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EFL Championship

Aston Villa are far better off without signing this 25-year-old wing machine and this is why they should avoid it

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Aston Villa Opinion: Signing League Two star Bruno Andrade would make little sense for the Lions

According to Lincolnshire Live, Aston Villa are weighing up a move for Lincoln City star Bruno Andrade, with League One outfit Portsmouth also keen on securing the services of the 25-year-old Portuguese winger.

Andrade is not the only Lincoln City player to have attracted interest from higher league clubs though, with 18-year-old midfielder Ellis Chapman also bring tracked by Southampton, Wigan Athletic and Derby County. (h/t Lincolnshire Live)

Bruno Andrade was one of the stars of Lincoln City’s promotion-winning League Two campaign, as the Portuguese bagged 10 goals and 6 assists from a left-wing position to fire the Imps into the League One as the champions of the fouth division.

The 25-year-old former QRP youth product made 42 appearances for Lincoln and was arguably their most impressive performer this past season.

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The news of Aston Villa’s links with Bruno Andrade comes as a big shock to the fans at Villa Park given that the Lions are already in the finals of the promotion-playoffs after beating West Brom in the semi-finals on penalties.

Villa are set to face Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the final at Wembley towards the end of the month and there is every chance that they could be in the Premier League next season.

Andrade put in a string of impressive performances for the Imps in the recently-concluded season and proved that he is certainly head and shoulders above League Two standards.

However, it would be a massive ask for him to make a triple jump up to the Premier League next season, or a double for that matter to the Championship if Villa lose in the playoff finals.

The difference in the level of intensity and quality between League Two and the Championship or the Premier League is massive and Villa’s links with the player look quite inexplicable on paper.

Villa are on the verge of making a much-anticipated return to the top-flight and signing a player like Andrade would make little sense. Even if they have seen something extraordinary in the Portuguese winger, the Lions would be better off looking at other options in the market.

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Interestingly, Andrade has hardly ever played in the Championship or the Premier League, barring a 10-minute cameo for QPR in the top-flight seven years back. It would be hard to expect a player who has plied his trade in the lower divisions of English football for his entire career to make the step up to the Premier League all off a sudden, no matter how good he is.

The player in question was in the fifth tier with Boreham Wood and Woking a couple of seasons back and has only recently shot to prominence in League Two, although he had mediocre spells with Wycombe Wanderers and Stevenage in the fourth-tier earlier in his career.

Not only that, Andrade is already 25 and he doesn’t fall in the bracket of a promising youngster, so Villa’s interest in the player goes against all logic and reason.

Indeed, Villa need to bring in some quality players this summer if they manage to secure promotion to the Premier League. The Lions can certainly do with a few additions to their wide options but they are not in a dire crisis at the moment which necessitates looking at players in League Two.

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On the contrary, Villa should prioritise striking a permanent deal for Lille winger Anwar El Ghazi, who has played an important role in the promotion push. Plus, they have players like Andre Green and Albert Adomah, who are not world-beaters but certainly better than Bruno Andrade.

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If the Lions are really serious about signing new players in the summer, they should look at options who can be an upgrade on what they already have in their ranks. Bruno Andrade apparently doesn’t fall in that category and the fans have every reason to expect a lot more ambition from the club in the transfer window.

Dragon Feeds

Much-needed steel and substance – Cardiff City’s midfield would get a new look if they sign this all-action 25-year-old midfielder

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Cardiff City Opinion: Bluebirds should go all out in their pursuit of Will Vaulks

According to BBC, Cardiff City are interested in signing Welsh international midfielder Will Vaulks from recently-relegated outfit Rotherham United in the summer.

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.

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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.

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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.

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EFL Championship

Derby County signing this 33-year-old defensive stalwart would turn their backline into a formidable force

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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.

Verdict

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.

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EFL Championship

Sheffield United’s striker woes would end if they win the race to sign this in-demand 23-goal forward

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Sheffield United Opinion: Why the Blades should sign Macauley Bonne?

According to a report from the Leicester Mercury, newly-promoted Premier League side Sheffield United are one of the six clubs interested in Leyton Orient star Macauley Bonne.

The 23-year-old forward fired Leyton Orient out of the National League with 23 goals in 46 games. And that form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the likes of Leicester City, Charlton Athletic, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough also keeping tabs on him, adds the report.

While the Zimbabwean is looking forward to testing himself at League level having spent the last two seasons with Orient, Sheffield United must try prying him away to the Premier League this summer.

Sheffield United are preparing themselves for a big Premier League season after achieving promotion. The Blades finished runners-up in the Championship and fought off challenges from the likes of Leeds, Middlesbrough and West Brom along the way, showing they were capable of grinding out wins as well as playing exciting football.

While it’s a remarkable achievement to play in the Premier League, Wilder will need to start planning on rebuilding the squad. He needs to adopt a sustainable model when it comes to building his team and make the Bramall Lane an attractive spot to exciting players in the lower divisions of English football.

The Blades should spend in the right areas on the right players who are carefully selected to operate in Wilder’s 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 system. By signing young, hungry, exciting and highly-skilled talents, the Yorkshire outfit can certainly enjoy a solid 2019/20 campaign.

To that end, Sheffield United are in dire need of a centre-forward. They currently only have two senior strikers in David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp having directed a number of their forwards towards the exit door. Macauley Bonne would be an interesting choice for Wilder.

Bonne has enjoyed a brilliant campaign in the National League having scored goals for fun at Leyton Orient. However, he is untested at a higher level but given a lot of clubs including Sheffield United are interested in the signing the 23-year-old, who is renowned for his pace and strength, he would certainly be a good signing.

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Plus, the Zimbabwean has age on his side and would provide ideal competition to the likes of Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick. Thus, this could be an important signing if the Blades are hoping to stay in the Premier League.

Verdict

Immediate impact certainly shouldn’t be expected by Wilder and co. as Bonne could need time to adapt to the Premier League. If the Blades sign him and he quickly adjusts to the demands of the top-flight, the speedy Zimbabwean could turn out to be a sound investment.

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