by Kyle Williams | May 23, 2023 | General
The dust settles in the battle of the giants hotly contested over two ties and two legs in the greatest club competition on earth. After a blistering 2 weeks of top-tier football, the sun sets on two teams while a whole new realm of possibilities opens up for the other two…one this is for certain however, a new Champions League winner will emerge when Manchester City and Inter Milan face off in Istanbul, Turkey on June 10th, 2023. The story surrounding these developments is as follows: The San Siro tale of two sides and Glory in Manchester.
San Siro; Tales of Two Sides
(Inter Milan players celebrating their derby win)
The allegory of red and blue, good and evil, life and death is perhaps a fitting proclamation of two game days held in the San Siro in Italy over the past two weeks. In both scenarios, the result was the same, Internazionale triumphs over their fiercest rivals to book their place into the next round. It was a tale of woe and sorrow for AC Milan as they crashed out of the competition due to lackluster performances in both legs. Inter Milan scored 3 lovely goals on aggregate whilst Milan was second best at every instance on the pitch.
The final whistle accompanied by the boo’s of the AC fans and the cheers of the Inter fans made the scene quite chaotically poetic. This final meeting cemented Inter as the new face of Milan as they not only triumphed over their rivals twice in the league but also twice in the greatest club competition on Earth. Surely new signings must be made and new tactics developed if they ever hope to repeat this success in the coming years. For Internazionale, it means one simple thing, a must-win game to grant themselves immortals on the murals of their city and the history books of the great winners who came before them.
(Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva celebrating his goal against Real Madrid)
One typically hearing the words “glory” and “Manchester” in the same sentence would akin it to the popular song of the Legendary club Manchester United; however on this fateful day we are not referring to the red side of Manchester, we instead congratulate Manchester City on booking a spot in their 2nd ever UCL final! Of course, we all remember the 1-0 defeat that they suffered against Chelsea some years prior, as well as the disappointments experienced with a late flurry of goals against Real Madrid last year. In somewhat poetic justice they beat the same team that beat them last year albeit due to massive luck and key tactical substitutions. This time however it would never be so easy. This Man City team poised for the treble would be a force for this aging Real Madrid side. And my word did the difference between ages captivate the eye? Over two legs and two ties, it was an utter demolition job!
Although the first leg was a draw one could see the clear intent and firepower of this Man City team on their quest for Champions League glory. They came out swinging meanwhile Madrid went defensive. Seemingly the right decision as Vinicius Jr struck home a lovely shot to make it 1-0 before so the game was entirely City’s. In the 2nd half, Madrid bore their fangs but despite this, a strike courtesy of Kevin De Bruyne ensured that there would be all to play for in Manchester. On the day of reckoning, one expected a fierce competition one filled with attacking football and high entertainment. However, in the eyes of neutrals, this was far from being the game they hoped for. Man City physically ran circles around this Real Madrid team who only entered the City box once in the first half. They rarely ever passed the halfway line. City went on to demolish them 4-0 courtesy of goals from Bernardo Silva(2), Julian Alvarez(1) and what was given as an own goal to Eder Militao deflecting off of Manuel Akanji. This performance was reminiscent of the weekly punishments they hand out in the Premier League to all manner of teams.
After the dust settled it will be underdogs Inter Milan VS the favorites Manchester City to conclude the 2022/2023 season of the UEFA Champions League.
by Kyle Williams | Apr 21, 2023 | General
(Chelsea Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy)
In September 2020, Chelsea Football Club made the signing of Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Stade Rennes in France for approximately $27 million. At this time the struggles of Kepa Arrizabalaga forced the hand of the London-based club and Mendy seemed to be the answer.
During the 2020/2021 season for Mendy, the shot-stopper was sensational keeping 16 clean sheets in 31 games more than a ratio of 1:2. Through that season as well he conceded only 25 goals which had him being hailed as one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
(Mendy with the Champions League trophy in 2021)
The 31-year-old became the first goalkeeper since the great Petr Cech to keep clean sheets in his first three Premier League games, a record held since 2004. In the same season, Mendy was pivotal to Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League victory in May over Manchester City, becoming the first African goalkeeper to play in a Champions League final since Bruce Grobbelaar in 1985. Everything was going great for the African, also equaling the most clean sheets in a single Champions League campaign (9), and also finished 2nd in the Yashin award for World’s Best Goalkeeper behind Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The next season was more of the same for Mendy on a personal level while contributing heavily to bringing Chelsea to a UCL placing in the league. Then it all went downhill from there.
In May of 2022, Chelsea was acquired by American Todd Boehly after a conflict over former owner Roman Abramovic and his ties to Russia during the invasion of Ukraine, Boehly sacked Thomas Tuchel and appointed Graham Potter from Brighton and Mendy couldn’t get a look in.
