5 of the best La Liga transfers during the window

The summer transfer window is now closed around Europa and Spanish La Liga clubs have made a lot of business during the summer and first couple of weeks of the 2020-21 season.

New arrivals were landed as late as deadline day on Monday and managers have a fortnight to put their new plans in place due to the international break.

Here’s a look back over the transfer window to five players we believe could have the biggest impact on your fantasy team this season:

1. Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
The Uruguayan had a quiet end to his career at Barcelona by his standards but showed he still has it with a brace in his 12-minute Atletico Madrid debut in the 6-1 thrashing of Granada.

Luis Suarez may be considered a gamble for your fantasy team because he will set you back £10.50m, but with Diego Costa seeing a lack of game time and Joao Felix not putting up the goals in his first season, the 33-year-old could quickly establish himself as Diego Simeone’s main goalscorer.

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Lazio season preview: Will the Aquile fly again in 2020/21?

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It’s time to go again already? Well yes, and Lazio are actually arriving late to the party.

Simone Inzaghi’s men are back in action on Saturday when they hop across the Mediterranean to Sardinia to take on a Cagliari side led by former Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco.

Lazio’s delay in getting underway was down to the fact that their week one fixture with Atalanta was postponed by 10 days; La Dea were allowed some extra preparation time due to their late 2019/20 finish on Champions League duties.

Where were we?

Lazio’s 2019/20 campaign was a story of two parts: pre-coronavirus and post-coronavirus. Continue reading

David Silva’s Real Sociedad move just another compelling La Liga storyline

It was the move nobody saw coming, not least Lazio who believed they had agreed a deal with David Silva with a medical even scheduled for the Spanish midfielder in Rome. Indeed, Real Sociedad caused waves with their announcement on Sunday evening that Silva had signed for them ahead of the 2020/21 season.

This is quite the coup for La Real. Silva has been one of the game’s most prolific and gifted playmakers for the past decade or so, earning his place as a Premier League legend over 10 years at Manchester City. Silva is held in such high esteem that City plan to erect a statue of him outside the Etihad Stadium next year.

He might be 34 years old and into the twilight of his career, but Silva was a key player for Manchester City right up until the moment he left at the end of his contract. He still has plenty to offer and Real Sociedad will be the beneficiaries of that. He will lift their midfield and creative play to a higher level.

It was already at a high level after the successful loan signing of Martin Odegaard, with the Norwegian marking himself out as one of La Liga’s best young talents over the course of the 2019/20 campaign. Odegaard has now been recalled to the Santiago Bernabeu, though. Silva is an exceptional replacement.

This should see Real Sociedad continue their development as one of the most exciting, exhilarating teams in the Spanish game at this moment in time. Last season saw La Real made great progress under head coach Imanol Alguacil and the signing of Silva should allow them to continue that.

While Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid might have occupied the top three places in La Liga for another season last term, there are plenty of storylines at a lower level to hold interest. Silva’s arrival at Real Sociedad is another of them. Unai Emery’s appointment at Villarreal and his signing of Dani Parejo from Valencia is another.

Real Sociedad have been building something for a few years now. They boast a number of exciting young players and experienced veterans who give them a good balance. Silva could become the player who makes them tick, though. The player to take them that little bit further. One wonders if Lazio will be watching.

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David Silva produces a dramatic U-turn to shun Lazio and join Real Sociedad

David Silva has created some brilliant swerves and dummies in his time on the pitch but he may have just pulled off his best yet, and it required not even kicking a ball. The Manchester City legend who was always leaving at the end of the season has decided at the eleventh hour to join La Liga’s Real Sociedad even though he was expected to sign for Serie A outfit Lazio, and the Italians are furious about his decision.

The problem with Silva’s change of heart is because he neglected to tell Lazio of his decision, apparently simply not returning their calls as he focused on signing on a free for Real Sociedad.

Lazio’s sporting director Igli Tare said: “I learn about David Silva’s transfer to Real Sociedad. I have great respect for the player, but not for the man.”

But why has Silva decided to join Sociedad? At least on paper it looks like the midfield maestro has chosen the weaker team. Lazio really improved this season and at one point were giving Juventus a run for their money for the title before eventually fading away. Lazio will also play in next seasons Champions League.

