Manchester City Opinion: Why Julian Weigl will be a smart addition for City?
Pep Guardiola has made a massive difference since arriving at Manchester City three years ago. His first season at the Etihad Stadium went trophyless, but there were signs of massive improvement for City. The Spaniard’s philosophy was clear; he has slowly but steadily has got rid of the entire deadwood at the club and replaced them with younger, hungrier talents.
And as things stand, Guardiola has helped Manchester City win back-to-back Premier League titles. The Spanish tactician’s team are on course for an unprecedented treble of domestic trophies this season ahead of the FA Cup final against Watford.
But, the Cityzens were knocked out of the Champions League on away goals at the quarter-final stage by Tottenham this term, after falling to Liverpool at the same round last time around.
The Champions League trophy has eluded Guardiola at City yet again and that could see the Mancunian club look for reinforcements in the summer transfer window. One of the important areas the City manager should look at this summer is the midfield, with Ilkay Gundogan already refusing a new contract at the club.
Gundogan has been one of City’s most important players in their title triumph this season, especially due to Fernandinho’s recurrent injury problems. But he is out of contract at the end of next season and talks over a new deal have stalled and unless that changes quickly, City may have to consider cashing in on the German this summer.
Also, with Fernandinho and David Silva ageing, Guardiola has to plan a massive revamp of his midfield. That said, one player City must look at is Borussia Dortmund midfield anchor Julian Weigl, who was heavily linked with a move to the Etihad last summer.
Julian Weigl, 23, was once regarded as one of the biggest stars of German football after his emergence at 1860 Munich. His performances at 1860 Munich saw him get picked up by Dortmund in 2015 and at the Signal Iduna Park as he established himself as one of the best young midfielders.
However, in the last 18 months or so, the 23-year-old’s stock has gone down. Injuries and lack of form has stalled Weigl’s career at Dortmund, with the 23-year-old managing just managing 25 and 17 league appearances in the past two seasons.
Perhaps, a move away from Dortmund will help the five-cap Germany international revive his career. That being said, Manchester City must reignite their interest and sign Weigl this summer.
Weigl will boost City’s options in midfield, whilst being a potential long-term replacement for Fernandinho. An excellent passer of the ball, the 23-year-old combines his technical qualities with his work rate, energy and vision to dictate the tempo of games.
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He is a clever player, known for his uncanny ability to pick the right passes in the offensive third of the pitch. All in all, Weigl would be a fantastic fit in Pep Guardiola’s system.
Weigl is incredibly talented and has a long way to go before he hits prime, which is why Manchester City should take full advantage right now.
Watford signing this experienced 29-year-old centre-back looking to return to the PL would be a smart move
Watford Opinion: Why the Hornets should go all out to sign Craig Dawson?
According to a report from The Sun, Watford will battle Burnley for the signing of West Brom defender Craig Dawson, who wants a return to the Premier League. They say that the Hornets want to sign a British defender and have identified Dawson as a summer transfer target.
West Brom will play in the Championship again next season after failing to clinch promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs. With no Premier League football for another campaign, Craig Dawson is gearing to leave the Hawthorns.
The 29-year-old, who has been on the books of West Brom since 2010, has one year left on his contract and the Baggies are expected to cash in to help new boss Slaven Bilic rebuild the squad. That being said, Watford should do everything to beat Burnley for Dawson’s signature.
Watford did manage an 11th place finish last season in the Premier League but things could have been much better for the club given the manner in which they started the 2018/19. Their abysmal form in the business end of the season, coupled with the trouncing at the hands of Manchester City in the FA Cup finals should have left Javi Gracia very disappointed.
The Hornets will again look to push for a place in the top-half and preferably compete for the Europa League. And for that to happen, Gracia needs to bring in quality players over the summer to beef up his squad. One area the Spanish tactician should definitely address is the defence.
Watford have released central defender Miguel Britos and Tommie Hoban, while Sebastian Prodl has hinted he’ll leave Vicarage Road this summer due to a lack of opportunities last season. Prodl’s potential departure will further lighten Gracia’s options in defence. That’s where the signing of Craig Dawson would make sense for the Hornets.
Dawson, who did well in the Premier League during his time with West Brom, is a versatile defender, adept at operating at right-back. A tall and strong central defender, the 29-year-old has solid top-flight experience and is capable enough of playing regularly for a mid-table Premier League side.
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Due to his experience, leadership qualities and versatility, Dawson could be such an inspired addition to the Watford ranks.
Dawson has proven to be a consistent and reliable defender for West Brom over the last few years and there’s no reason why he cannot replicate that for Watford.
