Are Man Utd The Team To Beat This Season?

Manchester United beat West Ham 4-0 on Sunday, and their whole performance was a real statement of intent. The West Ham side may have been lacking a few of their main players, namely Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Michael Antonio, but they were still well and truly rolled over by the Red Devils.

Romelu Lukaku opened his Man United account after just half an hour, tucking home into Joe Hart’s near post after Marcus Rashford slipped him through. He then doubled his tally five minutes into the second half, flicking a Henrikh Mkhitaryan free-kick into the bottom corner. The Belgian had chances to complete a hat-trick but didn’t manage to convert a third. Anthony Martial finally got United’s third in the last few minutes, and Paul Pogba tacked on a fourth in stoppage time, curling in an excellently disguised shot past a poorly positioned Joe Hart.

lukaku man utd goal.PNG

United’s new signings showed great promise, with Lukaku bagging a brace, and Matic playing excellently, dominating the midfield and tempo of the game. West Ham’s two new signings, former Reds fan-favourite Javier Hernandez and Austrian Marco Arnautovic, also showed promise. Arnautovic came close at one point, heading onto the crossbar, and Chicharito was the only Iron’s player who kept putting 100% in right until the end.

Lukau could turn out to be a hugely important signing for United, as his goals and general on-field presence will possibly play a big part in United’s return to success, and if he does that then he will be regarded as an immortal United Legend

So, is this a sign of things to come from Man United? They are top of the league, even if it is only on goal difference after one game, but will face huge opposition to hold onto that spot from noisy neighbours Man City, who also dismantled a stubborn Brighton to win 2-0, but perhaps not Chelsea. The Blues were beaten 3-2 at home to Burnley, at one point going 3-0 down, and ending any expectations of retaining their title in the process. Antonio Conte is clearly unhappy at the lack of squad depth and has been rumoured to be about to resign.

conte

Please feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section below. Entries to The Dugout fantasy football league are now closed but will reopen for three hours on Friday at 2PM BST, so be on alert if you haven’t joined already.

If you enjoyed the post then please do leave a like, leave any comments, queries and questions in the comment section below. If you want to see more from The Dugout and be told first when I post new content, then please do subscribe, you can use either your Email (enter it on the widget on the homepage) or your WordPress account, it’s totally free. There will be a new post out on Sunday, so stay tuned,

Billy

 

Why do Barcelona want Coutinho?

First off, I would like to apologise for the lack of activity over the last week or so, I was on holiday in Italy and the place where we were staying didn’t have WiFi, so I couldn’t access the site.

So, what have we missed? That’s right, Neymar. PSG signed the Brazilian for £200,000,000 on August 3rd, and the deal sent the football world into meltdown, but what I’m finding more amazing is Barcelona’s response. They’ve just lost a player who is one of the best three in the world, and now have to build their team around a declining Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, both of which have three seasons maximum, in my opinion, until their careers come to a standstill. They need a world-class signing to replace Neymar, and they want Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho? I just don’t get it.

I’m not denying that Coutinho is a fantastic player, but Barcelona need someone who will carry on the legacy, someone who is still relatively young, but has shown that he is already world-class. Coutinho, I would say, is about the fifth best in the Premier League, so is clearly not at the level needed.

coutinho barcelona.PNG

Barcelona need to make a statement signing. Their legendary front three is falling apart, the spine of their midfield is crumbling with the ageing of Busquets and Iniesta, and their defence is too, with Pique and Mascherano both reaching the climax of their careers. They need to go and spend £100m on a world class player, to show PSG and Real Madrid that they are not going to die away.

I think that Eden Hazard would be the perfect signing. He’s only 26, but has already won the PFA Player Of The Year Award, the PFA Young Player Of The Year, and the FWA Player Of The Year Award. He has been previously heavily linked with Real Madrid, but those rumours seem to have died down. Hazard’s pace, dribbling and skill is reminiscent of that of Neymar, and his social presence is far bigger than Coutinho’s, which would certainly be an asset to the Catalans.