(Graham Potter [center] signing for Chelsea in Sept. 2022)
Reports then surfaced that the Senegalese player wanted a renewed contract, but at more lucrative terms that Chelsea was unwilling to give him. Injuries then plagued him, making it even more time out of the number one spot in the team.
How funny is life? From heading to the unemployment office in 2014 to being on top of the world, having people chant your name, the love of a city and a country, to now is known as a benchwarmer, second to a goalie who is a mistake away from being a meme long term. Does Mendy have a chance to regain his spot? Not likely as he may be moved on in the summer.
by Kyle Williams | Mar 22, 2023 | General
(Tottenham Goalkeeper and Captain Hugo Lloris)
No league titles since 1963, and no trophy in general since 2008 when they won the then Carling Cup (Carabao Cup now) Tottenham have been the butt of all jokes when it comes to trophy talk or squandering leads. On Saturday, Tottenham blew a 3-1 lead against Southampton only needing to preserve the lead for 15 minutes. So Spursy. It is shocking to believe a team with one of the best strikers in world football, Harry Kane, a decent midfield and aggressive defense being one of the laughing stocks in football, there is only one weak link; the goalkeeper.
Hugo Lloris is a World Cup winner with France but honestly, at 36 years old his decline has been evident and after suffering an ACL injury putting him out for the rest of the season, this is the time when Spurs get a top custodian in goal to have them competing for the biggest trophies.
(Brentford Goalie David Raya)
Heavily linked with some of the biggest clubs in England, such as Manchester United, Chelsea, etc. Spanish international David Raya is a hot prospect for clubs looking for a long-term shot-stopper. Raya, 27, has refused to sign a new long-term deal at Brentford which would have made him one of the highest earners in the club’s history, and his contract is set to end in the summer of 2024.
With developments like these, Brentford may look to cash in on Raya so they don’t lose this gem of a ‘keeper for free. A tenacious goalkeeper with a passing range that would make some midfielders jealous, David Raya has got to be one of the main targets at the GK position for Tottenham.
TRANSFER FEE: £20 million
(Leeds United’s Illan Meslier)
The youngest goalkeeper in Premier League history to make 100 appearances at 23 years and 16 days old. With this much experience at such a young age, to build your defense around a player like that is what Tottenham should look at doing.
The French shot-stopper has already etched his name into Premier League history, and continuing on this path could become one of the most consistent, world-class goalkeepers in the world. Apart from Raya, he is not close to the end of his contract, so poaching him would prove much more difficult.
TRANSFER FEE: £45 million
(Manchester United Goalkeeper Dean Henderson)
Currently, on loan at Nottingham Forest, Henderson began the season with a point to prove as he believes he should be the number one at a big club, whether Manchester United or elsewhere. Originally Henderson was linked with a move to Spurs in 2020 before he ended up signing a new contract at parent club United and 26-years-old, he is no longer that ‘young kid’ that can be sent on loan over and over so a decision has to be made.
In his debut season in the Premier League with Sheffield United, the Englishman kept 13 clean sheets, ranking him joint-third amongst ‘keepers in the league during the 2019/20 season. Ability, swagger, and a point to prove, “Deano” moving to a team competing in Europe is what he may need as he approaches his prime and attempts to get back into the England squad.
TRANSFER FEE: £30 million
(Valencia and Georgia custodian Mamardashvili)
The wild card of the group, Giorgi has made it onto the radar of some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs. He is still a prospect just like Illan Meslier, but just like the Frenchman, his ceiling is astronomically high. His contract is due to expire in June 2027, so it would be a really difficult deal to complete this year.
At 6ft. 6”, he is a monstrosity in the goal that can be an excellent piece to build around still at the age of 22. With international experience, and all the years ahead of him, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mamardashvili conquers his position for the better part of a decade. This new crop of Georgian players is taking the world by storm.
TRANSFER FEE: £50 million
(Brighton’s Robert Sanchez)
Last but not least Robert Sanchez. His resume so far at Brighton speaks for itself. A modern goalie who possesses a wide passing range, bunny-like reflexes, and enough experience to make the Tottenham position his own. Reports are that there has been a falling out between new coach Roberto De Zerbi and the 25-year-old Sanchez, which saw the regular number 1 on the bench with Jason Steele starting.
With an average of one clean sheet every three games (28 in 88 games) his record is decent compared to the way Brighton has played football with him in goal. Would he be interested in a move to North London though? With the mess of Spurs sitting on the bench on the sunny south coast wouldn’t be such a bad option.
