Connect with us

English Premier League

One winner and loser from Southampton’s pre-season campaign

The Saints go marching into a new campaign under Mark Hughes.

Published

on

Photo: Getty Images

Southampton are hoping for a much more stable season this term under Mark Hughes, after a disappointing campaign last year.

The Saints have spent this summer to draft in the likes of Jannik Vestergaard and Mohamed Elyounoussi, while a Deadline Day deal was completed yesterday for the services of Danny Ings on loan from Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Here, we have identified one winner and one loser from the club’s pre-season campaign.

Winner: Danny Ings

It may seem strange that the man set to benefit most from pre-season is a player who is yet to kick a ball for Southampton but that is the case for Danny Ings, after it became clear the Saints desperately need an attacking boost.

(Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Before the arrival of the former Burnley man, Southampton looked extremely toothless in the final third and were left crying out for a player to provide an impact – which may work in Ings’ favour, as he’s looking to get his career back-on-track after numerous injury problems during his spell at Anfield.

That is a concern for Southampton, as there is no guarantees he will remain fit, which could leave fans praying throughout the campaign.

“The two clubs obviously had to come to an arrangement where they were comfortable with the deal on offer and in the end we got to the point where it was a win win situation for both clubs and, more importantly, for Danny as well, because he’s come to a club he’s clearly got a lot of affection for and maybe a point to prove.”

– Hughes on the Deadline Day capture of Ings.

Loser: Wesley Hoedt

A regular in defence throughout pre-season, Wesley Hoedt was arguably the worst performer of the lot for Southampton and is leaves Mark Hughes with a major decision to make ahead of tomorrow’s opening clash against Burnley.

Many fans are calling for Ryan Bertrand to play centrally, providing more opportunities for Matt Targett down the left side, and that could materialise after he remained at the club on Deadline Day despite continued interest from Fulham.

The signing of Vestergaard could also lead to decreased opportunities for the Dutch defender, who played 28 matches for the Saints last term.

Click to comment

English Premier League

West Ham must bring an end to lengthy Reece Oxford saga

The Hammers must bite the bullet and seel the teenage ace.

Published

on

Photo: Getty Images

After months and months of speculation, it is remarkable that West Ham have reached mid-August with Reece Oxford still in their squad.

The 19-year-old has endured a rollercoaster few years in east London, catching the eye as a 16-year-old Premier League debutant in the opening week of the 2015-16 season with a thrilling performance in a 3-0 win over Arsenal but seeing opportunities severely limited since.

Three years later, Oxford has made just eight league appearances and has spent time on loan with Reading and Borussia Monchengladbach, the latter of whom were keen on a permanent deal for the highly-rated defender.

(Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)

However, it appears that West Ham have missed their chance to cash in on a sale to Gladbach for a player Sky Sports states the Hammers are seeking £10m for, with the Bundesliga side appearing to have cooled their interest.

That leaves West Ham in a difficult position as it is clear Oxford has no future at the club in the eyes of Manuel Pellegrini, who has signed Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop this summer to push the teenager further down the pecking order.

Contracted until 2021, there is little change of Oxford leaving in a bargain deal like fellow youngster Domingos Quina did recently, joining Watford, but the circumstances can be compared to a ticking time bomb as the defender will surely be furious if he is not given a chance to leave this summer.

“I was desperate to come back to Borussia. Things went well for me at the end of the Hinrunde, which is why I wanted to return and complete the loan until the end of the season.”

– Oxford made it clear in February he didn’t want to stay in east London.

Fortunately, German outlet Kicker states Hannover have expressed an interest in signing Oxford and West Ham should waste no time in entering negotiations for a permanent sale, which would suit all parties involved.

It is a shame that a player with Oxford’s potential has fallen so much in recent years and it should serve as a warning to West Ham in their treatment towards other promising youngsters – namely Declan Rice, who is yet to sign a new deal at the club.

Continue Reading

Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Champions League blow; Mignolet departure nears; Fabinho discusses challenge

Published

on

Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool are left waiting to see which seed they will be in the Champions League draw

Liverpool will be hoping that PAOK will beat Portuguese side Benfica in their Champions League qualifying play-off as victory for the Greek side will see the Reds through to Pot 2 in the Champions League draw ahead of the Iberian outfit.

The draw will take place in Monaco on August 30, with Liverpool currently the highest ranked team in Pot 3 but behind Benfica, the only remaining Pot 2 team in qualification. It comes after Swiss side FC Basel were shockingly knocked out, allowing Liverpool to take up the spot of first in line to join Pot 2.

Simon Mignolet’s agent has spoken about his future

Simon Mignolet has been strongly linked with a move away from Anfield as he has fallen even further down the pecking order following the arrival of Alisson Becker, and it now seems that he may be third choice on Merseyside. Napoli are the latest club to be linked with a move before the transfer window shuts in Italy on Friday.

“We are in discussions with Napoli, but there is no agreement yet. In the end it is in their interest to find a solution. Liverpool want to keep Simon, but he wants to play in matches – and he should. He deserves to play for a big club. Simon is the best option for Napoli in terms of quality, even though there is a financial aspect to it.”

Mignolet’s agent, Nico Vaessen, discussed the possibility of a deal.

With time running out, all parties will have to get to work if they are to come to an agreement to allow the Belgian to leave. Much could depend on the future of second choice shotstopper Loris Karius, who has also been linked with an exit.

Fabinho has discussed the challenge of adapting to the Premier League

Summer signing Fabinho was only on the bench for the Reds on Sunday as they overcame West Ham United with a 4-0 win and the Brazilian has discussed the challenge that he faces having joined from Monaco.

“I think my performances have been good. It’s a different playing style than at Monaco; there were two of us in midfield there and here at Liverpool there’s three… I knew [my role] would change and I feel I’ve adapted well. When I came to Liverpool I knew this competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team.”

The Brazilian hasn’t hidden his struggles.

Some fans were not convinced by his pre-season form but it remains early days in his Anfield career with plenty of opportunities ahead to prove himself in a holding midfield role.

Continue Reading

Watford

What next for Watford outcast Obbi Oulare?

The Belgian striker has struggled to fit in since his move to Watford.

Mathew Nash

Published

on

Watford confirmed their Premier League squad numbers for the new season yesterday and for one young striker, it confirmed he has no future at the club. The player in question is 22-year-old Belgian striker Obbi Oulare.

Watford snapped up the 6ft 4 ins striker from Club Brugge in 2015 for a reported £6 million fee. He was being compared to fellow Belgian striker Christian Benteke, but swiftly became a forgotten man at Vicarage Road.

Loan spells at Zulte Waregem, Willem II, and Royal Antwerp had their ups and downs but Oulare clearly has no future at Watford.

(Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

In his three seasons as a Hornet, he has played just three times and failed to score.

It is a shame for a player with obvious talent to have fallen away so dramatically at Watford.

So what next for the player?

Whilst the transfer window in the Premier League may be shut, Oulare has plenty of time to find a permanent exit to somewhere else in Europe or indeed out on loan to the Football League.

Sport Witness reported earlier this month that former loan side Antwerp were keen on a permanent deal, so perhaps that is an option for the Watford outcast.

Wherever he does end up next, it will hopefully be a more fruitful experience than the one he has had with Watford.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 The Boot Room.