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A Casemiro masterclass – Everton 1-2 Manchester United

After joining from Real Madrid at the back end of August, Casemiro has had to bide his time before making a full debut for Manchester United in the Premier League.

There are a number of factors as to why Casemiro has not started for United this season, with one of the key reasons being the excellent performances of Scott McTominay pre-Man City. 

Such were the performances from the United academy graduate, that it made it difficult to drop him as he was part of a team that recorded four straight wins prior to the derby day defeat by City.



McTominay performed well when in and out of possession, and during one of his games against Arsenal, he recorded a 100% passing accuracy, highlighting that he is advancing his game under Erik Ten Hag.

What this has meant is that the five-time Champions League winner has only been restricted to games in the Europa League and substitute appearances in the Premier League, as the United manager aimed to slowly integrate the Brazilian into his style of play.

Much to the delight of the United fans on social media, they were delighted when it was announced that Casemiro was named in the starting lineup to take on Everton at Goodison Park.

The plan to hand Casemiro a full Premier League debut was on the cards after the City performance, as when he came on to the pitch, it allowed United to get some sort of control, albeit they were heavily beaten, but Casemiro was important in allowing United to get up the pitch and sustain attacks.

Playing away at Goodison Park, where the crowd is on top of you, and having to deal with long balls at times, it can be a tricky stadium to make your Premier League debut in. Could Casemiro pass this assignment unscathed?

The 30-year-old started but struggled early on. Inside his first five minutes he was at fault for the Everton opener, as he was dispossessed by the onrushing Amadou Onana, who hunted the ball down and pressured Casemiro.

He won the ball back and that allowed him to play in Alex Iwobi, who produced a superb curling strike beyond the stretching David De Gea from just outside the box to give Everton an early lead.

It perhaps served Casemiro as a reminder that the intensity of the Premier league is a different kettle of fish altogether from La Liga, as he may have perhaps had more time on the ball in Spain to turn and play that pass out.

It is a lesson to the Brazilian that you must at all times stay switched on.

Once Casemiro got the mistake out of his system, he showed everyone why he is talked about in the calibre that he is as he displayed excellent anticipation, passing, and vision, which is everything that you want in a defensive midfielder. 

The latter attributes were on show from the former Real Madrid man as he picked out another of his former Real Madrid colleagues, as his line-breaking pass found Cristiano Ronaldo on the Everton right, who slotted home from his left foot past Jordan Pickford to give United the lead.

Casemiro also showed his anticipation qualities as from the Opta stats, it was recorded that he won the ball back nine times, and this proved crucial in one sequence of phases as he read the intentions of Alex Iwobi, and cut the pass to play in Ronaldo for his 700th career goal.

Perhaps, for Ronaldo, it was fitting that Casemiro was the provider as he enjoyed a positive relationship with the Portuguese during their time in Spain together.

Casemiro’s passing abilities allowed United to dominate and dictate the tempo of the game as according to the Opta stats he made 70 passes, which was only bettered by United’s best ball-playing centre back in Lissandro Martinez.

Such were the possession skills of Casemiro, United had 61% possession during the game, which is the most they have recorded since the Brentford defeat back in August where they were trounced 4-0.

However, it was noticeable that Casemiro is a risk taker on the ball, as he liked to play passes between the lines to create attacking options and chances.

This means that from time to time, he is expected to lose the ball as he is looking to take risks. He lost the ball 17 times, which was two more than Christian Eriksen and Martinez.

Even though Casemiro should attempt those passes, the main aim for him will be to ensure his passing accuracy is there and at all times give United an option to pass, when looking to play out from the back. 

The Brazilian should get more opportunities to improve as he gets used to his team-mates, and he is almost certain to make his full Old Trafford debut at home to Newcastle next Sunday, as McTominay is suspended for the game, having picked up five yellow cards. 

It is fair to say that Casemiro passed the Goodison Park assignment with flying colours as he was awarded the Player of the Match by BT Sport, and hopefully there is even more to come. 

What a takeover would mean for Everton and Moshiri’s new approach

Over the past few days, links have developed regarding the possible sale of Everton Football Club Ltd to US investors, thus raising questions over the current ownership and how things look for the future ahead.

The story, which was first reported by the Financial Times, sited the potential investor as Poland-born US businessman Maciek Kaminski.

