All posts by Tony Davies

Red Devils Linked With Janmaat – Why The Dutch Defender Would Be A Good Option For Manchester United

Manchester United have already been very active this summer and have secured the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. United’s defence was of their main criticisms last season. Injuries didn’t help, but the form wasn’t great from their backline. Rafael and Patrice Evra could be exempt from that, however, although they went through some dodgy patches. Despite this, their defence has actually gotten weaker with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand both leaving the club. Alexander Buttner has also left the club and Evra’s future looks in doubt.

According to the Metro, the Red Devils may remedy this situation by moving for Daryl Janmaat of Feyenoord. Louis van Gaal is reportedly set to increase the club’s bid to £7 million after a £4 million bid was rejected. They could face a fight for his signature, however, as Newcastle seek a replacement for Mathieu Debuchy ahead of the Frenchman’s move to Arsenal.

Janmaat is a very good option for United to explore, in my opinion. Louis van Gaal has trusted him at the World Cup and he hasn’t failed to deliver. He also impressed time and time again during his domestic season for Feyenoord.

One of the main features of Jamaat’s game is that he is quite versatile. Normally he plays right-back, but he can also play centre-back because of his ability to win aerial duels consistently.

Janmaat is also at a good age. When someone reaches 24-years-old we should have already seen where his career is heading and whether he is good enough for certain clubs. Some players may look good in the youth team but just can’t make that step up.

The Feyenoord full-back has shown that he is certainly capable of playing for Manchester United after putting in a number of assured performances at the World Cup and with his club.

Gunners Eye Three Players – Why Triple Deal Would Show Huge Intent From Arsenal

Arsenal have not yet made a signing for the first team and Arsene Wenger has been criticised for this, especially as most of their rivals have already secured some big money-players. Manchester United have bought Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. Chelsea has secured Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. Liverpool have been very busy and signed Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Rickie Lambert, while Manchester City have bought Fernando from FC Porto and picked up Bacary Sagna who was a free agent. They have all spent on key positions which need improving, but now it is time for the Gunners to show that they mean business.

They could easily do this if the Telegraph is to be believed. They are reporting that a triple move could be made for Mathieu Debuchy, Alexis Sanchez and Lars Bender. Although the latter has only recently been linked, Debuchy and Sanchez are reportedly very close to signing for the Gunners and make up most of the £60 million fee that could buy all three of them.

As Sagna has departed Arsenal, the Gunners have been looking for a replacement for a long time now. They could end the wait if they secure Debuchy from Newcastle. For me, this shows more intent than signing someone like Serge Aurier, as the Frenchman is Premier League-ready. Signing a full-back who will easily adapt to the team is something that Wenger needs more than an exciting young talent.

We don’t really need to talk about Sanchez and the intent that it will show if they sign him. He is an incredible player and was a star for Barcelona last season, as well as being one of the best at the World Cup this summer. His agility, vision and eye for goal have been applauded by everyone. We know his worth, so it would be incredible to see him don the new Arsenal kit next season.

Finally, Lars Bender is exactly what Arsenal need. Mikel Arteta is not getting any younger and, although he is a good squad player though due to his versatility, Mathieu Flamini is not good enough to play every week for Arsenal. Bender is at a good age where he has got enough experience to protect the Arsenal defence, but also has plenty of seasons left in his locker. The German is extremely talented and can anchor Wenger’s midfield for many years to come.

New Boss Set To Bring New Tactics – How Van Gaal’s 3-4-3 Formation Could Work At Manchester United

During the 2014 World Cup, Louis van Gaal has been using a formation of 3-4-3, which has seemingly worked as the Netherlands have now progressed into the semi-finals. There are reports saying that the Dutch manager will transfer that formation over to Manchester United. Although it has worked for his national side, will it have the same effect on United?

First of all, a new formation will need to be practised on the training pitch, and this could take some time to drill into the players. If van Gaal’s plan is to use these tactics, though, he has probably got someone working on it already with them before he eventually arrives at United.

During the last game against Costa Rica, the Netherlands had three at the back and Daley Blind, who is primarily a left-back, on the left of midfield with Dirk Kuyt on the other side. If Manchester United wanted to do this they could have Luke Shaw on the left-hand side of midfield and Rafael on the right, or they could use actual left and right midfielders. £30 million signing Luke Shaw would surely have to fit in somewhere, though.

