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Rolando Aarons looks set for second relegation in a row

The Newcastle United winger joined Italian side Hellas Verona on loan in January.

Mathew Nash

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Despite losing to Everton in the Premier League last night Newcastle United should be safe in the Premier League this season. It has been a tough campaign back in the top-flight but Rafa Benitez has worked wonders with his squad and the Toon Army now look set for another season in the Premier League.

But whilst Newcastle’s current players are safe from relegation, one of their more talented players currently out on loan looks set to suffer a drop.

Rolando Aarons’ career has been blighted by injury problems. When he burst onto the scene at Newcastle in 2014 it seemed as though the club had a future star on their hands. A performance against Crystal Palace that August had Newcastle fans extremely excited about the future for the Jamaican-born talent.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

However, problems soon beset the youngster. After suffering a hamstring problem on international duty he spent six weeks on the sidelines. Hamstring trouble has since gone on to plague the wide man as well as a foot problem and anterior cruciate ligament injury. Since that breakthrough season in 2014-15 Aarons has only managed to play 21 times for the club in the following three campaigns.

This term he has been, for the most part, fit, but not in the plans of Benitez. Therefore, in January, he took the bold move of heading to Italy on loan. The 22-year-old joined Hellas Verona on loan until the end of the season in a bid for regular first-team football.

He joined former Newcastle coach Fabio Pecchia, now the boss at Verona, in the hope of playing regularly and finding his best form.

But, for the second season in a row, it seems Aarons will suffer relegation from the top-tier. Verona are currently 19th in the table, six points away from local rivals Chievo and Crotone and potential safety.

(Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)

To stay up, Verona need results in their final four games of the season. Whilst the home games against fellow relegation fighters SPAL and Udinese might give them hope, fixtures away to Milan and Juventus have seen many pundits in Italy forecasting their doom.

Aarons has played eight times for Verona since arriving at the club but has had limited impact. No goals and no assists in his 137 minutes of Italian football so far.

It seems that Aarons still has a long way to go until he can recapture his best form. The move to Verona has not been a success, but it was at least a brave switch from the young winger.

This summer he will be working hard to maintain his fitness and attempt to become a regular at Newcastle next season.

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

Everton

Everton have Lucas Digne bid accepted, a player Jurgen Klopp wanted in 2016

The French left-back has been the subject of a £22m bid from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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It appears that Everton have identified the left-back they want to sign this summer. Lucas Digne has been linked with the club in recent days. Now, according to the Mirror, Everton have agreed a £22 million fee with his club Barcelona.

Everton want a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines but decided against first-choice Kieran Tierney due to Celtic’s asking price for the Scotland international. Now Digne appears to be the first-choice.

This is not the first time that Digne has had the chance to head to Merseyside. In the summer of 2016, it was reported that Liverpool were after the Frenchman.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Mirror reported that Liverpool made an enquiry for the player in July 2016. But he headed to Barcelona instead. The Catalan club paid £13.8 million to sign the player from PSG, with Liverpool missing out.


“PSG already had an offer from a good English team but when we got in touch with the manager [he] told us that the player only wanted to come to Barcelona.”

-Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez after signing Digne


The Reds ended up playing James Milner at left-back that season, before signing Andrew Robertson a year ago.

Things have worked out for Liverpool, with Robertson a star player last term.

But Everton will love to bring in a player that Liverpool wanted just two years ago.

Digne, who thrived at Lille before struggling to break into the first-team at both PSG and Barcelona, also enjoyed an excellent loan spell at Roma in 2015-16.

With 21-caps for France and at only 25-years-old Everton will be getting a great player if Digne arrives. In an added bonus, a little burn on their local rivals will only make the deal sweeter.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Fresh Erik Lamela could be key for Tottenham Hotspur next season

Tottenham Hotspur will hope the Argentine can remain fit this season.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur secured the long-term future of two first-team regulars this weekend, with Heung-min Son and Erik Lamela both signing new deals.

It has certainly not been plain sailing for either player during their time in North London. After a disappointing first season, the South Korean was nearly sold back to Germany. Lamela, on the other hand, has had to battle several injury and personal problems.

Signed in the wake of Gareth Bale’s exit to Real Madrid the Argentine became Tottenham’s record signing. Spurs paid Roma £30 million for the player in the summer of 2013.

But despite showing his best at times for Spurs and become a cult hero with one section of Tottenham fans, injuries have blighted him.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There was back trouble first and then a hip problem. The latter kept him out of action for over a year.

After returning to action in November he started just seven Premier League games but this season could be huge for the 26-year-old.

He has already impressed in pre-season, netting a hat-trick against Southend United. After a bit-part 2017-18 season which saw Lamela nursing his way back into first-team football, he will be fully fit this term.

Fresh, fit and with the bit between his teeth Tottenham could have a different beast on their hands with Lamela this term.

Hopefully, he can discover the form he showcased in the 2015-16 campaign.

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Alireza Jahanbakhsh would be a statement of intent for Brighton

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Brighton and Hove Albion could be set to sign Alireza Jahanbakhsh as Chris Hughton looks to add another winger to his squad, according to The Argus. The Seagulls have already signed seven players during this close season, with the likes of Yves Bissouma, Bernardo, Florin Andone and Leon Balogun signing among others.

Hughton has wasted no time this summer and that is important if the club continues progressing in the Premier League. The previous seasons highlight the importance of being proactive, as those clubs that aren’t are often involved in relegation battles. Brighton’s main priority will be to stay up, but they are showing ambition and that should be commended.

Their signings to date have been impressive and show the scouting network in place at the club. However, Jahanbakhsh would be the headline arrival if he does arrive at the Amex Stadium.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Iranian winger has been one of the standout players in the Eredivisie in recent years and he has the potential to be an exciting capture for a Premier League team. He showed flashes of his talent during the World Cup with Iran and he is now ready to test himself at a higher level.

Last season, he finished as the Eredivisie top scorer with 21 goals with one coming every 135 minutes in the competition. In addition to that, he contributed 12 assists and was regularly causing problems for opposition defences.

His feats are even more impressive considering he wasn’t playing for one of the top two teams. That said, his performances allowed AZ Alkmaar to finish above Feyenoord who had won the league as recently as the 2016/17 campaign.

The 24-year-old delivered consistency in the Eredivisie with 4.3 shots, 3.4 dribbles and 2.4 key passes. They are huge attacking numbers and underline the quality that he does possess. Although it is unlikely that he could reproduce these with a team like Brighton, he would represent an upgrade on their current options.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

He is best utilised as a right winger with freedom to remain in attacking positions, but he can play anywhere across the forward line.

The space allowed to players like Jahanbakhsh in the Eredivisie helped him deliver the goals and assists that he did. His goal-scoring took the headlines, but his passing range and quality delivery also stood out, as shown by his number of assists. The Iranian is never scared to attempt a high-risk pass.

Jahanbakhsh is a very good player to watch when he has the ball at his feet. He looks to commit defenders and beat them on the dribble with his close ball control and low centre of gravity. At times, his decision making is questionable as he often takes difficult shots, but there is no denying that he creates a lot of problems for defending teams.

This summer is the right time for Jahanbakhsh to make a move to a bigger league and at the age of 24, he would be an incredible addition for Brighton. His upside is huge and there would be potential to sell him on for an even larger fee in the future if he continues to develop at a rapid rate. There has been other reported interest from Leicester City, but the Seagulls will be hopeful of winning the race.

 

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