Should Coutinho sign, it is expected that he will play similarly to how Pedro did before Suarez and Neymar came, just keeping his head down and helping create space for Messi and Villa to reek havoc amongst the opposition defence, but I can’t see that working like it did back then. Messi is a hugely different player to the one he was back then, he’s not quite as direct or explosive as he was, and now focuses more opening up the opposition and creating space in tight situations. Without a super-quick winger to support him, I can see his career declining very quickly.

messi pedro

 

 

Another deal that confuses me is the Paulinho move. The Brazilian flopped at Spurs, and hasn’t yet proved himself at a big club. He’s currently in China earning a reported £100,000 per week, and doing fairly well, but certainly not well enough to warrant a £50m move to Barcelona. They definitely need a midfielder, as Andre Gomez and Sergi Roberto are looking decidedly below-par, but surely they should get someone who is a sure success, rather than a player who’s had a couple of decent seasons in Brazil and failed at Tottenham? It really does boggle me.

If you have anything to add to the discussion then please leave it in the comment section below. Entries to my fantasy league close on Tuesday, so make sure you join quick if you want to. The code is 973676-233557.

If you enjoyed the post then please do leave a like, and leave any comment, questions and queries in the comment section below. If you want to see more from the dugout and be told when I post new content then you can follow the site, just enter your Email address into the widget on the homepage, or you can follow with your WordPress account. There will be a new post out during the week, so stay tuned.

Billy

 

 

Matic Makes Man United Move, But Why?

Yesterday, Man United made their third signing of the summer, completing their £40m purchase of defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic from Chelsea. The Serb got 7 assists, 1865 completed passes, an average of 53 completed passes per match, 141 accurate long passes, just four yellow cards, and 241 recoveries, missing just 3 games the whole season in the league last year.

Matic has a history of working with Jose Mourinho, winning the league back in 2014/15, working as a key cog in Mourinho’s midfield, blocking out any oncoming attacks before they can amount to anything. Last season, the limelight of Chelsea’s midfield was more on the surprise of new signing N’golo Kantè continuing on from his success at Leicester the season before, however, as shown in the more obscure stats, he was vital, and their super-successful season would certainly have not been as defensively sound should he not have been there.

matic chelsea

 Matic could be the perfect signing for Man United though, providing some much-needed support for the defensive line, and completing their midfield. Last year, United had to rely on players like Ander Hererra and Marouane Fellaini to provide in that position, players who would prefer to be playing much higher up the pitch, rather than being able to trust an experienced, mobile defensive midfielder. Michael Carrick also had a few stints in that position, but he just didn’t have the pace and mobility of a player like Matic to really link the three parts of the side.

manc matic.PNG

Having a defensive midfielder to do all the dirty work could also help other midfielders in the side progress and really flourish. World-record signing Paul Pogba’s success was hampered last season by his expectation to get back and do the dirty work, rather than controlling the tempo like he would have at Juventus.

Ander Hererra will also have a different job in the coming season. The Spaniard won the club’s player-of-the-year award last season, and his tough tackling, precision passing and raw passion and desire on the field earned him the adoration of the fans and the management, and him linking up with Matic to provide defensive solidity could prove vital if United are to challenge for the title next season.

United’s midfield options are practically endless, with Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Henrick Mkhitaryan, Michael Carrick, Andreas Periera, and young players like Angel Gomez, Scott McTominay, DJ Buffonge and Tahith Chong all vying for a place in the three-man midfield.

pogba and matic together

I can see the first choice side being a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, with Matic and Hererra at the spine of the midfield, with Paul Pogba playing slightly ahead of them. Then, Lukaku up front, with Rashford and either Martial, Mkhitaryan or Mata on the wings.

I think United could still do with signing a left-back, and maybe a new winger (Perisic?) to really complete their parts of the squad that are lacking. Jose has said that he gave Ed Woodward (Vice-Chairman of Manc United) a four-man list that should be acquired this summer, so, after three signings, there should still be one to come. Who will it be? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.

To conclude, Nemanja Matic could turn out to be the signing of the summer, linking up with Jose Mourinho, and providing Man United with the vital help at the back, which could really help them push for the title.

