rss

Author Archive for Paul Wilson

0

Vincent Kompany: ‘When I came to Manchester City it was bouncing’

The City captain enters his 10th season at the club having seen plenty of changes but believes the long-term plan at the Etihad has secured a successful future

Vincent Kompany is entering his 10th season in England and, at 31, the Manchester City and Belgium captain happily admits he is no longer the player he was when he joined from Hamburg under Mark Hughes.

Related: Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany: I always come back stronger after injury

Continue reading…

0

Daniel Sturridge fit again and could feature for Liverpool against Crystal Palace

• ‘Daniel was part of the complete session,’ says manager Jürgen Klopp
• Klopp says Barcelona have not made progress in pursuit of Philippe Coutinho

Daniel Sturridge could soon be back in action for Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp was able to confirm the striker completed a full training session with no problems in advance of the Crystal Palace game on Saturday though would not go so far as to suggest him as a likely starter.

Related: Liverpool can play one way and that’s forward, says Simon Mignolet

Continue reading…

0

Everton still need striker despite record Sigurdsson signing, says Koeman

• Iceland international completes £45m move to Goodison Park
• Everton manager targets striker to replace Romelu Lukaku

Everton may have just broken their transfer record to sign £45m Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City but as far as Ronald Koeman is concerned the club still has business to do before the transfer window closes.

Related: Gylfi Sigurdsson: tireless perfectionist will be worth the wait for Everton | Stuart James

Continue reading…

0

Manchester United reaping early rewards thanks to Chelsea’s unexpected largesse | Paul Wilson

After seeing José Mourinho hijack their Romelu Lukaku deal and letting Nemanja Matic go to Old Trafford, Chelsea have undeniably strengthened a direct rival while weakening themselves

Opinion has been divided on the wisdom of Chelsea selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for £40m. There are those who say top teams, especially defending champions, should never sell to direct rivals, and those who believe the money was too good to refuse down for a player who has just turned 29.

It is being argued that Chelsea have just signed an upgrade in Tiémoué Bakayoko for the same price, at least a player Antonio Conte regarded as an upgrade in the same position, and at just 22 the promising France midfielder offers many more years of service than Matic, whose sale effectively means the former Monaco player has joined for free.

Continue reading…

0

José Mourinho denies pressure at Manchester United to repeat title record

• Manager denies pressure in chasing title-winning record
• ‘The only demand on me is the one I put on myself’

José Mourinho is under a certain amount of pressure this season at Manchester United, albeit pressure he has brought on himself. At his previous clubs he has always managed to win the title in his second season and at his present one there is an expectation of something a little more dynamic than finishing sixth in the table and qualifying for the Champions League via the Europa competition.

Related: Manchester United v West Ham United: match preview

Continue reading…

0

Labour’s Tom Watson calls for more flexible rail ticketing to help away fans

• Shadow sport secretary Tom Watson criticises late changes to fixtures
• ‘When matches are switched for TV it is fans who pay the price’

As the Premier League season gets under way with a highly inconvenient Friday evening kick-off for Leicester in London, the Labour party has called for more flexible rail tickets to make it easier for fans to get to games.

Rail fares are considerably cheaper when booked up to three months in advance but Labour feels it is unfair football supporters are unable to take advantage when the day of their game is switched for television purposes.

Continue reading…

0

Ryan Atkin becomes first openly gay professional official in English football

• Revelation described by FA as ‘important moment in the game’
• Atkin is fourth official in EFL this season and referees in National League

Ryan Atkin has become England’s first openly gay professional official, with the Football Association welcoming the 32-year-old’s revelation of his sexuality as a landmark sign of progress.

“Ryan’s declaration marks an important moment in the game and reinforces the fact that refereeing really is open to everyone,” Neale Barry, the FA’s head of senior referee development, said. “He believes that people who are happy in their own skin perform better and I couldn’t agree more. Our role is to support all referees, aid their development, maximise their potential and, above all, help ensure their experiences are positive.”

Continue reading…

0

Liverpool remain a selling club and face challenge in convincing Coutinho to stay | Paul Wilson

Barcelona want the Brazilian to follow Luis Suárez to Barcelona, leaving Jürgen Klopp with a potential hole in his team just as the season is about to start

An unhappy transfer window for Liverpool has every chance of becoming grimmer still should Philippe Coutinho make a £100m-plus move to Barcelona, and though some well-rehearsed arguments are being heard from both sides over whether the club should make a stand or accept the inevitable, there is an unpalatable truth beneath all the posturing that is not being shouted so loudly.

