Sunday, 24 July 2016

Oh my...WORD!

They've only gone and given the not-too-bad, in my opinion, shirt & shorts of our second strip for next season...YELLOW SOCKS!

 

 

Good grief...


Well at least that explains the yellow writing we've seen on the shirt for the last few months in 'leaked pictures'.

And with a supposed orange & purple, 3rd (cup) kit apparently on the way, it'll certinaly be a colourful affair this season and, going off the majority of the comments I've read on various forums over the last few months from Blues regarding this season's kit designs & colours; another 'nail in the coffin' for Nike in terms of them dressing our heros (& fans) for another year.

For those who don't like 'em, I think we should start to question just who at the club itself also has an input in these kit choices...

Friday, 22 July 2016

The list is long…



…with many a winding turn.


And it’s only ‘Day 22’!


Love it or hate it – and for the record I find it mostly laborious with a tinge of occasional excitement – we all have to endure the ‘transfer window’. 2 months, or there abouts, in the summer and another month in January (with speculation for the latter usually starting around October…if we’re “lucky”).

As recently mentioned, I purposely avoided joining in the constant merry-go-round of both-repeated and just crazy, non-story speculation – I didn’t think you’d want to read yet another story that simply spewed out the same ‘copy & paste’ material.

With the amount of stuff out there and the sheer number of players that have been linked with a move to our progressive, forward-thinking football club; it’s hard to grasp that the transfer window has only officially been open for 21-½ days (although clubs & players could “talk” as of 1st June 2016)!

Anyhoo…I do keep a list for my own ‘monitoring purposes’, which does NOT include “crazy speculation” linking us with players that just aren’t gonna sign – not in this window at least - but does include slightly more sensible / reasonable ‘links’; as well as my own ‘best guesses’ based on sensible connections made in previous transfer windows.

What surprised me, before deciding to do this little piece, was just how long my own, so-called, more-sensible list had got!

In order of playing position…

Position: Goalkeeper
Current club: Free agent…or Real Sociedad (conflicting info)
Rumoured fee: Free…or £4M (conflicting info)
Current likelihood: 9/10

Position: Goalkeeper
Current club: Barcelona
Rumoured fee: £15M
Current likelihood: 3/10

Position: Goalkeeper
Current club: PSV Eindhoven
Rumoured fee: £7M          
Current likelihood: 5/10

Position: Goalkeeper
Current club: Barcelona
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 2/10

Position: Defender - Centre
Current club: Everton
Rumoured fee: £45M+
Current likelihood: 8/10

Position: Defender - Centre
Current club: Juventus
Rumoured fee: £45M+
Current likelihood: 4/10

Position: Defender - Centre
Current club: West Ham United
Rumoured fee: £15M
Current likelihood: 3/10

Position: Defender - Centre
Current club: Roma
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 3/10

Position: Defender - Centre
Current club: Atletico Madrid
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 3/10

Position: Defender - Centre
Current club: Atletico Bilbao
Rumoured fee: N/A
Current likelihood: 0/10 – New contract signed; now not moving this window

Position: Defender - Left
Current club: West Ham United
Rumoured fee: £25M
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Defender - Left
Current club: Juventus
Rumoured fee: £30M
Current likelihood: 2/10

Position: Defender - Left
Current club: PSV Eindhoven
Rumoured fee: £15M
Current likelihood: 3/10

Name: Danny Rose
Position: Defender - Left
Current club: Tottenham Hotspur
Rumoured fee: £35M
Current likelihood: 2/10

Position: Defender - Left
Current club: VfL Wolfsburg
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 6/10

Position: Defender - Right
Current club: Real Madrid
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Defender - Right
Current club: Arsenal
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 2/10

Position: Defender / Winger – Left / Right
Current club: Torino FC
Rumoured fee: £17M
Current likelihood: 5/10

Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Bologna FC 1909
Rumoured fee: £14M
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Manchester City
Rumoured fee: £19.3M
Current likelihood: SIGNED

Name: Tony Kroos
Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Real Madrid
Rumoured fee: £35M
Current likelihood: 3/10

Name: Paul Pogba
Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Juventus
Rumoured fee: £105M
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Bayern Munich
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 1/10

