arsenal on red alert
Manchester City have announced their centre-back Matija Nastasic as up for sale, putting Arsenal on red alert in the process, reports Metro. The 21 year old is thought to be top of Arsene Wenger’s lists of candidates to replace Thomas Vermaelen, should the Belgian leave the club this summer.
Nastasic has failed to break into the City side with regularity and Manuel Pellegrini does not view the 21 year old as a long-term partner for Vincent Kompany. Despite his lack of first team football last year, however, Arsene Wenger remains a fan of the player who he has been monitoring for some time.
The Gunners have reportedly been tracking Nastasic since he was 16 years old, and now could be the right time to make a move. The defender has been deemed surplus to requirements at City, and there is soon to be a vacancy within the defensive set-up at the Emirates. There is ongoing speculation linking Thomas Vermaelen with either Manchester United or Barcelona, and should the player leave Arsenal then they will find themselves understaffed at the back.
An enquiry into Nastasic’s situation is expected, although it is also believed that the player has other admirers all over Europe. Arsenal will face opposition in the forms of Juventus, Galatasaray and Inter Milan should they enter into the race to sign him, and Wenger will be wary of a bidding war erupting.
Man Utd’s system this season
Bayern sign Reina
The Spanish goalkeeper, who spent last season on loan at Napoli, has signed a three-year deal with the German champions.
He is expected to be the back-up to Manuel Neuer at the Allianz Arena next season.
[BAYERN MANAGER GUARDIOLA ANGRY AFTER SHOCK LOSS]
On the signing of Reina, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on the club's official website: "It reflects what we were looking for. We wanted a goalkeeper who is experienced and established and also has certain footballing qualities."
Reina served as Liverpool's number one for eight seasons following his signing from Villarreal in 2005, but the arrival of Simon Mignolet last summer saw him reunited with former Reds boss Rafael Benitez in Italy.
Benitez was known to be interested in signing the Spain international on a permanent deal, but Napoli refused to meet the £3.95million release clause in his contract and Reina travelled to the United States for Liverpool's pre-season tour following the World Cup.
He will now make a fresh start in Germany, although the 31-year-old will have his work cut out to dislodge Neuer, perhaps the best keeper in the world at the moment, from the number one spot.
Reina came through the ranks at Barcelona, but could never fully establish himself at the Nou Camp and moved to the Yellow Submarine in 2002, spending three seasons with the club before his move to the Premier League.
While at Anfield, Reina won the FA Cup, League Cup and European Super Cup and added the Coppa Italia to his list of medals in Naples last season.
Reina will be officially presented to the club's fans at an open day at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.Reina should be the last new face to arrive at the record German champions this summer with Rummenigge saying "at most" one or two young players may be loaned out.
He added: "That's because we would like them to get more match practice."
Premier League signings to take a bow
When the clock strikes 11 p.m. BST on Sept. 1, it will be the moment when all 20 clubs in England's top division will have completed their summer dealings. Despite the World Cup, business so far has been brisk.
While familiar names like Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba are making returns, several players are beginning their England careers. We have selected the 10 most intriguing arrivals set to make their Premier League debut.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Signed from: Barcelona
Fee: 35 million pounds
For the second summer in a row, Arsene Wenger has landed perhaps the biggest coup of the transfer window. After being accused of reticence for so long, Arsenal's manager has developed an eye for seizing the offcut of a major transfer. Mesut Ozil was snared once Real Madrid had to pay for Gareth Bale, and the same pattern was followed when Barcelona needed 75 million pounds to buy Luis Suarez. Sanchez is not quite Suarez, the player Wenger wanted last year, but his ability to play across the front line and bulwarking energy should hugely increase Arsenal's attacking potency. The Chilean, rather overshadowed by Lionel Messi, never quite convinced at Barcelona, but his last season in Catalonia was undoubtedly his best. His final goal for Barca, a thrilling strike from an impossible angle against Atletico Madrid, provided a fine example of his talent.
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
Signed from: Atletico Madrid
Fee: 32 million pounds
Diego Costa underperformed at the World Cup, but his displays in 2013-14 should be enough to strike fear into Chelsea's opponents this season.
A year ago, Liverpool felt they were in with a chance of landing Costa. Instead, he chose to stay at Atletico, where his performances took him beyond Brendan Rodgers' reach, since Costa had already joined Chelsea by the time Suarez was sold. Chelsea had the deal -- long since signposted -- wrapped up by the time Costa was playing at the World Cup for Spain. His performance in his native Brazil raised a question mark against the player whom Jose Mourinho hoped could answer the striking problem he suffered so publicly last season. However, should Costa come close to replicating the form that inspired Atletico to winning La Liga, Chelsea might prove unstoppable, especially as in Cesc Fabregas they have added a proven Premier League star who will be Costa's prime supplier of assists.
