Has Jack Wilshere made the right decision to join Bournemouth?

Arsenal v VfL Wolfsburg - Emirates Cup

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere has joined Bournemouth on a season long loan from Arsenal, it was confirmed on transfer deadline day.

On the face of it all makes good sense- Wilshere has spent an injury ravaged career at the Gunners and last season he completed just two games for the club. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made it clear that Wilshere could leave for a years loan but not to a direct top 4 club. Wilshere’s decision came down to two Premier League clubs in the end with Crystal Palace and Bournemouth. Wilshere chose Bournemouth as rumour has it he has a best friend there and his sons god son is also within the club set up. Good deal perhaps and Wilshere still gets to stay in the Premier League.

But and there is always a but, Wilshere had the opportunity to have so much more. Italian’s Roma came in by mid day for his signature and then when Wilshere went cold on them Milan made their interest known by early evening- and he flatly turned them both down.

To a connoisseur of European football this seems rather odd and very puzzling. Both clubs have the right set ups, history an quality of players to have made Wilshere a better one. If being in Italy had not worked out then Wenger and Arsenal were waiting in the wings come next summer- but bottom line is that Wilshere as a football player would have become a better one. He had the instant chance to immerse himself in a different culture and experience something utterly different, something the common man would find difficult with the language barrier, so much so that even finding a small job would be a hard task. This opportunity was put right in front of the young Englishman and he walked away.

There is no doubt that Wilshere will be happy tonight, he is with friends and will stay in England which he obviously wanted. But as a person and football player one feels that he has made the wrong decision and in some ways his limited short sighted view sums up his career thus far, one with such promise that keeps reaching a dead end.

For Wilshere now the objective will be to keep fit and have a run of games for his new club enough at least to warrant the interest of England manager Sam Allardyce and get back into the England team. It will as always be an interesting season for the midfielder.

Guardiola continues to make bold decisions at Manchester City

Euro 2016

Thus far Pep Guardiola’s managerial reign of Manchester City has been characterised by extremely bold decision making in terms of both his team selection and reshaping of the club’s squad.

Quintet fall out of favour with Guardiola

In addition to only playing Yaya Toure in one of his team’s five competitive games this season, despite the Ivorian being consistently influential for Manchester City since joining them from Barcelona in 2010, Guardiola has also dropped Eliaquim Mangala from his squad, after deeming the 25-year-old, who the club signed from Porto for £32m in August 2014, to be surplus to his requirements.

Subsequently Guardiola has also allowed Mangala along with the experienced trio of Wilfried Bony, Joe Hart and Samir Nasri to leave the club temporarily, as the 45-year-old manager has acted decisively to redesign his squad, which he has strengthened by signing a quintet of players who each have the potential to become key players for Manchester City during the current season.

Guardiola’s new recruits

In total the club have paid out just over £117.1m in transfer fees, which has enabled Guardiola to recruit Claudio Bravo, IIkay Gundogan, Nolito, Leroy Sane and John Stones, as the Spaniard endeavours to engineer a team capable of winning both domestic honours and the Champions League.

City’s impressive start to the season

At present Guardiola is making excellent progress towards doing that, as in addition to enjoying a perfect start in the Premier League by winning their first three games of the season, City also qualified for the group stages of the Champions League courtesy of an emphatic 6-0 play-off round aggregate victory over Steaua Bucharest 6-0.

Hart heads list of departures

Despite playing in the second leg of that tie, Joe Hart has now been loaned out to Torino for the remainder of this season, with Guardiola making the bold decision of selecting Claudio Bravo and Wily Cabellero as his two main goalkeeping options for the current campaign.  After having made 348 appearances for Manchester City, for whom he signed from Shrewsbury in 2006, Hart’s future undoubtedly lies away from the club since Guardiola perceives the 63-times capped England internationalist as being unable to develop into the type of sweeper – keeper, which the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager desires to have in his team.

Three other players who are not to feature in that this season are Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri, who have joined Swansea City, Valencia and Sevilla respectively on season – long loan deals.

Guardiola ingeniously reshapes City squad

Those, along with Joe Hart’s move to Torino, were all completed on transfer deadline day, after Guardiola had signed each of his primary transfer targets.

Given that the Catalan has logically reshaped his squad over the course of this summer, by initially recruiting new players, before allowing others whom he deemed surplus to his requirements to leave.

