Why Nottingham Forest must snap up Karim Ansarifard
Iranian centre-forward Karim Ansarifard has dropped a huge hint suggesting he could join EFL Championship outfit Nottingham Forest (h/t Nottingham Post).
The 28-year-old striker, who is a free agent after being released by Greek outfit Olympiacos, recently seemed to confirm his move to England in an interview.
“I know that I have a difficult task ahead since Nottingham Forest are among the best teams in Championship but I will do my best and I’m happy and I hope to help the team to achieve our goals,” he told the Tehran Times newspaper, as quoted by Nottingham Post.
“I think so many football players dream of playing in England.”
Nottingham Forest haven’t made the best start to the new season and find themselves in the 15th spot, with just a solitary win in seven matches (5D, 1L). Karanka made as many as 16 signings over the past couple of months but that hasn’t translated into performances on the field. The former Middlesbrough boss must get things back on track at the earliest.
The centre-forward department was strengthened in the summer by signing Lewis Grabban, who was one of the top scorers in the second tier last season. However, going into the season with just the former Bournemouth man and an ageing Daryl Murphy has left them exposed. Murphy, 35, missed last weekend’s game against Swansea City with an injury as the match ended in a goalless draw.
As things stand, a new centre-forward would come as a great boost for the Reds. And Ansarifard could prove to be a useful addition to the squad.
The 28-year-old is a vastly experienced operator, having served spells with the likes of Osasuna, Panionios Athens and Olympiacos during his professional career. The marksman spent the last eighteen months with Olympiacos, scoring 22 goals and providing 8 assists in 48 appearances.
Ansarifard is a regular for the Iranian national team as well and has 68 international caps to his name, finding the back of the net on 18 occasions. The striker was part of the 23-man squad that travelled to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In fact, he scored a goal in the 1-1 draw against Portugal.
The 28-year-old is quite similar to Iranian legend Ali Daei in terms of playing style. Standing at 183cm, Ansarifard offers a physical presence in the box and is strong in the air, while being equally good on the ground. Since he has often played on the right flank in the early parts of his career, the striker offers added options in the final third.
With his experience and proven goalscoring abilities, the Iranian international will add more depth to the attacking contingent at Forest and should help them improve their tepid start to the ongoing campaign.
3.2 key passes and 1.8 crosses – Wolves must beat Leeds United to sign this Eredivisie superstar
Wolves should beat Leeds United to sign Brandley Kuwas
According to a previous report from the Express, Championship side Leeds United were interested to sign Eredivisie star Brandley Kuwas but the move fell through with the 26-year-old preferring to stay at his current club Heracles Almelo.
Kuwas started his professional career in the Netherlands and played for AZ Alkmaar at the youth stages but later went on to represent lower division clubs Excelsior and FC Volendam. HIs impressive displays for Excelsior earned him a move to Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo in 2016 and he hasn’t looked back since then.
In the previous season, the Curacaoan international racked up 5 goals and 13 assists in 30 appearances in the Eredivisie which caught the eye of English club Leeds United. He has hit the ground running this term as well and has already registered 2 goals and an assist for the Dutch outfit.
After winning the Championship in an emphatic manner, Wolverhampton Wanderers made a return to the Premier League and manager Nuno Espirito Santo resorted to extensive transfer activity to bolster his squad ahead of the season.
The loan deal for Diogo Jota was made permanent and the newcomers signed Raul Jimenez on loan with an option to buy. Also, they added the young and exciting Adama Traore and brought in the experienced Joao Moutinho to bolster the midfield. The free transfer of goalkeeper Rui Patricio was the icing on the cake as far as the manager’s transfer dealings were concerned.
Thankfully for the manager, all his summer recruits have paid the dividends and Wolves have made it clear with their strong performances early in the season that they are not in the Premier League to simply fight a relegation battle, they mean business and have high hopes of securing a top-half finish.
Going by the kind of form that they have shown so far, Wolves should aim for even bigger things. In fact, securing a playoff spot for the Europa League next season is certainly not beyond the reach of this hugely talented unit.
But they will need to bolster their squad further if they are to keep moving higher up the ladder. And they can definitely do so by completing a hijack on Leed’s United target Brandley Kuwas.
Primarily a right-winger by trade, the highly-rated Eredivisie star is also capable of playing as a left-winger and as a supporting striker behind the No.9. Blessed with a sound technique which allows him to keep good close control, Kuwas can run comfortably with the ball at his feet and wreak havoc through the opposition’s defence from the right.
He is also very good with his crossing and sometimes operates as an inverted winger down the right where he cuts inside with his stronger left foot and puts in accurate crosses into the box. To go with his ability to cut inside and cross the ball, he is also blessed with a vicious left foot which is capable of finding the back of the net with powerful driven shots from any position in the final third.
Furthermore, he is a player who has good levels of concentration and seldom loses his shape in front of goal. The 26-year-old averaged a whopping 3.2 key passes, 1.8 crosses and 1.8 successful long balls per game to go with his pass success percentage of 76.9 last season.
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Although Wolves have Helder Costa who has put in consistent performances down the right and the lively Adama Traore, they should not hesitate to add depth to their squad by snapping up the 26-year-old as he would not only provide cover for the regulars but can also change the game after coming off the bench. As the season progresses, injuries are bound to creep in and Wolves will need more depth to continue with their consistent performances.