Kaminski’s interest in acquiring Everton dates back to July, as part of a three-man consortium, headed by Peter Kenyon. That said consortium is reported to have split now and it’s just Kaminski’s KAM Sports LLC brand that look to purchase the club.



Kaminski built his wealth through the real estate industry, founding the ‘Kaminski Poland fund’ as well as ‘Kaminski Asset Management’ respectively.

During takeover talks in July, Kaminski reportedly visited Everton’s under construction new stadium site at Bramley-Moore Dock, contrasting the statement released by current owner Farhad Moshiri, in which he reinstated “the club is not for sale’ tag.

Moshiri has been looking for significant stadium funding since February, when his partner-in-crime Alisher Usmanov was sanctioned by the UK government.

Although mistakes have been made in the past by Farhad Moshiri & co, he looks to have finally taken a step back in the recruitment and decision-making at Everton recently, with the so-called ‘strategic review’ at the forefront of this narrative.

Moshiri has been extremely hands-on in his approach at running Everton in recent years, employing managers he sees as his ideal ‘Hollywood’ manager, in the form of Ronald Koeman and Carlo Ancelotti.

Both proved to be very expensive appointments and ones that definitely did not work out.

It’s not just managers that he’s been controlling with either, Moshiri is also vulnerable to manipulation from sports intermediaries and player agents, overpaying on transfer fees and player wages.

This summer, following the appointment of director of football Kevin Thelwell, it has appeared that Moshiri has listened to the fans advice, allowing his employees to do their jobs.

Since his arrival in January, Thelwell has made several impressive appointments, including promoting uner-18’s manager Paul Tait to the under-23’s position.

Sticking with the academy, another notable appointment goes by the name of Gareth Prosser, who in his role as academy director, combines his work with Kevin Thelwell – having previously worked together at Wolves.

It’s not just the academy that has seen improvements. Upgrades have been made at senior levels too, with Thelwell appointing Jack Nayler as head of sports science.

Nayler has worked amongst the top echelon of European clubs, including Real Madrid, PSG, Celtic, Chelsea, and most recently, RB Leipzig.

Thelwell has also played a key role in recruitment, spending Moshiri’s money wisely in a window that looks to be one of the most productive in the club’s recent history.

It’s notable that less ‘lucrative’ deals that have made the most impact on Everton so far this season, with James Tarkowski and Conor Coady both impressing.

The good deals don’t end there though.

Thelwell and his team fought hard to secure the signing of the highly regarded Belgian midfielder Amadou Onana, for a fee of 33m, beating West Ham to his signature – a player that not only has high potential in the English game, but also provides at the present and is one of the first names on the team sheet.

Moshiri has reaped the rewards of his practice this season, with the club sitting healthily above the drop-zone, in 11th place.

With Everton gaining some sort of sustainability and progress, it’s clear to see why many Everton fans don’t see the benefit in a new owner taking control.

As well as Moshiri’s new-found competence, the idea of a businessman with a net worth of sub-$1bn isn’t exactly appealing to the fans that know the team.

It’s not just the new stadium that needs investment, it’s also the squad.

Talks between Moshiri and Kaminski continue, although a deal is not imminent, and it remains to be seen whether Moshiri will be willing to sanction the sale of a project he has worked on and invested so much into.

Erik Ten Hag to Manchester United – Destined for failure or light at the end of the tunnel?

So.. Manchester United are close to appointing Erik ten Hag as their next manager after they verbally agreed on a three-year-contract for the Dutch coach to take over at Old Trafford.

The current Ajax boss seems to have won the race to become the man to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis, taking over from Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

He pipped the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers, Luis Enrique and others to the role if reports are to be believed and fans are delighted at the steps taken to get him in.



There is no doubting that Ten Hag is a great coach. He has built two excellent Ajax sides with an attractive style of football, young players and competed well in Europe too.

But there are doubts around his appointment that people seem to be either overlooking or downright ignoring.

The level of competition in Holland is not that high. Yes his team blew the competition out of the park in recent seasons, but much like PSG that’s kind of what they’re supposed to do.

Performances in Europe are great too, but I would bet large sums of money that United fans wouldn’t want Unai Emery anywhere near Old Trafford’s home dugout and his side have done well in Europe too.

