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Who is this 21-year-old French speedster being chased by Cardiff City and West Ham? All you need to know

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Allan Saint-Maximin – Who is this Cardiff and West Ham target?

According to Wales Online, Cardiff City and West Ham are keeping a close eye of 21-year-old French winger Allan Saint-Maximin who currently plies his trade with Nice in Ligue 1.

The French U21 international has caught the eye with some wonderful performances in the French top flight this season, registering 2 goals and 2 assists from 11 games in Ligue 1.

As the Premier League clubs plot January swoops for the youngster, let us get a deeper insight into one of the most promising talents in Ligue 1- Nice’s Allan Saint-Maximin.

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Background

Allan Saint-Maximin was born Chatenay-Malebry, a small town in the southwestern region of Paris, to Haitian parents. He played for Saint Etienne at the youth levels before signing a professional contract and made his debut for the club’s B team in 2013.

Although he was promoted to the senior team, he found regular minutes hard to come by and made only 3 appearances in Ligue 1 in the 2013-14 season. After making 9 appearances in the following season, he joined Monaco in 2015 but was immediately loaned out to German outfit Hannover 96.

The youngster made only a single appearance for Monaco in Ligue 1 and was loaned out to Bastia in the 2016-17 season before joining Nice in the summer of 2017 for a fee of 9 million.

He made 28 appearances last term for Nice in Ligue 1 and scored a couple of goals but he seems to have taken his game to a new level this season.

The 21-year-old has been a regular for France at all youth levels and currently plays at the U21 level.

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Style of Play

Saint-Maximin is a right-footed winger who is capable of playing on either side of the pitch and can also operate as a wide-forward in a 4-3-3 formation.

The most impressive things about him are his lightning pace and mesmerizing dribbling skills. Blessed with a sound technique which allows him to keep good close control in tight areas along the flanks, the 21-year-old uses his pace and instant acceleration to beat the defenders.

The French youth international is also adept at cutting inside from the flanks and has the vision to find the runs of his teammates in the final third. He is a decent crosser and can create chances from the wide areas of the pitch.

Saint-Maximin averages 4.2 successful dribbles and 2.2 key passes per game this season in Ligue 1, something that speaks volumes of his raw talent as a winger.

However, he needs to improve on his work rate and defensive contribution. He is excellent when he gets on the ball but he doesn’t tend to bother the opposition with his movement off the ball.

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Read More:- Who is this 10-goal Asian starlet on Man City’s radar? Should they splash £5m for his services?

What does the future hold?

Allan Saint-Maximin is among the finest young dribblers on the planet but he needs to work on the other aspects of his game. Given that he has made a name for himself in Ligue 1, a move to the Premier League might help him excel in the developmental stage of his career.

Nevertheless, he is a promising young talent and has the potential to achieve success in the Premier League provided he continues his development in the right direction.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s would get closer to preserving top-flight status by signing this 29-year-old goalkeeper for more than £8m

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Aston Villa Opinion: Neil Etheridge could help Villa preserve their Premier League status

According to Wales Online, Aston Villa are interested in signing Cardiff City shot-stopper Neil Etheridge in the summer transfer window, as the Lions look to build a strong enough squad capable of surviving in the top-flight.

Villa have had an £8million bid for the 29-year-old turned down by Cardiff but they are determined to make a renewed attempt to sign the Filipino international, with Fulham and West Ham also in the hunt to land the coveted shot-stopper. (h/t Wales Online)

Etheridge has expressed his desire to stay in the top-flight after proving his credentials in the Premier League this past season, although the 29-year-old has admitted that his future doesn’t necessarily lie in his hands. Nevertheless, he would be open to the prospect of playing in the Premier League with newly-promoted side Aston Villa. (h/t Wales Online)

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The Filipino international was one of the shining lights of Cardiff’s otherwise disappointing campaign in the Premier League this past season, which saw the Bluebirds suffer relegation to the Championship.

Etheridge amassed as many as 10 clean sheets in the Premier League for a Cardiff side that was under the cosh for large chunks of the campaign and his heroics between the sticks haven’t gone unnoticed, with a number of top-flight clubs prepared to offer him an escape route.

The 29-year-old earned plenty of plaudits for his performances with the gloves and he was one of the prime reasons why Cardiff stayed alive in the relegation battle towards the dying stages of the campaign.

A youth product of Chelsea, Etheridge joined Fulham’s youth set-up in 2006 and made his first-team bow in a UEFA Europa League tie, although he never featured in a Premier League game for the Cottagers. Etheridge spent time on loan at several lower division clubs before joining Oldham Athletic.

The Filipino international impressed for Walsall in the League One before Cardiff came calling for his services in 2017. Etheridge was one of the driving forces behind the Bluebirds’ promotion-winning campaign in the Championship in the 2017-18 season and he did his reputation no harm in the Premier League in the subsequent campaign.

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Etheridge registered a total of 138 saves in the Premier League this past season, 95 of which came from inside the penalty area, figures which speak volumes of his razor-sharp reflexes and quick anticipation between the sticks. He averaged an impressive 3.7 saves per game and those numbers should be enough to justify how well he played his part.

To put things into perspective, Aston Villa would strike gold with the signing of Neil Etheridge and it should be a no-brainer for the Lions to launch an improved bid to land the Filipino shot-stopper this summer. A player of his calibre certainly deserves to be in the Premier League and his arrival could help Villa could solve a lot of problems in a key area of the pitch.

Norwegian international Orjan Nyland was Villa’s No.1 in the earlier stages of this past season before an Achilles tendon injury ended his campaign prematurely. They brought in Lovre Kalinic as the new first-choice in January and recalled Jed Steer from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic to provide cover for the Croatian international.

