Morgan Schneiderlin to play a key role in the Man Utd midfield next season

Morgan Schneiderlin Man utd

Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin struggled in his debut season at Old Trafford, but could well be a prominent figure in the side under new manager Jose Mourinho due to his particular skill set. The French international is primarily a ball-winning midfielder with a wide range of passing, providing the combative qualities to turnover possession, which is key in Mourinho’s philosophy.

The 26-year-old made 29 Premier League appearances for Manchester United last season, and was in the France squad for their 2016 European Championships this summer. Morgan Schneiderlin struggled for consistency under former manager Louis van Gaal, but averaged a tackle or interception every 15 minutes nevertheless. This particular facet is what Mourinho will want to enhance to nullify the threat of the opposition.

Schneiderlin doesn’t have any competition in the ball-winner role in midfield so Mourinho isn’t blessed with a host of viable options. The Manchester United manager always operates with one player who will actively seek to win the ball back, and in Schneiderlin the ability is certainly there. Signed from Southampton for around £27M in 2015, the Frenchman is yet to replicate his past form, but could shine under Mourinho’s organisation.

“As everybody knows, Jose is one of the best coaches in the world. I don’t know him personally but I spoke to Lassana Diarra at the (French training camp) and he only said good things about him. I’m really looking forward to working with him, finding out his methods and winning back the title at Manchester United,” said Schneiderlin about Mourinho in June.

The former Saints man was named as one of the players likely to be sold when the Portuguese coach was appointed, but instead it’s more likely that Morgan Schneiderlin will play an important role in a deep-lying midfield position. With United close to signing Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, a player who will provide goals and assists but offers little defensive protection, a holding-midfield or ball-winner alongside him will be key.

Manchester United will control the middle of the park with two talented ball-players, one of whom is expert at turning over possession, and the other being expert at dictating the tempo and scoring & creating chances. The two midfielder are French also and were both in the squad for Euro 2016, so they should have a good working relationship.

Will failing to show his true worth in his debut season at Old Trafford, will Morgan Schneiderlin play a key role in the Man Utd midfield next season?

Is Wilfried Bony on his way out of Manchester City?


Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony is reportedly a transfer target for a number of clubs this summer with new manager Pep Guardiola unlikely to want a target-man type in attack for the new season. Sergio Aguero is the club’s first-choice centre-forward, while Kelechi Iheanacho looks set to be in the first-team this season as his deputy, and Bony may well be the one forced out to make way for a new arrival.

Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to be linked with a move to Manchester City, and the sale of Bony could fund part of the transfer. Signed from Swansea City in 2015, Bony has struggled to replicate the form he showed at the Liberty Stadium. He scored 35 goals in 70 games for the Welsh club, but managed just 10 goals in 46 for Man City.

While Aguero has quick-feet, clever off-the-ball movement, and is prolific in front of goal, Bony struggled to adhere to City’s fast-paced style of football, and was too technically deficient to link up with the side’s playmakers. Under new manager Pep Guardiola, the demand on Bony will be even greater which could see the player sold to a suitor.

Swansea City have been linked with their former striker, but it’s likely the Ivorian international will aim a bit higher when searching for a new club. Everton have reportedly made interest as they’re looking for a potential replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who wants to leave Goodison Park in pursuit of Champions League football.

As for Wilfried Bony, the 27-year-old is expected to have plenty of offers as he does possess attributes that would be useful at the right club. He’s a powerful centre-forward who can muscle off defenders and steer crosses into the back of the net. Bony was a ruthless finisher at Swansea, but perhaps needs his confidence back to showcase his top form again.

Galatasary, Besiktas and Fenerbahce from the Turkish Super Lig are also reportedly keen on the striker, but may struggle to attract names due to a high-profile international incident leading to players wanting out of the country. The trio of clubs are known for signing ageing or out-of-form Premier League or European talents in an attempt to boost their own reputation, and Bony would be useful if they played to his strengths. However, a move to Turkey doesn’t appear likely this summer.

Bony has been in England for three years now, and would likely prefer a move that allows him to remain in the Premier League. Manchester City paid £25M for the Ivorian and would want to recoup the majority of the money back. Where will Bony end up?

