All posts by Amit Mishra

Belgian Starlet’s Contract Situation Alerts Manchester United, Chelsea & Other English Clubs

Zakaria Bakkali
Zakaria Bakkali

PSV Eindhoven star Bakaria Zakkali has apparently refused to sign a contract extension with his club which has fuelled the speculation that he could be on his way  out in January as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal are being linked with the talented winger.

Bakkali’s current contract expires next summer, so the Dutch side wanted to tie him down to a new deal. However, the 18-year old wants to wait as a host of clubs are being linked with him. His refusal to sign the new contract has cost him dearly as he will not feature in the club’s future games after being frozen out of the side.

According to Belgian media outlet HLN.be, manager Philip Cocu has been desperately trying to convince the teenager to sign a deal. At 18 years old, Bakkali has taken the Dutch league by storm and there are few murmurs that he could be the next Eden Hazard. The Belgium international can play on both sides of the pitch but prefers the left wing.

The winger is still very young, so a move will depend on whether his potential new club can guarantee him 1st team football. At the moment, it seems unlikely that any of the mentioned Premier League clubs will guarantee him that, so a subsequent loan move may follow. Arsenal and Liverpool could be a potential destination for Bakkali as the competition for places isn’t as hard compared to Chelsea and Manchester United.

Atletico Madrid also in the mix

PSV director Marcel Brands told Fox Sports in July that Atletico Madrid had reached an agreement with PSV for Bakkali, “We have an agreement with Atletico Madrid about Zakaria Bakkali, but this only counts when the player also reaches an agreement with that club.

“I understand that he’s not represented by his agent anymore and is doing business with a lawyer now.

“We made him an offer, but he refused. He gets the time to think about his future and until then, he’s training in our second squad.”

 

Another Youngster? Manchester United Target 20-year Old World Cup Player

Manchester United’s winter transfer window might be a busy one as they are being linked with yet another defender. According to Daily Star, United manager Louis Van Gaal has identified Feyenoord defender Terence Kongolo as a possible January signing.

Van Gaal knows the 20-year old well and he was good enough to make the Dutch World Cup squad earlier in June this year. Kongolo’s current contract runs till 2017, but despite that, it is being reported that a fee of somewhere around £3m will be enough of make Feyenoord part ways with their defender.

Kongolo has had an impressive last few years after stepping up from the Feyenoord u19 team in 2012. His progress in the last 2 years has been really good, else there is no way that a shrewd tactician like Van Gaal would have selected him in his World Cup squad. Now, the Dutch international is may be set to make an even bigger step up.

United have been poor this season from the defensive point of view as they have shipped 13 goals so far in the league after just 9 games. Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, this past summer’s signings, have somewhat impressed. But the players who were present at the club before Van Gaal took over haven’t been at their best. The likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Rafael have put in some weak performances in the heart of the defence which has put them under scrutiny.

The addition of Kongolo will add pace and versatility to the defence as he can play at the left back and center back positions. United already have a few Dutchmen in their squad which could play an important role in Kongolo signing for the club. Van Gaal’s presence will also tempt the defender to join the red devils as he knows he’ll work under someone who is good in developing younger players.

Agent Reveals Arsenal & Liverpool Target’s Future

Liverpool have been handed a blow in their chase of Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain as his agent revealed that Liverpool and Arsenal have not made any enquiries with the club.

Higuain’ form had deserted him before the game against Hellas Verona as he hadn’t scored in his side’s opening 7 games in the league. However, Higuain broke the goal drought in style as he netted a hat trick against Verona in Napoli’s 6-2 win on Sunday.

His agent and brother Nicolas Higuain commented on his brother’s form and any potential transfer move,  “I’m delighted that Gonzalo scored yesterday but I’ve never been concerned about his goal drought, and neither was my brother.

“Let’s say that he had a few chances to score yesterday. Luckily, he tried his best and it went well.

“The rumours about Arsenal and Liverpool? Gonzalo has a contract with Napoli for five seasons so he’s an Azzurro player.

“But I must say that no representatives from either club have contacted me. Shortly before he arrived in Naples, I was in contact with Arsenal,” he told Radio CRC.

