Protection Problems

Protection Problems

(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.

Midfield Mishap

Midfield Mishap

(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.



(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

5. Enzo Le Fée

(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.


(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.

1. Victor Osimhen

(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

2. Harry Kane
(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

3. Dusan Vlahovic
(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

4. Gonçalo Ramos
(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

5. Jonathan David
(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

6. Evan Ferguson
(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

7. Ivan Toney
(Ivan Toney)
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*



Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and Derek Carr to name a few of the quarterbacks in the NFL whose future is up in the air this offseason. From who rejected big money, to who is considering retirement, would it be wise for any of these guys to take advantage of the offers in free agency?

1. Aaron Rodgers*
The former back-to-back MVP winner was a touchdown away from making the playoffs after a horrendous 4-8 start, with Rodgers citing the poor form to injuries and inconsistency of his receivers. The Packers then went on a mad one placing themselves in the playoff picture on the final game week of the season, which they lost to the Detroit Lions. So what is next for Aaron Rodgers?

He is due to earn close to $60 million next season if he were to stay at Lambeau field, however, he has flirted with a move away in the past. San Francisco is a long-time admirer of Aaron Rodgers, especially with their QB conundrum losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garappolo with long-term injuries.


2. Tom Brady*
The G.O.A.T of the game himself turns 46 years old in August and doesn’t look ready to slow down. After being retired for about a month Tom Brady returned to Tampa Bay but didn’t have the season he may have hoped for. For once in his career, Brady looked his age.

It is reported that the Glazer family will do “everything” to keep Tom in Florida, but will they face immense competition? Don’t get me wrong, Brady still outclasses more than 50% of the QBs in the league but he will be 46! Apart from Tampa Bay, the Las Vegas Raiders are looking for someone to take over from Derek Carr and put them on the map, with the New York Jets also weighing up their options.


3. Lamar Jackson*
Here comes the most surprising name on this list, former regular season MVP Lamar Jackson. Jackson, 26, has rejected contract approaches by the Baltimore Ravens in the past, with the words “undervalued” being thrown around during negotiations. It is rumored that he rejected a contract worth $250 million fully guaranteed which would make him the highest earner in NFL history.

I think the Ravens have to cut their losses. There is a slim chance you can franchise tag the former Louisville player, however, it might be right to move on from Lamar. Who would they replace him with? Where would he go? The team would be desperate and have playoff aspirations.


4. Matthew Stafford*
What a difference a year makes. This time last year Matthew Stafford was on his way to a Super Bowl title, and now he’s under threat of not being QB1 in Los Angeles. Baker Mayfield has come in and done a job and the Rams may consider moving on from Stafford seeing as they got what they want and this season was a disaster.

Now he nor his teammates got a chance to actually defend the title with Cooper Kupp, and eventually, Aaron Donald got hit with injuries keeping them out for prolonged periods. His contract does run out in 2026 so it may be harder to move him on.


5. Derek Carr*
It has seemingly been an end to an era in Vegas as Derek Carr looks to be looking for a new team for next season. Carr and the Raiders had an underwhelming season, finishing 6-11 after trading for Davante Adams in the offseason. Carr was especially disappointing with a career-high in interceptions (14) last season.

Derek, 31, may be able to give his next team five or six years if he can stay healthy, and he may convince teams such as Washington, Atlanta, and Indianapolis to make him their starter. He could even become the Tom Brady replacement in Tampa Bay if he does not stay.


6. Zach Wilson*

From being the man to save their franchise to the guy they can’t stand, Zach Wilson knows and accepts he may need a new team for next season. After being displaced by Mike White and even Joe Flacco, he finds himself 3rd in the pecking order.

Wilson, who is 24 in August may have to accept a backup job somewhere else because the chances of him being a starter for any NFL team are as high as the Houston Texans being Super Bowl contenders.


*All pictures via Getty Images*



(A young Pele)

From the poverty-stricken town of Bauru in Sao Paulo working as a tea servant to becoming the man who changed the scope of football, “Pele” lived a full and successful life, going through his adversities and overcoming them as he did.

At the age of 14, Pele began playing futsal with the adults even though he was considered too young. In a futsal tournament, Pele at 14 years old finished as the top scorer netting 15 goals. During this success, he was scouted and taken on trial for Brazilian professional club Santos F.C. At 15 years old he signed a professional contract and scored on his debut against Corinthians.

In the next season, a certain 16-year-old won the golden boot in the division and got rewarded with his first Brazilian call-up. In 1958 he helped Brazil to lift their first World Cup trophy, and four years later repeated as champions. After the World Cup in 1962, the wealthiest of clubs all queued up to sign the Brazilian forward, however, Santos was diligent and didn’t sell nor did he want to leave.

