10 players who could be on their way out of Liverpool in the summer

‘Pochettino has to stay’ – Teddy Sheringham

Jurgen Klopp has done a fantastic job to rebuild the Liverpool team and he has done so by ruthlessly parting ways with players he felt were not good enough.

Klopp will work on improving the squad further in the summer and a few players will have to make way.

#10. Sheyi Ojo

In 2011, Liverpool fended off interest from a host of top European clubs to sign 14-year-old Sheyi Ojo from MK Dons for £2 million! Big things were expected of Ojo but the now 21-year-old is nowhere close to breaking into the Reds’ first team.

Ojo has gone on loan to Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham in the Championship before spending the current campaign on loan at Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims. He signed a new contract before he left on loan but after scoring once in 16 appearances for Reims with no direct goal contributions in the league, Ojo’s time at Liverpool could be over.

The England U-20 World Cup winner could be a target for several championship clubs and Michael Edwards will be hoping to get a decent fee for him.

#9. Ovie Ejaria

Ovie Ejaria spent nine years of his youth career with Arsenal before signing for Liverpool in 2014. He played eight times for the first team in 2016/17 under Jurgen Klopp and has since gone on loan to Sunderland, Rangers and Reading.

Ejaria spent the first half of the 18/19 season at Rangers but his loan was terminated in December. He spent the second half of the season at Reading and has impressed in a few games for the Championship side.

Given the immense competition for places in the Liverpool midfield, Ejaria is better of leaving the club. Like Ojo, Liverpool might find potential suitors from Ejaria in the Championship.

#8. Taiwo Awoniyi

Taiwo Awoniyi has been a Liverpool player since 2015 but the Nigerian FIFA U-17 World Cup winner has not been able to play for the Reds at any level due to work permit issues. As a result, he has played on loan at FSV Frankfurt, NEC, Royal Excel Mouscron and KAA Gent.

The player himself has admitted that work permit issues could derail his hope of playing for Liverpool even though he has nine goals and three assists in 15 games for Mouscron this season. 

It is already reported that Liverpool will sell the 21-year-old for £10m and Schalke are keen on his services.

#7. Ryan Kent

Ryan Kent has been one of the biggest loan success for Liverpool this season but the 22-year-old could be sold if the right offer comes in.

Kent has impressed for the Reds during preseason under Jurgen Klopp and under Steven Gerrard for Rangers in the 2018/19 season. He racked up six goals and nine assists for the Glasgow club in all competitions and was named the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year and also in the PFA Scottish Premiership Team of the Year.

Rangers are keen on making his loan move permanent but if they can’t afford Liverpool’s asking price, then there will be other clubs who can sign the winger.

#6. Marko Grujic

Marko Grujic was Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool manager and has impressed the Liverpool fans whenever he has played for the Reds in the preseason or in official games.

The Liverpool midfield is stacked at the moment and the Serbian FIFA U-20 World Cup winner will struggle to break into the side. He spent the 18/19 season on loan at Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin and has been a revelation. In fact, the club legend and manager, Pál Dárdai, called him the best midfielder at the club in 20 years.

Hertha are keen on keeping the 23-year-old beyond the season but is rumoured that Atletico Madrid are interested in signing the Serb if they lose Rodri in the summer.

#5. Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno was expected to be Liverpool’s long-term solution for the left-back position when he arrived in 2014 but his defensive lapses came to fore quite often in the Premier League.

The Spaniard briefly regained his place in the Liverpool side at the start of the 2017/18 season but after Andrew Robertson broke into the starting XI, Moreno has been left on the sidelines. This season he has totalled just 343 minutes for the Reds in five games across all competitions.

Moreno’s contract expires at the end of the season and Liverpool won’t be renewing it. It is rumoured that Barcelona want to sign him as a backup for Jordi Alba.

#4. Nathaniel Clyne

When Klopp took over at Liverpool, Nathaniel Clyne and Moreno were the club’s first-choice full-backs but both players have lost their place in the side to arguably the best full-backs in the league at the moment.

Clyne was an indispensable member of the Reds team under Klopp in 2016/17 but an injury kept him out for almost the entire 2017/18 season and when he returned, he lost his place in the side to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez.

The 28-year-old made only one start for Liverpool this season in the Premier League before spending the second half of the season on loan at Bournemouth. There are several Premier League clubs in need of a new right back and Clyne could be in demand in the summer.

#3. Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet joined Liverpool as the first-choice goalkeeper in 2013 but due to his erratic performances, he was initially replaced by Loris Karius and most recently by Alisson Becker.

Mignolet’s only two appearances for the Reds this season came in the League Cup and FA Cup. He has been an excellent professional and a key figure in the dressing room but aged 31, the Belgian is reportedly keen on leaving the club to play regularly.

Liverpool will honour Mignolet’s wish to leave and it is reported that clubs in Belgium are keen on signing the former Sunderland man.

#2. Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana was one of the players Liverpool signed from the money the received from the sale of Luis Suarez five years ago. Even today, Lallana splits the opinion of Liverpool fans and that tells a lot about his stint with the Reds. 

Lallana has had his moments for Liverpool over the years but he has been out with injury for most of the last two seasons. In fact, his last Liverpool goal was on the last day of the 2016/17 season!

The England international is 31-years-old and could prove to be a good player for a midtable club including his former club, Southampton.

#1. Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge was one half of a striking duo that nearly propelled Liverpool to a league title in 2013/14. However, injuries and a change of manager has seen him being reduced to a squad player. 

Sturridge has 68 goals and 26 assists for Liverpool in 160 appearances across six and a half seasons. He averages a goal or assist every 100 minutes in a Liverpool shirt despite his limited playing time and injury woes.

The soon to be 30-year-old earns £120,000 per week and the Liverpool board is not keen on paying that much for a squad player. That’s why Klopp will let him go in the summer when his contract expires and promote the highly rated Rhian Brewster from the academy.

5 teams with the best defensive record in Europe’s Top 5 leagues

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Sir Alex Ferguson once famously said, “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”.

Although this may not be true all the time, he has a point as three of the five teams that are leading Europe’s Top 5 leagues have the best defensive record in their respective league.

#5. RB Leipzig – 23 goals conceded in 30 games

RB Leipzig are currently third in the Bundesliga table and are on the verge of securing Champions League football for next season when Julian Nagelsmann takes over as manager.

Leipzig have the best defensive record in the Bundesliga having conceded only 23 goals in 30 league games while also keeping 15 clean sheets in the process.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper, Peter Gulacsi, has played in goal for the German club in every league game and he has a very young defence in front of him comprising of Willi Orban, Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konaté, Lukas Klostermann, Nordi Mukiele, Marcel Halstenberg and Marcelo Saracchi.

#4. Juventus – 23 goals conceded in 33 games

Juventus recently won their eighth straight league title which is a record in Europe’s Top 5 leagues and in all these seasons, unsurprisingly, they’ve had the best defensive record in the league.

This season, the Serie A giants have conceded only 23 goals in 33 games and kept 16 clean sheets. Wojciech Szczęsny has started 24 of Juve’s league games and Mattia Perin has started the other nine games.

