Friday, January 22, 2016

All the very latest transfer gossip across Europe!

With the January transfer window closing in ten days at 11pm GMT on Monday 1st February, here is all today's latest football news and transfer gossip with Louis van Gaal, Manuel Pellegrini, Pep Guardiola, Liverpool, Chelsea, John Stones, Scott Sinclair, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Real Madrid, Jordan Rhodes, Alex Teixeira, Newcastle and Swansea all in the news! 

Here is a round up of all the latest transfer gossip across Europe today!

Is your club involved?

Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Zenit St Petersburg, Chelsea, Liverpool, Shakhtar Donetsk, Atletico Madrid, Everton, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Espanyol, Swansea, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday, Crystal Palace, VfL Wolfsburg, Stoke, Norwich, Southampton, Porto, AS Roma, Napoli, Shanghai SIPG, Dynamo Kiev, Bournemouth, Peterborough, Besiktas, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, West Ham, Fiorentina, Spartak Moscow, Watford, QPR, Levante, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Ipswich, FC Copenhagen, Wolves, Nantes, Brentford Leeds and Newport..........are all caught up in the latest transfer news/rumours across Europe, as we speak.

Manchester United have put their major transfers on hold because of the increasing uncertainty over Louis van Gaal's future as manager - Daily Mirror

Manchester United have denied a report in France that officials from the club held a meeting with the outgoing Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola. French newspaper L'Equipe claims the meeting took place in Paris last week, but Sky Sports News HQ have spoken to Manchester United who claim the story is not true -

Zenit St Petersburg want Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini to take charge when Andre Villas-Boas leaves at the end of the season - Daily Star

Alexandre Pato's agent has confirmed that four clubs - including Chelsea and Liverpool - have a chance of signing the 26-year-old Brazil striker, but insisted that no bids have yet been made - UOL Esporte (Brazilian publication in Portuguese) and Daily Mirror

European football writer Andy Brassell says Shakhtar Donetsk value 26-year-old Brazilian forward Alex Teixeira at £39m - significantly more than the £24.5m Liverpool are willing to pay for him - BBC Radio 5 live and

Atletico Madrid director Andrea Berta has flown to London to try to land Chelsea stars Pedro and Diego Costa - Daily Star

Chelsea are planning to make another move for Everton defender John Stones, despite failing with four bids in the summer, including one in the region of £38million rejected by the Toffees. However, the 21-year-old remains top of their wanted list and they will try again to land him before the end of this month -

Tottenham have the first option to re-sign Wales forward Gareth Bale, 26, should he be sold by Real Madrid - according to a leaked document - Daily Mirror

Meanwhile, Bale's representatives are outraged by the leak of financial details of his £85m transfer - Daily Telegraph

Swansea are in talks with Aston Villa about signing winger Scott Sinclair -

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren has made a £7m bid for 30 year-old Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis, while Aston Villa's Scott Sinclair is also on their radar - The Sun and Daily Mail

Newcastle have made an offer for Espanyol striker Mamadou Sylla Diallo for a fee of around £1million - Sport (Spanish daily sports newspaper) and

However, Newcastle look likely to end their interest in Andros Townsend after Tottenham refused to lower their £14m valuation of the 24-year-old England winger - The Guardian and Daily Telegraph

Swansea have made a move to sign Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes. Sheffield Wednesday are also thought to be interested in the Scotland international - Daily Mirror

Crystal Palace full-back Pape Souare has signed a new three-and-a-half year contract with the Premier League club -

Crystal Palace are considering offering a six-month contract to striker Emmanuel Adebayor, 31, who is a free agent after being released by Tottenham - The Guardian

VfL Wolfsburg's Nicklas Bendtner is set for a sensational Premier League return at Crystal Palace - Daily Star

Stoke have lodged a £19m bid with Porto for midfielder Giannelli Imbula,
The Frenchman move to Portugal last year from Marseille but has struggled for opportunities with Porto. The reports suggests Imbula has also attracted the interest of Southampton - Daily Mirror

