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Tottenham should learn Aurier lesson and resist buying Layvin Kurzawa

The Frenchman is being linked with a summer move to the Lilywhites.

Max Cohen

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Layvin Kurzawa
Photo: Getty Images

Reports this week in France from RMC Sport have linked Paris Saint Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa with a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur, as Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his side after the anticipated departure of Danny Rose.

But the purchase of the French fullback would prove to be an expensive mistake, just like the signing of Serge Aurier was last summer.

Tottenham already have a brilliant left-sided fullback in the form of Welshman Ben Davies, a player who was desperately unlucky to miss out on the PFA Team of the Year after an outstanding season.

Davies has contributed two goals and six assists for Spurs this season, an impressive attacking outlay for a defender.

Perhaps more importantly, he has stood out with his solid defensive performances, which have led the north London club to concede the third-fewest goals in the Premier League.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It is clear that Spurs already possess a top quality left back; there is no need to splash unnecessary funds to secure Kurzawa in the offseason.

Tottenham should have learned their lesson from the poor signing of Serge Aurier from the French champions in August 2017. The Ivory Coast international has been limited to just 16 first team league appearances thus far, often playing second fiddle to Kieran Trippier.

And when Aurier has played, he has been erratic and inconsistent. He has picked up a multitude of bookings and has been sent off once, as well as conceding numerous penalties with poorly-timed challenges.

Aurier cost Spurs a hefty £23 million in the summer, and it is to be expected Kurzawa will be in a similar price range. Tottenham would be wise to learn from their previous mistake and pass on the transfer of the French fullback.

Already retaining the services of a world-class defender in the same position, the multimillion-pound signing of the PSG man would prove to be a pricey waste that would only disrupt team chemistry.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Manchester United

Tottenham should use opportunity to land PSG star Angel Di Maria

The Argentine superstar could be available this summer.

Jamie Watts

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is undoubtedly looking to bolster his attacking options this term, and a number of stellar names have been linked with moves to north London. But so far nothing has gathered any real traction on that front.

Reports from the London Evening Standard last month claimed Pochettino made Manchester United‘s Anthony Martial a priority target, but weeks later nothing is any closer to materialising with United asserting that the Frenchman remains in their plans for next season, in reports from Sky Sports.

Photo: Getty Images

Ironically, Tottenham may now have a brief window to land another star previously associated with United.

Angel Di Maria could potentially be sold by French champions Paris Saint Germain this summer, as the club need to raise £52 million from player sales to conform with Financial Fair Play regulations, according to reports from Mediaset Premium.

Serie A giants Inter Milan and Napoli are said to be keen on bringing the ex-Real Madrid star to Italy next term, after the Argentine international’s role changed in Paris, due to the acquisitions of superstar forwards Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Currently, it seems Carlo Ancelotti is favourite to land the player’s signature should he leave, as Di Maria enjoyed the best period of his career under the Italian boss at the Bernabeu, and he could be keen to reunite with him in the near future.

Photo: Getty Images

However, Pochettino would be foolish to let a move for the 30-year-old go uncontested, as he looks to improve the supply line to Harry Kane this summer. Few are as creative as Di Maria, and he could instantly elevate Spurs to new levels next season.

After struggling and leaving Louis Van Gaal’s United in 2015, Di Maria has rediscovered form reminiscent of his best days, bagging an impressive 21 goals and 12 assists despite a limited role in the Parisians’ outfit last campaign.

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Ones to Watch

World Cup One To Watch: Portugal’s 21-year-old winger Goncalo Guedes

The Portugal international will be a player to keep an eye out for in Russia.

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Goncalo Guedes
Photo: Getty Images

Labelled ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’, the pressure is certainly on Goncalo Guedes of Portugal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

This may be the last major international tournament where he remains in the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s shadow, but it won’t stop him from being one of Fernando Santos’ side’s biggest threats.

The comparisons do not only take into account his ability to cut inside from the left flank and cause havoc or his knack of scoring stunning goals, but also the fact he is the only man to have made the Portugal squad at 18 years of age since the Real Madrid ace broke onto the scene.

Now 21, Guedes has established himself after a fine season in Spain with Valencia on loan and, following this break-out season, he has a point to prove as he travels to Russia.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Who is he?

On the books of French giants Paris Saint-Germain, Goncalo Guedes has been touted as one of Europe’s hottest young talents for some time, but he now finally seems to be living up to that potential.

The winger made his debut for boyhood club Benfica as a 17-year-old in 2014 and rapidly caught the eye, particularly with his dazzling displays in Europe scoring against the likes of Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, making him the youngest ever Portuguese player to score in the competition.

He did enough to persuade PSG to pay Benfica €30 million (£26.2 million) for his services in January 2017, making 11 appearances before the season was out but with only two of them coming as starts and only once completing the full 90 minutes, against second division opposition in the Coupe de France.

That led to a loan move to Valencia for the 2017/18 season and, with a role as a regular starter again, he has returned to his best. Involved in 17 goals – six scored and 11 assists – in 38 games across all competitions, many believe him to be fundamental to Los Che’s return to Champions League football.

(Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)

What is his international experience/record?

Guedes is very much still making his name on the international stage as one of a handful of exciting young talents breaking into the Portugal squad since their Euro 2016 success, but the winger is the only one to have established himself as a regular in Fernando Santos’ team.

With only 10 caps to date, Guedes made his senior international debut in 2015, playing twice against Russia and Luxembourg before disappearing from the scene.

