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Everton season preview: An already good squad, now with extra goal power

Luke Shaw can become one of the best full backs in the world at Southampton

Four signings to win Man United the Premier League

Analysing the Transfer Gossip – 9th July Part One: Benteke, Baines, Strootman and more

Analysing the Transfer Gossip – 2nd July Part One: El Shaarawy, Baines, David Luiz and more

David Moyes’ Man United day one ‘to do’ list

Premier League Team of the Year

Analysing the Transfer Gossip – 10th May

There’s always plenty of transfer talk throughout the season. So how much of it makes sense, and how much of it is just rumour?

New Manchester United manager David Moyes wants to make 25-year-old Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini his first signing at Old Trafford.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Here we go then folks, David Moyes is supposedly about to sign every single player he had at Everton.
Does it make sense? No. Fellaini is most dangerous when deployed in an attacking role which he wouldn’t be at United. He could maybe do a job deep in midfield as a pest but he doesn’t have the technical qualities that are needed ideally. I also think it will be dangerous for Moyes to go straight back to Everton rather than moving on. It does him no favours if he is seen to just be transplanting some of his Everton team.
Is the price right? Apparently there is an agreement between Moyes and Kenwright that he won’t purge the club. Fellaini isn’t really worth more than the £15m that Everton paid for him. He’s a menace but his game is limited to what others can provide for him.
Will it happen? 2/10 – I can’t see how this would be a good idea.

Moyes wants to sign left-back Leighton Baines from Everton in a potential £39m double deal with Fellaini.


Full story: The Sun

What’s the story? This would a less sideways move as Baines has been linked to United for some time. However, there’s a certain Patrice Evra in situ already.
Does it make sense? Moyes would love to have Baines again for sure. Adding his supply line on the left would give United extra potency that the wingers haven’t provided this season. However, he’d need to sell Evra.
Is the price right? It’s hard to justify paying more than £15m for a full back, particularly when you already have a good one.
Will it happen? 7/10 – If there is an Everton player that Moyes could justify bringing across to United it’s Leighton Baines.

Moyes faces an uphill battle to sign 24-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, who is being lined up for a £21m move to Champions League rivals Bayern Munich.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Lewandowski is one of the most in demand strikers in Europe at the moment and would be an ideal compliment to Robin van Persie.
Does it make sense? Yes. Dortmund must surely prefer to sell Lewandowski to United rather than Bayern, particularly after the Gotze departure. He could either play as the focal point with van Persie behind or play with roaming license in behind himself which could be very dangerous.
Is the price right? Dortmund are in a corner with Lewandowski’s contract expiring next year so £21m is an absolute bargain.
Will it happen? 7/10 – I just have a feeling that Dortmund would resist all Bayern moves but would sell to United.

West Ham look set to open talks with Liverpool over a permanent move for loan striker Andy Carroll, 24.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Sam Allardyce has talked about West Ham not being able to afford Carroll but it could easily be bluster to try and force Liverpool’s hand. If he thinks that West Ham are the only interested party he can try and drive the price down. Mind you, it’d be a real surprise if there isn’t another club who are willing to take a chance on his ability to cause chaos.
Does it make sense? Yes. He’s not always consistent but when he finds form he’s unplayable. West Ham play a direct style that suits him.
Is the price right? Whatever you think about him, he’s worth £12-17m. He’s young, big, physical and can score goals.
Will it happen? 6/10 – Surely someone else (Sunderland, Newcastle) would take a dip at this money considering their own attacking weakness.

Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal all want Roma’s £20m-rated Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic, 23.


Full story: The Sun

What’s the story? There’s confusion amongst the papers as to what Roma’s financial capacity is. Yesterday they’re beating Liverpool and Spurs to Alderweireld now they’re selling Pjanic? He’s a classy attacker, best off behind the striker. He’d add something different to all of these teams.
Does it make sense? He certainly does for Arsenal. If they can put him in between Cazorla and Walcott it could ignite the attack. At City he would be joining a bit of a log jam in the creative midfielder department. Spurs is interesting. They’ve moved Bale around the attack but he had his golden patch behind the striker with free reign to move around in to dangerous areas. Surely Pjanic would block that?
Is the price right? £20m is a lot but it’s about right. Aquilani cost Liverpool the same money. Sorry to remind you of that Liverpool fans.
Will it happen? 7/10 – City: Mancini loves buying from Serie A and could push this. 7/10 – Arsenal: he’s young enough, technical enough and plays in a position of need. But, £20m? 4/10 – Spurs: Not sure this is really a priority.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is set to make a £12.6m move for Barcelona’s Spain striker David Villa, 31.


Full story: Daily Star

What’s the story? David Villa might bite the dust in Barcelona if they are planning an attacking re-organise, possibly involving Neymar, or maybe even Rooney. He’s still more than good enough to be an every game striker and playing every game in front of SuperBale would interest any top striker.
Does it make sense? Yes. Spurs are achingly short of strikers, Villa has professed an interest in playing in England and a 20-25 goal season could get him back in to the Spanish national team for the World Cup next summer.
Is the price right? Yes. Even at 31 £12m for David Villa has to be worth a go.
Will it happen? 7/10 – Arsenal got close in January so with new options expected to arrive he could well be on the way.

