Posts Tagged ‘Everton’

Football

Arsenal update: Marouane Fellaini deal in the balance

By Stefano on June 21st, 2013

So is the Higuain deal in the bag? In spite of the rumours about a late bid from Juve the London Evening Standard seems to think so. It says

All parties are confident Higuain will soon be joining the Gunners from Real Madrid.

Interestingly it also suggests that Arsene Wenger might be about to make a move for Arsenal’s other key summer target Marouane Fellaini.

According to the Standard

Arsene Wenger is prepared to break Arsenal’s club record transfer fee for the second time in a matter of days to sign Marouane Fellaini.

The Arsenal manager is considering activating Fellaini’s £23m release clause at Everton.

Once again the paper reiterates the sticking point is the price with Everton clinging on to their £23 million valuations and Wenger not sure if he wants to meet that fee.

The issue for Arsenal is that if the club wants Marouane Fellaini to be settled and ready for the new season they need to do the deal very soon. Admittedly Mikkel Arteta fitted in very quickly after his move from Everton two years ago in the central midfield berth. However this time round Wenger has some tricky Premiership games and the Champions League qualifier to factor in. So a fast move would make a lot of sense.



Football

Arsenal update: Fellaini talks, Grenier news incoming, but not yet.

By Stefano on June 11th, 2013

After a flurry of activity it seems to have gone a bit quiet on the Marouane Fellaini to Arsenal front. Goal has a theory why. It says that…

The north Londoners are now waiting for Everton to make the Belgium international available for talks in order to begin negotiating terms.

Even if Fellaini agrees a package with Arsenal, the club are in no rush to complete the signing, as most of their key staff, including the medical team, are now on holiday and will not return to the club until the end of June.

It all sounds incredibly laid back. No worries about ex boss David Moyes sneaking in with an offer then, apparently.

Arsenal were also being made to wait by midfield target Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Clement Grenier. The player, who Wenger recently likened to Nasri says he will contemplate his next move when he returns from his holiday.

“I’m training here in Uruguay and Brazil,” Grenier told the Daily Express.

“It feels good to be far from France right now because I’ve heard a lot of things about me lately.

“I can’t give answers to everybody. I want to enjoy these 10 days of training. We will see about my future after the internationals, during my vacation.”

I wonder what the odds are on Arsenal not have made a significant signing by the end of the month?



Football

Reports that Arsenal have made a sensational £22 million bid for Marouane Fellaini

By Stefano on June 6th, 2013

UPDATE 10-40PM – The Times is reporting it too

Yep it is one of those Goal exclusives, so make of that what you will, but the website is saying that Arsenal have bid £22 million for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

The website reports…

The Gunners have activated the release clause in the Everton midfielder’s contract and are confident of wrapping up a deal for the 25-year-old in the coming weeks.

Goal understands that Arsenal made the club-record bid on Wednesday, the same day that Roberto Martinez was appointed the new Everton manager.

It is believed that Fellaini’s buy-out clause is £22m for a top-four club, and £24m for a club that finishes outside the Champions League places.

So Fellaini eh? Arsenal have a real need of a defensively minded, powerful midfielder and Fellaini certainly fits the bill. The player has been used in a more forward position for Everton in recent years but could be deployed very effectively in front of the back four at Arsenal. Fellaini is still close to Arteta and the Spaniard has apparently encouraged both parties to consider the move. There are rumours that Wenger tried to buy Fellaini in the last minute transfer scramble in summer 2011 – but ended up with a different Everton player in Arteta.

It would explain why Wenger has been slow to make moves for other defensively minded players like Alex Song and Etienne Capoue, both of whom have been linked with the club for a long time.

It is possible that the move will push David Moyes into raiding his old club and trumping Arsenal’s bid. Although it should be noted that there may be an agreement – gentlemanly or otherwise – that Moyes leaves his old players alone for a period of time.

With all that Premiership experience a bidding war surely is very likely.

So Arsenal fans – can you see this one happening? Or are Goal.com’s sources not as reliable as they might hope.

Here’s a few suggestions as to why Wenger has been slow in securing a marquee signing.



Football

Review of the Premiership part 3: Spurs, Everton and more – what might have been…

By Stefano on May 22nd, 2013

Simon Poulter of What Would David Bowie Do? rounds up the season

Tottenham Hotspur (72 pts, GD +20) 5th

Much rested on André Villas-Boas’s young shoulders this season when he stepped into Harry Redknapp’s shoes at White Hart Lane. Clearly, the chemistry at Chelsea had been all wrong – would Spurs be any better? Clearly, yes, and although fifth place and another crack at Europe’s second-string competition is not ideal (it was the same result that got Redknapp fired), AVB has restored Spurs to be a genuine top-four challenger this season, as Redknapp had done before his mojo departed in early 2012.

