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Did Tottenham make a mistake with Roma hero Federico Fazio?

The Argentine put in a sensational performance as Roma knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League.

Mathew Nash

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Whilst everyone focused on the potential comeback from three goals down of Manchester City against Liverpool, very few felt that Italian side AS Roma could do the same against Barcelona. How wrong they were. The Giallorossi pulled off a stunning comeback against the La Liga giants with goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas securing a 4-4 away goals passage to the semi-finals.

Of the many Roma players who excelled in the fixture, Argentine defender Federico Fazio has to be mentioned. The centre-back was imperious in defence throughout against one of the more potent attacking forces in world football. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi could not get past the man-mountain who put in one of his finest performances for the Italian side.

(Photo credit should read ISABELLA BONOTTO/AFP/Getty Images)

For Tottenham Hotspur fans, it was something of a shock.

Fazio was, for most people, a flop at Spurs.Tottenham signed Fazio from Sevilla in a deal reported by Sky Sports to be in the region of £8 million in August 2014.

He played 32 times in his first season at Spurs. However, the following summer, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer arrived and Fazio was no longer needed at the club after struggling to adapt to the demands of the Premier League.

After a poor loan spell back at Sevilla he was sent to Roma, first temporarily and eventually permanently – in a deal worth just £3.4 million, according to the Daily Mail.

So did Spurs give up on Fazio too soon?

The 31-year-old was incredible against Barcelona and it was a display any of the current Spurs players would have been proud of. The fact a Tottenham flop is now in the semi-finals of the Champions League is also not lost on Spurs, who were knocked out by Juventus in the last eight.

With Toby Alderweireld now looking like leaving, Tottenham could certainly do with a central defender of Fazio’s class in their ranks. The fact they sold him for such a small amount of money certainly does seem like a mistake on Tottenham’s part.

(Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The truth however, is that Spurs were right to let Fazio go. He was not featuring for the first-team and in his time in England, did not seem suited to playing Premier League football week-in and week-out.

His performance against Barcelona was admirable and Tottenham fans are right to be impressed by what they saw. But the move away from London was needed for the player to become the defender he is today.

Now he will try to push Roma toward an unlikely Champions League final appearance.

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

Bournemouth

Fantasy Premier League: Five players to sign for matchweek two

There is plenty of names to swoop for ahead of the weekend’s fixtures.

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Photo: Getty Images

Fantasy Premier League returned with a bang last weekend, with a number of high-scorers handing plenty of players a solid start to the new campaign.

Popular players Sadio Mane, Richarlison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all rewarded those who selected them on the opening weekend, each earning 12+ points, while Watford duo Roberto Pereyra (5.2%) and Jose Holebas (5.1%) also caught the eye and secured huge points for the few that opted for the Hornets pair.

Ahead of matchweek two in the Premier League, we have searched the databases for five players you should definitely look to pick up to provide your team with a boost.

Bernardo Silva: Manchester City

The news of Kevin De Bruyne’s knee injury has sent shockwaves across FPL, with 16.8% of players still having the Belgium international in their squad. If you fall into that category, you should definitely look at dropping the midfielder.

(Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

Bernardo Silva is the most likely candidate to step up for the Citizens in De Bruyne’s absence and he enters this weekend’s clash with Huddersfield Town in decent form, scoring the second goal in last week’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal.

Huddersfield conceded 58 goals last season, more than relegated pair West Brom and Swansea City, so Silva can be expected to add to his eight-point haul against the Terriers – especially as he has scored five goals in his last seven starts.

Ryan Fraser: Bournemouth

Scorer of the opening goal for Bournemouth in last weekend’s victory over Cardiff City, Ryan Fraser brought home 11 points for the few managers who had the midfielder in their side – and just 2.3% of managers have the 24-year-old in their squad.

Costing £5.5m, Fraser is perhaps a more expensive option to other creative players at lower-end Premier League sides to consider but he certainly has the form to make his outlay worthwhile – as he has been directly involved in six goals in his last six matches at the Vitality Stadium (four goals, two assists).

The Cherries are away from home this weekend against a West Ham side that were torn about by Liverpool on the opening weekend and Fraser could hold the key to breaking down Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Ben Mee: Burnley

While the rest of the Premier League prepares for their second match, Burnley are well into their stride as Europa League qualifiers mean that Sean Dyche’s side have already played five matches this season – and they are in superb form.

The Clarets have now registered three consecutive clean sheets across all competitions following Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir, although extra time could have taken some wind out of Burnley’s sails.

