Four possible summer transfers for Barcelona

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There’s still three weeks to go before the summer transfer window officially opens, but that hasn’t stopped all of the major European clubs either announcing deals or positioning themselves to do so as soon as it hits midnight on June 30.

Barcelona have already secured Frenkie De Jong from Ajax, and after a string of world class performances since the announcement was made, it already looks like the Catalans are getting a bargain, and a player who is ready made for their midfield.

He won’t be the only new player to ply his trade at the Camp Nou next season, however, so let’s take a look at four more who are being rumoured to be wearing Blaugrana in 2019/20. Continue reading

The European football team of the season 2016-17


The end of football in Europe has arrived. In England Chelsea wrapped up yet another league title under the guidance of new manager Antonio Conte. In France Monaco stopped PSG’s dominance with a very deserved and hard fought title win. Real Madrid finally won La Liga after a 5 year win less spell. But some things never change, in Serie A Juventus wrapped up their 6th consecutive title and Bayern Munich eased to yet another Bundesliga title.

There have been some superb performances this season and this will be celebrated below in the European team of the season. The format takes a 3-5-2 system.

Goalkeeper- Gianluigi Buffon

Simply outstanding for yet another season, Buffon has simply been a rock in goal for Juventus. His exploits have heavily influenced the Italians reaching a 2nd Champions League final in three years. It’s the one title he craves for as Juve look to win their treble this season. He’s conceded just 1 goal in the knock out stages of the competition and some of his saves against Monaco alone were worthy of inclusion here. There really isn’t anyone else who can touch the 39 year old at present.

Defender- Marcelo

The Brazilian has been consistant for a number of years now, but this season seems to have been his best as an individual. His timing in his tackles has improved as Real have become a constant thorn in their rivals sides. Marcelo has developed as a player and has so much confidence on the ball. Never afraid to go forward to, so he keeps that Brazilian tradition up, and his pace is electrifying.

Defender- Giorgio Chilleni

The Juventus man has been arguably the best Italian defender for a number of years now. His experience is second to none and he was born to play in the role of defender. He is now celebrating his 6th Serie A title in a row and like Buffon was pivotal to Juventus’ progress to this years Champions League final. He is part of a defence who has let in 26 goals this season which is the fewest in the league.

Defender-Leonardo Bonucci

Again we turn to another Juventus player. Bonucci, who plays the game so calm and can almost second guess what will happen before it does. His partnership with Chilleni could well go down as one of the great ones. Bonucci was once seen as spare parts by Inter, but the joke was on them that they let this talented Italian leave. Has had another tremendous season.

Midfielder- Cristiano Ronaldo

Of course because of his goals Ronaldo seems to fit into the more forward line of thinking. But the Portuguese has always been known as more of an attacking midfielder. Now into his 30′s Ronaldo shows no signs of slowing down. He hasn’t scored as many goals in the league as he’d like, but the goals that he has got have always been so important. Another title was added to his growing collection at the weekend and now he will be looking to win back to back Champions League, which has yet to be done. Quite simply Ronaldo has been irresistible this season just like the 10 that preceded it.

Midfielder- Eden Hazard

Serious questions were asked last season when Hazard and Chelsea had a nightmare and collapsed. Just how good was Hazard? Well this season he has proved just how good he is. His silky runs, dribbles, great play off the ball and his wonderful goals have underlined Hazard as one of the best players in Europe. He’s the very one player in England that when he has the ball everyone takes a deep breathe. Superb and highly consistant.

Midfielder- Bernardo Silva

The Monaco man is one of the reasons they are celebrating the Ligue 1 title. A brilliant distributor of the ball, with an eye for a great tackle, Silva has been phenomenal this season. He also scores goals and Monaco will do well to hold on to the Brazilian. One of the very best players in France right now.

Midfielder- N’golo Kante

Everyone could see how brilliant Kante was at Leicester and was a major reason Leicester surprised everyone with a league title. At Chelsea he has grown in stature to become one of the very best players, and now he has won 2 league titles in a row with different clubs. Kante has been magnificent this season where many after his Premier League player of the year regard him as one of the very best mid fielders in the world.

