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Why James Milner will be a success at Liverpool




Liverpool got it wrong last summer. In their attempts to rebuild the squad following the sale of Luis Suarez, the Reds spent a vast amount of money on young players, which contributed to Liverpool dropping from 2nd to 6th last season. With some of Liverpool’s more expensive buys, namely Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren, proving to be some of the bigger flops, Liverpool fans will be relieved that their first capture of an important summer is costing the club nothing at all. Even more relief will come from the fact that the said capture is James Milner.

Milner has received his fair (and sometimes unfair) share of criticism over the years, but his signing should prove to be a shrewd piece of business for both parties. Milner will bring experience, versatility and quality to the Anfield side, whereas Liverpool will be able to provide him with regular football and the chance to play European football. It seems to be just about the perfect fit.

The main reason Liverpool needed to sign someone like Milner was the loss of inspirational captain Steven Gerrard. Whilst Gerrard is an irreplaceable figure at Anfield, Milner goes a long way to replacing him both positionally and in terms of experience. With Gerrard’s exit, Liverpool’s only real options in central midfield are Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Emre Can and Lucas Leiva. Milner coming into the squad will not only add numbers but also a considerable amount of quality to a midfield that is fairly average compared to their top 4 rivals.

In addition, at 34, Gerrard was far from his best last season, and probably left the club at the right time in his career. He may have been Liverpool’s top scorer with 13 goals in all competitions, but his all round performance level was much lower than it had been in recent years. At 29, Milner, although a very different type of player, should be playing at a much higher level, and will provide more energy to the Liverpool team with his tireless work ethic. Gerrard may be a Liverpool legend, but in terms of performance, Milner represents an upgrade.

James Milner scored five times and recorded a further seven assists for Manchester City this season.

Furthermore, whilst Gerrard’s level of experience is impossible to rival, there are few more seasoned Premier League stars than Milner, which will aid Liverpool’s callow squad. With 53 England caps, two Premier League winners medals and almost 13 years of experience at the top level, Milner boats a wealth of experience that is hard to match. Combine this with his undoubted ability and hard work, he will add a lot to the team and squad as a whole, something Liverpool desperately need with a young squad.

Milner also adds a great deal of versatility. Primarily a central midfielder, he can play in an attacking or defensive manner, and has even played as a wing-back or central striker. He adds so much energy and is willing to sacrifice himself for the team. If Liverpool need a gap filling in the team, Milner will fill it, no questions asked. This will be of great use for Brendan Rodgers should he suffer a similar level of injuries to last season.

The move will not only be of great benefit to Liverpool, but for his own career as well. After five years of being primarily a squad player at Manchester City, Milner has the opportunity to cement himself a place in the starting eleven. Furthermore, with Daniel Sturridge set to return from injury in September and lessons learned from a torrid campaign, Liverpool should be on the up again, and Milner will benefit from still being at a club that should be challenging for trophies and Champions League qualification. Should Liverpool fulfil their potential, Milner will have a successful end to his career.

Perhaps the most important thing about the transfer, though, is that it’s free. There is no danger of Milner becoming a big money flop, because no money has been paid. Although free transfers are not always successful (Liverpool only have to look as far as Joe Cole), Rodgers’ side are adding a quality player to their squad and not having to shell out on a transfer fee. Not only does this make Milner a no-risk signing, it also frees up finds to improve the squad in other important areas, such as right-back and up front. For free, this signing is a complete no brainer.

Overall, Liverpool have pulled off one of the most astute pieces of business we will see all summer by signing James Milner. His experience and quality will go a long way to replacing the loss of Steven Gerrard, whilst his versatility and willingness to sacrifice himself for the team will be of great benefit to Liverpool’s young squad as a whole. With no hefty transfer fee hanging over his head, Milner can play with a lesser amount of pressure on himself whilst Liverpool can use the money they’re saving to improve the team elsewhere. Just like on the football field, Milner’s transfer may not be a massive headline, but it will quietly be of great benefit to the whole team. All in all, a very good start to the summer for Liverpool.


John is a history graduate from the University of Southampton, and will soon be completing a Master's degree in Journalism at Cardiff University

West Ham United

Marlon Santos joining West Ham would be ideal solution to defensive woes



Photo: Getty Images.