This is, simply and briefly, that Liverpool are a selling club. They might not see themselves that way, they might keep denying it and taking encouragement from Jürgen Klopp insisting that no means no, but Liverpool simply have to be a selling club because they have not won a title in over a quarter of a century and are now only occasional participants in the Champions League.

Continue reading…

0

Premier League 2017-18 preview No4: Burnley

Sean Dyche’s side are preparing for a second successive season in the top flight and another attritional season of small gains is in prospect

Guardian writers’ predicted position 18th (NB: this is not necessarily Paul Wilson’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 16th

Continue reading…

0

Sprawling transfer window and ‘stupid money’ helps to nurture sulking season | Paul Wilson

If the buying period was shorter the playing out of footballer frustrations would be over in a few days rather than dragging on all through the summerIn newspaper terms this time of year has long been known as the silly season; everyone on their holida…

0

Manchester City have splurged already but biggest surprises may be still to come | Paul Wilson

Mauricio Pochettino has bucked the trend by not adding to his Tottenham squad but the rest of the top clubs have plenty of spending left in them yet

As well as this summer being remembered for the transfer window in which just about every Premier League club tried to break their own spending record, there is a good chance it will eventually be remembered for something else. To wit: the summer when no one apart from Real Madrid knew whether they had broken a transfer record or not.

Take the case of Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, the £90m man, as the back pages have it. When Everton sold him the price was stated at £75m plus add-ons, which might have more or less guaranteed an ultimate spend of £90m but conveniently left Paul Pogba, the previous year’s big-money signing, as the most expensive player in United’s history. So which is it to be?

Continue reading…

0

Will the wait for an English manager to win the Premier League ever end? | Paul Wilson

After 25 Premier League years an English coach is still to lift the title and the supply of qualified foreign coaches suggests the wait may continue awhile

The Premier League has been going for 25 years and it is still no closer to being won by a team with an English manager.

Actually that might not be completely true. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth finished ninth last season and in the arid landscape of English achievement since Howard Wilkinson took Leeds United to the final old First Division title in 1992 that possibly counts as progress. There have certainly been seasons, 2015-16 being the most recent, when the top 10 positions were the exclusive province of foreign coaches.

Continue reading…

0

Kyle Walker signs for Manchester City in world-record £53m deal for a defender

• Transfer from Tottenham eclipses 2014 fee PSG paid for Chelsea’s David Luiz
• The 27-year-old becomes most expensive English player of all time

Kyle Walker is now the world’s most expensive defender after Manchester City completed a deal with Tottenham worth an initial £50m rising to £53m for the England right back. With the add-ons the transfer eclipses the £50m Paris St-Germain paid for Chelsea’s David Luiz in 2014 and also ensures Walker has become the costliest English player of all time.

“It feels a bit surreal,” the former Sheffield United defender admitted. “I have been at Tottenham for so many years , but I’m excited about beginning a new chapter in my career. I can’t wait to get started. I’m thrilled to be signing for City.” Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, added: “Kyle is a fine full-back, one capable of producing quality at both ends of the pitch. We’ve followed his progress at Tottenham and have been really impressed by how he has developed. He is now one of the best right-backs in the Premier League and justifiably an England regular. I am sure he will be a success at Manchester City this season and beyond.”

Continue reading…

0

No sign of austerity in Premier League’s never-ending transfer spree | Paul Wilson

It already looks like another record-breaking summer of spending for English clubs, but the disconnect between footballers and the real world is growing

Liverpool and Everton were first, Arsenal have just joined them, and Huddersfield Town managed it twice in the same week. The transfer window still has the best part of two months to run and the real horse-trading is yet to start, but this looks like it could be the summer when almost every Premier League club sets a transfer record.

Perhaps such a development is a logical and inevitable corollary of the new television deal, the one responsible for making English clubs richer than ever before. Perhaps it is simply a matter of inflation, not just prices going up all the time but the follow-on effects from, say, the benchmark set by Romelu Lukaku changing clubs for around £75m.

