Author Archives: Alex Scott

Alexander has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Salford City to win promotion – Agree

Having just been promoted into the Football League, with the wealth currently behind Salford City, you would expect that they would want to again be competing at the right end of League Two in the 2019/20 season.

With some big names already attracted to the Peninsula Stadium while the club was playing in the Vanarama National League, we can probably expect even more making the trip to Salford during the upcoming season.

This early on in the window we have already seen Salford attract a number of good players from the National League, but they’ve also signed multiple players from teams higher up the football league pyramid and abroad. The Ammies attracted Richie Towell a midfielder from Premier League Brighton on a free transfer and, Oscar Threlkeld from Belgian club Waasland-Beveren who has spent time in League One with Plymouth Argyle.

With a number of signings already made, we took a look at where if anywhere, is left for Salford City to strengthen going into their first ever Football League campaign.

Squad Depth

The size of the squad that Salford currently have isn’t uncommon in the National League, we would expect a few of those players to leave on free transfers following the clubs promotion. Those that do stay will get game time but the quality of the squad outside of the starting XI is an area that Salford will have to improve, as at present a couple of injuries to some starters could see them struggle.

Second Striker

If Salford wants to fight at the right end of League Two, they need another goal scorer. Obviously, they currently have Adam Rooney who we imagine will keep scoring goals for fun if he stays fit. But second top scorer Rory Gaffney who does have experience in the football league isn’t what you would call a prolific goalscorer at this level, having never broken into double figures in a season in the Football League.

Full Back

Full back was a weakness for Salford last season, playing with some very attacking fullbacks that they often got away with in the National League. But in League Two they won’t get away with that, Salford City have signed both left and right backs going into the new season, maybe some more cover in what was their weakest position wouldn’t be a bad thing

Gannon has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Stockport to win Double Promotions

After winning the Vanarama National League North last season, Jim Gannon will have his hands full, should he want to compete for a double promotion next season.

The National League North Manager of the Year’s team narrowly won the league, beating Chorley by a single point on the final day. With their position in the top flight of Non-League guaranteed. All eyes will have turned to next season, and just how far Jim Gannon can take County.

In Gannon, County certainly has a manager with enough pedigree to take them back into the Football League. With the manager having experience higher up the pyramid, and even in European competition. With this experience in the game, Gannon will certainly have the contacts to help with recruitment.

Since promotion, the overhaul of the squad at Stockport has already begun, with 9 players leaving the club and 10 arriving – either on loan or on free transfers. Despite this turnaround, we believe there are still some areas that Stockport County need to address if they are to be fighting at the right end of the National League next season.

Goals from the rest of the team

Despite having three strikers in the top scorer’s list, Stockport only finished fourth highest in the goals-for charts. Therefore, the only conclusion is that last season, the team was too reliant on their top three goalscorers, and the rest of the squad didn’t chip in with the odd goals.

If they want to compete at the right end of the National League, others will have to get on the scoresheet. They certainly cannot be so reliant on Matthew Warburton, especially as he’s now left for Northampton Town.

First choice goalscorer

As mentioned previously top scorer Matthew Warburton has left Stockport for Northampton, and as of yet, they haven’t replaced him. They have Nyal Bell from Gateshead, however last season he didn’t set the National League alight goalscoring wise. What the squad at Stockport is missing is a 20 goal a season striker, sadly however there isn’t a great deal of them around without spending a small fortune.

Experience

Currently, Stockport County’s squad is full of experience in the lower divisions. However, if you look at squads around them, especially at the top end of the Vanarama National League. They are filled with players that have experience in the Football League. They bring the right aura of professionalism and experience, to take the club to take that next level.

Opinion: Bolton Wanderer’s must take two options following retained list

After all the other things that have gone on behind the scenes at Bolton, the club has now published a ‘Retained List’ of 14 players.

This list includes third-year scholars, meaning that as well as the first team squad being decimated, the youth set-up that arguably the club should be building around for the upcoming season due to their financial constraints, has also been near enough destroyed. With the clubs top prospects such as Harry Brockbank out of a contract.