Manchester City unlikely to give up in their pursuit for Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin

Hector Bellerin Arsenal

Manchester City made an approach for Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin this summer but saw their interest rebuffed by the Gunners. However, recent reports have suggested the Spanish defender is considering a switch from the Emirates Stadium to the Etihad which led to Arsenal issuing a hands-off warning to City’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain.

City are in desperate need of a right-back due to the dwindling form of their ageing defenders Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta. Sagna turns 34 next February and Zabaleta will turn 32 in January, and both players have struggled for consistency in the Premier League in the last 12 months. City manager Pep Guardiola needs a long-term replacement and Bellerin fits the bill perfectly.

The Sky Blues boss knows Bellerin from his time with former side Barcelona, and the talented 21-year-old would also fill a space on the homegrown quota. Coming off the back of an outstanding campaign that saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year, representing the Spain national team, while making the squad for Euro 2016, Bellerin’s stock couldn’t be higher at present.

As a result, his asking price will sky rocket, but City are willing to pay whatever it costs to get their man. Bellerin could be a long-serving defender like Zabaleta has been for the club, and reports are suggesting the youngster is open to a potential transfer. Arsenal have a rocky relationship with City with how many players they’ve lost to the Sky Blues in the past, but Bellerin would really hurt.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger developed the defender from an unknown teenager into the best right-back in the Premier League last season, so he won’t care what figures City could throw at the club for Bellerin. Various sources have suggested bids in excess of £40M would be required to enter contract talks, but the Gunners don’t need to sell.

They have a real need to hold on to the Spaniard due to how much Mathieu Debuchy has struggled since his move from Newcastle. The Frenchman spent the last season on loan with Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux and is up for sale this summer. Bellerin is first-choice in the backline for Arsenal, and has all the attributes that Guardiola loves in his fullbacks.

An attacking defender, boasting excessive pace, while creating numerous chances of the teammates. Bellerin has also improved defensively, averaging a tackle or interception every 26minutes. Manchester City are sure to make another approach this summer, but will they get their man?

What can Tottenham expect from new-boy Victor Janssen this season?

Victor Janssen Tottenham

Tottenham signed AZ Alkmaar striker Victor Janssen for around £17M this summer to provide competition for centre-forward Harry Kane. The Dutch international made the Eredivisie Team of the Year after scoring 27 goals in 34 appearances last season, and could well take the Premier League by storm if his final season in the Netherlands is anything to go by.

The wide variety of goals he scored in 2015/16 will be particularly pleasing to manager Mauricio Pochettino, as well as the ruthless nature of his finishing. A powerful but mobile striker who gets himself into good positions in the box, Victor Janssen has all the hallmarks to be a fantastic centre-forward if he can develop in the Premier League.

Still only 22 years of age, the prolific striker has plenty of time ahead of him to forget a career with the Londoners, and will stay hot on the heels of Kane in his debut season. While possessing less of an aerial threat, Janssen is more of a technical player, potentially capable of operating with a strike partner.

He’s primarily left-footed, but has scored with his weaker right foot, and can physically hold his own when given robust treatment. Tottenham have been desperate for a second striker in the squad after letting the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado leave, and Janssen could well stick around for some time.

Tottenham’s transfer activity this summer has been very shrewd with the side addressing a lack of depth. They brought in a known Premier League talent in Victor Wanyama from Southampton to provide some power and competition in the midfield, and now have a striker to take the burden off Kane.

The English international was heavily relied upon last season, and initially struggled to find the back of the net in the early games. But now Pochettino has a secondary option in attack. The likes of Clinton N’Jie was brought in to provide some cover up front, but failed to take his chance when called upon.

Janssen should be a more convincing option for Tottenham with a skill-set more in-keeping with Pochettino’s philosophy. Capable of leading the line on his own, while having the athleticism to isolate defenders, the young Dutch international has been full of goals in the last three seasons which bodes well for Spurs. He scored 32 goals in 74 games for former side Amere City in 2013/14 and 2014/15, while netting a total of 31 goals for AZ Alkmaar in 2015/16.

Could Victor Janssen be a success for Tottenham this season?