Name: Aaron Mooy
Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Manchester City (on loan to Huddersfield Town)
Rumoured fee: Undisclosed
Current likelihood: SIGNED

Position: Midfielder - Centre
Current club: Arsenal
Rumoured fee: £25M
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Winger / Forward – Left / Centre
Current club: Manchester City
Rumoured fee: £1.7M
Current likelihood: SIGNED

Position: ‘Midfield playmaker’
Current club: Manchester City
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: SIGNED

Name: Nolito
Position: Winger / Forward – Left / Centre
Current club: Manchester City
Rumoured fee: £13.8M
Current likelihood: SIGNED

Position: Winger / Forward – Left / Right / Centre
Current club: Atletico Nacional
Rumoured fee: £8.23M
Current likelihood: 9/10

Name: Leroy Sane
Position: Winger / Forward – Left / Right / Centre
Current club: Schalke 04
Rumoured fee: £35M+
Current likelihood: 8/10

Name: Koke
Position: Midfielder / WingerLeft / Centre
Current club: Atletico Madrid
Rumoured fee: £37.5M
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Winger / Striker – Left / Right / Centre
Current club: Borussia Dortmund
Rumoured fee: £65M
Current likelihood: 4/10

Position: Striker - Centre
Current club: Bayern Munich
Rumoured fee: £60M
Current likelihood: 1/10

Position: Striker - Centre
Current club: Manchester City
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: SIGNED

Name: Luis Suarez
Position: Striker - Centre
Current club: Barcelona
Rumoured fee: Unknown
Current likelihood: 3/10

Position: Forward – Left / Centre
Current club: Palmeiras
Rumoured fee: £16.5M+
Current likelihood: 8/10

Wow! Still ‘some list’…

The goalkeeping links seem to be hotting up, with Geronimo (what a great name!) Rulli highly likely to be signed but then loaned straight to Real Sociedad for the whole of the 2016/17 season and, then, either 18-month-older Jeroen Zoet joining to compete with Joe Hart for us next season OR one of the two Barcelona-linked keepers (one currently 24-years of age and the other 33).

The centre of defence is, of course, the big talking point and ‘other options / considerations’ now appear to be-being looked at [to John Stone & Leonardo Bonucci] in the form of Lucas Hernandez and, more recently, Greek international Kostas Manolas.

We continue to look to 'snap up' young talent for the future too with both Marlos Moreno & Gabriel Jesus ‘almost signed’ and the Leroy Sane saga ‘rumbles on’ with the gap on both clubs’ valuations appearing to widen and being the only apparent stumbling block.

One understandable concern for Blues is the left & right-back slots…but more-so the left-back position. For this Ricardo Rodrigues would seem more likely, although Jetro Willems could be a decent shout too. The English Options of both Aaron Cresswell and Danny Rose seem highly unlikely as well as 'highly priced' by their respective clubs.

The right-side of the defence seems to be cooling slightly with regards to both speculation and ‘the need’; with the solid Bacary Sagna, the back-in-training / pushing-for-one-last-season Pablo Zabaleta and the impressive [on Wednesday night] youngster Pablo Maffeo all vying for that slot. However, recent and apparent interest in Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin has apparently turned the head of the ex-Barcelona junior…as well as getting right up the nose of Arsene Wenger & The Gunners.

Striker news is just ‘dead’ at the moment…and that’s a concern for a lot of Blues posting ‘on-line’. I suspect this to remain quiet too until the defence is sorted out by Pep and the other City officials who are in constant talks, I’m sure, with their counterparts in England and across Europe.

However, once ‘sorted’, I suspect that we’ll then turn our attention to matters regarding support for Sergio Aguero who, it appears, might be signing a contract extension very soon to keep him at City until June 2020! This announcement could come on Monday in China

I could be wrong though on the striker front – perhaps Pep’s thinking is that that with the likes of (currently & ‘strongly rumoured’ at least) Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Nolito, (possibly Leroy Sane), David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure (not to mention any possible new, attacking wing-backs); he’ll enough creativity and goals from midfield to support our thin-line of ‘strikers’ for the 2016/17 season.

A look at that list and you could see his point if that’s his plan…

Thursday, 21 July 2016

v Bayern – what we learnt.