Muhamed Besic (Everton)
Signed from: Ferencvaros
Fee: 4.8 million pounds
Much of Everton's summer business has been spent nailing down the team that performed so well for Roberto Martinez last season. Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku are now on permanent deals, while Ross Barkley signed a new long-term contract. Besic, meanwhile, looks like a typical Martinez signing. His versatility -- capable of playing centre-back and as a midfield anchorman -- fits the profile required for a squad always thin on resources. Martinez needs someone other than John Stones to back up the experience of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin and support Barry. Bosnia-Herzegovina's youngest-ever international, Besic is a player whose time in German football -- he was born in Berlin -- was ended after a serious bust-up with Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink, which again is a classic Martinez approach; the Spaniard loves to polish a rough, talented diamond.
Emre Can (Liverpool)
Signed from: Bayer Leverkusen
Fee: 9.75 million pounds
Rodgers is a man with an eye for fashion, and in landing a German midfielder, he made a voguish coup. Can began his career in the Bayern Munich academy that churned out Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger for the World Cup winner, but his playing style most resembles "Schweini" with added muscle. Plenty of it, in fact. Can has already become something of a Liverpool folk hero for Saturday night's barge into AC Milan's Mario Balotelli and an excellent measured pass. There was something of a young Steven Gerrard in that vignette, which, with the captain's ability to regularly impose himself undoubtedly fading, may be just what Liverpool need. Of all Liverpool's summer additions, Can, 20, looks capable of the deepest impact.
Lazar Markovic (Liverpool)
Signed from: Benfica
Fee: 20 million pounds
Rodgers also has an appetite for signing wingers. Having been rebuffed in January's ill-fated attempt to get Yevhen Konoplyanka from FC Dnipro, Rodgers readjusted his sights on Markovic. He was eventually signed from Benfica, the former giant that now makes its money as a farm for talent to be sold on to richer leagues. Markovic, who was expected to join Chelsea last year from Partizan, instead alerted other suitors with a promising first season at the Estadio da Luz. He has pace to burn and is able to play off either flank, so Rodgers has a player he believes can interchange with Raheem Sterling in supporting Daniel Sturridge. Another 20-year-old, Markovic is not a player without rough edges; he missed out on Benfica's Europa League final through suspension, having been sent off in the semifinal for a fight with Juventus' Mirko Vucinic that took place after Markovic had been substituted.
Willy Caballero (Manchester City)
Signed from: Malaga
Fee: 6 million pounds
Willy Caballero will provide current Manchester City No. 1 Joe Hart with some competition.
Financial fair play reduces Manchester City's hand in this summer's transfer business. Brazilian Fernando adds to their rotation of defensive midfielders, while Frenchman Eliaquim Mangala fills a gap at centre-back. Neither is a spectacular signing of the type the club has made its habit since 2008. Caballero, however, was a purchase to raise eyebrows. Manuel Pellegrini's early-season dissatisfaction with Joe Hart in 2013-14 was quelled once the England keeper regained his consistency, but should those levels again drop, Caballero is a much higher-grade replacement than Costel Pantilimon could ever prove. The Argentine is a Pellegrini loyalist, having worked with the Chilean at Malaga with they reached the Champions League last eight in 2012-13. As his perseverance with Martin Demichelis revealed, Pellegrini likes to have such players on his team.
Remy Cabella (Newcastle United)
Signed from: Montpellier
Fee: 10 million pounds
Newcastle's 2013-14 season is widely regarded as being split into two halves: the heady days that preceded the January sale of Yohan Cabaye to PSG, and the turgidity that followed. As a midfielder who provides a similar goal threat, Cabella was linked as a replacement for his compatriot but did not arrive in January. Instead, his arrival, alongside those of Siem de Jong, Daryl Janmaat and Emmanuel Riviere, has led to a revival of optimism on Tyneside; owner Mike Ashley did not bring in a single permanent signing in the entire campaign. Cabella was an unused member of France's World Cup squad, but his promise has been in evidence since he was a starlet of Montpellier's Ligue 1 title-winning campaign. Toon fans hope this French recruit can be as influential as the departure they still lament.
