Tag Archives: January Transfer Window

Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech set to join Chelsea this summer

After a verbal agreement was reached between Chelsea and Ajax, Hakim Ziyech is set to join the Premier League side for €45 million.

Ziyech, who had signed a three-year contract with the Dutch giants this past August, was linked to a move to England for some time. However, the South London club were the only ones able to snatch the 26-year-old.

Criticized for not making a move during the winter transfer window, especially after fighting to get their ban removed, Chelsea were able to add a player who can make a difference on the pitch.

 Already filled with tons of young talent on the squad, the Moroccan international brings an impressive pedigree from the Netherlands and is hoping to having similar success in one of the best league’s in the world. 

The attacking midfielder has some familiarity of what the Blues are all about, having played them twice this season during the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

During his senior career, Ziyech has scored 79 goals in 211 appearances for Heerenveen, Twente, and Ajax. However, he was most known for his excellent passing, leading the Eredivisie in assists four times over the course of his career.

Most of Ziyech’s success came after playing for de Godenzonen, where he was Ajax’s Player of the Year twice, included in the Eredivise’s Team of the Year three times, and, most notably, part of the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season last year when the Dutch side made a surprise run to the semi-finals of the tournament before losing to Tottenham.

After some notable players, particularly Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) and Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), on the team left for bigger clubs, Ziyech opted to stay in Amsterdam, where he currently has 6 goals and 12 assists this season.

As a member of the Atlas Lions, Ziyech has scored 14 goals in 32 appearances for the country, where he pledged his allegiance over the Netherlands. Having represented Morocco in some major tournaments such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, he was a part of the 2019 CAF’s Team of the Year.

With several big names in the club who have expiring contracts, Ziyech is brought in to provide some much-needed assistance. As Chelsea finally make a move for the club, fans are hoping that Ziyech is the answer to help the squad do well in domestic and European competition. 

Inter Miami keen on signing Edinson Cavani and Luka Modrić

With the MLS season set to begin at the end of this month, Inter Miami are hoping to sign Edinson Cavani and Luka Modrić away from their respective clubs. 

The club, who are part-owned by football legend David Beckham, are looking for some reinforcements for this season, particularly one’s they think will make a big splash in the league.

Cavani, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain is set to expire at the end of this season, has been left out of Thomas Tuchel’s plans as the German manager has been pairing Inter Milan-loanee Mauro Icardi alongside generational-talent Kylian Mbappé. After rumors that the Uruguayan striker was on the move to Atlético Madrid this past transfer window, the deal did not materialize.

The 32-year-old has been lethal for Les Parisiens, scoring 136 goals in 196 appearances for the French giants. However, in 10 league appearances this season, Cavani has only scored twice. This move to the Western Hemisphere could be a win-win situation as Cavani would get the opportunity to star in Vice City whereas PSG can unload the disgruntled striker and not worry about any more chaos.

 On the other hand, Modrić is going to be more difficult to sway as Real Madrid are currently in the top spot of La Liga.

The Croatian-midfielder, whose has a contract with Los Blancos until June 2020, has been a vital part of the club’s success since his arrival in 2012 from Tottenham Hotspur. Since his arrival, Real Madrid have won four UEFA Champions League, four FIFA Club World Cups, and the league in 2017. However, the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner has been limited this season due to the rise of Fede Valverde.

As a new franchise in the league, Inter Miami are hoping to secure some big signings that could help them have a successful inaugural season. However, time is ticking for The Herons as they open the season on March 1 away against last year’s Supporter’s Shield winner LAFC.

Emre Can returns to Germany after signing loan deal with Borussia Dortmund

Juventus midfielder Emre Can signed a season-ending loan deal with Borussia Dortmund, returning to play in Germany for the first time since 2014.

There had been reports of Can returning to the Premier League to play for Manchester United, but he will be suiting up for the Black and Yellow for the remainder of the season.

The German international began his senior career with Bayern Munich in 2012 before departing the Bavarians for another short stint in the country, this time with Bayer Leverkusen. Can played most of his career in England for Liverpool, spending four years with the club before leaving the club to join Juventus after his contract expired.

In 185 appearances at the senior club level, the 26-year-old has scored 18 goals. However, this season has been one to forget for Can as he did not seem to fit new manager Maurizio Sarri’s plans for the team, which caused him to only make eight appearances this season.

For the German national team, Can has made 25 appearances, but has only the found the back of the net once for his country. Although Can was excluded from the squad from Germany’s squad in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, he did make an appearance in the UEFA Euro 2016, starting in a 2-0 semi-final loss to host France.

It is currently a neck-to-neck race for the top spot in the Bundesliga with leaders RB Leipzig only having a four-point differential between them and fourth place Dortmund. 

