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English Premier League

On The Move: Raheem Sterling



With a much publicised transfer saga beginning over a contract dispute with Liverpool, Raheem Sterling may be in for a big money move, with a host of clubs are being linked to his name. Arsenal, Chelsea, both Manchester clubs have all been labelled interested while Juventus, Bayern, Madrid and Barcelona are the clubs keen in his services from around the continent. The transfer saga has a national interest as the 20-year-old is seen as one of the biggest prospects in the English game, a place on the bench at a large club could have repercussions for the three lions and Sterling’s personal development.

A move to Arsenal is often touted within the media for the former QPR academy as close sources have sounded out that Arsenal is Sterling’s favoured move and the Gunners seem keen to keep the fire alight, as Wenger showed little intention of pouring cold water on the links by offering his support to Sterling during his contract stand-off. The Frenchman states “I’m not sure if it’s the player who causes the problems.”

A trip south for Sterling would at least see him continue wearing a red jersey and he would link up with more English internationals, Wilshere, Welbeck and Walcott, to name a few. The problem arises as to whether Sterling is necessary to Arsenal as the overflow of midfielders has seen Ramsey play wide right at the expense of a more traditional winger in Theo Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain. £50m is a large amount of money for a youngster who may not hold down a regular first team spot. Looking at Arsene Wenger’s transfer history, it seems unlikely that the Gunners will spend that amount of money on an arguably unneeded attacking outlet.

Whenever a big name kicks up a contract fuss, stories about transfers to Manchester are a given. Manchester City are due to be active in the transfer window after not living up to expectation this season, and along with the new rules on homegrown players, a transfer bid for Sterling is surely inevitable. City have the money to finance the bid and will easily be able to pay him his contract needs, if there are any of course, as Sterling says he just wants to play football. The Citizens need to boost their English quota and want to add more attacking sources to the squad as Jesus Navas has performed poorly. If City can outbid the other footballing giants then they may successfully capture Sterling from their North-West rival.

Manchester United have also been linked with a move for the England international and will definitely be able to fund a move for Sterling. A bit like Arsenal though, Sterling may nit be necessary as they have already signed Memphis Depay and have an out of form Angel Di Maria ready to rediscover his talents. The pricey move for Sterling may see United pass up the opportunity to sign Liverpool’s contract rebel.

Chelsea could add Sterling to their ranks as they are light on attacking outlets if injuries occur. Cuadrado also hasn’t lived up to expectation but is certainly due more time. This alone may see Chelsea drop their interest in Sterling. Adding to this is the fact that Drogba is leaving so money will likely be spent adding to the front line and not the fancy lot behind, especially as Mourinho and Abramovich have the collective goal of coinciding with the FFP laws so Chelsea won’t be busy, they will be efficient.

Moving abroad isn’t out of the picture either for Sterling. Juventus present a different lifestyle to that he has currently in Liverpool which will allow Sterling to experience a different culture and aid his development as a new challenge is presented. However, with Italian football in such a sorry state, the league may not represent a big enough attraction for Kingston born Sterling. The Scudetto winners are however very competitive in the Champions League and have secured a place in next seasons competition, something Liverpool failed to do. This may leave Sterling with some thinking to do. Juventus could afford the £50m fee but having already spent £30m on Paulo Dybala, their heavy spending may already be done.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich have been heavily linked to Sterling and all the factors work in their favour. They are able to afford the rather expensive price tag, offer Champions League football and seemingly endless amounts of trophies which come with their national domination. Sterling would also be surrounded by world-class talent of which include Robben and Ribery. The Bayern duo reap experience of which Sterling could learn from, aiding his development which may eventually lead to the English man replacing one of them in the Bavarian starting 11.

Real Madrid also offer as much as Munich but may not see Sterling as a Galactico, which may see them withdraw from the transfer race. Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo operate the front three and Sterling isn’t currently as good as any of them. The competitive league and lifestyle may convince Sterling that Madrid is the right fit for him but the success of the transfer depends as to whether Real see Sterling as the right man for them.

The other Spanish club linked with the 20-year-old is Barcelona. Whether there is any real interest remains debatable as Messi, Suarez and Neymar light up world football as one of the greatest trios ever. There seems to be no place in the starting 11 for Sterling and the only possible reason Barca would spend the money was if Suarez pushed for him to join, which doesn’t seem likely.

The final destination Sterling could end up playing his football next season is, of course, Liverpool. With two years left on his contract Liverpool can play hardball and keep the England star. Brendan Rodgers seems adamant that Sterling isn’t leaving and John Henry, the owner, is notorious at shutting up shop when negotiating. Last summer, Barcelona had to fork out £70 million for Suarez. Sterling may renegotiate after being told he can’t leave and all may be forgotten about.

With the summer window fast approaching, this story is bound to dominate the back pages. Only time will tell as to where Sterling will be playing his football next season. Lets just hope, for England, that he chooses a move that will guarantee him first-team football to develop the superb potential the young man possesses.


Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract

The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.

He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.

Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.

It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.

Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.

“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.

“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.

“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”

Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.

Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.

They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.

There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.

This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.

Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.

Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.

This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.

He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.

A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.

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Manchester United

Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line

The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.

Rob Meech



Luke Shaw
Photo: Getty Images

The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.

Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”

The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.

Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.

From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.

Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.

Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.

This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.

But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.

In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.

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English Premier League

Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week

The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.



Photo: Getty Images

With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.

Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.

In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.

Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.

The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.

Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.

This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.

If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.

Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.

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