Who will Christian Eriksen sign for?

Christian Eriksen could be set to leave Ajax this summer after rejecting a new contract which has alerted Premier League clubs.

The 20 year old midfielder is one of the hottest prospects in world football and he could become one of the best players in the world. It is remarkable that he is so good and played so many games at such a young age at a huge club like Ajax. In total he has played 143 times scoring 26 goals and assisting another 48 more. In the last two seasons he has been phenomenal, with him playing 44 times and getting eight goals last season as well as already having nine goals in 31 appearances this year. More remarkably though and this is why he should be getting a lot of praise, he got 21 assists last season and was instrumental in nearly every attack. Would he be able to cut it in the Premier League though, as we have seen in the past that some players can perform very well in Holland but not be good enough for England. I am sure the fact he has rejected a new contract it will make a lot of clubs sit up and take notice.

So who will he sign for? The favourites to sign him have to be Manchester United as he seems like the type of player that would fit into their style of play and would be a perfect replacement for Paul Scholes who will probably retire (again) at the end of the season. Eriksen could either play out wide for Alex Ferguson’s side or right in the middle alongside a holding midfielder. Personally, I think him and Michael Carrick could control a game very easily if they played together. Also, he is only young and would fit into their recent signings of young and upcoming players.

However, he may decide to join a different club and another team that should be looking at Eriksen is Tottenham Hostpur. They will be able to give him European football and possibly even a place in the Champions League and not only that he could be the final piece to the jigsaw and get the club challenging for trophies and league titles. A key factor in his signing could be that it could convince Gareth Bale to stay at the club and this would certainly show that they were wanting to be more ambitious.

The final team that will be linked with him is Liverpool. Although they aren’t one of the top clubs anymore they do still have a chance of qualifying for Europe this year and this may make the Danish international join them. He would be a great signing because he is better than a lot of their other midfielders like Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey. Also Steven Gerrard is getting towards the end of his career now and Eriksen would be a perfect replacement and although he wouldn’t be a direct replacement, he would deliver the same if not more goals and assists.

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Who will be Oldham Athletic’s new manager?

Oldham Athletic are looking for a new manager after Paul Dickov decided to resign from his position.
Oldham Athletic
This may come as a surprise to football fans that do not follow League 1 closely as they will have just seen that they beat Liverpool in the FA Cup 3-2. Apart from this result it has been an awful time to be an Oldham fan as they have lost eight of their last nine league games with the latest being a 3-1 defeat to Walsall. This defeat has left them in 20th place, only one point above the relegation zone. The worrying thing about this is that all the teams below them have a game in hand and Dickov has decided that he is not the man to keep them up after guiding them to 17th and 16th in his two full seasons in charge. Dickov was manager for 141 games, winning 43, drawing 37 and losing 61 of them. Now it is up to the board to find someone to take control and make sure the club do stay in League 1 and there have been some interesting names linked with the post.

The favourite for the post and the most likely to get the job is Iain Dowie. If he does get the job then it will be the second time he has been in charge of the club. His first spell was from May 2002 to December 2003 and he led them to the playoffs but unfortunately he could not continue his job because of a number of reasons including financial problems at the club and he finally left because of family reasons. Since he left the club he is most recognised for his work at Crystal Palace as he got them promoted to the Premier League. One of the problems with appointing him is the fact that he has been out of management since he left Hull City in 2010.
Iain Dowie
The second favourite for the job is a man that supports the club and would certainly want to succeed and keep them in League 1. That man is Paul Scholes and although he is still actually contracted to Manchester United he is obviously nearing the end of his career (he has already retired once). Would he be a good choice though? In my opinion I don’t think they should go for another inexperienced manager but his love for the club and his connection with Sir Alex Ferguson could allow him to bring in some good talented youngsters from Old Trafford.
Paul Scholes
Another person linked with the job is Nicky Butt also a former Manchester United player. But yet again he is very inexperienced and a job like this won’t be the easiest and it may be tough for him. However, the players should respect him and listen to everything he has to say because of what he achieved as a player. Just like Scholes, he may have some good connections to Manchester United as well as other clubs and managers that he played under.
Nicky Butt
Other names linked with the role are Neil Redfearn, Phil Brown and Simon Grayson

Who will David Beckham play for when he leaves LA Galaxy?

David Beckham has announced that he will be leaving LA Galaxy in December and this has led to a host of clubs wanting the former England captain.