Ten Hag has also never had to deal with the pressures and the egos of dealing with top players and reputations before.

Having the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba in the changing room can often see decisions questioned, naturally, because these players have won things at the very highest level before.

Dealing with those problems will be new to him, and it’s undoubtedly a gamble to bring him in.

But in the same breath, and in his defence, there was no sure-fire appointment for United this time around.

In the past there seemed to be an ideal candidate every time and not bringing them in was seen as silly. Van Gaal was brought in to build a style and blood young players.

He did it, but too slowly and far too pragmatically and when Jose Mourinho became available, the United board couldn’t help themselves.

He was brought in to win immediately and while he is the last Reds manager to win a trophy of any kind, he was detrimental to the development of the team and arguably took the club backwards.

Solskjaer was never cut out for the permanent job and was given the role because of a purple patch of form while he was the interim boss. There was a bit of progress, because he cleared the club of plenty of deadwood and recruited relatively well, but he never had the coaching abilities to compete.

With Ten Hag United are now restarting that process.

They have an incredible conveyor belt of talent coming through the academy right now. Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejbri, James Garner, Ethan Laird, Alejandro Garnacho, Zidane Iqbal and Alvaro Fernandez are all on the brink of senior football.

The first-team still has players that are under-25 who are already involved like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Dean Henderson and Diogo Dalot that Ten Hag can improve and develop.

But United, the club and the fans, must have patience. There is no overnight recipe for success anymore. It doesn’t matter who gets signed or sold, the team needs time to develop.

The coach must be given time to implement his style and ideas, weed out the players who don’t fit in, improve those who do and be backed to compete at the highest level.

While Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola are all in the Premier League with their super-squads it will be incredibly hard for Manchester United to close the gap on them and compete regularly.

But they can close the gap and they will get there, with time and the right decisions being made.

Ten Hag has been given a chance to do that, with a three-year contract and an option for a fourth, but it can go one of two ways.

Either Ten Hag gets the time and trust to complete the process, which he has shown he is capable of doing while at Ajax, or the club demand immediate success and fail to realise the scale and size of the problems they face.

Ten Hag is a great appointment on paper, but football isn’t played on paper. Unless the board fix up and sort the club out, then Ten Hag will just be added to the ever-growing list of disappointments at Old Trafford in recent years.

Fernando Santos’ lack of planning will cost Portugal a place in Qatar 2022

The European World Cup qualifier playoffs are finally upon us and that means we’ll find out which one of, if any, of Portugal or Italy will make it to Qatar at the end of the year.

Both teams failed to qualify through their groups, with a last minute defeat to Serbia costing Portugal their place, and now they’ve been placed on the same playoff path.

They’ll now take on Turkey, while Italy face North Macedonia and the winners face each other next week to finalise their place. But I’m willing to bet it won’t be my beloved Portugal at the end of it all.



News came out this week after coach Fernando Santos announced his squad that there are big issues.

Joao Cancelo and Renato Sanches are suspended for the game against Turkey after too many yellow cards in the qualifying group, while Nelson Semedo, Ruben Neves and Ruben Dias are all out of the squad completely through injury.

Then it was revealed that Pepe, the veteran and world class central defender, has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t be available against Turkey either, with his availability in a potential final in question too.

That means a likely central defensive pairing of 38-year-old Jose Fonte and defensive midfielder Danilo will be formed to try and carry the team into the World Cup, which screams down horribly upon the reign of Santos as manager.

Yes he won Euro 2016 and it was a magical, magical moment in the team and country’s history. Nobody is disputing that and it correctly earned him credit in the bank with fans and the FA.

But six years on and there has been little to no progression in the squad, while Portugal haven’t progressed past the first knockout round in any of the following tournaments.

They won the UEFA Nations League, but if we’re all being honest, that isn’t a major international honour and will never be considered as such.

The lack of progress under him can be seen just by looking at the squad for this set of games. There was a possibility, before Pepe’s positive test, that Santos could have named the same back five and defensive midfielder for these games as he did in that 2016 Euro’s final.

It’s ghastly and the lack of any youth options in the centre of defence to come through in that time is frightening.

Ruben Dias barely counts, because he was always going to make it. Captain of Benfica at a young age and clearly heads and shoulder above those at his age level, he was fast-tracked and rightly so.

