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.
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.
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.
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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.
Norwich signing this experienced Sheffield Wednesday star would help them deal PL with ease – opinion
Norwich City opinion: Canaries should sign Jordan Rhodes permanently
According to the Sun, Norwich City are keen on securing the services of Sheffield Wednesdaystriker Jordan Rhodes permanently, as the Canaries look to build a strong enough squad to survive in the Premier League.
The 29-year-old Scottish international spent the last season on loan at Carrow Road from Hillsborough and played a bit-part role in the Championship, as Daniel Farke’s side secured automatic promotion to the top-flight as the winners of the second-tier.
The Sun understands that Sheffield Wednesday might be prepared to let Rhodes depart permanently on the cheap and Norwich are keen to have him in their squad as an important squad player.
Rhodes chipped in with 6 goals and an assist in Norwich’s promotion-winning campaign in the Championship this past season, returns which are quite good given that he started only 9 games.
The 29-year-old played as many as 27 cameos from the bench in the league, with Teemu Pukki’s prolific form up front keeping him out of the first-team. Those returns look quite meagre on paper, but in all honesty, he did what was asked of him and played the role of an understudy to perfection.
The Owls might be open to parting ways with Rhodes given that his time at Hillsborough has not at all been a fruitful one.
Signed from Middlesbrough for a club-record £10million back in the summer of 2017 following a successful loan spell, the Scotsman flattered to deceive and never really lived up to his billing as a prolific frontman.
He was deemed surplus to demands after netting just 5 times in the Championship in the 2017-18 season, so it probably won’t be a bad idea for the Owls to finally cut their losses on him, with Norwich keen on making his loan move permanent.
Rhodes hasn’t been at his best over the last two or three seasons after having carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most lethal strikers in the Championship earlier in his career.
He doesn’t have much experience of playing in the top-flight but his record in the second-tier is certainly awe-inspiring, having racked up a staggering 105 goals and 21 assists in 274 appearances for the likes of Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Balckburn Rovers, Ipswich Town and Huddersfield Town.
To put things into perspective, few would have expected Jordan Rhodes to be on Daniel Farke’s shop list after the Canaries secured promotion to the Premier League.
However, it has to be said that the 29-year-old won’t be a bad signing for Norwich, and with a wealth of Football League experience under his belt, he might go on to make some kind of contribution in the top-flight next season.
Rhodes certainly won’t dislodge Pukki in the pecking order after the Finnish international’s goalscoring heroics in the Championship this past season but he might prove to be a key squad player.
The 29-year-old still has the killer instincts of an out-and-out centre-forward and he can certainly bring a lot to the team with his smart hold-up play, supreme aerial ability, physicality and clinical finishing, meaning that Farke should look at him as someone who could possibly operate as the focal point of the attack.
Rhodes won’t be the only addition to Norwich’s attack this summer and they would probably bring in a few more players to add adequate depth to their ranks.
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Rhodes is a very hard working forward who always shows plenty of commitment on the pitch and runs the channels to cut the passing lanes at the back.
Despite his lack of top-flight experience, the Canaries can do themselves a world of good by getting him on board permanently ahead of the upcoming season, particularly with the 29-year-old likely to be available on the cheap.
Nottingham Forest beating off competition to land this League One star would make them solid at the back next season
Nottingham Forest opinion: Forest should snap up Tom Lockyer for free
Lockyer made 40 appearances for Bristol Rovers in League One this season and was an ever-present figure at the back for the club, as Graham Coughlan’s side finished 15th in the standings.
Nottinghamshire Liveunderstands that the 24-year-old, whose contract at the Memorial Stadium is set to expire, is keen to test his credentials higher up the footballing pyramid.
The same source claims that the Welsh international has offers on the table from as many as four Championship clubs who are confident that the centre-back is good enough to make the step up to the second division.
The ex-Cardiff City youth product joined Bristol Rovers back in 2011 and has been a part of the club’s journey for the last seven seasons. He started off in League Two, got relegated to the Conference Premier and then helped his club secure back-to-back promotions.
Lockyer has made a total of 284 appearances for Bristol Rovers in all competitions but it looks like his time at the Memorial Stadium is coming to an end.
