The Ins and Outs – Transfer news

The domestic action may have a break, but it doesn’t stop the transfer comings and goings. Barely had the domestic season finished and clubs were lining up players to sign. Some clubs splashing the cash and others being careful and wise. Whilst transfers wouldn’t be official until 1st July, clubs were lining up players as soon as the domestic season was over.

Liverpool kicked off the transfers as they signed Joel Matip on a Bosman free transfer. The central defender joined from Shalke 04. Klopp had been quiet in the January window but the coming months would allow him to shape his line up for the coming season. Across Stanley Park, Everton were saying goodbye to one of their finest servants as Tim Howard departed to his home nation and to Colorado Rapids. West Ham brought a Norwegian back to London. Harvard Nordveit had previously joined Arsenal in 2007 but had not made a first team appearance.

Crystal Palace were doing a Chas and Dave and heading to Margate for one of their signings. They brought Freddie Ladapo for an undisclosed fee. Having done well in the lower leagues it will be interesting to see if they can get the youngster continuing the goalscoring in London albeit likely through the development squad.

German clubs seemed to be the flavour for English Premier clubs during the months May and June Klopp was back in the transfer hunt and was back in Germany to sign Loris Karius for just under £5 million. The German youngster will provide ample competition for Simon Mignolet. Talented youngster Danny Ward would be on his way on loan to get more experience having signed a new contract. Also in Germany were Man City who signed Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal were snapping up German club talent themselves. They nabbed Granit Xhaka from Borussia Moenchengladbach. Wenger though was shelling out on this signing, he was splashing the cash with a fee of around £34 million. It will be interesting to see how he fairs in the Premier League. Champions Leicester City were on the Germany transfer bandwagon as they signed keeper Ron – Robert Zieler from Hannover 96. Manchester United fans may have remembered Zieler from his brief time at the club. He’ll provide back up for Kasper Schmeichel.

Manchester United made three signings so far an notably the Swedish legend that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Having ended his time at PSG on a high, less could be said about the end of his international career. Fans at Old Trafford will be hoping that he continues the goalscoring at United. Whilst he maybe on a free, some fans may wonder why sign a 34 year old striker. They had previously signed Eric Bailly for around £30 million. The Ivory Coast international joined from Villareal and had left a number of fans puzzled with the signing. Many hadnt heard of him previously, so to gamble on a big money deal would be interesting. United joined the German club raiding as they snapped up Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of around £26 million.

Southampton fans might be left what to wonder for the coming season. Having seen Koeman leave to manage Everton, they were beginning to see some of the players depart too. Victor Wanyama headed to Spurs for £11 milion, Sadio Mane continued the Southampton to Liverpool movement with a £34 million deal. He bagged 11 goals last as did Grazio Pelle, who moved to China. There was  little good news as heading to St Marys were Nathan Redmond from Norwich City for £11 milion and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. It wil be interesting to see if they sell or add as well as how they wil fair in the Premier League in the coming season.

Chelsea have made a couple of signings but more noticeably, they seem to be upto the usual habits of sending players out on loan. As of today (29th July) Chelsea have sent 13 players out on loan. The majority of whom will probably never see first team football at the Bridge. I have no objections to teams sending players out on loan to get game time and experience, if they are going to have a future at the original club. Sadly it doesnt seem that way with Chelsea.

With all the transfers so far, it wonder how things will go on Transfer Deadline Day. It could certainly be interesting.

Expansion failure – Euro 2016

So Euro 2016 is done and dusted and Portugal are the European Champions having beaten France in extra time. UEFA and Portugal fans will naturally be happy, but those of a classic footballing mind will no doubt be in despair at the result. Some may ask and wonder why I feel the expansion to 24 nations has been a failure and I shall tell you why.

The expansion meant that not only did the top two of each group qualify but you had the top four best third placed nations reaching the knock out stage. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to see Northern Ireland make the knockout stages but they had lost two out of the three games and in any other tournament that would hardly have been a route into the next round of a competition.

With the expansion it meant more games being played, so you would think that more goals would be on the cards. There were more goals but then there was at the same time more games. The goal per game average was lower than Euro 2012. In Euro 2012 there were 76 goals in 31 games, this was an average of 2.45. In Euro 2016 there 108 goals in 51 games  which equalled 2.12 goals per game. This was one of the lowest averages for sometime. Many games were 0-0 at half time and to be honest, sitting through the first 45 minutes in a game with no goals and little action is not the best way of enjoying a tournament. Fans want to be excited and to be honest the fans seemed to have more passion than some of the players.

Before the tournament I had been quite excited about the expanded tournament, but sadly that excitement dwindled with only a few standout games. Despite concerns, it seems UEFA are not going to budge from the 24 team set up at Euro 2020, where it will  be hosted across the European continent.

If no change comes and the tournament football still disappoints, there are two options that UEFA should take. That is either revert back to 16 or increase to 32 and have top two only. The increase to 32 would make the current qualification process more tricky, something that the governing body may not wish to look into.