Pele still has the record for the most goals in the Campeonato Paulista with 58 goals, and a record for the most goals for Brazil (77 goals in 92 games) albeit joint top with Neymar. In 1975, a semi-retired Pele joined the New York Cosmos and brought out some of the largest crowds in the history of United States football, winning the North American Soccer League’s Soccer Bowl.

After persistent fouling by Bulgarian and Portuguese defenders in the 1966 World Cup, Pele decided to retire from international football which shook the world. Was this the end of the greatest in the world on the biggest stage? Has the world finally got a chance to win the coveted trophy? No, God no.

(Pele with all three of his World Cups)

Pele returned to international football in 1969 and played the qualifiers for the World Cup getting himself acquainted with his teammates again. In 1970, this was going to be his swan song, officially, the great will leave for good this time. The team he was on was considered the best in history consisting of Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino, and Tostao.Pele returned to international football in 1969 and played the qualifiers for the World Cup getting himself acquainted with his teammates again. In 1970, this was going to be his swan song, officially, the great will leave for good this time. The team he was on was considered the best in history consisting of Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino, and Tostao.

A kind man as regarded by many, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks, didn’t find him so kind when he flicked the ball to Jairzinho to win the game against England. In the finals, Pele scored Brazil’s 100th World Cup goal to get things rolling for the Samba Kings. He also had 2 assists in the game, winning the game 4-1 over Italy.

He is the only man to win the World Cup on three occasions, and the highest-ever scorer netting 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances over a 21-year career. Mr. Santos himself, the King, the creator of “Jogo Bonito” the greatest of all time. Edson Arantes do Nascimento was 82 years old.



(Getty Images)
The Most Valuable Player award in the NBA is normally given out to the best player for the duration of the season, not necessarily a player a team cannot do without. Looking at the league this season, you could say that Stephen Curry is the most important player to his team the Golden State Warriors.

However, you have to also have the numbers to compete for this individual award as well. The top performers are making this decision very difficult for voters this year. The likes of Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are not the frontrunners they used to be.

(Ja Morant)
The first of the MVP candidates is the man who dropped his shoe over the weekend, Ja Morant. The best player from the 2019 draft class has been making jaw-dropping performances during his time in the league. His team is fairly good when Morant is absent, however, the team does need him for clutch situations. Averaging close to 27 PPG, 8 APG, and shooting 45% from the field, continuing this form and making the playoffs in a good position could catapult his stock for the award.
(Luka Doncic)
The one-man wrecking machine in Dallas Luka Doncic is putting up numbers that are similar to those of a young LeBron James. Scoring 33 PPG on 50% shooting and having the 2nd most triple-doubles (6), Luka has taken the hat and put his name firmly in it. Doncic has been consistently putting up numbers like this and without help nevertheless. The Serbian can only get better and that is scary, especially if Mark Cuban can get him some help in the American Airlines Centre.
(Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid)
One former MVP and Champion, and arguably the best Centre in the modern era, Giannis and Joel are both struggling from back and neck pains after carrying their respective teams so much. The scoring leader Embiid (33 PPG) has been immense for the 76ers leading to calls of him being the best scorer in the league.

Giannis who is averaging a double-double in points (31) and rebounds (11) still has unfinished business, looking hungry for a second title for his city of Milwaukee. The Greek freak is his team’s most valuable by a long shot and the Mike Budenholzer-led team needs him if they have any chance of coming out of the East.

(Jayson Tatum)
The leader of the team with the best record in the NBA Jayson Tatum has been doing things not even the great Larry Bird did in his playing career. Tatum is the only player in NBA history to record multiple games of 45 points, 10 rebounds and 8 made threes. Recently, Deuce’s dad equaled Larry Bird for the most 50-point games in Celtics history (4).

He has the record for most points scored in the first three games of a season for Boston, the most threes before turning 25, and the highest PPG average (30.6) which in C’s history is 29.9. A case has to be made for the former Duke player and with his Christmas Day performance, it would be foolish not to.

(Nikola Jokic)
Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain. They are the only people in history to win the MVP award three consecutive times. This season could be historic for the Joker if he was to win the award and join that exclusive list. Nikola has been the Most Valuable in the league for more than two years because if you take him out of Denver then they are worst than even the Pistons. With the most triple-doubles in the league to date (7) and nearly averaging a triple-double himself (25 PPG, 11 RPG, 9 APG) Jokic is just too good.

Will it be enough for him to make it a three-peat? Will Joel Embiid get the recognition he feels he deserves or will be overlooked for the Greek Freak? Does any of the guards have a chance against these bigs? The season is heating up and I’m all here for it.