Leicester City Opinion: James Tarkowski would be the ideal replacement for Harry Maguire
According to Daily Mail, Leicester City have lined up Burnley’s James Tarkowski as a potential replacement for star man Harry Maguire, who is expected to head for the exit door at the King Power Stadium this summer.
Maguire is likely to be a man in demand in the summer transfer window, with Premier League giants Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea and Spurs all interested in securing the services of the £60 million-rated England international. (h/t Sun)
While the 26-year-old’s metaphoric rise in English football is set to trigger a bidding war amongst several top clubs, the Foxes seem almost resigned to losing their No.1 centre-back before the start of the next campaign and have already started planning for life without him.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has requested Maguire to stay at Leicester with a promise that he would help him take his game to greater heights, the Daily Mail understands. However, he is almost certain to leave the club and the Foxes believe James Tarkowski is the perfect man to fill in his boots.
Tarkowski once again proved his worth as a top-class defender at Burnley this season, with the 26-year-old playing a key role in steering the Clarets to safety in the Premier League following a disappointing start to the campaign.
Along with Ben Mee, Tarkowski was one of the standout performers for Sean Dyche’s side this term and made a total of 35 appearances in the Premier League, scoring on 3 occasions.
The 2-cap England international made his move to Turf Moor from fellow Championship club Brentford back in February 2016 and initially struggled for a place in the first team, with Dyche preferring Michael Keane at centre-back.
Following Keane’s departure to Everton, Tarkowski made the centre-back role his own and established himself as the first-choice last season, helping the Clarets make a return to the European stage after a long absence of 51 years with a string of solid performances at the back.
The 26-year-old has made a total of 103 appearances for Burnley in all competitions till date and also featured in their Europa League campaign last summer which ended prematurely in the qualifying stages.
To put things into perspective, Tarkowski looks like an ideal like-for-like replacement for Harry Maguire and Leicester City should go all out to sign him if the latter leaves for another club this summer. Both Tarkowski and Maguire are 26 and the Burnley man would probably be Leicester’s best bet to fill in the shoes of their star man.
Standing at 6ft. 1 inch, Tarkowski is a couple of inches shorter than Maguire but that doesn’t prevent him from stamping his authority inside the box with his supreme aerial ability. As a matter of fact, Tarkowski has averaged 4.8 aerial duels per game this season as compared to Maguire’s 3.8.
The Burnley man has also edged Maguire out in terms of the number of tackles and interceptions won per game. Maguire averages 1 tackle and 1.2 interceptions per game while Tarkowski 2 tackles and 1.2 interceptions, figures which show that the latter has outperformed his more highly-rated compatriot.
Also, Tarkowski has affected 6.7 clearances per game as compared to Maguire’s average of 4.9, which is largely down to the fact that Burnley have often sat back too deep inside their own half.
In all honesty, there is not a lot to choose between the two centre-backs and it might sound a bit harsh but Maguire is a bit overrated. The Foxes would be under pressure to sign a replacement should Maguire depart given that they have some ageing centre-backs in Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans.
Filip Benkovic has enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Celtic and Rodgers might be keen to use his former player at his parent club but someone like Tarkowski would be an upgrade on all of them any day.
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Looking at things from the Tarkowski’s perspective, a move to Leicester City would be the next big step in his career and he would be in a better position to challenge for a place in the England team. Leicester, under Brendan Rodgers, are a club with high ambitions, possibly a return to Europe and Tarkowski should relish the new challenge.
Much-needed steel and substance – Cardiff City’s midfield would get a new look if they sign this all-action 25-year-old midfielder
Cardiff City Opinion: Bluebirds should go all out in their pursuit of Will Vaulks
BBC understands that Bluebirds’ manager Neil Warnock is under pressure to rebuild his midfield following the club’s relegation to the Championship.
Vaulks was one of the very few shining lights of Rotherham’s otherwise calamitous campaign in the second-tier which ended in relegation to League One.
