All posts by Ethan Ward

Manchester United Weigh Up Move For Depay – Why Their New Manager Is The Best Man To Decide

If enough Dutch players had not already been linked with moves to Manchester United, another has been added to the list in the form of Memphis Depay.  There have been rumours of many of the Netherlands squad possibly linking up with their former national coach Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.  Out of them all though, with questions surrounding the unlikelihood of certain transfers and whether United would even want some of the mentioned players, Depay would certainly be an interesting acquisition.

The Metro have reported that the Red Devils are considering making an offer to PSV Eindhoven for the young winger, with talk of him being loaned back to the Eredivisie club if a move were to happen.  At only 20 years of age, Depay is a very bright prospect and some of his performances at this summer’s World Cup only enhanced his reputation.  He scored two goals in Brazil as the Oranje impressed during the tournament, ultimately finishing in third place.

Depay first broke into the PSV first team in 2012, and since then he has gone on to rack up 84 appearances and 22 goals in all competitions.  Gaining some experience playing in Europe along the way, he was particularly influential last season as he featured in all but two of his side’s league games and ended the campaign with a goal ratio of better than one in three.

Having shown signs of his potential over the last 12 months, United should hope Depay is not just a flash in the pan if they are to sign him.  Fortunately for the club their new manager will know the player very well, and is the best person judge whether or not he could succeed in the Premier League.

Gerrard Set For New Liverpool Contract – Why The Midfielder Could Shine For The Reds Towards The End Of His Career

Having just called time on his England career, Steven Gerrard will now be fully focussed on helping Liverpool achieve something they went so close to doing last season: winning their first Premier League title.  The responsibility of captaining the Three Lions will now go to someone else, as the Reds midfielder steps aside after representing his country an incredible 114 times.

In one way, Gerrard has had a huge weight lifted off his shoulders, with the role of captaining England requiring a lot of physical and mental strength.  And, if the midfielder was able to have such a massive influence on Liverpool’s title challenge whilst so heavily involved with his national side last season, having nothing to distract him from his club should mean he will be able to be even more effective at Anfield next campaign.

According to the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers has suggested that a new long-term contract will be offered to his captain.  At 34 years of age it important that Gerrard is managed carefully, and the Reds boss believes he will be much fresher without international football.

Looking set to add to the 669 competitive appearances he has made for his hometown club, a deeper midfield position could mean that goals may not be as big a part of Gerrard’s game as they have been in years gone by.  Fortunately for the Liverpool legend, though, the 173 he has already scored leaves him on an impressive enough tally to add to, and it would not be surprising at all to see him eventually reach the 200 mark.

Besiktas Eye Chelsea’s Marko Marin – Why The Midfielder Must Make The Most Of His Time At A Club Who Wants Him

As Jose Mourinho continues to mould his Chelsea side after returning to Stamford Bridge last summer, one man who could be leaving is Marko Marin.  The midfielder arrived at the club in 2012 but has had an unproductive two years at the club, featuring only 15 times in all competitions for the Blues.

Marin spent the entire last campaign on loan at Sevilla, where he was able to receive more regular gametime.  The side that are now reportedly looking to capture his signature on a temporary basis, however, play in the Turkish Super Lig.  According to the Daily Mail, Besiktas, who have already done business with Chelsea this summer after signing Demba Ba, are interested in reuniting the German with one of his former team-mates.

There are many players ahead of Marin in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle and Willian all blocking his path to the first team. At the age of 25, time will quickly begin to run out for him regarding his Chelsea career if he does impress soon.

Although the quality of the German national side is clear from their World Cup win this summer, Marin last represented his country in 2010.  Four years is a long time to not play on the international stage, and the fact that he has rarely featured in Chelsea’s plans will have played a huge part in him not being considered.

Marin is no long the bright prospect he was when he first signed for the Blues, and is even further from the performances he displayed when playing in the Bundesliga.  It may already be too late to save his future at Stamford Bridge, but a more effective loan move away from the club currently seems like the only option the midfielder has of making it possible.

Reds Move In As Juventus Star Says No To Manchester – Why Vidal Would Be A Good Fit For Liverpool

After the player reportedly turned down a move to Manchester United, the Metro have suggested that Liverpool are looking to hijack the transfer of the Arturo Vidal. The Chile star, 27, has been at current club Juventus since 2011. Since moving from German side Bayer Leverkusen, the midfielder has scored 28 goals in 95 appearances for the reigning Serie A champions, and signing him could bring a lot to a Liverpool team who are looking to win the title this season.

Vidal was used in a three-man midfield in the “invincible” season of 2011/12, where Juventus went the whole season undefeated, claiming the league title as their own. In this midfield, he played alongside Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio. At Liverpool, he could possibly play in a 4-3-3 formation, where Steven Gerrard could have a similar role to Pirlo whilst Jordan Henderson or Emre Can would be more similar to Claudio Marchisio. 

At the age of 27, Vidal is reaching his peak form as a player and this could be his chance for a move to a big club in the Premier League. Should he move to Anfield, I predict he would be a big hit with the Reds’ fans and players alike.

