Sunderland parted with a substantial amount of money in order to get Chelsea defender Patrick van Aanholt during the summer. The 23-year-old Dutchman had failed to secure a regular first-team spot at Chelsea. Despite having been at Chelsea since 2007 at various forms of playing levels, he had made only two Premier League appearances for the West London outfit. He has been on loan at various clubs like Coventry City, Newcastle United, Leicester City, and Wigan Athletic during this period. However, his loan spell with Vitesse Arnhem last season has been the most productive.
He made 34 appearances and scored five goals in all competitions for the Dutch outfit and this earned him a place in the professional 30 man squad for the World Cup 2014. Even though he did not make it into the final squad chosen by the Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, this has been seen as a remarkable improvement by the 23-year-old. However, Chelsea decided not to keep him for much longer and sold him to Sunderland for an undisclosed transfer fee. Since joining the north-east outfit, the defender has had a mixed time. Even though he has featured in most of the matches, he was at fault for a few goals scored by the opposition.
Manager Gus Poyet has said that he is a player who needs time to settle at the club. “There’s things he needs to do all the time and that’s the mentality we create in training. In one training session a week ago, I stopped it because of Patrick and said ‘here, every day, every single ball, whether you are ill or not’. He needs to get into that mentality and it takes time. Some people get it in two days, some take three months,” said the Sunderland boss, whose team were defeated 1-0 at QPR last weekend.
Trevor Francis has claimed that Liverpool need to bring in at least one £ 30 million striker before the end of this transfer window if they are to challenge for the Premier league title. Liverpool recently brought in Ricki Lambert for around £ 4 million, as the replacement for Luis Suarez. The Uruguay striker was sold to Barcelona for £ 75 million. He was the club’s top scorer in the league last season after getting 31, which was one of the best in Europe top five leagues. This is despite the fact that he missed the first few matches of last season due to a suspension.
It is clear that replacing a player of Suarez’ ability will not be easy, but Francis says that Lambert was not in the ideal signing that the club should have signed. The former Southampton man has struggled to impress during pre-season and Francis says that the style of play at Liverpool does not seem to suit the 32-year-old. Prior to the move, Lambert was one of the reasons for Southampton staying in the league. His impressive form also led to the World Cup 2014 call-up, although the striker failed to impress in Brazil.
Francis says that Liverpool should consider signing a top-class centre forward rather than look for bargains signings.
“He would have expected more from Lambert. He will try and gloss over it in the best way possible because he wants to keep his confidence high, but this is a player who at the moment is struggling. I’ve watched him in three or four games and in one game he was taken off at half-time and today he struggled throughout. He didn’t look comfortable playing in those surroundings. He is desperate for a goal,” said the pundit after seeing Lambert in the first few pre-season matches.
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has stated that FIFA should consider banning Luis Suarez from the game. The Uruguay striker bit Chiellini in the shoulders during a match between Uruguay and Italy in the group stages of the World Cup. Uruguay won the match 1-0 and progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup. The victory, however, was marred by footage showing Suarez biting into the shoulders of Chiellini. Even though the 28-year-old complained to the referee almost immediately, the 27-year-old was not punished.
However, it is believed that FIFA will be opening investigations into the matter, as it is the third time that the player has been found biting into a document. He has been punished in the previous two occasions serving a suspension for 17 matches in total. The last high-profile incident involving Suarez came in 2013 when he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in the arm. Several sports psychologist have stated that Suarez is unlikely to become a changed man as a result of a ban. FIFA regulations stated that they can ban a footballer for up to 2 years or 24 matches.
Several Italy players protested against the incident and water to the player to be sent off, but Uruguayan players did not show the same feelings. The manager, Oscar Tabarez, was also astounded as to how Suarez has been treated by the British media. “Suarez has bitten me and the referee saw it, but then there is the need to have the courage to take decisions. We will see if there is the courage to utilise the TV images to ban him. It’s a shame. Today’s game has been decided by the referee. We take our responsibilities, but the referee has been bad,” said Chiellini.
The result, though, saw Italy knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages for the second consecutive time.
Colombia are one of the favorites nation to escape from the group stages of the 2014 World Cup and advance into the next round as they were placed against Greece, Japan and Ivory Coast, in a simple first view it doesn’t look like a very complicated group. Jose Pekerman is the head coach of Colombia and a few days ago he announced his provisional squad which includes players that are performing in top tier clubs such as: Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Christian Zapata (Ac.Milan), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina) and of course Radamel Falcao.
Falcao remains injured according to the footballer site and are still doubtful on whether or not he will be able to recover in time for the World Cup but Pekerman has already revealed that he is going to wait until the final deadline day before announcing whether or not Falcao will be travelling with him to Brazil.
Greece on the other hand mostly has players with are less known compared to Colombia and have not managed to stand out from their respective opponents but the manager of Greece, Fernando Santos stated that it’s a mistake considering Colombia to be favorites as he talked during a press conference.
‘’It’s an error to consider that Colombia are favorites of our group and underestimate the rest of the team. Colombia is a squad that has a long time without playing in a World Cup and they have a lot of faith. They have a generation of players who are performing well with their respective teams and they will certainly have the support of their nationwide fans but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Colombia is going to perform at a level higher than the rest of us’’ Fernando Santos revealed.
The Greek squad will want to avoid suffering the same kind of disappointing World Cup they experienced in 1994 when they failed to score and lost all 3 matches. It was their first World Cup appearance and now with more experience, let’s see how they do.
Bayern Munich appear to be ready to listen to offers for striker Mario Mandzukic after CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated that the player might not feel entirely happy next season. Hence, they may have to take a decision on the future of the Croatian striker. Mandzukic was a major revelation in his first season at Bayern Munich after joining the club for only around £ 11 million. He managed to start the majority of the matches under Jupp Heynckes and led the club to a famous treble including the Champions League title in 2013.
However, his starting position has been under threat for most of the last season under Pep Guardiola, who has favoured the possession style of football. A physical striker, Mandzukic does not appear to have been playing at his best this season. This is despite the striker getting 24 goals in the league alone. Rummenigge has hinted that the club may decide to sell the forward in the summer with the decision to bring in Borussia Dortmund hitman Robert Lewandowski, on a free transfer, confirmed several months ago. Lewandowski will be joining a five-year contract, which will further reduce the first-team opportunities for Mandzukic.
Chelsea are thought to be one of the club’s heavily interested in the 27-year-old, as they look to replace the likes of Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.
“If Mario stays here, it won’t be easy for him because a world-class player is coming to us. The question is whether he wants to face up to his competition or would prefer to go to another club. We are open and fair and we talk about everything, so nothing is decided,” said the Bayern Munich Chief Executive. The club have spent an enormous sum of money in order to get Lewandowski, who has reportedly signed a $ 75 million contract.