Still no new striker on the horizon for Arsenal this summer


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is running out of time to adequately bolster the strikeforce ahead of the new season, with only three weeks remaining until the new Premier League campaign starts. The Gunners currently only have Olivier Giroud as their first-choice centre-forward, but the French international has been given a late holiday after his Euro 2016 excursions which means he could miss Arsenal’s opening game.

Danny Welbeck was brought in to compete with Giroud for a starting place, while at times operating as a wide forward for the Londoners, but the English international is currently sidelined with a lengthy knee injury that will see him out of action until March. As a result, Arsenal have very little in the way of attacking options to lead the line. Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez can play as makeshift centre-forwards, but Arsenal still need another permanent striker.

As for transfer targets, Wenger’s men have been linked with three players this summer – Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, Olympique Lyonnais’ Alexandre Lacazette and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi. However, they have made little progress so far with Napoli holding out for a sky-high asking price, Lyon keen to keep Lacazette in France and Icardi rejecting rumours that his agent held talks with Arsenal this summer.

Arsenal signed pacey Japanese striker Takuma Asano, but it’s unlikely he would be thrown into the deep end in the Premier League, and will instead be used sparingly or in the U21 squad. Chuba Akpom is young striker Arsenal could look to, but his lack of top-level experience would be a gamble in their opening domestic outing against Liverpool. Wenger hasn’t had any luck in his pursuit for strikers, and even saw Jamie Vardy spurn his advances.

The Leicester City striker looked nailed on to join Arsenal ahead of the new season, but instead made a U-turn and signed a new deal with the Foxes. Arsenal are running out of time to bolster the frontline as pre-season has already begun and they will want a forward to be integrated before the Premier League campaign begins.

Vfl Wolfsburg’s Julian Draxler has cropped up on the rumour mill, but the German international is more of a wide man than a centre-forward, a position Arsenal have in abundance, but who will they bring in to lead the line? Giroud could miss the start of the season so will Wenger sign a new face in the attack? Or will a forward operate as a makeshift striker?

Could Riyad Mahrez offer some symmetry to the Arsenal attack?

Riyad Mahrez Leicester City

The future of Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez is being speculated about after midfielder N’Kolo Kante was sold to Chelsea this summer, with reports suggesting a domino effect could occur at the King Power Stadium. Arsenal are one of many clubs being linked with Mahrez’s signature, with the Londoners having a spot in his favourite right-wing position up for grabs, and the Algerian international could be perfect to offer some symmetry to the Arsenal attack.

Riyad Mahez was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year last season, scoring 17 goals and making 11 assists as Leicester City won the Premier League title against all odds under manager Claudio Ranieri, and interest has come his way in its droves as a result. Mahrez made over 130 success dribbles, while creating nearly 70 chances in 37 league appearances, so it’s not hard to see why Arsenal have shown an interest.

The Gunners have a void in Mahrez’s preferred role ahead of the coming season, with no player having staked a claim to start on the right-wing. The Leicester man spent the season cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot and could be useful for Arsenal, as his movement would allow the likes of right-back Hector Bellerin to overlap him in attack. Alexis Sanchez provides a similar threat on the left flank, moves into central areas to get into scoring positions.

When Arsenal are in possession, the likes of Sanchez and Mahrez would occupy a wide starting position to keep the defence stretched, before coming inside when the midfield start probing for movement. The space left due to the inside runs means the fullbacks can overlap out wide, and Mahrez being in the team would mean another prolific goalscorer and creator. Sanchez, Mahrez and Giroud as a trio should see Arsenal score more than the paltry 65 goals last season.

The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell have failed to hold down a starting place on the right, and with manager Arsene Wenger desperate for a trophy haul in potentially his last season at the club, he could well spend big on getting Mahrez’s signature. Leicester don’t need to sell however, and are in a very strong position to convince their star players to stay.

Nevertheless, Arsenal have been regular finishers in the top-four of the Premier League for some time, and have more Champions League pedigree than Leicester which could see Mahrez considering a switch. There’s weeks left before the new Premier League season starts, but could the talent Algerian be in an Arsenal shirt by then?

Can Leicester City’s Nampalys Mendy soften the blow of losing N’Kolo Kante?

