Tag Archives: Carlo Ancelotti

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In arguably the tie of the round we’ll see last season’s semi-finalists Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid go head-to-head in a star-studded two-legged affair.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Paris Saint-Germain were planted right in the middle of another group of death scenario as they were last season, alongside Man City, RB Leizig and Club Brugge.

They made hard work of it, ending the group stage in second place some way behind City after draws with both Brugge and Leipzig as well as a defeat by City at the Etihad Stadium. It wasn’t until victory in the final game that they secured qualification.

Real Madrid had an easier time of qualification in their group, alongside Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and minnows Sheriff.

They were shockingly beaten at the Bernabeu by Sheriff, but were able to win all five of their other fixtures to top the group and pull clear of Italian champions Inter on the final day to secure that spot.

Team news

PSG are likely to be without former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos for the first-leg of the game, with the Spaniard still suffering from calf problems that have restricted him to just four appearances this season.

Neymar is back in training after injury but will likely only make the bench at best for the first leg, meaning old foe Lionel Messi and Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe will lead their attack.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is likely to get the nod ahead of Keylor Navas in goal, while Achraf Hakimi will also be making a return to the Bernabeu during this tie.

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos and Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe run during the warm-up sesson ahead of the...

For Madrid, they’re struggling to get key man Karim Benzema fit following a thigh injury.

The French striker has missed each of the last three games, and Ancelotti’s side have managed just one goal in his absence. Vinicius Jr has also seen his form dip since, which is bad news for Los Blancos.

Eden Hazard is fit but out of favour, but as a man always ready for the big occasion he could get the nod in Benzema’s absence. Ferland Mendy is also a doubt at left-back, so Marcelo could start.

Breakdown and Prediction

Tactically these two teams are very similar on the pitch with the way they set up defensively and the way they attack.

Both managers have formed a solid defence during the season, with a midfield that is all about control rather than creativity or solidity.

They complete plenty of passes on the ball and play their way out of tight situations, using pace and individual skill to create goalscoring opportunities in the final third.

With Benzema likely to be out of the game and Vinicius’ form struggling without him, PSG have a huge chance of progression.

Messi’s best form has come in Europe this season, with five goals in the six group games while Mbappe has been sensational this season and is the club’s top scorer.

Away goals are no longer a factor in the tournament so home advantage in the second leg is less important, and PSG must look to take advantage of a weaker Madrid team that they’ll be coming up against.

It’ll be a close but entertaining affair for sure, simply because of the quality on the pitch, but I do expect PSG to have the added X-factor in attack and be able to eliminate the 13-time champions.

Paris SG 2-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-1 Paris SG
(Paris SG qualify 3-1 on aggregate)

Real Madrid bringing back Carlo Ancelotti is bizarre

Real Madrid have made yet another shocking move in the managerial world after they made Carlo Ancelotti their new manager once again.

Ancelotti was the manager of Los Blancos between 2013 and 2015 winning a Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during his time at the club.

He left after finishing as runner up to an MSN-led Barcelona in La Liga, with president Florentino Perez claiming the decision was made “with a heavy heart”.

But after a spell with Bayern Munich and then 18 months with Everton, Ancelotti has seemingly shown the Madrid board enough that they’re willing to bring him back to replace recently departed boss Zinedine Zidane.

Zizou served as Ancelotti’s assistant as Madrid lifted ‘La Decima’ and the Frenchman credited the former Milan and Juventus boss for teaching him a lot. But considering recent campaigns, the decision to bring Ancelotti back seems very rushed and bizarre.

He’s hardly lit the Premier League up since joining the Toffees, leading them to a 12th and 10th placed finish in his one-and-a-half seasons with the club. He’s developed some good talent while there, with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin shining since his arrival while others like defender Ben Godfrey has really improved his all-round game.

But other than a few stand-out performers and some big spending, Ancelotti has barely improved the side.

They didn’t play particularly attractive football, didn’t earn European football during his time at the club and hardly stood out in a league full of top coaches. His in-game management has always left plenty to be desired and now it seems as though it’s his cup competition pedigree that has attracted Perez back to him.

Real Madrid Celebration After UEFA Champions League Final : News Photo

He’s one of only two managers, along with Zidane, to win the Champions League three times and with Madrid so hell-bent on bringing the trophy back to the club it seems like he’s just decided to go with what he knows already.