Dreadfully hungover - and otherwise dehydrated - from a garden party the day before on the hottest day of the year so far in England; I wasn’t even aware the game was on TV until 40-odd minutes before KO, despite having trawled the WEB on & off for about a week to find out; giving up on Monday / assuming it ‘just wasn’t on’. 

 

Anyway, it was; I watched it and so…




Early / first thoughts


No need to look for a right-back?

There have been question marks over whether City hero, Pablo Zabaleta’s legs are up to another season in the Premier League; especially under a manager who quite rightly insists on nonstop running. That, and the fact that his competitive teammate for the right-back slot is almost 2 years his senior; it’s no wonder we’ve been linked with Bruno Perez and, more recently, Hector Bellerin at the very least.

However, most Blues already knew that we had a promising prospect in our very own, EDS’s Pablo Maffeo; a young, Spanish, right-sided defender who, we have been told several times, had been placed under the wing of Zaba as a mentor over the last year.

Last night ‘Pablo junior’ showed Pep that he can save some dosh in that area of the team for this season, at least; putting the cash towards strengthening other areas of the pitch. Maffeo was confident in the tackle in the Allianz Arena last night; pushed forward in support on the right-wing very well indeed and having played the whole game; had energy aplenty.

Other promising youngsters too…

He may look so very tiny indeed but Angelino certainly doesn’t hide. Asked, last night, to play ‘anywhere on the left-side’ of a very much makeshift defence; he took to the task very well indeed with a lively performance.

Confirmation last night also, for me at least as I’ve been paying him closer attention over the last 12 months, that Tosin Adarabioyo is going to be one hell of a central defender of the future – as always he looked so accomplished and self-assured for the most part in Germany yesterday evening.

A mention too for Brandon Barker. The left-winger clearly has talent and I say that not just on last night’s showing but I have watched him on & off for a couple of seasons now. He also never lacks desire and has good energy too.

Last night he showed glimpses of both his determination and footballing brain but I think the Manchester lad needs a full season on loan at a decent level and with a manager / coaching team who are going to be able to bring the ‘X-factor’ out of him. If that doesn’t happen soon, I can see Brandon being moved on permanently and I would hate to see that for such a hardworking local lad.

Staying put!

Willy’s going nowhere! Well…we sort of knew that once Richard Wright departed from his 3rd-choice keeper / assistant Goalkeeping Coach role, which has now been filled by last season’s League Cup Wembley hero (well it will be when we bring in a keeper to fill the 2nd slot / compete for 1st place).

But last night Caballero set off all the fireworks in order to attract Pep’s attention with a very good display indeed – MotM for City in fact.

Signs of improvement?

Was it my dulled senses [due to my hangover] or was Jesus Navas not only even faster than normal but he also put in 3 decent corners? I suppose other than that he didn’t really do much in terms of threatening the ‘oppo’ but I do like to focus on the ‘plus points’ where possible.

No change / no surprise.

He may have improved season on season but it wasn’t a shock to see ‘reckless legs’ Fernandinho managing to get booked in the first ‘friendly’ of the season. Huh…and some Blues were suggesting recently on one, on-line forum that we should save our money; not go for John Stones and use the Brazilian as a central defender!

Iheanacho is still raw. Okay…so it was apparently ‘last minute’ that he got clearance to travel to / play in Germany last night and he did come close in the first half with a shot that rippled the top of the net. But when he’s not exactly ‘firing’ he can sometimes look lost in games and last night was one of those. Perhaps that’s what Pellegrini knew deep down amidst me and thousands of other Blues screaming at him to be used more than Wilfried Bony last season…

Speaking of which; we learnt nothing new about the big Ivorian either yesterday. Still full of hard-working intent and still capable of some very neat passing / link-up play. But then again, as he did last night, still chokes in front of goal.

Tempo.

Not quite so obvious in the first half, which had our new manager practically fuming in his technical area on a couple of occasion, but certainly in the second; it was so obvious that Pep’s ethos of ‘chase, chase and chase some more’ had been installed. That’s why I’ve been suggesting for months now that Jesus Navas might just survive the managerial change (even if we sign Leroy Sane) and why many Blues believe Yaya Toure won’t…

When everyone is back together and that philosophy of Pep’s is instilled even further; I can’t wait to see our refreshed squad of players run Premier League and other – teams ragged this coming season!