TRANSFER FEE: £35 Million
Whether Antonio Conte is in charge, Mauricio Pochettino returns or Luis Enrique takes the mantle, one of the 1st orders of business would be to sort that position out.
Leaving the goalkeeper position unattended is like having an extra couple of dollars for food, you like steak, but you settle with the sardines in your cupboard because it “is sufficient.” Remember, an attack will win you games, but the defence wins you championships.
by Kyle Williams | Mar 13, 2023 | General
(Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey)
Arsenal is currently top of the English Premier League, looking to end the dominance of the last few years of Manchester City and Liverpool and re-establish themselves as one of the big clubs in England. The midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey is arguably the tandem keeping Arsenal in the title race, rivaling their attack of Saka, Martinelli, and Nketiah.
The difference between Arsenal and the chasing pack is their depth in the middle of the park. With only Jorginho as a recognized Defensive Midfielder behind the two, whether they win the league or not they need to improve their depth this summer. Being linked with all sorts of players in that position, but who would be right for the Gunners?
(Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo)
A deal for Moises Caicedo was 90% complete in January when the player pleaded with Brighton both privately and publicly to let him join the Gunners but Tony Bloom stood firm and said “no” or at least “not now”. Brighton stood firm on their valuation of Caicedo, 21, requesting up to £90 million for his services, which deterred the North London giants from completing the deal.
Caicedo is the type of player to be able to cover both a deep position and a more advanced role as he does for Ecuador. However, this position in the team cannot be neglected for another season and they may have to break the bank for a player of Caicedo’s caliber and fend off interest from other teams in the Premiership.
TRANSFER FEE: £75 million
(West Ham United captain Declan Rice)
The England international has been tipped for a big move ever since 2018 when he legitimately broke onto the scene. Declan Rice, 24, has been trapped at West Ham, to say the least, with him wanting to leave for some time, and the Hammers unwilling to negotiate with any club. Things are different now though, Rice only has one year remaining on his contract and the London stadium, and losing a player of his level for free would be gut-wrenching.
Sources say that Arteta “cannot wait” for a player like that to be in his squad. Rice is the type of player who would step up into Partey’s spot when injured or suspended. The interest of clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool may become challenging for Arsenal.
TRANSFER FEE: £85 million
(Leicester City star Youri Tielemans)
The interest in Tielemans has cooled over the last 12 months, however, he retains a firm interest in the Arsenal hierarchy. The 25-year-old Belgian midfielder is possibly the most versatile on this list, being adept to play as a holder, but thrives going forward. He has been determined in his thoughts to not renew his contract with Leicester as he feels he should be playing at a higher level.
Since Arsenal didn’t sign him in the summer of ‘22, more clubs have registered interest in the soon-to-be free agent, including money boys Newcastle United. Currently, Tielemans isn’t playing as he is recovering from an ankle injury.
TRANSFER FEE: £0 (FREE)
(French player Manu Kone)
The French midfielder making waves in Germany is one for the future, that if any team picks up, will have an absolute gem. Kone turns 22 in May and just needs someone to nurture his talent. He is already in the category of a Jamal Musiala in terms of talent within the Bundesliga, however, playing at a club like Borussia Mönchengladbach doesn’t bring the media coverage like playing for Bayern Munich. The player is appreciated by the coaching staff at Arsenal and the hierarchy thinks he could be their next Patrick Viera, but it is yet to be known if Arsenal will bid.
TRANSFER FEE: £30 Million
(FC Lorient player Enzo Le Fée)
Finally, no list would be complete without a wild card. When the name Enzo is mentioned, some would think of Fernandez, the golden boy from the World Cup, but no there is another. Le Fée isn’t a traditional number six like Partey, but can effectively become the new Granit Xhaka. With his extensive range of passing and awareness in creating chances, he could be the creative force needed to take a load off Martin Ødegaard. His only downside would be his lack of physicality to cope in the Premier League.
TRANSFER FEE: £18 Million
Some people would say that Arsenal already has midfield options such as Mo Elneny, Fabio Viera, or Albert Sambi Lokonga who is on loan at Crystal Palace, but those options aren’t good enough to compete for the title year in, and year out. Arsenal has a stellar attack and an impassable defense and goalkeeper so fixing the midfield has to be a priority this summer.
by Kyle Williams | Mar 10, 2023 | General
(Manchester United Striker Wout Weghorst)
Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Wayne Rooney. Those are just a few of the strikers that occupied the number nine position at Manchester United over the years who possess a killer instinct and the ability to make something out of nothing.
