Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Latest football news, transfer rumours, done deals and updates:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post - a transfer news update. There have been a lot of rumours flying around in the past week or so, and some done deals have been confirmed across Europe. 

So without further ado, let me begin:

NEWS UPDATE: English defender Rio Ferdinand, who was formerly of Manchester United for the past 12 years publicly stated to the media yesterday that if he had not come back to a team in London, he would have retired from club football.

He also said that he was happy to stay at United, but new manager Louis van Gaal did not have him in his immediate plans for the season, meaning he had to be replaced.  

ALMOST COMPLETE: Liga BBVA champions Atletico Madrid have confirmed that they are set to sign Real Sociedad and France winger Antoine Griezmann for a reported fee of £18million pounds, pending a medical set to take place in the comng days.

NOT FOR SALE: Swansea manager Garry Monk has confirmed that his key striker Wilfried Bony is not for sale, and only an "astronomical bid" could prise him away from The Swans.
Key: Bony has been confirmed as a player not for sale - from manager Garry Monk.
Surprise: Michu joined Napoli on a loan deal last week, no more departures for The Swans?
ENCOURAGING WORDS: Daniel Sturridge has said that he can fill the gap left by the sale of fellow striker Luis Suárez, who has joined Barcelona pending FIFA's approval after his four-month ban finishes.

SAS: They combined perfectly to make one of the most deadliest strike partnerships ever.
Big blow: The Reds will miss their talisman, but they still have Sturridge!
Lead the line: Sturridge has said he can help replace Suárez, who is set to join Barcelona.
INJURY NEWS: Manchester United full-back Rafael is struggling with a groin injury, and has left the club's USA tour for further treatment on the problem which was suffered last Friday during a training session. 

FRESH RUMOUR: Aston Villa are poised to make an enquiry to complete a loan deal for Chelsea winger Victor Moses, who has rarely featured for The Blues since his £9million pound move back in 2012. 

Another loan? Moses was at Liverpool last season, but only scored 2 goals in 22 appearances

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: West Ham, Southampton, Swansea and Hull are among some Premier League clubs interested in Arsenal's right-back Carl Jenkinson.
The 22-year-old has been a bit-part player for The Gunners in the 2013-14 campaign, and due to Chambers' arrival it seems that he will be third choice full-back if he decides to stay.

Hull have made a £3million pound offer for him, West Ham and Southampton both want him on loan deals but his future is uncertain. 

DONE DEAL: Chelsea have confirmed a deal to re-sign former legendary striker Didier Drogba, on an initial one-year contract deal. It is thought that Didier could become a Chelsea coach after his second spell finishes.    

RUMOUR: Manchester United defensive midfielder Marouane Fellaini is reportedly unsettled by talk of a move, and his agent is set to speak with Italian club Napoli in the coming days of a potential move to the Serie A. 

That would be a surprising deal, seeing as Fellaini joined United back on deadline day of last season and has struggled despite being played out of position.   

Remember this? Fellaini joined on deadline day, with David Moyes in charge
NEWS REPORT: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has officially confirmed that teenage left-back Luke Shaw has returned from World Cup duty with England un-fit, and he has been given a special fitness training programme to get him to peak levels before the start of the season in a fortnight.
Luke is currently on the club's USA tour.

RUMOUR: Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has a busy few weeks ahead of him. According to reports Barcelona are ready to make a bid for the Belgian centre-back, but he has publicly said that he is happy to stay where he is at Spurs. 

FRESH RUMOUR: Tottenham have reportedly confirmed their interest in Southampton duo midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and forward Jay Rodriguez, and are set to sign both players. 

Spurs' new manager Mauricio Pochettino worked well with both men in the past when he was Southampton manager, who knows? 

DONE DEAL: Arsenal announced the signing of Southampton teenage full-back Calum Chambers for a reported transfer fee of £12million pounds, which is set to rise to around £16million in the future based on performance and appearances for the club. 

It's a good signing for The Gunners, and Chambers has the potential to be a long-term investment, at the club for many years to come.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Real Madrid: Time for more success?

Having won the UEFA Champions League and Spanish cup last season, Real Madrid will be looking to improve on where they left off in the league and in European competitions.

No team is perfect, and that's why manager Carlo Ancellotti has already made a bold statement by agreeing deals to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos and Monaco wonderkid James Rodriguez, who stole the show at this year's World Cup in Brazil.

In terms of quality, it is clearly obvious that Real have arguably the best squad in the world at the moment. Not only are they powerful and effective on the counter attack, but with the likes of young Frenchman Raphael Varane and Spanish centre-back Sergio Ramos in the centre of defence, it's very hard to get past them. 

And dating back to the power of the counter attack, Madrid are very powerful and fast on the break which makes them even stronger than their opponents. Anyone remember the match against Bayern in the Champions League earlier in the year?

