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Middlesbrough signing this 26-year-old midfielder for £9m would be a massive boost if they get promoted

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Middlesbrough Opinion: Boro should sign Muhamed Besic permanently

According to the Daily Mail, Muhamed Besic has been deemed surplus to demands at Everton, with Toffees boss Marco Silva claiming that the 26-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina international doesn’t have a future at Goodison Park.

The same report adds that Everton are prepared to listen to offers of around £9million for Besic this summer. The Bosnian, who has also attracted interest from Turkish giants Besiktas and Fenerbahce, last played for the Toffees in 2017 and it is highly unlikely that he is going to don the royal blue jersey once again.

Back in November last year, the Mirror claimed that Middlesbrough were looking to turn Besic’s loan spell into a permanent transfer, although that didn’t quite materialize in the January window.

The 26-year-old has been on loan at the Riverside Stadium since January 2018 and it looks like Tony Pulis is going to have another chance to seal a permanent deal for the defensive midfielder, with Everton prepared to cash in on their out-of-favour star.

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Besic has been an ever-present for Boro in the Championship this season, accumulating 2 goals and 5 assists from 33 appearances in the league. He is one of the key reasons why the club are still in the race for a promotion playoff spot, though it is very likely that Boro might once again fall short in what has been a season filled with highs and lows.

To sum it up, Besic has been one of the standout performers for Tony Pulis’s side in the middle of the park and making his stay permanent certainly makes a lot of sense.

The Bosnian international has proven his worth as a versatile midfielder who is capable of playing both No.6 and No.8 roles in the midfield, whilst also filling in admirably at right-back on a few occasions. He has done exceedingly well alongside the likes of Jonny Howson and John Obi Mikel at the heart of the midfield, living up to his reputation as a tough-tackling and all-action central midfielder.

Besic boasts of a pass accuracy percentage of 86.2, including 1.5 tackles, 1.5 dribbles, 3.1 long passes and 1.3 key passes per game, figures which show that he is more than capable of contributing a lot to the build-up play in the middle of the park.

In all honesty, Besic has been one of the mainstays of Middlesbrough’s midfield for a season and a half and his partnership with Mikel in central midfield has made Boro look like a much more formidable unit since the turn of the year.

Besides his technical abilities, flair and quality on the ball, Besic is someone who likes to keep things ticking with his passing and work-ethic, cutting out the attacks and shielding the rearguard.

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Apart from Mikel, Boro currently do not have a midfielder in their ranks who can match Besic’s attributes.

They need to keep hold of their first-team core if they are to challenge for promotion in the Championship or stay alive in the Premier League, depending on where they play their football next season. That said, it should be an absolute no-brainer for Tony Pulis to strike a permanent deal for the Everton star in the summer.

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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Norwich City would find Teemu Pukki’s ideal backup by signing this 28-year-old powerhouse for £5m

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Norwich City Opinion: Nuno da Costa could be the ideal option to provide cover and competition for Teemu Pukki

According to The Sun, newly-promoted outfit, Norwich City are plotting a £5 million bid for Strasbourg forward Nuno da Costa in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that manager Daniel Farke is keen to add more firepower to his ranks ahead of the upcoming season.

Norwich are not the only club to have been credited with an interest in the 28-year-old Cape Verdean international, though, with The Sun suggesting that Brighton and Hove Albion are also monitoring the versatile forward.

The Canaries continue to be linked with some high-profile players upon their return to the Premier League. Daniel Farke has already added Patrick Roberts to his attacking options, while the club has also been linked with moves for striker Josip Drmic, right-back Daniel Opare, as well as former England shot-stopper Joe Hart. (h/t The Sun)

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Nuno da Costa is probably not a familiar name to the fans at Carrow Road, given that the 28-year-old has spent his entire career playing in different divisions in France.

Currently on the books of Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg, the Cape Verdean international registered an impressive 8 goals and 5 assists in 34 outings this past season to guide his club to a 11th-place finish in the French top-flight.

Da Costa’s exploits in France haven’t gone unnoticed and he might as well be on his way to the Premier League this summer, with Norwich City and Brighton weighing up moves for him.

The 28-year-old’s strike rate of 15 goals and 8 assists in 67 appearances for Strasbourg in all competitions makes decent readings and the time might just be right for him to test his credentials in a more difficult league.

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Norwich secured automatic promotion back to the Premier League as the out-and-out winners of the Championship but the Premier League has often proven to be an unforgiving platform for the promoted teams over the years and Farke should consider bringing in some fresh faces to add more depth and quality to his ranks.

To put things into perspective, Nuno da Costa might not be a household name but he could certainly add a lot of depth to Norwich’s options up front. The 28-year-old is in his prime years and £5 million is just a drop in the ocean for any Premier League side, to be honest.

The Canaries struck as many as 93 goals in the Championship last season and finished with the best scoring record in the division, with Finnish international Teemu Pukki netting 29 in the league. While the 29-year-old is probably going to be the spearhead of the team’s attack in the Premier League next season, the Canaries should not make the mistake of relying too heavily on him.

Prolific scorers in the Championship have often struggled to make a big impression in the Premier League and Farke should be wary of Pukki’s previous struggles at Schalke and Celtic.

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His scoring record in Scotland and Germany wasn’t that good and there is every possibility that he might struggle to cope with the competitive nature of the Premier League, meaning that someone like Nuno da Costa could prove to be a useful addition.

A versatile attacker capable of playing out wide on either side of the pitch and up front as a centre-forward, da Costa is an extremely hardworking footballer who catches the eye with his work-ethic, whilst also boasting of well-rounded finishing and playmaking attributes in front of goal.

A good dribbler with a keen eye for key passes and through balls in the final third, the 28-year-old also has a decent aerial game and is adept at putting away the chances that come his way.

Sheffield Wednesday loanee Jordan Rhodes netted 6 goals for Norwich last season but it is still unclear whether the Canaries are looking at him as a viable option in the Premier League.

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However, da Costa, with his versatility and wealth of Ligue 1 experience, looks more like the real deal for the Canaries and his arrival would provide Farke with valuable cover in multiple areas of the pitch.

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That said, Norwich should not hesitate to splash the cash on the 28-year-old Cape Verdean star this summer in a bid to enhance their chances of survival in the Premier League.

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