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Jul 212013

No time to waste so let’s go to it!

Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan center forward, long rumored to be on the move from Napoli, has finally completed a transfer: to Paris-Saint Germain. The leading scorer in Serie A last season, Cavani joins the Ligue 1 side after they ponied up a reported €64 million ($84 million) transfer fee.

Thiago (Alcantara)

The Barcelona winger was supposedly headed to Manchester United, but in fact joins German champions Bayern Munich for a new four year deal and a reported €25 million ($32.8 million) transfer fee. The move unites Thiago with his former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

Alvaro Negredo

The former Sevilla striker has joined Manchester City for a reported £20 million ($30.5 million) transfer fee.

Stevan Jovetic

In addition to Negredo, Manchester City have also procured the services of former Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic. The transfer fee is a reported €23 million ($30.2 million).

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

The highly sought after Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder joins Borussia Dortmund for a reported €27.5 million ($36 million) transfer fee. Dortmund were able to beat out Liverpool, who were very much interested in the midfielder’s services.

Pepe Reina

The Liverpool goalkeeper is on his way to Napoli for a season long loan after the former went out and bought Belgian international Simon Mignolet.

Kevin Strootman

The PSV/Netherlands central midfielder joins AS Roma in Serie A for the next four years.

Jose Callejon

The highly scrutinized Real Madrid youth product has completed a permanent move to Napoli. Callejon has been the subject of several loan deals ever since coming out of the youth ranks in Madrid.

Oriol Romeu

The 21 year old Chelsea holding midfielder will join Valencia on loan for the upcoming season. Romeu came to London via Barcelona last summer.

Victor Wanyama

The central midfielder who helped Celtic advance from the group stage during the UEFA Champions League last season has joined Sunderland for a reported £12.5 million ($19 million) transfer fee believed to be a club record.

Jozy Altidore

And staying in England, Sunderland have purchased AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore and signed him to a four year deal.

Giovanni dos Santos

The Mexican international has completed a four year move from Mallorca to newly promoted Villareal in Spain.


The Atletico Madrid defender joins Portugal’s Benfica on loan after spending 2011-12 on loan at Deportivo.

Gerard Deulofeu

After an impressive performance at the U-20 World Cup for Spain, the young forward joins Everton on loan from Barcelona.

Carlos Bacca

The former Club Brugge striker joins Sevilla for a new five year deal and a reported €7 million ($9 million) transfer fee.

Joel Robles

The Atletico goalkeeper who spent last season on loan at Wigan is returning to England after joining Everton to sign a five year deal.

Marcus Berg

The Swedish international striker moves to Panathanaikos (Greece) from Hamburg and signs a new four year deal.

Giorgos Karagounis

And speaking of Greece, the veteran Greek center back has signed a new one year extension to remain at Fulham.

Martin Olsson

The Swedish defender completes a four year move from Blackburn to Norwich City.

Grant Holt

And last but not least (for now) the former Norwich super sub has completed a three year move to Wigan Athletic.

Confederations Cup Preview: Uruguay

 Posted by on June 12, 2013 at 9:15 pm  Blogs/Media
Jun 122013
uruguay flag 300x203 Confederations Cup Preview: Uruguay

Could this be the flag of the future Confederations Cup champions?

Despite being one of the smallest countries to ever play in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, Uruguay is one of the most storied national teams in all of international football. Winners of the original World Cup in 1930 and the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, this is a club that has had legends like Hector Scarrone, Oscar Miguez, Jose Nasazzi, and Obdulio Varela on their side. A country whose footballing history dates back to the 1880’s, they are one of football’s giants, even if their country only has a population of a little over 3 million.
Uruguay took a bit of a nap in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, missing out on qualification for the 1994, 1998, and 2006 World Cups and only winning the Copa America once in 1995 at home. The past few years have been different though as the club finished fourth in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and won the 2011 Copa America.

As previously mentioned, Uruguay qualified for the Confederations Cup by defeating Paraguay 3-0 in the Copa America. Uruguay has won four Copa America titles and eleven South American Championships, which is the predecessor to the Copa America.


Simply put, there is no team in the Confederations Cup that can match Uruguay on the offensive side of the ball. Based off of tonight’s performance against Venezuela and their victory over France, it seems as if the team clicking offensively. With a three headed monster of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, and Diego Forlan this club should be able to score goals at will on their opponents. So far in World Cup Qualifying, Suarez has scored 9 goals in the competition, including 4 against Chile in November. When you add in Cavani’s 5 and Forlan’s 3 you have yourself quite a potent combination of forwards up front. I honestly fear that the Uruguay-Tahiti game may go into the double digits.
But I think this tournament will be a great asset for Uruguay’s qualification hopes for the World Cup. It provides Tabarez an excellent opportunity to gauge his team’s depth and to give their younger players a chance to progress. In a South American country, they will not to put on a poor performance. Also with players like Suarez, Forlan, and midfielder Cristian Ramirez looking to move on to bigger clubs this tournament could provide them with an important opportunity to showcase their skills on the world stage. It is important both for the general health of the squad and for their World Cup aspirations that they take this tournament seriously.


Qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has not been easy for Uruguay. After last night’s victory over Venezuela, the team currently stands in fifth place, tied on points with Venezuela and only two points ahead of Peru. Fifth place will only guarantee them a playoff with a representative from the AFC. They are five points behind Chile for fourth with four games left to play. Among those last four games are two road games to Argentina and Colombia, and two home matches with Peru and Ecuador. Not a very easy road to travel to Brazil 2014.

Their biggest problem has been their defense. They have allowed in 21 goals in matches, which is tied for the second highest CONMEBOL competition (Only Bolivia is higher with 23.) There are also some very bad losses and draws in the record book, including a 4-0 pasting by Bolivia, a 1-1 draw with Paraguay, and losing 4-0 to Colombia.

Age is also part of the problem: while the club that played in South Africa was a young talented squad about to reach its potential, it appears that their performance has peaked. Players like Diego Forlan (although he did just score a wonderful goal in a friendly against France last week) and Diego Lugano have lost a bit of a step. For this team to have success both in the Confederations Cup and in World Cup qualifying it must start using its younger players like Gaston Ramirez of Southampton and Nicolas Lodeior of Botafogo. And for a team that has a porous defense it needs Sebastian Coates to finally live up to his talent. You could see it happening a little at the end of the season with Liverpool. He seemed much more comfortable with his assignments and his passing had improved.

While Uruguay should have no problem with Tahiti, Spain still has a better squad than Uruguay and should take them to task. Whether or not Uruguay advances will solely depend on how they can handle the raw speed and athleticism of Nigeria. This is a team that showed in the Africa Cup of Nations that it can blindside teams on the counter-attack. When Uruguay against clubs like Colombia and Venezuela, you can tell that they struggle against faster squads. Even if Uruguay does make it through, it will have a difficult time with teams like Brazil,Italy, Japan, and Mexico (I am still trying to figure out who it makes with through that group of death.) While I am sure Coach Oscar Tabarez would like to win another trophy before he leaves next year, he must take this opportunity to find out what he has in this squad. It is better to lose a game in the Confederations Cup than the World Cup.


There are plenty of players that are worth watching on this Uruguayan team. I could write 3000 words on Diego Forlan alone. But this squad depends on the success on the skill and attitude of Luis Suarez. When he is on, he is one of the best players in the world. A menacing forward who can make impossible goals realistic, who can take the tightest of spots and make it seem like there is ten feet between him and the defender. In addition to the nine goals that he has scored for Uruguay during World Cup Qualification, he scored 30 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season. From all indications he is fiercely loyal to his teammates and gives it his all during every match. While many look at the hand ball incident at the 2010 World Cup as one of the most heinous incidents in all of professional sports, the fact of the matter is that had he not done it his team would have been gone from the World Cup. It may not have been pretty, it may not have been professional, but it worked. And besides it was nowhere near as bad as the dive by Cote D’Ivoire midfielder Kader Keita that had Kaka sent off.

That being said, many of Mr. Suarez’s actions both with club and country are indefensible. He has to realize when his actions on the pitch are counter-productive to his team. Biting players and using racial slurs will not make him a better player or an attractive asset to the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, two of his potential suitors. He has to keep his head in the game and must learn to play within the rules. Unfortunately at this point because of his reputation he may not be able to do that.

Playing on an international stage like the Confederations Cup gives Suarez a unique opportunity to change the narrative that is associated with his career. If he can lift his team to glory, he sets his squad up for being serious contenders for next year’s World Cup and for a massive payday with whatever club team would want him. If he chooses to act like a fool, however, Uruguay will suffer and he will never be mentioned of the world’s great players.


Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray,) Juan Castillo (Danubio,) and Martin Silva (Olimpia.)

Defenders: Diego Lugano-Captain (Malaga,) Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid,) Sebastian Coates (Liverpool,) Matias Aguirregarray (Penarol,) Maxi Perreira (Benfica,) Andres Scotti (Nacional,) and Martin Caceres (Juventus.)

Midfielders: Walter Gargano (Internazionale,) Alvaro Pereira (Internazionale,) Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid,) Sebastian Eguren (Libertad,) Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo,) Diego Perez (Bologna,) Egidio Arevalo Rios (Palermo,) Gaston Ramirez (Southampton,) and Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio.)

Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool,) Diego Forlan (Internacional,) Abel Hernandez (Palermo,) and Edinson Cavani (Napoli.)


June 16th: Spain vs. Uruguay
June 20th: Nigeria vs. Uruguay
June 23rd: Tahiti vs. Uruguay

Silly Season Talk

 Posted by on May 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
May 212013

It would seem that January’s transfer window success has buoyed Brendan Rodgers and Co.