Brown Ideye (West Brom)
Signed from: Dynamo Kiev
Fee: 10 million pounds
"I don't know much about Brown Ideye. I've not seen him live, but people we trust have done," said West Brom coach Alan Irvine of his club's keynote summer signing. "It's not necessarily something that is detrimental to me not to have seen him live, though ideally I would like to because that's how I like to do my work." Such words rang alarm bells about the goings-on at the Hawthorns; Ideye is believed to have been signed for 10 million pounds on the say-so of new director of football Terry Burton, while Irvine had seen the Nigerian striker play on a DVD only. The striker was something of a hero in the Ukraine and was a surprise absentee from Stephen Keshi's World Cup squad, but Irvine has done little to convince that a united ship was behind the new arrival.
Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
Signed from: Athletic Bilbao
Fee: 28.85 million pounds
Ander Herrera appears to have bedded down quickly at Manchester United during the preseason.
David Moyes was last heard of taking a July golfing holiday in Bermuda. The preseason performances of Herrera may have the former boss wishing that he is swallowed up by the Triangle. The Spaniard proved symbolic of Manchester United's transfer failings last summer. While United didn't meet his buyout clause on deadline day, they signed Marouane Fellaini instead. No such mistake was made in June, and under Louis van Gaal, United already look capable of the type of midfield creativity that withered amid Moyes' linear thinking. Herrera plays with buzz, works the angles and shoots powerfully from long distance. United still require recruits in other departments to be anywhere near reclaiming their primacy, but a midfielder of inventive vision had been the player most obviously lacking.
Enner Valencia (West Ham)
Signed from: Pachuca
Fee: 12 million pounds
Deja vu all over again at Upton Park. Andy Carroll is injured and probably won't be back until Christmas shopping beckons. At least this time West Ham have signed a striker who may be able to play instead of the ponytailed Jonah. Last season, they often played as if Carroll was in the team, even when he wasn't; long balls drifted to an invisible target. Valencia's goals at the World Cup for Ecuador suggested a striker of considerable ability, and whose style would be suited to Sam Allardyce. The initial plan was for Valencia to augment Carroll, but instead he replaces him. Consoling for Hammers is that Valencia cannot be nearly as bad a stand-in as Modibo Maiga.
Chelsea dilemma could make or break Mourinho – and it’s his own fault
The question of whether Thibaut Courtois or Petr Cech start in goal for Chelsea this season is a very, very difficult decision to take and one that ultimately could make or break Jose Mourinho.
It is an extremely complex problem to solve and if he gets it wrong, Mourinho could leave himself open to causing big problems in the dressing room. By allowing the issue to drag on for so long, he has already lit the blue touch paper.
This is a big moment in Chelsea’s recent history. A real point upon on which dynasties can turn. Mourinho has to get this one right or he could be feeling the repercussions for some time.
[HOW WILL CHELSEA LINE UP THIS SEASON?]
I’m sure Mourinho wants Cech around because he has been such a loyal servant to him in the past. Mourinho likes to surround himself with his allies. You can see that with the deal to re-sign Didier Drogba. Drogba has declined as a player but as a personality and a right-hand man, he has value.
Cech has been a regular for years and years and done everything with Chelsea. He’s risked his health at times and been hugely consistent for the club. You could argue they owe him a starting role.
However, if you pick players on form then the decision goes in favour of Courtois, given the way he has performed in his past couple of seasons at Atletico. In the last season alone, he won La Liga, reached the Champions League final and performed at the World Cup.
Now he has returned to Chelsea, he will not be happy if the season starts and he finds himself on the bench. Rightly so. Getting the odd appearance in the League Cup means nothing when you have been playing in front of huge crowds every week and winning trophies.
Whichever way Mourinho goes, it’s going to upset one player. What he absolutely cannot do is rotate them: it just doesn’t work with goalkeepers. He has to take a decision – and it has to have been made already.
Neither of these players should ever be back-up. Can you imagine Cech warming up Courtois before a game as the Belgian prepares to don the gloves? Or vice versa? It just cannot happen. Neither of these two are personalities like Mark Schwarzer, Mr Nice Guy who is just happy to be there. They are bigger and better than that.
Cech is only 32 and in theory he could have 10 more years as a keeper; it’s not as if he is on the way out. In truth, I cannot understand why Mourinho has made a rod for his own back by bringing back Courtois from his loan spell. If he believed in Petr Cech, why did he do that?
Bringing Courtois back loaded a gun. And it was completely avoidable. Courtois would have been happy to go back to Atletico and spend another season on loan with the Spanish champions. He would have gone back a hero and Chelsea could have put the decision off for another year. Everyone would have benefitted.