The Old Lady’s defensive stability comes as no surprise because of the quality and depth they have in that department. So far this season, 11 different defenders have played for Juve in the league of which seven players are Italians. However, Juve has an ageing defence and soon, they’ll need to find replacements for the likes of Georgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

#3. Manchester City – 22 goals conceded in 34 games

Manchester City under Pep Guardiola is mostly praised for their attacking prowess but when they won the league title during the record-breaking season 2017/18 season, they also had the best defensive record.

It’s not easy to score past Manchester City because they dominate possession and this season, the Citizens have conceded only 22 goals in 34 games and kept 17 clean sheets.

Aymeric Laporte has been a mainstay in the City defence this season and the Frenchman is nailed on for a spot in the PFA Team of the Year. Guardiola has rotated Laporte’s centre-back partner often and as a result, captain Vincent Kompany has only featured in 13 league games. 

City had issues at left-back this season as Benjamin Mendy was out injured for most of the season but Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko have proved to be able deputies. 

#2. Atletico Madrid – 21 goals conceded in 33 games

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid is renowned for its defensive stability and much of their success under the Argentine is built on their solid defence.

Atletico usually have the best defence in Europe’s Top 5 leagues at the end of recent seasons. If not, they at least have the best defence in the league and that’s the case this season but they are only ranked second in Europe’s Top 5 leagues.

Simeone’s side has conceded only 21 goals in 33 games but they are still nine points behind league leaders Barcelona because they’ve only been able to score 48 league goals. That being said, it is commendable that Atletico have kept 19 clean sheets as they’ve dealt with injuries to multiple defenders which is why no defender has played more than 23 La Liga games so far this season. 

#1. Liverpool – 20 goals conceded in 35 games

For many years, Liverpool had one of the most maligned defences in Europe but that all changed when they signed Virgil van Dijk for a world record fee. Even though there was a vast improvement in the Liverpool defence, there was still scope for improvement and Jurgen Klopp achieved that by signing Alisson Becker for a hefty fee.

The Reds have mounted an amazing title challenge this season and the main reason why they’ve been able to sustain it is their defence which has conceded only 20 goals in 35 games. 

Alisson has kept 19 clean sheets in only 35 games but his work has been made a lot easier due to the presence of Van Dijk who has arguably been the best players in the league this season.

Incredibly, Liverpool’s defence has also contributed at the other end of the pitch with eight goals and 26 assists in all competitions!

5 European clubs with the most number of goals scored this season

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

More often than not, teams that score a lot of goals tend to win trophies especially league titles. In fact, the five teams with the most number of goals this season in all competitions this season are all leading their respective leagues or in a tight battle for the league title.

#5. Benfica – 118 goals in 55 games

Benfica have already played 55 games this season across five different competitions but are only in contention for one of them, the Primeira Liga, at the moment.

The Eagles have scored 81 goals in the Primeira Liga so far this season which is 20 more than any other team. The number of goals they’ve scored has helped them go top of the league ahead of Porto on goal difference with five games left to play.

Nineteen different players have scored for Benfica this season of which five players have scored more than ten goals. Their highest scorer is Swiss striker Haris Seferović who has 23 goals and he’s followed by Joao Felix and Rafa Silva with 16 goals each.

#4. Barcelona – 125 goals in 51 games

Barcelona under Ernesto Valverde don’t score as many goals as they did under the likes of Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique. Despite this, they’ve scored 125 goals this season with an average of 2.45 goals per game.

In the league, they’ve scored 81 goals in 32 games and this tally is 25 more than any other team. In the Champions League, the Catalan club has scored 23 goals in only 10 games.

Barcelona’s goals have been scored by 16 different players this season with four of them scoring over ten goals and they are Lionel Messi (45), Luis Suarez (23), Ousmane Dembele (14) and Philippe Coutinho (11).

Interestingly, Messi has 45 goals and 17 assists this season which means he has a direct hand in 49.6% of the goals his side has scored this season.

#3. Paris Saint-Germain – 134 goals in 49 games

It’s no surprise that PSG are in the top 5 given the gulf in class between them and the other teams in the Ligue 1.

The Parisian club has scored 92 goals in the league this season and that tally would have been much bigger if the likes of Neymar and Edinson Cavani were not out injured for lengthy periods.

Interestingly, PSG have scored in every single game they’ve played this season thanks to the help of 18 different goal scorers. Four of PSG’s goalscorers have more than 15 goals or more to their names this season and of those four, three have more than 20 goals in all competitions.

Kylian Mbappe has the most goals for the club this season with 33 to his name followed by Neymar with 22, Cavani with 20 and Angel Di Maria with 16.

#2. Manchester City – 154 goals in 55 games

Any team Pep Guardiola has managed is famous for scoring a bagful of goals and Manchester City is no different. Of the 154 goals Man City have scored so far, 86 have come in the league and that’s nine more than the number of goals Liverpool have scored. As a result, they have a superior goal difference which could come into play at the end of the season.

Despite playing 55 games, Guardiola’s side has only failed to score in three games. The first was at Anfield in the league, the second was the final of the league cup and the third was recently against Spurs in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

Man City have 17 different goalscorers this season of which six players have ten or more goals. If David Silva gets one more goal in the six remaining games this season, then he will also have ten goals this season. 

Sergio Aguero leads the line with 30 goals followed by Raheem Sterling (23), Gabriel Jesus (19), Leroy Sane (15), Bernardo Silva (12) and Riyad Mahrez (11).

#1. Ajax – 155 goals in 51 games

The giant-killers of this season’s UEFA Champions League have more goals than any club this season in Europe and it is this attacking prowess of theirs that has helped them reach the semifinal of Europe’s elite competition. 

In the league alone, Ajax have scored 106 goals in only 30 games which means they average at least three goals per game.

They started their Champions League campaign in the second qualifying round and have gone on to play 16 games in the competition while scoring 32 goals. The only game in which they did not score was the away leg against Dynamo Kyiv in the play-off round.

Ajax have 17 different goalscorers this season of which six players have ten or more goals. They are Dušan Tadić (32), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (19), Hakim Ziyech (19), Donny van de Beek (15), David Neres (12) and Kasper Dolberg (12). Also, impressively, their first choice defence of Matthijs de Ligt, Daley Blind, Nicolás Tagliafico and Noussair Mazraoui have scored a combined total of 19 goals!

Ajax have at least seven more games to play this season which could rise to eight if they reach the final of the Champions League. Therefore, their goals tally for the season could reach 180 going by their present average. 

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5 Liverpool academy products shining elsewhere in Europe’s Top 5 leagues

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the latest Liverpool academy graduate to play a key role in the first team. However, a few other academy products moved elsewhere to get first-team opportunities and one player moved to a rival team to win trophies.

#5. Mikel San Jose – Athletic Bilbao

Mikel San Jose joined Liverpool aged 18 before making his professional debut and played the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons for the club’s reserve side. In August 2009, San Jose returned to Athletic Bilbao on a season-long loan for regular first-team experience. 

The following summer, Bilbao completed his signing on a permanent deal and San Jose left without making an appearance for the Liverpool senior team.

The Spaniard is playing his tenth season for Bilbao and has gone on to make 378 appearances scoring 37 goals. He has predominantly played as a defensive midfielder for the La Liga side but has also played as a centre-back for them.

His impressive performance for Bilbao also earned him seven caps for the Spain national team and he was even part of the UEFA Euro 2016 side.

#4. Conor Coady – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Conor Coady was highly rated during his time with Liverpool youth teams but despite being on the first-team fringes for many years, he only made two appearances for the Reds.