Continue reading…

0

Romelu Lukaku: £75m is never a bargain but Everton striker is worth it

No wonder both Manchester United and Chelsea want Romelu Lukaku: he scored 25 league goals last season, is 24 years old and can terrorise defences through sheer physical presence and power

Romelu Lukaku has been an obvious transfer target ever since he turned down the lucrative contract Everton offered him in March, doggies in shop windows have been less conspicuously for sale, yet when reports began to emerge that Manchester United were confident of a £75m deal it still came as something of a surprise.

Chelsea had been thought favourites to sign him, for a start, and with Everton insisting no agreement has yet been reached with United there is still a chance a significant bid will arrive from that quarter.

Continue reading…

0

Wayne Rooney back at Everton would be a fairytale – but it may well end in tears | Paul Wilson

Thirteen years after leaving Everton for Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney could be about to return – but does Ronald Koeman really a need a player who seems to have his peak years behind him?

Romelu Lukaku was always going to leave a big hole to fill at Everton but few would have predicted a combination of, say, Wayne Rooney and Olivier Giroud, perhaps to take over in the likely event of the Belgian striker’s departure.

Reported overtures to Arsenal’s Giroud make perfect sense; he is a reliable goalscorer, proven in the Premier League, at 30 he will have a few good years left in him and he was no longer a regular starter under Arsène Wenger. Those imagining Everton would seek a like-for-like replacement for Lukaku, as if similarly built striking powerhouses were in plentiful supply, might have to think again. Giroud, should he move to Merseyside, could be just the cutting edge required for the quick-passing side Ronald Koeman is looking to put together.

Continue reading…

0

Everton hoping early deals can help them bridge gap to the top four

Michael Keane’s arrival took Ronald Koeman’s summer spree beyond the £80m mark and the Goodison faithful will be hoping their manager’s decisiveness filters through to the team once the season starts

There is no doubt which Premier League club has made the quickest start in the race to do business in the summer transfer window. One might not go as far as Robbie Fowler, who believes Everton’s resolve and targeted investment are making the rest of the league look stupid, though there is plenty to admire in the way Ronald Koeman and his club backers go about their business.

Everton have made five major signings before most clubs are properly back from their holidays, even if Henry Onyekuru will be going straight out to Anderlecht on loan. The others offer straight-down-the-middle solidity, almost literally since Koeman has brought in a goalkeeper, centre-half and striker. Everton set their transfer record when they signed Jordan Pickford for a fee that could rise to £30m, though the former Sunderland player has long been regarded the best English goalkeeping prospect around and if he fulfils his potential he will soon start to look a snip even at that price.

Continue reading…

0

Gareth Southgate’s bright England squad face toughest test yet in Scotland | Paul Wilson

A lot has changed for England in the past year and a tricky trip to Hampden Park for a World Cup qualifier offers Marcus Rashford and company a chance to shine

Despite Saturday night’s showpiece in Cardiff, the season is not quite over yet. A round of internationals can be found tagged on almost apologetically next weekend, with England involved in a World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow on Saturday before a friendly in France takes place three days later.

A return to France will inevitably evoke memories of another tired tournament campaign coming to an even more cataclysmic end than usual with defeat by Iceland, though it might be more positive to reflect on how much has changed since then. When England take on Scotland it will be a year since Euro 2016 kicked off, with France overcoming a stubborn Romania through a late Dimitri Payet goal. Payet was still a West Ham player at the time, and when he scored his next goal a proud Slaven Bilic climbed on the desk in the ITV studio set to express his excitement.

Continue reading…

0

What the English contenders might need for greater success in Champions League | Paul Wilson

Premier League sides have struggled to impose themselves in Europe in recent years because the domestic competition is seen as an obstacle to successNext season, assuming Liverpool can negotiate the play-off round, there will be five English clubs in t…

0

Liverpool don’t have to spend like Man City to be successful, says new chief executive

• ‘We won’t spend £100m just because Manchester City has,’ says Moore
• Remit lies in business operation, with Michael Edwards as sporting director

Peter Moore starts work on Thursday as Liverpool chief executive with a brief to maximise the club’s revenue over the next few years, though he insists the idea is not to be caught up in a spending race with the likes of Manchester City.

Fenway Sports Group, the club’s American owners, have identified the Liverpool‑born former Microsoft and Electronic Arts executive as the sort of modernising operator who can locate and develop areas where the business can be made more profitable, but Moore will have no direct responsibility for incoming transfers and the present policy of looking for value in the market will stay in place.

Continue reading…