Wayne Rooney and Marc Overmars both need reality checks after recent comments

Wayne Rooney and Marc Overmars are two superb players, one in Rooney is still playing football now with Derby after a glittering club career mostly with Manchester United. Dutchman Overmars lit up football in the 1990s and early 2000s with Ajax and then in the Premier League with Arsenal and will surely go down as one of the best foreign players to play in the league. However both have really put their foot in it these past few days.

The Convid-19 virus has gripped the world and this has trickled down to football leading some to make some bizarre comments. Rooney was talking about how he felt it was unfair that every footballer is being asked to give up 30% of his salary. He admitted that he could take the hit and then spoke about a young player he plays with at Derby.

The player he says lives on a council estate with his family and earns £2,000 a week, so he would have to give up £600 or £2,400 a month. Forgetting that he would still be bringing in £5,600 a month. There is a complete disconnection with society when Rooney seemingly cannot understand that earning over £5k a month is more than a great wage. Also said player would only be giving up some of his salary for 2-3 months. It is affordable and that is the bottom line.

It is worrying that Rooney would come out with such a statement when many up and down the country living in council homes struggle to find a quarter of the monthly wage that he is talking about, and it makes no sense. If Rooney is that concerned that the player and his family will start to struggle on £5k a month maybe he should be contributing himself?

Another player that made a faux pas this week was Marc Overmars. The technical director of Ajax has called for the Dutch league to end and use the current placings. That would, surprise surprise mean that Ajax would be champions.

There are still 9 games to be played in the league and Ajax have 56 points, however AZ Alkmaar also have 56 points and in 3rd place is Feyenoord with 50. If Ajax were 2nd would Overmars really be calling for the season to be cut short?

Of course it could play out that some European leagues will want the season finished given that Belgium have taken that route. However the main difference there was that Club Brugge could not be caught in 1st place and other positions had been decided and they only had 1 game of the regular season left to play anyway. In other leagues that simply isn’t the case with so much still to play for.

Overmars has shown what appears to be an arrogance, yes he is right many are dying and that football is not important when the virus is here. But to suggest that the league should be shut down with so many games still left to play just feels premature. If the virus situation follows Wuhan where the virus begun it might be possible to bring back football by June. If not then it won’t be possible, but with the Euro’s now postponed until 2021 there is still plenty of time for football to come back.

The Dutch league may well not resume this season, but Overmars seems to have jumped the gun by 4 months in suggesting it should end.

Four big name players that are expected to leave their respective clubs this summer

De Ligt

That exciting time has come once again, where the summer transfer window will be filled with opinionated rumours and ridiculous speculations, before the deals begin to become finalised and publicly official. So far, the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have got down to business quickly within the transfer market, as they will potentially look to dominate their respective league for many years to come whilst also strongly challenge for the Champions League next season.

Meanwhile, it could be another enormous summer where the big name players will be making the huge moves left, right and centre. And if the reports that are constantly being raised within the English media and the European news outlets happen to be true, then we can expect a number of the best clubs inside of Europe to lose one or two of their key players or be forced to sell them.

With no further ado, here are the four big name players that will be on the move this summer…

David De Gea

The perfect player to start off with is none other than Manchester United’s David De Gea, someone who is seen as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League as well as one of the best in Europe. Since the moment his transfer to Real Madrid unfortunately broke down due to a faulty fax machine in August 2015, he hasn’t been the same despite being the team’s best player in recent years, as he has silently questioned the direction the club is heading and the lack of progress made by them on and the pitch.

On top of that, with Ander Herrera leaving on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and Juan Mata not receiving a contract extension by the board, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper moving away after spending eight long years at Old Trafford. If there is much meaning to this and he does end up joining his fellow countrymen in the coming weeks, it will leave United with further problems to resolve, as they are currently in a transition period and will be losing their main man.

Gareth Bale

Another club that will be going through a transition period of sorts will be Real Madrid, who have surprisingly been quiet in the transfer window over the last couple of years and are now in a position to bring in young blood and fresh energy, as the likes of Luka Modric, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos are starting to age. But the main focus just happens to be on winger Gareth Bale, who doesn’t get along with coach Zinedine Zidane and will be looking to move away from the Spanish giants as soon as possible.