But with Madrid struggling so much financially, it’s unlikely there will be any sort of rebuild this summer or in the near future. That means Ancelotti will be forced to just deal with the squad he has currently, which is not the best.

Several key players will be 30 or over this summer while the futures of Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are still up in the air.

Without investment it’s really tough to see how the squad can improve on last season’s performances, despite ending the year trophyless.

With Ancelotti going to sign a three-year contract, it seems as though Real Madrid are putting their eggs into his basket in the hope of one last big push to end his career and get them back to the top of the game while the rest of Europe undergo a big transition period.

Risky, bizarre and just weird. But it’s happening. Carlo Ancelotti is the new Real Madrid manager, again.

Premier League European places final day possibilities

In a Premier League season that seemed like everything was sewn up nice and early, the football Gods made sure there was still some kind of action to pay attention to on the final day.

Manchester City are champions, Manchester United are runners-up and Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United are going down to the Championship. Everything else however, including the final two top four places, Europa League places and Europa Conference League places are still up for grabs.

With the middle of the table so tight and congested, lets simplify all the possibilities of the final day of the season for you.

Champions League places

Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Leicester vs Tottenham
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Three teams will battle it out for the final two spots to compete in Europe’s elite competition next season, with Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool all still in the race.

As it stands, if all three teams were to win their games then Chelsea would finish in third place while Liverpool would pip the Foxes on goal difference, unless Leicester won by five goals more than what Jurgen Klopp’s Reds could muster up.

With the points difference so tight, if any of the teams were to slip up on the day and the other two were to win, then the team that messed up would miss out on Champions League football.

There is of course a wildcard option, that if Chelsea were to finish fifth in the league but then win the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29th, they would then qualify for the competition as holders and England would have five representatives in next year’s tournament.


EUROPA LEAGUE & EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE PLACES

West Ham vs Southampton
Leicester vs Tottenham
Manchester City vs Everton
Arsenal vs Brighton

This is where it gets a bit complicated, so bear with us.

The Europa League places will go to the teams that finish in fifth and sixth place in the Premier League, since Leicester were successful in winning the FA Cup and are guaranteed to finish inside the top five.

That means one of West Ham, Everton or Tottenham will join one of Chelsea, Liverpool or Leicester in UEFA’s secondary competition. David Moyes’ Hammers are the favourites to finish in sixth place, with a three point head-start over their rivals before the games kick off. They’ve also got the most favourable fixture, with a home tie in front of their fans against a Southampton side with nothing to play for.

Should they fall to a defeat though, Everton and Spurs can match their points tally with a win. That means it would come down to goal difference, which would earn the north London side the position in the table. However if Spurs were unable to beat Leicester and Everton could get a win over the champions Man City, they would take the spot.

There is also a new competition for UEFA though, the Europa Conference League which the team who finishes in seventh place will qualify for. That allows Arsenal to sneak into the conversation for a European place on the final day with a win over Brighton at The Emirates Stadium.

Should the Gunners win and both Spurs and Everton fail to, Mikel Arteta’s side would leapfrog both teams in the table and claim European football for next year – extending their run to 26 consecutive years in UEFA competition.


It’s sure to be an exciting final day of the season after originally looking like it would be a bit of a dead rubber weekend in England. But now it matches up with the rest of Europe with plenty of happenings on to settle at the top end of the division.

Fantasy Matches: Sir Alex Ferguson XI vs Carlo Ancelotti XI

*DISCLAIMER*

Just for a little bit of realism in this fantasy match, any players that played under both managers aren’t eligible to be in both teams.


Two of the best and most successful coaches ever went head to head in the Premier League between 2009 and 2011 as Carlo Ancelotti managed Chelsea to a Premier League title, while Sir Alex Ferguson followed that up with a title win of his own as Ancelotti was sacked.

While Ferguson ultimately ended up on top in this mini battle, Ancelotti’s success prior to his time at Chelsea and afterwards ensured that the world remembered just how good he was. With three Champions League trophies to his name as well as league titles in Italy, England, France and Germany he’s one of the best to do it.

Both managers have managed some of the greatest players to ever play the game, but what would happen if you put their best XI’s ever against each other? Who would come out on top? Lets take a look.


In goal, you have two of the best ever. Carlo Ancelotti was able to manage the likes of Dida, Iker Casillas and Thibaut Courtois during his career but it’s the legendary Gianluigi Buffon who gets the nod without a doubt. Ancelotti and Buffon worked together at Parma and while they didn’t have any success together, his quality between the sticks makes him a sure-fire pick.