But the likes of Goncalo Inacio, Tiago Djalo and David Carmo have never had a look in. Ezri Konsa is eligible to be called up, but Santos has never even pretended to look into it. He’s just stuck with the players he already knows.

Somehow in 2021, Luis Neto was still getting call ups.

Now, in a situation where it’s likely to be the final World Cup opportunity for the likes of legends like Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Joao Moutinho is relying on players that are below par over-performing or stepping up immediately from a lower level.

Even if they manage to get past a tough Turkey side on Thursday night, that’s surely going to be too much to ask when they inevitably come up against the European champions Italy in the final.

You can’t hope for things at the highest level. Santos has had plenty of chances in the past to blood young defenders in the same way he has midfielders and attackers.

If they now fail to make it to the greatest tournament on the planet for the first time since 1998, then the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Santos.

Manchester United European woes are the tip of the iceberg

Nine. Nine games. Nine match days. That’s all that’s left of this God forsaken season for Manchester United after they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the last 16 stage to Atletico Madrid once again.

Just as a disclaimer, this isn’t me writing this article as a football journalist. This is me writing this as a Manchester United fan and getting all my frustrations out because this club is making all the same mistakes.

It’ll be five years with no trophy at the end of this season and nine years without a league title for the 20-time champions. United are at rock bottom.



First things first, sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the right thing. But he also absolutely wasn’t the only problem at the club. Those issues start way above him or any other manager’s head.

The thing this club lacks the most is an actual identity. Yes that’s a buzzword right now in modern football, but it’s a fact.

Whenever Manchester City step on the pitch, you know exactly what the role of each and every player on the pitch is. Regardless of personnel, you know what each player in each position is expected to do.

When Liverpool step on the pitch, you know the same thing. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan. All the top sides in the world are in the same boat.

It makes recruitment easy too, because you immediately know which players would suit and which players wouldn’t.

At Manchester United, there is no such luxury. This is a squad banded together by marketing people with a mix of talents and qualities, with the hope that whoever has been given the managerial role at the time can sort it out.

There is no vision. This board survived on the brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson and the monopoly he had over the Premier League for so long, they thought it would carry over when he left.

This squad needs a total revamp. Not because they’re not good enough, because they are. This group of players, with the right manager, are capable of competing. There is no doubt about that.

But who the right manager is, is impossible to decipher when there is no vision or identity at the club right now.

Take Scott McTominay as an example. It’s well known I’m not his biggest fan, but he’s into his third manager now where he’s one of the first names on the team sheet.

I can’t explain why, most fans aren’t sure why and when you listen to ex-pros or pundits talk about him, they almost never mention his footballing ability when discussing his best attributes.

It’s always ‘passion’, ‘energy’, ‘running’. Never his passing ability, or his ability to break up play, or his positional sense. But it’s almost impossible to criticise the manager for picking him because we have no idea what the team is being asked to do. There is no identity in the team.

At this point, it’s already been a decade of mediocrity. The club can wait a few more years and finally get it right.

They made a good decision bringing in Ralf Rangnick to help sort out the behind the scenes issues, it’s just a shame he needed to have six months in the limelight first before getting to work.

It could be a good thing though. He knows exactly what needs to be done. He knows the club needs a revamp and he knows it starts off the football pitch rather than on it.

First, establish a style. An identity. So that once the managers leave, or players become not good enough anymore it’s easy to identify replacements without having to burn everything down to the ground first.

Second, build a squad to suit. That could take a few years to get the right players in and get the players on the edge out, but it’s doable – especially with the resources the club have.

Thirdly, be consistent and challenge. The squad doesn’t need tonnes of work, but it does need key areas addressing, despite what was seen as a largely successful summer last year with the additions of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Until the club make those decisions and take those steps, it doesn’t matter who is in charge. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at the situation, because the problems trickle down from the top all the way down to the bottom.

This issue is way bigger than being eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16, and not finishing in the top four in the Premier League.

This is about a complete lack of planning and a complete lack of care at the top of the club.

Never have I been so disconnected from the club I have loved all my life, and the vast majority of fans I know and have spoken to largely feel the same way.

If the people in charge of the club don’t care, why should we? The answer is because the club will be there long after those people, and hopefully we will be too.

When they go, we can get back to loving this club like we once did. But until these issues are addressed properly, it’s no longer a football club but simply another multi-billion pound business.