Now with the lack thereof in Wout Weghorst and the injury-prone Anthony Martial, the proclaimed biggest club in England, Manchester United has a huge hole to fill in the summer when the stopgap does move. After a humiliating 7-0 loss to fierce rivals Liverpool, even though it seems the back line could use reinforcing, there was no presence up front so let’s see who United could sign to fill that spot for the future.
(Napoli Ace Victor Osimhen)
The “Super Eagles” striker is possibly the most sought-after attacker for the upcoming summer window. To date Victor Osimhen has scored 21 goals in 26 matches for Napoli, enjoying a fruitful campaign that sees the club from Naples top of the Italian Serie A, and into the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League. Osimhen is a true poacher, with a good aerial presence with a good finish off either foot.
He also has elite movement off the ball which helps to create chances for other teammates, with winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia benefiting the most. Napoli has rebuffed approaches for Osimhen, 24, and with him saying his dream is to play in the Premier League, a deal may be on the cards.
TRANSFER FEE: €130 million
(Tottenham record goal scorer Harry Kane)
England national team captain Harry Kane is an option that may be evaluated in the summer. Kane’s contract at Tottenham runs out in the summer of 2024, and with him looking to end his career trophy-less a move to the red side of Manchester is the most logical for his career. At 29 years old, the longevity might not be there like an Osimhen, but even for three years, it is an opportunity that United can explore.
This season he has contributed 19 goals in 34 appearances, and his style of play could be beneficial to United. Manchester United (65) have created fewer big chances than Bournemouth (77) who are at the foot of the table, a striker who can create chances for himself and others is key. Kane has created 41 chances in the Premier League this season, ranking him 1st amongst strikers this season.
TRANSFER FEE: €70 – 80 million
(Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic)
The Serbian goal machine has endured a torrid time with injuries recently, currently suffering from an abductor issue, but when fit he is lethal. After scoring 20 goals and adding 4 assists in 24 games, he made the big move to Turin for €70 million but it hasn’t worked out on the greater landscape.
Juventus are currently fighting for a champions league spot they might not get, and life in the Europa League could become the norm. Vlahovic, 23, is a physical striker, a target man type with enough pace to evade his defender and a deadly finish. Reports out of Italy are that Juventus are ready to cash in on the Serbian, and United is waiting in the wings.
TRANSFER FEE: €65 – 70 million
(Portuguese and Benfica star Gonçalo Ramos)
The heir apparent to Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal, 21-year-old Gonçalo Ramos is making waves around Europe with Benfica. Scoring 7 goals in the UEFA Champions League including two against Club Brugge in the round of 16, he has a bright future ahead if he can maintain this form. “O Feiticeiro” (the wizard) is a versatile player who is quick, powerful, and someone who can play advanced or deeper. He is on the radar of many top clubs including Manchester United, but his release clause of €120 million could deter prospective buyers.
TRANSFER FEE: €120 million
(Canadian ace Jonathan David)
The CONCACAF player on the list, Lille’s Jonathan David is possibly a wild-card option for Old Trafford in the summer. Only Kylian Mbappe (18) has scored more goals than David (16) this season. He was linked with a move to United in the summer of ‘21 with him being the most cost-effective option.
The Canadian player is a recognized number nine but plays as a false nine. He is not lightning-quick or technically gifted like the others, but he can score goals when it matters and at 23, he can only get better.
TRANSFER FEE: €50 million
(Brighton’s rising star Evan Ferguson)
Who would’ve thought that Brighton would be fighting for the top six, and who would’ve thought an 18-year-old Evan Ferguson would be a household name as a Premier League striker? The Irishman has put in some eye-catching performances with 6 goals in all competitions so far including against leaders Arsenal.
The 6ft. 2” striker is an all-round attacker with a sense of awareness that just needs the finish to make him world-class. He is nowhere close to being the “finished article” but he has many years ahead of him to develop and under Erik Ten Hag would be explosive.
TRANSFER FEE: €25 million
The final option is Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney. The best penalty taker in English football doesn’t only score from twelve yards, he can score from anywhere. He is enjoying his best-ever scoring season in the Premier League so far with 15 goals in 22 games.
The 26-year-old is a different profile of attacker as he does not possess a blistering pace, but his technique is far from average. His positioning and awareness make him an excellent poacher for finishing chances and making space for others. He is arguably Brentford’s best player and it would not be easy to pry him away.
TRANSFER FEE: €55 million
These are all good options to don the number nine shirt for Manchester United and a case can be made for each one. However, the decision is not one of the fans, the media, or the public, it is of the manager and whoever is chosen will be looking to become the world’s most renowned forward to lead the biggest club in the world; you can bet on it.
*the fees are not based on any transfer website, more so an opinion of how much it would take to complete the deal*