Why Rangers should make a move for Vassilis Lambropoulos
According to SDNA, Scottish side Rangers are interested in signing 28-year-old AEK Athens defender Vassilis Lambropoulos. Steven Gerrard’s side, who failed to qualify out of their Europa League group, need to strengthen their defence in January as they turn their attention on the Premiership title.
The Ibrox side also missed out on signing Millwall’s Jake Cooper (h/t Evening Standard), who committed his future to the London club by signing a long-term contract. The Gers have switched their attention to another powerful centre-back, Vassilis Lambropoulos, who could add combativeness and strength to their backline.
Rangers brought in four centre-backs over the summer. However, boss Steven Gerrard is still in the market for another central defender in January. Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic, Joe Worrall and Gareth McAuley all arrived at the Ibrox in August.
Katic has struggled to adjust to life in Glasgow and has been woefully out of form. Worrall is on a season-long loan from Nottingham Forest and the ageing McAuley will be out of contract in the summer. Currently at the top of the table, having played a game more than Celtic, Rangers need a quality player at the heart of their defence to boost their title-winning chances.
Lambropoulos has enjoyed a dream year. The 28-year-old won the Greek Superleague title, knocked Celtic out of Europe and earned his first cap for the Greek national team. Lambropoulos forced his way into the Greek team earlier this year, making his debut in a 1-0 home win against Finland in the UEFA Nations League. He now has two caps to his name after featuring against Estonia and he continues to impress.
Lambropoulos helped crush Celtic’s Champions League dream in August. The 6ft 1in defender picked up an assist as an unfancied AEK side dumped Brendan Rodgers’ men out of the qualifiers. The Bhoys consequently dropped from Europe’s premier club competition to its sister competition, the Europa League.
With his current contract up in the summer, the winter transfer window represents the ideal time to make a swoop for the player.
Lambropoulos came through the Olympiakos ranks. He made just a single appearance for the Piraeus-based side, moving to Asteras Tripolis, Ethnikos Asteras and Panionios before joining AEK Athens in 2014. He has since emerged as a late bloomer.
Lambropoulos would probably represent more of a risk since he has no previous knowledge of the Scottish league and is relatively known. A move to the Ibrox would also represent a significant step-up on quality than the Greek league.
However, as he showed us against Celtic earlier in the summer, he can step up when called upon. His current contract situation would also lower his signing fee thus reducing the risk factor even further. Lambropoulos’ aggressive style marks him out as a fine alternative to Cooper.
A move to the Scottish capital would be an ideal move for all the parties involved. He could help shore up Rangers’ leaky defence that has already let in 14 goals in just 17 league games. Thus, Gerrard should waste no time in getting the deal done.
Tottenham’s best bet for replacing this outbound No. 9 would be to sign any of these two goalscoring aces
Tottenham Opinion: 2 Fernando Llorente replacements Spurs should look at
Athletic Bilbao president Aitor Elizegi has told reporters that Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente is an option for the club when the Spaniard’s contract expires this summer.
Fernando Llorente, 34, has had an underwhelming time with Tottenham over the past two seasons. He joined Spurs from Swansea City in the summer of 2017 and has made 54 appearances since then in all competitions, scoring just 12 goals for the club.
But since arriving in north London, the giant Spaniard has been a back-up option to Harry Kane and as a result, Llorente has found opportunities very tough to come by.
The 34-year-old, however, has netted some vital goals for Tottenham and been a productive striker in recent weeks but as Kane has returned from an ankle injury, he could again find himself on the periphery.
Llorente’s contract expires this summer and a move back to Spain to join his former club Athletic Bilbao might just be ideal to revive his fading career. As far as Tottenham are concerned, Pochettino can definitely find a better back-up option for Kane by letting go of
That being said, here are two Llorente replacements Spurs should consider when the transfer window re-opens.
1. Maxi Gomez (Celta Vigo)
Maxi Gomez scored a sensational 17 goals in La Liga last season, his first in European football. But with Celta Vigo in the relegation zone, Gomez has netted just once in his last 11.
If Celta end up getting relegated, Tottenham could find it easy to prise the Uruguayan away from La Liga to north London. The 22-year-old has been one of the few shining lights in a tough season for the Spanish side.
Gomez is a powerful, quick and athletic centre-forward, who excels with his link-up play and movement in the final third. The Uruguayan is also a clinical finisher in front of goal, whilst being aerially efficient in the box.
He has a lot of
2. Borja Iglesias (Espanyol)
Borja Iglesias has taken La Liga like a duck to water after banging 22 goals in the Spanish second-tier with Real Zaragoza last season. He has been in impressive form for Espanyol in the La Liga, scoring 11 goals thus far.
Given his goal-scoring exploits, Tottenham should definitely consider moving for Iglesias as he could be a great alternative option to their mercurial Kane. Iglesias is a powerful centre-forward, who’ll add a different dimension to Tottenham’s attack with his hold-up play and aerial presence in the box.
