Chelsea Opinion: Blues interested in Alexander Isak- a risk worth taking?
According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are monitoring the progress of Borussia Dortmund striker Alexander Isak very closely with a view to a potential move in the summer.
The same report claims that the Blues want to bring in a young and talented striker after Gonzalo Higuain’s failure to make an impact on his loan spell, although the possibility of new arrivals in the summer solely rests on the verdict of the transfer ban.
Chelsea are probably hopeful of having their two-window transfer ban lifted or postponed, which is the reason why they are continuing to keep tabs on their potential targets. And Alexander Isak is another name on the list, as Maurizio Sarri aims to solve his No.9 woes heading into the upcoming season.
The 19-year-old Swedish international has made a massive impression at Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie since moving out on loan in January, registering 12 goals and 4 assists from 12 league appearances.
The Stockholm-born towering forward, who has drawn comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was snapped up for a fee of £14million by Dortmund from Swedish club AIK in January 2017.
However, he struggled for regular minutes in the Bundesliga and a loan spell in the Netherlands has certainly worked wonders for his development.
Standing at 6ft. 3 inches with a well-built frame, Alexander Isak is a perfect combination of the attributes of a traditional target man and a modern-day dynamic centre-forward.
Capable of playing off the shoulder of the last defender due to his intelligent movement off the ball, Isak knows exactly how to use his massive frame to good effect, often holding on to the ball with his back to the goal and using short exchanges to link up effectively with his teammates in and around the penalty area.
Isak, who already has four senior international caps for Sweden under his belt, can be deceptively quick for a player of his stature.
His wonderful technique on the ball allows him to keep exceptional close control and change gears in the blink of an eye, leaving defenders for dead with his sumptuous first-touch and wonderful dribbling ability.
Dominant in the air and quick across the ground, the youngster not only poses a threat from set-pieces and crosses but he also knows how to time his runs to perfection to get on the end of through balls.
Known for his clinical finishing and wonderful shooting technique, the Swede also has the awareness and the work-rate to drop deep and get involved in the build-up play.
To put things into perspective, Isak would be a wonderful addition to Chelsea’s ranks in the summer. The 19-year-old has been tipped to be Sweden’s next poster boy after Ibrahimovic and he certainly has the talent and the potential to make an impact in the Premier League.
With the futures of Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud at Stamford Bridge still up in the air and Higuain’s loan spell coming to an end, it is high time for the Blues to invest in young players to bolster their forward line and Isak definitely fits the bill.
Sarri’s future at Stamford Bridge might as well depend on how the team fares in the last few games and a strong finish to the season should see the Italian retain his position at the helm of affairs for another season.
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Isak is not yet the finished product and he is still very much in the developmental phase of his career but Chelsea would bag a massive coup if they manage to land the highly-rated Swedish international this summer.
Aston Villa signing this teenager on loan from London giants would help them find a solid utility player
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.
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.
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.
West Ham raiding London rivals to sign this 25-year-old striker would take their goalscoring prowess to a new level
West Ham Opinion: Why the Hammers should go for Michy Batshuayi?
Back in January, the Daily Mail claimed that West Ham were one of the clubs interested in signing Michy Batshuayi on loan from Chelsea. However, the Belgian forward ended up moving to Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season in the eleventh hour of the January transfer window.
Michy Batshuayi, 25, enjoyed a solid loan spell at the Selhurst Park, scoring five goals in 11 games and helping the Eagles to a 12-placed finish. He had a very poor first half of the 2018/19 campaign at Valencia, where he managed just one goal in 15 La Liga outings.
Chelsea are facing a potential two-window transfer ban this summer so it’s understandable they’ll do everything to keep hold of Batshuayi. But the Belgium international has had a tough time settling at Stamford Bridge since his move from Marseille a few years ago and not given regular opportunities.
At the age of 25, the centre-forward will need to find a permanent home where he’ll get regular opportunities to play and develop. Keeping that in mind, West Ham must reignite their interest and attempt to sign Batshuayi from Chelsea this summer.
The Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini has made his third signing of the summer on Friday, with attacker Pablo Fornals arriving at the London stadium for £24m on a five-year contract from Villarreal. Now the Chilean tactician should shift his focus on improving his strike department, having sold Lucas Perez and released Andy Carroll.
That has left West Ham with just two out-and-out strikers in Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez, who is on the radar of Valencia. Goalscoring was a weakness for West Ham last campaign and Pellegrini should fix that issue this summer. And Batshuayi would be a quality signing for the East London outfit.
Strong, powerful and speedy, Batshuayi would add some much-needed spark and pace to West Ham’s attack.
The Belgian has good technical qualities and aerial ability to develop into a quality Premier League forward. He’ll offer Pellegrini’s side pace, power, physicality and a focal point in the attack, whilst potentially forming a dynamic attack with the likes of Arnautovic, Anderson and new recruit, Pablo Fornals.