The local Liverpool boy, who was a defensive midfielder when he was at the club, was sold to Championship side Huddersfield Town in 2014 after a loan spell with Sheffield United in League One. After an impressive season with the Terriers, Wolves signed him and he has been an integral member of their side since.

At Wolves, Nuno Espírito Santo played Coady in a three-man defence and that brought the best out of him. Despite significant financial investment in the Wolves squad in recent years, Coady has remained a crucial member of the side and has captained the club in the Premier League while playing every minute of the league season so far.

#3. Peter Gulacsi – RB Leipzig

Liverpool signed Peter Gulacsi from Hungarian club MTK Budapest in 2007 on an initial season-long deal which was made permanent in 2008.

While at Liverpool, Gulacsi went on loan to Hereford United, Tranmere Rovers and Hull City in the lower divisions of English football before joining Red Bull Salzburg in 2013 on a free transfer without making an appearance for the Liverpool first team.

The Hungarian won the domestic double in his first two seasons with the Austrian club before joining their sister club, RB Leipzig, in 2015. He helped Leipzig earn promotion to the Bundesliga in his first season and has been the club’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper in the German top-flight since while helping them qualify for the Champions League.

#2. Suso – AC Milan

Suso joined the Liverpool academy in 2010 amidst interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona before breaking into the first team during the 2012/13 season during which he made 20 appearances and recorded one assist.

The Spaniard spent the 2013/14 season on loan at Almeria scoring three goals and assisting nine more. However, he only made one more appearance for the Reds after returning from loan and scored his only goal for the club in that very game.

Suso joined AC Milan in January 2015 for only €1.3 million. He struggled to break into the Milan side initially and spent the second half of the 2015/16 season on loan at Genoa where he scored six goals and assisted two in 19 appearances.

Since the start of the 2016/17 season, the Spaniard has been a crucial player for the Milan team and he has gone on to play 126 games for the Serie A side while racking up 21 goals and 33 assists.

The 25-year-old’s performance for Milan also earned him a call-up to the national team and he has made two appearances for Spain so far.

#1. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City

Liverpool sold the other four players on this list willingly and they went on to find success elsewhere. However, Raheem Sterling was a success at Liverpool and the Reds were forced into selling him after he refused to sign a new contract.

Sterling signed for Liverpool in 2010 aged 15 from QPR for £600,000 and made his first-team debut at the tail end of the 2011/12 season. He went on to play 129 games for Liverpool scoring 23 goals and assisting a further 25 more.

The England international cost Man City £44 million with a potential £5 million in add-ons in 2015 but he has gone on to become one of their most important players at the club under Pep Guardiola. He has 63 goals and 63 assists for City in 181 games including 42 goals and 33 assists in 87 games since the start of the 2017/18 season.

The 24-year-old is arguably the best winger in the world at the moment and also one of the contenders for the PFA Player of the Year awards this season. 

10 forwards you won’t believe have fewer goals than Sergio Ramos this season

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Sergio Ramos has scored an incredible 16 goals this season for club and country combined. The defender has more goals to his name this season than some superstar forwards playing for the biggest clubs in Europe’s top 5 leagues.

Marcus Rashford – 15 goals

Marcus Rashford is enjoying the best season of his career in terms of goals scored. He has 12 goals in 38 games for Manchester United in all competitions and three more for England during the 2018/19 season.

Even though two of Rashford’s three goals for England this season have come against Sergio Ramos’ Spain, he still falls behind the Real Madrid defending by one goal.

Roberto Firmino – 15 goals

Roberto Firmino has been Liverpool’s undisputed first-choice center-forward under Jurgen Klopp. Even though Klopp has used him as an attacking midfielder in a few games this season, Firmino has predominantly played up front.

The Brazilian brings a lot more to the table than just goals but his tally of 13 goals in 38 games for Liverpool this season falls well short of the 27 goals he scored in 54 games last season.

In addition to the 13 goals Firmino has scored for Liverpool, he has also scored twice for Brazil this season taking his overall tally to 15.

Memphis Depay – 15 goals

Memphis Depay is a man rejuvenated at Olympique Lyon and even plays as a center-forward quite often for both club and country. This season, he has 14 assists in all competitions for Lyon but has only found the back of the net eight times in 37 games.

However, for the Netherlands, Depay has been in excellent form and has scored seven goals in the eight games he has played for them this season. Nevertheless, that’s still one goal less than Ramos has.

Edin Dzeko – 15 goals

Edin Dzeko is the only player to score at least 50 league goals in three of Europe’s top 5 leagues. The 32-year-old is widely regarded as an underappreciated player despite scoring 55 goals in 101 games for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This season, Dzeko has only scored 7 goals in 23 league games for Roma but he still has a decent return of 12 goals in 30 games across all competitions including five goals in six Champions League games.

In addition, he also scored three goals for Bosnia to extend his lead as atop the country’s all-time leading goalscorers list.

Alvaro Morata – 14 goals

Goals have been hard to come by for Alvaro Morata since he joined Chelsea. He scored only 9 goals for the Blues in the first half of the season in 24 games of which only five were in the league.

Since joining Atletico Madrid on loan, he has played eight games and found the back of the net thrice. He also scored two goals for Spain in their recent Euro qualifier against Malta to take his tally to 14 goals for the season.

Alexandre Lacazette – 14 goals

Alexandre Lacazette has scored 12 Premier League goals this season of which nine were the winning goals of the game and no player in the league has scored more winning goals than the Frenchman.

In all competitions, Lacazette has 14 goals in 38 games for Arsenal which is a decent return but arguably not good enough for a striker who cost £46.5 million. Hence, it is not surprising that he hasn’t played for France since 2017.

Dries Mertens – 13 goals

Dries Mertens successfully converted from a winger to a center-forward at Napoli and scored 34 and 22 goals in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons respectively. This season, under Carlo Ancelotti, he hasn’t hit the same strides and has only scored 12 goals in 36 games across all competitions.

The Belgian has also scored only once for the national team this season taking his overall tally to 13 goals this season.

Jamie Vardy – 12 goals

Jamie Vardy has only scored more than 20 goals for Leicester in two of his six full seasons for the club and both were when the club played in the Premier League.

This season, the 32-year-old has scored 12 goals in the Premier League for the Foxes and that’s all the goals he has scored as he retired from international duty after the FIFA World Cup.

Gonzalo Higuain – 11 goals

For a man who cost €90 million just two and a half years ago, Gonzalo Higuain has performed quite poorly this season for both the club he played for.

The Argentine spent the first half of the season on loan at Milan but only scored 8 goals in 22 games despite a quick start. Since joining Chelsea in January, he has played ten games and scored 3 goals.

The 31-year-old who retired from international duty recently hasn’t scored for Argentina since 2016 and thus has a total of 11 goals this season in 32 games this season.

Paulo Dybala – 10 goals

Paulo Dybala is rated highly in the football world and scored 23, 19 and 26 goals in his first three seasons with Juventus. This season, however, he has struggled in front of goal and managed just four goals in 25 Serie A games and 9 goals in 35 games across all competitions for Juventus.

Although he’s having an average season in front of goal for Juventus, he opened his account for Argentina this season with a goal against Mexico in November 2018.