Leicester City Unveil New Signing Nampalys Mendy

Leicester City spent £13M on OGC Nice midfielder Nampalys Mendy in anticipation of the sale of N’Kolo Kante to Chelsea this summer, and on the surface the new-boy looks capable of going some way to emulating the French international.

The two players have similar skill-sets. Both are combative, highly-industrious and diminutive in stature. Leicester sign Kante from the French Ligue 2 in the summer of 2015, and now they have signed Mendy from the French Ligue 1 this summer. He could turn out to be a sharp acquisition too.

Mendy, 24, operates as the defensive midfielder between the backline and midfield, snuffing out potential counter attacks, while having the ability to launch an attack from deep with his impressive range of passing. The Nice man completed more than 70% of his long passes, and averaged a tackle or interception every 23 minutes.

Kante had the ability to take the ball forward, but Mendy will be more restrained. The latter seldom dribbled the ball from deep positions, nor will he affect the game in the final third, but Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri – who he played under for former side Monaco – could well coach him to develop his game.

“I am very happy to come to Leicester City. The team have just enjoyed a great season and it’s excellent to be here. For me I want to play at this level. I like the Premier League and I follow every match. It’s fast and physical and I want to impose myself on the league. I know (Ranieri), I know his mentality and I know his philosophy. When he speaks it’s direct and clear and for me I like this,” said Mendy.

Alongside the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Leicester should still boast an effective midfield capable of picking up where they left off, and in Mendy they have a combative influence while making £17M in profit. In addition to his combative qualities gaining the attention of Leicester, Mendy’s passing might also have been a key factor in the Foxes pushing through the deal this summer.

The 24-year-old isn’t shy to hit balls from lengthy distances, which is in-keeping with Leicester’s philosophy, so the likes of pacey Jamie Vardy and new-boy Ahmed Musa could well benefit. Mendy’s fitness record is very impressive, with the midfielder playing in 110 of 112 league games since his move from AS Monaco to Nice in 2013.

Leicester’s new man is described as reliable and consistent, and as things stand will be part of the same team that surprisingly won the Premier League title last season, sans Kante. The likes of Drinkwater, Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez are all seemingly staying at the King Power Stadium and should help to blood Mendy into the side quickly.

If Leicester can keep their star performers of last season, there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy another fantastic season in 2016/17, but the coming weeks will reveal which players are willing to stay at least one more season.

Could Nampalys Mendy be the difference for Leicester City in his debut season at the King Power?

Could Tottenham Hotspur renew their interest in want-away Saido Berahino?

Saido Berahino

West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino has reportedly rejected terms on a new contract and is expected to be sold this summer given he has just one year left on his deal. The 22-year-old has been at loggerheads with the Midlands club for some time after being refused a move to Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United previously, but he’s likely to be cashed in on rather than Albion losing him for very little next summer.

Saido Berahino scored just four league goals in 31 games last season for West Brom, and is clearly unhappy having to stay at the Hawthorns. While having apologised for comments made to West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace – refusing to play for the club while Peace remained at the helm – Berahino is once again fighting with the side to be allowed to leave.

Almost certain to exit at the end of his contract if West Brom continue to reject offers, Berainho is expected to be inundated with offers from Premier League clubs ahead of the new season. Stoke City are one side who have been linked with the young and pacey forward, but Tottenham could well get some real value for a former target due to Albion’s mistreatment of the player.

Spurs saw a £20M bid rejected for Berahino last season with problems over the fee being paid in instalments, but now the London club are in a strong position as Albion won’t want to lose their striker for free. Berahino would command a tribunal fee next summer, but it pales in comparison to the bids rejected by Peace in the last 12 months.

The striker’s stock rose dramatically after he was named West Brom’s Player of the Year with 14 goals scored in the Premier League in 2014/15, but he’s looked out of shape and low on motivation since. Tottenham, however, would feel it wouldn’t take long to get the play back to match fitness, and his particular skill set would see him fit in perfectly at White Hart Lane.

Full of pace and energy, while being a hard-working forward, Saido Berahino would be an ideal player to add to the squad under manager Mauricio Pochettino. He is a ruthless finisher in the final third, ticks the box for homegrown talent, and is still young enough to be developed. Tottenham were willing to pay £20M for the player before, but could now get Berahino for a fraction of that.

