Brighton Opinion: Reece James can be a wonderful signing for Brighton
According to the Sun, Crystal Palace are lining up a £10 million bid for Chelsea starlet Reece James in the summer, with Brighton and Hove Albion also interested in acquiring the services of the English youth international.
The same report claims that Palace want James as a potential replacement at right-back for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has caught the eyes of some of the top clubs in England and abroad with his stellar performances.
James has starred on loan at Wigan Athletic in the Championship this season and has earned rave reviews for his aggressive style of football. The 19-year-old has established himself as one of the best in his position, accumulating a goal and a couple of assists from 36 appearances in the league.
Those stats aren’t flattering, but in all honesty, he could have bagged a lot more goals and assists had he played for a top-quality side. As a matter of fact, the Chelsea starlet has claimed five man-of-the-match awards in the Championship so far, which speaks volumes of his talent.
While James would definitely be a good replacement for Wan-Bissaka at Selhurst Park, a move to Brighton would also help him further his development.
The Seagulls might have to wave a final goodbye to 38-year-old Bruno Saltor, who is likely to hang up his boots at the end of the campaign.
And Bruno’s departure is likely to render Chris Hughton short of quality cover at right-back, with Martin Montoya being the only other viable option in that position.
Leon Balogun is also capable of operating as a full-back but the Nigerian hasn’t been convincing enough with his displays at the back this term.
To put things into perspective, Brighton would bag a massive coup by beating Palace to sign Reece James from Chelsea as he is a player with immense potential who can establish himself as a useful long-term servant at the Amex Stadium.
Youngsters like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham and many more haven’t had much luck at Stamford Bridge and the prospect of playing regular first-team football for a mid-table club in the Premier League should appeal to the player.
Brighton have some quality players in their ranks and they should look to add a few more to their squad in the summer. The Seagulls have endured a patchy and inconsistent campaign this time around but they should aim for a top-ten finish next term.
A modern-day offensive-minded full-back with well-rounded defensive and attacking attributes, James has all the makings of developing into a future star.
He is already a proven performer at the Championship level, and given his vast potential and meteoric development, one can expect him to adapt to the Premier League pretty soon.
Blessed with blistering pace and quick feet, James is not only a wonderful crosser from the wide areas but he is equally adept at beating the opposition with his dribbling skills.
A player with high levels of stamina, he patrols up and down the pitch and seldom runs out of steam.
The 19-year-old has a good eye for a pass and also excels with his game-reading and tackling skills. Furthermore, he is a set-piece specialist who has the ability to create chances with his accurate deliveries into the box.
James has averaged 2.1 tackles, 2.1 clearances, 0.9 interceptions, 1.6 key passes, 1 dribble, 1.6 crosses and 2.7 accurate long balls per game in the Championship this term, figures which are really impressive for a 19-year-old.
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Suffice to say, the acquisition of James can prove be a huge boost for Brighton in their pursuit of a top-ten finish next term and the Seagulls should not hesitate to splash the cash on him in the summer.
An utter waste of money – Liverpool are better off without signing this 26-year-old creative ace for £75m
Liverpool Opinion: Splashing a fortune to sign Felipe Anderson won’t be a smart move for the Reds
According to the Daily Mail, Liverpool have set their sights on West Ham attacker Felipe Anderson ahead of the summer transfer window, with manager Jurgen Klopp looking to bolster his attacking options prior to the start of the upcoming campaign.
However, the Daily Mail understands that West Ham are not going to let Anderson go on the cheap to any of the top-six clubs in the Premier League and the Hammers are expected to make a statement of intent by holding on to their star man.
Liverpool were also keeping tabs on Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt but their pursuit of the 22-year-old ended in disappointment, with Borussia Dortmund winning the race to sign the winger. (h/t Daily Mail)
Anderson made his move to West Ham from Serie A club Lazio last summer for a club-record fee of £36 million and managed to make an instant impact in the Premier League.
The Brazilian quickly adapted to the dynamic nature of English football and produced impressive returns in his first season at the club, having chipped in with 9 goals and 4 assists in 36 Premier League appearances.
