Tag Archives: Jadon Sancho

Who is Jude Bellingham?

Jadon Sancho. Lautaro Martinez. Erling Haaland. We see plenty of names being branded about as the next best young players but one player that has flown into the public eye recently is Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham.

The 16 year-old turns 17 on the 29th and has amassed 33 Championship appearances since 2019, scoring four goals. He caught the attention of FourFourTwo magazine when he scored the winner for the Birmingham U23’s side against Nottingham Forest at the ripe age of 15. By March 2019, he’d made 10 development side appearances and bagged three goals. He was also being linked with top clubs around Europe, Borussia Dortmund being the most talked about name at first.

Bellingham then signed a two-year scholarship with Birmingham to begin in July 2019. He was part of the first-team squad in their pre-season training, played and scored in some pre-season friendlies and was subsequently given the number 22 shirt for the 2019/20 campaign .

On the 6th August 2019, Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever first-team player when he started an EFL cup tie with Portsmouth. At the age of 16 years and 38 days, he beat the record of 16 years 139 days that Trevor Francis had previously held. The Englishman also captained England U15’s in the 17/18 season and went on to do the same for the U16’s by the end of 2018.

In the current season he has played 33 times, as mentioned before and has played a mix of wing and central midfield positions. He has the physical presence needed for a central midfielder and has a good eye for a pass. For a young player he seems very composed and plays with a maturity beyond his years.

With four goals from midfield, you could also say he has a decent eye for goal, which at 16 is highly impressive. The Championship is a notoriously difficult league to play in and with him being able to establish himself, you would have to say the hype surrounding his talents is justified.

Pep Clotet and the club staff feel he is most suited to an advanced central midfield role.

Speaking in October, Clotet said:

“The only difference between a player who is 16 and a player that has a lot of years as a pro is the way they handle the load.

“He’s handling it very well at the moment and he’s a strong player so I don’t see why he can’t hack it.”

His performances have certainly garnered a lot of attention from Europe’s top clubs, with Bayern Munich now entering the fray alongside Dortmund and Manchester United. There were reports in January linking the youngster with a £50 million move to United, a deal that never seemed likely.

However, it does bring up the topic of English players going for a certain premium. As £50 million for a player who had only played half a Championship season seems very steep.

Bellingham will be able to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 on Monday – he earns a measly £145 per week at Birmingham, which means clubs have just a few days to convince him to join them. Bayern Munich have made an effort to potentially hijack a deal to Dortmund, with Bellingham choosing the latter over United because of the success Jadon Sancho has had.

It would be difficult to see where he fits in at Bayern, whereas Dortmund you could assume Bellingham would get more playing time. Wherever his career path takes him, you can be sure that we haven’t heard the last of this starlet.

Football world responds to the death of George Floyd

In a recent turn of events in the United States of America amid pandemic, the racist events have resurfaced due to Geroge Floyd’s death. Geroge Floyd was an American-African who died due to the atrocity of white policemen in Minneapolis. He was hand-cuffed and was held around his neck in a kneeling position for around nine minutes which resulted in the death of Floyd. This has sparked the violent protests across the United States.

The protesters upped their ante on Tuesday which resulted in a complete shutdown of lights in White House.

Supporting the fight against racism, footballers and their clubs have come out to show their collective support for George Floyd. Not only football, but the sport stars across the globe like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Tiger Woods, Coco Gauff have also joined the protest.

Showing their support, Borussia Dortmund stars Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi displayed “Justice for George Floyd” while celebrating their goals against Paderborn. Similarly, Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram kneeled during his celebration. These actions have irked the German Football Association and are investigating the incident.

However, the investigation from the German Football body made International football organisation, FIFA, interfere with the matter. FIFA president, Gianni Infantino asked the FA’s to applaud their players for their support against racism rather than handling the sanctions on them.

Players have taken the incident personally as many are targeted with racial abuse across Europe and the globe. The Football Association in England have stated that they will take a “common sense” approach towards the players if they are found imitating any action supporting the anti-racism movement.

Here is how the football players and football clubs across the globe have come out in the support of George Floyd:

 

Paul Pogba

 
 

Premier League

 

Marcus Rashford

 
 

Jadon Sancho

 
 
 
 

Liverpool

 

Arsenal

 

Bayern Munich

 

Kylian Mbappe

 

Frenkie de Jong

 

Serge Aurier

 

Lionel Messi

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Layvin Kurzawa

 

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich Preview – Title Decider?

