Steven Naismith deserves a new deal at Norwich City for his heroics at Hearts
According to the Daily Record, Steven Naismith, who is currently on loan at Scottish Premiership side Hearts from Championship outfit Norwich City, is weighing up a move to the MLS when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Naismith has been in blistering form for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership this term, accumulating 9 goals and 3 assists from 16 appearances. As a result of his fine performances, the former Everton and Rangers star has also been recalled to the national team squad.
The 32-year-old has spent time on loan at Hearts since the second half of last season after a knee ligament injury resulted in his slip down the pecking order at Carrow Road. However, Naismith has proved that he still has what it takes to play at the highest level, racking up 17 goals and 8 assists from 40 appearances for Hearts across all competitions.
It would be fair to say that a move to the MLS would end his career from a competitive point of view. Still only 32, Naismith is more than capable of delivering the goods and Norwich City should offer him a new contract to extend his stay in English football.
Despite being a bit compromised on his physical attributes, Naismith has been one of the brightest talents to have emerged from the Scottish Premiership in recent years. After a hugely successful spell at Rangers, Naismith went on to establish himself as one of the key players at Everton, scoring 26 goals and providing 12 assists from 123 appearances over the course of four seasons.
Known for his versatility to play as a No.10 and on either flank, Naismith is primarily a striker who has been used across multiple positions in the attacking third due to his well-rounded attributes. He is a shrewd customer with natural zeal and enthusiasm, whilst also having good vision and eye for goal. The 32-year-old is still capable of making those incisive runs in the final third, often contributing with his movement off the ball to open up the spaces.
To put things into perspective, Norwich would commit a huge blunder by letting one of their most high-profile players head for the exit door. Granted, they have done really well in the Championship this season without him but an experienced and versatile player like him can certainly help the club should they secure promotion to the Premier League.
Emiliano Buendia, Marco Stiepermann and Onel Hernández have played their part in Daniel Farke’s free-flowing attacking system but Teemu Pukki has shouldered the bulk of the goalscoring burden. While Jordan Rhodes and Pukki are certainly quality players, Norwich should keep hold of Naismith to provide cover and competition for the first-team players in the attacking third.
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That said, the Canaries should offer the Scottish veteran an extension to his current contract irrespective of whether they make it to the Premier League or not.
Bournemouth will not regret signing this 9-time capped international ace to solve goalkeeping woes – Agreed?
Bournemouth Opinion: Cherries should move for Jack Butland this summer
Butland has been in impressive form for the Potters in the Championship this season and has managed 14 clean sheets from 38 appearances.
A youth product of Birmingham City, Butland spent time on loan at Cheltenham Town before being snapped up by Stoke in 2013. The Englishman enjoyed fruitful loan spells at Leeds United and Derby County before establishing himself as Stoke’s No.1 between the sticks.
He hasn’t looked back since then and has taken his career to greater heights, earning 37 clean sheets in 124 appearances across all competitions.
A regular for England at all youth levels, Butland has also won 9 caps at the senior international level and represented the Three Lions at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
However, with Stoke looking set for another season in the Championship, Butland might eye an exit in the summer to join a Premier League club.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has preferred the 39-year-old Artur Boruc between the sticks in the Premier League since the turn of the year.
Asmir Begovic started off as the No.1 following an impressive season last time around but the former Chelsea man has been relegated to bench duty since January. Towards the end of the January transfer window, the Sun claimed that Begovic was not in Howe’s plans for a first-team spot and the Cherries were willing to listen to offers for the 31-year-old.
Boruc has done a decent job between the sticks but Bournemouth’s interest in Jack Butland definitely makes a lot of sense. The 26-year-old is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the country and the Cherries would strike gold by getting their hands on the coveted shot-stopper.
Standing at 6ft. 5 inches, Butland has just the ideal height for a goalkeeper, with his long arms giving him a good reach to keep out shots from all ranges.
The Englishman boasts of razor-sharp reflexes and excels with his composure in one-on-one situations, whilst his ball handling is also of the highest quality. The 26-year-old communicates well with his defenders and always seems to have things under control inside his penalty area.
Butland has made a total of 104 saves from 38 appearances in the Championship this term, 52 of which have come from inside the penalty area including 5 from within the six-yard box.
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Bournemouth have enjoyed a decent run this season but they should look to build on it and aim for better things next season. They don’t have the best of defensive records, having conceded 56 goals from 31 games and Butland’s presence between the sticks should help them improve massively.