In the process of doing so Guardiola has made some brave and bold decisions, but the early signs are that they will yield very profitable dividends for City during his first season in charge of the club.

If you would like to select your favorite football players and manage your own fantasy team, try playing EPL fantasy football, La Liga fantasy football and Serie A fantasy football.

Late summer spending spree creates renewed hope for Inter

Euro 2016

With just two games played in the 2016-2017 Serie A campaign Inter Milan are languishing in 17th place and already five points behind leaders Genoa, who top the table on goal difference ahead of Juventus and Sampdoria.

Inter’s unconvincing start to the Serie A season

After a hugely disappointing 2-0 opening day defeat away to Chievo, I Nerazzuri produced an improved performance to recover from a goal down to draw 1-1 at home with Palermo, although wasteful finishing prevented Inter from winning Frank De Boer’s first game at the San Siro as the club’s manager.

Just as Inter conceded a goal shortly after half time in their game with Chievo, they did so again against Palermo, although the response of De Boer’s side to that was excellent, with their captain Mauro Icardi scoring a deserved equaliser.

Despite intensely searching for a winning goal, Inter were frustrated in their efforts to find that, as Palermo valiantly withstood significant pressure to deny De Boer’s team their first win of the season.

De Boer beginning to make a positive impact at Inter

Nevertheless there were many positive aspects to Inter’s performance, including some excellent link – up play between the midfielders and strikers, who answered De Boer’s request for them to execute a high – pressing game extremely well.

That provided a clear indication that the ideas and philosophies which De Boer is endeavouring to communicate to Inter’s players are being well received, as the 46-year-old Dutchman aspires to engineer a team which is capable of improving upon the club’s fourth place finish in Serie A last season.

Subsequently De Boer’s ability to achieve that has been greatly enhanced following the signings of Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario, who are Brazilian and Portuguese internationalist respectively.  As such Inter’s engagement in a late summer spending spree to strengthen their squad and their encouraging performance against Palermo, represent reasons for De Boer to be optimistic about his team’s prospects for the current season.  Despite that having not started promisingly in terms of results, De Boer is undoubtedly nurturing the shoots of recovery at Inter, which both Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario are capable of supporting.

Duo of important acquisitions for Inter

In terms of Joao Mario the 23-year-old, who played in each game of Portugal’s Euro 2016 success, possesses the ability to not only instil a wealth of composure, elegance and guile to Inter’s midfield, but also to orchestrate play for his new team, just as he has consistently done over the past two years for his country and Sporting Lisbon.  It was from Leoes that Inter signed Joao Mario for €45m, which makes him the most expensive Portuguese player ever sold by a Portuguese club.  That title was previously held by Nani, who joined Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon for €25.5m in August 2007.

Whilst Joao Mario represents an excellent acquisition for Inter, so too does Gabriel Barbosa, with I Nerazzuri signing the 20-year-old striker on a five-year contract from Santos.

After helping Alvinegro Praiano to win their second successive Campeonato Paulista in May, Santos, who scored 56 goals during a four year spell with Santos, was a key member of the Brazilian team which won the Olympics football gold medal in Rio.  During the tournament Santos scored twice, with the player now set to continue his development under the tutelage of De Boer and the Dutchman’s extensive technical team at Inter.

Therefore the arrivals of Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario have considerably strengthened Inter’s already competitive squad but greatly improved their outlook for the 2016-2017 season, which everyone associated with the club now has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about.

Pescara represent Inter’s next opposition

Inter’s next game arrives against Pescara after the current international break on 11 September, when De Boer, who is now enjoying a period of uninterrupted training with some of his players, will try to mastermind his first win as Inter manager at the Stadio Adriatico.

Guingamp are France’s surprise package this season in Ligue 1


Guingamp are not normally a football team that claim many column inches- for one any person that isn’t French can’t even pronounce their name, but the club who hail from north western France have caused way more than ripples in France’s Ligue 1.

After just 3 games the club are in 2nd place and it’s only goal difference that separates them from 1st place which Monaco currently hold. Now of course it is very true that the season is young and predictably Guingamp may just drop off but that can’t discount from a cracking opening period.

What makes Guingamp’s start so good is that they earned 4 points already from the likes of Monaco and Marseille. On the opening day of the season the club also known as En Avant de Guingamp Côtes-d’Armor -that’s quite something to swallow- drew 2-2 away to Monaco. 