How long will it take Newcastle to break into the Champions League?

Ever since the Saudi PIF took Newcastle over at the back end of 2021, the question has been when, not if, will they break into the UEFA Champions League?

This season the priority under Eddie Howe was safety, having won just one of their first 20 Premier League games under Howe and previous manager Steve Bruce.

But now unbeaten in eight games, with six wins in that run, the Magpies now sit seven points above the relegation zone and can start planning ahead for their assault on football’s elite.



Many reports have been shared of Newcastle targeting top level players to add to their squad, including the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Kalvin Phillips and even Marcus Rashford.

Bringing in that calibre of talent would undoubtedly accelerate their push towards breaking through the glass ceiling, but how realistic is that? Not very.

The first priority for the Tyneside club is going to be to separate themselves from the clubs at the bottom of the league in order to avoid this same situation next season.

Players like Chris Wood were brought in more to weaken their opposition than strengthen their squad and are unlikely to be starters going into the new season, while there is room to improve almost all other positions.

But they won’t be able to skip stages and go straight to signing top level players because of the money they now have available to them.

The ‘Big Six’ in the Premier League – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham – all have huge amounts of money available to them also and they won’t stop spending just because Newcastle are going to start.

When Man City got their billions overnight, they had several years of competing in a much weaker league than now before they were able to break that barrier.

They didn’t have FFP regulations to deal with either back then, which is something that the Saudi’s must adhere to.

My prediction for Newcastle to make it into Europe’s elite competition is at least four seasons because of the standard of the big six currently and all the teams in between them too.

They will likely improve year on year, but not everything will go their way. They will miss out on key targets to other clubs, they will lose players to top sides, they’ll have spells where their form is bad and the manager gets changed.

They will get there eventually, I have no doubts, but it will be longer than many are expecting it to be in my eyes.

Ruben Amorim to the world – Sporting CP’s manager looking to take over Europe

Ludicrous, impulsive and straight-up nonsensical were just a portion of the adjectives awaiting Rúben Amorim in light of his appointment as Sporting manager for a whopping €10 million compensation fee, the third highest ever, just two months into his first stint in charge of his first top-flight club, Sporting de Braga.

The Lions’ club president, Frederico Varandas, and his camp were quick to remind critics of the last managerial gamble Sporting passed on – a relatively well-known individual by the name of José Mourinho – adding that the value forked out for Amorim would be nothing compared to money placed back into the coffers through player development and future sales.

For Sporting fans, promised a return to the glory days for so long, the vision in place seemed farfetched for a club who had not only gone 18 years without tasting Primeira Liga success, but had also seen their quality in numbers gutted by the mayhem that ensued in 2018 with widespread contract terminations, as the task to build on an uneven foundation rested on Amorim’s shoulders.



Against the better judgement of the doubters, however, of which there were, of course, plenty, what Amorim has been able to do in the green half of Lisbon since the bold move has been nothing short of miraculous, marking him out as one of the biggest up-and-coming commodities in the managerial industry.

Perhaps aided by a mid-season arrival at Sporting in early 2020, the then 35-year-old was quick to adhere to the historical connection the club has with its own academy by blooding youth, introducing a lot of the younger faces to the multi-faceted 3-4-3 formation he’s sworn by since arriving at the pinnacle of Portuguese football.

The results improved slowly and surely under the manager’s command and the eventual rise in prominence of Matheus Nunes, Nuno Mendes and Gonçalo Inácio, among others, served as the guiding light for what Amorim was looking to build.

Fresh doubts were cast during the following summer, with Sporting committing considerable funds to land the likes of Pedro Gonçalves and Nuno Santos, on top of others who had previously failed to inspire at previous clubs, such as Pedro Porro and the more experienced Antonio Adán and Zouhair Feddal.

Sporting Lisbon's Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates takes part in a training session at Cristiano Ronaldo Academy training ground in Alcochete near...

But as Pedro Gonçalves banged in the goals and ex-La Liga trio, Adán, Feddal and Porro formed part of an almost impenetrable defence, pushing its side up the table, it quickly became visible that what Amorim was cooking had clearly showed signs of bubbling.

The youthfulness of the squad continued the catch the eye as the onlookers quizzed Sporting’s manager, right throughout the season, how long such young heads could keep their title-winning form going.