I would guess he might play Shaw on the left of midfield with Danny Welbeck or Ashley Young in front of him as a left winger because in that formation the left and right midfielders have to work equally as hard getting back as they do getting forward and this is something Luke Shaw is very efficient at. The same can be said for Rafael, but it is possible that van Gaal will make a signing that will be his first choice on that right-hand side of midfield.

There is also the problem of who will play in the striker role; could he possibly rotate it each match or will he play Robin van Persie up top with Rooney in central midfield or on a wing?

Overall I think the 3-4-3 formation could work for United but it will take some getting used to for the players. If they can get the hang of it quickly then they should have a very good chance of winning silverware next season.

THREE Centre-Backs Who Could Replace David Luiz For Chelsea

Chelsea are a team who have been left with a sour taste in their mouth after the 2013/14 season ended trophyless for them, despite the return of ‘The Special One’. Jose Mourinho is now more determined than ever to win a trophy and he is eyeing the big one: the Premier League title. So far the Portuguese manager has made some big steps in his pursuit of Premier League glory next season, as he has bought Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. These are two great signings who will vastly improve Chelsea’s attack. However, the club have also sold David Luiz, weakening their defence.

Here are three centre-backs that the Blues could sign to replace Luiz:

1. Mehdi Benatia – The Roma centre-back had an incredible season in last year’s Serie A. He kept everything ticking over in defence and provided one of the strongest foundations in Europe. Not a lot got past Benatia’s defence and that is a credit to his leadership qualities and also his ability as a defender. He will be very expensive, but David Luiz was sold for an extraordinary amount so it is not like Chelsea won’t have the funds.

2. Eliaquim Mangala – The Porto defender is everything you want in a modern centre-back, as he is as good with his feet as he is at defending. He is a powerful player who possesses pace as well as strength. His height gives him an advantage in the air and that is why wins most most aerial duels. It also makes him a danger when attacking set-pieces. Nothing strikes fear into an opponent more than having to defend a set-piece against a cente-back who is famed for being dangerous in these positions. In that sense, Mangala is very much like Gary Cahill and John Terry.

3. Mats Hummels – The German always features on these lists as he is such a good defender. However, injuries have prevented him from really unlocking his potential. Nevertheless, when fit, he is a crucial player for club and country. Like Mangala, he possesses all the qualities that a modern centre-back should have. The Borussia Dortmund man is very dynamic and athletic which allows him to make recovery tackles if an opponent gets beyond him. This is a helpful ability to have with the game increasingly becoming faster.

Red Devils Must Handle Defender’s Future Carefully – Why Manchester United Should Not Be So Hasty In Selling Patrice Evra

When you buy a new young player ro replace an old star, there is a tendency to just discard the older player as you want to give the new star more chance to play every week. However, the ageing stars still have a lot to give any club and, for that reason, they should not be thrown onto the transfer list. The players themselves often also want to continue at the club as they feel they still have something to offer, but unfortunately it rarely happens.

After signing Luke Shaw a few days ago, Manchester United will have to deal with a case like this when deciding what to do with Patrice Evra. Considering that United have already sold Alexander Buttner, they were looking rather bare in that position until Shaw arrived. However, they could be set to lose that depth again as Juventus are keen on Evra. Talksport claim that the Italian giants will offer first-team football which he may not get at Old Trafford because of Shaw’s arrival.

I don’t think United should be so hasty in selling Evra just yet, as I still think he has a lot to give the club. Shaw will almost certainly start ahead of him when the new season swings around. This may convince the Frenchman to leave, as it would probably stay that way for most of the season. However, it is United that should want to keep him around. If Shaw was to become injured or suffer a huge dip in form, we know that Evra would do a job in his absence.

Evra is still a big-game player and van Gaal may choose to go with him over Shaw when the Red Devils face huges tests. Despite no European football, United still have both domestic cup competitions which they will hope to go far in. Evra can feature in these games while Shaw takes a break, means that Evra can be fit and firing for the cup while Shaw is allowed to focus on the Premier League. Retaining Evra would provide a good balance, in my opinion.

Gunners Eye Schneiderlin – Why The Saints Man Is Exactly What Arsenal Need

To be a successful defensive midfielder you need a number of key attributes. Many think that it is easy playing in the position, but it is actually one of the hardest to master. It is a position that doesn’t require you to run a marathon every time you step foot on to a pitch, but you need a little bit of everything to be successful. It is not a position that just any midfielder can play in either. This is especially true for players who are used to attacking; it can create problems if they are told to defend more.

