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Championship

Former Derby County loanee Omar Mascarell looks set to rejoin Real Madrid

The Spaniard spent one season on loan at Championship side Derby County.

Mathew Nash

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Photo: Getty Images

Back in the summer of 2014, Derby County completed an eye-catching swoop on Real Madrid.

Spanish midfielder Omar Mascarell arrived on a season-long loan deal from the Bernabeu.

It certainly captured the fans attention. A player from the mighty Real Madrid heading to Derby?

But Mascarell was a youngster, just 21 at the time, and Los Merengues were hoping a spell in England would help Mascarell’s development.

During his time at Pride Park, the Spaniard showed glimpses of his ability. He featured 30 times for the club overall and looked a decent player before a tendon injury in the March ended his season early.

He returned to Real, but not for long. After a spell on loan at Sporting Gijon, he was sold to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in 2016.

Derby fans have likely not given him much thought since. But now, it seems he is returning to Real Madrid.

As reported by Marca, the 25-year-old midfielder is re-joining Real in the summer. The Spanish giants will exercise a buy-back clause in his Frankfurt deal of around €4 million (£3.5 million).

He had an excellent season with Frankfurt last term, which must be the reason behind the move. His 2017-18 campaign has been far less impressive, featuring just five times in the Bundesliga after Achilles tendon surgery in the summer.

Derby County fans will, of course, remember Mascarell fondly but will be surprised to hear that Real Madrid are bringing him back. As talented as he was, being a regular at the Bernabeu certainly did not look like being in his future when in the East Midlands.

But no Derby fan will begrudge him any future success in the Spanish capital. If he can become a fully-fledged member of the Real squad, then the Rams can certainly take their fair share of the credit in developing the defensive midfielder.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves signing Miguel Veloso would reunite him with long-time partner Joao Moutinho

The Portuguese pair formed a formidable partnership for both club and country and could potentially do similar at Wolves.

Mathew Nash

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Wolves are being linked with a move for free agent midfielder Miguel Veloso. TEAMtalk are suggesting that the newly-promoted side are looking to add the 56-cap Portugal international to their fold this week. He is a free agent having left Genoa and Everton are reportedly also keen.

It would be an interesting signing for Wolves and one which, on paper, certainly makes sense. Veloso is represented by the Jorge Mendes ran Gestifute company. He is also a player with an illustrious record, winning titles with Sporting and Dynamo Kiev.

At Sporting he was considered one of Portugal’s most promising young talents. He was not alone in that respect. He came through to the first-team picture in Lisbon at the same time as another central midfielder, one Wolves fans will know very well.

Miguel Veloso, Yannick and João Moutinho during the Under 21 Championship Play-offs between Portugal and Russia in Porto, Portugal on October 10, 2006. (Photo by CityFiles/Getty Images)

Both Veloso and Joao Moutinho came through at Sporting in 2005. The pair went on to form a formidable partnership in the heart of Sporting’s midfield for the next five years. In 2010, both men left. Veloso headed to Kiev, whilst Moutinho made a controversial switch to Porto.

Moutinho went on to establish a reputation as one of the more consistent central midfielders in Europe.

So this summer, when Wolves signed him for a bargain fee of just £5 million, it was an eye-catching piece of business.

If they could also secure Veloso, the pair might be able to rekindle some of their old magic at Molineux.

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Leeds United

Bielsa’s Engine Room: Kalvin Phillips continues to thrive in new Leeds role

The 22-year-old came through the Elland Road academy system.

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Kalvin Phillips
Photo: Getty Images

After Marco Bielsa’s Leeds United continued their impressing winning start to the season this weekend, recording a 2-1 victory over Rotherham, several players are being highlighted for praise.

Among those who deserve the majority share of the plaudits is 22-year-old Kalvin Phillips, who continues to thrive in the playing style implemented by the club’s new boss.

A player capable of keeping it simple at the base of the midfield, Phillips has proven to be astute defensively and comfortable in possession – key traits for a player to thrive in the Argentine’s system.

Against Rotherham on Saturday, he registered 112 touches, more than any other player on the pitch and a personal best for the club.

He also completed the most passes on the day (88), recorded more interceptions than anyone else (six) and created two chances, one of which went down as an assist.

Rotherham marked a third exceptional Championship performance of the season for the youngster, with his movement and distribution keeping the ball ticking over in central midfield.

The academy talent is proving himself to be a force in central midfield for the Whites, quickly establishing himself as the lynchpin of the Bielsa revolution at Elland Road.

If Phillips can maintain this level of performance he will be integral in the club’s promotion push throughout the remainder of the season.

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Aston Villa

One to Watch: Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish at his creative best vs Ipswich

The Villa youngster was exceptional again this weekend.

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Jack Grealish
Photo: Getty Images

Jack Grealish again proved why he is Aston Villa’s most important player in their attempt to gain promotion back to the Premier League with an excellent performance in Villa’s 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town on Saturday.

The 22-year-old’s wonderful display was underpinned by the 28 passes he completed in the final third – which, according to WhoScored was more than any other player had managed in a single Championship game thus far this season.

Grealish also completed five key passes in the game, bringing his season total to 11 – more than any other player in the league other than Norwich’s Ben Marshall (also 11).

Furthermore, the Englishman completed five of his six dribbles in the game.

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Steve Bruce spoke glowingly of Grealish this week on TalkSport.

“He’s arguably the best young player I’ve had in terms of ability. He can do something where he can lift you off your seat, he’s such a natural footballer and of course he’s grown up a bit,” the Aston Villa manager said.

“For me, he’s going to be a top, top player.”

It is hard not to agree with Bruce. Not only does it appear as though Grealish has matured greatly in the last 12 months, his performances since the turn of the year have been astounding – he has arguably been the division’s best player in that period.

His constant menacing against Ipswich was no different – he has started this season brightly.

He has now been offered a new contract by Villa, according to BBC Sport, and looks set to stay with the club for short-term after a move to Tottenham Hotspur broke down this summer.

If he can manage to help guide Villa to the Premier League, he may be there for the long-term.

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