Sheffield Wednesday have completed the signing of striker Gary Hooper from Norwich City on a 3-and-a-half-year deal, for an undisclosed fee -

Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez, 26, is being chased by a host of clubs including Napoli and AS Roma, after it emerged his future at the Bernabeu remains unclear - The Sun and

Mauro Zarate has ended his 18-month spell with West Ham by joining Fiorentina on a permanent contract. Also joining Fiorentina is Argentinian international midfielder Tino Costa, 31 on loan from Spartak Moscow - and

Watford are back in talks for 28 year-old Spain international Mario Suarez over a loan move from Fiorentina, which is expected to involve an option to sign Suarez permanently in the summer -

Nemanja Matic, 27, is debating his future at Stamford Bridge and may choose to leave Chelsea after a recent dip in form, while John MNikel Obi is wanted by Shanghai SIPG - Daily Mail

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has revealed Kevin Mirallas will not be leaving the club after a string of good performances recently -

Dynamo Kiev have told Everton to forget about trying to sign Andriy Yarmolenko this month - Daily Mirror

Bournemouth are showing an interest in Peterborough defender Jack Baldwin - Daily Mail

Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa could join Besiktas this month, according to Mundo Deportivo. Arbeloa is inside the final six months of his contract at Real Madrid and Besiktas could look to take advantage of that situation by trying to sign him before the close of the transfer window - Mundo Deportivo (Spanish daily sports newspaper) and

Fernando Torres could soon be the highest-paid player in the world, with eight offers on the table according to his agent. The 31-year-old Spain striker is on loan at Atletico Madrid from AC Milan - The Sun and

Giuseppe Rossi has signed for Levante on loan for the rest of the season from Fiorentina -

Middlesbrough have had a £6m bid for QPR winger Matt Phillips rejected - Daily Mail

Norwich want to sign Chelsea's Patrick Bamford, after his recent loan spell at Crystal Palace was cut short - Daily Mirror

Ipswich Town have confirmed the signing of Kevin Foley from FC Copenhagen on a deal until the end of the season, subject to international clearance -

Wolves are in talks over a £3m deal for Nantes forward Emiliano Sala - Daily Mail

Brentford have agreed a fee with Leeds for midfielder Toumani Diagouraga -

Newport County forward Aaron Collins has joined Wolves for an undisclosed fee

Friday, January 15, 2016

Statistically, the EA Sports best performing players in the English Premier League so far this season!

The EA SPORTS PPI (Player Performance Index) is the only official player rating index of the Barclays Premier League which measures a player's all round contribution to the success of his team using six key indices:

The intention is to remove any opinion bias and only work with proven statistical measurements which become more accurate as the season progresses.

Season 2015/16 - Last update: 15/01/16

For those of you currently playing 'Fantasy Premier League Football' you may want to take note!


1. Petr Cech (Arsenal) 272 EA Sports PPI
2. Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) 258 (right)
3. Jack Butland (Stoke City) 240
4. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) 221
5. Joe Hart (Man City) 216
6. Tim Howard (Everton) 215
7. Heurelho Gomes (Watford) 211
8. Boaz Myhill (West Brom) 203
9. Adrian (West Ham) 198
10. Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 197


1. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham) 330 (below right)
2. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) 316
3. Aleksandar Kolarov (Man City) 300
4. Bacary Sagna (Man City) 299
5. Eric Dier (Tottenham) 296
6. Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) 295
7. Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) 294
8. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) 291
9. Wes Morgan (Leicester) 280
10. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) 272


1. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) 612
2. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) 476
3. Ross Barkley (Everton) 452
4. Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle) 395
5. Yaya Toure (Man City) 388
6. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) 382
7. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) 371
8. Dele Alli (Tottenham) 347
9. Dimitri Payet (West Ham) 345
10. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) 329


1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 550
2. Odion Ighalo (Watford) 510
3. Harry Kane (Tottenham) 509
4. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 506
5. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 380
6. Raheem Sterling (Man City) 344
7. Troy Deeney (Watford) 327
8. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke) 325 (right)
9. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) 310
10. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) 309

The Six Key Indices:

1. Winning Performance

Players receive points for time on the pitch in a successful team. Players will receive more points if they play the full 90 minutes in a winning team. This index shares league points won by a team between the players according to the minutes they are on the pitch. Only time on the pitch and points scored are taken into account in this first index.