After the squad landed transfer market gold by signing young talent Erling Haaland, who has scored five goals in two appearances so far, the team is hoping the Can is able to provide solid midfield depth that can carry them to a first-place finish in the league for the first time since 2012.

Also, with the UEFA Euro 2020 right around the corner, this could be Can’s chance to reassert himself back into the squad for a major competition.

Yannick Carrasco returns to Atlético Madrid on short-term loan

After playing a big part in Atlético Madrid’s success during his three-year tenure, Yannick Carrasco is returning to the Spanish capital on a short-term loan from Dalian Professional.

Carrasco, who arrived in Madrid for his first stint in 2015 after departing Monaco, is brought in after the club failed to sign Edinson Cavani away from PSG. However, the squad are getting a player who is accustomed to playing this team’s style, so it could end up being more beneficial in the long run.

The Belgian international had scored 17 goals in 81 appearances for Atlético before his departure in 2018. However, he has not found trouble finding the back of the net with the move as he scored 24 goals in 50 Chinese Super League appearances for Dalian, who are owned by Atlético’s partial owner Dalian Wanda.

The 26-year-old’s biggest moments for the club was during the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final at the San Siro.  After coming on the pitch as a half-time replacement for Augusto Fernández, Carrasco scored a 79th-minute equalizer, making him the first Belgian to score in a European Cup final. However, they ended up losing to arch-rivals Real Madrid in a penalty shoot-out.

The creative winger also is a constant appearer for the Belgium national team. Included in the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad by manager Roberto Martínez, Carrasco helped the squad finish in third place at the most recent edition in Russia. In 41 appearances for his country, he has scored six goals.

As Atlético sit in fifth place at the moment in the La Liga standings, the fans and the team are hoping that Carrasco provides some spark to help them improve their spot. His first test will be on Saturday in The Madrid Derby.

Brentford 0-1 Forest – Match Report

On a massive night in the race for promotion to the Premier League then 4th placed Nottingham Forest took on 5th placed Brentford at Griffin Park. The match was a big test of both teams’ promotion credentials, Brentford were on a 6 game winning streak at home and the Forest boss said pre-match that it would be a tactical battle.

It was he who won the battle with a slight change to the way he lined his side up; Joe Lolley moved from his normal wide birth to a number 10 role and Tiago Silva moved to the left-hand side. This move worked a treat and caught Brentford by surprise – as not only was Lolley causing danger running through the centre of the pitch, he was stopping Brentford deep-lying playmaker Christian Norgaard from getting on the ball. It was Lolley himself who got the goal in the 14th minute. A Forest corner was half-cleared to Lolley who had time to get his shot away which took a deflection into the top corner.

Brentford started and continued to dominate the possession but Forest have shown this season they know how to deal with pressure away from home and hit teams superbly on the counter-attack. Brentford were put off by Forest’s physicality and perceived time-wasting, with goalkeeper Brice Samba getting booked for taking too long to take a free-kick after just 24 minutes.

The match was being played at frenetic tempo with action at both ends of the pitch. Forest should have had the chance to go 2 up when Lewis Grabban was tugged back in the area but for some reason, the penalty was not given, Brentford broke from that incident to create their best opportunity for Ollie Watkins but their top scorer blazed over.

Brentford pushed on after half time in pursuit of an equaliser but again Forest were a threat on the break and Lewis Grabban had a great chance when a long ball dropped for him in the box but keeper David Raya saved at point-blank range. Brentford’s famous “BMW” frontline were superbly managed by the Forest defenders and although Brentford had chances, they didn’t come off.

The victory saw Forest climb to third in the table, with West Brom losing 2-1 at Cardiff, and just 2 points behind the baggies in 2nd place. Leeds went back to the top after a thrilling three goal comeback from 2-0 down.

Forest face Leeds at home in 10 days and West Brom a week later in two vital and exciting games. The opportunity is there for Forest to overtake their rivals. Of Course, it is exciting to be in with the chance of automatic promotion, but a play-off spot would be great.

Brentford manager Thomas Frank said after that match:

” It was a 0-0 game and not a good game of football for both sides. Forest are a good side and they are where they are for a reason. They are well organised and set out to make it scrappy from minute one. When you see them time-wasting so early you know you have done something good at Griffin Park. They paid us a lot of respect and didn’t let us get any tempo in the game.”

Nottingham Forest’s Sabri Lamouchi:

“[It was a] massive win on a difficult pitch against one of the best teams in the league. The players’ attitude, character, and personality was perfect. We were lucky to score early on and this changed the game, but to be honest the team deserved this result.” He added in an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham that he was hoping for a good surprise in the transfer market and chose to rather praise his current squad than talk about possible incomings.

Forest are desperate for a striker to ease the pressure, workload and help Lewis Grabban. Nakki Wells has been heavily linked and would be top of the list. It will come down to how much forest are willing to pay and if Wells is happy enough to possibly be the second choice to Grabban.