Not long left – Transfer Deadline Day

So it’s that time again, yes the Transfer window deadline is tomorrow (Thursday) and despite the window open since early July, there is always excitement for some come 31st August or the 1st/2nd September if the last day of August falls on a weekend. There have been a fair few transfers to say the least including the record breaking Neymar deal, which of course set up a transfer fallout. I’m sure there are a few managers though who will be glad to see 23:00 hours tomorrow night.

Some fans will be anxiously checking the BBC or Sky transfer pages as well as keeping an eye on the Sky Sports Deadline day show that will be running throughout the day.

Arsenal fans will be hoping and praying for some transfer movement. So far Alexandre Lacazette appears to be the only incoming player whilst a number of players seem to be departing the Emirates stadium. Given their performance on Sunday, many of the Arsenal fans will be hoping that Wenger is going to be surprising them with some transfer deals that don’t feature players departing. With the likelihood of over £40 million added to the transfer, it cannot be said that there isn’t any money to spend on signings.

Conte will be hoping that he can strengthen the squad further especially with having to find someone to replace Matic, who was sold to Manchester United. One player who could be heading to the Bridge is Danny Drinkwater. The Leicester City player has also asked to leave the club. Leicester wont want to sell and if they do, it will be no doubt have to be the best part of £40 million as reported in the media.

Liverpool will be hoping to complete the Oxlade Chamberlain deal before the deadline and given the player’s preference being towards Anfield. The club had also been linked with Thomas Lemar of Monaco, who is rated at £75 million. It will be interesting to see where that option goes if the Ox moves to Anfield. The Virgil Van Dijk saga could come to ahead come tomorrow. The long running transfer story saw Liverpool chasing then apologising and then the Dutch player wanting to leave by putting in a transfer request. Will he stay or will he go and if he does, will it be Liverpool, given interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.

Another saga at Anfield is the Philipe Coutinho saga. Barcelona have put in several bids only each time to be rebuffed by FSG and the Brazilian had not featured in the season due to a back injury. Whether this was genuine who knows, but on international duty, the youngster was cleared to play.

Divock Origi looks certain to head out on loan looking for first team football in a pre World Cup season. German club Wolfsburg look his likely destination.

Man Utd I imagine will have a quiet deadline day having brought in several players including the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Manchester club have started well, although have yet to be really tested and Lindelof has yet to really feature, which would be a concern given the £31 million they spent. Januzaj and Rooney were the notable departures from Old Trafford.

Last seasons runners up Tottenham, have been relatively quiet so far. Only two players in so far by the name of Paulo Gazzaniga and Juan Foyth. Serge Aurier is a player though that could be heading to Tottenham from PSG for £23 million especially with his work permit being approved.

Crystal Palace go into the deadline day looking to strengthen their squad. They have had a nightmare start to the season. The South East London club will be hoping to sign Liverpool defender Mamadou Sahko. They have had a number of bids rejected by the Anfield club who would be prepared it seems to sell for £30 million. The fans hoping for the club to up their bid.

Will Everton make any further changes. They have been busy spending, but have also been spending over £100 million although £75 million would have that covered by the Lukaku transfer. They have spent £20 million plus on a number of players including Michael Keane from Burnley, Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea for £45 million whilst Wayne Rooney returned on a free transfer.

The other side is the question of Ross Barkley, will he stay or will he leave. He has been linked with a departure and despite his current injury, it is surely only a matter of time before the midfielder heads out of Goodison, with Chelsea being a favourite.

Whatever happens tomorrow, some fans will be no doubt be gripped and glued to their phones or tablets more happier than others whilst some might see their coming season imploding on the lack of transfer activity.

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Transfer Crazy

With the fallout from the Neymar transfer still happening, it comes as no surprise to see that some of the recent transfers have seen silly money bandied about either directly or indirectly from the Brazilian’s move to Paris Saint Germain.

High price transfers are of course nothing new, but it is when you start seeing clubs throw money about, just because they can you begin to think what the hell? August has certainly been one of those months.

The same day as the Neymar transfer was agreed, Leicester City paid £25 million for a 20 year old, yes 20 year old Kelechi Iheanacho. Yes he may share the same birthday as me, but was he really worth £25 million? He had netted 12 goals in 46 games for Manchester City but maybe Leicester were banking on his international record of 6 goals in 10 for Nigeria. It will be interesting to see how he does at City and how he plays alongside Jamie Vardy. If he can bag the goals and push Leicester City forward again then maybe he might just be worth that £25 million, but I somehow doubt it.