Never one to pile on the pressure, Amorim was always and continues to be very measured with his words, disarming each and every press conference with rational and insightful dialogue.

He’s a grand protector of his players and in that, some may say, lies the key ingredient to his recent managerial success of late.

The rapport between player and manager is close-knit, with the fresh-faced coach often seen cracking a joke with his pupils at training and on the sidelines. That camaraderie extends itself throughout the entire squad, amongst the players, many of which are meant to be rivalling each other for the same position in Amorim’s plans.

Pablo Sarabia of Sporting CP celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Liga Bwin match between Sporting CP and FC Famalicao at...

With Sporting’s future stars, already fuelled by the prospect of causing an impression at such a young age, being nurtured by the importance of work ethic and togetherness, the club was able to achieve what the wealth of Benfica and the experience of FC Porto could not in 2021, bringing to a close a dispiriting cycle of 19 years without the evasive Primeira Liga title.

This season, with greater expectations attached to the precedent set, Amorim & co. are hoping to go back-to-back as they tussle with Porto at the midpoint of the season.

In the meantime, the former Portugal international has made inroads on the European stage too, where they made it out of the UEFA Champions League group for the first time since 2008, with a date against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City set up for the last round of 16.

The match-up presents a platform for João Palhinha and Pedro Gonçalves, among many others, to increase the number of suitors already onto the noise emanating from Alvalade, but you can bet much of the attention will also coming knocking for the 37-year-old manager, particularly if the current title holder manages to pull off a shock against ‘the Citizens’.

Ruben Amorim the manager of Sporting CP reacts during the Liga Portugal Bwin match between FC Porto and Sporting CP at Estadio do Dragao on February...

Whoever it is that comes calling will have to part way with €30 million, as per Amorim’s release clause, running across a deal that expires in 2024.

The figure has served as a repellent for interested teams during a time of absolute focus on the project at hand from the former Portugal international, but Sporting know they won’t be able to hold onto their poster boy for too long.

The club fortunate enough to reel him in will be acquiring the latest in a line of promising Portuguese managers – dubbed the leader of the new school and, still, the heir to Mourinho’s throne.

Unlike the former Chelsea and Inter boss, however, Amorim’s foundations stem from a great sense of modesty, respect and general correctness. He’s an adaptable figure who’s rallying cries touch numerous types of characters and make Sporting the thriving family-like ambience it is today.

It’s this clear vision and approach that’s enabled Amorim’s teams to dream and excel, decorating a CV that becomes more and more attractive to his suitors by the week.

Tuesday night, against City, holds the power of fast-forwarding the inevitable – presenting Amorim to the world.

How does the Luis Diaz signing impact Mohamed Salah future at Liverpool?

Liverpool were up to their usual tricks during the January transfer window, swooping in late and quickly to secure a top target.

After Tottenham made a bid for Porto’s Colombian star Luis Diaz, Jurgen Klopp made the decision to move early for a player he had identified as a key target for the summer window.

They swooped in, secured a deal worth a total of £50m and they now have a brand new weapon in their attack to unleash on the second half of the Premier League season.



But as soon as the deal was confirmed and announced, many fans began to wonder what that meant for the future of superstar Mo Salah, whose current contract expires at the end of next season.

The future of Salah has been a conversation for a while, with both parties publicly stating their wish to continue their relationship.

However with reports that the Egyptian is requesting a record wage for the club, it has been met with resistance from the board.

As Salah approaches his 30th birthday, it’s only natural that he wants a big payday in his final big contract. But on top of that, his performances since moving to Anfield mean that he feels he should be earning on par with the other best players in the world. He’s not wrong.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between...

But further to Salah, the contracts of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino also expire next summer and it’s more likely that their places in the team are under threat from Diaz’s arrival than Salah’s.

My personal expectation is that the two parties will find a compromise and thrash out a deal that sees Salah stay at the club as their highest-paid player ever, before eventually riding off into the sunset in a few years when he’s past his peak.

But for Mane, many have seen his influence diminish in recent years and he won’t have nearly as much leverage when it comes to demanding a big contract at his age.

Firmino is in the most danger, having already lost his place in the team to Diogo Jota and finding that he’s not as important as he once was in a red shirt.