Top 5 wingers in the world at the moment

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

The era of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and maybe even Gareth Bale has gone. There are better wingers hugging the touchline and terrorizing the opposition full-backs at the moment. FOX Sports Asia ranked the top 5 wingers in the world and some really tough calls had to be made.

#5. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah is the defending PFA, FWA and the Premier League Player of the season after a record-breaking 2017/18 season, but he has to settle for fifth place in this list for two reasons.

Firstly, Salah is in a bad run of form and is without a goal in seven games now. In his last ten games in all competitions, he only has one goal and one assist. This drastic drop in form cannot be ignored but his form before that keeps him in the top 5.

Secondly, Salah has moved from the right-wing and operated in a centre-forward role in many games this season. However, it is safe to say that the Egyptian’s best position is still on the right wing where he can exploit the space left by the full-backs and also cut in and shoot with his left foot.

Despite his recent drop in form, Salah still has 20 goals and eight assists to his name in 41 games across all competitions. For Liverpool, he has 64 goals and 22 assists in 91 games so far.

#4. Neymar

Neymar cost PSG a world-record transfer fee in 2017 but the fact is, the Brazilian is worth the money and his track record at club and international level speak for itself. However, like Salah, Neymar is not higher up this list for two similar reasons.

Firstly, Neymar has often enjoyed a free role at PSG behind Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe but he is predominantly a left-winger. Secondly, Neymar has a terrible track record of injuries in recent years and he has missed crucial Champions League knockout stage games in his two seasons with PSG. 

Before Neymar picked up an injury this season, he racked up 20 goals and nine assists for PSG. In total, he has 48 goals and 25 assists in 53 games across all competitions for the Parisian club.

Although the Brazilian’s numbers are fantastic, the fact that he plays in a one-horse league cannot be overlooked and that’s also a reason why Neymar is fourth in this list. 

#3. Sadio Mane

Placing Sadio Mane above both Neymar and Salah will raise a few eyebrows but there is evidence to support Mane’s position in this list.

Firstly, Salah and Neymar are often the focal points of their respective team’s attacks which gives them lesser defensive responsibilities than Mane. Secondly, unlike the other two players who have played up front and in a free role, Mane has spent almost the entirety of his career playing on either wing.

The Senegalese international has scored at least ten goals in each of his five seasons in the Premier League which includes two seasons with Southampton. In the Premier League alone, he has 61 goals in 152 games of which 40 were for Liverpool in only 85 games.

For Liverpool, Mane has 53 goals and 21 assists in 111 games so far but what makes him extra special is his incredible work rate, willingness to track back and the ability to play on either wing with ease. 

This season, Mane has 17 goals in 29 Premier League games and the tally is the second highest in the league behind Sergio Aguero who has 18. However, all of Mane’s goals have come from open play and no player has more or even the same number of goals from open play than the 26-year-old. Also, he has 11 goals in his last 11 games for Liverpool.

#2. Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is not a prolific goal-scoring winger like the others on this list but the fact that he has been in the PFA Team of the Year four times in six seasons and won many other individual awards including the FIFA World Cup Silver Ball, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the season tells you a lot about the Belgian’s influence.

Hazard has 105 goals and 86 assists for Chelsea in 339 games. He also has 30 goals for Belgium in only 100 games.

This season, he has 13 goals and 11 assists in the league for the Blues and he is only one of two players in Europe’s Top 5 leagues with ten or more goals and assists. Oh, the other player is Lionel Messi.

The present season will most likely be Hazard’s final season with Chelsea as he is being linked with a big move to Real Madrid next summer. Premier League superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez have improved their goals tally in the La Liga and Hazard could also turn into a prolific goal scorer at Real Madrid.

#1. Raheem Sterling

In 2015, eyebrows were raised when Manchester City paid £50 million to sign Raheem Sterling from Liverpool. He arrived at Man City as a player with immense potential but his first two seasons at the club were good but not spectacular.

It was evident that Sterling had immense potential but his decision making and finishing often let him down during his initial years at Man City. He showed signs for improvement in his first season under Guardiola and then took his game up a notch in the 2017/18 season.

During Manchester City’s record-breaking 2017/18 season, Sterling scored 23 goals and assisted 13 more in 46 games across all competitions. This season, he already has 19 goals and 13 assists to his name in 40 games and Man City have at least 11 more games left to play.

The England international is one of the first names on the team sheet for both club and country at the moment despite the immense competition for places.

Sterling is still only 24-years-old and he already has 63 goals and 63 assists for Man City in 180 games.

5 expensive summer signings who have failed to deliver this season

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Any player signed for a hefty fee is expected to make a significant impact at their new club sooner rather than later. However, these five expensive summer signings are yet to live up to expectations even though the season is nearing its end.

#5. Radja Nainggolan – Signed for €38 million

Radja Nainggolan was named in the Serie A Team of the Year in all four seasons he played for AS Roma. The actual fee Inter paid to Roma for the Belgian’s services was €24 million but they also let Davide Santon and Nicolo Zaniolo go the opposite way and these players were valued at €14 million. More on these players later.

Nainggolan has struggled with injuries and missed games against Barcelona, Juventus and Lazio. In addition, he had to be taken off before half time against AC Milan and Spurs due to injuries.

Even when the 30-year-old has managed to play the full game, he has failed to impress and has racked up only four goals and three assists in 23 games across all competitions. To top off his poor form and injuries, Inter suspended him for disciplinary actions in December. 

Inter sacrificed Nicolo Zaniolo, a promising midfielder who scored 13 goals in 26 games for the club’s title-winning Under 19 squad, to sign Nainggolan. The club has a history of selling promising youngsters before they’ve realised their potential and some notable examples would be Andrea Pirlo and Philippe Coutinho. Based on what we have seen so far, they may have repeated the mistake with Zaniolo.

Zaniolo has broken into the Roma first team and scored five goals in 28 appearances this season. That’s one goal and five games more than Nainggolan has for Inter this season.

#4. Malcom – Signed for €41 million

Malcom was on the verge of signing for Roma when Barcelona intervened at the last moment and signed him for €41 million. It was curious why Barcelona needed another winger when they were struggling to use Ousmane Dembele in Ernesto Valverde’s system.

The Brazilian has played in 15 games for Barcelona this season but started just six of those game with five of those starts coming in the Copa del Rey. To be fair to him, he has three goals for the club despite his minimal playing time with a goal each against Inter Milan and Real Madrid in an eventual 1-1 draw.

However, since scoring the equaliser against Real Madrid on 6th February, he has played just five minutes for the club.

The 22-year-old had offers to leave the club in January but he stayed put to fight for his place. However, it is unlikely that he’ll receive much playing time under Valverde and he looks destined to leave the club next summer as an expensive flop.

#3. Fred – Signed for £52 million

Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, Manchester United have signed a plethora of midfielders and even broke the world record to sign Paul Pogba. Their latest expensive midfield recruit was Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and he was United’s only major signing of the summer.

Manchester United stole Fred from under the nose of Manchester City and he was expected to improve the midfield. Instead, he now finds himself on the bench more often than not as Ole Gunnar Solskjær prefers the midfield three of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

The Brazilian has featured in only 19 games for United so far and started only 14 of those games. He only has a goal and an assist to show for his time at Manchester United so far.