You can still join my fantasy football league, the invite code is 973676-233557. My tip would be to sort out the more expensive options first, and early on in the season before they get expensive. Get a couple of big names (I went for Lukaku, Morata and De Gea), take a few risks (mine were Anthony Knockaert and Nacky Wells) and then play it safe with the rest, just players you know will get you a steady stream of points, EG Fabregas and Vertongen.

If you enjoyed the article please leave a like, it’s my birthday tomorrow so even just for that then that would be great, and share it with your friends too. Leave any comments, questions or queries in the comment section below, and if you want to see more from the dugout, and be alerted when I post new content, then please follow the site, just go to the homepage and enter either your Email address on the widget, or follow the site with your WordPress account. There will be a new post out at the weekend, so stay tuned!

Billy

Why Do Barcelona and Real Madrid Dominate So Much?

Real Madrid and Barcelona are, without debate, two of the most successful sides the world has ever seen, winning a combined 57 La Liga titles, 48 Copas del Rey, and 17 European Cups and Champions League titles. Barcelona has had such legendary players as  Johan Cruijff, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Maradona and the Brazillian Ronaldo. Madrid has also hosted players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, the Brazillian Ronaldo, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka and Roberto Carlos. But what makes these two sides so successful?

Well, Money is probably the main factor. Each side easily has enough money to spend hundreds of millions of euros year-on-year, and it’s no coincidence that the three best players in the world all play for the two. However, surprisingly, both clubs are fan-owned, unlike more recently successful sides such as Manchester City and Chelsea, who have both had huge investments from mega-rich foreign investors.

Los Blancos and Los Blaugrana, despite their world-famous vicious rivalry, are very similar in many ways, especially in terms of how they line up on the pitch. They both tend to stick to a traditional 4-3-3 formation, with solid centre-backs, athletic full-backs, super-fast-super-skillful wingers, a quick, but deadly, striker, and a midfield trio of one defensive, one box-to-bow and one attacking.

Barcelona tend to have their front three made up of Messi as a right-winger and Neymar on the left-wing with Suarez central. What spices it up, is that Neymar is right-footed and Messi is left-footed, but each are confident on either side, meaning that they are perfectly equipt to cut inside and attack the gaps in a back four in a pincer movement. Real Madrid do the same thing, with right-footed Ronaldo on the left and left-footed Bale on the right, This tactic makes defending successfully almost impossible.

MSN.PNGBut defending with three at the back is just suicide. Leaving your defenders one-on-one against three of the worlds best players is bound to lead to them getting in behind the defence, and this is where the midfield comes into play. The attacking midfielder, usually Rakitic, Isco or Marco Asensio, will run at the defence and press them back, whilst the forwards run off the shoulder and get slipped through by either the attacking midfielder or the passing, box-to-box midfielder, usually Iniesta or Kroos.

That leaves the defensive midfielder, Casemiro or Busquets, to sit just ahead of the defensive line and drop back to add another defender, but they can also move forward and provide extra support in the midfield if needed.

It’s a near-perfect tactic, but there is a way to beat it, as shown by Juventus and PSG in The Champions League last season. PSG came close to knocking out Barca, winning the first leg of their tie 3-0, but, after their valiant, and referee assisted, come-back from a 4-0 first leg defeat, Barca, somehow, pulled it back and won 6-1 in leg two, putting them through 6-5 on aggregate. Juve won their first leg 3-0, by locking up at the back, and doing taking the unthinkable risk; not marking the front three. And it worked! MSN break the offside trap by drawing out a defender and create a gap and then slide through one of the wingers to go one-on-one. Juve just wouldn’t be drawn out. They used their experienced back line, with Bonnucci and Chiellini keeping everything in order, and then using quick full backs Dani Alves and Alex Sandro to catch up if they do make a slip-up.

Overall, Real Madrid and Barcelona are mega-rich and can buy the perfect players to fit their tactics. Their tactics and formations are both modern, and classic at the same time, but they are always developing and changing, because being successful is the easy bit, maintaining it? No so much.

You can still join my fantasy football league if you would like. Just click the link, sign in, select your team and you’re good to go! https://fantasy.premierleague.com/?autojoin-code=973676-233557

https://fantasy.premierleague.com/?autojoin-code=973676-233557

Please do feel free to add to the discussion in the comments, I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter.