It would be tempting to say this season has been all about Gareth Bale for Tottenham, but it’s patently clear that without him, Spurs are lacking somewhat, and can’t rely totally on Adebayor and Dempsey, or Parker, for that matter, to create chances. Hanging on to Bale has to be Tottenham’s inter-season priority, with a much needed talent refresh elsewhere a close second.

Everton (63 pts, GD +15) 6th

David Moyes has done all he can do for Everton. His appointment as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor is what we all expected – including, apparently, Ferguson himself. As demonstrated at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Everton – despite their apparent threadbare finances – are no-nonsense grafters in the manner of their manager of 11 years, playing robustly and effectively when consensus would say there’s no need. Losing the substantial Fellaini would be a bitter blow, Leighton Baines even worse, but Everton – for all their modesty – have been left in creditable shape by the only possible candidate for the vacancy at Old Trafford.

Liverpool (61 pts, GD +28) 7th

For those still stuck in the era of big hair and bigger moustaches on Merseyside, to end seventh behind Everton but with a greater goal difference must be agony. It must be even harder to accept that in Luis Suarez, despite his headline-grabbing, arm-chewing antics, Liverpool had one of the Premier League’s star assets this term. Brendan Rodgers even managed to return Daniel Sturridge to something approaching the quality he should have shown at Chelsea. But those aside, a disappointing season for the mighty Reds. Inconsistent and lacking the kind of strength across the park that Liverpool would have had without question in eras past. On the upside, Jamie Carragher retired, so we’ll no longer have to put up with his scally whining.

Article originally published here.



Football

Are Arsenal better without Wilshere and with Cazorla in the middle?

By Stefano on April 17th, 2013

Depending on who you were talking to last night Arsenal either grabbed the one point that will probably be enough to give them a Champions League place or dropped a pair of points which will let their London rivals back in the race.

To be fair The Gunners were a tad unfortunate. Had Olivier Giroud had his shooting boots on or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain shot rather than passed when coming in on goal from the right they might have nabbed all three points.

One thing was very clear though – they posed much more of a threat after the reshuffle which saw Wilshere and Walcott replaced by Podolski and Chambeerlain. But it wasn’t those two players’ contributions that made the difference – it was Santi Cazorla who sparkled in the middle of the field, rather than on the left where he had been playing up until then.

Of course Everton legs, which had done an amazing job of constantly pressing the Gunners, were tiring. But I think yesterday provided more ammunition for those who think that Cazorla needs to start in the middle with Podolski on the left.

Arsenal seem to have more balance and are more direct in this formation. It does beg the question though if Cazorla is in the middle, where does Wenger play Wilshere? It was another quiet-ish game for the England starlet as he tangled with a very physical Everton team intent on controlling the middle of the field. There were touches of the Wilshere of old, but the player is still clearly not entirely fit.

The Mail yesterday also ran the stats that Arsenal win 55 per cent of games when the midfielder is missing and 51.9 per cent when he plays.

I wonder if Wenger will keep the Spaniard in the centre for the game against Fulham and leave Wilshere out?

It does strike me that the key problem that Wenger has had this year has been how to get the best out of his new signings and especially how they can complement his existing core players. There is a huge amount of work to be done over the summer.



Football

Did Everton and Arsenal pay the price for their FA Cup cynicism?

By Stefano on February 17th, 2013

Perhaps I am an old fuddy duddy, but it made me want to feel very queasy listening to David Moyes and Arsene Wenger talk in their pre FA Cup weekend press conferences. I am not a fan of either clubs, but if it was my manager I would feel the same. How dare a manager of a club, especially the size of Arsenal and Everton, tell fans that their priority is not winning a trophy but finishing in the top 4, so the money comes rolling in…. So much for the fans giving their loyalty and support day after day and their hard earned cash week in week out – you’d think a day out at Wembley and a chance of a trophy would be a priority as a chance to say thanks. Alas no, the modern day club is all too caught up in reaching for the pot of gold in the vein hope it will happen.

So, no real problem with Wenger and Moyes being honest – that’s one thing, but in one day they have knocked further nails into the coffin of the FA Cup. Surely someone somewhere can get in amongst the Premier League managers and tell them a decent bit of PR will cost them nothing… not only that, what sort of message does it send out to fans? Football is about winning – winning honours, and as yet I have not seen any club have an honours roll that includes finishing 4th in the Premiership – perhaps someone will soon.