There will be a summer of change at West Ham United this summer and with James Collins leaving the club there will be a spot opening up in defence. Reports from Spain indicate that the man to fill it could be Barcelona youngster Marlon Santos.

The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants permanently last summer after impressing for their B team and earning a first team debut in 2016/17 and spent pre-season with Ernesto Valverde’s first team before being sent out on loan.

Now, reliable Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say that West Ham are interested in taking the defender on loan next season after he has impressed in France, playing for OGC Nice, making 27 appearances during his loan spell.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has also been linked with Leicester but with West Ham believed to be leading the chase, it would be a wise move from Manuel Pellegrini to seal a deal as soon as possible.

Strong in the tackle, Santos would also bring some much needed pace to the West Ham defence. Replacing the likes of Collins and Jose Fonte who departed in January, the arrival of a fleet-footed defender would be a welcome turnaround at the London Stadium.

It may also suggest a change in style, with the former Fluminense youth product known for his ability on the ball, often looking to dribble out from the back to get his team transitioning from defence to attack.

Pellegrini is clearly putting the building blocks in place to build a side in his own image, and bringing in Marlon Santos would be a cheap and sensible addition to fix a major problem area.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Malcom would add another dimension to Tottenham’s attack



Photo: Getty Images.

After an impressive 2017/18 campaign, Tottenham are already beginning to plan for 2018/19 and are keen to make a statement in their first season in a new look White Hart Lane. One way they may do so is with the addition of Girondins Bordeaux forward Malcom.

Sky Bet currently list Tottenham at 7/2 to sign the Brazilian, just behind favourites Manchester United in the running at 3/1, and such an acquisition would bring an exciting new element to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking set-up.

Predominantly playing on the right wing, Malcom may offer more width than many of the options within the Tottenham squad, but much like Heung-Min Son and Erik Lamela, he likes to dribble on the ball and cut inside, offering a direct threat rather than looking to cross into others.

The 21-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 Ligue Un games for Bordeaux this season and whilst not exactly prolific, would help to add goals to the Lilywhites’ midfield and reduce the reliance on Harry Kane.

(Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He also has some similarities to the likes of Christian Eriksen as a superb set piece taker who likes to shoot from distance, helping to add another dimension as Tottenham look to break down more defensive sides who sit deep in hope of frustrating them.

With huge potential to develop even further, Malcom may not come cheaply but would represent an interesting project for Pochettino to get even more out of him. Whilst he bares many similarities to Erik Lamela when he arrived in north London, if he can avoid injury he could go on to become the player Spurs had hoped to see Lamela become.

His pace and threat would add a much needed option into the Spurs attack, complimenting the playmakers like Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura and supporting the goalgetter Harry Kane. Strength in depth is key in Tottenham’s quest for silverware and Malcom would be a step in the right direction to achieving it.

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Newcastle United

Fulham promotion opens up £15m exit for Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Newcastle United star is likely to move away from the club this summer.

Mathew Coull



Fulham won promotion to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. The Cottagers scored in the first-half through Tom Cairney to rightfully take their place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was a tremendous performance and in the summer Fulham will be looking to bring in some new faces to help them stay in the top-flight. One of those faces, will not be necessarily new. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been brilliant for Fulham since joining on loan in January.

The Serbian striker has scored 12 goals since his arrival at Craven Cottage and will no doubt be wanted permanently at the club.

Is this good news for Newcastle United?

There has been plenty of talk regarding the Serbian’s exit from St James’ Park in the winter. Many fans on Tyneside are wondering whether the club should have kept him at Newcastle, considering his goal record in London.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

However, it is clear that Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the player and the Spaniard certainly made things work without him.

The best thing for Newcastle right now is to sell him and ensure they bring in enough money to cover the cost of his original signing.

Fulham represent their best option to do so. Newcastle want about £15 million for the player, according to the London Evening Standard, which is the fee they paid for the Serbian in 2015.

Fulham will no doubt want to bring him to the club this summer, but would not have been able to bring him to the club had they failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The Cottagers can now afford the player and Mitrovic’s price-tag is unlikely to be a problem with the bonus they will receive for heading into the top-flight. Newcastle must be pleased that Fulham earned promotion, as it will allow them the best opportunity to move Mitrovic on without a major loss.

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