All posts by Joe Nicholas

Done Deal: Chelsea Confirm Latest Midfield Transfer

Chelsea have confirmed that Ghana winger Christian Atsu has completed his season long loan move to Everton.  The Stamford Bridge outfit had earlier signed Atsu summer from Portuguese Ginats Porto but the player spent the last season on loan at Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem.

Everton have already signed Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea in a £28m deal after his successful loan spell last season and Atsu, who had an impressive World Cup campaign in Brazil will significantly boost the Goodison Park outfit’s surge for a top four finish this season after they narrowly missed out last term in Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge.

Atsu is the Toffees’ fourth signing of the summer after Lukaku, Brendan Galloway, Muhamed Besic, and Gareth Barry all signed for the Merseyside club this summer.  The player would most likely make his debut against newly promoted Leicester on Saturday. The youngster would like to have valuable experience with significant game time available to him now, rather is he stayed at Chelsea, he would have to endure frustrating spells on the sidelines under Jose Mourinho

Atsu is a technically gifted winger with raw pace and his ability to skip past defenders at will will hold him under good spirits and he is most likely to flourish in Martinez’s tactical pedigree at Goodison Park.

Martinez seemed delighted of his newest acquistion speaking highly about the youngster, “He’s a player who fits in with the culture and the way we want to play. He’s a very gifted technical footballer and he’s got the right personality and character to fit in with the group, which is vital”

Everton are also featuring in the Europa League this season which would take toll on their squad, hence the manager is focused to improve his squad depth, “For Christian, at 22, to already have played in a World Cup, to have been able to adapt into Portuguese football and into the league in Holland is a really good accumulation of experiences that will be very beneficial, especially with us playing in the Europa League this season.”

It would be interesting to see, should Atsu impress at Everton, would he join the Toffees on a permanent deal like Lukaku has done this season? The abundance of quality of Chelsea is certainly for now, Everton’s gain

(Picture) Manchester United Target Spotted Signing Barcelona Shirt

Manchester United target Juan Cuadrado perhaps gave the strongest indication that he is desperate to join Barcelona as the Fiorentina right wing back was spotted signing a Barcelona shirt for fans.

cuad

There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the Colombian as both Manchester United and Barcelona are going toe to toe to sign the 26 year old.

Fiorentina President Andrea Della Valle also claimed that he is not too optimistic about the player staying at the La Viola for the coming 2014-15 season. 

I met with Juan (Cuadrado) today, and he asked me if he could leave. I asked him, ‘Stay one more year’, but I’m not optimistic,” Della Valle claimed.

Faced with an important offer, the boy wants to leave. We’ll give ourselves time until the end of August, but even without him we’ll be ultra-competitive.”

Majority of the English media including Daily Mail who cited Catalan based daily Sport have reported that Manchester United however have reached an agreement with Cuadrado.

Manchester United Prepare £16m Swoop For World Cup Star

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is set to strengthen his squad ahead of the brand new season and if reports from Guardian are to be believed, the Red Devils are ready to offer Sporting Lisbon £16m (€20) for the services of Argentina’s World Cup star Marcos Rojo. The 24 year old defender who primarily is deployed as a left wing back can also shuttle in as a central defender would seamlessly fit into United’s 3-5-2 system under Van Gaal. Rojo had a fantastic World Cup in Brazil and was also named in the team of the tournament, thus it’s no wonder than the Red Devils are set to pursue their interest in the Argentine.

Southampton are also interested in the player but the Saints had their £9.5m bid rejected the previous week. Saints manager Ronald Koeman said: “We are interested in Rojo but the transfer is a question for the chairman and (executive director) Les Reed.” Sky Sports have now reported that Rojo has himself handed in a transfer request and has pleaded with his current club that he wants to leave. Rojo did not train with Sporting on Tuesday which would very well suggest that the World Cup runner up could be heading to the exit door from Sporting.