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Pellegrini can provide him with the platform to develop at West Ham and the ex-Marseille ace could fix the club’s goalscoring woes. He is out of favour at Chelsea and thus a solid offer might be enough to convince them into selling the Belgian forward.
Batshuayi already knows the Premier League in and out and if given regular opportunities, he could take West Ham’s attack to a different level next season.
Forget Sarri – Chelsea’s managerial woes would end if they appoint this 60-year-old genius starring in the Bundesliga
Chelsea Opinion: Ralf Rangnick could well prove to be the perfect long-term managerial solution for the Blues
According to Football London, Chelsea have added RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick to their shortlist of candidates for the managerial role at Stamford Bridge this summer, with reports claiming that current manager Maurizio Sarri is closing in on a return to his homeland with Serie A champions Juventus.
Despite guiding the Blues to a third-place finish in the Premier League and a Europa League triumph, Sarri looks set to end his association with Chelsea, having only made his move to Stamford Bridge from Napoli last summer. (f/t Football London)
Former club-legend and current Derby County manager Frank Lampard is one of the frontrunners to replace Sarri following the Rams’ run to the finals of the EFL Championship Playoffs but Chelsea are also looking at other experienced options in the market, Football London understands.
Chelsea’s hunt for a new manager have led to them identifying RB Leipzig boss and Bundesliga managerial tycoon Ralf Rangnick as a potential candidate for the job. According to claims from German news outlet Bild, the 60-year-old is set to quit Leipzig this summer and a move to England for the first time in his managerial career looks likely to materialize.
This is not the first time, though, that Rangnick has been linked with a move for English football. The 60-year-old was lined up as a replacement for Roy Hodgson at Liverpool back in 2011 and he was also courted by Everton as the successor to Roberto Martinez. (h/t Football London)
Maurizio Sarri is keen to put an end to his time at Chelsea for reasons unknown and it is a real pity that the Italian is ready to quit the job at Stamford Bridge after such a promising campaign. In all honesty, the news involving Sarri’s departure comes at the worst possible time for Chelsea, with the transfer ban looming large and the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid necessitating a squad rebuild.
To put things into perspective, Chelsea hardly have any time to lament Sarri’s departure, and with so many grave issues to be sorted out within a relatively short span of time before the start of the upcoming season, an experienced manager with plenty exposure at the highest level is just what the club needs.
Ralf Rangnick has influenced a generation of managers in Germany and his managerial experience of over three-and-a-half decades, ranging from amateur football to the Champions League should make it a no-brainer for the Blues to snap him up.
The 60-year-old never played professional football at the highest level but his acumen, intelligence and charisma as a manager have led to him being recognised as a highly-revered figure in Europe.
Following the end of an unsuccessful playing career, Rangnick entered into management during the mid-1980’s and spent time at a numbers of non-league clubs before finally earning a role at Stuttgart in 1999. However, he only managed to remain in the hotseat for a couple of seasons at Stuttgart and was sacked following the club’s defeat to Celta Vigo in the UEFA Cup.
Mediocre spells at Schalke and Hannover 96 followed before Rangnick joined Hoffenheim 1899 in the Regionalliga Sud, the fourth tier of German football back in 2006. It was at Hoffenheim that the 60-year-old rose to prominence as a manager, with his achievement of taking the club to the Bundesliga in a space of two seasons following back-to-back promotions considered as a feat of rare charisma and intelligence.
After a brief stint at his former club Schalke, Rangnick took up the role of Sporting Director at both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg, although he ended his association with the Austrian outfit to concentrate fully on the role at Leipzig. He once again proved his worth as an incredible and inspirational manager, stepping in at a crisis period in 2015 and immediately guiding the club to Bundesliga promotion.
Interestingly, Maurizio Sarri and Ralf Rangnick are poles apart when it comes to their individual philosophies. While Sarri believes in a more patient possession-based approach in controlling the game, Rangnick is famous for his high-intensity pressing game in the midfield.
As opposed to Sarri, who favours a more lateral passing game with short exchanges, the German likes his players to take the game by the scruff of the neck and destroy the opposition.
Rangnick’s high-intensity pressing approach has earned him comparisons with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. He is a modern-day detail-oriented manager who knows how to inspire his players and get the best out of them by using holistic methods on the training ground.
Sarri’s imminent departure marks the continuity of Chelsea’s managerial instability and the Blues need to ensure stability at the helm of affairs to build a strong platform for the future.
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Ralf Rangnick is known for his ability to nurture young talents and build a squad in due course of time, meaning that he could prove to be the much-needed long-term managerial solution that has eluded the club for more than a decade.
Regarded as the catalyst for RB Leipzig’s success, the 60-year-old has been the main mastermind behind the club’s metaphoric rise into one of the superpowers in the Bundesliga, and his arrival at Stamford Bridge might as well mark the beginning of a new era of dominance for the Blues.
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