Archive for the ‘Real Madrid’ Category

The majority of plaudits from White Hart Lane this season have gone to Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart and there is no denying both players deserve all the praise they get. However for me, it is Spurs’ Luka Modric that has been the ‘heartbeat’ of everything positive the Lilywhites have done this season, with his determination, range of passing and the odd goal scored, the diminutive Croatian has been a star performer this Premier League season. It is such attributes that have caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, who is looking to replace the now retired Paul Scholes and the Manchester United boss is reportedly readying a £25 million bid for the former Dinamo Zagreb player. If Modric were to leave North London, are there any natural replacements for the influential midfielder?

Charlie Adam

The Blackpool man was subject to a failed deadline day bid by Tottenham in January and Harry Redknapp is supposedly still keen to bring the former Rangers man to White Hart Lane, especially if Modric does seek pastures new. Adam has a more attacking presence to his play than Modric, with Adam’s twelve Premier League goals for Blackpool last season being one of the main things preventing them from being relegated sooner. The Blackpool man was the driving force behind the Tangerine’s play, much like Modric is for Tottenham, and cold easily slot into the Spurs team (with a slight formation adjustment). Tottenham play a 4-4-2 but Adam’s style of play is more suited to a diamond formation, with the Scot playing just behind the forwards, which would mean Sandro playing as an out and out defensive midfielder (much like he does already).

Scott Parker

It seems weird to say but this has been Scott Parker’s ‘coming of age’ season, despite being 30 years old; he has received the international recognition he deserves as well as being named FWA Footballer of the year. The former Charlton midfielder has been praised throughout this season, not just from West Ham fans, for his tenacious style of play and unbelievable work ethic. The midfielder would add a much needed bite to the Tottenham midfielder, something that Jenas, Sandro and Huddlestone don’t bring in abundance, or if any at all. The former Chelsea man is a leader, a fighter and could influence games in the same manner that Modric does.

Lassana Diarra

The Real Madrid midfielder is reportedly available for transfer as Jose Mourinho looks to raise funds for his own transfer spree this summer. I know with the Arsenal and Chelsea connection, many will slate me in the comments below but for me Diarra would be a huge assest to the Spurs side, with his strong play and ability to break up the play. Many believe selling the Frenchman was one of Wenger’s biggest mistakes in recent years, after impressive seasons and performances for Portsmouth and Real Madrid. Diarra is hardly a ‘like for like’ replacement with his more defensive mentality but the former Pompey player can play higher up the field, however my argument for signing Diarra is the balance it would bring to Spurs formation. Last season ‘Arry played a ridiculously attacking formation, at a huge cost to defensive duties, with Diarra in the middle alongside Sandro and Jenas (still think he is useless), would allow Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart more attacking freedom (not sure Bale needs anymore) but VDV carely demonstrated last year his unwillingness to track back, such a formation wouldn’t require him to as much.

Let me know how stupid you think I am for including Diarra at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-T-Blazer/185495024836102

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Everyone is predicting the usual Arsene Wenger transfer activity, making promises that there will be changes but come the final minute of deadline day, Le Professeur will either sign an unknown and lets face it pointless squad player or no-one at all. Like so many transfer windows before, there are potential signings that are ideal for Arsenal and staring Wenger in the face, with fans, ex-players and pundits all calling for the Frenchman to open up the cheque book, but in his usual stubborn way Wenger refuses and Premier League rivals snap up the perfect signing for the Gunners instead. Here are the five players I think the Frenchman should sign, to which he will reply “I did not see them”.

Scott Parker

The West Ham midfielder has stated his desire to return to the Premier League following the Hammers relegation and will face no shortage of admirers, including Tottenham Hotspur. Surely the pleasure of getting one over your fiercest rivals in the transfer market is incentive enough, before you even consider the positives Parker would bring. The former Chelsea midfielder would add all the attributes this current Arsenal squad has been criticised for not having: experience, passion and strength in the middle of the park.

Gonzalo Higuain

Reportedly available for £15 million as Mourinho looks to fund his own transfer spree, Higuain is the perfect striking partner for Robin Van Persie. The Argentinian has an impressive goal scoring record for Real Madrid and has all the attributes of a world class finisher, something Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh seriously lack. The forward would happily share the goal scoring burden that has rested solely on Van Persie in the second half of the season.

Maarten Stekelenberg

Many believe Wojciech Szczesny is the man for Arsenal between the sticks for many years to come, but for me I’m undecided. Making a move for current Ajax goalkeeper Martin Stekelenberg would give Arsenal that world class keeper that have tried to find since Seaman. All the keepers since the Englishman have hardly been household names, Arsenal fans are crying out for a Iker Casillas or Gigi Buffon, someone who has pedigree behind their name, and the Dutchman can offer them that.