2. Player's Performance per match

Players receive points for positive influences on a winning performance (shots on target, tackles, clearances, saves etc). Players have points taken away from their score for negative actions such as shots off target and receiving yellow and/or red cards.

3. Appearances

Players receive points for minutes on the pitch. The number of points won by ALL teams in the Barclays Premier League are divided among the players according to the number of minutes they have played. This does not take into account the result of a match, it awards points purely for playing time.

4. Goals scored

Players are awarded points for scoring goals. These points are only given to the goalscorer.

5. Assists

Players are awarded points for assists. These points are only awarded to players that make the assist.
Assists are awarded to the player from the goal scoring team who makes the last touch before the goal is scored.
If after this touch, an opposing player touches the ball outside the penalty area altering the intended destination of the ball, then no assist is given, except if this intervention directly results in an own goal.
In the event of a penalty or free-kick, the player earning the penalty or free-kick gets an assist if a goal is directly scored, but not if he takes it himself, in which case no assist is given.

6. Clean sheets

Allocates points for clean sheets to the whole team. The proportionate split of the points is weighted according to the player's position. Therefore a goalkeeper will be awarded a greater proportion of the points for keeping a clean sheet than a striker. The points are also awarded proportionately to the time spent on the pitch.

N.B. The overall EA SPORTS PPI is a correlation between all of the above indices. The Index only includes actions that can be measured objectively and does not reward one action more than another (e.g. a pass by a midfielder will not gain more points than a tackle made by a defender). Subjective factors relating to individual players' skill levels or evidence of a specific flair, such as a particularly spectacular pass or goal, are not included within the index.

Friday, January 08, 2016

The History of the Replica Football Shirt

A replica football shirt is defined as an (official) copy of a kit. It is a huge business in the United Kingdom.

Though replica shirts have been produced since the late 1950's, they were initially marketed only to children, and sold as part of a full playing strip. Kit designs were also not copyrighted and at times different clubs, such as Derby County and Spurs, wore identical outfits and different manufacturers produced the same designs.

In the good old days any old red shirt could indicate that you were a Liverpool or a United fan. A dark blue would indicate either Everton or Chelsea.

There were only certain teams which deviated - Arsenal had those white sleeves and Blackburn Rovers played in their blue and white halved shirts.
But then things began to change!

At Coventry City, Jimmy Hill realised the kit was something more than just a uniform to wear on the pitch and he introduced the first ever kit of just one colour (other than white) as they changed from their hitherto mostly dark blue shirts with white shorts to a kit of all sky-blue. Bill Shankly only adopted all red for his Liverpool side in 1965-66 - three years after Coventry's all sky-blue affair (below).

Moving into the 1970's Bert Patrick who was the chairman of Admiral (top right), a Leicester-based knitwear firm, spotted an opportunity to produce football teams’ kits in exchange for prominent branding on the shirts, plus exclusive rights to sell the replica versions to fans.

Leeds United, who had changed from their traditional colours of blue and gold to all white in the early 1960's, became the first club to offer their fans the chance to buy replica kits in 1975 as part of their deal with kit supplier Admiral. When Don Revie left Leeds to take over as England Manager the national team entered into a similar arrangement with Admiral.

When Bert Patrick's Leicestershire knitwear company Cook and Hurst, started producing the official England football kit using the trade name ‘Admiral’ - they became the first to include the manufacturer's logo on the chest - and in 1974 he paid the Football Association £16,000 a year for the privilege. England’s traditional plain white shirt was suddenly adorned with red-and-blue sleeve stripes and a yellow logo, much to the horror of traditionalists and to the delight of schoolboys across the nation.