The ideal outcome for the player would be to return to the Premier League, a league he has already proved himself in rather than going into a new league and a new culture where it will most likely take him a number of months to adapt and settle into that environment. With Real Madrid being linked with the likes of Eden Hazard, Mohamed Salah and Neymar, offloading the Welsh international instantly and at a discounted figure would make total sense, especially to balance the books on a financial note.

Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi has experienced a lot of ups and downs at Inter Milan, especially throughout the last five to six months, where he has had contract issues with the board, huge fallout with the manager Luciano Spalletti and then it leading to him being one of the main reasons to why the dressing room was filled with tension and diversity. Though, focusing on his ability on the pitch, there are no doubts that he simply knows where the back of the net is as he is the type of striker to score 30 goals a season.

The future of Icardi doesn’t happen to be quite crystal clear at this moment of time, and it will purely be dependent on if Spalletti is replaced by Antonio Conte, a well-known coach who does not allow anyone to get away with their antics or unprofessional behaviour. And if that is the case, the 26-year-old may as well start to look for a new club straightaway, which might not be a problem at all, as the likes of Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus and Manchester United could do with his goal-scoring prowess.

Matthijs De Ligt

After winning the Eredivisie title for the 34th time and reaching the Champions League Semi-Finals, Ajax have once again, caught the attention of majority of the football supporters around the world. However, when that tends to happen, they end up losing a number of key players which is something that they are starting to experience, as Frenkie de Jong has joined FC Barcelona whilst individuals such as Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek are now wanted by literally everyone.

For the time being, it’s time to put the full focus on De Ligt, a 19-year-old centre-back that is already seen as a phenomenal leader and has time and time again, showed his quality on and off the ball. From showing his physical strength to his incredible intelligence to be in the right place at the right time, he is seen as the full package of a defender, which cannot be said about many players that play within his department. If he is to leave during the summer window, it would be for around £65million-£85million.

Frenkie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt – The Ajax duo who are wanted at the Camp Nou

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Barcelona have spent most of the La Liga 2018/19 season sitting confidently and dominantly in first place, though, they are only one or two points ahead of the likes of Deportivo Alaves and Sevilla.

Enersto Valverde’s side beat Real Madrid on the weekend in quite some fashion, as the main man in Luis Suarez stepped up Lionel Messi’s absence and notched up a hat-trick as the Blaugrana beat Los Blancos 5-1 at home. The hosts were a couple of steps ahead of the visitors from the start of the match till the end, which also led Real Madrid’s hierarchy with no choice but to sack Julen Lopetegui.

However, the side still seem to be out of their depth and unconvincing when their key individuals are either injured or suspended. Due to this, Barcelona are not able to effectively flex their ability or strength around the pitch like they have been doing so over the last decade in Europe and in Spain.

With the main talks being on the lack of depth in defence and midfield, Barcelona are reportedly aiming for reinforcements in both areas during the January transfer window, with the latest reports stating that they are targeting a certain duo from AFC Ajax in Frenkie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt.

According to the local and reliable reports in Spain, they believe that Enersto Valverde and the Barcelona board have been keeping tabs on both De Jong and De Ligt since the start of the season.

With no further ado, it’s time to look at the duo who play for the same club and country…

Frenkie De Jong

Regarded as one of the most impressive and talented central midfielders in Europe right now, Frenkie De Jong is proving himself as an individual that is calm, cool and collected no matter which position he plays in. He has revealed his ability and composure to be able to play as a defensive midfielder and even as a centre-back, showing that he is certainly ready to play at the highest level.

Thriving from his intelligent reading of the game and the types of passes he can produce, he has a huge influence on Ajax’s aesthetically pleasing style of play and is one of the many reasons to why the Netherlands international team are expected to return to the position where they belong.