The following week they beat Marseille 2-1, both games they were supposed to lose and both they won. Last weekend they easily overcame Nancy 2-0 and now sit right near the top of the league.

Guingamp are managed by a black manager which should be applauded given the lack of black managers in football. Antoine Kombouare is well known in Ligue 1. He was a defender and was part of the PSG team who won Ligue 1 in 1994.

At 52 he has a decent trophy haul too. Just before PSG were taken over and lavished with riches the former player was announced the clubs manager. The club didn’t perform to expectations but Kombouare did lead them to a  Coupe de France win in 2010 and the following season they reached the final again.

Before his PSG venture he led Valenciennes to the Ligue 2 title and promotion to Ligue 1 back in 2006. He also helped Lens get promoted.

Kombouare is well aware of sorting out Guingamp’s defensive woes and on the evidence of the first few weeks he has done a sterling job. Not only have Guingamp progressed (they kept their first clean sheet of the season against Nancy) they are also scoring goals. Indeed they have scored at least 2 goals in each of their games which will always give them a chance.

Now the question is how far can the club go? The realistic proposition has to be to try and finish in the top half of the league- and get the most points the club has got in Ligue 1. The next level is to qualify for Europe.

Dreamers out there will point to Leicester City and a shock title for Guingamp- but in a long hard grinding season in France that will most probably be above them. However there is no reason that the club can’t continue this fantastic run of form.


Premier League clubs smash £1 Billion barrier in transfer fees


It’s finally happened the £1 Billion barrier has been smashed over the summer as Premier League clubs used the advantage of TV money to splash the cash to reinforce their teams ahead of the new season.

The transfer window shuts tight tonight and some more deals are still likely- though the bulk of these could be loan ones but the total figure is estimated to reach something like £1.1 Billion by the evening’s end. The billion barrier marks a new record from summer 2015 when the 20 clubs amassed a total spending spree of £900m.

The single most expensive player was bought by Manchester United when they spent a cool £89m on Paul Pogba from Juventus. But the club who have spent the most overall is Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City with nearly £170m.

United themselves lie in second place having spent almost £150m which means with a total spend of £320m the Manchester Clubs are responsible for 32% of all total spends from twenty clubs.

One of the biggest surprises is to see Arsenal in 3rd place where Arsene Wenger has finally repeatedly splashed the cash- in previous seasons the Frenchman was content with one big summer transfer- not so this season. The Gunners have splashed almost £100m.

Chelsea though could be set to take that 3rd place away from Arsenal if a rumoured £32m deal to bring back defender David Luiz from PSG materializes.

Champions Leicester City have spent upwards of £40m but there could well be some more transfers for the Foxes today which could take that total spend to £70m. The club who have spent the least are currently Burnley with £11m.

Tottenham Hotspur have surprised many by not dipping deep this summer and have spent just £29m, in a league of 20 spenders the North London club would be 14th.

Liverpool seem to have done the best business on a financial scale where they have spent £68m but they have sold £74m worth of talent and therefore have actually gained £6m overall.

The fees this summer have been smashed through the roof. At the turn of the 2010′s the summer spend was averaging out at £400m and in just six seasons that figure has almost trebled.

It will be interesting to see if the money spent by the most powerful clubs will give them a league title and or trophies, last season proved of course that anything can now happen in the very unpredictable Premier League.

Perez can prosper for Arsenal

Euro 2016

Since the sale of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United four years ago, Arsene Wenger has sought to sign a quality forward but has been thwarted in his efforts to do so on several occasions.

Perez possesses many qualities

However in the instance of Wenger’s pursuit of Lucas Perez, that has ended successfully, with Arsenal signing the 27-year-old striker from Deportivo La Coruna for £17.1m.

In capturing Perez, who is as yet uncapped at international level, Wenger has acquired a player who possesses an excellent all – round game and is well suited to Arsenal’s attractive style of play.

A superb finisher with great movement, Perez also links up and integrates well with teammates, whilst he is also adept at creating goal – scoring opportunities.

Perez vital to Deportivo’s fortunes

He consistently displayed each of those attributes for Deportivo last season, as in addition to scoring 17 goals in La Liga, Perez provided assists for another 10.  That meant that Perez was directly involved in 60% of Deportivo’s 45 La Liga goals, as he was instrumental in helping the club avoid relegation.

