All posts by Tony Davies

Blues Let Eto’o Go Too Soon – Why Chelsea Should Have Kept Hold Of Cameroon Striker

The Blues’ search for a striker to complement Diego Costa is slowly grinding to a halt as they look set to stick with Demba Ba and Fernando Torres. Both are decent options, as Chelsea need to have depth to compete on all fronts. Both have also shown themselves to be consistent goalscorers, it hasn’t really happened for them at Chelsea. They have chipped in with some key goals, but nothing substantial to warrant a stay ahead of someone like Samuel Eto’o.

Eto’o was only signed on a one-year contract, but he outperformed both Torres and Ba. But, depite this, the Blues decided not to extend Eto’o’s contract and he is now a free agent. Talksport are reporting that the Cameroon international wants to stay in the Premier League. The website have stated that Everton and Arsenal are monitoring him as they both look to add more depth to their attack.

If Chelsea are looking for depth, yet have kept hold of Torres and Ba and not Eto’o, then that is a poor decision from Jose Mourinho. Nine goals and five assists in 21 Premier League games is not a bad return. Torres and Ba each scored just five times in the Premier League, so their combined goal tally only beat Eto’o’s by one.

Eto’o was the far more clinical striker and, despite his age, I think it shoud have been him who remained at Chelsea. He would be a good back-up to Costa because he has maintained his pace, but also hasn’t lost his awareness in the final third.

THREE Alternatives To Sporting Lisbon Midfielder For Manchester United

Portugal is always a fantastic place to pick up young and exciting talent. James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao are two examples. Although they are not homegrown, the league knows how to find great players and that is a credit to the clubs. Recent disappointment in the World Cup for the country led to one of their stars slating his team-mates and claiming they are not good enough. However, they could be set to enter a golden period of young stars coming through, with William Carvalho leading the way.

The Express are reporting that the player could cost Manchester United £37 million. With that being such a huge fee, here are three cheaper alternatives:

1. Lars Bender – The Germany international has been subject to much interest from Arsenal in the last couple of seasons, but the Gunners have only had bids rejected. They have offered money in the region of £20 million, which gives United plenty of breathing space before they enter William Carvalho territory. Bender is a very good midfielder and someone who can do a job as good as anyone in the world. A bonus is you will get quite a few seasons out of him.

2. Luiz Gustavo – The Brazilian has been brilliant at the World Cup so far and is one of the reasons why Brazil haven’t conceded many goals. He is the perfect midfield anchor to a very attack-minded team, always well-disciplined and very hard-working. If ever you want a dynamic, intelligent and energetic midfielder with fantastic range in his passing then Gustavo is your man. He will be slightly more expensive than Bender, but that is because his price will have risen due to his performances in the World Cup.

3. Javi Martinez – If Manchester United were to get hold of Martinez, it could be one of the signings of the summer. He is as capable in the heart of the midfield as he is at the heart of the defence, with his versatility making him a very special kind of player. The Spaniard would provide depth in defence and midfield and, at the age of just 25, has plenty of seasons left in him. In addition to this, he may well be easier to get than first thought, as he has been on the fringes of the squad for almost a season now. This would help when it comes to his cost as well.

Red Devils Eye Vidal – Why Juventus Star Would Be A Perfect Signing For Manchester United

Chile international Arturo Vidal is currently a key transfer target for Manchester United. The Guardian claim that it could result in as much as a £48 million deal. That is a substantial amount of money to pay out for anyone, so could he be worth it?

The 27-year-old has been a great servant for Juventus and Chile. He is a box-to-box midfielder that can put in a world class tackle and then set up a goal within seconds. He has good strength and is a great passer of the ball. In addition to that he can also score the odd goal. He joined Juventus in 2011 from Bayer Leverkusen and has scored 28 goals in 95 league games for the Italian giants.

With regards to his international career, he has played 54 games for his country and scored eight goals since his debut in 2007. During this World Cup he has been playing as well as always and those performances are attracting some of the biggest clubs in the world.