Sporting president Bruno Carvalho however spoke tough and concluded that the club will not be forced to let away their prized assets, “Players have expectations, and Sporting will always try to see what can be done about that. But we will not give yield to pressure from agents and funds, we will not yield to attitudes that disrespect the club.”

Third party rights on the player concerned however might see Sporting get only 25% of Rojo’s transfer deal as the remaining 75% belonging to the Doyen group. Thus they would only earn around £4m for the player and are thus ready to play hardball as the club would get only peanuts should a deal be struck. Will United have to increase their bid or will Rojo’s persistence see him leave Sporting? We shall have the answer in the coming days.

Arsenal Target Another World Cup Winner Other Than Khedira

What a time this is to be an Arsenal fan. A new season is just on the horizon and the Gunners are making the right noises in the market. According to reports in English media outlet Independent, manager Arsene Wenger now looks to cap off his successful summer transfer window by pursuing Schalke’s World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes.

The 26 year old is an astute defender who can play in centre back and also  slot in as a left back when required like he did for Germany in the World Cup in Brazil. Wenger had earlier said that he would love to make yet another quality addition to his already impressive squad.

The Frenchman said he was on the lookout for a defender after his side romped to a 3-0 win over Manchester City to win the Community Shield on Saturday, “If I can find another centre-back I will do it.”

Calum chambers can be thought of  a replacement after Arsenal sold Bacary Sagna to City and let Thomas Vermaelen to pursue his career at La Liga giants Barcelona.  But the former Southampton player is effective in playing as the right back and is only 19 years of age. Moreover any injuries to the first choice pair of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will cast serious doubts on the London club’ credentials as Wenger looks to mount a serious Premier League title challenge.

Wenger’s love for shopping Germans isn’t quite a surprise as The Gunners already have a thriving Die Mannschaft contingent in MertesackerOzil, Podolski, Gnabry and Zelalem. Thus it would be easier for Howedes should he consider a switch.

The report from Independent claims Arsenal are also after Brazilian Luis Gustavo of Wolfsburg. However the player isn’t inclined for a move and recently said, “However, Gustavo has today said he is happy in Germany:  “I am back in training and I want to play on for Wolfsburg to help the team succeed.”

Sporting William Carvalho however remains a feasible option as Arsenal have the money from Vermaelen’s sale to Barcelona.

Liverpool Agree Deal for Eighth Summer Signing

Liverpool’s romantic summer shopping continues as reports from the Times confirm that the Reds have agreed on a  £12m deal to sign Alberto Moreno from Sevilla. This would the Reds’ eight purchase of the summer as manager Brendan Rodgers shows signs to strengthen his squad ahead of the brand new Premier league season.

Liverpool were holding negotiations with Moreno over the summer transfer window but talks were stalling repeatedly as the Andalusian club were unwilling to lower their asking price for the Spaniard.  Thus the £12m business from the Merseyside giants looks like a fantastic business as Sevilla were insistent  on a €20m deal and had rejected Liverpool’s proposed payment scheme for the defender. 

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre had earlier today traveled to Welsh capital city of Cardiff where Sevilla are currently taking on Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. Moeeno was expected to feature in the encounter against the Galacticos but was pulled out of the team sheet after agreeing to join Liverpool subject to completion of a medical.

The Reds however will part ways with Martin Kelly, who is now expected to leave Anfield to join Crystal Palace.

The 24 year old will have a medical with the Eagles tomorrow after the clubs agreed an initial fee of £1.5m, rising to £2m.

Moreno’s signing appears to be a fantastic one as the young 22 year old will now challenge Jose Enrique for a starting eleven spot for Brean Rodgers’ side. Enrique endured a frustrating spell on the sidelines last season thanks to a knee surgery in November which ruled him out of the entire 2013-14 season.

Home grown Jon Flanagan played brilliant featuring in the left back spot, playing out of position but Moreno’s arrival will significantly boost the Reds’ defense on the left flank.

Moreno’s arrival at Anfield pushes Liverpool’s summer spending past the £100m mark following Luis Suarez’s unceremonious departure to La Liga ginats Barcelona.