Before signing a permanent deal with Deportivo last August, Perez moved to the Galician club on loan from PAOK Salonika for the 2014-2015 season during which he scored six goals in 21 La Liga appearances.

Spells in Greek & Ukrainian football aid Perez’s development

As such over the past two years, the late developing Perez has performed consistently well in Spain, prior to which he enjoyed a fine season with PAOK.

In scoring nine goals in 32 Greek Super League appearances, Perez helped PAOK finish the 2013-2014 campaign as runners-up, whilst he represented great value for money for the club as they signed him for just €700,000 from FC Karpaty Lviv, with whom Perez spent two-and-a-half seasons.

In total for the Ukrainian club, he played 60 times and scored 15 goals, one of which was a penalty against PAOK in the two team’s 2011-2012 UEFA Europa League Play – Off round tie.

To date that is one of four goals Perez has scored in European Competition, with the other three arriving during his time with PAOK.

Outset of Perez’s modest career

As well as playing for Deportivo in Spain, Perez began his professional career with Atletico Madrid C in 2007, before moving on to Rayo Vallecano two years later.

Initially Perez played for the Madrid – based club’s reserve side, before being promoted to their first team during the 2010-2011season during which he scored his first La Liga goal to help Rayo to a 3-0 home win over Real Vallodolid in November 2010.

Despite that Perez was allowed to leave Rayo and join Karpaty Lviv on a free transfer, as his development as a player gathered pace during his time in the Ukraine.

Subsequently although Perez’s career is modest relative to that of Arsenal’s highest profile players, such as Petr Cech, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, having played throughout Europe the Spaniard has gained great experience, which will serve him well when representing the Gunners both domestically and in Europe.

Perez can become a success at Arsenal

The nature of Perez’s game, in the sense that it is characterised by his ability to link – up play, whilst creating and scoring goals, means that he undoubtedly has the potential to prosper at Arsenal, where the player’s technical ability will be fully appreciated not only by his new manager and team mates but also by the club’s supporters, who have long craved a striker of his quality.

Wilshere may have to revive career away from Arsenal

Euro 2016

Throughout Jack Wilshere’s career, the wonderfully gifted central midfielder has been plagued by injuries, which have prevented him from fulfilling his potential.

Injuries impair Wilshere’s involvement and performance

In addition to being unable to play for over 17 months during 2011 and 2012 due to a badly damaged ankle, Wilshere also missed large parts of both the 2013-2014 & 2014-2015 seasons through injury.

Furthermore the 24-year-old only played three times last season after fracturing his left fibula.

Despite that Wilshere sufficiently recovered from that to play three times for England at Euro 2016, as Roy Hodgson’s side were eliminated after losing 2-1 to Iceland in the second round.

Nevertheless a lack of match fitness and sharpness inhibited Wilshere from producing his best form, as he struggled to control and orchestrate England’s play to anywhere near the extent that he is capable of.

Wilshere’s current plight

Ultimately whilst that represented a source of frustration for Wilshere, of current concern to the player is playing more first team football, with his opportunities to do that for Arsenal having been limited so far this season.  Specifically in the Gunners opening three English Premier League games, Wilshere has made just two substitute appearances, with Arsene Wenger preferring to field other midfield options ahead of the 34-times capped England internationalist.

As a consequence of that England manager Sam Allardyce has omitted Wilshere from his first squad, with the midfielder’s international future dependent upon his ability to play more regularly at club level.

In order to do that, it may be necessary for Wilshere to move away from Arsenal, for whom he has scored 12 goals in 159 appearances, since making his Premier League debut for the club against Blackburn in September 2008.  In doing so Wilshere became the Gunners youngest ever league debutant at the age of 16 years and 256 days, which is a record that still stands.

Almost eight years after first appearing for Arsenal, Wilshere remains a supremely talented player, blessed with great movement, passing and vision.  Those attributes enable Wilshere to dictate play from the centre of midfield, whilst his drive, enthusiasm and passion combine to make him a box-to-box player, who also possesses strong leadership qualities.

However given that Wilshere has fallen out of favour at Arsenal – with the club’s squad laden with quality midfielders such as Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka – it is altogether possible that he may need to find a new stage on which to showcase his vast array of skills.

Wilshere may leave Arsenal on loan for a second time

That is particularly the case since the Gunners are willing to allow him to leave the club on a temporary basis, as reported by the BBC.