It was a crazy decision. Courtois wasn’t needed this season. If anyone was needed it was Romelu Lukaku and look what happened there. If Courtois doesn’t play this season, then we might be seeing him join his international team-mate in leaving Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho has left himself with a big, big problem. I’m sure there will be many a journalist sharpening their pen and waiting for the first game of the season to see who gets picked. All the TV cameras will be focused on the bench to see how the substitute likes it. I can guarantee one thing: they won’t be happy.
2014-15 forwards' value assessed
Sturridge scored 21 goals in 29 Premier League games last season.
The transfer window remains open until Aug. 31, so the list of available players is subject to change, but here are some thoughts on player values, beginning with the star men: forwards.
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool: 9.5 (last season: 9.3)
Sturridge is the highest-priced fantasy forward but is without Luis Suarez, who took defenders away from the Englishman and provided assists. Liverpool plays Manchester City and Tottenham in Weeks 2 and 3 so it might pay to wait for an easier stretch of games, beginning Sept. 13, before bringing him in.
Robin van Persie, Manchester United: 9.2 (9.9)
At times the Dutchman looked good in the World Cup, but was exhausted by the end. MUFC's first nine games have eight seemingly "soft" opponents.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United: 9.4 (10.7)
He scored for England in Brazil and has been on fire in preseason, with four goals in two games thus far, but could bickering between the stars about who will captain the team be an issue?
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal: 9.0 (9.8)
He was runner-up in fantasy points for forwards last season and will play alongside Alexis Sanchez. The opening schedule is not as easy as Manchester United's or Chelsea's, but Giroud is attractive at that price.
Wilfried Bony, Swansea: 7.4 (7.9)
With Michu gone, the front line is Bony's, and he should score more than the 16 goals he had last season. Of course, should he move before the end of the window, that outlook could change.
Rickie Lambert, Liverpool: 7.5 (8.0)
He is an opportunistic scorer and could link up nicely in the Reds' attack. Loic Remy not heading to Anfield is good news for the 32-year-old Englishman's playing time.
Edin Dzeko, Manchester City: 8.0 (unchanged)
He had as many points as Sergio Aguero last season and always produces, though an immediate buy is not recommended because of City's early schedule.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham: 7.9 (7.8)
You never know which Adebayor will turn up each game. He is a very frustrating player for fantasy managers and, to boot, has missed significant time in preseason.
Sergio Aguero, Manchester City: 9.1 (10.4)
The Argentinean is injury-prone and City's first five games feature four tough opponents.
Connor Wickham, Sunderland: 5.4 (4.9)
He scored five goals in three games at the end of the season to help save the Black Cats from relegation.
Peter Odemwingie, Stoke: 5.8 (6.2)
Having impressed at the Britannia Stadium in the second half of this past season, the Nigerian was terrific in the World Cup.
Mame Biram Diouf, Stoke: 5.7 (new)
The former Manchester United player brings goal-scoring potential from his time in Germany.
Graziano Pelle, Southampton: 5.6 (new)
The 6-foot-4 Italian transfer scored 23 goals in 27 games in the Eredivisie and bolsters the much-changed Saints.
Stevan Jovetic, Manchester City: 6.3 (5.7)
After an injury-hit first campaign in England, the Montenegrin has sparkled in preseason.
Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal: 9.0 (new)
He scored 27 goals and had 19 assists last season for club and country, but it remains to be seen how well he will link up with Giroud.
Costa has found the net in preseason, but how will he fare in the Premier League?
Diego Costa, Chelsea: 9.0 (new)
After 27 goals for Atletico Madrid last season, he was not impressive in the World Cup. To be determined is how -- or whether -- he will play with Didier Drogba.
Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea: 8.0 (8.8)
The signing of Didier Drogba makes it likely Lukaku is loaned out again or sold. A return to Everton would make him a recommended pick.
Lazar Markovic, Liverpool: 6.5 (new)
The 20 million-pound Serbian comes with hopes of filling some of the void left by Suarez.
Jozy Altidore, Sunderland: 5.1 (unchanged)
The American is great for his country but a disaster for the Black Cats.
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa, 6.0 (7.0)
His last double-figure season for goals was 2009-10.
Roberto Soldado, Tottenham: 6.5 (6.8)
Except for penalty kicks, he seemed to play without a clue most of last season.
Peter Crouch, Stoke: 6.6 (7.2)
Crouch was the 10th most-picked fantasy forward, but Stoke now has several new (and better) strikers.
Other question marks due to a lack of playing time:
Alvaro Negredo, Manchester City; Lukas Podolski, Arsenal; Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, Manchester United