The reason that most of these players contracts have expired, is that while the club is in administration till at least Friday, when, barring no hiccups, the new owners will be announced. So you would hope that at least some players will resign after then, but it doesn’t look very promising with other clubs circling and cherry picking players.

Even some of the players on the retained list are targets for other clubs, such as Goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and Midfielder Erhun Oztumer. Meaning that should these players leave, at least the club will get a fee that hopefully under the new ownership would go back into the squad.

If you are looking at the bright side, at least Bolton has some players remaining, a nucleus to build a team around for League One. Should all of that 14 stay, then add a few free agents and loan signings, plus maybe the new owners will splash a little cash then Bolton will at least be able to field a team and compete.

But with other teams getting their business done early, it is seeming more and more likely that unless Bolton can spend some money and attract good players. Then the 12 point deduction to start the season may just be one thing too many for the new owners.

The news may be more promising after Friday when hopefully, a few more players can resign for the club to get back to us then.

Daniel James brings two missing ingredients to Manchester United

The first signing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as Manchester United boss has gone through, and it’s 21 Year Old Daniel James from Swansea.

The youngster signed a 5-year deal at Old Trafford and cost the club £15 million pounds, this move comes after very nearly moving to Leeds United of the Championship on deadline day in January.

Despite only having his breakthrough season in 2018-19, Welshman James quickly grew a reputation as one of the top players at Swansea and the man to watch, scoring 5 goals in 38 appearances and assisting many more.

It was only this year that James made his international debut for Wales, scoring on his competitive debut against Slovakia in Group E of Euro 2020 Qualifying. Since his debut, James has gone on to become a regular in the side.

With a club that has a long and storied reputation for developing young talents such as Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay. James has earned himself a great move in order to keep developing and, get himself to the highest level of world football.

Given that the move is official and all have been announced, we took a look at two things that Manchester United will get from their new signing that perhaps they had been missing…

Pace and Power

We all knew this was coming, and we’ve all seen the videos, the young Welshman is similar to International teammate Gareth Bale. He is lightning quick off the mark and has very good all-round speed. Giving him the ability to be devastating during counter attacks and when running at players.

James gives a great option out on the wing, as a player that can turn the game on its head in seconds due to his pace and acceleration. We don’t think that United have had this kind of player for a long time.

Work Ethic

You see it in the media frequently, United players such as Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez frequently getting criticized for their lack of work, and this is something that you won’t see from James.

There are videos all over the internet of him running the length of the pitch, granted it doesn’t take him long, to help out his team in both attack and defence – hunting down attackers who think they are through on goal from his position out on the wing.

Opinion: Why is Bassini still in the Bolton Wanderers mix!?

After reading that one party had dropped out of trying to buy Bolton, meaning they had 5 bids instead of 6. I was really hoping for the clubs sake that it was Bassini who had pulled out but sadly that is not the case.

Laurence Bassini would be a plague on Bolton and I’m not sure why he is even being considered, but here we go. Bassini is the former chairman of Watford and led the club to the brink of financial ruin, having himself been declared bankrupt on three separate occasions. In March 2013 an independent disciplinary commission found Bassini guilty of misconduct and dishonesty over financial dealings on behalf of Watford and, banned him from being involved in a position of authority with any Football League club for three years.

Sadly for Bolton however, Bassini’s ban is up and the man wants back into football. With the deadline of Friday for producing evidence of funds, I really hope that for Bolton’s sake he fails.

I truly believe that it is the desperation of the situation at Bolton, simply to keep the club alive, that has lead to Bassini even being considered to take over this once Premier League club. According to The Bolton News, he is confident his bid will be successful.

Just over a month ago on the 7th of May, Bassini was going to save Bolton before administration hit, however yet when asked to provide proof of funds to the Football League – Bassini failed on multiple occasions. Yet again just a month later he’s back in the running.