The Best FIFA Football Awards - Show : News Photo

For Sir Alex, the decision was a little bit tougher. He worked with a host of top talent between the sticks also and was as successful with each of them, but it’s tough to go with anyone but Peter Schmeichel. The great Dane was the undisputed number one for eight seasons under Ferguson winning 15 trophies during their time together and that makes him the pick.

In defence, much of Ferguson’s team would have played together at some point or another. Gary Neville was the only choice for right-back that made any sense while Patrice Evra’s dynamism in attack meant that he pipped Denis Irwin for the left-back role. Rio Ferdinand played with both and for my money is the best centre-back England has ever produced but his partner was the hardest choice to make. His long-time partner Nemanja Vidic was one option, recreating the 07/08 Champions League winning back line. Instead though, I’ve opted for the big Dutch machine in Jaap Stam.

Stam won three titles in three seasons plus a Champions League and FA Cup trophy during his time at Old Trafford and was arguably the best defender in the world under Ferguson and his ability to compete on any level with all attackers makes him the perfect foil for Ferdinand and a perfect pick.

For Ancelotti, the decision was tougher. The only absolute lock was at left back, as Paolo Maldini makes it into any team he’s eligible for such was his quality. At right-back there were a few choices, but Cafu’s brilliance in both directions got him the nod over the likes of Dani Carvajal and Lillian Thuram. In central defence the likes of John Terry, Pepe, Raphael Varane, Alessandro Nesta and Jerome Boateng were all options but in the end I opted for the two I believe that performed best under him.

Image
Maldini and Stam played together at Milan, but they’d be on separate teams here

Brazilian Thiago Silva trained under Ancelotti at AC Milan for a few months before the Italian left the club, but they were re-united at Paris Saint-Germain. Silva was colossal at the back for Ancelotti as they won a Ligue 1 title while growing to try and become a force in Europe. The other pick, is the man who led his Real Madrid side to Champions League success despite not being the permanent owner of the captain’s armband yet.

He became a true leader under Ancelotti, scoring the legendary 93rd minute equaliser in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid. His pace, aerial prowess, leadership and ability on the ball as well as his defensive positioning make him one of the all-time greats and gets him in this team.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s central midfield pairing was arguably the easiest. He dominated all of English football for years with a duo of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane and despite having the likes of Michael Carrick, Paul Ince and Bryan Robson to call upon too, nobody tops these two for him. Out wide, the options were a little bit tougher but still pretty easy. Throughout the years Ferguson managed some world class wide players, but the obvious selection is Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Joining as a teenager, Ronaldo progressed to become the best player in the world under the tutelage of the legendary Scottish manager. The question in reality is which wing to play him on, since the next decision was between Ryan Giggs and David Beckham.

Manchester United v Middlesbrough - Carling Cup : News Photo

Both played a huge part in the club’s success throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s before Beckham left for Real Madrid in 2003 and that exit is the reason why I’ve opted for Giggs. The Welsh winger broke onto the scene way back in 1990 and played every season of his career except for the final year under him so it’s almost impossible to leave him out of the side. His inclusion on the left wing means Ronaldo goes in on the right, where he started his career at Old Trafford.

Ancelotti’s options were much, much harder to decide on. Some huge names like Andrea Pirlo, Angel Di Maria, Gennaro Gattuso, Frank Lampard, Marco Verratti, Thiago Alcantara, Luka Modric, Arturo Vidal and Michael Ballack have all been left out such is the quality of player that he has worked with in the past.

After thinking long and hard, the defensive midfield position goes to Xabi Alonso. His incredible passing range mixed with his defensive quality and intelligence make him the perfect shield in an all-out attack minded midfield. Ahead of him, Clarence Seedorf. The Dutchman is one of the most complete central midfielders Europe has seen in the last 40 years and his best years arguably came under Ancelotti at Milan. He offers a balance of attack and defence and can help to ease the load on Alonso, while also helping to create going forward too.

Quarter-final Brazil v France - World Cup 2006 : News Photo

It’s unlikely Ancelotti’s side would need much help creating though, with Zinedine Zidane and Kaka lining up behind the front two. Kaka won the Ballon d’Or under Ancelotti in Milan with phenomenal dribbling, an eye for goal and fantastic acceleration one of many reasons he was so key to the Serie A side’s successes during that period. Zidane played under Ancelotti at Juventus and they won the Intertoto Cup together in 1999 and his elegance and skill is well known enough for me to not have to justify his inclusion here.