Fred impressed in United’s 3-1 away win against PSG but he followed it up with a poor show against Arsenal in a 2-0 defeat. This quickly promoted Solskjær to leave him on the bench in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves in the FA Cup.

A big summer is on the horizon for Manchester United. So, Fred has very little time to salvage his Man Utd career.

#2. Thibaut Courtois – Signed for £35 million

After a fantastic World Cup for Belgium, Thibaut Courtois moved to Real Madrid for £35 million and Real Madrid managed to sign him for a relatively cheap fee only because he was entering the final year of his contract.

Courtois was signed to replace the reliable Keylor Navas who is also a fan favourite. However, the Belgian’s first season at the club couldn’t have been worse. He has conceded 30 goals in 24 La Liga games including five on his El Clasico debut. He has been heavily criticized for the manner in which he has been beaten on many occasions. 

The Belgian’s season went from bad to worse when Zinedine Zidane returned to the club and reinstated Keylor Navas in goal. Even on the international stage, Courtois is enduring a torrid time as he made an embarrassing error in his previous game against Russia and conceded five against Switzerland in the game before that.

#1. Naby Keita – Signed for £52.75 million

Liverpool wanted to sign Naby Keita before the 2017/18 season but because Leipzig were unwilling to sell him, they struck a deal that allowed the player to join Liverpool in 2018. For this, Liverpool paid a premium of £4.75 million on top of his £48 million release clause which was active after the 2017/18 season.

Since Liverpool fans had to wait one season to see the player in the club’s colours, most fans watched him play for Leipzig and were thoroughly impressed by his dynamism and expansive skillset.

The Guinean impressed in preseason and started the first three Premier League games for the club while showing flashes of his brilliance. However, injuries and the tough fight for a starting role in the Liverpool midfield has seen him being restricted to 1209 minutes in 25 games (14 starts) across the Premier League and Champions League so far this season.

The 24-year-old has shown sparks in a few games recently, but a return of no goals and one assist makes him one of the biggest flop signings of the season.

Best teenage XI in world football now

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Since the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Trent Alexander-Arnold are no longer teenagers, it is time to create a new XI featuring the best teenagers in football at the moment.

Goalkeeper

Mile Svilar (Belgium/Benfica)

Fiorentina’s Alban Lafont and AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma turned 20 in January and February 2019 respectively. Therefore, Benfica’s Mile Svilar gets a place in this XI.

The 19-year-old is a product of the Anderlecht youth academy but signed for Benfica in August 2017 before making an appearance for Anderlecht’s senior term.

Svilar is the youngest goalkeeper to represent Benfica, the youngest goalkeeper ever to play in a Champions League game and also the youngest goalkeeper to save a penalty in a Champions League game.

He has represented Belgium up to the Under-19 level but he is also eligible to represent Serbia through his father who is a former Serbian goalkeeper.

Fullbacks

Reece James (England/Chelsea)

Reece James is one of many promising youth products from the Chelsea academy and if Chelsea’s transfer ban isn’t lifted, then James may have a chance to break into the first team.

James is yet to play for the Chelsea senior team but he has impressed on loan at Wigan Athletic this season. The 19-year-old has featured in every game for Wigan so far and has put in five man of the match performances. 

The Chelsea man was part of the England U19 team that won the 2017 UEFA European Under-19 Championship.

Ryan Sessegnon (England/Fulham)

Ryan Sessegnon is still only 18-years-old but he has already played 112 games for Fulham and scored 25 goals.

Sessegnon started out as a left-back but converted to a winger. At the end of the 2017/18 season, he became the first Championship player to be nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

He was named Championship Player of the Season, Young Player of the Season and Apprentice of the Year. In addition, he was also named in the Team of the Season and EFL Club Developed XI.

The teenager is expected to leave Fulham at the end of the season if the club gets relegated and there will be many suitors for him.

Centre-backs

Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands/Ajax)

Matthijs de Ligt is the most recent winner of the prestigious Golden Boy award and also the first defender to win the award. The Dutchman has already played over 100 games for Ajax, is the youngest captain of the club and also the youngest ever captain in a Champions League knockout game.

De Ligt has already represented the Netherlands in thirteen games and he has formed a potent centre-back partnership with Virgil van Dijk.

The 19-year-old is a target for most major European clubs and it will be interesting to see which club lands him in the upcoming summer transfer window.

Dan-Axel Zagadou (France/Borussia Dortmund)

Dan-Axel Zagadou is a product of the PSG academy but the Frenchman left the club without making an appearance for the senior team to join Borussia Dortmund.

Zagadou has represented Dortmund in 35 games so far and scored three goals. Although the 19-year-old prefers to play as a centre-back, he is also capable of playing as a left-back.

He has represented France up to the U20 level but is also eligible to represent Ivory Coast on the international stage.

Midfielders

Matteo Guendouzi (France/Arsenal)

Matteo Guendouzi was Arsenal’s most low profile summer signing but he has proved to be arguably their best summer signing especially because he cost the Gunners only around £7 million.

The 19-year-old has already represented Arsenal in 34 games in his debut season and has impressed the fans and pundits alike with his tenacious displays even in defeats.

Interestingly, Guendouzi spent most of his formative years at the PSG academy before leaving for Lorient and making his professional debut with the latter club.

Kai Havertz (Germany/Bayer Leverkusen)

Aged 19, Havertz already has 96 first team appearances for Bayer Leverkusen as well as three caps for the German national team.

The technically gifted two-footed midfielder drew early comparisons to Mesut Ozil but his impressive performances this season have seen him being compared to former Leverkusen players such as Toni Kroos, Arturo Vidal and Michael Ballack. 

This season, he has 13 goals and six assists to his name in all competitions for Leverkusen and he is attracting interest from other top European clubs.

Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy/Roma)

Inter Milan have a history of letting go of fantastic young players before they’ve realised their potential and some famous examples would be Philippe Coutinho and Andrea Pirlo. The most recent mistake from the Italian club would be Nicolo Zaniolo who they used as a makeweight in the deal to bring Radja Nainggolan from Roma last summer.

Zaniolo has broken into the Roma first team in his debut season and has made 28 appearances in all competitions scoring five goals. In September 2018, he was given his maiden senior international call-up for Italy even before making his Serie A debut but he did not receive any playing time.

The 19-year-old scored a brace for Roma in their Champions League Round of 16 clash against Porto and thus became the youngest Italian player to score twice in a single match in the competition.

Forwards

Jadon Sancho (England/Borussia Dortmund)

Jadon Sancho took a bold step and moved to the Bundesliga in 2017 to get more first-team opportunities and he has gone on to cement his place in the Borussia Dortmund starting XI this season.

This season, he has nine goals and 14 assists in all competitions for Dortmund. In the league alone, he has 12 assists and this tally is the joint-most in Europe’s Top 5 leagues along with a certain Lionel Messi.

Sancho’s incredible rise to fame also earned him his maiden call-up to the England senior team in 2018.

Joao Felix (Portugal/Benfica)

Joao Felix is the hottest property in Portuguese football and is being linked with a potential move to several top European clubs.

The 19-year-old is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, a winger and a centre-forward. However, he has predominantly played as a centre-forward. In 32 games across all competitions, he has 12 goals and in the league alone, he has 10 goals and four assists in 18 games.

Felix’s impressive form has earned him a call-up to the Portugal senior team for their upcoming games against Ukraine and Serbia.