The Brazilian’s red-hot form hasn’t gone unnoticed and Sky Sports reported last month that the 26-year-old was on the radar of Real Madrid, with the Los Blancos identifying his as an alternative to Chelsea star Eden Hazard. (h/t Sky Sports)
Undoubtedly, Anderson’s stocks have soared sky high since his move to east London last summer and any potential suitor would have to cough up a huge amount to lure him away from West Ham this summer.
It is not an overstatement that a player of his calibre is capable of playing for any top club in Europe but he is highly-adored by the fans and the hierarchy at West Ham and a move away from the club seems unlikely to materialize this summer.
To put things into perspective, Liverpool have every reason to look at Felipe Anderson as a viable option to bolster their attack given that the Brazilian has already proven his credentials in the Premier League.
However, the Reds need to understand that Anderson is a top player at his current club and he is unlikely to have his head turned by a back-up role at Anfield, and even if the player is interested, Liverpool would need to break the bank to sign him.
Anderson is at a stage in his career where he would like to play every game and it is highly unlikely that Liverpool would be able to make such promises, with the dominance of stalwarts like Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino reigning supreme in their ranks.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi haven’t had much playtime this season and Anderson, though possibly an upgrade on both of them, cannot expect any better.
It is true that the departure of Daniel Sturridge on a free transfer this summer is going to deal a blow to Liverpool’s squad depth but they should be better off looking at an out-and-out No.9 to replace him.
Bringing in a prolific striker would provide cover and competition for Firmino, as well as maintain the perfect balance in the squad. The lack of a specialist No.10 since the departure of Philippe Coutinho has come back to haunt Liverpool at times, with full-backs Robertson and Alexander-Arnold providing most of the creative spark from the flanks.
Anderson is capable of playing as a No.10 but he is at his best when deployed out wide on the flanks and Liverpool should not make the mistake of looking at him as someone to just fill the gaps in the middle of the park. Moreover, spending a fortune to bring in a player for a back-up role sounds pretty awkward and irrational.
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That said, Liverpool should keep faith in their prolific front trio and invest to improve other areas of their squad.
A much-needed move – Man United splashing £25m to sign this 21-year-old defender would be a masterstroke
Manchester United Opinion: Why United must go for Aaron Wan-Bissaka?
The 21-year-old defender has been a standout performer for Crystal Palace since breaking into the first-team at the start of 2018. The Eagles’ preference is to keep Aaron Wan-Bissaka but will listen to offers if their stunning £50m valuation is met.
Manchester United are still pushing to sign the right-back and know their opening bid is going to be rejected by Palace. The report claims Manchester City are also interested in the England Under-21 international, which definitely must prompt United to up their offer and meet the south London club’s valuation for one of their prized assets.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to make a number of changes to his squad this summer after a disappointing end to the 2018/19 campaign that saw them win just two games out of 12. He is expected to bring in players that are more likely to develop into world-class stars than make an instant impact at Old Trafford.
After coming to terms with Swansea for the £15m signing of Daniel James, the Red Devils must quickly turn their attention to solving the right-back conundrum. Solskjaer needs to make it a priority of sorting out his defence after a horror show in 2018/19.
Antonio Valencia is leaving United when his contract expires and Matteo Darmian is also likely to find a new club this summer. Ashley Young was very poor in the second half of the campaign and attracted a lot of criticism for his performances. Diogo Dalot is 19 and is yet not ready to be a regular at right-back, with Solskjaer preferring the Portuguese more on the right wing.
Regardless of the fact Wan-Bissaka is only 21, he is regarded as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League. He looks like a generation of a talent, the sort of full-back that at 21 is better than most of the players who are in the age group of 24-26. He has had a spectacular 2018-19 campaign, as the Eagles finished in the 12th place in the Premier League.
