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How social media is engaging with the football world



In the summer of 2003, Real Madrid unveiled their ‘signing of the season’ in the club’s basketball stadium in front of 500 journalists from 25 countries. Dubbed as the ‘first celebrity footballer’, David Beckham joined a host of stars at the Bernabeu.

Since then, transfer sagas have been more or less the same. The player’s future is often unsettled by speculation before his agent releases mandatory bland statements such as; ‘He is 100% committed to the current club’, only for the footballer to pose with the jersey of a new side.

While the theme has remained unchanged even today, the way clubs are announcing their signings has changed forever, especially with the advent of social media in our lives. Aston Villa made headlines last summer for signing former Chelsea and England skipper John Terry.

If the acquisition itself did not grab them enough eyeballs, their uniquely dramatised WhatsApp conversation between Steve Bruce and club chairman Tony Xia certainly amused most fans. Similarly, Liverpool made Mohamed Salah scroll through their Twitter feed before ‘announcing’ his arrival.

Given equal importance as the sport itself is EA Sports’ life-like video game FIFA which has become highly influential in the world of football. Italian giants Roma made their new signing Lorenzo Pellegrini play as himself in an AS Roma shirt to confirm that he had joined the club.

All these examples point to one thing; the fashion in which new signings are announced is now as significant as the signing itself, let alone his performances on the field.

Twitter’s star footballer

When Yellow Journalism was at its peak during the nineties and early noughties, it was the players’ social lives and extra marital affairs that made headlines. However, over the last five years or so, journalism has gone for a toss completely.

Irrelevant tweets from players have made the headlines these days. Take for instance Chelsea’s second striker Michy Batshuayi, who has 1.1 million followers on twitter. This is more than the followers of Diego Costa, who powered Chelsea to their last two Premier League titles.

Does this mean that Batshuayi has more than the talent of Costa? Absolutely not! There are more chances of it being the other way around. In hindsight, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has only 200K more followers than Batshuayi.

Does this mean Michy is on his way to become a club legend? It’s highly unlikely. The only reason the Belgian commands such a huge following is because of his candid and engaging tweets.

Batshuayi’s case is quite similar to Mario Balotelli’s time in Manchester where his tweets were scrutinized by the English media.

Speaking of Twitter diarrhea, everyone is aware of Joey Barton and his opinionated tweets…the less said about it, the better.


After Dan James, Man Utd must wrap up a deal for this exciting £25m-rated midfield dynamo – Here’s why



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Man United Opinion: Sean Longstaff would be another exciting addition to the ranks at Old Trafford following Dan James’ arrival

According to the Daily Star, Man United are about to firm up their interest in Newcastle United starlet Sean Longstaff, with reports claiming that manager Ole Gunnar Solskajer is a big admirer of the highly-rated 21-year-old.

Solskajer is confident that Longstaff has what it takes to establish himself as a stalwart in the Premier League in the years to come and has set his sights on bringing him to Old Trafford as a part of his youthful squad overhaul this summer. (h/t Daily Star)

Newcastle, however, are seemingly ready to fight tooth and nail in a bid to hold on to their impressive academy product, with the Magpies slapping a daunting £25 million price tag on the central midfielder.

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Daily Star suggests that Red Devils’ scouts have been monitoring Longstaff ever since Rafael Benitez handed him his Premier League debut back in December last year and they are impressed with whatever little they have seen of the talented youngster so far.

Man United have already completed the signing of highly sought-after Swansea City starlet and Welsh international winger Daniel James in the summer window, which can be seen as a strong statement of intent from the Red Devils.

United, under Solskjaer, are apparently ready to shift their focus towards bringing in talented youngsters with a view to grooming them for the future, and Longstaff could be yet another exciting addition to their ranks.

Although the 21-year-old is reportedly a lifelong Newcastle fan and has pledged his commitment to the Magpies amidst all the transfer speculations, it won’t be a bad idea for United to test Newcastle’s resolve with their financial muscle (h/tr Daily Star). And it is known to all that a club of United’s stature and heritage has the pulling power to attract any top-quality player from across the globe.

Longstaff enjoyed a wonderful breakthrough season at Tyneside in the previous campaign and he would probably have played a lot more for Newcastle, only for an injury to stall his metaphoric rise in English football.

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However, his talent and potential haven’t gone unnoticed, and with Man United weighing up a move for the 21-year-old, a move to Old Trafford this summer certainly doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility.