Arsenal are very specific in what defensive midfielder they want. They see this position as one of the most important in the team, because when the role is not carried out effectively they suffer. Mikel Arteta was great when he played, but with age comes less mobility and the Gunners suffered on a couple of occasions last season. Mathieu Flamini also put in a shift, but his lack of self-discipline cost Arsenal when it mattered most. I can’t recall a game in which Flamini didn’t pick up a card.

Arsene Wenger is set to remedy that situation this summer as he looks to try and sign Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton, who are currently witnessing some kind of squad exodus. The Express are reporting that the North Londoners are readying a £20 million bid.

Schneiderlin, in my opinion, ticks all the boxes for a successful defensive midfielder. He has self-discipline not to engage in affairs further up the pitch, as well as not being so rash in his tackles. Intelligence and a level-headed approach make him very efficient when the going gets tough, and he would keep the Gunners in possession if the team needed a rest for a couple of moments.

Despite what I said about him not making rash tackles, he is 100% committed to all the tackles he does make.  He is a strong yet mobile player who can pass and is unlikely get sent off when you need him most. Add in his Premier League experience and relatively young age and you get a perfect signing for Arsenal.

Gunners Linked With Alexis Sanchez – Why The Barcelona Star Could Make Arsenal One Of The Most Dangerous Teams In Europe

The thought of Arsenal being one of the most dangerous teams in Europe may bring laughter to all opposition fans due to the fact they aren’t even close at the moment. However, the Gunners have a team with a lot of potential and a huge summer ahead of them. Money is there to spend and Arsene Wenger looks like he will spend it. It is now all about buying the right players for the team.  While the side desperately need a new striker, holding midfielder, right-back, centre-back and goalkeeper, improving other areas could reduce the amount of money needed in those positions.

Alexis Sanchez has been linked with a move to Arsenal ever since the Luis Suarez rumours picked up, as it is clear Luis Enrique wants to make space in the team. It has been a tug-of-war between Arsenal and Liverpool, as described by the Daily Mail. The Chilean is an in-demand player because of his sensational season with Barcelona and a great World Cup. It seems as though Sanchez favours a move to London rather than Merseyside which obviously gives the club an advantage.

If the Chile star was to sign for the Gunners then I honestly think they would have one of the most dangerous starting line-ups in Europe, if all players are fit. How good would it be to have Mesut Ozil feeding Theo Walcott, with Alexis Sanchez constantly looking for that ball in behind the defence. Because of their pace, barely any defender would be able to catch up with them.

Olivier Giroud is a decent finisher of the ball, has a presence and can use his head or his feet. However, if Arsenal were to sign another good finisher of the ball then Sanchez, Ozil and Walcott would have so much fun. Supporting Ozil would be Aaron Ramsey and we all know what he is capable of. Sanchez would just give Arsenal another dimension in attack. If the Gunners dominate then his ability to manipulate the ball would help break down any defence, but counter-attacking would also play into the game of Sanchez as he can carry the ball a long way at speed.

Di Maria Linked With Old Trafford Move – Why Real Madrid Star Would Be Perfect For Manchester United

Real Madrid are set for a huge summer of potential incomings and outgoings, with plenty of names that can be assigned to each list. Radamel Falcao, Toni Kroos and Luiz Gustavo are dominating the incomings, while Alvaro Morata, Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira are dominating the outgoings. Whatever happens at Madrid, it is almost guaranteed that whoever they sell will be replaced with quality. Manchester United are hoping to do the same thing, as they have already bought Luke Shaw to replace Alexander Buttner, as well as Ander Herrera to help ease their midfield troubles.

The Red Devils’ next signing could involve a Real Madrid star moving to Old Trafford to replace a departing Portuguese winger. Nani’s future at United has been in doubt for some time now, and it finally looks as though it is coming to an end. The Daily Star have reported that a possible replacement is Angel Di Maria. The Real Madrid winger has had his future called into question, despite his very underrated season at the new kings of Europe.

It would be stupid for Madrid to sell Di Maria, but if it does happen then it will greatly benefit United, who are looking for a more effective winger than Nani. Di Maria has had a slightly disappointing World Cup, despite him scoring the winning goal in Argentina’s victory over Switzerland to get them to the quarter-finals.

However, the Argentine was excellent for Real Madrid last season and that is why United are interested. The man of the match performance in the Champions League final summed up exactly why he is so highly rated. He is devastatingly good on the ball and often causes havoc for any defence. The 26-year-old would be a superb team-mate for Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, as he would provide the side with the pace they lack. That pace can win them games.