Borussia Dortmund host their bitter rivals Bayern Munich on Tuesday in a showdown that could decide who will go on and be crowned Bundesliga champions.

Both sides will go into Tuesday’s encounter on the back of victories at the weekend. Dortmund travelled to Wolfsburg on Saturday and completed a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi, to keep the pressure on leaders Bayern, who responded later in the day with a 5-2 victory at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

In a pulsating game, Bayern took a two-goal half time lead thanks to goals from Leon Goretzka and Thomas Muller. Shortly after the break Robert Lewandowski made it 3-0, before Frankfurt staged a fightback, scoring twice in three minutes through defender Martin Hinteregger, the first a volley and the second a header from a corner.

However, any hopes the visitors had of completing a stunning comeback were thwarted when Alphonso Davies made it 4-2 before Hinteregger scored at the wrong end to give Bayern a four-point lead at the top of the table going into Tuesday’s crunch game.

Bayern Munich will go into Tuesday’s game having won 16 of their last 17 games in all competitions. Dortmund, since the return of German top-flight football have completed back to back victories over Schalke and Wolfsburg.

Dortmund will be looking for revenge on Tuesday evening after slumping to a 4-0 defeat against Bayern in the reverse fixture back in November. Both these giant German sides have not played out a goalless draw in the league since March 2016.

It will be no surprise to anybody to tell you that Lewandowski, has been a thorn in Dortmund’s side, scoring 10 goals in his last seven appearances in all competitions against his former club.

Bayern, should they win at Dortmund, would surely be on course for their eighth straight Bundesliga title, so the pressure to snatch victory falls on the shoulders of the hosts.

Normally the match would have The Yellow Wall supporting BVB, but with the now familiar sight of the stands empty, there will be no significant advantage for Dortmund.

Key players to watch

Lewandowski and Erling Haaland will certainly be two of the main players to watch out for on Tuesday. Haaland, has already netted 41 goals in total this season, with 13 coming from 12 appearances in a Dortmund shirt since moving from Red Bull Salzberg in the winter. Guerreiro is in prolific form for the hosts along with Eden Hazard’s brother Thorgan.

Aside from Lewandowski, Bayern have winners on the pitch in the shape of Muller and Ivan Perisic alongside former Arsenal youngster Gnabry who is excelling in a Bayern shirt this season, having already banged in 11 goals.

All eyes on Tuesday will be on Jadon Sancho, who has recently been struggling with a groin strain, starting the last two matches on the bench. Sancho, came on to set up Dortmund’s second goal on Saturday and certainly has strong claims to start on Tuesday.

The hosts may have to be without the services of defender Matts Hummels who left the field on Saturday at half-time with a heel problem. If he does miss out, this will be a big blow to Dortmund as Hummels is a player who holds this fine Dortmund side together.

Prediction

Don’t expect a classic on Tuesday, as this could well be a cagy affair. Our prediction, for what it is worth would be a narrow Bayern Munich win.

How to view

Fans in the UK can watch this game live on BT Sport on Tuesday with a 5.30 pm kick-off time.

Article written by Peter Moore

Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04 Preview

All eyes will be on the restart of the German Bundesliga this weekend as it is set to become the first major European league to return to action following the global pandemic.

Among those fixtures set to take place feature the Revier Derby, which is held between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.

Before the postponement of the league, Lucien Favre’s Dortmund team were sitting four points behind reigning champions Bayern Munich and will be looking to close the gap to just a single point before their title rivals play Union Berlin on Sunday.

Since David Wagner took over at Schalke, the former Huddersfield Town and Dortmund coach has turned them from potential relegation candidates to Champions League hopefuls.

The team known as the Royal Blues, however, come into this one on a poor run of form having not won a Bundesliga match since the middle of January and suffered 5-0 losses against the likes of Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig.

The last match Dortmund played was their Champions League match against Paris Saint Germain, where the ultimately suffered a 4-2 aggregate loss. They did win their last league match at Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 on the 7 March.

Previous successes and meetings

Dortmund have had the most recent success out of the two clubs having won five Bundesliga titles, the latest coming during Jurgen Klopp’s reign in 2011/12.  Schalke, meanwhile have not won the German Bundesliga since it was reformed in 1962 with their last of seven national titles coming in 1958.

In total there has been 19 Bundesliga previous matches between these rivals, seven have been won by Dortmund compared to Schalke’s five and there have also been seven draws including a 0-0 draw in the last match between the sides back in October.