In Wan-Bissaka, United would have one of the hottest young properties in the Premier League who, along with Dalot, could address the club’s right-back problems for years to come. The England Under-21 international’s positional awareness, tackling and understanding of the game coupled with his dribbling skills and overlapping runs already makes him a perfect fit in Solskjaer’s system at Old Trafford.
Wan-Bissaka is an extremely talented individual, who has a huge potential to fulfil. At arguably the biggest club in Europe and under Solskjaer’s tutelage, he certainly can unlock his top potential and become the best in the business.
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That being said, United must make signing the Palace star a top priority this summer.
West Ham’s €10m pursuit of this creative midfielder would do their attacking unit a world of good – Here is why
West Ham Opinion: Hammers would do themselves a world of good by signing Konstantinos Fortounis
According to the Mirror, West Ham have launched €10million bid for Olympiacos playmaker Konstantinos Fortounis, with the Hammers’ sporting director Mario Husillos identifying the Greek international as a player who could possibly improve the club’s midfield options.
The Mirror also understands that West Ham have made an official offer for the 26-year-old attacking midfielder and Manuel Pellegrini is keen to get the 26-year-old on board in the summer transfer window.
Earlier in the year, Greek news outlet SDNA reported that Norwich City, then in the Championship, were also keeping close tabs on Fortounis, meaning that the Hammers might face competition from the newly-promoted outfit should they revisit their interest.
Fortounis caught the eye with his scintillating run of form in the Greek Super League this term, as the playmaker racked up a staggering 12 goals and 9 assists in 28 appearances.
Although that wasn’t enough to propel Olympiacos to their second successive domestic title, the 26-year-old enjoyed a season with remarkable returns, having accumulated 17 goals and 16 assists in all competitions.
The 26-year-old is highly-rated in Greece, having made his move to Olympiacos back in 2014 after enjoying a fruitful four-year spell with FC Kaiserslautern in the Bundesliga. Fortounis, who has 6 goals in 41 international appearances for Greece, is one of the club’s best players and boasts of an eye-catching record for the domestic giants.
The playmaker has racked up an incredible tally of 67 goals and 60 assists in 196 appearances for Olympiacos across all competitions.
Essentially a central attacking midfielder by trade, Fortounis is an out-and-out No.10 but he is also capable of playing out wide on either flank, owing to his ambidextrous nature.
A technically-gifted, sharp, agile and mobile playmaker noted for his good turn of pace, trickery and flair on the ball, vision and creativity, Fortounis knows exactly how to create his own space in the final third and exploit the gaps in the opposition’s defence.
The Greek international combines his pace and acceleration with his technical abilities on the ball to drive past the opposition and often creates chances with his incisive passing and clever link-up play.
An excellent passer of the ball, Fortounis not only excels with speed of thought and vision in and around the penalty area but he is also adept at making runs into the box to get his name on the scoresheet.
Fortounis registered 3 goals and 3 assists in the Europa League this term, averaging an impressive 2.1 shots, 2.3 key passes, 1.5 crosses and 3.3 successful long balls per game, figures which are a clear testament to his well-rounded passing and playmaking attributes.
To put things into perspective, Fortounis has a wealth of Champions League, Europa League and international experience and he could prove to be an excellent addition to Manuel Pellegrini’s ranks this summer.
The Hammers often struggled to cope with the absence of a natural No.10 last season and the acquisition of Fortounis could solve plenty of problems for the East Londoners.
Samir Nasri is unlikely to be offered a new deal but the Hammers are likely to have Manuel Lanzini at their disposal right from the start of the next campaign after the Argentinian missed large chunks of this past season recovering from an injury.
Felipe Anderson produced impressive returns in his debut season at the London Stadium and the Brazilian is likely to play a key role once again next term. However, the arrival of another quality attacking midfielder like Fortounis should increase competition for places and add a bit more creativity and firepower to West Ham’s ranks.
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Having secured a top-ten finish in the Premier League in their first season under Pellegrini, it is now time for the Hammers to consolidate and mount a strong challenge for a Europa League spot next term.
That said, they should leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the Greek playmaker given that he has all the attributes to take the Hammers to the next level.
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