Beckham, has been at the club since 2007 and has played 116 games for the club scoring 20 goals so he has been a decent servant to the American side and he did capture the attention of the public when he first went over there. It is unclear now whether it will create more interest in the sport over there, because it is not as big as in Europe and this transfer was trying to make it more of a competitor to the likes of basketball and American Football. During his time there he went on loan twice to AC Milan, so maybe the Italian team would have him back on a permanent basis, but to me, this seems unlikely and I think he may be after a completely different challenge.

PSG are the clear favourites at the moment to sign the midfielder and that is because they can offer him a wage that cannot be matched by many other clubs in the world, apart from possibly Manchester City. Which is a club I am fairly certain he will not be joining. The French club though want success and are trying to sign a lot of big names to get them to the very top and competing with the likes of Barcelona. It would be strange if he did sign for them because he is getting old now and I don’t think he is the type of player they should be looking at. They need players that can come in and improve over the next few years, although saying that Beckham’s experience around the dressing room could make all the difference.

Personally, I think he will go out and try somewhere completely different because he has accomplished a lot in Europe and has stated before that the only English club he will play for is Manchester United. There is a small chance they could sign him but they already have Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in their midfield so it doesn’t seem likely that Alex Ferguson will sign another over 30 player.

A few players are going to China at the moment and maybe he wants to try over there and see if he can make an impact. For purely commercial reasons, he would be a success and he would probably make an impact in the leagues so this could be an option for him. But, from the early odds it looks like he may be going over to Australia with Adelaide United and Melbourne Heart strongly linked with him. Beckham, is a legend and he will be a success anywhere he goes, both on and off the pitch, so if these teams are serious about signing him then they may have to pay quite a high wage but they will surely get a lot of their money back just from shirt sales and other merchandising opportunities.

How important is Darren Fletcher to Manchester United?

Darren Fletcher made his return for Manchester United against Newcastle United in the Capital One Cup so will his return help the club win trophies this season.

Obviously he has only played one game so it is too early to see whether he will be able to play on a regular basis but it is a good sign that he was back on the pitch. Fletcher has been a vital part of the United side for a number of years now and has almost always been an automatic choice for the big games in Europe and Premier League. But why is he so important? I am going to compare the Scotland international with some of the other options Alex Ferguson has.

His rivals for the central midfielder spot are Shinji Kagawa, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Anderson and Tom Cleverley. Nick Powell, could also be considered in the central role but he won’t be starting many games and will be utilised a lot from the bench if he does get the chance to shine. So, let’s start with the summer signing, Kagawa. This is a tough one to call because Kagawa has already proved that he can be very creative and make things happen but if they only play two central midfielders then he may be a liability if he doesn’t stick to his defensive responsibilities. So, in the bigger games I believe Fletcher will start over Kagawa if he is fit unless either Wayne Rooney or Robin Van Persie are dropped and they switch to three in the centre of midfield. But, in other games, particularly at home when they are expected to have a lot of possession, this could be the perfect combination as we all know Fletcher will work himself into the ground and let Kagawa dictate play.

In the big games I could see Fletcher starting alongside Michael Carrick as both are decent passers and like to keep the ball ticking over, so they will be vital in keeping possession, especially away from home in Europe. But, if these two lined up against a bottom half Premier League team it would be a shock as neither have got that many goals over the years, however, at times Fletcher has proved he can grab vital goals so this tactic could work. Paul Scholes shocked us all when he returned from his retirement part way through last season and I think out of the options his preferred partner would actually be Fletcher because of his work rate and determination, allowing him to play his natural game and control the tempo of the game while also being safe in the knowledge that Fletcher will cover enough ground for the both of them.

Onto the two players that I believe will once again find themselves far down the pecking order, Tom Cleverley and Anderson. The Brazilian has flattered to deceive at Old Trafford and nobody is really sure at what he is all about, even though he has been at the club for a while now. This because he isn’t disciplined enough to play the holding role and leaves big gaps in front of the back four and when he is played in the advanced role he doesn’t influence games enough, so if Fletcher can regain form and fitness then this could be the last season Anderson is at the club in my opinion. As for Cleverely, I am still not convinced by him for exactly the same reasons but he is definitely improving and if he played next to someone like Fletcher he would get even better because he would have to exert as much energy in defending when playing with someone like Anderson, Kagawa or even Scholes. In my opinion, he has also struggled slightly playing alongside Carrick because all of the creative responsibility is on him, and that is a lot of pressure for someone his age.

So, the good thing about Fletcher is that he can compliment any of his fellow midfielders and a lot of his good work goes unnoticed but the management team and his teammates will understand what he does and it is clear to see that they are all very happy to see him on the road to recovery.

 

Will Luka Modric stay in the Premier League?