As for Sociedad they had a decent season themselves by their standards and finished 6th and have qualified for the Europa League. Sociedad look a club on the up and that together with the prospect of returning to his home country seems to have been too much to turn down. A sixth placed club from last season wanting your services at 34 was the carrot that Silva was after and he is sure to fit into the side and maybe even gain more regular games than he would have at Lazio.

It has been an emotional week for Silva even if he didn’t show the best etiquette to Lazio and he told Manchester City fans: “I look back and it’s clear I could not have made a better decision than to accept City’s proposal to join their project back in 2010. Manchester City and I have grown together. In 10 years, I have developed personally and professionally. I have celebrated many victories and titles and lived through epic moments.”

Silva then added:

“I have seen my lovely child, Mateo, born and I have even started to feel comfortable under heavy rain! City are a fantastic family. I won’t ever forget the way they threw themselves into helping me when I suffered the hardest moments of my life, offering me support and empathy.”

Silva will be hoping that he has some more magic left in his boots for Sociedad to have a successful season and build on the last one. Dropping down from the Champions League to Europa will be worth it for the international great to finally return to his home country to play out his days.

David Silva could be worth adding to your fantasy team for the new season ahead. Check out his statistics and value.

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Breaking down Lazio’s Mercato Needs

Lazio will be making its highly anticipated return to the Champions League next season and will be eager to hit the ground running in Europe’s elite competition. Simone Inzaghi’s men surprised Italy this season, springing an unlikely title challenge, but ultimately fell short. In many ways, their lack of depth hurt them late and caused the Biancocelesti to drop unnecessary points. With Lazio competing on three fronts next year, Igli Tare and Claudio Lotito will use this summer to retool the side and offer Inzaghi more flexibility.

According to recent reports, Lazio are in the market for another striker. Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa formed a deadly duo in the final third this season, but Lazio lacked quality depth when either was out of the lineup. Felipe Caicedo finished the season with nine goals but left a lot to be desired at crucial moments while Bobby Adenkanye failed to break through Inzaghi’s starting eleven.

Lazio have since been linked with former Real Madrid striker Borja Mayoral. In recent times, however, Fenerbahce’s Vedat Muriqi has emerged as the favorite up front. The Kosovo international will reportedly join Lazio for 18 million euros and will give Inzaghi some much-needed depth.

Beyond Muriqi, Lazio are closing in on SPAL’s Mohamed Fares for the left wingback role. Jony struggled to make an impact when called upon while Senad Lulic is beginning to slow down out wide. As a result, reinforcements are needed to offer Lazio some width and pace in the wide areas. Jordan Lukaku never got going in Inzaghi’s system and could very well be on his way out this summer. Fares is already familiar with Serie A and was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for SPAL. At eight million euros, Fares could offer Lazio great value, similarly to Manuel Lazzari down the right-hand side.

While Fares and Muriqi offer depth and will largely be used in rotation, Lazio have set their sights on a huge free agent signing. Manchester City’s David Silva is reportedly heavily considering moving to the nation’s capital and joining forces with his compatriot Luis Alberto in the middle of the park. The duo will undoubtedly form one of the league’s most creative midfield units and will thrive supplying Immobile and Correa.

Silva may be approaching 35 years old, but the Spaniard could offer Lazio another season or two at the highest level. Lazio struggled to break sides down towards the tail end of the season and could benefit from Silva’s presence in their lineup. The former Valencia man, however, is currently weighing an offer from Qatar and will give Lazio his final answer shortly. In any case, Silva would be a major coup for Tare and would offer the side a wealth of experience going into the Champions League.

Fares, Muriqi, and Silva would represent a phenomenal summer for Lazio, but if Inzaghi’s men want to take the next step, they arguably need another centreback. Francesco Acerbi, Luis Felipe, and Stefan Radu formed an uncompromising trio at the back this season, but they could benefit from an injection of youth.

The Biancocelesti were previously linked to Hellas Verona’s Marash Kumbulla, but the defender is now Inter bound. In many ways, the Verona man is an ideal profile for Lazio and would have refreshed their rearguard. Beyond Kumbulla, Lazio could inquire about Juventus wantaway Daniele Rugani. The former Empoli man desperately needs a move away and could rekindle his best form away from Juve. In any case, another defender would help reduce Acerbi’s workload significantly and tighten up their back three ahead of Thomas Strakosha.

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Manchester City say goodbye to their player of the decade

The 5-0 victory over Norwich City was the last match in the Premier League for David Silva, who is leaving The Etihad after 10 years in the sky blue jersey.