Already we’re finding out that Liverpool have accepted a £15 million ($22.76 million) bid for Andy Carroll; though the towering striker has yet to make up his mind on his future. We’re also hearing rumors that free agent Kolo Toure is high on Brendan Rodgers’ wishlist as a (hopefully) short term replacement for Jamie Carragher. There’s also the matter of whether or not Pepe Reina will depart for Barcelona this summer. Rumor has it Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic would be high on the list of potential replacements.

Clearly we don’t have a lot of time to prognosticate so let’s get right to it. Here’s my top 3 needs for Liverpool this summer.

1. A Centerback To Replace Jamie Carragher

Although I’m not a fan of bringing in Kolo Toure (even on a 1-2 year deal), it’s reassuring to hear that this particular need is a priority for the management staff.

If Martin Skrtel also departs, then suddenly this isn’t just about having a guy available on the bench, but rather someone who is going to partner up with Daniel Agger for the long run.

Top Prospects: Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy-MLS), Ashley Williams (Swansea City-EPL), Hector Moreno (Espanyol-LaLiga)

Omar Gonzalez is as fast as he is powerful in the air. He might not be quite as technically gifted as Brendan Rodgers would like for his preferred style of play, but the young American is going to wind up in Europe in the next two years and Liverpool would do well to talk to LA about him. Ashley Williams is the most likely given Rodgers’ propensity towards choosing former players of his; although the price tag for Williams will be steep. Hector Moreno is another up and coming star out La Liga’s Espanyol. Much more technically gifted, but less imposing, than Gonzalez, Moreno is a good distributor out of the back who would thrive in Rodgers’ system.

2. A Winger To Bump Stewart Downing

If it’s not clear by now, I’m not a fan of Stewart Downing, especially as a starting winger in Rodgers’ 4-3-3 formation. Raheem Sterling still needs another year to mature and Oussama Assaidi continues to be ignored. Suso is still too young as well.

Ideally this would be someone left footed, but the key is that they have speed and get technical ability to create on their own out wide to free up space for Luis Suarez to make runs.

Top Prospects: Clint Dempsey (Tottenham-EPL), Nico Gaitan (Benfica-Primeira Liga), Zoran Tosic (CSKA Moscow-Russia)

Rumor has it Dempsey could already be on his way out of White Hart Lane after one season. If that’s the case, Liverpool would be downright stupid to let him get away a second time. Benfica’s Nico Gaitan is an excellent left sided winger who is currently being chased by Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen. He’s got the technical ability to fit right in from Day 1. Zoran Tosic has gone on the record saying he regrets asking out of Manchester United and what better way to get him back into the Premier League than by bringing him to Anfield. He’s got a wicked left footed free kick and has the dribbling ability to free up lanes for Suarez to run wild down the middle.

3. A Striker Capable Of Replacing Luis Suarez

If Luis Suarez departs this summer and Andy Carroll winds up at Upton Park, then suddenly we’re looking at just Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini. If Suarez stays, he’s still missing almost a quarter of the season due to his bone headed decision to take a bite out Branislav Ivanovic. Either way, Liverpool need a clinical striker waiting in the wings.

Top Prospects: Jackson Martinez (FC Porto-Primeira Liga), Edinson Cavani (Napoli-Serie A), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina-Serie A)

These are all very expensive prospects, so selling Luis Suarez would go a long way towards bringing one of them in. Jackson is a good tactical fit as a lone striker in a 4-3-3. Edinson Cavani is the most clinical finisher on the market and Jovetic might have the best individual skill set for this system.

Chelsea are off to Naples

 Posted by on December 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm  Uncategorized
Dec 162011

draw Chelsea are off to Naples

Chelsea FC have been drawn against SSC Napoli in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

The first leg of this tie will be on February 21 at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples, with the return leg at Stamford Bridge on March 14.

This will be no easy task for the London club as the Azzurri qualified second in their group behind FC Bayern München, with their only defeat coming from the German side at the Allianz Arena.

Chelsea don’t have the best record against Italian clubs they have won just one of their last five matches against Italian opposition and just one out of the seven games they have played away in Italy. Their last encounter with an Italian side was against Inter Milan back in the 2009-2010 season where Chelsea lost both legs and were knocked out in the round of sixteen by Jose Mourinho’s team.

“I think we have one of the most difficult draws but whichever team you get in the last 16 will be a difficult team.” André Villas-Boas told Chelsea TV “They are a side that works collectively very well and Walter Mazzarri has always been a coach that organises his teams very well.”

Napoli has been playing some great football under Mazzarri, with their attacking prowess centered around Marek Hamšík, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi. They are quick on the counter-attack and this may cause problems for Chelsea’s back four, but if Chelsea can retain the form they are in right now they have a good chance of advancing to the quarterfinals.

This should be a great match-up Chelsea have the advantage of being home in the second leg, but in my opinion an away goal is a must for Chelsea. It won’t be easy to advance to the next round, but it’s not impossible. It could have been worse Chelsea could have come second in their group and drawn Barcelona.

Win or Lose Up The Blues!

-All quotes taken from