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Bailey Peacock-Farrell the only real positive for Leeds United in 2018

The young stopper put in an excellent display against Sunderland in the week.

Mathew Coull

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It has been a fairly drab 2018 for Leeds United so far. The West Yorkshire side has struggled to keep up their form from the first half of the campaign. The dip in the new year caused Thomas Christiansen to lose his job and saw Leeds appoint Paul Heckingbottom as the new manager at Elland Road.

He has also struggled to turn things around for the side who have won just twice in 2018. The result has been the club dropping firmly out of playoff contention and the spotlight being thrust on some rather underwhelming members of the Leeds United first-team.

In fact, there have not been many reasons for Leeds United fans to be cheerful. The most in-form player since the turn of the year has been Pablo Hernandez. The Spanish veteran, however, is out of contract in the summer which puts an asterisk next to his form.

In reality, there has only really been one major positive for Leeds United this year so far. That has been the form of goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Leeds brought in former goalie Andy Lonergan and German stopper Felix Wiedwald last summer as they looked to revamp between the sticks.  

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 03: Paul Heckingbottom, Manager of Leeds United looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Leeds United at Craven Cottage on April 3, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Both failed to impress however and Heckingbottom threw the youngster in instead.

The 21-year-old’s career at Leeds appeared to be sliding out of significance. But it suddenly burst back into life with the recall and he received the man-of-the-match award on his first game back in the starting XI since 2016.

He has since steadily improved. Against Sunderland, in the 1-1 draw, he made a number of exquisite saves and received mass praise for his display after the game. That praise also came from the opposing manager Chris Coleman.

It was a wonderful display and not for the first time this year he has been the main reason for Leeds fans to be positive.

In fact, Peacock-Farrell’s form in 2018 has perhaps been the only highlight of Leeds calendar year so far.

Aston Villa

Moussa Marega would be perfect for Aston VIlla should they get promoted

Josh Kerr

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Moussa Marega
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa are looking to sign Moussa Marega after the Porto striker’s asking price was dropped to £26 million.

Merega’s buy-out clause stood at £35 million, but Porto have been forced to lower their demands due to Financial Fair Play concerns, leaving Steve Bruce’s side in a perfect position to swoop for the Mali international.

The 27-year-old would be an addition of intent for the Villains, and perhaps the marquee signing that the fans would expect, should they be promoted at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.

Steve Bruce’s side were unable to show off their financial power this season due also to Financial Fair Play rules.

However, if they beat Fulham in the play-off final, the claret and blues will be in a position to spend heavily over the summer.

3-year-old Albert Adomah has been a revelation at Villa Park this season, firing 15 goals as well as contributing six assists, leading the scoring efforts for Bruce’s side.

(Photo by Francisco Leong/Getty Images)

However, if the Midlands outfit were to secure promotion on Saturday they would need further additions to adequately equip themselves for the gruelling nature of the Premier League. Marega would help them do just that.

The French-born forward scored 22 goals in the Primeira Liga as Porto ended their five-year wait for a league title, and now it looks as though he is ready for his next challenge, with a transfer appearing imminent.

Porto need to sell, and Villa need to invest if they are to see themselves grow into the Premier League juggernauts they once were, so it could be a move that benefits both parties.

However, the report also suggests that Wolves are in the hunting for the forward and, considering their track-record of attracting Porto stars in the past, the Villains must act quickly if they are to grab themselves an assured European goalscorer.

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Sunderland

Talented Jack Ross could be the man to end the misery at Sunderland

Josh Kerr

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Jack Ross
Photo: Getty Images

Highly-rated manager Jack Ross was officially unveiled as Sunderland boss today, and he could be the man that orchestrates the start of a comeback for one of football’s biggest fallen giants.

The former St Mirren poss was permitted to speak to the Black Cats about their vacant manager position after the club suffered back-to-back relegations, seeing them fall to Sky Bet League One.

Ross guided the Paisley side to the Scottish Championship title this season and had also had talks with English second-tier club Ipswich Town, as reported by the East Anglian Daily Times.

The former Hartlepool right-back will leave a legacy at St Mirren after he guided the Buddies back to the promised land of the Scottish Premiership.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images )

His departure will undoubtedly break St Mirren’s fans hearts. However, the job at Sunderland has obviously proven too difficult to turn down.

After the Black Cats were finally cleared of all their substantial debt, Ross will feel he is the man who can finally steer the club back in the right direction.

The 2018 PFA Scotland manager of the year is young and charismatic and could finally be a figure worthy of Sunderland supporters getting behind.

Ross is undeniably still a risk for Sunderland considering he has zero managerial experience in England.

However, the Scottish manager already has a promotion on his CV, and Black Cats supporters should see themselves fortunate that such a promising candidate has filled the vacant position.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Wolves at risk of losing talented youngster Cameron John

The talented teenager could leave Molineux Stadium this summer.

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

Talented youngster Cameron John is still yet to make his Wolverhampton Wanderers debut and the youngster is reportedly growing frustrated with his lack of game-time.

According to the Daily Mail (live transfer blog, 23/05/2018 10.50am), John is in the last year of his contract with the Midland’s side and the Premier League new boys are willing to listen to offers.

Despite not making a senior appearance at the Molineux Stadium, the 18-year-old is still hot property and a number of clubs are preparing to swoop for him.

A talented centre-back, who can also play on the left side of defence, John has impressed Scott Sellars’ in his Under-23 side over the past season and he may be rewarded with a move this summer that will see him rewarded with greater senior opportunities.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Brighton, Stoke City and Norwich City are all showing an interest in the Wolves’ young centre-back and could make an imminent swoop.

The Championship would suit John more than the Premier League and Brighton have also recently signed Leon Balogun from Bundesliga club Mainz, meaning the south coast side may not see John as a potential starter, but rather an addition to strengthen their squad.

Also, Wolves are close to announcing Willy Boly on a permanent deal, which could be a message to John that he is not in manager Nuno’s long-term plans. Therefore, a move to Gary Rowett’s Stoke or Daniel Farke’s Norwich seems most likely.

It would be a surprising move for Wolves to allow one of their best talents to leave the club. However, with heavy summer investments imminent, the club are more likely to be focused on bringing ready-made Premier League players to the Midlands, which could mean the youngster is better-suited finding first-team football elsewhere.

At only 18 years of age, John undoubtedly has a bright future and the growing interest of teams only showcases the raw talent that he possesses. He is a talented youngster, but he finds himself at a crossroads in his career, and it will be interesting to see what will follow with his next move.

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