Monday, July 25, 2011

Alexis Sanchez Joins Barcelona

Udinese star Alexis Sanchez has completed a move to Barcelona having turned down the offers of Chelsea and Manchester City for the Catalan club. The future of Sanchez, who has been far from successful in selling Chile Copa America Shirts  after his side crashed out at the Quarter Final stage with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of underdogs Venezuela, has been the subject of much speculation after an excellent season with the Udinese, with some of the biggest names in European football entering the race for his signature.

Having helped the Serie A side to Champions League qualification last season, Sanchez quickly became one of the hottest properties in world football, and now the saga appears to be over after the player’s agent appeared in Barcelona to finalise the deal.

With the deal done, a former Real Madrid striker has backed the young Chilean to shine at the Nou Camp. Ivan Zamorano believes Sanchez will be a huge success, and pointed to the experience the talented youngster has gained in one of Europe’s toughest leagues as evidence that he will have no trouble fitting in in Spain.

"Alexis [Sanchez] has an advantage. Already, he has experience. He has triumphed in the world's toughest league, which is Italian, definitely. Sanchez is a guy who knows how to listen and he will adapt to Guardiola."

Zamorano went on to discuss the prospects for another hot young player in the game, Santos’s Neymar who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid. He insisted that while he doesn’t have the experience Sanchez has, he has the ability to make a huge impact on the game.

Neymar could stay at Santos, or join Real Madrid immediately this summer

When questioned about the youngster Zamorano said:

"He (Neymar) has huge potential. He can be a decisive player. The only thing missing with Neymar is experience, but that will be earned over time."

What are your thoughts on Barcelona's latest signing? Will Sanchez fit in with the Catalans? Who's better between Neymar and Sanchez? Share your comments below!

Roma Swoop for Barcelona Star Bojan

Bojan Krkic finalised his move away from Barcelona on Friday as Roma snapped up the enigmatic forward for around €12 million. Barcelona seemed surprisingly willing to let the U-21 Spanish international leave the Nou Camp this summer given his obvious talents, but while the move is permanent, the Catalan club revealed in a statement that a clause had been inserted into the talented youngster’s contract with the Serie A club allowing them to re-sign him at the end of 2012/13 season.

The statement read:

"The cost of the operation is 12 million euros but includes a compulsory buy-out option to be exercised by Barcelona at the end of the 2012/13 campaign, at a cost of 13 million euros. This buy-out option can be blocked by AS Roma but in that case, the total cost of the transfer would be 40million euros."

Bojan found it difficult to break into the Barcelona first XI, and recently expressed his frustrations at not playing regular first team football. The Nike Tiempo Legend wearer had been linked with a move to the Premier League before Roma amerged as the clear favourites for his signature. Bojan admitted that he would have liked to have succeeded with Barcelona, but insisted he was pleased with his move to Roma.

"My dream was to triumph with Barca, but I am very happy that another club has given me the chance to continue succeeding. I'm going from one big club to another and all parties have an interest. That makes me happy. I consider myself privileged."
What are your thoughts on Bojan's move to Italy? Share them in the comments below!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Arsenal and Inter Milan Chasing Ricardo Alvarez

Velez Sarsfield's Ricardo Gabriel Alvarez

While there are many stars which are being observed this transfer window, there are always a few hidden gems which catch the eye of some of the biggest clubs. Often these are late bloomers, players who have suffered an injury or have taken a bit more time to mature and grow.

Ricardo Gabriel Alvarez has attracted the interest of many clubs, most notably Arsenal and Inter Milan. Now, he is being lauded as the new Riquelme yet he prefers to be compared to Zidane, whom he idolized growing up.

While there are supposedly two clubs chasing the Argentine, Inter Milan certainly have the upper hand in signing the left-footed player. While Arsenal are certainly interested and have made their intentions known, Alvarez is more interested in joining the other Argentineans at Inter. Negotiations are still being held, and while the two clubs (Velez and Inter) have agreed a fee around 11 million Euros, the player has yet to give the last word on the deal.

But what type of a player is Alvarez? That's a pretty tough question to answer in itself. He can best be summed up as versatile and complete. While he is left footed, he is practically ambidextrous, and his tall and fairly strong physique allows him to play a variety of positions. He can play as a playmaker behind the striker or strikers, but can also be put out on the wings. His only problem might be that he never really defined himself in a certain position, playing wherever his club, Velez, needed him to.

A question often asked when young South Americans are brought over to Europe is whether they have the maturity required to be a superstar professional. There are many risks buying a player, especially when they're young and they know they're good.

Alvarez has a fairly well developed sense of maturity though, especially after suffering some career threatening injuries when he was younger. The mental strength he needed to return from a torn cruciate knee ligament, and spend a season not playing is great, and it has helped round him out and make him a well-tempered individual.

Alvarez already training right now in the offseason, and he's ready to put in the effort needed to succeed wherever he goes. Whether he agrees to join the nerazzurri, or decides that his interests lie in the Premier League with Arsenal, Ricardo Alvarez will make an impact wherever.

Tevez Staying at Man City, Will Nasri Join Him?

This article was written by Pete South, follow him on Twitter @peterwsouth.

Carlos Tevez will stay with Manchester City according to Roberto Mancini despite intense speculation the Argentinian forward would be leaving Eastlands this summer. Tevez was being chased by Inter Milan, with Mancini said to be keen on bringing Samuel Eto’o to Manchester as part of the deal, but now the Italian has revealed that the move stuttered because the Serie A side were unwilling to sell Eto’o.

Roberto Mancini said this about the player:

"Yes, of course Tevez will stay, he is a fantastic player... There was talk of an exchange with Eto'o but Inter did not want to sell.”

