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Ideal player to compete with Kristian Pedersen? This Birmingham City starlet could be a revelation next season

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Birmingham City Opinion: Why Steven Seddon will be an asset next season?

Birmingham City mounted a surprise late charge for the play-off places but consecutive four defeats in the Championship has seen them lose all the momentum. They are 13th in the table, seven points adrift of the final play-off spot.

The Blues have had an inconsistent campaign and following their dismal run of form of late, they could miss out on a place in the play-offs.

Garry Monk will be livid with how things have panned out in the recent weeks but he’ll have to fight until the last game and hope the likes of Aston Villa, Preston and Derby County slip up.

With or without promotion, the Birmingham City manager needs to start building his squad for the next season. He needs to add a few quality players and integrate the young Steve Seddon in his squad.

A product of the Reading youth system, Steve Seddon joined Birmingham City in 2014.

After impressing for Blues Under-23s in the 2017/10 season, as he racked up 30 appearances and scored three goals, the 21-year-old was rewarded with a contract until June 2019, with the club having an option to extend for another year.

Seddon has yet to make his senior bow for Birmingham City but has been included in the first team squad on several occasions. He spent the first half of this season on loan with League Two side Stevenage, where he managed three goals in 25 games. After his loan at Stevenage expired, the defender joined AFC Wimbledon of League One on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has also impressed in the League One, managing two goals in 10 games so far. He has played a crucial role in Wimbledon’s recent upturn in form.

Seddon will be hoping to continue impressing out on loan with Wimbledon for the remainder of the season as the Dons battle to retain their League One status.

Certainly, loan spells at Stevenage and Wimbledon have worked really for Seddon, who’ll be hoping to break into the Birmingham first-team next season. Monk should also be delighted with the young full-back’s progress and will persuade the club to trigger a one-year option to extend the player’s current deal at the end of this season.

Monk should also be delighted with the young full-back’s progress and will persuade the club to trigger a one-year option to extend the player’s current deal at the end of this season.

Verdict

Seddon is a young, promising left-back who is also comfortable playing in central defence. He deserves opportunities next season to showcase his talent and could be the perfect player to compete with Kristian Pedersen at left-back, who knows?

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Forget Gomes and Gueye – Everton’s midfield would be in stable hands if they sign this £22m-rated ace starring in the Ligue 1

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Everton Opinion: Ibrahim Sangare would be a good replacement for Gomes and Gueye at Goodison Park

According to North Wales Live, Everton are ready to firm up their interest in Toulouse defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare this summer, with reports claiming that the Toffees are looking to bolster their ranks.

North Wales Live understands that Everton hold a long-standing interest in the 21-year-old Ivory Coast international and Toulouse have slapped a daunting £22 million price tag on his head.

Everton are believed to be in the market for a new central midfielder this summer, with talks over the permanent deal for Barcelona loanee Andre Gomes failing to reach a positive end so far.

Idrissa Gana Gueye has been heavily linked with moves to Man United and PSG incent times and the uncertainty over the future of two of their first-team central midfielders has probably prompted the Toffees to look at Ibrahim Sangare as a potential transfer target. (h/t Daily Mail)

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Born in Ivory Coast, Sangare started his career with AS Denguele is his homeland before migrating to France and joining Toulouse at the youth level. He made rapid progress through the ranks and broke into the first-team picture in the 2016-17 campaign, making his debut against Angers in Ligue 1.

The highly-rated prospect made only 5 appearances in Ligue 1 in his breakthrough season but his promise and potential was there for everyone to witness. Sangare started as many as 18 Ligue 1 games for Toulouse in the 2017-18 season before establishing himself as one of the key cogs of the team’s midfield the last term.

Toulouse only managed a lower mid-table finish in the French top-flight this past season but the 21-year-old defensive midfielder was one of the shining lights of the club’s otherwise mediocre campaign. Sangare made 28 appearances in Ligue 1 and contributed with a goal and 3 assists, with his consistently impressive displays earning him rave reviews from fans and pundits alike.