If you enjoyed this article please do leave a like, and add any questions, comments or queries in the comments section below. If you want to see more from The Dugout you can follow the site, using your Email or WordPress account, it’s totally free. There will be a new post out during the week, so stay tuned!

Billy

Do Preseason Games Actually Matter?

As Man United and Real Madrid played out their shambolic penalty shootout on Sunday night, where only 3 penalties were successfully converted after five attempts apiece, I thought to myself “what’s the point? What do you get from playing this game?”. Well, let’s have a look.

Strictly speaking, United’s game vs Real on Sunday wasn’t a friendly, it was an International Champions Cup matchup, and United did gain three points for their win, however, contrary to the important-sounding name, the International Champions Cup doesn’t really mean much. In fact, winning the ICC affects your season’s overview far less than even the Charity Shield, so Madrid won’t be too fussed over the loss.

However, the preseason tour does give a valuable opportunity to warm up the squad and keep the momentum. It can also be used as a chance to test some tactics you wouldn’t normally use in an important game on an opponent that won’t give you an easy ride. For example, Real Madrid switched their squad almost entirely at half-time and brought on an eleven made up of mostly reserves and youngsters, and Man United tried playing with a 4-3-3, with a lightning-fast front three of Martial, Rashford and Lingard at the start. The two sides will also play in the UEFA Super Cup on August 8th in Macedonia, so an opportunity to suss out the opposition could prove vital for both sides.

So, there’s no significant reward for doing well in preseason, but clubs do benefit from their tours massively. The big clubs often agree to play each other in places like the US, and the middle-east, so that they can spread their brand to a new place and grow their foreign industry. By charging tickets at over £100 each and playing a few relaxed games under a sponsor-run brand they gain more fans and having more fans mean more merchandise sales, and more merchandise sales mean more money, so it’s a win win.

Overall, on preseason, clubs get to expose their brand, gain money, give youth a chance and test out next formations and tactics, so there really isn’t anything to lose. And, although staying up until 5-AM to see your club’s second side play Real Madrid in Washington or Dubai might seem like a good idea, I promise you will regret it the next morning!

Also, on another note, if you are into your fantasy football then please do join my league, “the dugout cup”. Here’s the link:https://fantasy.premierleague.com/?autojoin-code=973676-233557

https://fantasy.premierleague.com/?autojoin-code=973676-233557

Just click it, select your squad and you can take me and everybody else on!

I hope you enjoyed this post; if you did then please leave a like, and if you want to be the first to know when I post new content the subscribe! Just scroll upwards, click the “follow” button and either enter your Email or WordPress account, it’s free! Also please do join in the discussion in the comments below, there will be a new post out at the weekend, so stay tuned!

Billy

Who is Winning the Transfer Window So Far?

The summer transfer window of 2017 is now in full flow. We’ve had big signings, big sales, everything. Man United’s purchase of Chelsea target Lukaku and Chelsea’s signing of United’s target Morata has made a blockbuster of an attack for each side, and could also hint towards a vicious locking of heads between the defending champions and the record-holders in the season to come.

And it hasn’t just been the big boys making the mass signings. Huddersfield have smashed their transfer record three times, and Everton have brought in the most, signing eleven players, including Wayne Rooney, David Klaassen and Michael Keane.

There have been some big sales too. Diego Costa looks set to leave Chelsea, Wayne Rooney returned to boyhood club, Everton, and Stoke have sold playmaker Marco Arnautovic to West Ham.

You can’t really “win” a transfer window, but, for me, Everton and Huddersfield have to have done the best. They’ve snapped up their targets, got their business done early on and not faffed about over image rights and agents fees. I think a few sides should be taking a leaf out of their book.

This window has also been the window of the extravagant player reveals, with possibly the worst as of yet coming from Chelsea, announcing their purchase of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma, where a young child asks his father if he can have his shirt printed with the German’s name on the back, instead of one of the more obvious attackers like Hazard or Willian. After a few minutes of clearly low-budget acting and a smug looking six-year-old, the till-attendant goes into the back room and asks the player himself if he can have his name on the back. Rudiger turns around and says “why not, I’m a Chelsea player now!”.

