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Bournemouth should go all out to lure this 26-year-old Hull City powerhouse to solve central midfield woes

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Bournemouth Opinion: Why Howe should go all out to sign Markus Henriksen

According to a report from VG, Markus Henriksen is planning to leave Hull City when his contract expires in the summer amidst interest from Premier League duo Leicester City and Newcastle United.

Markus Henriksen, 26, has been one of Hull’s top performers this season, transforming the club’s fortunes from being a relegation fodder to playoff contenders. The Tigers are currently 12th in the table, just five points adrift of the final playoff spot.

Hull City’s surge up the table in the last couple of months saw Henriksen stay put at the club amidst interest in the January transfer window. Both Leicester and Newcastle were said to be interested in acquiring the Norwegian’s services​ in January and will likely renew their interest in the summer when he becomes a free agent.

That said, Bournemouth must beat the likes of Leicester and Newcastle for the signature of Henriksen this summer.

Bournemouth have struggled in the second half of the campaign, winning just three games out of 10 Premier League games since the turn of the year. In fact, they have won just once in the last six league games that have seen the Cherries fall out of top 10.

That’s disastrous for Eddie Howe and co. plainly because they were firmly in the race for finishing seventh. They are now seven points adrift of seventh-placed Wolves, which clearly tells a lot of work needs to be done over the summer if Bournemouth are to challenge for a Europa League spot next season.

One of the prime areas that needs bolstering is the central midfield, with Howe having very limited options to select from. Lewis Cook’s season-ending injury has further depleted the options in midfield, leaving Howe to select from Jefferson Lerma, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling.

There is a clear lack of depth in midfield and Howe should address the problem by signing Markus Henriksen. Standing at 6ft. 2in, the Norwegian international is a technically-gifted and tactically-versatile midfielder who is comfortable playing in No.6, No. 8 and No.10 roles in the midfield.

He is a very strong and physical midfielder whose towering frame helps him win almost every aerial duel. The former Rosenborg and AZ Alkmaar man is exceptionally sharp and agile for a player of his stature and also has wonderful dribbling skills for a central midfielder.

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Henriksen can pick a pass, break attacks with his tackling and interception skills and is adept at controlling the tempo of the game. Furthermore, he is a leader on and off the pitch and will add goals from midfield for Bournemouth.

Verdict

Available on a potential free transfer at the end of the season, Howe should do everything possible to get Henriksen. The Norwegian’s all-action displays and versatility certainly tick all the boxes to be a smashing signing for the Cherries.

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Forget Edouard- Celtic should not think twice about signing this £10m-rated PL striker and here is why

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Celtic Opinion: Lys Mousset could be a massive coup for the Hoops

According to The Scottish Sun, Celtic are interested in signing £10 million-rated Bournemouth striker Lys Mousset, who is keen to complete a move away from the south coast in search of more regular minutes.

The Scottish Sun understands that Celtic are reluctant to smash their club-record fee to secure the services of the 23-year-old out-of-favour Bournemouth striker but the Hoops are looking at a player-plus-cash deal to bring the Frenchman to Parkhead.

Born in Montivilliers, France, to a Senegalese father and a French mother, Lys Mousset rose through the youth ranks at Ligue 2 club Le Havre and shot to prominence with 14 goals in 35 appearances for the second-tier outfit.

His prolific form in his homeland earned him a move to the Premier League with Bournemouth, who paid €7.3 million to bring the talented youngster to English football.

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Despite all his promise and potential, Mousset has struggled for regular minutes under manager Eddie Howe due to the presence of more established strikers like Callum Wilson and Joshua King. The 23-year-old has made a total of 71 appearances for the Cherries in all competitions till date, scoring on 5 occasions.

That looks like an incredibly poor scoring record for any striker but Mousset is hardly to blame for those numbers. As a matter of fact, only 8 of his 58 appearances in the Premier League have been starts, while others have just been cameos off the bench.

And with the likes of Wilson and King performing at the peak of their powers, it doesn’t look like things are going to get better for Mousset on the south coast.

To put things into perspective, Mousset remains an immensely-talented youngster but his development has stalled at Bournemouth and a move to Celtic would offer him the chance to restart his career. Celtic, on the other hand, should relish getting a promising attacker like Mousset on board in the summer transfer window, although the Hoops might struggle to meet Bournemouth’s valuation.

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Celtic went down 2-0 to Rangers in the Old Firm derby last Sunday but the Hoops are well and truly on course to securing their 8th straight domestic title.

They also have a chance of completing a third successive domestic treble if they manage to beat Hearts in the Scottish Cup final towards the end of the month. Celtic’s dominance has reigned supreme in Scottish football for almost a decade now, but as well all know, there is no room for complacency in football.

The potential departure of players like Filip Benkovic, Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa should prompt the Hoops to dip into the transfer window for defensive reinforcements.

However, they also have a few bases to cover as far as their options in the attacking third are concerned. Odsonne Edouard has enjoyed another prolific season but they need to bring in replacements for departing loanees Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke.

Leigh Griffiths has been out of the game since late last year, while January recruit Vakoun Issouf Bayo is not really in the frame at the moment.

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Someone like Lys Mousset can help reduce the goalscoring burden on Edouard, while also adding depth to the squad and increasing competition for places.

The 23-year-old has good pace and flair on the ball and is more than capable of outsmarting the opposition with his sharpness, trickery and intelligent movement in the final third.

He moves the ball around quickly, creates his own space and occupies the defenders, meaning that he could add a lot of value to Celtic’s attack.

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Mousset, a former youth international for France, has potential and he just needs to play more regularly to take his game to the next level.

The Hoops should take a lesson from how young French strikers like Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard evolved into prolific scorers in the Scottish Premiership and Lys Mousset could be the next in line.