Midfielder- Lionel Messi

The Argentinian is here again of course and it was difficult to leave him out even if Barcelona have been underwhelming this season. Messi still got 37 goals in La Liga easily the most in the league. His goals and influence have been sublime and even though this has clearly not been his best season he has still for moments clearly been far and away the best player on the planet.

Forward- Gonzalo Higuian

Higuian moved to Juventus in an £80m deal and the pressure was on the forward to deliver. And he did. 24 goals in Serie A may not put him top of the pile but he was part of a team and he did deliver the goals that gave Juventus their 6th title in a row. He continues to score goals at a superb rate and gives Juventus an all round completion. One of the very best centre forwards in Europe.

Forward- Harry Kane

The Tottenham forward simply couldn’t be ignored as he finished top of the goal scorers in England with 29. Kane has been brilliantly consistent for Spurs scoring those 29 goals from just 30 matches and in the last two seasons he now has 54 goals from just 68 games. The future is certainly bright for Kane.

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Top 5 Fantasy Football Goalkeepers – Serie A


Serie A returns after the international break and here we will take a look at the five top performing goal keepers who could be a valuable addition to your Fantasy Football team. Our feature will take a look at Ciprian Tatarusanu, Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Marchetti, Gianluigi Donarumma and Pepe Reina.

Ciprain Tatarusanu didn’t have the best international weekend as he was in goals for Romania as they went down 3-0 to Poland, however, he is back is League action this weekend and Fiorentina keeper will fancy keeping a clean sheet against an Empoli team that have failed to score in four of their last five matches. He can be yours for 3M and with 25 points so far this season, he is certainly providing value for money.

Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon played for Italy against Liechenstein and Germany during the international week, and didn’t concede any, although he only played the first half of the Germany match. Juventus line up against Pescara, who have only managed to score nine goals so far in this campaign, this weekend and although he doesn’t come cheap (he is valued at 14M), a Juventus win without conceding looks like a realistic prospect.

Federico Marchetti , who covered for Gianluigi buffon in the South Africa World Cup in 2010 has only scored one point this season, however the Lazio keeper should line up against a Genoa side who come into this match in poor form. The away side have lost three of their last four away matches and failed to score in three of those. Marchetti is valued at 5M, and it is only a matter of time before Lazio get their act together defensively.

Milan keeper Gianluigi Donarumma has kept five clean sheets in his twelve starts so far this season. He is highly regarded in Italy and played the second half of the Germany friendly, replacing Buffon at half time, keeping a clean sheet. He is valued at 2M and his Price/Performance ratio of 12.0 is quite incredible and is definitely a player who should come under serious scrutiny for your Fantasy Football team.

Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina has kept a clean sheet in four of his twelve starts this season. They line up against a Udinese side and the keeper who is valued at 6.5M will be eager to keep a clean sheet here and help his side towards three points. Although they haven’t quite hit the heights of last season yet, Napoli are unbeaten in their last four and there is every chance that run will extend to five here.

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Chi sarà l’erede di Gianluigi Buffon?


Gianluigi Buffon ha raggiunto il traguardo record delle 150 presenze in Nazionale, ma dato che si  avvia a compiere il 38esimo anno di età non è lesa maestà iniziare ad interrogarsi su cui sarà il suo erede. I portieri, da sempre punto di forza della scuola italiana, sono infatti diventati una specie in via d’estinzione.

Lo dicono i numeri:  nella stagione 1995/1996 i portieri italiani erano titolari in tutte le 18 squadre partecipanti al campionato di serie A; vent’anni dopo, lo scenario  si è rivoluzionato, con soli 10 portieri italiani su venti che giocano negli undici iniziali.

Il secondo portiere in Nazionale lo fa Sirigu, che però gioca all’estero al PSG e quest’anno è scivolato indietro nelle gerarchie di Blanc  che gli ha preferito il tedesco Kevin Trapp.  L’erede in pole position per il dopo Buffon, sembra dunque essere Mattia Perin, che vanta già 79 presenze in Serie A, a dispetto dei suoi 22 anni appena compiuti. Merito del Genoa che ha puntato su di lui sul dopo Frey.