1874 Northwich, a non-league side in the same league as West Didsbury and Chorlton (check out the interview I did with their manager, Steve Settle), have also taken a novel approach to player announcements, poking fun at the players with captions such as “we signed him up before “love island” did!”, and “here he is modelling a large boys replica shirt, welcome to the club big man!”. Their comedic-phrases have spread across the internet, and the players can obviously take a bit of fun.

fun

Also, if you’re into your fantasy-football, please feel free to join my league, “the Dugout Cup”. Just go to your home page, select “leagues”, then “create and join new leagues”, then “join a league”, then “join private league” then enter this code:

973676-233557

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again, for all the support recently. It really means a lot and it’s great to see people enjoying my content. If you enjoyed the post please leave a “like”, and share. Have your say in the comment section below and if you want to see more from the dugout and be alerted when I post new content, then please subscribe. You can use either your Email or WordPress account, and it’s totally free There will be a new post next week, so stay tuned!

Billy

 

 

The Interview: Steve Settle, West Didsbury and Chorlton

Capture.PNGA few weeks ago, in the Lacazette to Arsenal post, I talked about how I had something special in the pipeline, and followers of the twitter page (@_InTheDugout_) will know that that I was doing that today.

Those of you who have been followers for a while will know that I often go and watch my local side, West Didsbury and Chorlton FC. Well, today I had the opportunity to interview their manager, Steve Settle. Here’s how it went:

Me: Hi Steve, nice to meet you

SS: Good to meet you.

Me: So, let’s get started. Who do you think was the most influential player in the squad last season?

SS: For us, there was a couple, it’s hard to single just one person out. Had you asked me at the start of the year I would have said our forward Ash Woods, because he scored a load of goals, and was a real platform for us, but as the season progressed he obviously got spotted by a club at a higher level and left us, so I can’t really say him. So, over the course of the season, I would say Matty Kay, or Mark Rogers, two of our more experienced players. If you look at them, they’ve probably had the most influence on the season overall.

Me: So, what are your ambitions for the coming season?

SS: So, we obviously want to keep progressing. Last year we managed to get more points than we ever have before, so to improve on that would indicate progress. There are about 5 or 6 teams in our league who have really big budgets and will have ambitions of winning the league so it will be a very very tough season. But yeah, we want to make progress on last year and see where that takes us.

Me: You had a few problems last year holding onto two or three goal leads. How do you think you could improve in that area?

SS: Haha, yeah, that’s on me, that one. We’ve done a lot of work, we’ve had a look at our shape and how we shape up. We’ve also made changes in goal, now, that’s not to say our goalkeeper was at fault but there seemed to be a time in the year when the ‘keeper was just having a bad run of form, and Deano is a really good goalkeeper actually, it just didn’t seem to run for him, and it was little, individual mistakes that were costing us. So, we’ve had a look during preseason at how we shape up and how to make ourselves tougher to break down when we’re not in possession, and, fingers crossed, we’re going to take that into next season. I was disappointed with the goal we conceded today*, but for 60 minutes I thought we were really solid, and it’s performances like that that we want to take into the new season.

*West had just beaten Stockport Town 3-1 away.

Me: Obviously in Manchester football is a very big thing, and it’s dominated by United and City, who aren’t exactly struggling on the financial front. Do you think that be working with a club like West you are helping to promote, especially to kids, a form of football that is more pure and original?

SS: Yeah, absolutely. At West Didsbury, it’s slightly different to what it’s like at other non-league clubs I’ve been at. We are trying to be at the centre of our community, and that means we can provide a certain facility or service to the people in our immediate vicinity that they can access, whether that be youth football, or people coming down on a Saturday to support the first team, playing in the pyramid or anything in between. We have a whole host of volunteers that come and give their time and money to the side, as they see the benefit of having a really nice community football club and know what it can do for the local community, so we feel very strongly about that. It’s something that we put a lot of time and effort into, into making sure that we are seen as being a really enjoyable afternoon on a Saturday, or a Tuesday night depending on when we play, so it’s a social occasion as well as being an opportunity and a club to get involved in if you want to get into youth football or women’s football now or, you know, if football is your passion and you live close by we want you to think of us first and foremost, instead of spending £40-50 on going to see City or United.