If you haven't, or need something to jog your memory back to that comfortable rout - watch this:

Despite winning the Champions League, which is a huge feat in itself - Real will be disappointed that their rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid fought for the title until the last day while they had the trophy within their grasp but struggled towards the end of the season, despite many favouring them to win it all. 

Atletico won Liga BBVA in the end, and despite having sold many of their key players this summer - they are more likely to bounce back and challenge for the title again, which makes the league more interesting as a whole.

Real were focussed on winning the Champions League, which is perhaps part of the reason why their league form declined towards the end of the 2013-14 campaign, but their squad depth and quality will be tested to the limit in the upcoming season as they attempt to win the quadruple.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema. Who knows? 

Deadly partnership: Ronaldo and Bale gelled together perfectly in their first season together; 70 goals and 30 assists between them
Clinical finisher: Benzema is Real's top striker, and scored 24 goals last campaign
Rodriguez was the man of the tournament in the World Cup, and joined Real for £63million
Consistency is the key. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Lallana to Liverpool - Summer Signing Review #7:

Hello and welcome to my seventh installment of my summer signing reviews, this time I will be reviewing Liverpool's move to sign English midfielder Adam Lallana from Southampton, a reported transfer fee of around £25million pounds was agreed and Lallana was consequently unveiled a few weeks ago to the media and the supporters around the world.

At age 26, Lallana is clearly a player in the prime of his career and what better way to test himself than signing for a top 4 club in one of the most competitive leagues in the world?

Liverpool's consistent performances throughout the 2013-14 season meant that they qualified for the Champions League, for the first time in 5 years. 

Based on their world-class players and their style of football, they have attracted interest from many good players across Europe and are looking to strengthen in every position as they look to return to European action on weekdays in style, for the upcoming campaign. 

At The Saints, he was performing over expectations and raising his transfer value every week - now, he will be under pressure to perform alongside the likes of Coutinho, Gerrard and Henderson in an attacking midfield.

FACT: Lallana has become Liverpool's most expensive midfielder ever, after he signed.

This is what Lallana had to say in his first official interview with the club: 

Question: How massive is this move for your career?

Answer: It's a huge step - Liverpool is a club with so much history and the way they played last season is something I can't wait to build on. Champions League football is back and everyone's telling me that the atmosphere on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at Anfield is special.

Question: So Liverpool impressed you last season? 

Answer: Watching them towards the end of last season was unbelievable. It got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up - deep down I was thinking to myself that one day I'd be able to play in that team! That dream has become a reality and I can't wait to get started.

Question: How different are Liverpool and Southampton?

Answer: People have said to me that there are similarities in the way that Southampton and Liverpool play their football. I hope that helps me to settle in easily, I just can't wait to work with the world-class players here. Only going to learn and get better. 

Question: What can you learn from Steven Gerrard?

Answer: There is no limit to what I can learn playing alongside Steven. I grew up watching him play, and he's a legend in the eyes of Liverpool fans! For me to be playing alongside him at club level is surreal!

Question: What's your message to your new club's fans?

Answer: Hopefully I can settle in quickly and I will give it my best throughout my whole time here. I just hope I can add something to the team and hopefully we can win trophies, because that's why I'm here!

FINAL VERDICT: It's a good signing without a doubt, fair transfer fee and he's going to a good club where he will settle in perfectly alongside his new team-mates as they hope to gel well together.

His playing style will give Liverpool a new dimension to the way they approach the game; his silky dribbling and top-class vision aswell as his range of passing and ability to create chances out of nothing will help the club greatly, to try and soften the blow lost by the sale of Luis Suárez.

If they can sign a clinical striker (currently linked with Remy), there is no reason why they cannot perform well in all competitions next season. 

Signal of intent by the Reds, they clearly want to stay among Europe's elite and signing a player of Lallana's quality proves this. 

Can they stay in the top four? Will they perform in the CL? Time will tell.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

PRE-SEASON ACTION: Herrera shines on debut while Liverpool lose late on

Hello again everyone, welcome to my latest blog post - where I have a review of the pre-season friendlies that were played during Wednesday and Thursday.

Many teams across Europe were in action yesterday, as they prepared for the start of the season in respective matches.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Why Liverpool could struggle in the UCL next season:

Now don’t get me wrong – this is definitely not a hate campaign against Liverpool, who were one of the best sides to watch in football last season. Their counter attacking speed and clinical nature helped them to their best finish since the 2008-09 season, and within touching distance of their first Barclays Premier League trophy since it began back in 1992.

I personally like the majority of their players aswell, the likes of Coutinho, Sturridge and Sterling all have different qualities which link-up together perfectly to create a healthy balance in an up and coming team under Brendan Rodgers; who has done well to steady the ship and deliver Champions League football back to Anfield once again.