Yoann Gourcuff

With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri widely expected to leave this summer, the Lyon midfielder could step in to become that playmaker Arsenal will need. The Frenchman has earnt comparisions to Zinedine Zidane for his passing style and all round ability, with David Ginola claiming that Gourcuff is the best French player of his generation. The former AC Milan player can play in the attacking midfielder role but also as a withdrawn striker, something Arsenal could find very useful with regards to finding the ideal striking partner for Robin Van Persie.

Miguel Veloso

Although Arsenal have Alex Song as their strong defensive midfielder, more than one occasion this season the Cameroonian has gone missing. Veloso would bring consistency with regards to crucial interceptions and forceful tackles, as well as that leadership quality Arsenal have lacked for several seasons. Another bonus of signing the Portugese international is, rather surprisingly, he is a very accomplished left back, so should Gael Clichy leave this summer, the former Benfica player could be a candidate to replace the Frenchman.

Who do you think Wenger should sign http://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-T-Blazer/185495024836102

 

Real Madrid, Arsenal, AC Milan, I could go on. All these teams are without a doubt ‘giants’ of the footballing world. What makes these teams entitled to the title of ‘giant of the footballing world’ though? Real Madrid, for example, haven’t dominated La Liga or rivalled Barcelona for a good three to four years now; Arsenal haven’t won anything for six years (and with each Premier League fixture that passes it is looking more like seven years), and AC Milan have recently been humbled by Champions League débutantes Tottenham Hotspur, not the best advertisement for footballing ‘titans’.

Despite the obvious shortcomings of these teams, they’re still referred to as some of the best teams on the planet with the likes of Barcelona, Champions League Holders Inter Milan and Manchester United. So how are these teams, like so many more, still viewed as great teams despite no recent success?

Numerous teams on the elite ‘list’ have very illustrious and successful histories. Liverpool have won the same amount of league titles as Manchester United, Real Madrid have won the most European Cup titles and Arsenal are still talking about their Invincibles season, but all these clubs still speak of such stats and achievements for two reasons; they have a supreme pride in them, but mainly it is to relive the ‘glory days’ of a bygone era. Surely being great ‘once upon a time’ doesn’t allow you to maintain your superior and elite status amongst the all the footballing clubs out there? Leeds United, for instance, used to be giants of the game, but in more recent years they find themselves flirting with promotion and relegation in the lower leagues on a yearly cycle.

The likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Arsenal all have stadiums over 45,000 capacity and week in, week out have full houses; a terrific fan base is instrumental in maintaining elite status. The fans are at the core of any club, they represent what a club is about. Liverpool supporters create a remarkable noise at Anfield, creating an amazing venue, but then again so to do Celtic fans, and no one ever really classes a Scottish team as one of footballs elites, despite their remarkable past accolades as well.

Nothing can work without solid foundations; a good set-up from pitch-side right down to the tea lady is instrumental in helping a club make a name for itself. A youth system has to be successful in bringing through new talent; Liverpool have recently seen the emergence of Martin Kelly and Jay Spearing, while Arsenal reap the rewards so regularly from their youth set up, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere come to mind. But of course the best example of this is in Barcelona’s La Masia, the youth academy which, year after year, brings through great footballers and which produced no fewer than nine of Spain’s World Cup winning squad. Helping blood the team with future stars is key in maintaining high status in the footballing world.

All the ‘big’ clubs have huge investment; Chelsea and Manchester City have, in recent seasons, propelled themselves on to the elite stage with huge takeovers and are now being bankrolled by billionaires. Despite not having the most illustrious of histories, such teams are being classed as ‘big’ clubs; perhaps the saying is true, ‘money talks’. With UEFA’s new fairplay rules coming in over the money being spent by clubs this may all change, but for now, money is the ultimate divide between being a ‘big’ club and not.

You thought I was finished didn’t you? Well I sort of was, but I haven’t really said anything different or ‘out there’; we all sort of knew these things really. So I got thinking some more; does it ultimately boil down to location? Blackpool are a joy to watch but will never house 60,000 weekly because of where they are. Similarly Celtic won’t ever reach the ‘elite’ standard simply because they play in a country that isn’t huge on football and doesn’t have the strongest league. The same with the likes of Santos in Brazil or Suwon Bluewings in Japan; yet the beauty of these teams is in quite the opposite vein of Man United’s global business, it is in their local meaning being truly embedded in their community; and that my fellow fans is what built football teams from the ground upwards.