Will Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Dawson be the right options for QPR?

QPR manager Mark Hughes is reacting quickly to his side’s 5-0 defeat against Swansea City on the opening day of the season by trying to recruit some new defenders.

I was really surprised that Hughes didn’t try and strengthen the defence to begin with as they already had a decent enough strike force with Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse as well as the always unpredictable Adel Taarabt. Just look at the defence that started on the opening day, Fabio, Clint Hill, Anton Ferdinand and Nedum Onuoha with Ryan Nelsen on the bench. Fabio is only young and could improve but he is not the best at defending yet and looks better going forward. Anton Ferdinand has never been more than an average centre back in the Premier League and if he is first choice your team will mostly finish in the bottom half closer to relegation. Onuoha, just simply hasn’t lived up to his potential when he first came through at Manchester City and it could be a long season for him. Finally, Clint Hill, how on earth is he a Premier League? Yes, first season up leave him in there, but now the ambitions have changed and surely someone better should have came in.

QPR have bid for Michael Dawson and he has been a fantastic centre back for Spurs over the years, although he can be a little injury prone. But, he is exactly what the team needs, he isn’t afraid to put his head in where it hurts and just seems to want to block every shot and will throw his body in the way. He has played 242 times for Tottenham and this Premier League experience will be invaluable to QPR and he would play like a leader on the pitch whether he is given the captain’s armband or not. Now that it is known that he is available there may be other offers from clubs but I think realistically he will join QPR if he leaves Spurs because it means he can stay in London and they will surely offer him a very good contract with a high wage.

Dawson has four caps for England

Next, Ricardo Carvalho is reportedly close to joining the club on a season long loan from Real Madrid and even though he is 34, I think he is one of the best centre backs to have ever played in the Premier League. He made John Terry look like a great defender as Carvalho’s positioning got him out of a lot of bad situations and to me it is not coincidence that Terry has looked a shadow of his former self since the departure of Carvalho. He played 210 times for the London club but the only problem is that he only played 13 times for Real Madrid last season so there will be question marks over his fitness and form.

Carvalho has played 75 times for Portugal

These are the sort of signings Mark Hughes should have been making from the beginning but unfortunately it seems like he currently has 11 individuals on the pitch rather than a team and if he doesn’t sort that out soon then a relegation battle will be on his hand yet again.

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Who will Leighton Baines play for next season?

Everton left back Leighton Baines is being linked with a move away from Goodison Park this summer but would a move be good for him?

Baines has eight caps for England

The 27 year old has been one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League for a number of years now and I am quite surprised he hasn’t been snapped up by one of the teams in the Champions League but this summer could finally be the time when he leaves Everton. He has played 202 games for the Merseyside club and scored 15 goals in his five years at the club which just shows how consistent he has been. Defensively he is rarely caught out even though he isn’t the quickest as his positioning and anticipation are both very good but it is offensively that he is at his best. He is able to put in quality crosses on a consistent basis and provides support for his winger. Baines is vital to the team because he provides a lot of the width with whoever plays on the left usually likes to cut inside which means he has to always be an option. I don’t think he should leave Everton because they are a good team with one of the best managers in the Premier League and they have been close to winning trophies in the last couple of years and I think they could finish in a European place next season.

But if he does decide to leave, I don’t think the Everton fans should be too upset and angry at him as the only clubs that he would realistically leave for will be in the Champions League year after year. So the reason he would leave would be ambition rather than for money reasons in my opinion. He is most heavily linked with Manchester United who at the moment will be unwilling to pay the fee that is being reported but may be forced to if they want their man. After letting Fabio join QPR on loan it is clear they do need another left back and Baines is one of the best around and they want to topple neighbours Manchester City next season so they will have to recruit the best. It would be a great move for the player himself and may give him more of a chance of becoming England’s first choice left back. However, will he want to play second fiddle to Patrice Evra and if he can’t get enough game time then this move will be a waste of time. The other possibility is that he is being brought into replace Evra who in my opinion hasn’t been at his best for a number of years now.

Another club that should be interested is Arsenal because they need strengthening at left back in my opinion with Kieran Gibbs still looking a little suspect when defending and Andre Santos not much better. He would certainly add more composure to the defence and give them a lot more stability over on the left hand side. Whether Arsene Wenger will be willing to pay over £10 million for him though is another question but with the possibility of him having extra funds because of the expected departure of Robin Van Persie he may want to strengthen his defence.

How serious are Manchester United and Manchester City going to take the Europa League?

It may have been easy for the two Manchester clubs to not take the Europa League seriously so the draw has actually helped the competition with two very exciting ties which wouldn’t have looked out of place the Champions League. Two tricky away ties were up first for the teams with United playing Ajax and City playing Porto so this was a great opportunity to see whether the managers believed this competition was worthwhile or not.

Let us first start with United, (because there game was first not because of preference) they picked quite a strong team but also took the opportunity to give a few players an opportunity to get minutes under their belt after recovering from injury. Tom Cleverley and Fabio started and these two were probably the only two that could have been replaced by better players but nevertheless they have enough experience to be put in the side in a big European game. When Patrice Evra was left in Manchester, I was a little worried Alex Ferguson was not taking it seriously but his reasoning was acceptable enough as it had been a tough week for the French left back with the whole Suarez saga. His pre match press conferences also confirmed that he wants to win this competition now he is in it as it is the only one he has not won as United manager and we all recognise Fergie does not accept defeat against any team in any competition. So, he started Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez up front and it worked well with Hernandez scoring the second goal and ultimately putting the tie to bed. As previous stated, it was an opportunity to give players with fitness doubts a game and Ashley Young was one of these and he played quite well and opened the scoring which will give him confidence for the remainder of the season.

Now, onto City and they probably had a more difficult tie against Porto as the Portuguese team have been in fantastic form and very rarely lose at home in any competition. When Varela opened the scoring for Porto, the City fans must have thought it may be difficult to get back into it but the players themselves showed that they are ready to compete and even though it’s not where they want to be, they still want to win as much silverware as they can this season. An own goal got them back in the game but in fairness they had deserved it as they had created quite a few opportunities. They went onto win the game with Sergio Aguero grabbing the winner from off the bench. This shows that Mancini wanted to rest him but had enough respect to have him on the bench to bring on if he was needed. A draw would have been a good result, but obviously the manager wanted more and this is why he brought on Aguero and this shows that he also wants to win the competitions.

I believe it is a good thing both Manchester clubs are in the Europa League because they will want to outdo each other and get further than the other. If only one of them had dropped into the tournament then I think they may have decided to focus on the Premier League more and forgot about Europe this season. Now, the Europa League will also gain more attention than it usually does which can only be a good thing for UEFA.