The Spaniard has played a staggering 434 matches for Manchester City in all competitions, more than any other in the club’s history, recording 77 goals and 122 assists and managed to win 14 trophies: four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and three FA Community Shields.

With 309 appearances in the last 10 seasons in the Premier League he has the second most behind the goalkeeper of their Manchester rivals, David de Gea, who has played four.

Over the past 10 years, many great players have passed through the squads of Pep Guardiola, Manuel Pellegrini, Brian Kidd and Roberto Mancini, but no one has been more consistent and impactful as David Silva. The Citizens fans could always count on Silva to make an impact when it mattered.

“Of course I am very proud,” he told the club website. “To win so many titles and the way we won it. I am a lucky guy. I have had a lot of nice moments, and this one as well, the last one. I will miss everything – even the weather as well. I’m going to miss working every day with these amazing people. They have made my life much easier. It was emotional and I love all of them.”

Before the final farewell with City, Silva has the chance to challenge for the Champions League trophy, the only one that is missing in his glittering career. City play Real Madrid on at the Etihad in the second-leg of the last 16 clash, after they won 2-1 on at the Santiago Bernabeu in February.

“I hope we can win it,” he continued. “It’s a shame that we can’t play with the fans here, but of course, the safety of the people is the most important thing.”

The English fairytale for Silva began with the transfer from Valencia in 2010 when he signed a four-year contract with City, but stayed much longer. After a decade at the club, the 34 year old will possibly return to Valencia and has been linked with a move to Villarreal in La Liga. Also, Al Sadd’s in Qatar, where his fellow countrymen Xavi and Santi Cazorla already play, is also thought to be an option.

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Fan Zone: Kartik on City’s Sterling, Bernardo & David Silva as well as Fernandinho & more

A special guest for the latest Q&A is Kartik Krishnaiyer- heavily involved in soccer and politics in the state of Florida- and the author of Blue with Envy: My American Journey with Manchester City.

Instead of starting with how it all began for Kartik, the focus in this part of the Q&A is mostly on current Manchester City topics, in particular the key players. We discuss current stars such as David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero as well as some of the club’s key figures in the past such as Vincent Kompany, the former captain who left last summer, and of course Francis Henry Lee.

Kartik’s wealth and depth in information when it comes to discussing the Citizens is even more evident when you cover not just the club’s current era but the history of Man City. You can reach Kartik and Rami Soufi on their social media accounts and feel free to discuss further any of the points raised in the Q&A below.

1)  Choose 2 players from David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez for your team. Explain why?

I am going with Sterling and Bernardo Silva though at one point it would have been Sterling and David Silva. Sterling’s off-the-ball runs are among the best in world football, something England fans and many in the British press didn’t quite understand in the World Cup in 2018.

Sterling didn’t score so they couldn’t understand why Gareth Southgate kept picking him then came the Colombia game. Sterling was replaced by Jamie Vardy and that absolutely gutted England’s play going forward. It was then that people started to notice Sterling’s role and significance. Bernardo Silva has a different game than peak David Silva did. Bernardo has more bite to his play without the ball but he is not as creative a player in the final third. They aren’t like for like, but both complement Sterling very well.

2) Choose one from Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho, and explain why?

Fernandinho is the heart and soul of Manchester City. An outstanding two-way player, he’s a master of keeping the ball moving, winning the ball and if needed cynically breaking up play. Also, he is a leader on and off the pitch.

3) Who is in your opinion the best player to ever wear the City shirt, and why?

So this is a difficult conversation because it’s probably Franny Lee – who also later as Club Chairman presided over the worst era in the club’s history largely due to his decision making. Don’t get me wrong he inherited a really bad situation from Peter Swales but he had no idea how to fix it. The most lamentable era in City’s history coincided with his tenure.

Still, as a player he was brilliant. A forward who could score and link play and seemed to reserve his best for the biggest occasions – cup finals, Manchester derbies and other key matches. His partnership with Colin Bell was off the charts.

4) What are City’s weaknesses? Is it the full-backs or the central defensive pair looking shaky? Did losing Kompany hurt City’s title defense?

It is the central defense for sure. Losing Kompany has taken away an important dressing room figure and deprived the Starting XI of the glue that keeps together the team’s core defensively. This has continued to be an issue with City’s transfer failures in the center-back position go back to selling Matija Nastasic to Schalke and buying Eliaquim  Mangala as a replacement. The miscalculations in the market have finally caught up with City.