Lockyer’s consistently impressive performances in League One caught the eye of former Wales boss Chris Coleman, who handed the defender his senior international debut in 2017. Prior to that, Lockyer had represented Wales at the U-21 level as well.
To put things into perspective, Nottingham Forest are not crying out for a centre-back at the moment and there are other areas of the squad which are in need of improvement but they can certainly do with another experienced head in their defensive department.
Forest finished 9th in the Championship this season, 8 points adrift of Derby County for the final playoff spot, but they looked pretty stable at the back for large chunks of the campaign.
Forest finished the season on a high with three back-to-back victories over Middlesbrough, QPR and Bolton but they lost three consecutive games prior to that.
Their defence looked a tad shaky in the defeats against Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, which might just prompt manager Martin O’Neill to strengthen his defensive ranks ahead of the upcoming season.
Joe Worrall is likely to be available for selection next season after enjoying a fruitful loan spell with Rangers, while Jack Robinson, who was rotated between left-back and centre-back this term, is also expected to be at the City Ground.
However, the futures of loanees Youane Benalouane and Molla Wague remain up in the air and it remains to be seen whether Forest end up striking permanent deals for either of them.
With the likes of Alexander Milosevic and Michael Dawson in their ranks, Forest have adequate cover at centre-back but signing Tom Lockyer on a free transfer shouldn’t do them much harm. Moreover, Dawson is already 35 and he is very much nearing the twilight of his career.
Lockyer has honed his skills as a defensive leader for Bristol Rovers in League One, and with a bagful of Football League experience under his belt, one would expect him to adjust to the Championship pretty easily.
The Welshman is more of an old-school centre-back who likes to use his physical attributes to keep the opposition at bay, while also possessing wonderful aerial ability and above-average game-reading skills.
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Lockyer is a full international for Wales and Forest need to take that into consideration.
All in all, the 24-year-old could prove to be a good long-term investment for the club and he certainly deserves a chance to showcase his skills in the Championship after excelling for such a long time in the lower divisions of English football.
Time for goodbye? Crystal Palace’s talismanic speedster should leave the club to reach new heights
Crystal Palace opinion: Zaha should leave the Eagles to reach next level
According to a recent report by the Daily Mail, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has already informed his representatives within the club about his plans to move on to join a club that regularly competes in the Champions League.
It has been reported that Zaha also met up with club chairman Steve Parish in the week after the league season drew to a close.
Whether or not he’s already informed the chairman of his intentions next term is a question that is yet to be answered, it seems to quite explicit that he desired to step up to the next level of the footballing pedestal next season.
It’s a certainty that multiple top European clubs will be more than keen on the Ivorian’s signature.
His exploits for Palace this season certainly haven’t gone unnoticed and the fact that he stepped up and even performed the role of striker satisfactorily will be an added boost.
The stuttering Palace forwards meant that Zaha was promoted to playing striker in the early months of the season and he delivered the goods consistently.
His figures for Palace has been an absolute dream and an aspiring team such as themselves have him go thank for the position they’re in.
While there are bound to be some changes at Selhurst Park this summer, replacing Zaha will be the most challenging task as he has been their sole creative outlet for a while now.
Having played in 34 league games this season, most of which he started, the Ivorian winger managed to notch up a highly impressive 10 goals and 10 assists and has been far and away Palace’s most standout player of the season.
Alongside Andros Townsend, Zaha has scored some wonder-goals this season and his stock has definitely risen.
He is often utilised by on the right-flank of his attack line by Roy Hodgson but as we’ve seen in this campaign and over the past couple of seasons, Zaha’s versatility allows him to operate anywhere across the midfield or front-line and his numbers as their talisman were quite commendable too.
Able to beat a man using a trick, Zaha’s creative thinking makes a massive threat in the final third, irrespective of whether he’s looking for the killer pass or to finish the move off. Since he’s usually dependable in front of goal, his conversion rate is fairly decent too.
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He offers a wide array of skills and the fact that he’s a season Premier League professional would only make the deal sweeter for whoever signs him.
At 26, this summer will be the right time for him to pursue bigger things and with a number of clubs lining up moves, he could be in for the most exciting summer of his life.
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