Rodgers Happy With The Price Paid For Lallana – Why The Midfielder Will Be Under Pressure Next Season

Mocked by many of Liverpool’s rivals, the price tag for Adam Lallana is reported to be just short of £24 million.  According to the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers has been quick to defend his purchase, claiming that the player is good investment for the club.

Lallana joined Southampton on their whirlwind journey of being relegated to the depths of League One before making it all the way back to the lofty heights of the Premier League.  The main argument of critics of his recent transfer from the Saints, though, is that he has only really had one outstanding season in the top flight.  That came last campaign, as the midfielder helped his side finish eighth by consistently producing match-winning performances and chipping in with nine goals.  He was also more reliable than ever, featuring in all 38 of Southampton’s league games.

Very much one of the stars at St Mary’s, Anfield will provide a different stage for Lallana to perform on.  Bigger expectations mean that he no time to take his foot off the gas and relax, as he is now at a club whose fans demand nothing but victory from every game they play and every competition they enter.  At 26 years of age, any patience that may be shown to new young players may quickly fade if the former Saint fails to impress early.

Lallana’s rise to fame has been fairly dramatic, as just a year ago he had not even made his debut for England and the idea of him going on to play for a club like Liverpool seemed improbable.  It is now up to the player to justify his new manager’s faith in him by helping to continue the Reds’ challenge at the top.

Mourinho Addresses Goalkeeper Situation – Why The Chelsea Manager’s Stance Is Admirable

With Thibaut Courtois finally set to return from Atletico Madrid, Chelsea have serious competition for the position between the sticks.  The 22-year-old Belgian has been on loan at the Spanish club since 2011, and he has since managed to make a real name for himself during a move initially made for him to gain playing time.

The experience from his three years in Spain could prove invaluable regarding Courtois’ future.  Rather than being at an average side simply to receive gametime, Atletico have progressed enormously with the young goalkeeper at the club.  The fact that they won a trophy each season since he became their number one is evidence of this; the 2012 Europa League was followed by the 2013 Copa del Rey and an incredible 2014 that included a La Liga title and a Champions League final appearance.

The man Courtois has to displace at Stamford Bridge is 32-year-old Petr Cech, who has now been at the club for a decade and enjoyed every bit of success since the Blues’ return to glory.  With 470 appearances in all competitions, there is a very literal sense to the suggestion that the Czech Republic goalkeeper has he has won it all with Chelsea.  Three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups sum up their domestic dominance, whilst winning both the Champions League and the Europa League represents how strong the club are in Europe.

According to the Guardian, Jose Mourinho recently stated that the most important thing about the goalkeeper situation Chelsea is that the supporters are happy, which they should be after the Portuguese manager himself described it as “fantastic”.  The goalkeepers themselves, however, may not see it as being so ideal.

It is fair to say that Courtois will provide the biggest threat to Cech in his 10 years at the club.  Virtually the same age as the Blues’ current stopper was when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge, this could now be the youngster’s time to shine.

Ashley Young Scores Twice As Red Devils Run Riot – How The Winger Will Look To Secure His Future At United

If you are trying to impress your new manager, scoring two goals in a game is certainly the right way to go about it.  That is exactly what Ashley Young did in Manchester United’s 7-0 demolition of LA Galaxy.

Given just the second half to impress, the winger took his chance to show Louis van Gaal what he can do.  Young left it late to make his mark with both of his goals coming in the final minutes of the match, but by capping off the rout of the MLS side he ensured that he would be one of the most talked about players immediately afterwards.

Putting the ball in the back of the net is something the 29-year-old was known for a few years ago.  During each of his full seasons at Aston Villa he managed at least eight goals in all competitions, which ultimately encouraged the Red Devils to part with around £20 million to sign him.  Since that move, however, eight has been by far the best tally that Young has managed, with that coming in his debut season at Old Trafford.  Only featuring in around half of the club’s title-winning season of 2012/13, he failed to score a single goal.  In last year’s disastrous campaign for United, the former Watford man netted just three times in 30 games.

There are many players with a point to prove to van Gaal, and Young is definitely one of them.  Having got off to a good start in his attempt to make himself part of the Dutchman’s plans, he will hope to use the rest of pre-season to resurrect his United career.

Ex-Chelsea Man Targeted By Foxes – Why Malouda Could Be Worth The Money For Leicester

Hugely impressive for Chelsea during his time at Stamford Bridge, Florent Malouda has largely been forgotten since leaving the Premier League.  According to the Daily Mail, however, the Frenchman could be on his way back to England’s top flight.

Leicester City make their long-awaited return to the Premier League this year after winning last season’s Championship title.  With such a gap between playing in the first and playing in the second division, the Foxes will need to bring in some quality players if they wish to compete.  If recent reports are to be believed, ex-Blues winger Malouda is someone the club are considering signing.

The player may be entering the final stages of his playing career having recently turned 34 years of age, but he could well still have something to offer.  Six goals and nine assists in Turkey with Trabzonspor last season would certainly suggest that he does, whilst the 45 goals and 43 assists for Chelsea preceding that is evidence of him being able to cut it at the highest level.

Malouda still has one year left on his contract with his current club, but the Super Lig side are reportedly keen to get the high-earner off their wage bill.  His salary could also cause problems regarding any move to Leicester, but Nigel Pearson may just be willing to pay it as he leads the Foxes back to the big time.