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has hinted that he would like to sign on-loan Tottenham full-back Danny Rose, 22, on a permanent deal.


Full story: The Shields Gazette

What’s the story? Rose has blossomed (sorry) at Sunderland and has been their best player under Paolo Di Canio. Sunderland are expected to give Di Canio good financial backing in the summer. They need to to justify his appointment beacuse if he flounders next year the decision makers will have questions to answer.
Does it make sense? Yes. Spurs have two left backs ahead of him and Sunderland have none.
Is the price right? Probably worth £4m or so.
Will it happen? 10/10 – It doesn’t make sense for him to go elsewhere.

Stories collected by the BBC Gossip Column

Premier League Team of the Weekend 29/04

Who would be most valuable in an IPL style auction of Premier League players? Part Two: Top 20

Following on from Part One of the Premier League IPL style auction, this will be players 20 to 11 in the countdown. This list is based on which player’s would be most valuable if the Premier players were re-assigned in an IPL auction format.

For further rules of the format see here

20 – Nani It might seem high for Nani to have gotten himself in to the top 20 but his attacking threat would make him a highly desirable property. He is capable of goals and assists and has a direct style. Last season was his best at United and it seemed as if he was starting to step in to Ronaldo’s shoes. He is capable of playing wide midfield or as a wide forward because he has now added a little bit defensive capability to his play. He’s gone off the boil a little bit this season, primarily because of injury, but also because of the number of options Ferguson has available.
19 – Thibault Courtois Is it too soon for Courtois to be ranked in the top 20? I would say he is absolutely ready. Courtois is, at 20, by a long way the best young goalkeeping prospect in the world. He has been absolutely outstanding on loan at Atletico Madrid where he has broken the club record for minutes played without conceding a goal, a run that stretched out over 800 minutes. In this format Courtois would be great value, able to be put in the first team for the best part of 15 years.


18 – Jack Wilshere This time next year he could well have forced his way in to the Top 10 but for now this feels right. Wilshere needs to show that he can stay fit over a long period and play at his usual high level for a consistent spell and then he will be ranked higher. Wilshere plays like a young Paul Gascoigne, all action, good passing, strong in the tackle and good running with the ball. His tempo setting and chance creating are improving all the time and he can only get better.
17 – Jonny Evans This season Evans has stepped forward to become Man United’s first choice central defender. Their record of clean sheets when he plays is so significantly better than when he misses out it is extraordinary. He is now a complete package at the back, able to get involved in physical or aerial battles as he always has been, but he is starting to become ever more capable on the ball and more comfortable moving forward in to midfield.


16 – Edin Dzeko Dzeko is a very dangerous physical presence, big and strong and able to hold the ball up. He is a dangerous finisher and has a particularly useful capability to score crucial goals or goals from the bench. He has shown that he has the capability to be a starter and is the kind of striker that is best when just left in the first team to ride through good and bad patches as he was in Germany. Capable of 20+ goals a season.
15 – Romelu Lukaku Lukaku is a monster of a physical specimen but is also a potent finisher. He is only 19 but already has 46 professional goals under his belt. He is tall, strong, powerful and quick and has great spring and agility. You couldn’t build a better striker physically. He is a calm and composed finisher when needs be but when he puts his foot through it his ball striking is as good as you will see. A little raw at times but so much potential.
14 – Jan Vertonghen Vertonghen arrived this summer and has been the best centre back in the league this season. He is incredibly consistent and there is never a bead of sweat on his brow. This is because his football intelligence is unparallelled amongst the top defenders in the league. He has a knack of being in the right place in the right time and has the composure to make tackles in the box cleanly. He is a footballing defender who loves the ball at feet and stepping forwards in to midfield. A real centrepiece player.
13 – Vincent Kompany There isn’t much to split the two Belgians but Kompany’s selfless, lay it all out on the pitch leadership just takes him slightly ahead of Vertonghen. If Lukaku is a machine built striker, Kompany is a machine built defender. Big, strong and powerful he gets himself in the way of the ball so often that it’s almost taken for granted. A complete defender in every way.


12 – Leighton Baines Baines is the highest ranked defender on this list because his overall value is so high. His crossing, set piece delivery and penalty taking mean that he is capable of double figure assists and 6 or 7 goals a season from left back. This year he is increasingly finding himself in the penalty box in open play and has to be accounted for at all times. You can’t let him glide forward unnoticed or he will cause chaos. Has the rare ability to take over a game from left back.
11 – Demba Ba For a Chelsea striker Ba is something of an under the radar player. At West Ham and Newcastle he scored goals with relentless efficiency and he has scored important ones at Chelsea since his move. His minutes per goals ratio is as good as any striker in the league over the last 3 years and has shown that he can score even without a high quality supporting cast which is ideal for this format.

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Who would be most valuable in an IPL style auction of Premier League players? Part Three: The Top 10

Who would be most valuable in an IPL style auction of Premier League players? Part One: Top 40

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