Looking at his game as a whole, De Jong has successfully completed 430 out of the 467 passes he has attempted so far this season, clearly implying that his technical ability is top notch and he has the tranquility to pass with both feet. The youngster is always positive when he is in possession of the ball, especially when he has the rock solid confidence to pick out a short or long pass when needed.

Alongside his number of abilities, the only concerning weakness is that he is a vital individual towards the way his side plays and it does come with a risk of being caught out of a defensive position, unless a teammate can step into his role if necessary. However, game after game, De Jong’s experience and understanding of the game will allow him to be at the right place at the right time.

Having produced 16 interceptions and 13 tackles in eight league appearances, the Arkel-born central midfielder is certainly managing his way of influencing the game on and off the ball. The 21-year-old has also shown the ability to lead the line in his own way, making him a player that is potentially worthy of becoming a captain in the future, whether that is at Ajax or at another club in Europe.

The Eredivise side are not expected to sell the midfielder during the January transfer window, as a deal of sorts could cause some harmony issues within the dressing room whilst it would take the Dutch club a number of weeks to a month to find the perfect replacement for Frenkie De Jong.

Matthijs De Ligt

When looking at the defenders Barcelona’s squad, both Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen are coming towards their final years of their footballing career whilst Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti are regarded as the two individuals the club can rely on in the long run. On the other hand, the La Liga giants would have a complete backline if they are able to bring in centre-back Matthijs De Ligt.

Pique and Umtiti are the regular starters at the heart of defence for Valverde’s men, however, the potential arrival of De Ligt would allow the team to be much more composed and dominant in possession of the ball. His burst of pace would also be helpful on both sides of the pitch, from being able to intercept or tackle as the last man defender to being utilised as a ball-playing centre-back.

The 19-year-old has already been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Real Madrid and many other well-known European clubs, clearly showing that he has the potential to be one of the best players within his position one day. Though, it will be up to the player himself to personally decide for when he is ready to make the big move to one of the best clubs in Europe.

De Ligt’s breakthrough season at Ajax came during the 2016/17 campaign, where he was producing remarkable displays as well as becoming a key member for the club that went on to reaching the UEFA Europa League finals. He finished that season with an impressive figure of over 20 appearances in all competition, which was a total dream come true for someone who was only 17 at the time.

Since then, the rising youngster from Leiderdorp has become a popular person as he is regularly watched by a large number of European football supporters. Furthermore, his incredible intelligence mentally and tactically is simply one of a kind, something that cannot be easily said for majority of the defenders that play in Europe, making him a generational talent as a complete centre-back.

Given that Matthijs De Ligt has all the tools he needs in order to thrive in La Liga, a move from Ajax to Barcelona during the January transfer window should not be ruled out all. With President Josep Maria Bartomeu and the rest of the board looking to constantly be ahead of the other European clubs on and off the pitch, they could surely aim to make a statement signing in two months time.

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Feyenoord to embark upon Europa League campaign in fine form

Euro 2016

Five games into the Eredivisie season and Feyenoord are the only team with a 100% winning record.

In addition to beating FC Twente, Excelsior and ADO Den Haag at their De Kuip Stadium, Feyenoord have recorded away victories against FC Groningen and Heracles Almelo, to establish a two point advantage over last season’s champions PSV Eindhoven at the top of the table.

As such the Rotterdam based club are in fine form ahead of the start of their Europa League campaign, which they will commence with a home game against Manchester United, who themselves have begun the season promisingly.

Positive start to the season made by United under guidance of Mourinho

Specifically after winning the Community Shield by defeating Leicester City 2-1, Jose Mourinho’s side won each of their first three English Premier League games, before losing their fourth 2-1 at home to their fierce rivals Manchester City.

A quartet who started that game is set to miss their clubs Europa League opener against Feyenoord.

Those four players are Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia, with Mourinho being acutely aware of the need to operate an economical squad rotation system, so as to ensure his team efficiently handle the demands of simultaneously competing in domestic and European competition.