Last week, Daily Express had reported that Liverpool were willing to spend £31.2m on the Argentine international. Mario Balotelli’s poor form and the injury to Daniel Sturridge has left them without a proven goalscorer upfront; a massive problem for the Reds considering their poor defensive record so far. Last season, Liverpool had the quality of Luis Suarez and Sturridge upfront who combined and scored more than half the goals for the side. This season however, the movement upfront has been poor, which has affected the play in the final third of the pitch.

Higuain is known for his movement and finishing ability, exactly what Liverpool need. A transfer cannot be ruled out just yet as a fee of £31.2m will definitely test Napoli’s resolve.

Higuain has scored a total of 30 goals in 59 appearances for the club since joining them in 2013 from Real Madrid. He was an Arsenal target back then but decided to move to Napoli instead.

Transfer Blow for Arsenal as £13m Target Man Set to Extend Contract

Arsenal are set to lose out on Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac as L’Equipe have reported that the Frenchman is set to sign a contract extension with the club.

Gignac’s current contract expires next summer and there were reports that Arsenal could launch a bid in January to sign him in a cut-price deal. However, the French international has flourished under new manager Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics and could extend his stay at the club. The former Toulouse man has scored in 10 times in 11 appearances for Marseille so far; the type of form that will earn any player a new contract. He currently leads the goal scoring charts in Ligue 1 and has played a vital role in Marseille’s position in the league. His side currently sit at the top, 4 points ahead of nearest rivals Paris Saint Germain.

Even if Gignac does sign the contract, the window for Arsenal will not be closed entirely as L’Equipe revealed that the extension will be only for an year. He cost Marseille £13m in 2010, so based on his form, he could cost Arsenal a fee slightly higher than that in the summer if he does sign an extension with the club.

Arsene Wenger promised the club’s fans that there will be reinforcements come January  as they have been found wanting in the almost all positions on the pitch. Wenger did strengthen the attacking areas but injuries have once again stretched the squad. His side’s injury record has not been good in the last few years, which could compel Wenger to break the bank especially after a poor start to the League. The gunners have picked up 14 points in the League so far and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Southampton. They have made good progress in the last few weeks but were unconvincing against Hull City and Anderlecht last week.

Arsenal Plot Next Signing As Defender Could Be Available For Cut Price In January

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could launch a bid for West Ham defender Winston Reid come January to help resolve his paper thin defense. The Gunners could get the 26-year old for a cut-price fee as his contract runs down next summer. There are no ongoing discussions between Reid and the West Ham board for a contract extension, which could mean that the New Zealander is stalling to see if Arsenal make a bid in January.

Reid is the current captain of his national team and can play as a center back or right back, though his natural position is that of a center back. Arsenal sold their club captain Thomas Vermaelen in the summer to Barcelona and replaced him with Calum Chambers who has been impressive so far. However, with injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and laurent Koscielny, Arsenal’s defensive resources have been stretched. The signing of Reid could be boost as they are in desperate need of players who are versatile. Reid’s presence will provide backup to both center back and right back positions.

Wenger had revealed last week that he will strengthen come January, so do expect a move for Reid. West Ham will not want to lose him for free, so they’ll be forced to sell him even for a meagre fee if an offer comes in. We expect the fee to be somewhere around £5m for West Ham to part ways with Reid and given Reid’s quality on the pitch it is definitely a steal for the Gunners. He has appeared in every Premier League so far and has been a key contributor in the Hammers’ impressive start to the league so far. They are currently in the 4th spot, 1 point behind last season’s champions Manchester City after beating them a few days ago.

Reid has made a total of 114 appearances for the club since joining them in 2010 from Danish club FC Midtjylland. He could be a cheaper alternative for Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk. Arsenal were being linked with him last week.

Report: Chelsea Goalkeeper Could Leave In January

Chelsea’s second choice goalkeeper Petr Cech could leave the club as soon as January as reports have emerged that Turkey could be his next destination.

Cech’s agent, Mithat Halis revealed that Besiktas could be a possibility for his client after being relegated to the bench by Jose Mourinho. Halis said, “We have not held talks yet. However, Chelsea have recently made an agreement with Besiktas. Chelsea have similar deals with Vitesse and other clubs.

“If Cech does become available Besiktas would become a potential destination.”

