London club shelled out a staggering £71m to acquire his services from Athletic Bilbao.

But in a recent interview, Chelsea goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon claimed that he would have loved to work with Alphonse Areola at the club (h/t The Sun).

Areola, 25, is a French keeper who plays for the defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. He started 34 games in the top-flight last season and kept 17 clean sheets. He made 78 saves in the league and 29 further in the Champions League, which included three penalty stops. In a recent UEFA Nations League match against Germany, the shot-stopper was impressive as he made seven saves to shut out Die Mannschaft.

As quoted by The Sun, Lollichon admitted that he rates Areola higher than Hugo Lloris and considers him the best French goalkeeper around. But the truth is, despite being a good shot-stopper, Areola has errors in his game.

His ability to deal with crosses and long balls is questionable and opponents have often exploited this vulnerability time and time again. He has made four huge errors in the past two seasons that have directly lead to goals. Hence, it is understandable as to why PSG purchased the legendary Gianluigi Buffon in the summer, following the Italian’s Juventus exit.

Chelsea have bought Arrizabalaga for a world-record fee and the Spaniard has looked confident in his first four games. He is also two years junior to Areola and has the potential to become one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League.

His distribution was a bit shaky in the first two games but he has improved since then. He is a young goalkeeper who has a lot on his plate right now and will need time to adapt to a new country, a new culture and a new style of football in England.

Read More: Opinion: Maurizio Sarri must utilize this 17-year-old midfield enforcer extensively to take Chelsea to the next level

Arrizabalaga might make a few mistakes in the initial stages but if he takes inspiration from his fellow Spaniard David De Gea, he can reach great heights. He just needs the support of the fans and the manager and needs to work hard and believe in himself.

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Chelsea

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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Who is this 18-year-old sensation on Chelsea’s radar? The next big thing in the Premier League?

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Sandro Tonali – All you need to know about this Chelsea target

According to The Sun, Chelsea are prepared to splash £20million to beat the likes of Juventus, AC Milan and Roma to sign 18-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali.

Tonali currently plies his trade in the Serie B with Brescia and has already provided 3 assists in seven games. Maurizio Sarri has been a long-term admirer of Tonali and wanted him at Napoli but it looks like Chelsea are ready to dish out the amount. (h/t The Sun)

The 18-year-old teenage sensation has been a regular for Italy at the U19 level. As the big clubs come sniffing around to snap up the youngster, let us get a deeper insight into one of the most promising young talents in Italian football – Brescia’s Sandro Tonali.

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Background

Born in Italy, Tonali played for Piacenza at youth levels before moving on to Brescia’s academy, where he finally settled down. He made his professional debut in the Serie B for his boyhood club in August 2017, aged 17, and made a total of 19 appearances in his first season as a professional.

He has established himself as a regular starter this season.

Style of Play

Primarily a central defensive midfielder, Tonali can also play as a central midfielder in a more advanced role. However, he is at his best when deployed in a deep position from where he operates as a deep-lying playmaker.

Blessed with an excellent technique and quick reflexes, Tonali combines both his attributes to cut out the attacks with crucial interceptions from a deep position in the midfield. He is not the most physical player on the pitch but tends to make up for it with his superior technique which not only allows him to run comfortably with the ball at his feet but also lets him shield the ball well. Furthermore, he is also a good dribbler.

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He has the ability to create that extra yard of space for himself by taking quick turns and uses his remarkable vision to play his teammates into open spaces. He is a good passer of the ball and keeps things ticking in the midfield with his effective ball distribution skills.

His vision, technique and game-reading abilities place him above rest of the players of his age.

Read More:- Who is this powerful Championship midfielder on Arsenal on Tottenham’s radars? All you need to know

What does the future hold?

Tonali has already established himself as a regular for Italy at the U19 levels and if he continues his development in the right path, a call-up to the senior team won’t be far away.

He is unlikely to stay at Brescia for too long with Chelsea, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma all interested in him and it won’t be a surprise to see him plying his trade for an elite club.

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Signing this experienced Premier League veteran could propel West Ham United to the next level

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West Ham should go all out to sign Gary Cahill in January

Chelsea’s out-of-favour centre-back Gary Cahill has emerged as a January transfer target for West Ham United, claims the Mirror. The 32-year-old has less than a year remaining on his current contract which is set to expire next summer and the Blues are unlikely to offer him an extension.

Cahill joined Chelsea in 2012 from Bolton Wanderers and was a part of the team that won the UEFA Champions League in 2011/12 and the UEFA Europa League in 2012/13.

The 32-year-old veteran has also won the FA Cup, League Cup and the Premier League on two occasions over the course of his illustrious career at Stamford Bridge. Cahill has made a total of 285 appearances across all competitions, scoring on 25 occasions.

Although Cahill made 43 appearances across all competitions last season, including 27 in the Premier League, he has been frozen out of the squad by new manager Maurizio Sarri. The Italian boss has preferred deploying David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger in the heart of the defense and has used the Englishman as an understudy.

In fact, Cahill has played only once in the Premier League this season when he came off the bench to replace an injured Rudiger.

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A player of Cahill’s calibre doesn’t deserve to warm the bench at Stamford Bridge, definitely not at the age of 32. In the limited game time he has received, Cahill has looked quite fit and sharp for his age.

West Ham steadied the ship after a disastrous start with victories over Everton and Manchester United. However, the Hammers’ recent run of form was undone by Brighton last weekend as the Seagulls triumphed 1-0 courtesy Glenn Murray’s 25th-minute strike.

The Hammers have managed to keep only one clean sheet this season which came in a goalless draw against Chelsea. In fact, Pellegrini’s men have a poor defensive record in the Premier League, having shipped 13 goals so far with a goal difference of -5.

Pellegrini brought in the likes of Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop to bolster his options at the back and both players have taken time to adapt to the demands of the Premier League. 

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West Ham do not have many options for the centre-back position. Granted, Balbuena and Diop have fared well in recent games but they looked quite shaky against Brighton and put the team at risk with occasional lapses in concentration.

Angelo Ogbonna, the Italian centre-back who played a couple of games at the start of the season, has looked way off the pace and badly out of shape. West Ham do have the services of 19-year-old Reece Oxford but they need an experienced customer who can lead by example.

Read More:- Rating West Ham’s new summer signings – Who gets an 8/10 and who gets a 4/10?

As things stand, Gary Cahill would be the ideal man to provide cover and competition for the likes of Balbuena, Diop and Ogbonna. A centre-back blessed with excellent technique, remarkable aerial prowess and appreciable game-reading ability, Cahill is known for his high levels of composure, concentration and consistency. He also has an enviable goalscoring record for a centre-back.

Hence, a move to London Stadium would be ideal for all parties involved and the Hammers should not hesitate to table a bid for the veteran.

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