Me: I agree. You touched on women’s football, and that’s obviously growing quite rapidly at the moment. City obviously have a very successful women’s side. What do you think of Man United not having a senior Women’s side?

SS: Well, I’m probably strangely qualified to comment on this because we have a partnership arrangement with Man United Foundation, which means that they operate from our Eccles centre, where I’m the curricular manager of sport. So, yeah, I think that there’s probably movements for United to review their position. I would never speak on their behalf, but I think as the women’s game grows and the participation rates grow it will advance. You know, we really pushed our college, which has a women’s side, and to try and make sure that the girls have a chance to go on into open age female teams is something that’s at the forefront of our mind’s, and I’m sure that it won’t be long before they review their position. But I can tell you this for sure, the people behind the foundation running their girls’ regional talent programme from a young age, up to U18s, they’re a brilliant coaching network, their services are obviously very very good, so I’m sure that there would be appetite from them, but it’s a decision that has to be made by the board, but I’m sure it’s not far in the offing. 

Me: Sound. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

SS: No, no, no, my pleasure.

So, Steve does seem like a very dominative and scary figure on the field, but he was really nice to meet and clearly very enthusiastic about the club. If you ever have that chance to go and watch them, make sure you head down to Brookburn Road in Chorlton to see them.

If you enjoyed the article please leave a like, I’ll leave a link to the West Didsbury and Chorlton FC website below, so make sure you check them out, and any local side near you for that matter.

Please do add to the discussion in the comment section below, and if you want to see more from the dugout and be alerted when I post new content then please do follow the site, it’s free and you can use either your Email or your WordPress account. There will be a new post out during the week so stay tuned.

Billy 

http://wdcfc.co.uk/

Lukaku To United: Chelsea snubbed, or Never In It?

Ever since Romelu Lukaku turned down Everton’s club-record contract offer at the start of the summer the links to him and Chelsea have been endless, almost to the point that you expect his transfer to be announced, however on Thursday the BBC, whom I am starting doubt, posted an article on their website saying that a senior official at the club had informed them that a £75m fee had been agreed for a deal with Man United. Sky had been reporting it too, however, there was no concrete evidence in either article. No quotes, no specific sources cited, nothing.

Lukaku is in LA, along with Serge Ibaka (Spanish-Congolese Basketball-player), and reported close friend Paul Pogba. A couple of days ago he posted on his Instagram story of him and one of his friends, who was wearing a Man United shirt, which had sparked a few rumours. Also, on Friday night Phil Neville posted a photo of big Rom in the new Man Utd kit, however quickly following it up with “hahaha it’s a joke guys calm down”. Of course, the photo could have been edited, however, I have looked for a while now and cannot find that photo of him not in a United shirt, and if it was edited, it was done very skillfully. The way that the front corner of his collar is folded down and fits his neck perfectly makes it look very much like an unedited photo.

lukaku united shirt

To me, the shirt fits him too perfectly to be a fake

It would be very unusual for a photo of him to be taken of him in a shirt before he’s actually signed, and surely Phil Neville would be taking a HUGE risk posting this when it’s not been announced. However, we did see leaked photos of Paul Pogba in United shirts before the move was announced, but not by a public source like Neville.

If Lukaku does join United he would almost certainly be accused of “snubbing” Chelsea. As a United fan, I’m used to this “snubbing”. Seeing as United are linked to any player who has a half decent season it’s not uncommon. One of the examples is when Antoine Griezmann announced his plan to stay at Athletico Madrid. He said that a move away whilst Athleti were transfer banned would be a “dirty move”, so he snubbed United. Also, Michael Keane joining Everton, Saul Niguez signing a new contract and Raphael Varane staying at Real Madrid were all reported as “snubbings” of United. 

United have let go of last season’s superstar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, meaning that without the signing of a prolific striker next year they would struggle for goals, and if they want to mount a title challenge they would find it impossible. Lukaku would be the perfect fit; quick, strong, experienced in the premier league and would really help the development of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial by providing vital assistance to their pace and surging runs. 