Shortly after that, Southampton signed central midfield Mario Lemina, a young player with some prospect. The midfielder left Juventus after 29 games over two seasons with Southampton paying just over £15.4 million, which could rise to £18 million. He had initially spent time at Juve on loan before the deal was made permanent in 2016 that would keep him at the Serie A champions until 2020.  Yet a year later he is off to ply his trade on the south coast in the Premier League.

The notion that British players are overpriced seemed to come into play when Watford signed Andre Gray from Burnley. Whilst his early career in the lower leagues and upto the Championship was fruitful, nine goals in thirty two Premier League games certainly wasnt something to justify a fee of £18 million or so.

Compare this to Blaise Matuidi a proven international and multi title winner who moves from Paris Saint Germain to Juve for £27 million.

Chris Wood moved from Leeds to Burnley for around £15 million. Apart from a brief spell with Leicester in the Premier League he had previously had a disappointing spell with West Brom he had spent more time in the Championship which had hardly been fruitfull. His spell at Leeds Utd had proved to be more productive with 41 goals in 83 games. Still not sure he’s worth £15 million.

There are still days to go until the transfer window closes which means that there is plenty of time for transfers to be made and plenty of time for over the top transfers.

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 2

It’s week two and another round of predictions and this week I hope to do a tad better this weekend than last weekend. Out of ten fixtures  there were no exact scorelines, but there were three correct results. Having predicted Crystal Palace would take all three points against Huddersfield Town, who would have thought that they would travel to Palace and take all three points. Liverpool scored three at Watford, but that’s as close as it got as the hosts. who had been 2-1 up grabbed a late equaliser to deny the Reds all three points.

Defending Champions Chelsea, started in the worst possible way. having seen Gary Cahill sent off after 14 minutes, the Blues were 3-0 down at half time. Morata pulled one back only to see Fabregas given his marching orders nine minutes from time. The hosts thought could consider themselves unlucky had they put their chances away especially when David Luiz netted in the 88th minute.

So without continuing to be reminded of a terrible week, here are this weeks predictions.

  1.  Swansea City          1-2 Manchester United
  2. AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Watford
  3. Burnley                     2-2 West Bromich Albion
  4. Leicester City           2-1 Brighton
  5. Liverpool                  3-1 Crystal Palace
  6. Southampton           2-0 West Ham
  7. Stoke City                  0-2 Arsenal
  8. Huddersfield Town 2-2 Newcastle United
  9. Tottenham                2-1 Chelsea
  10. Man City                    2-2 Everton

 

Im hoping that this week should bring some good games and better predictions, I mean hey I can’t get any worse on the predictions..oh yes I can, no correct scores or predictions.

FA Premier League Predictions

So the Premier League kick is getting closer and this season I will be providing weekly predictions for the 2017/18. The new season is certainly going to be an interesting one especially with the transfer window still open until the end of August. With players being bought and sold during the summer, it will be interesting to see how things move along the coming weeks.

It will be entertaining to see how my predictions turn out each week, but you can only predict what’s ahead. The Premier League season kicks off on Friday night at the Emirates where Arsenal entertain Leicester City, Watford host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, whilst newly promoted Brighton host Manchester City on the Saturday tea time. The Sunday fixtures see a visit to Newcastle United who host a  Tottenham side not only looking to go one step further this season by winning the league. The only down side is playing away from the Lane. The opening weekend is completed when West Ham travel to Manchester United. West Ham travel to Old Trafford with the likes of Joe Hart and former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

Week One

  1. Arsenal      3-1 Leicester City
  2. Watford     0-3 Liverpool
  3. Chelsea      2-1 Burnley
  4. C.Palace     1-1 Huddersfield Town
  5. Everton      2-2 Stoke City
  6. Soton          3-1 Swansea City
  7. WBA           1-1 AFC Bournemouth
  8. Brighton    0-4 Manchester City
  9. Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham
  10. Man Utd    2-2 West Ham United.

Im sure there will be differing opinions and thoughts on the opening weekend but be free to share your predictions. Come Tuesday will I be wishing I had put money on or be looking like the least likeliest person to do your lottery numbers.

