whufc.com

Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

1 Comment

West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.

Transfer rumor roundup: Sarri could make changes up front for Chelsea

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
1 Comment

With roughly one month until the domestic seasons in Europe kick off, transfer season is about to kick into another gear following the conclusion of the World Cup on Sunday.

Pro Soccer Talk takes a look at three of the day’s biggest transfer stories, including how new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will handle his attack.

[ MORE: World Cup winner to receive $38 million ]


New Blues boss Sarri is reportedly keen on Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, and that could very well spell the end for both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud at Stamford Bridge.

Higuain and Sarri have history together after both previously having played roles in Napoli’s squad.

Morata and Giroud have only spent one season, respectively, with Chelsea and combined for 14 Premier League goals in 2017/18.


Manchester United could be on the brink of adding some strong defensive depth in the form of an Italy international.

Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on bringing in veteran center back Leonardo Bonucci, who currently plays for Serie A side AC Milan.

Given Milan’s sanctions from European football though, it is conceivable that the club will allow Bonucci to go in order to raise money for a team in the midst of financial troubles.


After a tremendous showing at the World Cup, France right back Benjamin Pavard is becoming a highly-coveted player.

The Stuttgart defender is being eyed by Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham as a potential replacement for Toby Alderweireld, according to the Mirror.

Pavard scored one of the goals of the World Cup during France’s thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina in the Round of 16.

Hazard hints at Chelsea exit, has ‘preferred destination’ in mind

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

This summer could very well turn into a watershed moment in the history of Chelsea, as Antonio Conte has already departed the Premier League side after two seasons as manager, and the club’s most valuable superstar appears intent on following in his footsteps.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Pogba to Barca? Madrid wants Neymar ]

Should Eden Hazard — who made some alarmingly eye-opening comments following Belgium’s 2-0 victory over England in the 2018 World Cup third-place game on Saturday — leaves Stamford Bridge in the coming days or weeks, a whole host of other key players could very well follow suit — quotes form Sky Sports:

“After six wonderful years at Chelsea it might be time to discover something different. Certainly after this World Cup. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision, if they want to let me go. You know my preferred destination.”

Considering Real Madrid has been the club most commonly linked with a mega-money move for Hazard in recent weeks — and doubly so following Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus — many have chosen to infer Los Blancos as Hazard’s “preferred destination.”

[ MORE: Chelsea reveal new manager Sarri, midfielder Jorginho ]

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has curtailed his exorbitant, free-spending ways (to a degree) in recent years — much to the chagrin and disdain of Conte, which ultimately played a part in his departure — and the Blues fell back into the pack last season, finishing fifth in the PL. New manager Maurizio Sarri has an experienced, but aging, squad to work with. A widespread makeover will be necessary inside 24 months, and selling Hazard for a fee approaching $200 million wouldn’t be the least effective way to fund such an undertaking.

Transfer rumor roundup: Pogba to Barca? Madrid wants Neymar

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pro Soccer Talk examines the top transfer stories on Saturday, including a French star possibly on the move to Spain.

[ MORE: Chelsea announces manager Sarri, midfielder Jorginho ]


Could a strained relationship between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba force to the France international out of Old Trafford this summer?

Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has made his client available as France prepares to play in the World Cup final on Sunday.

The Spanish outlet suggests that Barcelona has come into play, as Pogba seeks a move away from Manchester following various issues with Mourinho.

Barcelona has been linked with a number of central midfielders this summer, including Chelsea’s N'Golo Kante and PSG man Adrian Rabiot, as Andres Iniesta’s exit from the team created a stir up.

[ MORE: Hazard hints at Chelsea exit, has “preferred destination” in mind ]


Cristiano Ronaldo’s move away from Real Madrid has shaken the soccer world, and the UEFA Champions League winners aim to regroup in the Portugal international’s absence, one player continues to be at the top of their wish list.

Neymar appears to be Real’s preferred replacement for Ronaldo, and COPE is reporting that the Brazilian is the only real name that president Florentino Perez would want to sign this summer to fill the void.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe have also had their names thrown into the ring in recent reports, but Real seems keen on bringing superstar Neymar in to keep the club in contention in La Liga and Europe in 2018/19.


Finally, West Ham United appears close to a move for Lazio’s Felipe Anderson, after being linked to the midfielder for several weeks.

Anderson is reportedly in London for a medical, as the Brazilian aims to finalize the deal, which would make him the most-expensive transfer in club history.

Report: Shaqiri set for Liverpool medical on release-clause deal

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images
1 Comment

Xherdan Shaqiri‘s potential transfer from Stoke City to Liverpool has moved from “run-of-the-mill transfer rumor” to “this could actually get done and be announced tomorrow” with shocking efficiency.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Malcom to Spurs, Bale to Man Utd “advanced” ]

The 26-year-old Swiss star has an $17-million relegation release clause in his Stoke contract, and after the Potters were relegated from the Premier League in May, neither Shaqiri nor Stoke — who would likely be on the hook for the entirety of his reported $85,000-per-week wages — want any part of one another any longer. According to multiple reports out of the UK, he is set to undergo the standard medical examination on Friday before signing a contract to join Liverpool.

Liverpool seems a pretty natural landing spot for a player of Shaqiri’s 1) technical and physical skill set, and 2) familiarity with the PL and the English game — plus European competitions from his days at Basel — as a whole. The Reds were on the cusp of signing a very difference attacker in Lyon’s Nabil Fekir last month, but pulled the plus at the last minute when unable to agree contract structure for a player with a history of serious knee problems.

[ MORE: Mahrez, Man City share no. 1 goal: win the Champions League ]

Shaqiri is, for all intents and purposes, a perfectly suitable backup plan. The fact that he comes at a price $60 million cheaper than Fekir, and with a full understanding of the league and living in England, are just (massive and gigantic) feathers in the cap of Jurgen Klopp.