That said, the Premier League newcomers should definitely table a bid for Brandley Kuwas in January as they would have a good chance of landing him for what might be a cut-price deal.
Who is this 18-year-old Championship sensation being chased by Man United? All you need to know
Who is Antoine Semenyo? All you need to know about this Man United target
An exclusive report from TEAMtalk claims that Manchester United are tracking talented Bristol City starlet Antoine Semenyo, who is currently away on loan at League Two outfit Newport County.
The report claims that a scout from Manchester United watched the 18-year-old Semenyo in action last month and was impressed with what he saw. As a result, the club are planning on keeping tabs on his development in the coming months. (h/t TEAMtalk)
Let’s take a closer look at Semenyo and his attributes.
Born on 7th January 2000, in London, England, Semenyo moved to Bristol to attend SGS College, where he was spotted by the Bristol City at the age of 17. Following a short trial period with the Robins, the striker signed his first professional contract with the club.
Linking up with the Bristol City U18s, Semenyo grabbed a brace in his first appearance as the Robins thrashed Hull City 7-2. His impressive displays for the U18s soon saw him break into the Robins’ U23 side. The teenage striker impressed against Cardiff City as he led the team to a comeback from being 2-0 down to secure a draw.
Semenyo pulled off another similar feat, scoring a long-range screamer, as he helped Bristol City U23s bounce back from two goals down to draw a game against Birmingham City.
In January earlier this year, the 18-year-old was shipped off on loan to National League South side Bath City, where he continued to enhance his reputation. In nine appearances for the club, the teenage forward found the back of the net on six occasions, which included a hat-trick against Welton Rovers.
Semenyo joined League Two side Newport County temporarily in the summer. Having moved to the South Welsh outfit, the 18-year-old has settled in well at his new club. So far in the ongoing term, the 18-year-old has netted two goals in 12 appearances (6 starts) across all competitions.
Style of Play
Primarily a centre-forward, Semenyo has been utilized out on the left flank as well in his short career and the teenager has managed to impress in both positions.
The 18-year-old’s biggest asset is his pace, which makes him such a huge threat in counter-attacking situations, while his ball control while running at full tilt is impressive as well. A composed finisher, the Englishman possesses impressive physical traits and seems to be adept at holding up the ball. He is strong in aerial encounters as well.
Given his young age, there is still plenty of work to be done but the initial signs are promising and it is quite clear as to why he is so highly-rated by Bristol City.
What does the future hold?
Semenyo clearly is a talented young footballer, who has shown indications of possessing the abilities to develop into an all-around striker. However, to continue his development at a rapid rate, he needs to be playing in and out regularly. And he certainly wouldn’t be able to do that regularly at United or any other top club.
Whereas, at Newport, the 18-year-old is starting games regularly and is getting plenty of exposure in the first-team which is what his career needs at the moment. His contract with Bristol City will expire at the end of the season, and should his progress continue at this rate, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more clubs like Manchester United lining up for his services.
West Brom must raid Championship rivals to sign this 24-year-old creative wizard
Why West Bromwich Albion must raid Blackburn to sign Bradley Dack
As per reports from The Sun (h/t Birmingham Live), West Bromwich Albion are plotting a January move for Blackburn Rovers’ attacking midfielder Bradley Dack.
The 24-year-old was on the Baggies’ radar in the summer and they even had a bid rejected by Blackburn. However, they are now set to return with another offer in the winter transfer window (h/t Birmingham Live).
Dack joined Blackburn in the summer of 2017 from Gillingham and played a huge role in helping them earn promotion to the Championship. Dack plundered 18 goals and set up 9 more in 42 League One matches last season, helping his team to a second-place finish and automatic promotion.
And the Englishman has carried on from where he left off last season. So far in his debut campaign in the Championship, the midfielder has bagged 6 goals and assisted two more. Meanwhile, he also scored two and set up three in his solitary Carabao Cup appearance this term.
A naturally gifted attack-minded midfielder, the 24-year-old has the ability to create goals in plenty with defence-splitting through passes and can find the back of the net with utmost regularity. A quality finisher, Dack also possesses the ability to drive at opponents with his dribbling skills and can cause problems with his sharp movement and intelligent link-up play.
West Brom have made a splendid start to life in the Championship, having been relegated from the Premier League last season. Darren Moore’s men currently occupy the second spot in the table, just a point behind leaders Sheffield United, and have emerged as serious contenders for a promotion tilt.
The Baggies possess one of the most potent attacks in the division this term. So far in the 2018/19 season, they have already scored 31 goals in just 21 matches – which is the most by any team in the competition. Strikers Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle have been in fine form, while on-loan attacking midfielder Harvey Barnes has been a revelation at the Hawthorns this season.
However, they must not rest on their laurels early in the season and should look to maintain the strong run. Hence, they need to add more quality and firepower in the January transfer window.
Moreover, West Brom also face the possibility of losing Barnes in the winter, with his parent club Leicester City mulling over recalling him midway through the campaign (h/t Leicester Mercury), which could have a negative impact on their promotion bid.
Taking into consideration all these factors, a January move for Dack must be a top priority for the Baggies. The Englishman, at 24, has his best years ahead of him and has already shown great quality in his performances.
If the Baggies are to land him in January, they would be taking another huge step towards getting promoted back to the Premier League.
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