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Spurs have unsettled more than just Berahino and Wanyama

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West Bromwich Albion‘s Saido Berahino has now missed three matches due to ongoing speculation about his future. This weekend, Southampton’s Victor Wanyama missed the match against Norwich for not being ‘in the right mental shape’ to represent the Saints. Both have a lot in common. Both have been subjected to intense media speculation regarding their futures. Both are players that Mauricio Pochettino has been intent on bringing to White Hart Lane. Both have handed in transfer requests. Both have had them rejected. Both have been unsettled by Spurs and the questionable tactics that they have used to push through deals for the two players.

Tony Pulis has regularly been peppered with questions about Berahino’s future with the Baggies’ boss claiming that the striker’s head wasn’t in the right place because of Spurs’ “disruptive” pursuit and bid for the forward. Whether you agree with Pulis when he says that it’s “ridiculous” that the transfer window is still open when the season has started is another debate. But what isn’t up for debate is the fact that a young player who still needs valuable game time to develop is missing games because he’s been unsettled by rumours, speculation and unclear transfer tactics is not fair on the player, club or supporters.

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The start of the season is a crucial time for players to find their feet and pick up some form to kick start their season successfully. Both Tony Pulis and Ronald Koeman, like any other manager, want to spend the beginning of the season fine tuning their tactics and selections to find some rhythm early doors with almost fully fit squads. However, when Victor Wanyama and Saido Berahino, both key players to their respective teams, are unable to play because of the dubious tactics that Spurs are employing in the transfer market, more than the individual players are getting affected.

Fans want to see their best players play. Berahino is one of the biggest goal threats that the Baggies possess having scored 20 goals for West Brom in all competitions last campaign, the Berundi-born England Under 21 International would have been eager for a decent run of form early on this season that could have put him in good stead to better that goals return. However, missing out on games because of being unsettled not only threatens his form for the remainder of the season but also threatens his relationship with The Hawthorns faithful.

Like Berahino, Victor Wanyama is another essential player for Southampton. After being partnered with the gifted Morgan Schneiderlin for the previous two campaigns, the Frenchman and the Kenyan formed a formidable relationship that made them one of the most impressive and sought after defensive midfield duos in the league. With Schneiderlin getting his deserved move to Manchester United, Saints fans were eager for some stability in midfield and the mighty Kenyan was seen as pivotal in that for what many expect to be a big season for the former Celtic player. But with interest from Spurs being fed out through the media and what appears to be a poor attitude and reaction from the 24-year-old, Wanyama was left out altogether from the Saints team that was victorious against Norwich at the weekend.

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Not only has Spurs’ interest in these two player impacted the two players, but their interest has also influenced the starts that these two teams have made to the season. Let’s go back a couple of weeks to when the champions visited The Hawthorns and recorded their only win of the season to date. When the score was 0-0, James Morrison had a penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois. With the first goal being pivotal in any game, if The Baggies did have regular penalty taker Saido Berahino in the starting line-up and the 22-year-old had converted the spot kick, given the start Chelsea have made to the season, the champions may not have left The Midlands with all three points.

Spurs’ pursuit of Berahino took another sour twist in the last hour of Deadline Day. Details of two bids in the final hours of the summer transfer window emerged which led to the forward venting his frustrations on social media. Berahino tweeted: “Sad how I cant say exactly how the club has treated me but I can officially say I will never play Jeremy Peace [West Brom Chairman].” Despite their clear long-standing interest in the player, Daniel Levy and Spurs left it until late on in the transfer window to make their move; a move that has drastic repercussions for everyone involved with the club. Although; as Berahino states, from the outside we are unaware of how he has been treated by The Baggies, his reaction on social media was unnecessary and screams of a reaction of a spoiled young player. Maybe that was the reaction that Levy desired from Berahino in order to push through a move in the final moments of Deadline Day. However, Peace’s and West Brom’s resilience means that The Baggies now have to deal with a want-away player who is threatening to go on strike. The impact that this will have on the rest of the club and their supporters could become astronomical. Whether a Baggies fan or supporter of Spurs, in fact whoever you support, that is neither right nor fair.

Whether Spurs have done anything untoward is debatable, but the fact that Tottenham’s top two transfer targets are extremely unsettled at their clubs can’t be a coincidence. Especially considering that players subjected to similar speculation such as John Stones are more than capable to continue performing at a high level for their club. It’s not just the players that are being affected. It’s the managers, coaching staff, team-mates, the club and us, the fans. That’s not fair. Something must change.

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Everton

Three free agent goalkeeper options for Everton to add depth

Everton should consider adding depth to the goalkeeping department this summer.

Mathew Nash

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Everton currently have a fine goalkeeper in Jordan Pickford. Signed last summer from Sunderland he was the club’s player of the season last term and is now England’s number one stopper.

But it could be argued they are lacking in reserve. The veteran Maarten Stekelenburg has been an injury concern in recent times. Meanwhile, Spaniard Joel Robles has left the club at the end of his contract. It leaves youngster Mateusz Hewelt as the club’s current third-choice.

Considering his inexperience and Stekelenburg’s injury troubles, surely Everton should consider bringing in another goalie this summer?