Sangare is regarded as one of the brightest emerging prospects in Ligue 1 at the moment and Everton’s interest in the highly-rated prodigy certainly looks justified. The Toffees showed strong signs of promise in their first season under Marco Silva but it is a no-brainer that they need to invest in young and talented players as a part of their long-term plans moving forward.

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To put things into perspective, Ibrahim Sangare might not be one of the household names just yet but he is certainly a player to watch out for in the future. His success in Ligue 1 hardly guarantees the same in the Premier League but few would dare to argue that the Ivorian has all the makings of developing into a top-quality player in the years to come.

Advertised as a defensive midfielder, Sangare’s towering 6ft. 3-inch frame coupled with his tough-tackling and aggressive style of play makes him a dominating presence in the middle of the park. A wonderful tackler who is also blessed with a good range of passing, Sangare is noted for his ability to break up the play with crucial interventions, whilst also showcasing the calmness and composure to dictate the tempo of the game in the midfield.

The 21-year-old averaged 54.1 passes per game with an accuracy percentage of 79.6, including 3.9 successful long balls, 3.6 tackles, 1 interception, 1.4 aerial duels and 0.7 key passes, figures which are certainly good enough for a player of his age.

Everton have the likes of Tom Davies and Morgan Schneiderlin as viable options in the middle of the park but someone like Sangare would add that extra bit of aggression and youthful exuberance to the club’s ranks, whilst also increasing competition for places.

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The Toffees will be expected to challenge for a European spot next term, and while a specialist centre-forward could be the key to their chances for that matter, the acquisition of Ibrahim Sangare would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa signing this teenager on loan from London giants would help them find a solid utility player

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Aston Villa Opinion: Lions should look at Ethan Ampadu as a versatile and utility squad player

According to The Guardian, Aston Villa are exploring the possibility of signing Chelsea starlet Ethan Ampadu in a season-long loan deal this summer, with reports claiming that several other clubs are also keen to secure the Welshman’s services.

With Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus looking inevitable, Ampadu is yet to find out what plans Chelsea have in store for him next season. The 18-year-old has a contract at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2023 but he might want to move out on loan this summer in order to gain more first-team experience elsewhere, having played more games for Wales than Chelsea over the course of the last 12 months.

The Guardian understands that Villa were keen to take Ampadu on loan in the Championship last summer but Sarri wanted to keep the promising youngster at Stamford Bridge as a part of Chelsea’s first-team scheme of things. However, despite adopting such a stance, the manager only handed him three starts- 2 in the FA Cup and one in the Europa League.

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However, with a managerial change at Stamford Bridge on the cards and Ampadu still very much in the developmental phase of his career, a loan move elsewhere might as well materialize for the highly-rated youngster this summer. He is by no means a finished article but a move to Villa could work wonders for his development, given the presence of Chelsea legend John Terry in the coaching ranks and more first-team opportunities on offer.

A versatile defensive asset, Ampadu is capable of playing both central midfield and centre-back roles for his team. The 18-year-old Welshman has shown a level of maturity that defies his tender years, both in terms of calmness and composure in possession and technical abilities on the ball. The Exeter-born starlet boasts of a wonderful range of passing, which allows him to control the game from a deep position in the midfield and switch the play to set up attacks from the back.

To put things into perspective, Aston Villa have already made the headlines with deals for Wesley Moraes, Kortney Hause and Jota but they need to add more players to their ranks before the Premier League season gets underway.  

It is true that they should prioritise signing players with top-level experience but bringing in a promising youngster like Ethan Ampadu won’t do them much harm, and given his versatility to operate in both central midfield and central defence, the Lions might as well look at him as someone who could possibly add a little bit more cover in multiple areas of the pitch.

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Villa are short of options in central defence following the return of Axel Tuanzebe to Man United and the release of Tommy Elphick. A permanent deal for Bournemouth loanee Tyrone Mings is yet to be finalized, and while James Chester remains an experienced option at the back, Ampadu’s presence would offer Dean Smith with more flexibility.

On the other hand, Villa can also expect Ampadu to compete with the likes of John McGinn and Conor Hourihane for a spot in central midfield, given that the Lions have already released Mile Jedinak and Glen Whelan.