With Harry Kane and summer-signing Vincent Janssen as Tottenham’s only strikers in the first-team, should they try their hand at Berahino again?

Everton’s John Stones pushing for an exit from Goodison Park


According to various sources, Everton defender John Stones has told the club of his desire to leave this summer with Manchester City and Chelsea linked with signature. The 22-year-old endured poor form in the 2015/16 season, while Everton greatly underachieved with consecutive bottom-half finishes in the Premier League, and Stones is seeking pastures anew as a result.

Chelsea saw their interest rebuffed in the centre-back last season. Everton rejected bids of around £45M last season as they signalled their interest to retain their most promising talents. However, the Merseyside club look set to let Stones leave this summer with Everton lining up a new centre-back in Kalidou Koulibaly as Stones’ likely replacement.

While Chelsea were keen to sign the England international last season with a number of lucrative bids, Manchester City are the bookies’ favourites to procure Stones’ signature this summer. New City manager Pep Guardiola is keen to recruit a defender proficient with the ball at his feet and someone who can pick out accurate long passes from deep.

Stones’ greatest strength has arguably been his ability in possession and his composure on the ball, two areas the Guardiola is desperate to harness in the City side next season. The Everton man would also tick the box for homegrown players too in a side with very few Englishman so it’s very likely the Sky Blues will do everything in their power to sign the former Barnsley man.

Boasting fantastic athleticism, versatility and pace, Stones has real promise as a modern-day defender, and he’s expected to be a regular in the England national team as preparations begin for their 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Manchester City are looking to part company with Martin Demichelis in the defence, leaving a place for Stones to replace him.

Fitness woes of Vincent Kompany and the inconsistent form of Eliaquim Mangala will see Guardiola keen to being in a new face, and Stones reportedly wants to make the switch to the Etihad Stadium before the players go off on their pre-season tour. Everton are resigned to keeping the centre-back but hold all the cards in regard to asking price as Stones has three years left on his deal.

Given Everton now have a lot of money in the bank, while being in no rush to sell their defender, Manchester City are likely to be force to pay a big transfer fee for John Stones this summer. Everton rejected £45M before, according to various sources, so City might have to pay in excess of that ahead of the new campaign.

Will Arsenal sign another striker this summer?


Arsenal are looking thin in attack for pre-season after first-choice centre-forward Olivier Giroud was allowed a late holiday following his Euro 2016 excursions this summer. The French international has reportedly been given three weeks off according to various sources, and it means Arsenal could have just Chuba Akpom as their only natural striker option going into the new season.

Danny Welbeck was signed from Manchester United to provide competition for Giroud, but a long-term injury suffered means Arsenal will be without the English forward for the majority of the 2016/17 season. The 25-year-old is expected to return from injury in March 2017, which means the London club need at least one new striker in the squad. Manager Arsene Wenger failed to sign Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, but will Arsenal sign another centre-forward?

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with Arsenal for a number of years, and this summer the talented South American has been rumoured to be wanting a move from the Stadio San Paolo. Arsenal are unlikely to splash out a lot of money for a player with no resale value, however, as Higuain turns 29 in December. Nevertheless, he’s a centre-forward enjoying the form of his career who could be the difference in the title next season.

With Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea expected to challenge for the Premier League crown in 2016/17, Arsenal’s task of topping the table is expected to be even harder than last season. While 72 points would have been enough to win the league title in the previous campaign, the two Manchester clubs are being tipped to run away with the league this time round. Arsenal can’t afford to have any deficiencies going into the new season so a new forward is needed.

As things stand, Giroud will return from his holiday far from match fit at a time where Arsenal need to start the season strongly. They do have the likes of Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez who have both played up front in the last year, but their skill set is completely different to the hold-up attributes and aerial threat of Giroud. For supporters, it’s not a good sign that the club aren’t being linked with other strikers after missing out on Jamie Vardy, especially with pre-season now underway.

Everton’s want-away striker Romelu Lukaku would provide some much-needed power to the Arsenal frontline, while having scored 18 league goals in 36 starts last season. He’s keen to leave Goodison Park and has been linked with Arsenal, but who will the Gunners bring through the door this summer?