But, there are major doubts currently as to whether or not Liverpool have what it takes to be able to multi-task efficiently and still finish in a respectable place next campaign. They have a new competition to worry about, as well as trying to cement themselves as a true top four team again instead of the “one season wonder” tag that haunted the likes of Tottenham and Everton a few years ago.

The UEFA Champions League itself carries a high level of prestige and honour, which can be a real factor when it comes to signing world-class players who want to be on centre stage every week; but the real question is whether the teams involved can actually stay consistent and be able to compete with the best in Europe every year.

A lot of Liverpool’s current crop of players do not have any real UCL experience, which is not exactly an encouraging sight. Plus, the sale of talisman striker Luis Suárez to Barcelona (for £75million pounds) is not exactly going to help the cause, especially as the Uruguayan (as much as he is criticized for his bad behaviour) was an integral part of their team going forward alongside Sturridge last season.

Suárez is one of, if not the best striker in the world and his sale will be sorely missed from all at LFC, whether they will admit that to you or not. What I am saying is there are doubts over whether the current crop will be able to deliver at the top level of football under pressure from the best of the best, those teams who know how to get the job done no matter how they do it.

To prove my point, I am going to look at each and every one of Liverpool’s players currently playing for the first-team in an objective manner -

Simon Mignolet – A solid goalkeeper all-round, but has a tendency to make mistakes.

Pepe Reina – Out on-loan at Napoli last season, and he was impressive. Will he stay at LFC?  Experience is vital for them regardless.

Brad Jones – Third string keeper, and that is all. Not really challenging for top dog either.

Glen Johnson – Experienced, but has been quiet for the majority of the season and has notably decreased his performances as he has got older. Hopefully he can stay fit next season, struggling with injuries and such.

Jose Enrique – Not much UCL experience, and he has been struggling with injuries over the past season or so. Would be a shame to see him out of action, but he is a solid full-back.

Kolo Touré – Experienced, but at 33 he has a tendency to make mistakes which are simply not justifiable in the centre of defence.

Daniel Agger – Very reliable centre-back who still has a few years left in him at age 29, the vice captain of the team and a tactically aware player which is a good quality to have.

Mamadou Sakho – Let’s just say you wouldn’t want him marking you as a striker. Powerful, pacy and a brick wall in defence who has the tendency to give away fouls occasionally and make the odd mistake. PSG are missing out though.

Martin Skrtel – Scores at both ends of the pitch, he is a powerful centre-back who unfortunately is leaky under pressure.

Jon Flanagan – He proved himself in the few matches that he played last season, but he is too young to be placed under media spotlight and expectation already. Expect a few cameo appearances though.

Steven Gerrard (c) – The captain, the most experienced player in the team. Look at him to lead the team, not just in the dressing room but on the pitch. Natural born leader with the most assists last season, he’s clearly still got “it”.

Phillipe Coutinho – How and why Inter Milan sold this Brazilian youngster I will never know, but Liverpool don’t mind! One of their key creative attacking forces, he will be hoping that he can do the same again starting in August.

Jordan Henderson – Last season, he silenced the critics and proved to everyone that he is worth £20million pounds. Quiet during the World Cup, but he will hope he can show himself on the big stage.

Lucas Leiva – When he’s not injured, he is a class midfielder. But, his injury problems have halted his career.

Emre Can – An interesting deal to sign Can from LFC, £10million for a youngster who has potential. To be fulfilled, but needs game time.

Joe Allen – In my opinion, he should have stayed at Swansea. Doesn’t get played very often, and when he does he looks uncomfortable.

Raheem Sterling – Attacking flair, blistering pace and good dribbling; Raheem is one of the best young players in Europe. Is he ready?

Lazar Markovic – A new signing for The Reds, £20million spent on Benfica’s golden boy. He’ll get his chance, but doesn’t have much experience.

Rickie Lambert – A bargain at £4million pounds from Southampton, but not exactly the first name on the team sheet. Consistent performer, but not UCL material.

Daniel Sturridge – Their best attacking option, Dani has proved his worth in the past two seasons and it will be good to see him in the UCL next season. Clinical, selfish at times but worth it.

Fabio Borini – No experience, but he’s decent. Rumours running rampant that he’s off to Sunderland for £15m though.

So what do you guys think, can Liverpool do well this season or will they struggle under pressure? I hope I’m wrong, but looking at it from a neutral perspective the odds are not exactly in their favour. The new season is under a month to go now!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Barca: A force to be reckoned with next season?

You'd be silly not to admit that Barcelona could easily be a force to be reckoned with next season, as they have been in the past. People have been criticizing their "tiki-taka" style over the past few years, so maybe it's time for a new style of football to unsettle their opponents perhaps? 