Realistically speaking, Ampadu is unlikely to play regularly at Chelsea next season, despite the Blues currently facing a two-window transfer ban. Even if a loan move to Villa Park does materialize for the 18-year-old, he is unlikely to play a significant first-team role for the Lions in the Premier League, but the chances of him getting regular minutes at Aston Villa would certainly be a lot more than at Chelsea.

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Ampadu is at a stage in his career where he needs to play regularly in order to continue his development and work on his flaws. Keeping that in mind, a move to Villa Park might just be the breakthrough that he needs to carve out some kind of a reputation for himself.

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Fulham signing this £4.5m star from Leeds United should be an absolute no-brainer – Here’s why

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Fulham Opinion: Adam Forshaw could be a massive coup for the Cottagers

According to the Daily Mail, Fulham are interested in signing Leeds United midfielder Adam Forshaw, with reports claiming that manager Scott Parker is keen to bolster his ranks heading into the upcoming season in the Championship.

Forshaw, who joined Leeds United from Middlesbrough for a fee of £4.5 million back in January 2018, played a key role for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the Championship this past season, as the Whites lost out to Derby County in the playoff semi-finals.

However, Leeds are currently bracing themselves for approaches from several other clubs for some of their prized assets following their failure to secure promotion. Jack Clarke has already been lined up by Spurs as a potential summer target, while Kalvin Phillips has attracted interest from a host of other Premier League sides, including newly-promoted Aston Villa. (h/t Daily Mail)

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Fulham are also going through a similar phase at the moment, with the Cottagers currently under pressure to balance the books following their relegation from the Premier League.

The Craven Cottage-based outfit are set for a massive clear-out of players this summer, with several high-profile players, including the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jean-Michael Seri, Andre Schurrle, Ryan Babel, Luciano Vietto, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, as well as, promising youngster Ryan Sessegnon all expected to leave the club.

Manager Scott Parker is faced with the task of guiding the club back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and he has seemingly started for looking for affordable alternatives to replace the big names.  

While a like-for-like replacement for Mitrovic up front continues to be a priority for Fulham, they also need to look for new players in other areas of the pitch. Central midfield is one such area that certainly needs some sorting out this summer, with the departure of Seri and Anguissa an inevitability.

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Fulham, of course, are expected to have the services of captain Tom Cairney at their disposal in the Championship next season after the Scotsman committed his future to the club with a long-term contract. Kevin McDonald was largely used as a fringe player in the Premier League but he was one of their key players in the Championship and the central midfielder would probably have a bigger part to play next term.

The Cottagers are also likely to have the services of Stefan Johansen right from the start of the upcoming campaign, given that the Norwegian is back at Craven Cottage following his loan spell at West Brom last term. However, someone like Adam Forshaw could possibly add that little bit more depth and quality in a crucial area of the pitch for Fulham, although Leeds are unlikely to let go of one of their key players on the cheap.

A youth graduate of Everton, who rose to prominence with Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough, Forshaw has established himself as one of the best players at Elland Road since his move from Middlesbrough in January last year. The 27-year-old made a total of 31 appearances for the Whites in the Championship this past season and was one of the key cogs of Bielsa’s midfield.

Essentially a central midfielder by trade, Forshaw is a strong, tenacious and hard-working presence in the middle of the park who excels with his impressive range of passing and ability to control possession for his team.

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To add to that, he is adept at dealing with the transitions in play and cutting out attacks with crucial interventions, whilst also possessing the ability to contribute to the attack with driving runs from the midfield.

Forshaw averaged 44.7 passes per game with an accuracy percentage of 88.2 in the Championship last term, including 3.6 long balls, 0.9 key passes and 2.2 tackles, figures which speak volumes of his ability to retain possession, move the ball around and cut out attacks in the middle of the park. Moreover, his wealth of Premier League and Championship experience could prove handy for a promotion-chasing team like Fulham.

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Keeping that in mind, Fulham have every reason to look at Adam Forshaw as a marquee signing in the Championship this summer, although they still have plenty of other bases to cover before the season gets underway. All in all, the 27-year-old could be a useful addition to Fulham’s ranks.

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