It has been a season of contrasting fortunes for Sunderland and their number one goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
David Moyes’ side are set to be playing in the second tier of English football next term following their relegation from the Premier League but whether Pickford follows them, remains to be seen.
The 23-year old, who was shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year, has been one of Sunderland’s few standout performers this season along with Jermaine Defoe and it is likely the ‘keeper will have plenty of Premier League suitors this summer.
Most recently against Arsenal, the Englishman showcased why so many clubs are interested in acquiring his services and so here are three clubs that could make a move for Jordan Pickford this summer…
West Bromwich Albion
Tony Pulis could be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper in the upcoming transfer window as he looks to build on a strong season with the Baggies.
Albion sit ninth and could yet equal the club’s highest ever finish of eighth in the Premier League era, should they better Southampton’s result in the final day of fixtures this Sunday.
Pulis has never been one to shy away from what are realistic transfer targets for his teams and what are not but snapping up Pickford would be a fantastic bit of business.
Ben Foster is his current first choice between the sticks but with the former England international now 34 years of age, the time may be approaching for Pulis to freshen up.
The Birmingham-based club have 34-year old North American, Boaz Myhill as their second choice ‘keeper and so the Hawthorns may be a place that could present Pickford with plenty of first team football.
There is always plenty of movement throughout the summer transfer window at Southampton Football Club and the upcoming off-season looks set to be the same.
England goalkeeper Fraser Forster is currently the number one option at St Mary’s but, despite keeping 13 clean sheets this season, the former Celtic man has received some criticism this season.
Pickford could surely benefit from playing alongside a host of young, English talent at Southampton as well as having the opportunity to learn from two experienced ‘keepers in Forster and Alex McCarthy.
However, at 23 Pickford is not at an age where he can afford to sit on the bench and so, unless Forster decides his time is up at Southampton, it is unlikely the club would fork out the money that Sunderland are expected to demand.
It has been a fantastic first season for Ronald Koeman at Everton and, whilst the Dutchman maybe focused on convincing vital players such as Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku to stay, new arrivals will be expected this summer.
Goodison Park will be hosting Europa League football next season for the first time since the 2014/15 Season and so Koeman will be aiming to have squad big enough and strong enough to compete but in Europe and domestically.
Maarten Stekelenburg, who signed only last summer from Fulham, and Joel Robles have been Koeman’s ‘keepers this season but has been reported that the former Barcelona defender is not convinced by his current choices.
There maybe rumours of Pickford moving to Merseyside but the Blues have continuously been linked with Manchester City’s Joe Hart, who is currently playing in Italy with Torino.
Hart, at the age of 30, offers vastly superior experience to that of the England U21 ‘keeper but Everton are a club striving for success and securing Pickford would arguably display a bigger statement.
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Sam Allardyce deserves credit for Cenk Tosun treatment
The Turkish international has four goals in his last three games.
Everton can now start building for next season, with the win v Stoke City this weekend. Despite their early season woes, Everton have survived, with the 2-1 win against the Potters Everton have moved to the traditionally safe 40 point mark. One man who is also finally finding his feet at Everton is Turkish striker Cenk Tosun. He scored both of Everton’s goals in the important win.
Signed from Besiktas in January the Turkish international was sidelined by Sam Allardyce early on at Goodison Park. Tosun, who according to Sky Sports cost £27 million, was often named among the substitutes with Oumar Niasse preferred up front. Allardyce explained he was easing Tosun into life in the Premier League, much to the annoyance of some Everton fans.
However, it appears to have worked. Speaking after the game yesterday Allardyce had this to say about his striker:
“The confidence he has gained now from us taking him out early doors [has helped], when everyone was saying ‘you’re not playing him’ – you know, the usual rubbish you get from outside the football club. But, of course, they don’t know. I do, they don’t. We wanted to get him fitter and more used to the players he was playing with.”
It has to be said, Allardyce might be right. Tosun has been brilliant in recent weeks. Adding to his two goals against Stoke the 26-year-old has scored in the recent defeat v Burnley and win against Brighton. Tosun, who scored eight times in 16 league games for Besiktas this season, is finally finding his feet.
Allardyce’s plan all along was to ensure Tosun did not have a struggle early on. If Tosun had been thrown into the first-team, which was playing poorly, with immediate effect it could have been detrimental.
One game without a goal becomes two, then three, then four and so on. Instead Everton ensured that Tosun was comfortable in the team set-up and fit for Premier League action.