Si parla benissimo anche di Nicola Leali, classe ’93 ,cresciuto nel mantovano e poi nel vivaio del Brescia. Dal 2012 la Juventus gli concede esperienza in attesa di riportarlo a Vinovo: Lanciano, Spezia e da quest’anno a Frosinone in A, trampolino verso il ritorno a casa. Di un anno più vecchio,  Marco Sportiello, portiere cresciuto nelle giovanile dell’Atalanta e tre le note più positive per la Dea nella scorsa stagione.

Tra queste giovani speranze e Buffon, il nulla o quasi. Gli unici che giocano titolari sono Federico Marchetti della Lazio, in passato nel giro della Nazionale, ma troppo spesso penalizzato da frequenti infortuni,  Daniele Padelli del Torino, Andrea Consigli del Sassuolo, Andrea Mirante del Bologna e Stefano Sorrentino del Palermo.

Troppo poco per una scuola che fino a poco tempo fa sfornava talenti a ripetizione.

Serie A – Bargain basement performers

We now conclude our first series of examining bargain basement alternatives to those expensive stars most fantasy managers will likely have somewhere in their squads by taking a look at the Italian Serie A, and with the league the newest of the season (having kicked off several weeks after the French Ligue 1, which got the entire game underway) some of the players we will look at here will have played a minimum of one game less than some of those we have looked at previously at the time of writing, but that doesn’t mean that early season form has failed to produce any such lower cost options for our fantasy managers to ponder.

In goal, Juventus stopper Gianluigi Buffon is, perhaps unsurprisingly, leading the way with 160 points and is also the most expensive keeper in the league at €10.50m, but there are some cheaper stoppers with only a relatively slight difference in points to date, with a minimum saving of €3.00m by going for Roma custodian Morgan De Sanctis instead. If that saving isn’t enough for you, however, then fourth placed Norberto Murara Neto of Fiorentina fame may fit the bill – he has 50 points less than Buffon at 110, but would only set you back €2.00m – that’s a great saving of €8.50m, which could certainly offer freedom in other areas of the fantasy pitch. Buffon remains, however, one of the most consistent and reliable performers in Europe, so while this may be an option there would be very few who would blame any of the 3% of fantasy bosses who opted to keep the Italian between their sticks.

In front of the keeper, Juventus have largely dominated which each of the three top points scorers featuring in defence for the Old Lady. Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna have all done well with 150, 120 and 115 points respectively, and each would set you back either €8.00m (Lichtsteiner and Bonucci) or €7.50m (Ogbonna). That is consistent to be sure, but Silivan Widmer would be far from a disastrous alternative. He costs only €3.50m and has earned himself 95 points already, so there is definitely a points hit to take there, but the saving may be enough to include the eventual winner in your squad after all, so the option is there.

As far as midfielders go, the points haven’t exactly racked up at a rocket pace just yet, with Mateo Kovacic (Inter) leading the way on 75 points, with a value of €7.00m. He is, therefore, a good bit cheaper than the most expensive Serie A midfielder (Arturo Vidal, Juventus, €12.50m, 65 points) so Kovacic could be considered a good option. The most noticeable “cheap” player so far would be Roma’s Franco Vázquez, who has 60 points despite costing only €2.50m, so he is definitely one to consider.

Inter striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo leads the way as far as Serie A strikers go, and the forward, on-loan from Premier League outfit Southampton, is relatively cheap already at €5.50m, so it is some wonder that 0% of managers have signed him up already – anyone struggling for points up front should definitely look at him as an option, as he is outperforming team-mate Mauro Icardi. Icardi has 70 points, so he is no pushover but at a value of €7.50m he is surely not quite as attractive a prospect as Osvaldo based on form so far this season. It is still early days in Serie A, even more so than in other leagues, so that could of course change, but these two guys look like far more solid investments than the likes of Juventus striker Carlos Tevez, who has 90 points but costs double Osvaldo’s value at €11.00m. Tevez is also the most owned Serie A-based striker with 3% ownership, so perhaps a swap from the Argentinian to the Argentinian-born Italian international could be a good move at this point.

That concludes this first series of bargain basement stars. The series may be revisited at a later stage of the season once form has settled and teams start to show some definite consistency with regards to where they may end up come the season’s finale, but for now hopefully our fantasy managers out there have some food for thought as to some changes which may, on paper and based on reputation at least, not look like good ones – but ones which will prove fruitful when it comes to points totals as the season progresses. Thanks for reading.