He really is a complete midfielder that is capable of anything. If he was to join Manchester United I think his best position would be as a defensive midfielder, maybe with Fellaini or on his own. After Fellaini’s poor season last year, Vidal could be an excellent alternative to the Belgium international. He would shore up the back four as well because teams would have to work extremely hard to get past him before they reach the United defence.

It does look likely that Vidal will be a United player next season and it would be a superb signing in my opinion. Juventus will not let such an important player go cheap, though, and so the Red Devils could have to pay a huge fee to bring him to Old Trafford.

A Closer Look At Arsenal – Why The Gunners Can Win The Premier League Next Season

Arsenal last won the Premier League in the invincible season of 2003/04, which is starting to feel a long, long time ago. Everyone from that team has long gone, including the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Dennis Bergkamp. Could next season be the year the Premier League title finally returns to Arsenal’s trophy cabinet?

In my opinion, as long as Arsene Wenger is at the helm Arsenal are in safe hands, but maybe it is time to go above and beyond safe and live dangerously with a massive signing or two, something the French manager does not tend to do. There have been plenty of big-name players linked with Arsenal such as Karim Benzema, Mario Balotelli and Alexis Sanchez. It seems to be likely that they will sign at least one of these big names, and each would certainly bolster the Gunners’ attack.

Arsenal also have a decent mix of young and experienced players, with older ones including Per Mertersacker and Mikel Arteta able to help youngsters like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo. That balance can help them next season and new signings will only support the cause.

The Gunners  finally won their first piece of silverware since 2005 last season when they achieved FA Cup success. That should lift a weight off of the players’  shoulders, and maybe next season they will play more freely in the knowledge they do not have such a burden hanging over them.

I honestly believe that Arsenal could do it next season. The Premier League needs to be their main target because after a great start last campaign they fell away due to injuries. If they keep players like Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott fit then I think Arsenal could be the name engraved on the trophy next May.

THREE Alternatives To Barcelona Star Who Arsenal Could Sign

Luis Suarez has been in the media so much in recent weeks. Firstly there were worrying concerns that he would not make the World Cup, but then he tore apart England and helped Uruguay on their way to qualifying. Things took a turn for the worse, however, when he decided to sink his teeth in Giorgio Chiellini, earning himself a huge ban. In the past couple of days, his mood may well have picked up with all the rumours of him joining Barcelona. A player that has featured in these rumours with him is Alexis Sanchez.

Some say the Chilean is going to be involved in a swap-deal between Liverpool and Barcelona. However, a lot of reports are linking him with a move to Arsenal. These reports have suggested that Sanchez has rejected a move to Liverpool himself. No-one really knows who he will sign for, but here are three alternatives for Arsenal to consider if they do miss out on the forward:

1. Xherdan Shaqiri – The Switzerland international has been fantastic for his national side at the World Cup, scoring a handful of goals and driving the team through the group stages. His electric pace and fantastic ball control make him one of the most fearsome wingers in Europe. Despite being quite small in terms of height, he is still a very strong player who is actually quite powerful. As Bayern Munich have used him sparingly, the Gunners could easily swoop in and sign for a relatively cheap price.

2. Juan Cuadrado – The Colombia star is yet another player that has set alight the World Cup. Prior to the tournament, he was touted to put in some great performances and he hasn’t failed to please. His skills and an unbelievable ability to take players on have been a refreshing sight to see. He mixes blistering pace with great technical ability to create something that any team in the world would want.

3. Angel di Maria – The Real Madrid star hasn’t had the best World Cup, despite his winning goal against Switzerland to send Argentina into the quarter-finals. However, he had an incredible season for Madrid that was capped off with a man of the match performance in the Champions League final. He is skilful, experienced and one of the most effective wingers in the world.

THREE Players Who Manchester United Could Sign Instead Of Arsenal Captain

Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for a central defender all summer now, but there hasn’t been any movement just yet. It appears as though United are chasing a relatively cheap replacement for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. They have looked at two quite different types of footballers. Stefan de Vrij is very much a young, up-and-coming centre-back with a lot of potential. Thomas Vermaelen, on the other hand, is an experienced Premier League defender with not too many years left at the top. Therefore, it is hard to pinpoint what type of defender the Red Devils want. 