Subsequently the Portuguese manager is likely to draft Michael Carrick, Matteo Darmian, Memphis Depay and Timothy Fosu – Mensah into his squad, whilst starting Marcos Rojo and Marcus Rashford in place of Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard respectively.

Continuity of selection key to Feyenoord’s early season success

Whilst United, who gained direct entry to the Europa League by winning last season’s F.A Cup, represent formidable opposition for Feyenoord, as an extremely cohesive and well – balanced collective unit, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s side possess the potential to overcome the three-time European Cup winners.

Similar to United, Feyenoord secured qualification to the Europa League by winning last season’s Dutch Cup, as Van Bronckhorst delivered a first trophy to the club since 2008.

A chief characteristic of Feyenoord’s wonderful start to the Eredivisie season has been the continuity of Van Bronckhorst’s team selection whereby the 41-year-old, who made a total of 247 appearances for the club as a player, has named an almost identical starting XI in each of his side’s first five league games.

Specifically ten players are ever present’s this season in Van Bronckhorst’s 4-3-3 system, as he has made just one enforced change to his team, with that being as a result of an injury to Elijero Elia during the second of Feyenoord’s five wins, which was a 2-0 home success against FC Twente.

Whilst his unavailability arrived as a major blow to Van Bronckhorst, since the 29-year-old left winger scored a hat-trick to help The Club of the People open their Eredivisie campaign with a 5-0 win over FC Groningen 5-0, Elia’s deputy has softened that by seamlessly settling into Feyenoord’s side.  On loan from Watford for the season, the Dutch internationalist Steven Berghuis, who shone for Alkmaar during seasons 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, is performing excellently on Feyenoord’s left wing in Elia’s absence.

Greatly assisting Berghuis’ smooth integration into Feyenoord’s team is the settled nature of that, as Van Bronckhorst has devised an early season winning formula.

Key components of that are goalkeeper Brad Jones, a back four of Eric Botteghin, Terence Kongolo, Lucas Woudenberg and Rick Karsdrop, the midfield trio of Karim El Ahmadi, Jens Toornstra, Tony Vilhena, along with Nicolai Jorgensen and Dirk Kuyt in attack.

As previously alluded to, each of the aforementioned ten players have started each of Feyenoord’s five Eredivisie league wins this season.

Prospect of an enthralling encounter between Feyenoord and Manchester United

Subsequently the 1980 European Cup winners, who also won the 2002 UEFA Cup, embark upon their latest continental adventure in excellent form.

They will aspire to continue that to earn a positive result against a talented Manchester United team featuring the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Therefore the Europa League game between the two teams has the potential to be an intriguing encounter.

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Ajax’s Champions League hopes hang in the balance

Euro 2016

Peter Bosz’s managerial reign of Ajax has commenced indifferently, as the four time European Champions have produced a mixed set of performances in his first six games in charge.

After three games of the Eredivisie season Ajax are in eighth place, having amassed four points, whilst in the third round of qualifying for the Champions League they beat PAOK Salonika 3-2 on aggregate to set – up a play-off with FC Rostov to reach the group stages of the competition.

Subsequently Ajax’s hopes of achieving that hang precariously in the balance, after they drew the first leg of their tie with FC Rostov 1-1 at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Early in that encounter, the Russian side, who defeated Anderlecht 4-2 on aggregate in the previous round, registered a vital away goal, as the Ecuadorian internationalist Christian Noboa scored with a fine 22-yard free kick.

Nevertheless Bosz’s side proceeded to dominate the game in terms of both chances created and possession. Despite that although they equalised through a Davy Klaassen penalty shortly before half time, Ajax were unable to find a winning goal, which leaves them facing an extremely difficult challenge to qualify for the group stage of this season’s Champions League.

Rostov in fine form

In order to stand any chance of doing so, Ajax must score at least once at the Olimp-2 Stadium, where FC Rostov have not lost in 21 competitive matches since 2 May 2015 when they lost 1-0 to Terek Grozny.

Currently under the guidance of caretaker manager Dimitri Kirichenko, who previously played for the club as a striker, Rostov are fifth in the Russian Premier League after four games of the 2016-2017 season and in fine form, following a comprehensive 3-0 home win over Tom Tomsk.