Perhaps it is all just a sign of what is wrong with the game we love – I say game, it ceased to be that some time ago. A Carling Cup and FA cup final appearance was never enough for the Fenway boys at Liverpool – they wanted top 4, so Kenny Dalglish was sacked and in came Brendan Rodgers to finish probably lower than last season.

Laughably Spurs did finish 4th but that was not enough for Daniel Levy, who wanted a longer term vision or whatever – anyway, Harry was dispensed with and in came AVB. It is just all so wrong. Whatever your club, ask yourself what memories come to the fore as a fan… it is winning, trophies, the captain holds that cup aloft, silly jigs around the stadium and drunken players atop the bus next day….. Not the board of directors smiling to themselves dreaming of the riches of the Champions League….

This is why I believe that Wenger and Moyes should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute – for disrespecting fans, showing a distinct lack of understanding of what fans want… Arsenal fans ask yourselves – trip to see Bayern Munich, trip to Wembley to try and win a trophy. Everton fans – a qualifier in Vilnius or a trip to Wembley?? For Arsenal fans Wembley is a distant dream again anyhow.

Over to you!



Football

Is Everton’s Nikica Jelavic now the club’s weakest link?

By Stefano on January 26th, 2013

I think it’s time we had a little talk about Nikica Jelavic. In the space of exactly one calendar year he’s gone from single-handedly saving Everton’s attack, to its weakest link.

Now granted, this year’s Everton attack lies much less firmly on his shoulders, and when Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas are healthy, Jelavic becomes the third most important goal scoring threat. But, for most of the year, everybody hasn’t been healthy, and Jelavic, despite showing flashes of his old form, hasn’t stepped up to fill the gap.

It remains unclear why this is the case. Part of it may be trouble adapting to life with Fellaini as the focal point, part of it may be the extended absences of Darron Gibson and his ability to hit diagonal passes into Jelavic’s runs, and part of it may just be the periodic lapses in form that seem to engulf most pure strikers from time to time.

There is, of course, the more dire possibility that last year was the anomaly, that Jelavic is a one trick pony, and that now that the league has figured out his style, Jelavic won’t ever be able to adapt and regain his form.

Still despite all that, most years I would staunchly advocate for running him out there every game. After all, we’re a club with limited resources, and giving a talented out of form striker every opportunity to get his mojo back is a much better use of dollars than relegating him to the bench. But, this is not most years. This is a year where Everton have a legitimate chance at qualifying for Champions League football. In that environment every single point matters, and every point dropped due to Jelavic’s bad form is magnified by the possibility of European dollars lost.

It’s also not like other years because Fellaini’s attacking emergence means that the strikers’ role is much more secondary, a role that chronic under-performer Victor Anichebe is perfect for. It’s no accident that the 24 year old seems to be in the best form of his life in the limited opportunities he’s received. So far this year Big Vic has been reduced to filling in for injured attackers, or being shoe-horned into the right midfield slot that he’s a bad fit for. And under those adverse conditions he’s managed to impress.

I still believe in Jelavic’s talent, but right now that’s not enough. In the modern world of sports there are increasingly few times when the need to win the next game at all costs aligns with the long term strategic goals of a club. This is one of those times.

The fact that Jelavic’s talent might come good again next week or next month or next year might be a good reason to play him in a normal season. But not this year. This year everything must be about the now. And right now Anichebe gives this team a better chance to win.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.



Football

Breaking: French newspaper says Marouane Fellaini will be a Chelsea player by the weekend

By Stefano on January 10th, 2013

Some bad news for United, Arsenal and, let’s not forget, Everton fans. French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that the Blue’s talismanic midfielder Marouane Fellaini could be a Chelsea player by the end of the week.

The report, which has also made the BBC sports news , is that that the 25-year old will sign a five-year deal with the club, for a fee of £22m. He will earn £4m a year.

It has been widely reported that the player has a £22 million transfer trigger fee and it seems that Chelsea are prepared to meet it.

Fellaini has made a total of 155 appearances for Everton, scoring 29 goals. His form this year has been scintillating.

Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer but it seems unlikely that Arsenal would match the asking price. With the move seemingly imminent will Fergie make his move now?



Football

Would Frank Lampard leave Chelsea for another Premiership club? Everton? Man United? Arsenal?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

So it appears that Frank Lampard is on his way out of Chelsea. The departure of the 34 year old midfielder, who has been at the club for 11 years, has a whiff of ravens leaving the Tower of London about it. But his exit from the Blues was pretty much confirmed at the weekend with the player expected to depart in the summer.