Luka Modric is most likely going to be leaving Tottenham Hotspur this summer after an impressive Euro 2012 and some of the biggest clubs in Europe want the midfielder.

Modric has 17 goals and 26 assists in his 159 appearances for Spurs

Real Madrid are currently the clear favourites to sign him and I hope he doesn’t join the Spanish giants because he brings a lot to the Premier League. The Croatian joined Spurs in 2008 and has been a major reason why they have challenged for a place in the Champions league. He definitely doesn’t get the credit he deserves and is an example of players that are a lot better than there stats suggest, he hasn’t actually got that many goals and assists for the club but his performances have been sublime with his passing being accurate and usually the most important pass of an attack. He picks out his teammates time and time again which allows them to put in a cross or slide it through for someone else to shoot.

Although it is still unlikely at this stage he could still sign for a Premier League club and I think his style of football suits the English league rather than La Liga. So where could he go? Obviously, Manchester United would love to have him with their current midfield either ageing or not quite living up to their potential. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have been fantastic servants but they cannot play every game and sometimes you need younger legs in there and with Park Ji Sung leaving for QPR there may be extra strain on Michael Carrick and new signing Shinji Kagawa. Anderson and Tom Cleverley can also play in the middle but I just feel Anderson has been a waste and underperformed massively while Cleverely doesn’t have the required experience yet to be first choice.

Chelsea were linked with Modric last summer but couldn’t get him and now maybe they have moved on so I don’t expect them to try and sign him, however, he would fit into their style of play now and could be just what they need, especially when defending their Champions League trophy. Michael Essien will be back to full fitness next season and Frank Lampard will probably not get dropped. The only reason they may want to bring him in is that their new signings don’t have that much Premier League experience between them so they may struggle to adapt to the league and he wouldn’t certainly do a job for the team.

Finally, Manchester City have been linked with a move, however you have to take everything you read about City with a pinch of salt because the papers will link the club with any player that has had a good season. They have enough cover in the midfield anyway and it looks like they are prioritising the signing of Robin Van Persie at the minute. I think if they do make a big signing this summer (either instead of or along with Van Persie) then it will be a centre back as that is where they are weakest.

David Beckham signs new contract for LA Galaxy

David Beckham has signed a new two year contract at LA Galaxy ending speculation  that he could be joining a European club.

Beckham has played 81 games for the American side scoring 12 goals and providing 28 assists. He went to America to raise the profile of the game over there and it is debatable whether his arrival has had an impact however one thing that has changed is that now players coming to the end of their careers are now looking for one last big pay cheque by going over there. The most notable being Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane but both of these have returned on loan to Premier League clubs, Henry rejoining Arsenal and Keane joining Aston Villa.

Also what is worth noting is that LA Galaxy have given Beckham permission to play for Great Britain in the Olympics if he is selected by Stuart Pearce as one of the three over age players. This must have clinched the deal for the former Manchester United midfielder as he had reportedly turned down a move to PSG because of family reasons which would suggest that Victoria and the rest of the family are very happy in LA.

However, the only negative he will see is that surely now he is staying with Galaxy he has almost certainly ruled out any chance of being selected for Euro 2012 but I have a suspicion that with all the work he put in to get the Olympics in London in 2012 he would prefer to be playing for Great Britain as Stuart Pearce has already said anyone going to the Euros won’t be selected.

Even though he is playing in a league that is well below the level he could still play at, he has made a good choice as he is trying to do good in the game by getting more people in America involved in the sport instead of it being behind American Football, Basketball, Baseball and possibly even Hockey. Only a small minority play soccer in American and if they could get more players involved they would produce some of the best players in the world just because of the sheer size of the country.

Back to the former England captain, it would have been good to have seen him back playing in the Premier League before he retired but that seems unlikely now. He did say he wouldn’t play for another club in England apart from Manchester United and he must have been thinking after watching Paul Scholes return and some bets (yes actual money) being placed on Phil Neville to return from Everton, that Sir Alex Ferguson may be tempted to pick up the phone and give him one final chance at Old Trafford.

It would not be surprising to have to call him Sir David Beckham in years to come as his services to football, charity and getting the Olympics to London have been nothing short of outstanding. He has always been a model professional and always wore the shirt of whichever team he was playing for with pride.

Finally can anyone remember a better moment in the last 20 years for England when he scored that penalty against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup? Because I can’t and for this moment alone he should be remembered as a fantastic player and captain for England.