Following his Premier League debut against Liverpool, Longstaff put up a solid display in the defeat against Chelsea and scored his first goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup before famously winning the penalty that led to Newcastle’s 2-1 victory over Man City towards the end of January. The 21-year-old netted his maiden Premier League goal in the 2-0 victory over Burnley in February before an injury marked an end to his fairytale run.

Longstaff made only 13 appearances for Newcastle at the senior level in his debut season but he impressed one and all with his energetic displays in the middle of the park. The youngster carved out a reputation for himself as a tough-tackling, all-action, hard-working and tenacious central midfielder, with his impressive range of passing, composure in possession, temperament, aggressiveness and high levels of commitment on the pitch earning him rave reviews from fans and pundits alike.

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To put things into perspective, Man United need to bring in reinforcements in several departments in order to assemble a formidable unit ahead of the upcoming season, having finished a disappointing 6th in the Premier League last term. While a new centre-back, right-back and a centre-forward continue to be high on Solskjaer’s recruitment list, United also need to focus on strengthening their central midfield options.

The departure of experienced players like Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini has left the club short of cover in central midfield, while the uncertainty over Paul Pogba’s future continues to be a burning issue at Old Trafford.

Nemanja Matic and Fred looked really pedestrian last season and Solskjaer cannot afford his midfielders to play at a testimonial pace if he is really serious about implementing his no-nonsense, easy-on-the-eye, quick passing aesthetic philosophy. Longstaff, on the other hand, could add a lot of youthful exuberance and solidity to the central midfield, which in turn, would not only reduce the pressure on the backline but also allow the more creative players to express themselves.

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United have promising youngsters like Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay as options in the middle but someone like Sean Longstaff would be an excellent signing as a part of the club’s long-term plans moving forward.

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Longstaff is certainly an immensely talented player with a mountain of potential and Man United could possibly have a gem on their hands if he goes on to fulfil his promise at Old Trafford. That said, the Red Devils should not hesitate to splash the cash on the 21-year-old and make him their second signing of the summer.

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Dragon Feeds

Forget Gomes and Gueye – Everton’s midfield would be in stable hands if they sign this £22m-rated ace starring in the Ligue 1



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Everton Opinion: Ibrahim Sangare would be a good replacement for Gomes and Gueye at Goodison Park

According to North Wales Live, Everton are ready to firm up their interest in Toulouse defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare this summer, with reports claiming that the Toffees are looking to bolster their ranks.

North Wales Live understands that Everton hold a long-standing interest in the 21-year-old Ivory Coast international and Toulouse have slapped a daunting £22 million price tag on his head.

Everton are believed to be in the market for a new central midfielder this summer, with talks over the permanent deal for Barcelona loanee Andre Gomes failing to reach a positive end so far.

Idrissa Gana Gueye has been heavily linked with moves to Man United and PSG incent times and the uncertainty over the future of two of their first-team central midfielders has probably prompted the Toffees to look at Ibrahim Sangare as a potential transfer target. (h/t Daily Mail)

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Born in Ivory Coast, Sangare started his career with AS Denguele is his homeland before migrating to France and joining Toulouse at the youth level. He made rapid progress through the ranks and broke into the first-team picture in the 2016-17 campaign, making his debut against Angers in Ligue 1.

The highly-rated prospect made only 5 appearances in Ligue 1 in his breakthrough season but his promise and potential was there for everyone to witness. Sangare started as many as 18 Ligue 1 games for Toulouse in the 2017-18 season before establishing himself as one of the key cogs of the team’s midfield the last term.

Toulouse only managed a lower mid-table finish in the French top-flight this past season but the 21-year-old defensive midfielder was one of the shining lights of the club’s otherwise mediocre campaign. Sangare made 28 appearances in Ligue 1 and contributed with a goal and 3 assists, with his consistently impressive displays earning him rave reviews from fans and pundits alike.

Sangare is regarded as one of the brightest emerging prospects in Ligue 1 at the moment and Everton’s interest in the highly-rated prodigy certainly looks justified. The Toffees showed strong signs of promise in their first season under Marco Silva but it is a no-brainer that they need to invest in young and talented players as a part of their long-term plans moving forward.