Vinicius Junior (Brazil/Real Madrid)

Real Madrid spent a fortune to sign Vinicius Junior in 2017 although he could only join the club in 2018 after he turned 18.

Vinicius took some time to break into the Real Madrid first team but he has racked up 28 appearances in all competitions while also scoring four goals and assisting ten more.

In February 2019, he received his maiden call-up to the Brazil national team but he had to withdraw because of an injury.

Honourable mentions – Rafael Leao (Portugal/Lille), Callum Hudson-Odoi (England/Chelsea), Moise Kean (Italy/Juventus), Justin Kluivert (Netherlands/Roma) and Alphonso Davies (Canada/Bayern Munich)

Liverpool 3-1 Bayern Munich: 5 talking points as Klopp’s men reach the quarterfinal of UEFA Champions League

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Liverpool progressed to the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League 2018-19 with a dominant 3-1 win at the home of the defending German champions Bayern Munich.

Here are the five major talking points from the high-profile clash.

5) Liverpool’s disastrous away form comes to an end in emphatic fashion

Since beating Manchester City at the Etihad in last season’s Champions League quarterfinal, Liverpool lost all five of their subsequent Champions League games away from home and this includes their defeat to Real Madrid in the final.

This season, Liverpool won all three of their home games in the group stage but lost all three away fixtures including the one against the group’s minnows Red Star Belgrade.

Liverpool travelled to Germany for the second leg with a poor away record but they ended that run with a dominant display over the Bundesliga giants. The Bavarian club could only muster two shots on goal and the only goal they scored also came from a Liverpool player.

4) A gloomy European campaign for German clubs

Bayern’s defeat to Liverpool means there will not be a German club in the quarterfinal of the Champions League for the first time since the 2005/06 season. It’s also the first time since the 2010/11 season that Bayern have failed to progress to the last eight.

Interestingly, the three German clubs in the Round of 16; Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke; were all knocked out by English clubs and by a comfortable margin in the end.

It is also the first time since the 2008/09 season that all four English clubs have made it to the last eight and on that occasion, Barcelona went on to lift the trophy.

3) The £75 million bargain delivers at both ends

Superlatives fail to describe just how good Virgil van Dijk has been for Liverpool this season. If Liverpool end their trophy drought this season, then the Dutchman has to be in contention for all major individual honours.

Van Dijk was his usual composed yet imperious best at the back against Bayern and kept this season’s top scorer, Robert Lewandowski, at bay along with Joel Matip who might we add, was equally good defensively.

The world’s most expensive defender also made a telling contribution at the other end against Bayern. He assisted Sadio Mane’s opening goal with an excellent ball over the top from Liverpool’s half and then scored Liverpool’s second to put the tie beyond the home side.

2) A big summer on the cards for Bayern Munich

Since the 2010/11 season in the Champions League, Bayern have reached the final twice, reached the semifinal four times and the quarter-final once. Bayern’s failure to reach the last eight this time around highlighted significant weaknesses in the current squad. To put it bluntly – this is not the Bayern of old.

Bayern are parting ways with both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the summer after many years and they will need to find replacements. They presently have Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies as wide options but at the moment, none of these players are as good as Robben or Ribery were in their prime. Also, Coman is injury prone and Davies is yet to be tested in Europe.

Bayern also needs to add cover for their defence. Jerome Boateng has lost his place in the starting XI to Niklas Sule after some poor performances and like Germany, maybe Bayern also need to think about the future and move past Boateng and Hummels. They also need cover for Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba as the veteran Raphina cannot do the job anymore.

In addition to the abovementioned necessities, they could also do with a new midfielder and an alternative to Robert Lewandowski. It won’t be possible for them to make so many changes in one summer but they will have to address some of these issues at least.

1) Main Man-e

Mohamed Salah has now gone six games without a goal for Liverpool but there isn’t any need for the Liverpool fans to panic yet as Sadio Mane has stepped up and delivered in recent weeks.

Mane scored his 18th and 19th goals of the season against Bayern Munich to carry Liverpool into the quarterfinal. The Senegalese is proving to be a man for the big occasions for Liverpool and he even scored for the Reds in last season’s Champions League final.

The former Southampton man has scored 16 Premier League goals this season. The tally is his best in a Premier League season and there are still eight games to go. Also, his 16 goals are the most by any player in the Premier League from open play this season and he is just two short of the league’s top scorer Sergio Aguero’s tally.

The brace against Bayern was Mane’s third brace in his last four games and he has also scored ten goals in his last ten games. He is in the form of his life and Liverpool fans will be hoping he can carry on in such manner till the end of the season.

5 current stars you won’t believe haven’t played international football

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

For most professional footballers, representing their country on the international stage is a huge honour but very few can achieve this feat. These five stars are yet to play international football at the senior level even though they’ve been in top form at the club level.

#5 Clement Lenglet

France arguably have the best young players in the world at the moment. The defending world champions have so many world class players to choose from which is why they won the FIFA World Cup by leaving out the likes of Dimitri Payet, Adrien Rabiot, Alexandre Lacazette, Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial among many others.

Les Bleus have incredible depth in the centre-back department. Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti are the first-choice defenders and they are backed up by the likes of Presnel Kimpembe, Mamadou Sakho, Adil Rami and Kurt Zouma among many others.

Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet has proved to be an excellent summer signing for them and has provided excellent cover for Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti. If he was playing for any country but France, the former Sevilla man would have earned a senior international call-up by now.

Lenglet is only 23-years-old at the moment and he could still play for France in the near future. However, as things stand, he hasn’t worn the France jersey since representing them at the Under-21 level in 2016.

#4 Leon Bailey

Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey is one of the most highly rated young wingers in the game at the moment and he has been linked with a move to several top European clubs already.

Bailey was born in Jamaica and played for the country’s Under-23 side once in 2015 in a match against the Cayman Islands. He marked his only appearance in a Jamaica kit with a goal from a direct freekick.

Later, it was reported that he would refuse call-ups from the Jamaica national team until the quality of Jamaican football improved. “They always want me to play for Jamaica, but I’ve had personal problems with the association since I was eleven or twelve years old” – He told German football magazine Kicker. 

In September 2018, it was reported that Bailey finally accepted a call-up to the Jamaica international team but he is yet to play for the senior team.

#3 Sebastien Haller

The fact that France left the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Kingsley Coman, Anthony Martial, Wissam Ben Yedder and Karim Benzema out of the World Cup squad sums up the quality and depth of France’s attack.

The abovementioned stars have at least represented France at the senior level but Sebastien Haller of Eintracht Frankfurt last wore the France jersey for the Under-21 side in 2016.

Haller joined Frankfurt in 2017 and scored 13 goals in 36 games in his debut season en route to winning the DFB-Pokal by beating Bayern Munich in the final. This season, he has taken his game up by a notch and is spearheading the club’s push for Champions League football as well as their impressive Europa League run.

The 24-year-old has 17 goals and 12 assists to his name in 34 games across all competitions this season. To put things into perspective, Antoine Griezmann has 18 goals and 9 assists in 36 games across all competitions this season.

#2 Alex Telles

The fact that Alex Telles is being linked with Real Madrid as a potential replacement for Marcelo should tell you a lot about how good the player is.

