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Sam Allardyce should reunite with Ali Al-Habsi this summer

Everton need a new goalkeeper in the summer and Al-Habsi could be perfect.

Mathew Nash

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Everton are all set to lose Joel Robles in the summer. The Spaniard’s contract expires in the summer and it seems there is no desire for him to stick around at Goodison Park. With third-choice stopper Maarten Stekelenburg battling injury all season it would be no surprise to see Everton bring in a new face in the goalkeeping department.

One person who would be perfect in the role is Ali Al-Habsi. The Oman international brought the curtain down on his English career last summer by joining Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.

It was a career on these shores that started when Sam Allardyce signed him from Norwegian side Lyn whilst at Bolton Wanderers, way back in 2006.

during the 2015 Asian Cup match between Oman and Kuwait at Hunter Stadium on January 17, 2015 in Newcastle, Australia.

It ended after two incredible seasons at Reading, where Al-Habsi was named player of the season on both occasions.

It was a shock to see Al-Habsi go, but the lure of playing in a lucrative league like in Saudi Arabia must have been a huge appeal for the 36-year-old stopper. Surprisingly however things have not exactly gone to plan. Al-Habsi has struggled to cement the number one spot with the club and was even left out of their Asian Champions League squad.

So should Everton give him a route back to England?

Al-Habsi would be the perfect back-up option at Goodison Park. Not only has he worked with Allardyce before but his experiences in English football could prove invaluable to Everton’s precocious number one Jordan Pickford. Like the England stopper Al-Habsi was prone to errors as a young keeper but has matured into a fine and competent stopper.

Bolton Wanderers’ goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi from Oman celebrates the 2-2 goal by forward Kevin Cyril Davies (not pictured) against Bayern Munich during their UEFA group F match at the Allianz-Arena in Munich, 08 November 2007. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO DDP/OLIVER LANG GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read OLIVER LANG/AFP/Getty Images)

Pickford could learn so much from training with the Omani star who would be a great option should Pickford be unavailable or if Everton want to rotate in the cup matches.

A new goalkeeper is an avenue Everton need to address this summer to offer Pickford sufficient back-up. Allardyce reuniting with Al-Habsi could be the best potential deal out there for the Toffees.

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

Arsenal

Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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Liverpool

Three reasons Jasper Cillessen is the man to solve Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes

Liverpool look poised to make a move for the Barcelona shot stopper.

Liam Thomas

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Jasper Cillessen
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool will look to sign Barcelona outcast Jasper Cillessen before the transfer window shuts in a bid to solve their goalkeeping woes, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Cilleseen’s talent is undeniable, and despite a massive lack of game time at Barcelona, the Dutch international is still highly rated amongst Europe’s elite goalkeepers.

Reports suggest Cillessen will listen to offers from Europe’s biggest clubs. However, if given the opportunity for some game time with the Spanish giants he would be happy to stay in Catalonia.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Liverpool’s interest in the 29-year-old could prove to be the golden opportunity for Cillessen to get the first team action he has been craving.

But is the Dutchman the man to solve Liverpool’s problem position? Here are three reasons why he is the right man to do so.

1. A cheaper alternative to Alisson

Liverpool have been linked with some of the hottest goalkeeping talents in Europe since the transfer window reopened and one name in particular that has been thrown into the Reds hat is Roma goalkeeper, Alisson Becker.

However, Jurgen Klopp seems reluctant to fork out over £60 million for the Brazilian’s services and Cillessen would be available for a much lower price.

This doesn’t take anything away from the Dutchman’s talent. In fact, Cillissen is more tried and tested on the big stage than Alisson.

2. Winning mentality

Cillessen would bring to Anfield with him a thirst for silverware, a trait that Jurgen Klopp seems to be trying to incorporate into his side.

One La Liga title,  two Spanish cups and three Dutch league titles already sit proudly in the Dutch shot-stoppers trophy cabinet, and it is this winning mentality that Liverpool have been craving to have between their sticks.

3. The chance to be Liverpool’s number one for years to come

If it is first team action that Cillessen wants so badly, he may not have a better opportunity to get that than at Liverpool.

Cillissen would have the chance to rise to the occasion and take over a position that currently has no front runner and the fact that the Reds could just be on the cusp of greatness could make them and the Dutchman a match made in heaven.

The chance to be number one for one of Europe’s biggest clubs can only be motivational for a player of Cillessen’s ability and ambition.

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Watford

Watford should end their interest in Sunderland outcast Jack Rodwell

The former Sunderland midfielder is reportedly training with the Hornets.

Max Cohen

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Jack Rodwell
Photo: Getty Images

Jack Rodwell is reportedly on trial with Watford during their pre-season training camp in Austria, according to Sky Sports.

However, Watford should end their interest in the Sunderland outcast as he has not played competitive football since September and the club is already well-stocked in the midfield department.

The ex-Manchester City and Everton central midfielder had an embarrassingly public falling out at the Stadium of Light, as Rodwell was frozen out of the first team for almost all of last season.

The 27-year-old was once one of the most promising prospects in English football, but a 2012 big-money move to City resulted in only 25 first team appearances over two years.

After  a transfer to Sunderland, his fortunes did not improve and Rodwell was on the losing side for much of his matches in the Northeast.

As he barely featured for the Black Cats during their relegation campaign in the Championship last year, it came as a surprise that he is currently on trial with Premier League outfit Watford.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Although he would be available on a relatively low-risk free transfer this summer, there is no need for the Hornets to be targeting Rodwell.

As noted by the Watford Observer, the club’s midfield is already full of talent that many would agree are easily better than Rodwell, especially when considering his lack of first team action.

Watford possess the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Etienne Capoue, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverley, and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the centre of midfield— it is unclear where Rodwell would fit in if he was signed.

Jack Rodwell has barely played professional football in over a year, and considering Watford’s wealth of options in his favoured position, the Premier League club has no reason to pursue the signing of the free agent.

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