Barca were unlucky not to finish last season with a trophy under their belt, drawing against Atletico Madrid on the final day of the league season meant that they were unable to secure Liga BBVA glory once again, but they showed good spirit throughout the season even when they were under pressure from the media and critics around the world.

Now, they know that they need to improve. What better way to improve than to sign the best striker in the world, in his prime?

Messi, Neymar and Suarez up-front. That is unstoppable, surely?
Best player to grace the pitch: Lionel Messi, needs no introduction.
Young talent: Neymar is one of the best young players in the world
Clinical and ruthless: Suárez is the best number 9 in the world, set to join the revolution at Barca
You have arguably the best player to ever grace a football pitch on one side, on the other side you have one of the best young players in the world and in the middle you have the clinical beast that is Suarez. 

Improvements to the squad - 
PREVIOUSLY: Spanish goalkeeper Victor Valdés has been criticized for his poor performances in goal over the past two seasons, and Pinto has been nothing more than a reserve player (or benchwarmer) until Valdés got injured and he was forced to play....

CURRENTLY: They have announced the signings of ter Stegen, one of the world's best young goalkeepers as well as Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo, who impressed for his country during the World Cup. Very encouraging.  

PREVIOUSLY: An unsettled Cesc Fabregas, who reportedly wanted a move back to the Premier League alongside Jonathan dos Santos (who couldn't get a game) and Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez who was never preferred to Pedro.

CURRENTLY: Signed Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla; currently one of the best creative midfielders in the world as well as getting Gerard Deulofeu back off-loan from his spell at Everton and getting the best striker in the world currently (Suarez from Liverpool).

FINAL VERDICT: There have and will be many departures and signings for Barca this season, in a transition period of their own without a permanent manager. 

They have gone through 3 managers (Vilanova, Martino and now Enrique) since Guardiola left the club in June, 2012. 

So obviously, it will not be an easy ride for a club who have seen so much success in the past but need to step up in class as the opposition gets tougher. 

Real and Atletico Madrid have both done their bit, and now the Spanish league is now a "three-horse race", but Barcelona have the experience and the quality to win it all.

But with the right players, and the right staff, there is no reason as to why Barcelona cannot prove why they are the best club in Europe once more. It will not be easy, but nothing in life is.

Roma: can they challenge for the Serie A title?

Roma, were one of the best and most clinical sides in Europe at the start of last season - but instead of keeping consistent, they started to lose key matches and eventually lost their form. 

They eventually finished 2nd place with 85 points, 17 behind the league champions Juventus who ended up steamrolling past the opposition and only lost 2 games all season - making it look easy for the teams behind them.

After their 2nd place finish, Roma have consequently qualified for the UEFA Champions League this season, which they will hope does not act as a distraction from their domestic duties.  

Having only conceded 25 goals in 38 matches, it highlights that their defensive capabilites are strong but they need a potent striker who can score 20 goals+ a season.

Mattia Destro and Francesco Totti were leading the top scorer charts for Roma; but they had only scored 23 goals between them. 

If they can sign a world-class striker, they should have no trouble doing well in both the Champions League and Serie A.

Everyone criticizes the Serie A, saying that it is a "one-team league", just because Juventus have dominated it for a few years. However, that is not true, and it's the job of teams like Roma and Napoli to go against the stereotype. 

Juventus have a world-class team, that's true. But, they are not unbeatable. People should realise that. 

FINAL VERDICT: There is no real reason why Roma cannot challenge for the title, and do one better to win the trophy itself this campaign upcoming. But they know that it will not be easy, they will have to stay consistent throughout and avoid injuries at all costs. 

They have proved that they are an improved side in recent years, and their current transfer business suggests that they are hungry for titles, which is encouraging to see. 

Ashley Cole has joined Roma from Chelsea, and his experience will be greatly appreciated
Wonderkid: Iturbe signed for Roma, the transfer fee around £17million pounds from Porto
Shrewd business: Also.... announced the free signing of Milan midfielder Urby Emanuelson
The loss of midfield maestro and Dutch playmaker Kevin Strootman in January was a big void left in the centre of midfield alongside Pjanic and de Rossi - perhaps if they have all of their players fit then they are less likely to make mistakes and can challenge Juve to make for an intriguing watch.

I will have Serie A action, match reports, LIVE Commentaries and more over the coming season, alongside the biggest European leagues currently. So get ready, the new season is only a few weeks away!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Latest football news, transfers and updates in Europe:

Hello again everyone; welcome to my latest blog post where I have the latest football news, transfers and updates in Europe this week.

I hope to have at least one clear update post out every week, but enough of the introduction - here it is. 