 

Here we go again – Championship Football

Domestic football returned on Friday night with the two games in the Championship. Relegated Sunderland kicked off at home to promotion hopefuls Derby. The result was a 1-1 draw which Sunderland fans would have been more happier about on the opening weekend. The other game saw Nottingham Forest host newly promoted Millwall. It was joy for the home side as they sneaked home with a 1-0 a few minutes before half time. It was Nottingham Forest’s fifth win in six opening round fixtures. The Lions were left to rue missed chances. Despite the lack of possession, they had a total of 23 shots but could get only six of those on target. If they are to stay in the Championship, they will surely need to make more of their opportunities as tougher games ahead.

The other two relegated clubs had mixed results.Hull City who were relegated could only manage a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa, now managed by former Tigers boss Steve Bruce. The second half goal from the visitors not only denied their hosts an opening win, but also denied an opening clean sheet for John Terry making his debut with the club. Middlesbrough though were not so lucky and went down to Wolves after Leo Bonatini scored the only goal of the game.

It was mixed results for the other two teams promoted to the Championship. Bristol City had the honour of being top of the table with a 3-1 win over visitors Barnsley. The Robins record signing Famara Diedhiou netted on his debut with Bobby Reid netting the other two. For the Barnsley it is the opening day curse striking again. They have not won on the opening day for the last five seasons. Surely it can’t continue? Sheffield United were victorious but Bolton Wanderers went down 3-2 at home to Leeds United.

QPR got off to a good start as they beat ten man Reading. Conor Washington’s two goals was enough to see the West London club beat last seasons play off finalists, who found themselves with another defeat on their opening away day game. They have managed only one win in the last thirteen away games. On the other hand it was an extended record for Ian Holloway. He has yet to lose an opening game of the season with QPR, how some would love for an unbeaten start to the season.

Promotion hopefuls Fulham and Norwich saw their game finish one  a piece whilst Ipswich put their final day blues behind them to beat Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham City.

Neymar – The fee to end all fees?

It would appear that PSG have not just broken but shattered the current transfer record held following Pogba joining Manchester United from Juventus. That fee was £89 m, the new record is £200 million. Of course there was a brief snag when La Liga officials refused to accept the buy out fee. The Spanish association don’t believe that the French club can legitimately purchase the Brazilian outright. They believe that the club have breached the Financial Fair Play rules and will report the Qatari owned French club to UEFA.

The FFP rules that came into being in the 2011-12 season state that European football clubs cannot outspend what they earn by more than 30 million euros. Paris Saint Germain have been penalised for previously breaching the Financial Fair Play rules. Back in 2014 a £167 million commercial deal with Qatar’s Tourism Authority was seen to be an unfair value. The punishment was a £20 million fine, spending capped to £49 million and a reduced Champions League squad.

Whilst the fee is one thing, the remaining fees are quite staggering and eye watering. Before tax the Brazilian will earn £782,000 A WEEK (865,000 euros) which equates to £40.7 million A YEAR (45 million euros). The cost over 5 years will total a staggering £400 million.

So what now for transfer fees? It seems  a long time ago since the first £1 million player. That player was Giuseppe Savoldi joined Napoli from Bologna. It was another Italian who broke the record just the following year with Paolo Rossi moving from Juventus to Vicenza. The English record Trevor Francis was Britain’s record transfer fee at £1.2 million. Transfer fees have shot up and with tv money involved and billionaire owners, we have now come to this position. We have seen £30 plus million for goalkeepers, £50 million for defenders (some not being worth it) the Paul Pogba deal and now Neymar. Naturally there has been an increase of modest proportions, but PSG have now probably seemingly nailed the door shut on any further transfer record broken.

I mean £200 million wont be beaten? Surely….

 

 

Football Fixtures release review

It doesn’t seem so long ago that the domestic football season came to an end, but here we are yet again with the release of the Premier League fixtures. No doubt some will be happy with the opening few games whilst others will be looking towards the run ins their respective clubs will have to get through to either stay in the league, qualify for Champions League/Europa League and the grand prize of the Premier League title.

The opening set of fixtures sees Premier League Champions Chelsea kick off their defence with a home game against Burnley. It’s a repeat of last seasons opener and the blues will be hoping to have a repeat the same which saw a 3-0 win. The Blues find themselves though with a mix of the top six thrown in. Following Burnley it’s a trip to Wembley in the London derby at Spurs. By the end of September, they would have hosted four of last seasons top seven. Chelsea have a relatively good Christmas period as they have back to back home games where they face Brighton & Stoke City with the return trip to Everton just before Christmas. If Chelsea are in the hunt for the title come April, it will be a good run seeing how tricky March is. Trips to the Etihad and Turf Moor are mixed in with games at home against Palace and Tottenham. April brings West Ham and Huddersfield to the Bridge alongside trips to Southampton and Swansea. The final two games see a visit from Liverpool and a trip to Newcastle Utd.  Liverpool have started are currently unbeaten in the league against Chelsea since 2014. Results between Conte’s men and Newcastle have been even with a mix of wins and losses although United fans will be keen to forget their last visit to the Bridge.