Up front the decision for Sir Alex’s side was unbelievably difficult to make. Despite an array of goalscoring talent over the years I narrowed it down to four – Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole, Eric Cantona and Wayne Rooney.

Manchester United v West Ham United : News Photo

Now granted, all four warrant an inclusion in the team on their own individual merit and I’m happy to admit my age probably played a part in my selections. Unfortunately I never saw enough of Cantona to justify putting him in ahead of the all-time top goalscorer for the club and arguably the best all-round player to play for the club.

Then it came down to the two best pure goal scorers I’ve seen at the club and I had to go with the man himself, Ruud van Nisterooy. The Dutchman scored 150 goals at Old Trafford in just five seasons with the side and had it not been for a fallout with gaffer, he’d likely have broken all the goalscoring records at the club.

For Ancelotti, the striker positions were a bit easier. While he dealt with some of the best attacking talents during his managerial career, two stood out more than any other.

At AC Milan, his go-to forward throughout was Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko. He scored 90 goals in five seasons under Ancelotti and was one of the most feared strikers in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or in 2004. Then there was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who spent a season under Ancelotti in Paris. He scored 35 goals in 46 games for the French champions as they won Ligue 1 together before Ancelotti moved to Madrid. His all-round ability as well as his link-up play and goalscoring attributes make him a handful for any defender and alongside Shevchenko could form one of the great partnerships ever.

So who wins the game? It’s almost impossible to say. My bias as a Manchester United fan without a doubt leads me to think that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side can take a victory but the more you look at the Ancelotti team you struggle to see any weaknesses.

I’ll go with my gut and say Ronaldo’s inclusion in Ferguson’s team gives them the edge and the fact that the vast majority of them have played together before makes me feel they’d take a slight win.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin back firing for Everton after Lucas Digne’s return

Everton’s frantic cup tie with Tottenham saw them progress into the quarter-final of the competition with a 5-4 win after extra-time, in part thanks to Dominic Calvert-Lewin once again.

In an absolutely crazy game of football, Jose Mourinho’s team took the lead early on thanks to Davinson Sanchez’s header from a corner. They dominated most of the first half until Calvert-Lewin picked up on an error at the back and smashed past Hugo Lloris for his third goal in three games. Minutes later, Richarlison scored a low drive from the edge of the box to put Everton ahead before Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty to make it 3-3 just two minutes after that.

Erik Lamela was able to pull one back for Spurs just before half-time with a fine left footed strike from inside the box to make it 3-2. Sanchez got his second of the game with a tap in from another corner to make it 3-3 in the second half, before Richarlison scored again to make it 4-3 and then substitute Harry Kane equalised late on to send the game to extra time.

Everton retook the lead in extra-time thanks to Brazilian winger Bernard’s strike and it ended up being enough to seal progression into the next round for the Toffees.

Calvert-Lewin went off injured in the middle of the second half as a precaution but his performance particularly in the spell where Everton ran away with the game was very impressive.

Physically he is a unit, but he has a delicate first touch, great speed and is a very good finisher once in on goal whether it be with his feet or his head.

But recently he had been going through a tough patch in front of goal. He scored just once in eight games between the end of November and end of January, which just so happened to coincide with the absence of Lucas Digne at full-back.

The French left-back picked up an injury following the 3-2 win over Fulham in November, where he got two assists and Calvert-Lewin scored twice. He wouldn’t make his return to action for Everton until a cup game in January against Rotherham and wouldn’t share the pitch with the striker until the 27th of January.

In that time, Calvert-Lewin would score just twice. He equalised for the Blues in the 1-1 draw with Burnley before a six game drought that ended with a goal against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Since getting back on the pitch together, the 23-year-old forward has scored in each of his last three games now and looks set to get back on the track that saw him earn his England debut earlier this season.

He’s already matched his total for Premier League goals from last season and has already surpassed his best goalscoring season for all competitions too. He is en route for a 25 goal season in all competitions, which should be more than enough to secure him a place on the plane for Euro 2020.