The 32-year old has been the number 1 at the club for almost 10 years but was replaced by Belgian Thibaut Courtois who deserves every bit of credit. Courtois has been a revelation this season as he has made saves that other keepers can only watch and admire. Cech made his 1st appearance against Arsenal, but that too came after Courtois took a knock to his head. The Czech Republic international is himself a quality keeper, so sitting on the bench will not be the best option for him. He had recently revealed, “There is no time for me to sit on the bench and not play. If the situation doesn’t improve I will have to find a solution.”

A potential move to Turkey will depend on Cech as the likes of Atletico Madrid, PSG, and Monaco are also interested. At 32, Cech still has some time left in his career as goalkeepers tend to get better with age. Last month, he was strongly being linked with a move to Atletico Madrid as Courtois’ departure left a hole in the La Liga champions’ defence. You would think that Cech will prefer a move to Spain than Turkey as the League is more competitive there.

He has an incredible 221 clean sheets in 479 appearances for the Chelsea since joining from Rennes in 2004.

Almost Done: Stunning £25m Arsenal Target Hands Transfer Request

Arsenal have been handed a boost for the upcoming transfer window as Barcelona attacker Pedro Rodriguez has apparently handed a transfer request according to reports in Spain.

The 27-year old is unhappy with the lack of opportunities at the club and is edging for a move. According to reports, it’ll take close to £25m to sign the Spanish international. Pedro is contracted with Barcelona until the summer of 2016, so he still has sometime to decide where he wants to move.

The Barcelona academy graduate has found it hard to get into the first team as the addition of Luis Suarez and the emergence of Munir El Haddadi has pushed him down the pecking order. His limited appearances for the club have cost him in the national team setup as well. Pedro was sceptical about his future before the World Cup began and had revealed, “I don’t know what’s going to happen yet, I don’t know anything.

“I’m calm though, I’m at the World Cup and that’s all that matters right now.

“When a decision has to be made, I’ll speak with the club and we’ll see what happens.”

It was already known that he’ll never make it ahead of the trio of Suarez, Neymar and Messi, so the rumours were always there, however, now that he has handed in a transfer request, the window for Arsenal is open.

Arsene Wenger revealed a few days back that there will be signings in the winter transfer window, and with Pedro being unsettled, he could be a gunner come January. He is predominantly a right winger, but he can be deployed on the left as well. Since making his debut for Barcelona in 2008, he has represented the club 278 times and scored 88 goals in the process. His best season was came in 2009 where he scored a total of 23 goals in 52 appearances. If Arsenal do manage to sign him, then it could open the door for Walcott to be deployed in the striker’s role with Sanchez and Pedro on the wings. The setup will add a whole lot of pace to Wenger’s side.

Manchester United Plot Next Signing, But Liverpool Could Beat Them In The Race

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is set to steal Heerenveen midfielder Daley Sinkgraven from the clutches of top European clubs according to British tabloid Mirror. The 19-year old attacking midfielder is apparently attracting interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Even Premier League rivals Liverpool are said to be interested in the Dutch u21 international.

According to reports, Louis Van Gaal has been impressed with the midfielder and wants detailed reports from his scouting team. Van Gaal wants to sign the teenager in January if his progress is satisfactory.

Sinkgraven is contracted with the club until 2017 with an optional 2 years. He is son of Harry Edmonton, who played for Groningen and Zwolle before retiring and managing FC Emmen and FC Edmonton. His son Daley is predominantly an attacking midfielder but can also be employed as a winger or central midfielder. He made 15 appearance last season after being introduced into the main team. This season, he has already made 9 appearances so far, scoring twice in the process.

Sinkgraven is still raw and could be loaned out immediately if United do manage to sign him up. Mirror had earlier reported that Liverpool will compete with United for Sinkgraven with the fee said to be somewhere around £4m. Both Brendan Rodgers and Van Gaal like gambling on the youth, so Sinkgraven will have a tough choice to make on which club he wants to join. Despite the presence of Van Gaal, who has a good history of developing young Dutch players like Dennis Bergkamp, the De Boer brothers and  Edgar Davids, Sinkgraven could make the switch to Anfield as the competition for places is much harder at Old Trafford; he’ll have competition from Rooney, Mata, and Di Maria to get into the team. Rodgers’ style of play could suit Sinkgraven too, which will play an important role in the transfer.