Staying with Newcastle Utd, their return to Premier League football sees them host runners up Tottenham. It will be interesting to see how Spurs line up in the coming season, will players join or even leave, one thing is for sure is that the Magpies wont be fussed and will be looking to open their return with three points and Premier League security under the managerial guidance of Rafa Bentez. they follow that up with a trip to fellow promoted club Huddersfield Town. The Magpies will be looking to repeat the victory that they managed in the Championship last season. Newcastle Utd see a mixed bag affair for the Christmas fixtures. Pre Christmas Eve fixture sees a trip to West Ham, where the visitors will be hoping that they grab three points at the London stadium. Boxing Day and the final fixture of the year sees two home games in the shape of Manchester City and last seasons Championship runners up Brighton. A couple of juicy fixtures no doubt as many enjoy the festive period. Their  New Years Day fixture sees a trip to Stoke, possibly not the best journey for anyone with sore heads.

New boys Brighton kick off their top flight return with the hosting of Manchester City, not the easiest start for the club but as the old addage goes, everyone has to play each other at some point in the season. It’s a double dose on the road as they travel to Leicester City and Watford. These are certainly winnable games in the league. Christmas and New Year looks challenging as the Seagulls have the return  fixtures against Watford pre Christmas Eve, a trip to defending Champions Chelsea and a return against Newcastle Utd.

Their run in mind you is a bit trickier, they host Tottenham and Man Utd, before going to Anfield on the final game of the season. Certainly not the best run in if looking for Premier League survival.

Manchester City have a mixed start in terms of opponents. Having faced Brighton on the opening day, they find themselves facing Everton and Liverpool at home with Bournemouth sandwiched inbetween. Finishing wise Man City have a reasonable run in. Only Tottenham from the top five are in City’s possible title push. Finishing with newly promoted Huddersfield, who could be battling relegation or even securing mid table safety.

Liverpool kick off their campaign with a trip to Watford. Bogey team Crystal Palace are at Anfield next in back to back home games which sees Arsenal heading up next. It’s first of two games running which see top team clashes. Last season Liverpool came out top and unbeaten against Utd Chelsea Arsenal Spurs and City. This season they will look to repeat it once again. Pre Christmas sees a trip to Arsenal following home games against Swansea and Leicester City. Liverpool, hoping to be challengers once again for the title will see visits to Chelsea with home games against Stoke and a final game at home to Brighton. It will be interesting to see if  any summer signings make a huge impact during the season.

Manchester United will be hoping to go better than last season, where draws proved the end to United’s title and top four challenge. This season West Ham, Swansea, Leicester and Stoke are the opening opponents for the Europa League champions. Christmas looks certain to bring festive cheer, although a new look Everton might be a bit more tricky for United, who could be seeing the return of Ronaldo, if reports are to be believed. Whilst May might be easy, April could be tricky. Man City and Arsenal stand in the way together with Bournemouth and West Brom.

Tottenham will find themselves having to deal with a different stadium for their home games. With the renovation of White Hart Lane,  last seasons runners up will be hosting their games at Wembley.  Champions League is one thing, but 19 games might have an effect on their title aspirations. Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea are the first three visitors to Spurs temporary home. It’s natural to think that Spurs might struggle, but there is no guarantee that their opposition will necessarily have any advantage. Christmas for Spurs is Burnley, Southampton and West Ham. It will be interesting to see what presents they get.  Tottenham’s run in sees Watford, West Brom and Leicester in the run in.

Finally its Arsenal, who this season will be having Thursday night football. Having played Leicester and Stoke, it’s the tricky visit to Liverpool followed by a visit from Bournemouth and a trip to defending champions Chelsea. West Brom and Brighton are next. Christmas sees more return trips for the Gunners who will be hoping to have a happy Christmas. Arsenal’s run in, which could see them either challenging for the title or a top four place looks fairly easy as Man Utd look the strongest of the opponents Huddersfield and Stoke.

It is looking very interesting in the coming season, especially with the chase for Champions League football. There will be no worries about top four spots as they will all be automatically qualifying for the group stages.