Tevez had earlier seemed keen on a move after admitting on an Argentinian chat show that he wasn’t enjoying life in the north-west of England – and added that he would not return to Manchester. Here's a bit of what he said:

"I don't have any new friends, I am always with my family and lifelong friends. I don't even leave my house. I'm the stay-at-home type... There is nothing to do in Manchester. The problem is I'm still speaking very poor English... When I finish my contract I will not return to Manchester ever - not even on holiday."

While the deal for Tevez and Eto’o appears to be a non-starter, the future of Arsenal’s Samir Nasri still hangs in the balance after Mancini revealed he would be interested in adding him to his squad. When asked if a deal had been done for the former Marseille midfielder, Mancini offered a short but telling answer, saying: “No, not yet.”

Nasri’s future has been the subject of much speculation after he reportedly turned down a new contract to stay with Arsenal worth £90,000 a week. Manchester United were favourites to land the skilful midfielder, but with City playing Champions League football for the first time next season and said to be on the verge of adding even more new players to their squad as they go in search of trophies, there is a good chance Nasri could end up playing in City’s red black away shirt next season.

With just twelve months left on his current deal, Nasri is keen to listen to other clubs as he goes in search of winning trophies; something he has been unable to do at Arsenal. The Gunners have gone six years without a trophy, and Nasri insisted he wasn’t interested in money, but wanted the opportunity to win silverware. Nasri said the following:

"We already earn huge wages, the priority is to make a big career and to win titles … With no titles under your belt, you can't be in the list for the Ballon D'Or. I came to England to get trophies because I haven't won anything in my career. I am hungry for titles. I play football because I love this sport and want to feel the emotion of winning. Lifting a trophy all together, this is the beauty and sense of team sports."

Will Nasri make the move to Manchester City? How would he fit in? What are your thoughts on Arsenal, Manchester City, Tevez, and Nasri? Share them in the comments below!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Five Players With Something to Prove This Upcoming Season

From arrogant Swedes to bratty Brazilians, there are many players who will have a big spotlight on them in the upcoming season. While some of these players are about to make the biggest move of their career, others will need to solidify their position they hold at their current club. For some, this season could be the last one which they're considered worth looking at. For others, this upcoming season is the one where they can show everyone they're not just a loose cannon with occasional brilliance, that they're something more. Here are five players with something to prove this upcoming season.


As this summer transfer window opened, the name on everyone's lips was Neymar's. This Brazilian wonderboy has been magnificent playing for Santos, and recently won the Copa Libertadores with them at the end of this season. Now he's looking to move on and weave his magic in Europe. While there have been rumours of a deal made with Real Madrid, and now one with Chelsea, it's still uncertain where Neymar will go. Yet it's certain that wherever he does, he'll be expected to produce goals and entertain. The only dark thought clubs have as they consider buying Neymar is his rash temper and rampant diving. His petulance has gotten coaches fired, and while his diving is accepted in Brazil, it would not be tolerated in Europe.

He has big expectations to meet, especially after being backed by Pele as being one of the greatest players around already. Let's hope that Neymar beds in well wherever he goes, and that he manages to show us all what we've been craving from him (goals and general awesomeness) in his first season in Europe.

Fernando Torres

It hasn't been the best of times for Fernando Torres. After last season was notably marked by 732 minutes of his inability to score a single goal, Torres's career has been going slowly downhill. While last year he had the excuse of being the new boy at Chelsea, this season he'll have to show that he can score goals and not be hindered by constant injuries.

If he doesn't, his future club career will be quite a mystery, and his international one for Spain will slowly diminish into one of past memories of when he was a terrifyingly good goalscorer. This is the "make or break" season for Fernando Torres. He'll get the chance to prove many people wrong, as long has he can remain injury-free to do it.


Hulk has been very similar to his comic-book hero namesake, being fantastically strong while loosing his cool every once in a while. The most recent episode in which he misbehaved was last season when he assaulted a steward, resulting in his four month suspension. Yet behind the raging bull there is a huge amount of talent, especially in that powerful left foot of his. His great skill has paid off for Porto this past season in which he scored 23 goals, and now all of Europe is slowly keeping an eye on him for the future.

Yet it's slightly difficult to be trusting of a player who has lost his temper so greatly and is difficult to control. It's very likely that he'll be staying at Porto for one more season, where he'll need to show everyone that he has a clear consistency and won't fizzle out.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic is the culmination of a winner. He has won league titles wherever he has been, most recently at AC Milan. His inventive goalscoring and deadly presence has helped him win many trophies, but not the Champions League. There's a big empty spot in the Swede's trophy cabinet, waiting to be filled by Europe's most esteemed club trophy. While AC Milan dominated Italy last season, their Champions League run could best be summed up as weak. And it has been quite some time that Italian sides have had difficulty in European competitions other than when Jose Mourinho led Inter to glory a couple of seasons ago.

Zlatan's position is a bit of an enigma: while he wants to remain at Milan, he knows that winning the Champions League with the rossoneri is unlikely. He'll either have to have an amazing season, or he'll need to move away in search for the trophy he wants to win so much.

Cesc Fabregas

Last summer, Barcelona's main target was Fabregas. While the Catalans are still interested in the Arsenal midfielder, after his latest season he's now more of an afterthought rather than a "must-have" player. It seems like the blagrana have almost sealed the deal for 40 million Euros, but there's a lot of questions still waiting to be answered about the player and his upcoming season. Will this move help him return to form? Will he be overshadowed by the likes of Xavi and Iniesta? Will this be money well spent by Barca?

Fabregas finally has the chance to return to Spain and play with a team which knows how to win trophies while playing with wonderful style. Now he'll have to show he can fit in the team and cope with the pressure.

What are your thoughts on these five players? What are your predictions for next season? Share your comments below!


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