However, I have looked at three options which cover all the criteria:

1. Benedikt Howedes – The German defender has been a fantastic servant to Schalke, ever since he was promoted to the first team back in 2007 after rising through the ranks. At the age of just 26, he is already the club captain and has led Schalke to many seasons in Europe, either in the Europa League or Champions League. His price may well be inflated due to him being the captain, but he would still be a relatively cheap option. He also has plenty of years left and has experience in major competitions.

2. Inigo Martinez – The 23-year-old Spaniard has been a revelation at Real Sociedad for a couple of seasons now and is slowly becoming one of the best centre-backs in La Liga. He is quite young, but is gaining quite a reputation experience along the way. He is a brave defender that is cut out for the Premier League.

3. Neven Subotic – In the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid duo, Subotic is very much the Sundance Kid. He is hugely talented, but is rather overshadowed by Mats Hummels (Butch). However, if you ask the Borussia Dortmund fans about who they think is better they can’t separate them. The Serbian, though, would be cheaper than the German and is just as talented. He is only 25-years-old as well.

Colombia International Reveals He Supports The Gunners – Why Arsenal Should Take The Striker’s Plea More Seriously

Everywhere you turn there is a fresh rumour about a striker that Arsenal will sign this summer and it is becoming a bit of a pain to see so many linked and then turned away. Mario Balotelli was a constant feature in the press all over Europe, with many reports suggesting that the Italian was going to join the Gunners. Those particular rumours, however have died down.

Arsenal fans shouldn’t fear, though, as there is always something new. The new striker to feature in the gossip column goes by the name of Jackson Martinez. The FC Porto star’s future has been up in the air for a while now, but fresh reports have seen him linked with Arsenal. However, it seems as though it is the player himself that has been forcing his name into the headlines. The Express have relayed the quotes which have suggested that he would like to join Arsenal, with the forward stating that he is a fan of the Gunners.

If Jackson Martinez is hinting that he wants to join Arsenal then I hope the Gunners take his plea seriously. The 27-year-old is a very good striker and he has the statistics to support my case. He scored 29 goals in 51 games last season, which is a fantastic total. The season before that he was even better, netting 31 times in 40 games. He has proven himself to be a consistent goalscorer and a very dangerous player.

Martinez has everything a good striker needs to be a success in the Premier League. He has the upper body strength to deal with the physicality in England, but possesses great pace as well as being very powerful. The Colombian is a very skilful man and is particularly good at running with the ball. Positional awareness is also a feature of his game.

Ultimately, he is perfect for Arsenal and their system.

Arsenal Eye Sagna Replacement – Why Newcastle Defender Would Be A Good Signing

Bacary Sagna was such an important player for Arsenal last season with solid performances in almost every game he featured in. He has been a stalwart for the Gunners since he joined the North Londoners back in 2007. Therefore, a replacement has big shoes to fill as the Arsenal fans are used to seeing that right side so strong. There have been many full-backs linked the Gunners in recent weeks and at one point the club were very close to signing Serge Aurier from Toulouse, but that seems a distant memory now.

There is now a new name on the block for Arsenal fans to mull over. Many have taken to Twitter to voice their opinions or even concerns over who the club should bring in. Mathieu Debuchy of Newcastle United has been linked with a move to London by the Daily Star, who have claimed that the two clubs have actually agreed a fee. That fee is believed to be in the region of £12 million, with the deal set to be announced after the World Cup has finished. 

The prospect of signing Debuchy has split the fanbase. On the one hand, fans see him as an adequate stop-gap in the development of Carl Jenkinson and Hector Bellerin. However, some see the inflated price and age as a negative correlation. I am on the side of the former argument, though, and think Debuchy could be a very smart signing for Arsenal.

First and foremost, he has Premier League experience. That I think is the key in this deal for Wenger; he wants someone that can come and fit in straight away without needing much time to adjust. Wenger knows that he can get a good couple of seasons out of him and then assess the development of Jenkinson and Bellerin. Besides, the Frenchman is a talented full-back. He contributes in attack with devastating final balls and is a good defender as well. Well-timed tackles and aerial prowess are both features of his game.

Debuchy would be a good buy for Arsenal and I for one am happy to see the Gunners after him.