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English Premier League

Luke Garbutt signs off with style as Sam Allardyce tells him to leave

The Everton defender has been told to move on in the summer by Sam Allardyce.

Mathew Coull

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Friday night saw Everton’s under-23s end their terrible run of form in what was their final game of the season. They drew 2-2 with Manchester United to end the run of five consecutive defeats. For some of the Everton players, it may be the last time they play for the club. Belgian winger David Henen has already confirmed he was on his way out of the club this summer.  Now it seems Luke Garbutt will also exit.

This weekend saw Everton first-team boss Sam Allardyce admit that Garbutt would be told to find a new club this summer.

(<> on March 12, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

He is quoted by the Liverpool Echo as stating:

“He’s had a difficult time here and, personally, Luke Garbutt’s future is elsewhere.”

But at least he signed off with style. Everton, whose other goal came from defender Matty Foulds, took a 2-1 lead at the start of the second-half. It came after Garbutt, who joined from Leeds United in a deal reported by the Telegraph to be worth £600k,  scored a fantastic strike with his rocket of a left-foot.

It was a moment indicative of the quality Garbutt clearly possesses, but what has not been enough to take his career to the next level at Everton.

Garbutt looked like he would become a future star of the Everton first-team when he burst onto the scene in the 2014-15 campaign. However, he soon found himself out of contention. A string of injuries curtailed his development with loan spells at Fulham and Wigan Athletic failing to spark a revival.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

At the start of the current campaign, Garbutt was not given a squad number. Despite returning to the first-team squad for the clash with Watford in February, Garbutt has not played for Everton since the May 2015 defeat to Sunderland. This came despite a shortage of left-back options at Goodison Park this season. Still, Garbutt was overlooked.

At one point the former England under-21 international looked like being the natural successor to Leighton Baines but those days are in the past. This summer he will have to leave to get his career back on track, but at least he signed off with a bang.

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Champions League

Gareth Bale’s red-hot Real Madrid form should scare Liverpool

The Welshman has scored 11 goals in his last 15 appearances.

Max Cohen

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Gareth Bale
Photo: Getty Images

In Real Madrid’s final league match of this season on Saturday, Gareth Bale swept home a lovely right-footed finish to open the scoring against Villarreal.

That goal marked the Welshman’s 11th goal in his last 15 appearances for club and country; a remarkably prolific run of form that should scare Liverpool ahead of next weekend’s Champions League final.

Injury problems have marred much of Bale’s time at the Bernabeu, and he suffered a lengthy two-month absence from the first team this fall.

Yet, after returning from his injury lay-off, the former world-record signing has hit full form in the last two months.

In that time period, the winger has scored a hat-trick for Wales, braces against Las Palmas and Celta Vigo, and a crucial goal versus Barcelona.

This spring resurgence presents a worrying prospect for Liverpool’s defence, who already will have their hands full trying to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in check in Kiev.

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Add in Gareth Bale hitting full form, and suddenly the task at hand for Jurgen Klopp’s men appears far more difficult.

The 28-year-old also has quite the decorated history for los Blancos in cup finals. In his debut season for Real, Bale scored sensational winning goals in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.

The following season in the European Cup final, the Welshman assisted Real Madrid’s sole goal and scored his penalty in the ensuing shoot-out; his cup final record is simply superb.

Combined with Bale’s recent tremendous goalscoring form, the prospect of facing up against the powerful winger might strike fear in the Liverpool backline.

But the Reds have proven adept in stifling some of the best attacks in Europe this season.

Liverpool famously restricted high-scoring Manchester City to just one goal over 180 minutes in the quarterfinals and the Reds will have to conjure up that heroic rearguard performance in order to stop the on-form Gareth Bale next weekend.

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Everton

Everton should offer Crystal Palace former player Yannick Bolasie to get Wilfried Zaha

Everton are keen on signing the Ivory Coast winger.

Mathew Coull

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Everton have today been linked with a move for Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast international has been in fine form for the Eagles this season, scoring nine and assisting five goals in 29 appearances, and is being targeted by a host of clubs in the Premier League.

The Sun is now suggesting that Everton’s main managerial target Marco Silva wants the winger to be his main man and the club are putting together a £60 million deal.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

It is, however, a tough field in terms of transfer opposition. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are also keen on the player this summer. For Everton to get their hands on the player they will need to do something a little different and offering Palace a ready-made replacement could be the best option.

The player in question is Yannick Bolasie. If Everton want Zaha, then offering the DR Congo winger back to his former club might give them the edge over their competition.

Bolasie joined Everton in 2016 for a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £25 million. After a promising start to his career on Merseyside, a knee ligament injury saw him out of action for over a year. Since his return to action, the 28-year-old has struggled to find any good form, frustrating players with his inconsistent performances.

Many value the fact Bolasie can occasionally produce some magic. But if Zaha is around, he will be doing so on a more consistent basis.

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Offering him back to Palace would give the Eagles a ready-made replacement who knows the club. It would also help Zaha in his decision to leave Selhurst Park in good hands, as he clearly cares for his boyhood club.

There is also a school of thought that Bolasie’s presence at Goodison Park could help convince Zaha to come and play for the Toffees, given the pairs good relationship.

Either way, it is clear the £25 million star could play a pivotal role in Everton ensuring they are the ones to get their hands on Zaha this summer.

Fans will certainly hope that is the case, as Zaha would be a major signal of intent from Everton ahead of a new era at the club.

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Tottenham Hotspur

If Tottenham lose Christian Eriksen, Hakim Ziyech is a quality replacement

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with the Ajax star this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to keep as much of their squad together for next season after another impressive, but ultimately trophyless campaign. One player who it seems may be hard to keep hold of is Danish attacker Christian Eriksen.

The playmaker has perhaps just had the best season of his Tottenham career but has attracted interest with that form. Barcelona are looking to find a replacement for club legend Andres Iniesta, who is leaving the Nou Camp this summer. As reported by Don Balon this weekend, Barca have decided Eriksen is the man for that job.

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With Barca lurking, Tottenham will be fearful of losing their Danish star. But who would the club sign as his replacement?

One potential option appears to be Moroccan international and Ajax star Hakim Ziyech. Last week it was reported that Spurs were one of many clubs interested in the player by Italian outlet Calciomercato.

So could he replace Eriksen?

The obvious comparisons begin with the club from which Tottenham would be signing him. Eriksen also arrived at Spurs from Ajax and has certainly proved to be a success.

In terms of playing style, he is very much like the Spurs star. An intelligent player he reads the game brilliantly. His passing range is also excellent and he has shown that on numerous occasions for Ajax the past two season.

This season he has scored nine goals in 39 appearances but has also been an assist machine. The 25-year-old has provided an incredible 18 assists in all competitions this season and is set to be the focal point of Morocco’s attack at the World Cup this summer.

(Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

With Eriksen gone, Tottenham would be in need of a similar assist king and Ziyech is young enough to continue improving whilst still offering much of what Eriksen does for Spurs.

Signing Ziyech whilst Eriksen remains at the club would certainly not be necessary. With Dele Alli also present, it would be overkill in the number 10 role at Spurs.

But should they reluctantly let Eriksen head to Spain, Tottenham would be right to sign the carbon-copy Moroccan from Ajax this summer.

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