The 25-year-old was one of the standout performers for the Millers this season and Cardiff want to get him on board in the summer transfer window, although the Welshman signed a new one-year deal with the club back in March.
The defensive midfielder was an ever-present for the Millers in the Championship this past season as he finished the campaign with 7 goals and 7 assists in 41 appearances.
The 25-year-old caught the eye with his consistently impressive performances for a team that spent almost the entire season in a relegation dogfight and move to a bigger club looks very much on the cards for Vaulks.
A youth product of Tranmere Rovers, Vaulks enjoyed a fruitful spell at Falkirk in the Scottish Championship before making his move to Rotherham United back in 2016.
His first season at the club ended in relegation but the 25-year-old was one of the architects of the Millers promotion-winning League One campaign in the following season, bagging the award for the club’s Player of the Year in the process.
Vaulks once again suffered relegation this time around but his stellar run of form didn’t go unnoticed, with Wales boss Ryan Giggs handing him his senior international debut in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago back in March.
Essentially a defensive midfielder by trade, Vaulks has shown the versatility to switch between holding and box-to-box roles in the middle of the park. A tough-tackling and all-action midfield enforcer noted for his drive, determination, tenacity and work-ethics, Vaulks is adept at cutting out the attacks and breaking up the play with crucial tackles and interceptions.
A set-piece specialist, who is also a very good reader of the game, the Welshman responds very well to the transitions in play and holds things together with his work-rate and range of passing.
Strong in the air and blessed with good distance-shooting abilities, Vaulks excels with his ability to increase cohesion in the middle of the park, while also playing the role of a ball-carrier from the deep areas.
To add to that, the Welshman is also quite creative and has a good eye for picking out key passes in the final third, meaning that he is a good all-around midfielder who can shoulder both attacking and defensive responsibilities.
The 25-year-old averaged 1.5 key passes, 4.3 successful long balls, 2.2 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 2.3 clearances per game in the Championship this season, figures which should prompt any promotion-chasing side in the second-tier to make a move for him.
To put things into perspective, Cardiff need to look at bargain deals in the market and Will Vaulks is a player who can offer very good value for money.
The Welshman’s stocks are clearly on the rise after his international debut and an impressive season in the Championship. The Bluebirds should look at him as someone who can add a lot of steel and substance to their midfield.
Long-standing Icelandic international Aaron Gunnarsson left the club on a free transfer, while loanees Victor Camarasa and Harry Arter have also returned to their parent clubs, Real Betis and Bournemouth respectively. Hence, it is clear that the Bluebirds need to look to reinforcements to ensure that they have the perfect balance in their squad.
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Cardiff should aim to secure promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking and the acquisition of Will Vaulks could prove to be a massive coup and certainly a step in the right direction.
Derby County signing this 33-year-old defensive stalwart would turn their backline into a formidable force
Derby County Opinion: Why Gary Cahill will be a superb signing for the Rams
According to a report from the Daily Mirror, Derby County want to sign Chelsea defender Gary Cahill in the summer transfer window.
Gary Cahill, 33, is out of contract at Chelsea and will leave the club on a free transfer next month. The former England international played only eight games all season and has not started a match since November.
The veteran defender will be a free agent after seven years at Stamford Bridge and Frank Lampard wants to reunite with his former teammate at Pride Park. The report claims Premier League promotion could be the ticket to seal the deal for Cahill, as Lampard plans to make the English defender his first summer signing.
Thus, the Rams know they will have to achieve promotion to stand any chance of beating the likes of West Ham, Southampton and Sheffield United to Cahill’s signature.
Lampard’s Derby are one win away from promotion to the Premier League. They face Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Monday. The Rams’ sole aim for now will be to play Premier League football next season but with the summer transfer now in full swing, Lampard needs to start bring in quality reinforcements.
One area that needs thorough reinforcing is the defence, with a couple of central defenders required at the club. Derby did sign free agent Efe Ambrose in February on a short-term deal until the end of the season but he hasn’t played a single game. As it stands, there are no signs he will still be with the club once the play-off final is over.