At the start of 2010, Wilshere spent four months on loan at Bolton in a move which substantially aided his development.

Recently that has somewhat stagnated, meaning that Wilshere is currently seeking to revive his career, with the potential existing for him to do that whilst out on loan from Arsenal.

Ventura leads Italian evolution, not revolution


A new era begins this Thursday, as Giampiero Ventura takes charge of Italy for the first time. The former Torino boss comes up against France in a friendly in Bari, preparation for the upcoming opening World Cup qualifier away to Israel.

The mood surrounding the Azzurri is happier these days. Italy shrugged off major criticism heading into Euro 2016 to perform well under now Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Eliminated on penalties in the Quarter-finals by Germany, the feeling is if that got over that hurdle the trophy would have been in reach.

Conte was stout in his devotion to the unit. There was no room for the individual; all would have to function for the collective. He was loyal to players he felt could help the group.

That meant there was no room for some of the bright talent coming through the ranks at clubs on the peninsula. It is something Ventura has addressed in his first squad – while still following the Conte framework. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli, Daniele Rugani, and Andrea Belotti are included in the squad, while Federico Bernardeschi is retained from Euro 2016 and Marco Verratti returns from injury.

It is a spine of a team which could well be part of the Azzurri setup for the next decade. But there are notable names left out, as Ventura retains Conte’s primarily used 3-5-2 system.

In that formation Ventura not only continues where he left off at Torino, but builds from the Juventus backline of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli – Ventura convinced the latter to come out of retirement. However, further forward that means no space for Lorenzo Insigne, Domenico Berardi and Stephan El Shaarawy.

“El Shaarawy went to Euro 2016, but there was no role in the 3-5-2 for him,” the new coach said on Monday. “The same holds true for Berardi. As long as the formation is this, it will be difficult for [wide] attackers to find a place.”

Ventura went on to explain he wanted to call up as much of the Euro 2016 squad as possible, as he seeks a good start to what is a tough qualifying group. One which also contains Euro 2016 qualifiers Spain and Albania. The question is whether Ventura will be rigid going forward or if this is a short-term measure aimed at instant points.

Conte fell short in bringing through some of the next generation, offering only fleeting game time. For now it is very much an evolution of the work he did over the past two years. Long term, will we see more of a revolution for the Azzurri?

Meet Fabinho: the Brazilian sensation who could be off to Old Trafford

Will Fabinho be on the move to Old Trafford before the season starts?

The Brazilian international has been strongly linked with the Red Devils lately, whilst AS Monaco have signed Djibril Sidibe as a potential replacement.

Fabinho was bought by Monaco for a reported fee of €1.5m in 2013, a deal this summer would make the club €25m profit. He finished the 2015/16 season as the club’s second top goal-scorer and was the most used outfield player from the squad.

During his three years at the French Club, the 2015/16 campaign has been Fabinho’s best season of his career. The right-back has made 34 league appearances for the Ligue 1 side, as well as completing six goals and four assists.

The 22-year-old has the ability to play in a few positions, which would make Fabinho an ideal signing considering the injury crisis Manchester United have been through the past few seasons. Something Jose Mourinho’s side could benefit from that would lead them to a title charge next season.

Jose Mourinho is planning on boosting the Manchester United defence; the department could do with one or two additions ahead of the first Premier League fixture. The manager is keen on the full-back and a deal is very likely to happen before the transfer window is closed. Fabinho was wanted by Louis Van Gaal last summer before Matteo Darmian was bought from Torino.

Fabinho having the height of a centre-back as well as his physical attribute will allow him to win more duels against wingers of all kinds which will be a main reason for him to succeed in the Premier League. He played a big role the club on both sides of the pitch as Monaco finished third in Ligue 1 this season. Also, he spent half the season as a right-back – but was also operated in a centre role as a central defensive midfielder.

Considering the fact that Fabinho is only 22, he has a few areas that will need improving on, mainly his end product in the final third to make sure he doesn’t get caught out whilst attacking down the flanks. However, this is something that will come in due course, with more playing time and guidance under Mourinho, a move to Manchester United could certainly help Fabinho to reach his full potential.

Monaco have already completed business with Manchester United in the past, involving the Anthony Martial deal which led to the side receiving a massive £55m fee for the Frenchman, which could happen again with this potential transfer.