The return to action of Digne and the return of form of Calvert-Lewin coinciding with each other isn’t a coincidence and Everton couldn’t be happier. They’re still in the race for top four with a game in hand and are now in the last eight of a cup competition.

With his mid-season dip seemingly over with and Digne back and flying again, Everton are gearing up for a great end to their season.

Lucas Digne Injury Means Niels Nkounkou Has a Chance to Shine For Everton

Everton were rocked with the news on Thursday that Lucas Digne will likely miss the next 6-8 weeks of the season after injuring his ankle ligaments in training.

The French left-back has been one of the better performers for the Toffees this season, racking up four assists in his eight Premier League appearances so far.

With Everton pushing for a European place after their tremendous start to the campaign, his presence was greatly missed after he was sent off in the defeat to Southampton and while serving his suspension in the defeat to Newcastle United.

As one of the better left-backs in the division, his end product and ability to halt players in one on one situations have been key in allowing Richarlison to flourish in attack with Everton carrying a lethal counter-attacking threat.

After picking up the injury in training, Digne is now likely to miss up to two months of football. Between now and the end of January, Everton are scheduled to play at least 13 games across different competitions and he will be a huge loss to the side.

It does mean a chance for young defender Niels Nkounkou, who signed on a free transfer from Marseille in the summer. Part of the reason for his move to Merseyside was due to a conversation with manager Carlo Ancelotti, who told him he believed in him and wanted to help him develop into a great player.

After some impressive performances in the Carabao Cup, Nkounkou will now have a chance to shine in the top league in the world.

Alongside the Everton first-team, he will have some extra protection with the quality around him and his attacking instincts will be encouraged by Ancelotti. He will have the chance to build a relationship with Richarlison with Digne out for a prolonged period and has a real chance to stake his claim for a more regular role.

Despite that, Everton may have to reconsider their aspirations now. With Digne out, they lose a lot of quality and experience as well as a set-piece taker and leader of the dressing room.

Their form hasn’t been fantastic recently, although they returned to winning ways most recently against Fulham, and the injury comes in a period of the footballing calendar that could make or break a season.

Why Everton WON’T Finish In The Top 4

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, Everton seem like a genuine threat to the top teams this season.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti brought in several players in key positions over the summer to strengthen the squad, spending over £70m in the process.

James Rodriguez joined from Real Madrid, Abdoulaye Doucoure joined from Watford for £25m, Allan signed from Napoli for a similar amount, as did Ben Godfrey from Norwich in central defence. They also signed goalkeeper Robin Olsen on loan from Roma to compete with Jordan Pickford while young defender Niels Nkounkou joined for a minimal fee at full-back.

The Toffees enjoyed their best start to a season since the 1890’s, winning the first seven games of their season in all competitions. They made it eight unbeaten with a hard-fought draw against the champions Liverpool too, before succumbing to back-to-back defeats in their two most recent games.

Everton v West ham United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round : News Photo

After their fantastic start many tipped them to make the top four, with the form of front three Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Rodriguez making headlines. The interplay across the squad was strong, the team were solid defensively and everyone was singing from the same hymn sheet.

The last two games however have been indicative of why I believe Everton won’t make top four.

With James Rodriguez struggling for full fitness and Richarlison serving a three-game ban following his red card in the Merseyside derby, Everton have looked a lot like the side that lacked so much consistency last season.

Seamus Coleman suffered an injury and Lucas Digne got suspended recently too and all it did was show that Everton are severely lacking in depth and quality.

Their strongest lineup on paper can compete with every team in the league on its day. The steel and ability in a midfield trio of Allan, Doucoure and Andre Gomes is enough for big games to both control possession but also defend well, soak up pressure and counter attack if necessary. In defence, Coleman and Digne are one of the best full-back pairings in the league while Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have formed a solid partnership under Ancelotti too.

Once anyone drops out of that strongest side though, the quality drop between whoever it is and the replacement is shocking. Additionally, they also have a very different profile of player stepping in the majority of the time.

Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League : News Photo

It makes it difficult to maintain a genuine style of play beyond the first eleven players that start. It will ultimately be their downfall this season.

In a campaign where even the smaller sides are playing so regularly, a thin squad won’t be helpful. The likes of the big six will surely all eventually get their act together and they have enough in their squads to make changes regularly to keep players fresh and still not suffer a drastic drop in quality.

A win over Manchester United this weekend is very possible for Everton, even without taking into account the Red Devils’ current problems. But it doesn’t mean they’re goers for the top four for me.