Schalke do however boast an impressive recent record against this season’s title challengers having just lost once in their last five matches against them.

Indeed, the Royal Blues won the last encounter between the sides at The Westfalenstadion 4-2 in a dramatic match that subsequently saw Dortmund reduced to nine men.

Key Players

In their 2019/20 campaign so far, Schalke have certainly struggled for goals but two of their young midfielders, Moroccan international, Amine Harit, 22 and German Suat Serdar, 23 have enjoyed impressive seasons to date.

Serdar is the Royal Blues top scorer currently with seven league goals, while Harit has managed six goals and four assists in 24 appearances this season.

The Royal Blues also boast England under-21 international, Jonjoe Kenny in their ranks.  Kenny is currently on loan from Everton and the right back will certainly be in for a tough afternoon.

Kenny and his team will be tasked with keeping two of the most prolific and highly regarded attackers in Europe quiet.  England winger, Jadon Sancho is Dortmund’s top scorer with 14 goals so far, while January signing Erling Haaland has already managed nine goals in just eight appearances for the club.

Dortmund Club Captain, Marco Reus meanwhile has also reached double figures this season with 11 goals.

Where to watch?

BT Sport will be showing every game live on TV and online this weekend.

Dortmund versus Schalke will be shown on BT Sport 1 HD from 2pm BST.

Prediction

Dortmund 4-1 win

We are anticipating goals in this one but ultimately we believe that Dortmund will have too much firepower for Wagner’s Royal Blues with both Sancho and Haaland proving to be the difference between the teams.

The Paul Pogba Dilemma

On August 9th 2016, Manchester United completed a deal, for a then world record £89 million fee, to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford after he had left the Red Devils for £1.5 million in compensation to join Juventus in 2012.

Now almost like a yo-yo, it has been reported that the Old Lady are in talks to bring Pogba back to Italy. This could be bad news for Manchester United as Paul Pogba was arguably their best player in the 2018/19 season, despite the negative criticism he seemed to constantly receive. He scored 16 goals and contributed 11 assists in all competitions for Manchester United last season. If United were to cash in on the Frenchman, what effect would the transfer have off and on the pitch?

Off the Pitch

There are many issues that arise away from the game played on match days if Paul Pogba were to be sold. Firstly, there is his social media presence and the exposure it brings to the club. The tweet that announced Pogba’s return to United using the hashtag ‘#POGBACK’ gained 84,000+ retweets and 89,000+ likes on twitter, showing how United used the player to gain massive worldwide exposure upon the transfer’s announcement. Pogba himself also has 34.9 million followers on Instagram, which these two examples show the influence the Frenchman has on the ever-growing platform of social media.

However, despite the added exposure the player brings to the brand, his performance on the field has been brought into question and this has been related back to his antics on social media. By selling Paul Pogba and buying someone less present on the site it may reduce the pressure to perform on the pitch and there promote a more positive image of the club’s brand. Also, by not relying on promotion through players it may improve the quality and the strength of the club’s own social media channels.

In terms of sponsorship, despite his constant criticism from fans, Ed Woodward is very impressive in his ability to gain and maintain high level sponsorship for Manchester United, such as the sleeve sponsor of Kohler and the shirt sponsor of Chevrolet, so the departure of one player would not be a problem. If Pogba was to leave and the team was not improved in his absence, then the problem would arise, as the team would significantly decrease in quality and therefore be a less marketable product for Woodward to bargain with.

Finally, in terms of shirt sales, it seems that despite being the top selling shirt when he first joined, when Alexis Sanchez joined United in 2018, the Manchester Evening News reported that he was the top selling shirt for that season. It seems that the shirts will still sell regardless of who is on the back, be it due to hype or performance, and if another player steps up to be United’s star player, they will more than likely occupy the shirt sales Pogba once had. This shows how off the pitch there may be an initial dip in financial gain due to Pogba leaving but in the long term it will be negligible.

On the Pitch

Losing Paul Pogba creates a major creative deficit in the United team. As the team’s top goal scorer and top assister last season, it leaves a big hole for any prospective new signings to fill. However, the transfer does not need to be like for like. A central midfielder could provide the similar level of chance creation needed for United to succeed, but a No.10, or a winger could also be the spark that will drive United’s attack. We will look at some of the prospective transfers United could make to solve their problems.