First off, here is the latest transfers, news and rumours -

DONE DEAL: QPR have confirmed the signing of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on an initial one-year contract deal; signing on a reported fee of £70,000-a-week.
Rio Ferdinand has joined QPR on a 1 year contract deal, leaving United after 12 years of service
Hero: Rio is a big name player in England, and his experience in defence will be appreciated
Signing the contract: Rio posted a video on his personal website on how it's like during a transfer
Ferdinand had this to say on his deal to join QPR:

"QPR was the first professional club to ever sign me, and there are great memories for me here - for my family.

I can't wait to meet-up with my new team-mates and I have already started keeping fit for the new season; so bring on the opening game against Hull City at Loftus Road."

For more on the Rio to QPR deal, click the following link -

NEWS RUMOUR: Despite recently signing a new contract deal, it appears that French full-back Patrice Evra may move to Juventus, who have reportedly made a formal approach to Manchester United for his services. 

Evra is currently in England, while the majority of the United squad (apart from those who are injured or still on World Cup leave) have flown to the USA for their pre-season tour.

Rumours are running rampant over his future, will he stay or will he go?

LATEST: Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has hinted that Croatian defender Dejan Lovren could leave the club this summer, after the centre-back admitted that he wanted to leave because the club "lacked ambition" and "sold their key players".

Lovren is unsettled at Southampton, and wants to leave the club; with Liverpool very interested
He said: "I don't want to lose Lovren, but if he leaves, he will go for a top price."

Reports: Crystal Palace midfielder Jose Campana is currently having a medical with Italian club Sampdoria, Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom is set to join West Brom on a season-long loan deal and Arsene Wenger has confirmed that if Thomas Vermaelen does leave the club, he WILL replace him.

DONE DEAL: FC Porto have confirmed the signing of Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro on a season-long loan deal.

The young defensive-midfielder has been a bit-part player at the Bernabeu since he joined in 2013 for £5million pounds; making 12 league appearances last season and the majority of those were off the substitutes' bench or not the full 90 minutes.

FC Porto are one of the best teams in Portugal, and joining them is a smart move for a talented youngster who has a lot to prove.

First-team experience: Casemiro is a talented young midfielder, who needs more playing time
FEE AGREED: Liverpool are set to announce a deal to sign QPR striker Loic Remy, who spent the whole of last season playing for Newcastle on-loan from the newly-promoted club.

Remy could be set for a move to LFC, £8million could be a real steal for one of the league's most clinical strikers last season.
A clause in his contract states that he is allowed to speak to clubs in the Champions League, and since Liverpool had qualified for European competition for this upcoming season, they were allowed to talk to the French striker. 

They have reportedly agreed a fee around £8.5million pounds to buy Remy, who will help bolster their attack after the sale of Luis Suárez to Barcelona for £75million pounds a few weeks ago.

FACT - Remy scored 14 goals in the Premier League this past season, 32% of Newcastle's goals throughout the campaign.

STAYING: Manchester City defensive-midfielder Yaya Toure has vowed to remain in Manchester, despite months of trying to attract attention from European clubs that he reportedly was unsettled and wanted to leave.

Toure was City's talisman last season; having scored 24 goals and creating 9 assists 
He said: "I want to stay, I will always honour my contract - I don't think about all this speculation. It's a big pleasure to stay and enjoy the next season, the fans have always been good to me." 

That will be a big boost for City, they were worried that they would have had to replace their star man if he wanted to leave. He was heavily-linked with a move to PSG or Barcelona; but don't be surprised if rumours continue. 
GOING NOWHERE: Juventus have ruled out any possible moves for their star midfielder Arturo Vidal, as Manchester United have been linked with him.

Juventus are doing their utmost best to keep hold of Vidal, who is linked to a move to United..
Vidal said he wants to play for a "prestigious, successful club" so why not stay at Juve? They have already confirmed that he is not for sale, but it is obviously not going to stop United from trying to unsettle the Chilean, who is one of the best midfielders in the world.

DONE DEAL: It was reported a few weeks ago that the deal was done, but they were unable to confirm the announcement until his parent club were able to sign a replacement.

They have now, and Arsenal HAVE confirmed the signing of Newcastle right-back Mathieu Debuchy, for a reported transfer fee of £10million pounds.

Debuchy is Arsenal's second summer signing of the window, after Sanchez's arrival last week.
He is expected to be a short-term replacement for Bacary Sagna, who left the club at the end of the season to join rivals Manchester City.

He will probably be first choice right-back for 3 or 4 years to give the likes of Bellerin and Jenkinson the time to develop.

This is what Debuchy had to say: "I am very happy to be at Arsenal and such a big club - really excited to get going at the start of the new season. I have joined Arsenal because they are one of the biggest in the world, I am proud to wear these colours.

Was it hard to leave Newcastle? Yes, of course. I only spent a year and a half (at Newcastle) and it was an extraordinary experience at a club with great fans. I thank them because they really supported me during my time and I hope they understand that I had a huge opportunity which I simply could not refuse."