Bournemouth’s goalkeeping crisis would be solved if Eddie Howe signs any of these 3 shot-stoppers – Agreed?
Bournemouth Opinion: 3 ideal replacements for 39-year-old Artur Boruc
Bournemouth were one the Premier League season’s first-half surprise packages as they were able to really shell-shock some of the bigger clubs with the assistance of free-scoring, in-demand striker Callum Wilson.
Other than this, youngster’s have Ryan Fraser, Adam Smith and David Brooks have stepped up to the plate for Eddie Howe’s dynamic side this season. While everything looks in order at the Vitality, closer inspection provided various flaws.
While there are still additions required in both defence and midfield, the most alarming situation is that of the goalkeeper at this club.
The Cherries currently boast two Premier League veterans in Artur Boruc and Asmir Begovic. Reports from The Sun are now linking them with a move for Jack Butland of Stoke City.
While Boruc is 39, Begovic is still only 31. However, neither of them
Here are the three keepers Bournemouth should target who could easily take over as number one at the Vitality:
The Stoke City goalkeeper has ample experience playing Premier League football and is still only 26-years-old. He has the potential to return to the top-flight and perform at the highest level for many years to come.
Having played regular football in the Championship even this season, the Englishman has notched up 14 clean sheets from his 36 league appearances and also boasts a clean slate in terms of bookings. His composure makes him the ideal candidate to replace Artur Boruc.
The former English international keeper had a largely unsuccessful spell in Italy when he made the switch to Torino on loan from Manchester City. As it became clear that his time at the Etihad was over, he moved on to Sean Dyche’s Burnley last summer.
The 31-year-old has kept 4 clean sheets from his 19 league appearances this season but his regularity in the squad has been limited due to the stiff competition that he faces from Tom Heaton. He still has many good years ahead of him and Bournemouth could result in Hart’s return to former glory.
This Montpellier goalkeeper has been in fine form in Ligue in this season and has really come to the fore over the last few years. A product of the same club as Arsenal star Matteo Guendouzi, the former Lorient man is still only 27-years-old.
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He joined Montpellier in the summer of 2017 and has conceded only 34 goals from his 28 league games this season. Having kept 9 clean sheets along the way as well, Eddie Howe needn’t think twice about making a move for this talented French star.
Who is this 19-year-old Championship wonder kid being surveyed by Premier League giants? All you need to know
Premier League Opinion: Scout Report – Bilal Brahimi
Players such as Lee Cattermole, Stuart Downing and James Morrison are living legacies of this famous football clubs. Even now, their production quality certainly hasn’t dropped. One player from their academy is now turning heads even at Premier League level.
Bilal Brahimi is a 19-year-old French left-winger who currently features mainly for the Boro U23 side although he did make a first-team appearance earlier this season. His exploits have attracted interest from both Liverpool and Newcastle United, as suggested by Hull Live.
Brahimi was born in Paris, France on the 14th of March in 2000 and that’s where stayed until 2017 when he finally made the switch to a professional football clubs.
After spending time with multiple amateur clubs within Paris, he was signed up by Leixoes who play in the Portuguese 2nd division.
It was here that he was scouted by Middlesbrough and within a year of being in Portugal, he was given the opportunity to spread his wings as a footballer at the famous Middlesbrough academy. Since then, there’s been no stopping him as he’s turned into one of their brightest young prospects.
Since he mostly represents the U23 side, he plays in the Premier League 2 and has scored once and assisted once in his 13 league appearances this season. His lone first team appearance came in August when he came on in an EFL Cup against Rochdale.
Style of Play
He is a tricky winger who loves to get on the ball but also displays amazing unselfishness in the final third. His ambition to pick out teammates is matched by his ability as the eventuality of a misplaced pass from the youngster is rare.
Quite direct in his approach, he has the right attributes to develop into a tricky Premier League winger given the right training and nurturing. All this added to the fact that he also plays as a striker, means that he’s effectively guaranteed a future in the English game.
The Way Forward
Brahimi turned 19 just a week ago and pushing a player of such youth into making a difficult decision could have serious effects on his growth as a player and hence it would be best for him to stay at Middlesbrough for at least another season.
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With that said, when clubs like Liverpool or Newcastle United come calling, irrespective of who you are, it will be really difficult to turn them down and with the right intentions, he can be turned into a superstar in the coming years.
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