Of course, they will not want to pay top dollar to do so.

So here are three free agent stoppers that Everton could target this summer…

Tim Krul

The Dutchman has struggled to find his way back into first-team football since a horror knee injury in 2015.

He spent last season as back-up to Mathew Ryan at Brighton and is now looking for a new club.

Since that knee injury, Krul has remained fit and would be a great back-up to Pickford.

(Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Rafael

The first-choice keeper under Rafa Benitez at Napoli in 2014-15 the Brazilian found himself pushed down the pecking order over the past two seasons by Pepe Reina.

Undoubtedly a talented stopper with three Brazil caps to his name, he would be a solid option in reserve.

(Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Miguel Santos

One Everton fans probably have not heard of, but perhaps the most likely addition.

Fresh from helping Fortuna Sittard to promotion to the Eredivisie the Portuguese talent will be known to Everton boss Marco Silva.

They worked together at Estoril when Silva was the manager. Santos, at the time, was a promising youngster but left for Benfica in 2012.

He had a spell at Port Vale in 2016 and a move back to England as Everton’s third-choice would surely appeal to the 23-year-old.

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Liverpool

Steven Gerrard called incoming Liverpool star Alisson ‘world-class’ in April

Liverpool will complete a world record move for the Brazilian this week.

Mathew Nash

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Liverpool are set to give the fans what they want by signing a new goalkeeper. A world record fee has been agreed with AS Roma for Brazilian number one Alisson this week. Liverpool will pay the Italian side £67 million for the 25-year-old. Sky Sports report he will undergo a medical this week and a deal will then be finalised.

It is a bold move from Liverpool, who for a number of seasons have suffered with mediocre goalkeeping performances from Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet.

Alisson is considered one of the best keepers in Europe and keeps Manchester City’s brilliant Ederson Moraes on the bench for his country.

He is certainly highly-rated by one former Liverpool player and legend. Steven Gerrard is a big fan of the player.

He spoke highly of the goalie whilst working on BT Sport as a Champions League pundit last season.


“This fella does deserve the praise he is getting of late. He makes world-class saves, he’s up quick, he makes second saves. A world-class keeper no doubt.”

– Steven Gerrard talking of Alisson’s quality in April 2018

 


Of course, Liverpool came up against Alisson and his Roma side in the competition. Over the course of two legs, the Reds put seven goals past the Brazilian. It led some fans to question whether Alisson was actually the right man for Liverpool.

 

But Liverpool needed a keeper with pedigree. Karius is simply too error-prone and his confidence must be at an all-time low after his Champions League final woe.

Liverpool fans will hope Alisson can live up to Gerrard’s ‘world-class’ tag and his price-tag next season.

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Liverpool

Three alternatives for Liverpool with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out for the season

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Amid what felt like a positive few days for Liverpool, fans were brought back down to earth by the devastating blow that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is unlikely to return from injury in 2018/19.

Jurgen Klopp confirmed the news after the midfielder suffered damage to his posterior cruciate ligament, anterior cruciate ligament, and medial ligaments in a challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov in a Champions League semi-final against Roma.

Oxlade-Chamberlain underwent successful surgery only a few days after the incident but is not expected to be available for selection and fully fit until the 2019/20 season.

“It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab. We have known this from pretty much the day after he got the injury and after the successful surgery, we were sure of it. There has been no change, the new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly. But the truth of the matter is that we are preparing this season knowing he will not be with us on the pitch for competitive matches for the majority of it. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus.”

Jurgen Klopp broke the news to the club’s official website.

The news comes as a real negative for Klopp, who will be busy planning how to get through the campaign without one of the team’s best performers in the tail end of last season.

His absence will open the door for three other men at Anfield though…

Georgino Wijnaldum

The arrivals of Naby Keita and Fabinho looked to be a major concern for the Dutchman, but with Oxlade-Chamberlain ruled out it seems unlikely that he will be moved on this summer at least. Quietly efficient and often producing in big games, he has been one of the first to have a finger pointed at him in frustrating results against lower level opposition.

With such high quality additions, Wijnaldum falls into the category of a player without the glamour of the likes of Keita but lacking the status of Jordan Henderson or James Milner. At times he has had his biggest impact in a more advanced midfield role, and whilst he lacks the injured man’s energy, he could be an option.

Nabil Fekir

Despite a deal seemingly being called off, Dean Jones of Bleacher Report has suggested that a move could be back on and Fekir would take up the role of natural playmaker as the attacking option in Klopp’s midfield trio. Whilst he may not be a direct replacement for Oxlade-Chamberlain, he would be the closest to filling Philippe Coutinho since he left in January and the former Southampton man really stepped up his game.

It could be a big ask for Fekir arriving at a new club after such a short pre-season following a successful World Cup campaign with France, but there is little doubt that if he joins Fekir would be the highest quality alternative in his place.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Adam Lallana

Lallana was a favourite with his hard working attitude playing into Jurgen Klopp’s system perfectly, but the last season was a difficult one for the midfielder as he suffered a number of injury set-backs and never really got going for the Reds.

The most natural replacement in a midfield three given that it was the role he occupied before Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived from Arsenal, he may have a refreshed chance to make his claim this season.

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