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To convince Espanyol to sell their prized asset after just one season, Tottenham have to spend really big in the summer.
Crystal Palace reigniting interest in this towering 26-year-old Frenchman would solve Hodgson’s defensive woes
Crystal Palace Opinion: Why Christopher Jullien will be a good fit for Palace?
Back in June 2018, a report from the Sun claimed Crystal Palace
The Frenchman, 26, impressed last season with his defensive displays and helped Toulouse retain their Ligue 1 status. Toulouse lost their skipper and defensive rock Issa Diop to West Ham last summer but Christopher Jullien stayed put at the club.
And he has managed to impress this season as well which should prompt Crystal Palace to rekindle their interest in the towering defender and sign him in the summer transfer window.
Crystal Palace have been hugely inconsistent this season, with Roy Hodgson’s side failing to score goals consistently. Irrespective of where they finish this season, the Eagles will have to make sure they address their problems.
Apart from bringing in a bonafide goal-scorer, Hodgson needs to tighten his backline with the addition of a quality centre-half.
James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho may have forged a strong partnership at the back but that hasn’t stopped the team from conceding 41 goals. Scott Dann returned this year from cruciate ligament injury that had kept him out for nearly 15 months. But Dann turned 32 last month and is past his prime, although he can be a very good squad player for the Eagles.
But Palace need a centre-half to add quality the squad, whilst bringing competition to Sakho and Tomkins. And the solution to Hodgson’s problems could be Christopher Jullien, who has all the attributes to flourish in the Premier League.
Standing at 6ft 5in tall, Jullien is a strong, physical and aerially dominant defender who has impressed in Ligue 1 with his all-action defending.
The Frenchman is an aerial threat in both penalty areas and is an asset for the team when it comes to attacking the set-pieces. He can also play the ball out from the back with ease and can pick a 30-yard pass as well.
The 26-year-old is fantastic at breaking up the play and his willingness to put his body on the line fearlessly would be loved by the Palace fans.
Jullien has decent pace despite possessing such a towering frame and his unorthodox and relentless style of defending combined with shrewd reading of the game and tackling skills would make him such an inspired addition for the Eagles backline.
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Not to forget, the former Auxerre and Dijon man is also a leader and commands the box well. Palace lack real leadership at the back, meaning Jullien could be a standout option for Hodgson.
Given the leaky and unreliable backline, Crystal Palace
Rangers signing this 31-goal hitman on a free in the summer would be one of the best bargain deals for the club
Rangers Opinion: Why the Gers should snap up Lawrence Shankland?
According to a report from Wales Online, Ayr United hit-man Lawrence Shankland has rejected a big-money move to the Belgian second-tier.
Belgian outfit Saint Gilloise offered the 23-year-old a deal that would have trebled his wages but he has turned down a switch to the European nation.
Lawrence Shankland is one of the hottest properties in Scotland, having notched an eye-watering 31 goals in 33 appearances for Ayr United in the Scottish Championship thus far this season.
And that form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the likes of Rangers, Celtic, Hull City, Sunderland and Swansea City all showing interest in the striker, adds the report.
The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, however, and it gives a massive chance for all the aforementioned clubs to try their luck of landing the striker on a Bosman transfer this summer.
That being said, Rangers should do everything possible to get their icy hands on Shankland ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
Rangers have another big summer on the horizon as they try and bridge the gap in Glasgow after failing 10 points behind arch-rivals Celtic before the international break.
Steven Gerrard has brought in 19 new faces so far since taking the reins at Ibrox and with clear gulf between his team and Celtic still existing, the Rangers chief could again overhaul his squad in the summer.
The Gers have arguably the best striker in the Premiership in Alfredo Morelos, who has extended his deal at Ibrox until 2023. He has netted 28 goals in all competitions this season which has left the Gers being over-reliant on him on a number of times.
And that has cost the Ibrox-based outfit a lot of points this season; however, Gerrard has hinted he’ll address the problem at the “right time”.
If we are to go by the Gerrard’s words, the Rangers manager wants a new no.9 to ease the team’s over-dependency on Morelos. Ayr’s Lawrence Shankland would be a brilliant fit for the Gers, making him the perfect player to complement Morelos up front.
Shankland, formerly of Aberdeen, has good pace and technique to hold up the ball and bring his teammates into the game. The Scotsman is a lethal finisher in the box as he is strong on both the feet that help him bury chances in the back of the net.
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The natural-born goal-scorer has the potential to make step up in the Scottish Premiership after previously failing to dazzle in Aberdeen colours.
Given his goal-scoring exploits, age and the interest in the player, Gerrard should prioritise plucking Shankland away when his contract at Ayr expires. On a free transfer, the 23-year-old’s addition would be one of the biggest bargains in Rangers’ history.
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