Brazil have a shortage of quality right-backs at the moment but on the opposite side, they have been juggling with Marcelo, Alex Sandro and Filipe Luis in recent years. However, Luis is 33-years-old and Marcelo will turn 31 by the end of this season and this should give some hope to Telles.

The 26-year-old is eligible to represent Italy as he holds an Italian passport and in 2016, he revealed that he would be open to the possibility of representing Italy. “I may be Brazilian, but my great grandparents are Italian and I feel Italian,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Porto man hasn’t played for Brazil or Italy so far and it remains to be seen which side will snap up the reliable left-back.

#1 Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte is one of three French players in this list but unlike Lenglet and Haller, Laporte’s failure to represent France at the senior level isn’t only because of competition for places. In fact, the Man City man deserves to be in the squad ahead of the likes of Rami, Sakho and Zouma.

Laporte was named in the La Liga team of the year in 2013/14 at the age of 19 and will most likely be in the Premier League team of the Year at the end of the ongoing season. Despite his evident quality, he has been kept out of the France squad for reasons only known to Didier Deschamps.

To be fair, Deschamps has called up Laporte to the squad on a couple of occasions but the France manager is yet to give Laporte his senior international debut. In 2016, Laporte began the process of making himself eligible for Spain but later he decided against playing for Spain in the hope of playing for his country of birth in the near future. 

 

Read Also: PSG fans ask for Manchester United Champions League expulsion

5 potential destinations for Gareth Bale

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Gareth Bale world record transfer to Real Madrid seems like a distant memory and he now cuts a frustrated figure at the club. The Welshman still has a lot to offer and these five clubs could be a potential destination for him next summer.

Chelsea

Chelsea presently have Eden Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi as options down the wing. In addition to these four players, they also have Christian Pulisic on loan at Borussia Dortmund.

It might seem like Chelsea have enough depth in their wings for the present and for the future. However, all the above-mentioned five players are right-footed and that is a cause for concern.

Gareth Bale is one of the best left-footed wingers in the game at the moment and the Welshman has demonstrated that in the Premier League previously. Thus, he won’t be a huge gamble.

Chelsea may have an upper hand in their pursuit of Bale as Eden Hazard has been linked with a move to Real Madrid. The Blues could soften the blow of losing their talisman by getting Bale in return.

Bayern Munich

 

For many years Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery terrorised opposition full-backs for Bayern Munich but they are on the wrong side of their thirties and it has been confirmed that the duo will leave the club at the end of the season.

The Bavarian club has Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and the young Alphonso Davies as options down either wing but Coman is injury prone, Davies is unproven in Europe and Gnabry alone won’t suffice.

Bale is an experienced campaigner and can seamlessly play on either wing. He won’t be a long-term solution to Bayern’s winger problems but if he can deliver for two or three seasons, that will take the load off the young wingers already in the squad and also give them a world class player to learn from.

Tottenham Hotspur

What is football without a bit of romanticism?

Gareth Bale announced himself to the world at Tottenham Hotspur and was a huge fan favourite at the club before leaving for Real Madrid in 2013.

A huge squad overhaul is on the horizon at Real Madrid and if that’s the case, then Real Madrid will definitely be looking for a world class striker and there aren’t many better than Spurs’ Harry Kane.

Thanks to Kane, Spurs haven’t felt the absence of Bale but if the former is to leave for Real Madrid, then a homecoming could be on the cards for the latter.

Paris Saint-Germain

 

Just like Chelsea and Spurs, PSG also have the potential of pulling off a swap deal involving Gareth Bale.

PSG have the two most expensive players on the planet in their ranks and both players have been constantly linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Neymar has talked up the possibility of joining Real Madrid recently and Kylian Mbappe would jump at the chance to join the Los Blancos given PSG’s poor show in the Champions League.

If Real Madrid want to sign either player, then another world record-breaking transfer may be necessary but if Bale is involved in the deal, then that could save the La Liga side some money.

Manchester United

Manchester United have Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez as options down the wing but all three players are right-footed and prefer to play on the left-hand side. They have Juan Mata as a left-footed option down the right side but the Spaniard isn’t the quickest of players and he isn’t as prolific as he used to be during his Chelsea days.

The Premier League giants have been on the lookout for a right-sided winger for a while now and were linked with Willian last summer when Jose Mourinho was in charge.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is most likely to be in charge of the club next season after impressing as caretaker manager and the Norwegian will be given a huge budget to improve the squad.

Bale will be a superb addition to the United squad for several reasons. Firstly, he is Premier League proven, secondly, he qualifies as a homegrown player and finally he is a marketable athlete which will appeal to the club’s board.

5 potential destinations for Mauro Icardi

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Mauro Icardi’s future at Inter Milan is up in the air after a series of comments from his agent and wife, Wanda Nara. He has been stripped of his captaincy and dropped from the squad.

However, there will be no shortage of suitors for the prolific Argentine who has scored 122 goals in only 210 games for Inter.

Chelsea

Chelsea currently have Gonzalo Higuain and Olivier Giroud as options up front although the former is currently on loan at the club. 

There is uncertainty over the future of Maurizio Sarri and if the Italian is sacked, then there is no chance of the Blues will signing Higuain on a permanent deal given his age. Whereas Giroud has managed to find the back of the net just 11 times in 47 games for Chelsea.

In addition to the strikers currently at the club, Chelsea also have Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi out on loan. However, Chelsea’s search to replace Diego Costa will continue next summer and Mauro Icardi, a previous transfer target for the club, could be the man to end their search for a proven goalscorer.

A potential move for Icardi hinges on Chelsea’s ability to secure Champions League football for next season and also on their managerial situation.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich currently have one of the best strikers in the world in Robert Lewandowski. However, the Pole was open to leaving the club at the end of last season. Although he chose to stay at Bayern beyond the summer, the striker who turns 31 at the start of next season could be on his way out.

Lewandowski revealed that he felt that the bosses at the club didn’t support him enough after he was widely criticized for not scoring in a few important games.

If Lewandowski does leave the club, then Bayern will need a world-class striker to fill that void and if Mauro Icardi is on the market, then the Bavarians don’t need to look any further. However, if Lewandowski opts to continue at Bayern, then a move for Icardi can be ruled out.

Juventus

Juventus is on a quest to constantly improve their squad despite dominating the Serie A for many years and a major reason behind that could be to win the elusive Champions League title.

Juve have signed players such as Giorgio Chiellini, Miralem Pjanic and Matti De Sciglio from rival Serie A clubs. So, signing Icardi from rivals Inter Milan won’t be an issue for them. Icardi has been linked with a move to Juventus in recent weeks and Juventus director Fabio Paratici admitted the club made an enquiry for the forward.

If Juve signs Icardi, it will be interesting to see how the club will fit both him and Ronaldo into the same XI without losing the team’s balance. Remember, when Ronaldo signed, Juve had to ship Higuain off to accommodate the Portuguese superstar.

Barcelona

For three years, Mauro Icardi was on the books of Barcelona and he was a prolific goal scorer at the youth levels for the Catalan club. In 2011, he left the club to sign for Sampdoria to enhance his first-team opportunities.  

Icardi later claimed that his decision to leave Barcelona was the right one and he has proved that by scoring 133 goals for Sampdoria and Inter combined.

Barcelona need to replace Luis Suarez in the near future as the Uruguayan is already 32-years-old and showing signs of age catching up to him.