Now they are reaping the benefits with Tosun in fine goalscoring form.
If he can keep up his current form it will not be a surprise if he manages to find his way to double figures for Everton this season. That would be a phenomenal feat and one which would certainly validate Big Sam’s often criticised decision.
Everton have found their Romelu Lukaku successor in Cenk Tosun
The Turkish international has now scored four goals in his last three matches.
Cenk Tosun arrived at Everton with a big reputation after performing well for Besiktas in the Champions League.
The striker scored four times and contributed two assists during the group stages of the competition. It was hoped that he could be the player to fill the Romelu Lukaku shaped hole at Goodison Park after he joined for £27 million.
The 26-year-old didn’t make an immediate impact in England, failing to score in his first four matches and found himself out of the starting eleven for a period.
Sam Allardyce remained committed to his big money signing in public, but said that he would remain on the bench until Everton were safe, as shown by this quote reported by the Liverpool Echo:
“He is struggling with the pace of the Premier League which happens to more players than it doesn’t to who come in in January,”
“There are more that struggle than actually succeed. As time goes on and the more we get closer to our safety the more we can release and see what he’s got.”
The manager was true to his word and as the club has moved closer to survival, he has given more minutes to his big-money striker.
It seemed fitting that it was Tosun that scored the goals to take the club to 40-points with a victory over Stoke City on Saturday. There was never any real threat of the Toffees getting relegated, but it will be a relief now they have got to that points mark.
Everton had a one-man advantage for the majority of the match against Stoke City after a first-half red card was given to Charlie Adam. Even after the dismissal, it was a hard-fought game and the visitors didn’t have it all their own way. They didn’t get their first goal until the second-half and it came as a result of a goalmouth scramble.
Tosun showed good anticipation and composure to give his side a lead. His first effort was saved and another shot came in from a team-mate before it fell at his feet to finish the move. It wasn’t the most beautiful goal, but it will be a pleasing one for the striker as he was in the right place at the right time.
It was his second that was a more technical goal as he diverted a diving header past Jack Butland to secure the three points for Everton. He wouldn’t have had the confidence to score it earlier in his Everton career, but it is clear that he is finding himself at Goodison Park and is now offering the threat that he did in Turkey.
The Turkish international has now scored four goals in his last three matches and he is ready to finish the season with a flourish.
Although Everton now have little to play for, it is important that Tosun does adjust to English football ahead of next season. If he didn’t, it would leave the club with a problem over the summer as they would need to decide whether to stick or twist with their striker.
Now, that doesn’t seem like it will be an issue. Everton supporters shouldn’t get too excited, but Tosun has shown during the last few weeks that he has the ability to be Romelu Lukaku’s replacement at the club. He has good awareness in the final third and a goal-scorer’s instinct that could see him score 15 or more Premier League goals every season.
Jack Wilshere’s Everton arrival would surely spell the end for Morgan Schneiderlin?
The Everton midfielder has been a source of frustration at Goodison Park.
The Times has reported this weekend that Everton could be willing to pay a fee of £8 million in order to secure the signature of Jack Wilshere in the summer. That would be in the form of a lucrative signing-on fee to convince him that he should leave his boyhood club.
Wilshere has been offered a new deal at the Emirates Stadium, but it involves a pay-cut. The 26-year-old is said to not be interested in such a deal and could leave Arsenal this summer.
Everton would be a perfect location for the England international but for one Toffees player, it would surely spell the end.
Morgan Schneiderlin has had a troubled time since joining Everton.
The January 2017 signing from Manchester United had an excellent start to life at Goodison Park. However, this season he has been poor and become extremely unpopular with club’s fans.
Considering Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh sanctioned a £22 million move, as reported by the BBC, for the French international, it has not been money well spent.
Wilshere’s signing would undoubtedly spell the end for the Frenchman. However, the reality is, regardless of Wilshere’s potential arrival, Everton should consider moving Schneiderlin on this summer.
His position at the club is looking increasingly untenable. Fans would rather see youngsters like Tom Davies, Callum Connolly, Beni Baningime or currently loaned out Mo Besic get a chance ahead of the 28-year-old.
If Everton can recoup the fee they spent on Schneiderlin it would be good business from the Toffees.
Wilshere’s arrival would be welcomed, but replacing Schneiderlin with any talented midfielder should be a priority for Everton if they are to improve on their performance from this season in 2018/19.
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