FEE AGREED: Swansea have reportedly agreed a transfer fee with Tottenham for their midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who had a successful loan spell at the club in 2012. 

Meanwhile, Swansea's young talented full-back Ben Davies is set to join Spurs for £10million pounds.

INJURY NEWS: Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has confirmed that he will be fit enough to start full training with the rest of the Arsenal squad again towards the end of August, with Euro 2016 qualifiers starting in September.

Walcott is set for a full recovery from the injury that has kept him out of action since January
He will miss the start of the season, but should be available again in mid-September. 

DONE DEAL: Newcastle have completed the signing of Holland international and full-back Daryl Janmaat for a reported transfer fee of around £5million pounds from Feyenoord.

He performed well recently at the 2014 World Cup with the Netherlands; and he has the potential to be a bargain signing for Newcastle who have made a statement of intent, they know that they were not at their best last season and they need to rectify it.

Complete: Newcastle have now signed 6 players so far, Janmaat could be a bargain at £5million!
NEWS RUMOUR: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly said that he is interested in bringing young wonderkid defender Raphael Varane to Stamford Bridge. 

Rumoured interest: Mourinho wants to take Varane to Chelsea, but he won't be cheap!
The Real Madrid centre-back is on their shortlist of players, and they are keeping an eye on his situation.

FEE AGREED: According to reports in the media, Arsenal have agreed a £3.2million pound deal with French club Nice for their goalkeeper David Ospina, who was a standout performer for Colombia during the World Cup.

Ospina's performances at the WC have helped his career; he could be on his way to Arsenal
DONE DEAL: Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Atletico Madrid left-back Filipe Luis on a three-year contract deal, a transfer fee of between £15-20million pounds has been agreed.
Pen to paper: Luis has joined Chelsea on a three-year contract deal from Atletico
His arrival coincides with the departure of long-serving full-back Ashley Cole, who left for Roma
This is what Luis had to say on the deal: "This move is a dream come true for me, I now have the opportunity to play for Chelsea, and also in the Premier League.

I'm very happy and looking forward to getting started and giving my best for the team during the coming seasons."

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: Newcastle's attacking midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has reportedly been fined up to £1,600 pounds after he reported to pre-season training overweight. 

Shame: Technically speaking, Ben Arfa is one of Newcastle's most talented players
This picture of Ben Arfa has surfaced online, amid rumours of his weight gain over the break
He is set to contest the club's decision to fine him, and is yet to be given a squad number for the new season - finding himself in a tricky situation with the new season only a few weeks away. 

Friday, 18 July 2014


World champions! Germany have won the World Cup, in a superb tournament all-round.
Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, a full review of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 

First of all, I would like to post a quick match report + review from last night's final, between Germany and Argentina. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

LIVE UPDATES AND transfer COVERAGE, inclu van Gaal's first press conference at United:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE Coverage of Manchester United's new manager Louis van Gaal starting at 3pm GMT as he has his first press conference in-front of the media in the Premier League; this will be interesting.

30 days to go until the Premier League starts again; today I will have a LIVE update blog post with the latest news including of-course van Gaal's first press conference as United manager.

The whole point of the first press conference is to outline your goals and objectives for the new season, and given van Gaal's experience you would expect nothing less than clear goals to be set for his team for the new campaign.

Manchester United have gone through a transition period without Sir Alex Ferguson in charge, and van Gaal has been brought in to "steady the ship" as it were which is hardly surprising given his successes with other top European clubs.

He has won the league title in every country that he has managed; Holland, Germany and Spain with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Can he do the same again with United? 

He has also already signed two new players - young full-back Luke Shaw and midfield talent Ander Herrera while on World Cup duty, so it's a clear signal of intent. 

van Gaal finished his tenure as Holland manager at the World Cup; the Dutch finished in a very respectable 3rd place and he will be hoping that he can push United further up the table than they were last season, their worst ever finish to a Premier League season since records began in 1992.

Respectable finish: van Gaal's men finished in 3rd place in the World Cup this year

15:00 - Only a matter of time before van Gaal is set to take his first press conference as United manager, the media and United supporters around the world are eagerly anticipating this. 

15:05 - And he's there now! van Gaal calmly walks to his seat, accompanied by United legend Sir Bobby Charlton. 

15:07 - Two minutes of camera flashing from the media photographers, and now van Gaal will open the conference.

15:08 - van Gaal thanks Sir Bobby Charlton as a boyhood hero, making him feel involved in the club.

15:09 - van Gaal says that United are "the biggest club in the world" and within 2 days he realises "how big United are" - saying that he has to adapt to the big club and the future shall show if he can win more trophies in England.