After that, the youngster rejoined the under 21 squad as one of their key men but suffered frustration as his side crashed out of the 2017 European Under 21 Championships at the group stage.

He would return just in time for the end of World Cup qualification in 2017, playing just one minute of that campaign.

Since the end of qualifying, Guedes has been an ever-present, whether from the start or as an impact substitute and registered his first goal and assist for his country against Saudi Arabia in October.

On Thursday evening, in Portugal’s final warm-up game prior to the tournament, the 21-year-old went on to grab an impressive brace to ensure victory over Algeria.

Why will he be a breakout World Cup star?

Sharing a pitch with Cristiano Ronaldo and still managing to stand out is no easy task, but Guedes has what it takes to do just that. In fact, he is one of very few men to able to line-up alongside the Real Madrid man and show an understanding and connection with him.

That could make him crucial to Portugal’s game plan, particularly in a tough opening fixture against Spain, a side he knows well having caused problems against the likes of Dani Carvajal when facing up against him for Valencia in La Liga.

“He’s a player with characteristics that allow him to play in a number of attacking positions,” coach Fernando Santos said to O Jogo after he picked up the man of the match award in only his second ever start for Portugal.

“You can’t define him as a winger or as a forward, he can adapt to any offensive position.” 

His versatility could be pivotal as to his ability to go above and beyond this summer, giving his team an option which few are able to predict, given that Santos himself seems happy toying with him in several different positions.

“Guedes has the ability to play out wide or supporting through the middle, which makes him an option due to his versatility, especially as this Portugal team doesn’t have much quality in attacking positions,” A Bola journalist Luis Simoes explains.

“He understands Cristiano Ronaldo very well, and he scores too.”

With a reputation for scoring some remarkable goals, it may not be a surprise to see him make the headline for a solo run or 30-yard wonder strike either.

(Photo by Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

What is his future after the World Cup?

It is almost certain that Guedes will be on the move once his involvement in Russia has come to an end as AS report that he will become one of PSG’s victims of Financial Fair Play this summer as the Parisians look to balance the books.

Super Deporte say that Valencia are keen to make his loan deal a permanent one and Real Madrid have also been impressed by his time in Spain, according to AS.

That has set off alarm bells in the Premier League too, with Sport Witness citing L’Equipe as saying that both Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers are in the race to complete a €45 million (£39 million) deal, whilst Manchester United were interested when he instead opted to move to France in January 2017, according to Portuguese outlet ZeroZero.

Represented by Jorge Mendes, his agent could have a big say in deciding his future, which could play into Wolves’ hands, despite previous claims from his father, Rogerio Guedes, to Tribuna Deportiva that he is keen to stay on at Valencia if the two parties can come to an agreement.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

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Argentina

World Cup One To Watch: Argentina’s 21-year-old midfielder Giovani Lo Celso

The Argentina international will be a player to keep an eye out for in Russia.

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Giovani Lo Celso
Photo: Getty Images

Argentina are one of the favourites to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup after a runners-up finish last time out in Brazil.

Nonetheless, they travel to Russia a more well-rounded side compared to that which tasted defeat to Germany four years ago, largely due to the addition of Paris Saint Germain youngster, Giovani Lo Celso.

Overshadowed by Lionel Messi for his country and Neymar for his club, Lo Celso falls under the category of ‘under-appreciated, but highly influential’ at each level he plays.

At just 21 years of age, the Argentine has reinvented himself as a balanced midfielder throughout his time in the French capital, proving to be the missing ingredient for both of the teams he turns out for.

An impressive passing range, above average technique and the capability to play from deep and recycle possession, makes him a particularly important player in Argentina’s current system.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

Who is he?

A product of Rosario Central, PSG paid nearly €10 million for Lo Celso’s services back in July of 2016.

The 21-year-old initially had a slow start in Paris, but injuries to important first-team players ensured departing boss Unai Emery granted him an opportunity to showcase his ability.

He finally made his PSG debut in April, and became an important squad member in Unai Emery’s side this season, with his impressive technical ability making him look comfortable alongside the world’s most expensive players.

Despite making 47 appearances across all competitions and establishing himself as a regular among stars at club level, he will be one of the lesser-known players heading to Russia this summer.

(Photo by Juan Mabromata/Getty Images)

What is his international experience/record?

Lo Celso’s continued development saw him named in Argentina’s squad for November’s friendlies against Russia and Nigeria.

The 21-year-old appeared in both matches for his first two international caps, before featuring a further three times later in the season against Italy, Spain and Haiti.

Why will he be a breakout World Cup star?

From relative unknown to regular starter, 2018 has marked a major breakthrough year for the midfielder.

After a slow start at PSG, it appeared entirely unlikely that the 21-year-old would play his way into Argentina’s World Cup squad, and yet, he has.

More forward-thinking players, including Lionel Messi, long for players like Lo Celso to provide the foundations from which to launch attack after attack.

For Argentine’s abundance of talented front men, the 21-year-old has essentially simplified their job, allowing them to focus on putting the ball in the back of the next.

(Photo by Christophe Archambault/Getty Images)

What is his future after the World Cup?

With a bright future at Paris Saint Germain, Lo Celso will only be interested in one club once the summer competition comes to an end.

Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is set to take over the reigns at Parc des Princes, after Emery’s departure, and the 21-year-old will be keen to get his head down and impress his new manager.

Lo Celso has established himself among a young core of players that will lend itself very kindly to Tuchel and the project he is hoping to build in Ligue 1.

To see who else features in The Boot Room’s World Cup Ones to Watch series, click here.

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