Luis Diaz of FC Porto runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield on November 24,...

Add to all that the fact that Diaz is a right-footed winger who likes to cut in from the left, he could quite easily play in the same team as Salah and provide a terrifying attacking threat for Klopp and Liverpool.

While Liverpool fans are focused on potentially losing one of the best attackers to ever don the shirt and represent the club, they should probably be worried about losing the other two attackers that made up part of their famous trio.

If Salah ends up agreeing terms as many expect him to eventually do, that leaves less in the budget to renew Mane and Firmino’s deals and with a ready-made replacement already in the squad it seems more likely one of those will leave in the summer.

Frank Lampard can get the best out of Donny and Dele after deadline day deals at Everton

Deadline day was the best day in a long time if you’re an Everton fan, as they completed two big signings and announced a new manager.

After a two week search with plenty of rumours and fan protests, the club finally settled on Frank Lampard as their new manager with the official announcement coming on Monday lunchtime.

Quickly followed was confirmation that Manchester United midfielder Donny Van de Beek has completed a loan move until the end of the season, before the surprising news that Dele Alli had joined on a permanent move from Tottenham



It’s no surprise that Lampard played a big part in both players making the move to Goodison Park, considering both play in a fairly similar way to the way he did during his playing career.

As part of a midfield three or the most advanced in a two, Lampard made a career of arriving late in the box and scoring goals. He racked up striker numbers, and to this day is still the all-time top scorer in Chelsea history as well as the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history.

Both Van de Beek and Dele have garnered a reputation as goalscoring midfielders, but are both young enough to develop their game and become even more complete. They believe Lampard can help them with that, but can he?

Most importantly for both players is the promise of regular game time, having been starved of football in recent years at their previous clubs.

There is the chance that he could field a 4-3-3 with both fielded as a number eight, but that leaves the defensive midfielder that he selects likely on an island on their own.

Stylistically there is an issue for Lampard to overcome, but there is a big potential that he will be able to unlock the best of both players to help drag Everton out of their relegation battle.

There is the opportunity to change the way the team plays football, emphasising possession and an attacking style rather than defensive structure like Rafa Benitez did.

If anyone can get them both firing it’s Lampard, but he’s proven to be tactically naive in the past with both Derby and Chelsea at times.

If he is to prove he has made bold improvements and strides forward as a manager in his year out of the game, he needs to get them both playing well together and save Everton from the drop.

The pressure is on, but he’s been backed by the board since day one so he has no excuses.

Arsenal are rewarding mediocrity by giving Mikel Arteta a new contract

It’s been 18 years since Arsenal last won the Premier League title, and they’ve arguably never been further away from it than they are now.

Yet reports suggest that manager Mikel Arteta is to be rewarded with a brand new contract at the Emirates Stadium as he heads towards the final year of his current deal.

But why? What has he done to earn himself a new contract with the club?



The answer, quite simply, is nothing really.

Arteta has brought through Emile Smith Rowe as a first-team regular and regardless of the reason why he brought him into the team, he deserves credit for keeping him and making him a key player.

He’s recruited relatively well too with all of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard regulars in the side and playing relatively well.

But he’s managed to cause a rift with a multitude of players including William Saliba, Matteo Guendouzi, Nicolas Pepe, Bernd Leno and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That’s not including the ones he forced to leave the club too on a permanent basis.

He’s also overseen the worst start to a season in Arsenal history, their first season of no European football in over 25 years and they currently sit outside of the top four once again.

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Burnley at Emirates Stadium on January 23, 2022 in...

They had a decent run in mid-season where it looked like things were going well, and they had a very impressive performance against Man City. But ultimately they lost that game.

They had a solid 0-0 draw at Anfield after going down to ten men. But ultimately, they were eliminated after losing the second leg.

They struggle to score goals on a regular basis, defensively aren’t exactly solid, are nowhere near getting back into title contention and are out of all the cup competitions in January.

Arsene Wenger was forced out for less than that and he was their most successful manager ever. Unai Emery was forced out because he missed out on top four and made the Europa League final, then went on a bad run the following season.

But Arteta is set for a brand spanking new contract and likely a pay-rise to boot.

Arsenal are a club who have lost their vision of being one of the best and have instead become a team just happy to take part. They’ve accepted mediocrity and are now rewarding it.