Thierry Henry- The return of the Gunners legend

With a weekend of retuning legends, Thierry Henry has overshadowed Paul Scholes and looks every bit as good as when he left all those years ago for Barcelona. He may not have the pace anymore but he knows where the space is and he exploited it magnificently in his second debut against Leeds in the FA cup.

Yes it is against lower opposition but Henry did what Chamakh couldn’t in 68 minutes and that was score against a resolute Leeds defence. The way he moved inside the full back was clever and then he showed the finesse to coolly slot the ball past the advancing keeper as he has done so many times for Arsenal.

He might just give Arsenal the spark they need to challenge for honours once again and Arsene Wenger may be glad he brought him back and even just on this one cameo performance may be regretting ever letting him go in the first place.

His celebration showed everyone he still has the passion and wears the Gunners shirt with pride and the way he hugged his gaffer shows the respect he has for the man that made him the player he is essentially. Henry signed for Arsenal after a poor spell in Italy and the fans were probably struggling to work out why Wenger was so desperate to get him and paid then what seemed to be a lot of money which now seems insignificant after all the goals he scored and there have been some special ones. The one that springs to mind the most is when he flicked the ball up for himself and volleyed it past fellow Frenchman Fabien Barthez in a massive game against title challengers Manchester United. Simply, the audacity to try that in such a big game shows that he doesn’t let pressure get to him and he can turn it on in the big games which many of Arsenal’s big stars have failed to do in recent seasons.

Arsenal fans will be wishing that the loan lasts only two months because he could prove the big difference between them winning trophies and flattering to deceive as they have done so many times. If he had been in the team against Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final would the result have been any different?

The frightening thing is if he can produce the goods and strike up a  good partnership with currently the most in form striker in the Premier League Robin Van Persie then Arsenal will once again be a team that everyone fears.

Looking at things that have changed at Arsenal, there is no Fabregas, Pires, Ljungberg, Vieira or Bergkamp so he will have to play alongside the inconsistent Walcott, the promising but young midfielder Aaron Ramsey and the sometimes lazy Andrei Arshavin but what Wenger is hoping for along with goals is that he can mentor these players and teach them things as he did against Leeds, whilst sitting on the bench, Arshavin put a shot over the bar and straightaway Henry leaned into Walcott and gave him some tips on what to do in that situation and the England international seemed to be hanging on his every word.

His teammates may not be as good as they once were but he could still light up the Premier League with a hatful of goals and majestic performances we all know he is capable of. He hasn’t lost his footballing ability. So can he bring the va va voom back to the Premier League

Paul Scholes back in United colours

The return of Paul Scholes was kept very quiet by Manchester United with even Wayne Rooney in saying he didn’t know he was returning. It seemed like such a perfect time for Scholes to come on against Manchester City in the FA Cup with his team 3-1 up and also a man up after a controversial red card for Vincent Kompany, but the midfielder will be devastated with his return giving away possession cheaply which led to Aguero scoring and making it a tough end to a game which United should have easily strolled to victory.

After Thierry Henry joined Arsenal on loan for two months, I thought that would be the only player that returned to a former club but then Manchester United surprise us all by bringing back Scholes which shows how desperate they are at the moment and how poor Alex Ferguson believes his team are in the middle of the park. It seems like a very strange decision to me, as Fergie usually trusts his team and trusts his replacements but not this time, he obviously feels he did not adequately replace the former England man and his team are suffering because of it.

I thought Scholes should have continued anyway but because he retired and has now come back, I think it is the wrong decision as he said himself he retired because he didn’t feel he could offer the team anything anymore. But in his favour is the form of Stephen Carr at Birmingham City, who retired but came back into football and has looked as dependable as ever at right back. However, right back and centre midfield are very different, he won’t be able to get around the pitch as much and the game may pass him by if his fitness is not up to a high standard.

If you look at the last few years he had adapted his game anyway and seemed to be more of a holding midfielder who looked to get on the ball and spray passes round the pitch which he can probably still do because you do not lose that ability after only a few months out of the game. At the start of his career, he was a player that liked to get into the box and score goals but I cannot see him scoring many goals in his return for United but he did have one very good strike against City which he hit very cleanly and sweetly so he may pop up with the odd long ranger.

His technique has always been fantastic and his goal against Aston Villa a few years ago when he scored a fantastic first time volley from outside the box is one of the best ever in the Premier League and Alex Ferguson will be hoping he can produce magic moments like that from now until the end of the season.

It is a gamble but if he can have an influence in the game he plays, we may see Manchester United crowned champions yet again but if he fails and puts in poor performances his career at United may be tarnished by this decision.

As they say you shouldn’t go back to your old club especially when you left on a high. Over to you Scholesy