Icardi is a player who is familiar with the club’s philosophy and he could prove to be a fantastic replacement for Suarez and he also has the likes of Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho creating chances for him.

Real Madrid

Unlike the other four clubs mentioned above, Real Madrid are in dire need of a proven goal and their search for a world class striker is not dependent on the departure of another one.

Real Madrid opted against replacing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer and that has piled up a lot of pressure on the current crop of players. Karim Benzema is 31-years-old and still splits the opinion of a vast majority of fans while Gareth Bale, who turns 30 in July, is injured quite often or doesn’t perform consistently. 

Chances are that there will be more than one marquee signing at Real Madrid next summer and the Los Blancos can sign any player they want including Mauro Icardi.

5 potential destinations for Mauro Icardi

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

Mauro Icardi’s future at Inter Milan is up in the air after a series of comments from his agent and wife, Wanda Nara. He has been stripped of his captaincy and dropped from the squad.

However, there will be no shortage of suitors for the prolific Argentine who has scored 122 goals in only 210 games for Inter.

Chelsea

Chelsea currently have Gonzalo Higuain and Olivier Giroud as options up front although the former is currently on loan at the club. 

There is uncertainty over the future of Maurizio Sarri and if the Italian is sacked, then there is no chance of the Blues will signing Higuain on a permanent deal given his age. Whereas Giroud has managed to find the back of the net just 11 times in 47 games for Chelsea.

In addition to the strikers currently at the club, Chelsea also have Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi out on loan. However, Chelsea’s search to replace Diego Costa will continue next summer and Mauro Icardi, a previous transfer target for the club, could be the man to end their search for a proven goalscorer.

A potential move for Icardi hinges on Chelsea’s ability to secure Champions League football for next season and also on their managerial situation.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich currently have one of the best strikers in the world in Robert Lewandowski. However, the Pole was open to leaving the club at the end of last season. Although he chose to stay at Bayern beyond the summer, the striker who turns 31 at the start of next season could be on his way out.

Lewandowski revealed that he felt that the bosses at the club didn’t support him enough after he was widely criticized for not scoring in a few important games.

If Lewandowski does leave the club, then Bayern will need a world-class striker to fill that void and if Mauro Icardi is on the market, then the Bavarians don’t need to look any further. However, if Lewandowski opts to continue at Bayern, then a move for Icardi can be ruled out.

Juventus

Juventus is on a quest to constantly improve their squad despite dominating the Serie A for many years and a major reason behind that could be to win the elusive Champions League title.

Juve have signed players such as Giorgio Chiellini, Miralem Pjanic and Matti De Sciglio from rival Serie A clubs. So, signing Icardi from rivals Inter Milan won’t be an issue for them. Icardi has been linked with a move to Juventus in recent weeks and Juventus director Fabio Paratici admitted the club made an enquiry for the forward.

If Juve signs Icardi, it will be interesting to see how the club will fit both him and Ronaldo into the same XI without losing the team’s balance. Remember, when Ronaldo signed, Juve had to ship Higuain off to accommodate the Portuguese superstar.

Barcelona

For three years, Mauro Icardi was on the books of Barcelona and he was a prolific goal scorer at the youth levels for the Catalan club. In 2011, he left the club to sign for Sampdoria to enhance his first-team opportunities.  

Icardi later claimed that his decision to leave Barcelona was the right one and he has proved that by scoring 133 goals for Sampdoria and Inter combined.

Barcelona need to replace Luis Suarez in the near future as the Uruguayan is already 32-years-old and showing signs of age catching up to him.

Icardi is a player who is familiar with the club’s philosophy and he could prove to be a fantastic replacement for Suarez and he also has the likes of Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho creating chances for him.

Real Madrid

Unlike the other four clubs mentioned above, Real Madrid are in dire need of a proven goal and their search for a world class striker is not dependent on the departure of another one.

Real Madrid opted against replacing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer and that has piled up a lot of pressure on the current crop of players. Karim Benzema is 31-years-old and still splits the opinion of a vast majority of fans while Gareth Bale, who turns 30 in July, is injured quite often or doesn’t perform consistently. 

Chances are that there will be more than one marquee signing at Real Madrid next summer and the Los Blancos can sign any player they want including Mauro Icardi.

5 youngsters who have played the most minutes in the last two years

Lavezzi scores brilliant bicycle kick winner

The CIES Football Observatory recently published its study on the most experienced young players born in or after 1998 currently playing in Europe by weighing the domestic league minutes played by the footballers during the last two years according to the sporting strength of the employer teams. Here are the top 5 players from his list. 

#5. Dayot Upamecano

In the fifth position is RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano with a CIES rating of 49.46. Upamecano narrowly beats the defending Golden Boy award winner, Matthijs de Ligt, who has a CIES score of 49.31.

Upamecano, who was born in 1998, has played professionally since 2015 for Liefering, Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig.

The Frenchman is a key player for the Bundesliga side that’s attempting to establish itself as a regular Champions League side. Despite impressing at club level, he is yet to make his debut for the France senior team but it would only be a matter of time.

#4. Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool’s academy groomed the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen in the late 90s but since then, academy products haven’t had the impact the club would have hoped for but the rise of Trent Alexander-Arnold could start a new era.

Alexander-Arnold made his first-team debut in 2016 but he mainly played as an understudy to Nathaniel Clyne in the 2016/17 season. The following season, an injury to Clyne gave the youngster a chance to shine and he has won many admirers with his excellent displays.

In fact, Arnold has been so impressive that Clyne sought a loan move away from Liverpool in January in search of first-team opportunities.

The England international played 33 times last season scoring three goals and has featured in 24 games so far this season for the Premier League contenders.

CIES has given the Liverpool man a score of 50.43.

#3. Houssem Aouar

France won the World Cup in 2018 and they have a plethora of young talent coming through which will definitely help them in defending their title in 2022. Olympique Lyon’s Houssem Aouar is one of three Frenchmen in this top 5 list and he has been given a score of 52.68 by CIES.

Aouar only made his first-team debut nearly two years ago and he only played five games by the end of the 2017/18 season. Following the departure of Corentin Tolisso, not only did Aouar receive more playing time but he also inherited the symbolic number 8.

The 20-year-old played 44 games last season for Lyon in all competitions and this season, he has already played 34 games.

Despite his meteoric rise, Aouar, like Upamecano, is yet to make his senior debut for France.

#2. Kylian Mbappe

Any list featuring the best young players in the world is incomplete without Kylian Mbappe.

He enjoyed his breakthrough season in 2016/17 en route to helping Monaco win the Ligue 1 title and since then, he became the second most expensive player in the world, a World Cup winner, he scored 45 goals for PSG and scored ten goals for France and has won numerous individual and team honours.

Why did Mbappe choose to join PSG?

CIES has given Mbappe a score of 65.42 which is quite high but only puts him second on the list despite already playing over 160 games for both club and country.

#1. Gianluigi Donnarumma

With a CIES score of 73.66, Gianluigi Donnarumma tops this list even though the other four players were born in 1998 while the Italian was born in 1999.

Donnarumma is still only 19-years-old but he has already played 151 games for Milan and ten more for the Italian national team.

The teenager has been Milan’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper since the 2015/16 season when he was only 16-years-old. As a result, he plays almost every game for the club and tops this list with a significant lead over Mbappe in second place.