Hence, the Hoops should not hesitate to splash the cash on the talented Bournemouth star and it should be a win-win deal for all parties concerned.

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Premier League 2018/19: Here is the best U23 XI of the season featuring top-class youngsters like this Spurs ace

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Premier League Opinion: Best U23 XI of the Premier League season

There is a large emphasis that is placed on youth development by majority of the Premier League clubs. While certain parties are heavily dependant on these academies to provide them with quality players, others use them as just a form of business in order to increase the club value.

It can be said that the youngsters are the backbone of this rather youthful league.

Here’s the Premier League U23 XI of the season:

GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga

The Spanish sensation was signed for a fairly hefty fee by Chelsea in the summer as their desperate search for a keeper led them to Athletic Bilbao.

Although he has turned 24 now, he is the youngest first-choice goalkeeper in the league to have any shout of making this squad.

RB – Trent Alexander-Arnold

The youngster came up through the ranks at Liverpool before being handed a well-deserved opportunity by Jurgen Klopp.

Since making the first team role his own though, the Englishman has looked effectively unstoppable at times with his blistering pace and sharp movement.

CB – Davinson Sanchez

Still only 22, Sanchez is one of the many Spurs players who still have a massive future ahead of them. The injuries picked up by the remaining Spurs defenders have provided the youngster with enough opportunities to prove him worth to Mauricio Pochettino this season.

CB – Issa Diop

Another young player who’s really stepped up to the plate for their side this season has to be West Ham United centre-half, Issa Diop.

The Frenchman has showcased his consistency as well composure to the Hammers’ fans this season and he’s been transformed into one of the fan favourites at the London Stadium.

LB – Ben Chilwell

The youngster has been one of Leicester City’s better players this season and the standout feature about his is the fact that first and foremost, he’s a defender.

His ability to read the play and move the ball forward quickly has caught the eye and he’s guaranteed a massive future in England.

CM – Declan Rice

The young West Ham United star has finally ended the curiosity behind his international loyalty by pledging to England.

The English fans will be overjoyed with this choice as Rice has proved time and again this season that he can be one of the most dominant midfielders in the league on his day. 

CM – Ruben Neves

The Portuguese superstar has been one of Wolves’ standout players this season and although he doesn’t show his quality by frequently knocking in the goals, the ones he does score are usually special strikes.

His passing and composure in the middle of the park have been one of the key features of Wolves’ play this term.

CM – Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The Chelsea star has had to wait quite long for his opportunity but when it finally did come, he made sure to grab it with both hands.

Now a regular figure in the Chelsea first-team, Loftus-Cheek’s mazy runs and pin-point passes have been a good attacking outlet for the Blues while his goals have come at handy times as well. 

RW – David Brooks

The young Bournemouth star has risen to supremacy under the guidance of Eddie Howe at the Vitality and his efforts for the Cherries this season certainly haven’t gone unnoticed.

He possesses a blistering change of pace that has caught many Premier League defenders out this season and he’s even managed to pitch with goals and assists this term. 

ST – Marcus Rashford

Manchester United’s season has been one to forget for the fans but one standout player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been English prodigy Marcus Rashford.

He usually gives it his all on the pitch even when United are struggling and he’s even scored some key goals along the course of the campaign.

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LW – Richarlison

Considering that the Brazilian is still only 21, the amount of criticism he receives can only be perceived as unfair.

He has shown the Goodison Park crowd exactly what he’s about on more than one occasion this campaign and it’s no surprise that he’s a real hero in Merseyside.

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A costly mistake? – Leicester City’s progress would get derailed if Rodgers signs this 23-year-old winger

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Leicester City Opinion: Why the Foxes should avoid signing Jordon Ibe?

According to a report from the Sun, Leicester City are eyeing a summer swoop for Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers gave Jordon Ibe his debut at his former club Liverpool. He is now eyeing a reunion with the 23-year-old forward, who has started just 13 games this season at Bournemouth.

Ibe is out of contract at the Vitality in the summer of 2020, meaning the Cherries could end up selling him in the upcoming transfer window rather losing him on a free transfer next year. But should Leicester make a move for the nippy forward?

Since Rodgers arrived at the King Power Stadium, Leicester have done very well and ended the season ninth in the table. That isn’t an achievement, considering the quality the Foxes actually have in their squad but they could have ended in the bottom half of the table had Claude Puel been in charge.

Puel had apparently had lost the dressing room and couldn’t find a style of play that excited the Leicester fans. The Frenchman’s pragmatic style of play was a complete mismatch with the thrilling young players at the King Power Stadium. Rodgers, meanwhile, has given an identity to the club to some extent and if anything to go by, fans can expect a lot of thrills and spills next season.

But that can only happen if Rodgers manages to sign the right profile of players at the club. The northern Irishman prefers an exhilarating, expansive brand of football which involves a lot of energy, intensity and pace. In Demarai Gray, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Rachid Ghezzal and Jamie Vardy, the Foxes have an exciting attacking unit.

To take the club to the next level, Rodgers, however, needs reinforcements. He is interested in signing Ibe, who is young, quick, agile and dynamic and plays with a certain level of directness. But the 23-year-old has netted only five goals since joining Bournemouth from Liverpool back in 2016.

That just tells the player hasn’t yet hit his stride at the Vitality Stadium, with his end product and understanding of the game needing a lot of improvement.

Verdict

Ibe is far from a finished article that Rodgers should avoid splashing the cash on, even if he knows the player inside out. The Leicester manager would do well by targeting other youngsters in the summer transfer window to strengthen his squad.

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That being said, the Foxes would do a world of good by not signing Ibe from Bournemouth.

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