With Jorge Mendes being the agent of Fabinho as well as Jose Mourinho, it would certainly increase United’s chances of signing the individual. The football agent has played a key role in helping many of his clients to join the Red Devils over the past couple of years and has established an exceptional working relationship with Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.

Manchester United will want to bring in an individual like Fabinho this summer, with current first choice right-back Antonio Valencia, recently turning 31-years-old and he isn’t expected to be part of Jose Mourinho’s future plans. For now, he is being used by the manager ahead of Matteo Darmian, due to his physical presence and work rate, but the arrival of Fabinho would turn it all around.

Antonio Valencia spent most of last season as a right-back, whilst his preferred role as a right-winger, was already covered by a few individuals ahead of him in the pecking order. As well as playing out of position, the Ecuadorian lacks the intelligence and positioning to be the long-term solution for the club.

Meanwhile, Fabinho is a natural right-back, would be a straightforward signing for Manchester United to complete. His end product compared to Valencia is much better, with the Brazilian being involved in more goals and assists in the previous season for his respective club. On paper, you would expect the latter to be more productive, since he spent most of his career as an attacking player but has only completed four assists and zero goals in all competitions.

Goal shy Eder looks to rediscover goal scoring form for Portugal

Euro 2016

Despite having played the entirety of Lille’s three Ligue 1 games this season, Portugal’s Euro 2016 final match winner Eder has not yet scored, as the 28-year-old striker intensely searches to rediscover his goal scoring touch.

Eder retains place in Portugal squad

The former Swansea City player is set to continue his efforts to do that whilst on international duty, as he has been named in Fernando Santos’ 24-man squad for Portugal’s upcoming friendly with Gibraltar and 2018 World Cup qualifier against Switzerland.

As well as Eder, 19 other members of Portugal’s Euro 2016 players are included in Santos’ current squad, the average of which is 26-and-a-half years old.  Whilst the youngest member of Santos’ party is Renato Sanches at 19-year-old, the eldest is the 34-year-old Bruno Alves.

Furthermore the Cagliari centre back is also the third most capped player in Portugal’s current squad as he has played 86 times for his country, with Joao Moutinho and Nani having made four and seventeen more appearances than Alves respectively.

The Selecao’s record appearance holder and top goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo is one of three players from Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 squad set to miss the country’s upcoming games, with the other two being the unattached Ricardo Carvalho and Vieirinha.

Relative to Ronaldo’s omission the Real Madrid forward is still trying to recover from the knee injury which he sustained during the first half of Portugal’s 1-0 Euro 2016 final victory over France, with Eder scoring a superb winning goal, whereby he struck a powerful low 25-yard shot beyond the despairing dive of Hugo Lloris.

Eder’s unsensational goal – scoring record

Although Eder’s fourth goal for Portugal, it was his first in a competitive game, since his other three arrived in friendlies against Italy, Norway and Estonia.  Given that he has made 29 appearances for Portugal, Eder’s international goal – scoring record is extremely modest.

As such Eder’s aim is to improve upon that against both Gibraltar and Switzerland, whilst in order to do so it will be necessary for him to rediscover his goal-scoring touch since that has deserted the Guinea Bassau born player during his club Lille’s first three games of the 2016-2017 season.

After joining the French side on loan from Swansea in January, Eder scored six goals in 14 appearances to help Lille finish fifth in Ligue 1 and qualify for this season’s Europa League, in the group stages of which they will play Wolfsburg, Everton and Krasnodar.

Subsequently following his fine form for Lille, Eder signed a permanent four-year contract with Les Dogues, for whom he has performed well so far this season without as yet scoring a goal.

Many attributes to Eder’s game

As a powerful and tenacious centre forward, who is blessed with great aerial strength and touch, Eder possesses an excellent all round game, despite not being a prolific goal scorer at either club or international level.

Nevertheless the quality of his goal against France, along with the manner in which commanded the attention of Les Bleus centre back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Samuel Umtiti after appearing as a second-half substitute, provided a clear indication that Eder has the potential to lead Portugal’s frontline, which he may be tasked with doing in the games with Gibraltar and Switzerland, given Ronaldo’s absence from those.

Ultimately although Eder does not score regularly, he valuably contributes to both Lille and Portugal’s performances, as the 6ft 3in striker is adept at holding the ball up and bringing team mates into play.

Therefore in addition to aspiring to continue that in Portugal’s next two matches, Eder will also strive to score a first competitive goal, since his Euro 2016 final match – winning goal against France.