For me, it does look like Lukaku will leave, as Everton have spent around £90m this summer, which is one of the reported fees, and they would surely need to sell off a few players to top up their transfer kitty. United currently look like the leading club to sign him, but don’t be surprised if Chelsea swoops in like they did with the Pedro deal the year before last. In fact, it is also being reported that they have matched United’s offer, however, the BBC are not citing any sources or even mentioning where they got their news from. At least with the United article, they said that they had got it from a “senior United official”. Sky are reporting that Everton want £90m, and if that’s so it will be a race for who can get him to sign on the dotted line first.

The BBC are really slipping though. It happens often over the summer, however this year it has been worse than ever. All these bogus articles on Lukaku, Perisic and Sanchez just bore me, and I can’t take them seriously.

I’m sorry this post is a put together a little oddly, I am writing this on Friday night as I’m away over the weekend, and it’s all just unfolding whilst I write, so it’s hard to keep up.

If you enjoyed the post then please do leave a like, leave a comment below with who you think will sign Lukaku (you may have to scroll past an ad or two). If you want to see more from the dugout and be alerted when I post new content the subscribe, you can use either your Email or your WordPress account, and, as always, it’s free. There will be a new Weekly Window Upate out over the week, so stay tuned.

Billy

Update: United have now confirmed they have agreed a fee with Everton for Lukaku and he will be going for a medical and contract negotiations.

Weekly Window Update: It’s Finally Here!

It’s finally here! The 2017 summer transfer window has finally opened, and all the pre-agreed deals will now be officially completed. But now, as another week has passed, it’s time for another weekly window update.

Let’s start back at the what seems to be the usual place, the blue side of Merseyside. Everton signed Malaga forward Sandro Ramirez for around £5m in late June, and loaned promising young defender Brendan Galloway to now-Championship-side Sunderland. The BBC are also reporting that they have stepped up their interest in bringing Man United’s top-all-time-goalscorer Wayne Rooney back to his boyhood club. Their supposed pursuit of Rooney has lasted around two years now, but interest from China had loomed large before new legislation preventing Chinese clubs from fielding more that four non-Chinese players at a time came in.

Arsenal have also just confirmed the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, but I won’t go into too much depth about that, seeing as I’ve already made a post on it.

Also, John Terry joined Aston Villa on a free transfer, with Terry apparently turning down Premier League sides as “the mental side of playing against Chelsea is too much”. It’s a fairly unorthodox reason for signing for a club, but I guess Terry doesn’t really have a reputation for being “normal”.

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From one controversial centre-back to another, as Pepe left Real Madrid for Besikitas yesterday on a free transfer. The Portuguese defender, according to the BBC, had a medical at PSG before choosing to join the Turkish champions. He has a previous record of being rather hot-headed. He was sent off  in the 2014 world cup for a “headbutt” on German Thomas Muller, and is known for his unsportsmanlike behaviour and hard-tackling style.

Premier League newcomers Huddersfield have also been attracting attention with their high profile signings. Just today they spent £12m on Montpellier striker Steve Mounie (a club-record fee), and have also signed Tom Ince (son of Paul Ince), Danny Williams from Reading on a free, Aaron Mooy from Man City for what was a record £8m (he was on loan there last season), Mainz ‘keeper Jonas Lossl, and finally, Porto striker Laurent Depoitre for £3.5m (also a record fee at the time). That’s six new signings, three new record transfer fees, a total of at least £25m. I think they’re one to keep an eye on.

That’s about it for transfer news and gossip, but I just wanted to say a massive thanks for the support the site has been getting recently, it’s really great to see that people are enjoying what I’m putting out there.

Also, I’m just organising an opportunity to do something big, and that will be out in about two weeks. I won’t reveal too much, but I think you’ll like it.

As always, if you enjoyed the post then please do leave a like, and if you have any comments, queries or suggestions then please do add to the discussion in the comments down below. If you want to see more from the dugout and be alerted when I post new content then please subscribe, you can use either your WordPress account or your Email, as always, it’s free. There will be a new post out at the weekend, so stay tuned.

Billy