Hosting Watford this weekend, Ben Mee and the Burnley defence will face a stern test but history favours the hosts – who have not lost to the Hornets at Turf Moor since 2004, securing three clean sheets in the last three meetings in Lancashire.

Roberto Pereyra: Watford

Selected by 5.2% of managers heading into matchweek two, many may believe that Roberto Pereyra’s 16 point haul last weekend was just a freak occurrence after the 2-0 win over Brighton but the stats suggest that is not the case.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Pereyra has now hit four goals in his last five Premier League games at Vicarage Road and now faces the challenge of transferring that form into away matches – and a game against a tired Burnley side who played 120 minutes in midweek is the ideal opportunity for him to shine.

Watford need to build upon last weekend’s win as they have a tough run of fixtures coming up against Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal, with Pereyra’s attacking flair potentially providing the key to breaking down a resilient Burnley defence.

Neil Etheridge: Cardiff City

In last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth, Neil Etheridge became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty on his Premier League debut since Allan McGregor in 2013 by denying Callum Wilson from the spot – earning six points in the process.

The Welsh side are back at home this weekend against a Newcastle United outfit who continue to suffer under the tyranny of Mike Ashley. Defeat last weekend against Spurs was not surprising but has raised the pressure for Rafael Benitez’s side.

28-year-old Etheridge is a good bet to pick up further points this weekend against a Magpies side that scored just 39 goals in 38 matches last term, the lowest tally of any top-ten side excluding Burnley.

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Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Grujic bid rejected; interest in Karius; Brewster nears return

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have rejected a bid for Marko Grujic

The transfer window may have closed in England but it remains open until Friday in Italy and reports from the Liverpool Echo say that the Reds have turned down an approach from Serie A side Torino for midfielder Marko Grujic. The deal was reportedly a season long loan with an option to buy worth 10 million euros (£9 million).

The Serbian was heavily involved in pre-season after impressing for Cardiff City on loan last season and was expected to return to Wales after helping them earn promotion but a move collapsed.

Besiktas are considering a move for Loris Karius

Turkish newspaper Aksam claim that Besiktas have emerged as candidates to sign German goalkeeper Loris Karius on loan to provide him with an Anfield escape having lost the number one shirt to Alisson Becker after his Champions League final nightmare in Kiev in May.

Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the goalkeeper remain unclear despite publicly giving him a vote of confidence and a loan deal may be an ideal solution. Much could depend on the Turkish team’s pursuit of other targets, including Arsenal‘s David Ospina.

Rhian Brewster is nearing a return to fitness

It was a major blow to Liverpool’s plans for young striker Rhian Brewster when he picked up a serious ankle ligament injury in January, but under 23s manager Neil Critchley has told Goal that he could return to light training as soon as next month after a summer of rehabilitation.

“I’m sure he’ll be doing a few people’s heads in down at Melwood, chomping at the bit and ready to return! He’ll be quite restless. He’s a young boy who loves playing football and wants to play football, so he’ll hugely frustrated at the moment.”

Liverpool under 23s manager Neil Critchley has backed his striker.

The 18-year-old was training alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to rebuild fitness after signing a new deal to commit himself to the Merseyside outfit despite interest from elsewhere.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou clearly has no future at Tottenham Hotspur if Mainz deal goes ahead

Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly ready to let Nkoudou go on loan.

Mathew Nash

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It appears Tottenham Hotspur are ready to let Georges-Kevin Nkoudou leave the club on loan before the end of the month. According to Sky Sports, Spurs are ready to let the winger join Bundesliga side Mainz until the end of the season.

The Frenchman, who cost £9.4 million in 2016, has failed to make an impact at Spurs and was loaned out to Burnley last season. So seeing him being shipped out again may not come as a surprise.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

However, Nkoudou has recently shown what he is capable of. The 23-year-old had a brilliant pre-season as Tottenham won the International Champions Cup. He was named man-of-the-match in the penalty loss to Barcelona, in which he scored. He also found the net against AC Milan in a 1-0 win. His form this summer was electric and led many to believe might have a chance at Tottenham this season.

So the fact he is being loaned out probably suggests one thing. Nkoudou has no long-term future at Tottenham Hotspur.

Even after an impressive pre-season and with Tottenham thin on the ground the young Frenchman has been told to pack his bags and head elsewhere.

This may only be a temporary deal, but it appears the precursor to a more permanent Tottenham exit. 

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