But where will Frank be off to next? According to Goal today he isn’t short of offers. The website says that Everton have already had an offer rejected and that Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are among the clubs who have asked to be kept informed of the 34-year-old’s situation. The Daily Mail is running the story too.

At first glance it seems unlikely that the ultra loyal Lampard would ever go and play for one of Chelsea’s rivals. However, he does want to continue playing and, according to Goal again has ruled out a stint in Italy or Spain.

The obvious destination for the player would then be the MLS following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

The key question though is does the player think his carer at a top level is finished? And is now the right time to head west? Given his time again would Beckham have moved to the MLS when he did when he arguably had at least a couple of years when he could have played in a premium European league? Lampard is older than Beckham was when he moved to the Galaxy, but the Chelsea player seems very fit, not too lacking in speed or agility and certainly still has a keen eye for as goal.

Maybe it is due to diet, or better injury management, but over footballers seem to be playing longer and older players are more in demand than they used to be. Van Persie went for £25 million while nudging 30, and Arsenal may be about to spend £16 million on a 31 year old. At United Scholes and Giggs, who are closer to 40, seem to be going on forever.

Lampard might be too ‘True Blue’ to consider signing for one of Chelsea’s direct rivals, but then again he knows he will have one last big pay day and maybe money might trump sentimental loyalty. And would the move to United be so bad? Fergie apparently would sign the player tomorrow and the way in which the United boss has extended the careers of several of his players might swing it.

The other alternative would be a return to his first club West Ham. With Cole now at the club and move to the Olympic Stadium in the offing I wonder if Frank might see the East London club as a project that he could help develop.

Pic Mark Freeman (Wikipedia)



Football

Lewis Holtby interesting Liverpool and Arsenal

By Stefano on December 27th, 2012

Well Schalke might have tied down one of major stars to a new deal in the guise of Klaas Jan Hunteklaar, but now they need to work hard to keep another of their key players at Gelsenkirchen.

According to Goal 22year old midfielder Lewis Holtby has decided against renewing his contract with the Bundesliga club and is eyeing up a move to the Premiership.

Holtby is high on the list of targets of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer (Holtby showed good form against Arsenal in the Champions League) and was linked with the player in November.

The German star, who has an English father, would be free to leave Schalke in the summer under the Bosman ruling and so a move in the January window seems a very real possibility.

Holtby, who is apparently an Everton fan, was reported to have demanded almost £5 million a year to commit to Schalke. The player’s agent Markus Noack rubbished those rumours, telling Goal.com that such a figure had been “plucked from the air”.

Pic PA



music, News, Sport, Sports

Is Everton’s Leighton Baines the footballer with the best music taste? His top albums of 2012 revealed – Tame Impala, Richard Hawley and more!

By Gerald Lynch on November 30th, 2012

Everton and England footballer Leighton Baines may have just revealed himself as the player with the best taste in music, after revealing his top albums of 2012 on the club’s website.

The defender picked Dr John’s “Locked Down” as his album of the year, saying he was impressed by The Black Key’s Dan Auerbach who had produced the album.

Baines also picked Richard Hawley’s “Standing on Sky’s Edge” as another of his favourite records of the year, rounding off his top album list with choice cuts from Jack White, Paul Weller, Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan, The XX, Neil Young, Mark Lanegan, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power and Eugene McGuinness.

Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerisim’ is one of Everton defender Leighton Baines’s albums of 2012

Baines had particularly strong praise for “Lonerism” by rising stars Tame Impala saying that the album “builds on the psychedelic sound that Innerspeaker possessed and while still full of distortion, fuzz and effects, it is also more melodic and the songwriting is improved from Kevin Parker, whose multi-tracked vocals are very Lennon-esque.”As for debut albums, Baines went for Toy, Melody’s Echo Chamber and By The Sea, while picked out Haim, Savages and The Wicked Whispers as ones to watch in 2013.

It’s a refreshingly current and tasteful pick from Baines, whose indie taste sets him apart from the dance and hip-hop fans that make up the majority of professional footballers. Having said that, we remember a time when all footballers were obsessed with Phil Collins, so basically anything is an improvement over that.

Baines joins the slim ranks of footballers with equally good taste in music, who include retired ex-West Ham defender and Scotland star Christian Daily (who had his own band and counted Weezer as one of his favourite groups) and Graeme Le Saux, who revealed Joe Jackson’s “It’s Different For Girls” as the first record he ever bought. Pat Nevin was a big The The fan too; seems the Scots are the footballing nation with the best musical taste then!

What do you reckon of Baines choices? Does he really have the best musical taste in football? While we’re on the subject, check out Brandish’s top debut albums of the year, and our favourite singer/songwriter records of 2012 too.




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