Why he is allowed anywhere near a football club I have no idea, and I truly hope for Bolton’s sake they take another offer.

Two Managers Man City Should Look At That Could Fill Pep’s Sabbatical Boots

Sabbatical’s seem to be the ‘in’ thing for managers after their contracts expire at the present, both Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City have revealed that after the expiration of their current deals, they plan to have a break from the stresses of football management.

Guardiola has never spent more than four campaigns in charge of a club and next season will be his fourth at the Manchester City, however, he is under contract until 2021 at the Etihad.

With Guardiola liking to go out at the top of the game similarly to how he did at Barcelona after winning 13 major trophies in four seasons including two Champions League’s, should City win the Champions League next year. I believe we could see the Premier League champions start sweating over their manager. As should Pep want a sabbatical are they really going to make an unhappy manager honour his contract?

The style of management and emotional investment of a number of the top managers at the moment is why, we believe we are seeing a higher number of sabbaticals than ever. As the top managers know they will always be in demand, so are taking year gaps in their career with the understanding that clubs will always be changing their set up in rough periods.

So say Pep does go on sabbatical, who is going to fill his shoes? We had a look and came up with two alternatives…

Mauricio Pochettino

Everyone has been impressed with the steady building job that ‘Poch’ has done at Tottenham Hotspur, taking them from not being able to pip North London rivals Arsenal every season to a third-place finish and the glamour of the Champions League.

Despite his success at Spurs, there is a ceiling at Tottenham financially, imagine Pochettino with the blank chequebook of Manchester City?

The Argentinian has already proven he’s a world class manager, with the right funding and world-class players at City, he could be an ideal replacement for Pep.

Mikel Arteta

Perhaps a bit more a gamble than Pochettino, Mikel Arteta has served as Pep’s number two during his tenure at the Etihad. The Spaniard was heavily linked with the Arsenal job after Arsene Wenger’s departure, making no secret of his desire to be a manager one day.

Therefore perhaps after Pep goes, the student can become the master and Arteta can continue the work of his mentor.

As mentioned earlier, however, given Arteta’s inexperience in management this one would be a massive gamble for the club at the top of the English game and challenging for the European crown too.

Two Attributes That Bolton Wanderer’s Erhun Oztumer Could Bring to Hull City

Another day another big transfer rumour, this time it’s Bolton Wanderers midfielder Erhun Oztumer who is rumoured to be on his way out of the troubled club.

If rumours are to be believed, the man who featured for the Trotters 18 times last season is a wanted man, with Charlton Athletic and Hull City both interested in his services.

Oztumer only joined Bolton in 2018 from Walsall on a free, but with all the issues going on behind the scenes at Bolton they seem to be looking to cash in on the midfielder. With both Hull and Charlton playing their football in the Championship next season, it is realistic that Oztumer may be available for a cut-price fee, and for a man with his experience at this level, it could prove invaluable.

Things aren’t all rosy at Hull City however, manager Nigel Adkins recently turned down a new contract and is set to leave when the current one expires at the end of this month. Therefore, no guarantee’s can be made for Oztumer should he move there, perhaps whoever is brought in will want his own players and it could jeopardize his move.

With Hull looking his likely destination, we took a look at what Oztumer could bring to the mid-table Championship side…

Determination

Although Oztumer isn’t the biggest of players at 5″3, his career has seen him fight his way back into the Pro game, via the fourth division of Turkish football. Therefore, the 28-year-old is constantly fighting to prove to everyone that he belongs and is good enough for the Football League.

Having experienced Non-League football, Oztumer has some of that grit that can only come from playing on mud-baths for next to nothing but the love of the game, something which a few clubs need a little bit more of.

Composure on the ball

Oztumer has a wand of a left foot (YouTube it) is very composed with the ball and can be a tricky player to deal with given his low centre of gravity. Therefore if a team keeps the ball on the floor and plays, he can be a real asset from his attacking midfielder role, moving the entire team forward with one pass or run.