Paulo Dybala

We begin with the 25 year old Argentinian that could be involved as part of the Pogba transfer, as Juventus will look for a more cost-effective way to bring their former European Golden Boy winner back to the Allianz Stadium. Paulo Dybala’s impact in the Juventus team has suffered since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, with a return of 10 goals and 4 assists. This drop-in form has been consistent with all of Juventus’ attacking line; Dybala was joint 2nd topscorer with Mandzukic, Bernadeschi contributing 2 goals and Douglas Costa contributed 1, such is the effect of Cristiano Ronaldo, with his high level of shots taken and his commanding presence on the field. To base the quality of the player on this season would not give a true representation of his ability.

Therefore, to get a better representation of what Manchester United would be getting as part of the deal, it would be better to look at Dybala’s 2017/18 season; his best in a Juventus shirt. Dybala scored a team high 22 goals in the Serie and contributed 5 assists, he also completed 1.6 key passes a game according to WhoScored.com, the same as Pogba contributed this season. Dybala also completed 2.8 dribbles a game compared to Pogba’s 1.7, this meant that Dybala was a more direct attacking force, taking more players out of the game. Slotting in just behind the striker, Dybala would provide a similar number of goal contributions while adding a great goalscoring threat.

Bruno Fernandes

The most natural replacement for Paul Pogba that Manchester United have been heavily linked to is the 24 year old Portuguese playmaker. Bruno Fernandes has contributed to 42 goals in 48 games for Sporting CP this season. With 33 of these coming in the league, this means that Fernandes has contributed to 46% of Sporting’s goals in the Liga NOS this season, compared to Pogba who has contributed to 34% of Manchester United’s league goals. This means that that Fernandes would not be fazed by the weight of expectation to be the creative centre of the Red Devils midfield.

He is also a versatile player, having played on the wing at times this season and in this position, he has shown an aptitude for crossing. Along with his 3.6 key passes per game, Bruno Fernandes completes 1.8 crosses per game. This would allow for a multi-pronged attack for the Red Devils and help them improve greatly in an area where they struggle, despite the relative height of their team, with players such as Lukaku being able to get on the end of high quality crosses. The further tactical versatility this would provide for Solskjaer would be an attractive proposition

With a reported price tag of anywhere between £62-72 million for the midfielder, he would be an expensive risk given that he is unproven in a big league, but his numbers and impact seem to lean towards him being a smart signing to help with United’s rebuild and plug the hole that losing Pogba would leave.

Jadon Sancho

The final player that could be the creative force for United next season is the young English prodigy and winger, Jadon Sancho. Sancho obviously plays in a completely different position than Pogba, but as previously stated it does not need to be a ‘like for like’ replacement, the player just needs to be able to consistently create chances and therefore improve the goalscoring form of the team.

Sancho is 19 years old and English, therefore fitting the young home grown profile linked with Solskjaer’s rebuild, together with other players United have been linked such as Sean Longstaff and Declan Rice. This means his hefty price tag would be justified in United’s long-term plan.

In the league this season, Sancho contributed to 26 goals in the league, 12 goals and 14 assists. He was the second top assister in the top 5 leagues, only coming behind Eden Hazard who contributed 15 assists. As a right sided winger he would also address the problem United have had for many years now where the players they play there, such as Lingard and Mata, prefer to cut in and act as number 10s rather than act as natural wingers.

His pace and skill on the ball would also be a great weapon for Manchester United to start counter attacks and that is probably why Dortmund value him so highly. With the purchase of Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard, losing Sancho would not be a great issue for Dortmund, however that does not mean they will sell him any cheaper, meaning United would have to break the bank to get their man.

What’s the damage?

Overall while losing Paul Pogba would be indicative of the revolving door policy that seems to have haunted United since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, it would not be the end of the world for Manchester United. The dependence the squad has on him is more due to the lack of quality overall and with proper investment and a good replacement, his influence will not be sorely missed. While an exceptional world class player on his day, he does at times, suffer from inconsistency, which is problematic when he is the player that United depend upon to operate.

In terms of revenue streams, Manchester United are more than likely to recoup the entire fee plus profit that they paid for Pogba back in 2016 and on pitch performance provides financial results. If the rebuild goes to plan and general performance improves, things such as social media interaction and shirt sales will improve along side this. Some fans, such as myself, will be sad to see Pogba go, but if he was to leave, the impact would hopefully (if all things fall into place) not be the worst thing in the world.