Bosz must galvanise Ajax players to pass Rostov test

Conversely Ajax’s most recent Eredivisie game finished in a 2-1 home defeat to Willem II, which ended a 23 competitive game unbeaten run for Bosz’s side.

As such the 52-year-old former Maccabi Tel Aviv manager, who as a midfielder was capped eight times by the Netherlands and spent the best part of his playing career with Feyenoord, will require to galvanise his players so that they are suitably prepared to compete with a very efficient FC Rostov side.

The Rostov Oblast state-owned club represent formidable opponents particularly in Russia , where Ajax have never won, as they lost on both of their two previous visits to the country.

Specifically Ajax lost 3-1 at home and 1-0 away to Spartak Moscow in the 1997/1998 UEFA Cup Quarter Final, whilst the two teams met again in the last 16 of the 2010/2011 UEFA Europa League, which ended in a 4-0 aggregate triumph for Spartak after they won 1-0 in Amsterdam and 3-0 in Moscow.

Those results combined with Ajax’s 1-1 draw against FC Rostov, mean that de Godenzonen have never beaten Russian opposition in a competitive match.

Significant challenge facing Ajax to qualify for group stages of Champions League

As such taking that into consideration, along with Rostov’s excellent home form over the past 15 months, makes it rational to suggest that, in order to achieve the result that they require at the Olimp-2 stadium to qualify for the group stages of this season’s Champions League Ajax face an extremely difficult challenge.

Nevertheless Bosz’s side are undoubtedly capable of conquering that, since they passed a similarly stern assignment in the competition’s previous by beating PAOK Salonika 2-1 in Thessalonaki, Greece, to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Ultimately by producing another accomplished away European performance Ajax can give themselves a great chance of overcoming FC Rostov, whilst the Russian side will also be confident of securing the result they need to embark upon a maiden UEFA Champions League group stage campaign.

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PSV Eindhoven steal the Eredivisie title from Ajax on the final day

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PSV Eindhoven clinched the Dutch Eredivisie title in dramatic circumstances on the final day after leaders Ajax dropped points to relegation-threatened De Graafschap, gifting Phillip Cocu’s men the chance to capitalise. And with PSV beating PEC Zwolle in their outing, they snatched the crown from Ajax who looked destined to reclaim the title from last season’s winners.

The final Eredivisie games were all at 13:30BST so reports will have been filtering through about events going on in the two games. PSV’s trip to Zwolle was straight-forward. They went 2-0 up at half-time and saw the game out to win 3-1 at the final whistle. Ajax’s outing, however, had a twist in the tale. Frank de Boer’s side were ahead by a single goal at half-time and looked to be on their way to winning the title, before a De Graafschap midfielder changed their fortunes.

Bryan Smeets side-footed an effort coolly into the bottom corner to level the game, and Ajax just had no answer after seeing their lead cancelled out. Smeets’ goal came in the 55th minute of the game so there was plenty of time for a response. It just didn’t come from Ajax and PSV took full advantage. Following the game, manager Cocu was understandably overjoyed and revealed he reminded his players of the time he clinched the title in similar circumstances with PSV back in 2007.

“Such an ending is fantastic. What can I say at a moment like this? What a great performance. I’m really proud of my team. Given that no one thought we could it do it, it’s even more beautiful to still manage to win the championship.
This morning at breakfast, I showed them images from the 2007 title. I told the players they always have to keep believing in the title – and now we’ve managed to win it. This is so beautiful; I’m really going to fully enjoy this now,” he said.

PSV Eindhoven finished the season top of the table with 84 points from 34 games. They picked up six straight league wins to clinch the Eredivisie title, picking up four more points than Ajax in the run-in. The holders stormed to the title in 2014/15, but few thought it was possible for them to repeat the feat after losing Memphis Depay to Manchester United and Georginio Wijnaldum to Newcastle United. In their place, PSV signed a host of new players and against all odds it’s resulted in them retaining the crown on the final day.