This issue comes when teams starting playing the long ball similar to what has happened at Bolton, at only 5″3 Oztumer will compete, but is never going to be favourite against some of the giants of the Championship such as Ryan Shawcross.

Opinion: Is a Move To Ipswich Town The Wisest Move For Bolton Wanderers’ Harry Brockbank

It seems then like everyone is wanting out at Bolton Wanderers, the latest to be linked with a move away is the 20-year-old defensive prospect, Harry Brockbank.

Despite only making three appearances for struggling Bolton in the Championship last season, a host of Championship and League One clubs are after the young centre back, with Ipswich being the latest link. Ipswich finished bottom of the Championship last season, but are already assembling a good squad to try and rebound straight back into the second flight.

The young defender, who is capable of playing at right back, centre back and defensive midfield, would be a great addition to any squad due to his versatility and raw talent, he is the kind of player that managers love and can build a team around.

After impressing many teams during his Bolton debut against now Premier League Aston Villa, the young full-back can leave the team on a free due to the clubs off-field issues. However, if he wants guaranteed first-team football, then perhaps him staying for one more year at his home side wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It’s a chance to get some more experience under his belt before being a squad player in the same division.

For Ipswich this move would be a great deal, signing a potential star full back for the years to come, get him some game time in League One ready for if they do go back up. Even if they then sold him on, signing the young lad on a free makes business sense.

For Brockbank, I think it all comes down to game time, if whether it be Ipswich or wherever he moves, can guarantee the game time then, by all means, he should go and play his football at the right end of League One. However, if he is just going to be a squad player then perhaps it would better him to stay at Bolton, yes they are likely to go down again due to starting the season on minus 12 points, but at least he is likely to play the vast majority of games.

Opinion: What Should Bolton’s Transfer Strategy be Ahead of Next Season

Next season is simply going to be about rebuilding for Bolton Wanderers, the club was relegated into League One last season and now faces starting the 2019/20 campaign on minus twelve points. Therefore Bolton could very realistically be facing another relegation season.

With a vast amount of players jumping ship and the new owners not being sorted till Friday, it is going to leave a lot of work to be done in not a great deal of time before the first game of the season.

So once the owners are sorted and the club are on a financially sound footing hopefully, then what? Well in our opinion, why not promote the youth? Create a squad from within therefore if one or two make it, the club becomes self-sustaining and hopefully, this kind of disaster will never occur again.

Of course, the club can’t rely entirely on youth as there is slim hope of survival, therefore we would recommend looking at loans and free agents. Furthermore, as Bolton isn’t the only club having financial woes, perhaps although it upsets us to say, they should look at the other clubs in similar situations to themselves and take their better players.

If Bolton can hang on to any of their squad, then that is a bonus in our eyes, as truly we don’t believe there will be many left come the opening day of next season. Next season should be basically a rebirth for the club with a different ethos of promoting youth and then cashing in, similar to that of Crewe, Bolton have amazing facilities from their Premier League days if they can get them back after administration. So why not use them to their fullest and create stars for the future, instead of buying players and spending more money on a short term fix.

‘Man Utd Would Do Very Well To Sign Him’ Twitter Reacts to Van De Beek Links to Manchester United

After everyone saw the success that Ajax had in the Champions League last season, making it all the way to the semi-finals. It was always going to be open season on their young homegrown squad, the latest crop of very talented youngsters to come out of the Dutch club.

With midfielder Frenkie De Jong already signed to Barcelona and, Captain of the side, Matthijs De Ligt being circled by every big club across Europe. The latest of the team rumoured to be attracting interest is Donny Van de Beek, after his agent announced the player fancied a move to Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur.

De Beek has had an impressive campaign, ending the season with 17 goals and 13 assists for Ajax from midfield. His big contributions to the team and his versatility, mean that he is a player most clubs would love to have in their squad.

With this news breaking, we took to Twitter to see what the United fans thought of De Beek potentially moving to Old Trafford…

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