Everton: What Can We Expect This Season?

When Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as the new man in charge at Goodison Park way back in December 2019, fans of the club were expecting big things.

A three time Champions League winner, the Toffees brought in Ancelotti with the idea that he would be able to lift them into the sacred Top 4 positions for the first time since 2005. His name not only brought a sense of the ‘big time’, but also meant he would be able to use his connections at the top of the game to bring in top players to match those ambitions.

In the January transfer window, Ancelotti did nothing. No sales and no acquisitions. He took the time to analyse the squad properly throughout the season, trying different systems and different players. Some played much more than others, some barely featured at all. But now with the summer window upon us, Ancelotti has made it abundantly clear he needs upgrades.

The club are on the verge of a triple midfield signing with Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure set to join from Napoli and Watford respectively for £25million each. They’re due to top that deal off with the permanent signing of Real Madrid man James Rodriguez for around £22million. I wrote back in July about how Rodriguez could be the perfect signing for them to get the best out of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while switching to a more favoured formation for the Italian. He usually uses a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-2-1-2 but at Everton so far he was using a standard 4-4-2 in order to get the two biggest attacking threats closer to goal while also making up for the lack of quality central midfield options.

With the additions he’s making now, he’s going in that direction. But he now needs to make sales. Players like Bernard, Alex Iwobi, Yannick Bolasie and Tom Davies are all reportedly available for transfer after failing to impress. Theo Walcott has also struggled under Ancelotti and if an offer came in that they deemed acceptable he’d also be allowed to move on.

After the window is completed it will be much easier to understand what his plans are, but the ambition the club are showing is promising. The issue is that the players being brought in aren’t the greatest.

Allan was a tremendous box-to-box midfielder Napoli two seasons ago, which made him the subject of a €60million bid from PSG that was accepted before the transfer eventually collapsed. Since then, he has struggled to reclaim that form and Ancelotti will be hoping that he can coax it back out of him like he did while they were together at Napoli in 2018.

Doucoure had an excellent season at Watford two years ago but last season he struggled in a similar way to Allan. Add to that with the fact that James Rodriguez has barely played football in the last two years, Ancelotti is taking some big gambles based on previous performances and experiences with these players rather than where they are right now.

If he can get them all firing again and maintain the good form that Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin showed after his initial arrival, then Everton will be pushing hard for that Top 6. Otherwise, it will be a very expensive window with zero progress made for a side desperate to get back to competing.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg To Everton Is A ‘Done Deal’

Southampton have agreed a deal to sell former captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Everton, according to reports.

Hojbjerg told the club during the lockdown period that he wanted to leave during the summer transfer window, with Tottenham Hotspur heavily linked. But according to reports by Alex Crook, it’s Everton who have got ahead in the race for the Dane and a deal has been agreed worth £25million.

According to Crook, the two clubs have agreed a fee and an official offer has been accepted with the player also agreeing personal terms for a move. Tottenham have also tabled a bid for the former Bayern Munich man, but it doesn’t match the offer from the Toffees and has therefore not been accepted. Despite agreeing personal terms with Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Hojbjerg prefers a move to North London and is waiting to see if they come back with another offer.

Hojbjerg joined Southampton in 2016 after failing to break into the Bayern first-team following the departure of Pep Guardiola as manager. He quickly asserted himself as a lead figure at the club and has been a regular in the side ever since, becoming captain in December 2018 as Ralph Hassenhuttl took over the reigns as manager.

His style of combative, ball-playing midfielder would fit in well with what Jose Mourinho wants in central midfield. A blend of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko, the Denmark international has all the capabilities to play at a higher level than Southampton and it’s no surprise that bigger clubs are circling for his signature.

With Everton in the picture, Hojbjerg walks into that midfield ahead of the likes of Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Ancelotti has adopted a 4-4-2 formation during his time at Goodison Park and Andre Gomes has often been the key man in the centre of the park. Sigurdsson has been used for his creativity, but it’s clear that isn’t his natural position and he has struggled to live up to his £45million price tag since the move from Swansea.

Both sides are looking to get back into European contention next season, with Spurs boss Jose Mourinho already telling fans he wants to win next seasons Europa League competition. Hojbjerg would go a long way to boosting their issues in central midfield, but the Lilywhites will need to act quickly if they’re to get their man ahead of Everton.