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To put things into perspective, Ibrahim Sangare might not be one of the household names just yet but he is certainly a player to watch out for in the future. His success in Ligue 1 hardly guarantees the same in the Premier League but few would dare to argue that the Ivorian has all the makings of developing into a top-quality player in the years to come.

Advertised as a defensive midfielder, Sangare’s towering 6ft. 3-inch frame coupled with his tough-tackling and aggressive style of play makes him a dominating presence in the middle of the park. A wonderful tackler who is also blessed with a good range of passing, Sangare is noted for his ability to break up the play with crucial interventions, whilst also showcasing the calmness and composure to dictate the tempo of the game in the midfield.

The 21-year-old averaged 54.1 passes per game with an accuracy percentage of 79.6, including 3.9 successful long balls, 3.6 tackles, 1 interception, 1.4 aerial duels and 0.7 key passes, figures which are certainly good enough for a player of his age.

Everton have the likes of Tom Davies and Morgan Schneiderlin as viable options in the middle of the park but someone like Sangare would add that extra bit of aggression and youthful exuberance to the club’s ranks, whilst also increasing competition for places.

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The Toffees will be expected to challenge for a European spot next term, and while a specialist centre-forward could be the key to their chances for that matter, the acquisition of Ibrahim Sangare would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa signing this teenager on loan from London giants would help them find a solid utility player



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Aston Villa Opinion: Lions should look at Ethan Ampadu as a versatile and utility squad player

According to The Guardian, Aston Villa are exploring the possibility of signing Chelsea starlet Ethan Ampadu in a season-long loan deal this summer, with reports claiming that several other clubs are also keen to secure the Welshman’s services.

With Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus looking inevitable, Ampadu is yet to find out what plans Chelsea have in store for him next season. The 18-year-old has a contract at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2023 but he might want to move out on loan this summer in order to gain more first-team experience elsewhere, having played more games for Wales than Chelsea over the course of the last 12 months.

The Guardian understands that Villa were keen to take Ampadu on loan in the Championship last summer but Sarri wanted to keep the promising youngster at Stamford Bridge as a part of Chelsea’s first-team scheme of things. However, despite adopting such a stance, the manager only handed him three starts- 2 in the FA Cup and one in the Europa League.

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However, with a managerial change at Stamford Bridge on the cards and Ampadu still very much in the developmental phase of his career, a loan move elsewhere might as well materialize for the highly-rated youngster this summer. He is by no means a finished article but a move to Villa could work wonders for his development, given the presence of Chelsea legend John Terry in the coaching ranks and more first-team opportunities on offer.

A versatile defensive asset, Ampadu is capable of playing both central midfield and centre-back roles for his team. The 18-year-old Welshman has shown a level of maturity that defies his tender years, both in terms of calmness and composure in possession and technical abilities on the ball. The Exeter-born starlet boasts of a wonderful range of passing, which allows him to control the game from a deep position in the midfield and switch the play to set up attacks from the back.

To put things into perspective, Aston Villa have already made the headlines with deals for Wesley Moraes, Kortney Hause and Jota but they need to add more players to their ranks before the Premier League season gets underway.  

It is true that they should prioritise signing players with top-level experience but bringing in a promising youngster like Ethan Ampadu won’t do them much harm, and given his versatility to operate in both central midfield and central defence, the Lions might as well look at him as someone who could possibly add a little bit more cover in multiple areas of the pitch.

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Villa are short of options in central defence following the return of Axel Tuanzebe to Man United and the release of Tommy Elphick. A permanent deal for Bournemouth loanee Tyrone Mings is yet to be finalized, and while James Chester remains an experienced option at the back, Ampadu’s presence would offer Dean Smith with more flexibility.

On the other hand, Villa can also expect Ampadu to compete with the likes of John McGinn and Conor Hourihane for a spot in central midfield, given that the Lions have already released Mile Jedinak and Glen Whelan.

Realistically speaking, Ampadu is unlikely to play regularly at Chelsea next season, despite the Blues currently facing a two-window transfer ban. Even if a loan move to Villa Park does materialize for the 18-year-old, he is unlikely to play a significant first-team role for the Lions in the Premier League, but the chances of him getting regular minutes at Aston Villa would certainly be a lot more than at Chelsea.

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Ampadu is at a stage in his career where he needs to play regularly in order to continue his development and work on his flaws. Keeping that in mind, a move to Villa Park might just be the breakthrough that he needs to carve out some kind of a reputation for himself.

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