15:10 - Question asked as to what he can achieve: he says that United need to keep proving themselves despite the fact that they are a big club. "Last season - You are 7th."

15:11 - "I manage Barcelona, biggest club in Spain; I manage Ajax, biggest club in Holland; I manage Bayern, biggest club in Germany." 
"So now, I manage United - biggest club in England."

15:12 - When asked whether he still needs to buy more players; he replied: "I want to see what my players can do in the first 3/4 weeks, then maybe we will sign more players."

15:13 - "Shaw and Herrera were already on the list, I have given my approval because I like them."

15:14 - When asked about the captaincy: "Everyone is a ready candidate for the captain's armband, but I will need time to choose because it is very important."

15:15 - "The owners and the CEO have a lot of confidence in me, that is why they have come to me. I explained my philosophy to them, but in football you cannot predict.

15:17 - Whether he should have taken a quick holiday after the World Cup finished: "I am not allowed - when there is a chance to join someone like Manchester United you cannot refuse."

15:19 - His strong personality and how to describe his management: "I don't know the words but I am empathetic to human feelings, but other characteristics are also important."

15:20 - His targets and what he would class as success: "I don't know - I will have to see how the players play and then I will see, I have not worked with many of them before so there has to be a click first."

15:21 - How the Bundesliga and the Spanish League compare to the Premier League: "I'm sorry, but when I was managing both those clubs the leagues were the best - hopefully it can be the same when I am here."

15:23 - "I hope that I can achieve some of what Sir Alex has done here."

15:24 - Sir Alex and whether he has spoken to him: "We know each other very well and I shall drink coffee and drink wine with him, maybe the better wine I imagine."

15:27 - Following the departures, how big a role do the other players have on the team going forward: 

"You have to know that I am not always convinced on the experience on the players; I have said a lot of times in the media about Seedorf (who was 16 at the time), and I let him play his debut for Ajax. He was more experienced than some 30-year-olds. 

15:28 - "Unfortunately, Michael Carrick has injured himself in training over the past 2 days and he will be missed for his experience."

15:30 - And that concludes the press conference for van Gaal, that was an intriguing one!

15:32 - There is obviously a lot to take from that media conference, van Gaal looks like a man on a mission to bring United back up to the successful times they were before Sir Alex retired.

15:35 - 16:15.

Anyways, time for some done deals over the past two weeks:

Tom Ince (Blackpool) - Hull City, contract expiry

Thorgan Hazard (Chelsea) - Borussia Monchengladbach, loan

Eden Hazard's younger brother Thorgan is off on-loan again; to Borussia Monchengladbach
Gareth Barry (Manchester City) - Everton, £2million

Done: Barry has signed for Everton on a three-year-deal from City, after a successful loan spell
Dusan Tadic (FC Twente) - Southampton, £11million 

Tadic signals Southampton's first summer signing of the transfer window, what a deal!
Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) - Arsenal, £35million

Intent: Arsenal announced the deal for Sanchez last Friday, as they unveiled their new kit
Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord) - Southampton, undisclosed fee

Tin Jedvaj (Roma) - Bayer Leverkusen, loan deal

Yann M'Vila (Rubin Kazan) - Inter Milan, loan deal

Sébastien Pocognoli (Hannover) - West Brom, undisclosed fee

Rémy Cabella (Montpellier) - Newcastle, £7million

Matthias Ginter (Freiburg) - Dortmund, £6million

Adil Rami (Valencia) - AC Milan, undisclosed fee

Lazar Markovic (Benfica) - Liverpool, £20million

Ashley Cole (Chelsea) - Roma, contract expiry
Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole has joined Italian side Roma, his first club outside of London!
Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid) - Chelsea, £20million

Emmanuel Riviere (AS Monaco) - Newcastle, £6million

French revolution: Riviere becomes the 10th Frenchman in Newcastle's squad, signing for £6m
16:30 - BREAKING NEWS: Bayern Munich central midfielder Toni Kroos is about to join Spanish giants and Champions League winners Real Madrid in a £25million pound move; he has already undergone a medical and is set to be unveiled in-front of his new supporters today. 

Here are the latest pictures from Spain:

16:35 - Kroos' presentation is online, and I am watching it currently. Any news, I will bring it to you all.

16:36 - As he flew to Spain earlier, he was quoted as saying: "I'm excited to join Real, they have a number of great players and I am happy to be joining."

16:37 - Nothing really is happening, just showing his highlights at Bayern and Germany at the moment as well as him greeting new manager Carlo Ancelotti. 

16:40 - BREAKING NEWS: Swansea striker Michu has joined Italian side Napoli on a season-long loan deal. 

 Napoli have announced the signing of Swansea striker Michu for the 2014-15 season
16:42 - I hope Swansea know what they are doing, loaning out Michu. Napoli will happily take him to partner up with the likes of Higuain and Callejon next season but despite his injury problems in this past year he is still a solid striker who could do a real job. 