Curtis Davies and Richard Keogh are coming towards the end of their careers, while Fikayo Tomori is likely to return back to Chelsea after the expiry of his loan at the end of the season. Thus, to avoid a potential burn out of options, Lampard should bring in Gary Cahill.
Cahill will turn 34 in December but he still can give two-three years of high-quality football. The English defender is physically strong and a dominant presence at both ends of the pitch. He can also play the ball out from the back and a real leader, who will have a crucial role especially when the chips are down.
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Plus, his volumes of Premier League experience will make him such a fantastic addition for the Rams.
The former England international would not only add quality to Derby’s defence but also depth to the squad. All in all, Lampard’s Rams will make a statement of intent ahead of the next season by signing Cahill on a free transfer.
17 goals, 10 assists – Newcastle’s frontline would receive a piercing edge by signing this 22-year-old hitman
Newcastle United Opinion: Wesley Moraes could be the perfect replacement for Rondon
The Chronicle Live understands that the 22-year-old hitman has attracted plenty of interest from clubs in Germany, Italy and England, with recently-crowned Italian cup winners Lazio, as well as east London giants West Ham, believed to be hot on his trail.
Moraes has been in terrific form form Club Brugge this season and shed tears after playing his final game in Belgium. The Brazilian impressed with 17 goals and 10 assists in 48 appearances across all competitions this season and his red-hot form has put him on the radar of some of the Premier League clubs.
The 22-year-old rose through the youth ranks at Brazilian club Itabuna before making his move to Europe with Slovakian club Trencin, where he carved out a reputation for himself as a bright emerging prospect.
Wesley earned a move to Belgian giants Club Brugge back in 2016 and he hasn’t looked back ever since, establishing himself as one of the most lethal strikers in the Belgian top-flight over the course of three-and-a-half seasons at the club.
The Brazilian netted twice in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League this term, including goals against Monaco in both the legs to ensure that the club finished third in their group and qualified to the Europa League. He scored in the Round of 32 tie against Salzburg but that wasn’t enough to send Brugge through to the next round.
Moraes has made a total of 130 appearances for Brugge in all competitions, accumulating 38 goals and 14 assists, and few would argue that he certainly deserves a chance to prove his credentials at a higher level.
Still only 22, he is very much in the developmental stage of his career but he already has plenty of experience and a move to the Premier League could help him announce himself on the bigger stage.
To put things into perspective, Newcastle United can bag a massive coup if they manage to beat off competition and strike a deal for the talented Brazilian frontman this summer.
A young and talented player with potentially high resale value- the 22-year-old perfectly fits the profile of players that owner Mike Ashley likes to target in the transfer market, and the Magpies could have a gem on their hands if he goes on to fulfil his potential at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle are also unlikely to trigger the release clause in West Brom loanee Salomon Rondon’s contract, despite the Venezuelan playing a key role up front this season. Joselu, on the other hand, has fallen way down the pecking order and few would be surprised if the Spaniard decides to move elsewhere.
Suffice to say, Newcastle need to bring in a promising out-and-out centre-forward this summer and Wesley Moraes certainly fits the bill. Standing at 6ft. 3 inches with a towering and sinewy frame, the Brazilian is capable of making an impact in the Premier League with his physicality, aerial ability and poaching instincts in front of goal.
Blessed with a good turn of pace and plenty of flair and trickery on the ball, Moraes has the intelligence, agility and sharpness to lose his marker and outsmart the opposition with his clever movement inside the box.
To add to that, he shields the ball really well and often brings his physique into play to hold the ball up with his back to the goal. The youngster has a good eye for a pass and is adept at using short and deft exchanges to link up with his teammates in and around the penalty area, meaning that he is also capable of setting up goals and creating chances.
Having managed to beat the drop in the Premier League for the past two seasons, it is now time for the Magpies to consolidate their position and challenge for a top-ten finish next term.
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If Wesley Moraes manages to replicate the kind of form that he has shown in Belgium, the Magpies could give their mid-table rivals a good run for their money in the league.
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