5) I know you follow Bundesliga closely so you’ve seen Erling Haaland & Achraf Hakimi play. Would you rather sign Haaland or Hakimi? 

Hakimi fits Pep Guardiola’s style of an advanced fullback working a lot in terms of crossing and tucking into midfield. Cancelo was a bad experiment and will likely be moved. Hakimi can be explosive going forward, but I am not in love with his defending.

6) City built a reputation playing the possession game. Do you think this focus on possession at the expense of being more pragmatic has hurt City’s quest to defend the Premier League title?

Yes, and even hurt City’s chances in Europe to be honest even more since counter-attacking wins trophies, particularly in critical and tight games. Frankly, same thing happened to Pep at Bayern Munich. His Bayern teams kept the ball all day long but whenever faced with the counter-attacking ability of the Spanish opponents they played in the semi-finals, the Spanish clubs tended to counter them to death.

7) What do you make of Gabriel Jesus? His stats are great despite being mostly used as a substitute. Would you keep Jesus or go for someone like Harry Kane?

Jesus is a better all-around No. 9 for the modern game than almost anyone we could sign. It’s the stuff he does off the ball and his ability to adapt tactically (as seen in Madrid) that make him suitable for Pep.

Sergio Aguero scores a ton of goals and he’s tough to drop but I would argue Jesus is a better overall footballer at this stage of their careers. At the same time Kane is a wonderful player who doesn’t have to be a No. 9. He can play deeper and already understands Sterling’s game from England duty where the two of them lead the line.

Has there ever been a better Premier League midfielder than David Silva?

At the time, it was considered a good signing, but the transfer of David Silva to Manchester City wasn’t given the sort of reaction the likes of Robinho and Sergio Aguero received. The Spaniard had shown his quality at Valencia, but nobody predicted that he’d become the face of the Etihad Stadium side.

Some might argue that 10  years later Silva has never been the face of Man City. At times, Silva has flown under the radar, never receiving the credit he probably deserves. With the 33-year-old now preparing for his final season as a City player, there is a question worth asking – has there ever been a better Premier League midfielder?

David Silva

“This is the last one,” Silva explained in an interview. “Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time for me. Initially, City were talking about two [more] years. It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years – that’s it.”

Of course, some will put forward the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes as contenders for that unofficial accolade – best midfielder in the history of the Premier League. There’s also a case of classification – how can someone like Roy Keane or Ngolo Kante be compared to Robert Pires, for instance? And what about wingers? Do they count as midfielders?

Nonetheless, it’s worth considering the legacy Silva will leave behind at Manchester City and in the Premier League. The technical level he has brought to the English game has raised the water level of the whole league. Now, midfielders in particular are expected to be able to dictate the pace of games in the way Silva does and has done for the past decade.

The exit of Silva will mark the end of an era at the Etihad. He was central to the first phase of the Abu Dhabi project at Manchester City, helping to establish the club as a force. City made a habit of making statement signings in the early days of the Abu Dhabi takeoever (see Robinho, Aguero and Samir Nasri), but it was Silva who set a precedent on the pitch for the club.

Finding a replacement for Silva won’t be easy. City will hope Phil Foden can step into the void left by the Spaniard, but there’s no guarantee that the teenager will continue his development. Otherwise, they will have to spend big to find a successor for a player who holds a claim to being the Premier League’s best ever midfielder.

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EPL Player of the Week – Raheem Sterling (Man City)

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Life at the top is certainly tough! The old adage that it is harder to defend a title than to win it has certainly seemed apt in recent Premier League seasons, with champions often finding themselves struggling to put up a serious defence the year after lifting the trophy. That has not been the case this year, however, with Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions Manchester City sitting on top of the league table with just a handful of games remaining. Liverpool seem to be the only genuine contenders to City’s crown, with the Reds sitting just one point behind the Citizens at the time of writing.It is imperative, therefore, that City’s players continue their excellent run of form as the season begins to wind down.

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 13

David Silva

The 13th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City travel to West Ham, while Tottenham host Chelsea in one of the biggest games of the campaign so far. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…

GK – Rui Patricio (Wolves)
Wolves play two of the Premier League’s lowest-scoring sides — Huddersfield and Cardiff — over the next week, so Rui Patricio is well worth considering. The Portuguese goalkeeper has 18 points so far this season.

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