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However, Kalinic, himself, was sidelined with an injury, forcing Steer to assume the No.1 and the 26-year-old played his part to perfection, putting in a number of solid shifts between the sticks en route to Villa’s march to playoff success and Premier League promotion.

Villa also have the services of Mark Bunn in their ranks but neither of their existing options has prior experience of playing in the Premier League. Nyland looked vulnerable between the sticks this past season.

While Kalinic has a good profile for being the No.1 in the Premier League, Villa should not forget that the 6ft. 7 inches giant had a poor start to life in English football, conceding as many as 8 goals in his first 3 outings for the Lions.

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Etheridge presents a more tested and proven option when it comes to the Premier League and it would be fair to say that the acquisition of the 29-year-old could go a long way towards deciding Villa fortunes in the top-flight next season.

That said, the signing of Neil Etheridge would be the perfect start to the summer for Dean Smith and company.

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Cardiff City

Cardiff City would be capable of securing a quick promotion by signing this 28-year-old midfield ace for free

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Cardiff City Opinion: Bluebirds’ Lewis Holtby agenda will be a smart move

According to a recent report by Welsh news outlet Wales Online, Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock is already said to preparing for the Championship season that awaits them next term. His transfer plans are said to be taking shape already and it has been claimed that he knows exactly what he expects from his team next season. 

It has been suggested that Cardiff City are looking to sign up to 6 new players prior to the start of the campaign in order to try and get back to the top-flight of English football in the first time of asking. As suggested by the report, One of the players being linked with a potential move to Cardiff is former Tottenham and Fulham star Lewis Holtby. 

Formerly touted to be one of the biggest young stars in world football, Holtby was once considered to be the next big thing. The commotion that ensued in the aftermath involves Germany and England both vying for the youngster’s international loyalty.

Having chosen Germany, the youngster’s performances for Schalke attracted heavy interest from the Premier League and Tottenham snatched him up back in 2013. 

Since making the move to England though, the youngster struggled to make a real impact and despite eventually playing 42 matches, scoring 3 and assisting a further 8 for the north London club, his time at White Hart Lane was seen as a massive failure and this caused his stock to absolutely plummet. 

Having had a brief stint at Fulham as well, he eventually returned to Germany in order to try and reignite his flailing career. Since joining Hamburg though, their fortunes have gone down the drain too.

Having been relegated to the German 2nd division, Holtby has done a decent job for his club this season and that should be enough motivation for Cardiff to move for their man.

The German is out of contract at Hamburg at the end of the current season which means that by the end of June, Holtby will be a free agent. A free transfer would be the ideal scenario for Cardiff City who will have to be at their best in all aspects within the club in order to try and push for promotion again this time around. 

Read More Cardiff City News, Click Here: Cardiff City News

The 28-year-old’s career was always touted to be a big one but as things turned out, a bad transfer at the wrong time ended up leading to his downfall.

Having been offered a new route back to the country where he wasn’t able to prove himself, Holtby has been given a second chance. There’s no doubting his quality on the ball and considering that he’s going to be a free agent, Neil Warnock will do well to get this done at the earliest.

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Cardiff City

West Ham winning the race to sign this 24-year-old midfield ace from La Liga is the need of the hour – Agreed?

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West Ham Opinion: Why the Hammers should go all out for Victor Camarasa

According to a report from the Daily Mail, West Ham and Wolves are locked in a battle to sign Real Betis midfielder Victor Camarasa.

Victor Camarasa, 24, was one of the rare bright spots for Cardiff City this season, as the Welsh outfit suffered relegation back to the Championship. The Spaniard hit five goals and four assists for the Bluebirds but couldn’t save Neil Warnock’s team from facing the drop.

Following the expiry of his loan spell at the Cardiff City Stadium, the 24-year-old is back to his parent club Real Betis, and with the La Liga club willing to loan him out again or sell this summer, Premier League duo West Ham and Wolves are interested.

Given West Ham’s midfield problems, they must do everything possible to sign Victor Camarasa, who has also caught the attention of Brighton and Everton, the report adds.

Manuel Pellegrini should be happy with how his first year ended at West Ham, even though his team never came close to challenging for a place in Europe. The Chilean boss has got a good idea about his squad and must look to improve it over the summer.

The Hammers have to change things around, especially if they ever want a chance of finishing in the top six next season. Given the state of West Ham’s midfield, it’s why a move for Camarasa makes a lot of sense and Pellegrini must get his signing done.

It’s the ability of Camarasa from midfield that West Ham need more than anything. The Irons’ midfield lacks spark and goals, as Declan Rice and Mark Noble are neither renowned for their creativity nor goalscoring ability.

Felipe Anderson was the only source of creativity during the injury absence of Manuel Lanzini and to avoid overburdening the Brazilian playmaker, a player of Camarasa’s quality is needed at the London Stadium next season.

The Spanish midfielder can operate in different positions across the midfield and influence the game with his passing and distribution skills. He is always available to receive the ball and maraud forward. A goalscoring midfielder, Camarasa is also an expert set-piece taker which makes him a potential threat always from dead-ball situations.

To Read More West Ham News, Click Here:- Latest West Ham News

That’s what Camarasa can add and what West Ham desperately needed this season from Jack Wilshere. Wilshere joined West Ham from Arsenal last summer amidst a lot of fanfare but once again injuries robbed his season. If the Englishman fails to prove his fitness next season, his career at West Ham could be in trouble.

Verdict

The Hammers need new signings and with the summer window open, Pellegrini has to act quickly and get his business done. And a player of Camarasa’s quality simply cannot be ignored.

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