West Brom’s midfield would receive a new dimension if they sign this vastly experienced 28-year-old – Agreed?
West Brom Opinion: Why the Baggies should make a move for Tolgay Arslan?
According to Turkish outlet Hurriyet, newly-appointed West Brom manager Slaven Bilic wants to make Fenerbahce midfielder Tolgay Arslan his first summer signing at the Hawthorns.
Tolgay Arslan, 28, joined Fenerbahce during the winter transfer window after falling out with the Besiktas board last season. However, he quickly lost his place in the team after some poor performances.
Fenerbahce are under pressure to sell a number of their key players for financial reasons and the Turkish midfielder certainly could be one of them, despite arriving at the club only five months ago.
Slaven Bilic is keen to take advantage of the situation and reunite with Arslan at the Hawthorns—the midfielder who played under him when the Croatian manager was at the helm of Besiktas.
Bilic was named as West Brom’s new manager on Thursday and he will be tasked with guiding the club back to the Premier League after they lost to local rivals Aston Villa in the Championship play-off semi-final last month. He will have to build his team with the players that fit his style of play and must prioritise signing a couple of midfielders, with the likes of Gareth Barry and James Morrison released.
Rekeem Harper, who is out of contract at the end of this month, has been offered a new deal but is yet to put pen to paper. Therefore, signing someone like Tolgay Arslan would make sense for the Baggies.
Arslan previously worked under Bilic during their time at Besiktas, with the 28-year-old ending his four-year association with Besiktas earlier this year by joining Fenerbahce. The midfielder has plenty of experience in Turkey and Germany and has featured in both the Champions League and the Europa League in recent years.
The Turkey international is a midfield enforcer, who breaks the opposition’s play with his interception and tackling skills. He is a good distributor of the ball and likes to keep things simple in midfield, as his presence allows the team’s creative players to operate with more freedom.
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Bilic has worked with Arslan previously, so will know his strengths and weaknesses. Arslan has plenty of experience at the highest level and has got something about him which is why the West Brom manager wants him at the Hawthorns.
Persuading the Turkish midfielder down to the Championship may be a big task, however, if Bilic can get him, Arslan could be a real coup for the Baggies.
Forget Koscielny – Arsenal’s defensive would be a lot stronger if they sign these 2 top-class stars instead
Arsenal Opinion: 2 Laurent Koscielny replacements Emery must consider
According to a report from the Daily Star, Arsenal have named the asking price for their skipper Laurent Koscielny amidst interest from Borussia Dortmund.
The Frenchman, 33, has been at Arsenal since moving from FC Lorient in 2010, but with just one year left on his contract the club are looking to cash in on him. He has been struggling with injuries for some years now and he was limited to just 17 Premier League appearances last season.
A two-time FA Cup winner, Koscielny started the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku in May but ended up on the losing side on the night. However, despite his advancing years, recurrent injury problems and just one year left on his contract, the Gunners have set a price tag of £10.6m for their experienced defender.
The report claims that Borussia Dortmund are keen on striking a deal for Koscielny, who is seeking a new challenge. The Bundesliga club can offer the former France international Champions League football next season and he is tempted by the move to Germany.
As Arsenal are planning to offload Koscielny, Unai Emery needs to replace his skipper with a young, talented centre-half. The Gunners were defensively all over the place last season and with Koscielny nearing the end of his time at the Emirates, Emery has some big decisions to make over the summer.
That being said, here are two replacements for Koscielny Arsenal should consider this summer.
1. William Saliba (Saint-Etienne)
Saint-Etienne’s promising defender William Saliba is already on the radar of Arsenal, as per the Daily Mirror.
Saliba, 18, made 16 appearances for Saint-Etienne in his breakthrough season, helping Jean-Louis Gasset’s side to a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1. He is tall, strong, athletic and good on the ball. The young Frenchman reads the game very well and his positional awareness belie his age.
At the age of just 18, moving from Saint-Etienne to Arsenal would be a big step up for Saliba but given his displays in Ligue 1 this past season, he clearly has the ability to make it big at the Emirates.
2. Mario Hermoso (Espanyol)
Just like Saliba, Espanyol’s Mario Hermoso is also linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, according to the Express.
Hermoso, 23, has had a solid campaign for Espanyol and was even called up to the Spanish national team after his performances in recent times. A technically-gifted player, the Spaniard is extremely composed on the ball and can initiate attacks from the back. He is strong physically and doesn’t mind duels with centre-forwards.
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Good at reading the game, the 23-year-old is also a goal threat having scored three goals for Espanyol last season. Hermoso has a €40m release clause and Emery should just trigger it to add this solid defender to his ranks.
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