That shirt was the must-have item of 1975, and when Manchester United were also signed up, Admiral had the ‘Big Three’. The rest quickly fell into line. The revolutionary deal allowed Admiral to sell British-made replica shirts to supporters for £5 - increasing to £9 with shorts and socks included.

Now Nike, the current England kit manufacturer, have a £25 million sponsorship deal with the Football Association, and charges fans around £90 for a replica shirt.

Nike also currently represent the England national women's football team too (right).

Between 1975 and 1980, use of different coloured trim on shirts increased by 40 per cent, and manufacturers’ logos soon became ubiquitous.

The Admiral agents had an eye for an opportunity. When Southampton beat Manchester United in the 1976 FA Cup Final both teams wore an Admiral strip that had been designed and manufactured since their semi-final victories, and the multiple logos down sleeves and shorts were exposed to a huge global TV audience.

In the last 25 years, the percentage of clubs changing their home kit at the start of any season has doubled to almost 100 per cent.

Things really took off when Liverpool became the first club to wear a sponsor's name on their shirts following their 1979 deal with Japanese electronics manufacturer Hitachi (right).

Replica shirt sales are important to both sponsors and clubs. In the 1980's, when hooliganism was a factor, club replica shirt sales were quite low and clubs did relatively little to limit the use of official club logos.

Despite Admiral's innovative deals, by the start of the 1980's the competition from the Far East had become too much and Patrick, faced with low profits which were dwindling into losses, was forced to close his factories in Wigston, Leicestershire. Admiral was bought up by a Dutch oil company called, Frisol. By 1984, England had a new kit manufacturer, Umbro.

In 1990, following the National League Baseball Association example, Arsenal were one of the first clubs to register its name, to stop traders outside the football ground selling the club logo at an undercut price (Hallam, 1992).

Following this and the launch of the new FA Premier League in 1992, the League and all individual clubs now jealously protected 'official' club and League products from reproduction or imitation by non club producers.

Today, as the game has rid itself of the 'hooliganism' tag and wearing club shirts has become fashionable, effective licensing deals are crucial to commercial success. All top clubs now have extensive club shops or superstores selling exclusive official club merchandise.

The market for replica shirts has grown enormously, with the revenue generated for leading clubs and the frequency with which they change designs coming under increased scrutiny, especially in the United Kingdom, where the market for replicas is worth in excess of £200m.

Several clubs have been accused of price fixing, and in 2003 Manchester United were fined £1.65m by the Office of Fair Trading. The high prices charged for replicas have also led to many fans buying fake shirts which are imported from countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Nonetheless, the chance for fans to purchase a shirt bearing the name and number of a star player can lead to significant revenue for a club.

In the first six months after David Beckham's transfer to Real Madrid in 2003 the club sold more than one million shirts bearing his name.

When Newcastle United signed Alan Shearer (below) in July 1996, the North-East club made £250,000 on the day of his signing, just in terms of Shearer replica shirt sales. 

When Inter Milan, in contrast, signed Ronaldo in 1997, the club had prepared no shirts carrying the Brazilian's favoured No.9. Instead, counterfeit No.9 shirts appeared to satisfy local demand, forcing the club to play their new star as a No. 10 in order to cash in later on official shirt sales!

The adult market for replica football shirts as leisurewear only developed significantly from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today sales to adults provide the bulk of a billion dollar industry, Manchester United alone selling approximately 2 million shirts per year.

Top selling player shirts (as at 30/09/2015):

10/ Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)

9/ Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal/Chile)

8/ Sergio Agüero (Manchester City/Argentina)

7/ Neymar (Barcelona/Brazil)

6/ Wayne Rooney (Manchester United/England)

5/ Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)

4/ Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United/Germany)

3/ Memphis Depay (Manchester United/Netherlands)

2/ Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)

1/ Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)

# Information courtesy of