16:45 - The Real Madrid fans are waiting patiently in the stadium itself, as Kroos watches some of his standout highlights in his career.

16:46 - Including his two stunning strikes against Arsenal in the Champions League, I might add. 

16:48 - 

16:50 - I don't think Kroos speaks much Spanish at the moment, he has to use a headset and a translator to understand what's going on at the moment.

16:51 - Some more transfer news coming in; it has been reported that Juventus have confirmed that they will NOT sell Chilean defensive-midfielder Arturo Vidal, because he is too valuable to them.

16:52 - If that is true, that's a big blow for Manchester United. They need someone like Vidal in their midfield right now, and Kroos was linked with a move to Old Trafford two seasons ago but now look at him.

16:55 - Back to Kroos' unveiling, and you can tell that the Real Madrid supporters are absolutely delighted with their new arrival.

16:56 - Kroos, Modric, di Maria, Bale and Ronaldo in an attacking midfield/forward line looks very dangerous!

16:57 - Kroos could be the perfect replacement for Sami Khedira in the centre of midfield, his fellow German team-mate is reported to be travelling to London in the next week to sign for Arsenal after the World Cup celebrations in Munich are finished and his holiday is over.

17:00 - He is jogging onto the pitch now, where a dozen balls are placed on the pitch for him to throw or kick into the crowd for his new supporters to claim.

17:05 - I think that his signing for Real Madrid is some good business on the club's part; obviously Bayern will not have been happy to lose such a key player but it was evident that he wanted to leave and you cannot really blame him.

17:07 - He will need time to settle in, find a new house and learn the language, but this signing has potential to be a very good one.

17:08 - He does not have many German compatriots alongside him, but that will not bother him too much, playing with the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema will help him to settle in easily I'm sure.

17:09 - And don't worry! You will be able to see a lot of him and the rest of Liga BBVA on my blog from the start of the season, with extended coverage, match reports, previews and more LIVE Commentaries throughout the season than ever before.

17:10 - And here is the picture you've probably been waiting for: 

DONE DEAL: Toni Kroos has left Bayern for Real Madrid, in a £25million move.
17:13 - Just a few more transfer rumours and news updates before I sign off for the rest of the day. 

17:14 - I should have one or two blog posts out tomorrow aswell, so stay tuned for that...

17:15 - Louis van Gaal has a task on his hands, he is reportedly ready to "axe" up to 10 of his first-team players to clear up the wage bill and gain more transfer funds before the start of the season.

17:16 - Among those linked with moves away from Old Trafford are; Ashley Young, Anderson, Marouane Fellaini, Tom Cleverley, Nani, Bebe and Wilfried Zaha.

17:17 - Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen is reportedly set to hand in a transfer request, as he wants to leave the club to play Champions League football. Barcelona remain heavily linked.

17:18 - Sunderland are desperate to sign players, among those is USA defender Matt Besler who impressed on World Cup duty for the Americans. 

17:19 - Cardiff City defender Steven Caulker is reportedly unsettled and wants to STAY in the Premier League, meaning that a possible move in the region of £10million pounds is on the cards.

17:20 - Arsenal are set to announce the signing of Newcastle full-back Mathieu Debuchy either today or Friday afternoon, he has already completed his medical and personal terms have been agreed - but they were unable to unveil him before Newcastle complete the signing of Dutch full-back Janmaat.

17:21 - Porto have confirmed the signing of Holland centre-back Bruno Martins Indi, and have already put a £31.5million pound buy-out clause on the defender, with Manchester United interested in him.

17:22 - Tottenham and Liverpool are both ready to fight for Swansea's young full-back Ben Davies, who is reportedly set to join either one of the top 6 clubs this summer for up to £10million pounds. 

17:23 - Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will arrive at Loftus Road later this evening, to finalise his move to newly-promoted QPR.

17:24 - Ferdinand had previously undergone a medical at QPR, and he prepares to sign a one-year-deal at the club. 

17:25 - Napoli are ready to make a formal approach for Tottenham midfielder Sandro, and could use Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami as a make-weight in the deal.

17:26 - Stoke City have confirmed that they are close to signing Liverpool's Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi, in a £7million pound move after his successful loan spell last season.

17:27 - Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo is reportedly ready to sign for Serie A champions Juventus on a permanent deal after his loan spell from January of this year. 

17:28 - And finally, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has vowed that the club will cope without Luis Suarez this season.

17:29 - He said this: "We can be even stronger."

17:30 - What do you think about Liverpool's chances next season, especially with a new competition to focus on, the UEFA Champions League?

I will be back with more footballing content on the blog tomorrow, until then - have a good day! Speak to you later, thanks for reading as always.