Victor Orta' be the right man for Leeds? Football Oracle or Maverick?

Andrea Radrizzani



With Leeds United's dramatic loss of form losing six of the last seven Championship fixtures, the spotlight has been pointed at the clubs management team. Thomas Christiansen is currently facing escalating pressure as manager and faces two of the toughest fixtures of the season against promotion favorites Middlesbrough and Wolves. One may question if he will still be in charge if the current losing streak continues.

Following his full takeover of the club in May, Andrea Radrizzani has significantly restructured the clubs management team. One of his key appointments was the recruitment of Spaniard Victor Orta to act as the clubs Director of Football.

At his unveiling at the club Radrizzani announced: "I am delighted to welcome Victor to Elland Road. I have been impressed with his knowledge of the game, his extensive scouting network and his desire to help us achieve our objective of getting Leeds United back to the Premier League."

With Leeds sitting pretty at the top of the table in September, Thomas Christensen was singing Orta's praises stating: "If there's something I need, I speak to Victor Orta - he's the Wikipedia of football." This view was shared by many of the Leeds fans.

Being Director of football at Leeds is not Orta's first job in English football. Before joining Leeds Orta was employed at Middlesbrough following a strong recommendation from then manager Aitor Karanka. Orta was responsible for the majority of signings on Teesside overseeing a disappointing return season to the Premiership which resulted in the club whimpering to relegation.

During this season of turmoil there was strong rumors of a rift between the local English players and the foreign signings recommended. Following the sacking of Karanka and during Steve Agnew's first match Orta had to be physically removed by Leo Percovich (goal keeping coach) after demanding to talk to 'his' players. Orta's employment at Middlesbrough ended with the clubs relegation to the Championship, with chairman Steve Gibson highlighting the clubs poor recruitment policy a key contribution factor.

However the new influx of signings seem to be struggling with the demands of Championship football with only Samu Siaz showing signs of consistent quality. Leeds have gone from passing Burton off the pitch during a 5-0 rout early in September to being constantly out fought and beaten by more physical teams who have adapted to Leeds new playing style.

One area Leeds have had noticeable problems with is their defense. The loss of championship experience from Rob Green and Kyle Bartley has left Leeds fragile and low on confidence. New Goal keeper Felix Wieldwald has failed to impress and is currently been kept out of the team by Andy Longegan. Even last seasons cult hero in Pontus Jansson is struggling in form without his solid defensive partner of Kyle Bartley.

With Leeds wanting a top six finish they may need to add to the squad in the January transfer market. However during an online Q&A Orta stated: "I don't believe a lot in the January transfer market.  I prefer to do all our work in the summer market and only use the January market for specific situation, for a problem we need to solve."

Also during his Q&A session Orta declared the club are planning on 'a big surprise from Asia' widely reported to be the proposed signing of Japanese J-League player Yosuke Ideguchi. The Sun newspaper believes the 21-year old may of already signed a pre-contract agreement with the club for his signature in January.

With the fickle nature of football it is easy to swing from being a football genius with a 'weapons grade contacts book' to a disruptive maverick signing dross from sub-standard football leagues. As with Leeds its impossible to predict how the clubs season will unfold. A win against former manager Gary Monk's Middlesbrough at Elland Road on Sunday could easily be the intervention to swing the clubs fortunes.

In Samu Siaz, Orta has managed to unearth an easily Premiership quality player with flair not seen at Leeds for over numerous years. New singing Ezgjan Alioski has also looked a threat and if he can improve on his consistency would be a beneficial asset to the team.  Other new signings perhaps needing more time to settle into English football like Jay-Roy Grot and Pawel Cibicki it is too early to write off the players signed this summer. 

 It will be interesting to see if Leeds do sign Japanese International Yosuke Ideguchi in January as hinted by Orta. If so I hope his impact is more Siaz than Weilderwald
bout United being “close to signing a big surprise from Asia” after expending their scouting network into the Far East

Read more at: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/football/leeds-united/leeds-united-line-up-january-deal-for-japan-s-yosuke-ideguchi-1-8746937
bout United being “close to signing a big surprise from Asia” after expending their scouting network into the Far East

Read more at: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/sport/football/leeds-united/leeds-united-line-up-january-deal-for-japan-s-yosuke-ideguchi-1-

Mourinho ready to take on Real Madrid with £170 million striker bid

Jose Mourinho is considering launching a £170 bid to bring Harry Kane to Old Trafford according to recent reports in the Sun. Interest in the Tottenham striker has been heating up recently, with rumours circulating that Real Madrid are readying a big money bid for next summer. Now it appears that Manchester United will joining the La Liga giants in attempting to prize Kane away from Spurs.

Mourinho is understood to have long admired Kane's goal scoring talent and it would be a safe bet to assume he would relish the thought of him playing alongside Romelu Lukaku. Speaking of betting check out Valkyries of Odin Slot. The Sun's Old Trafford source has revealed that:

'The club had asked about Kane’s availability a few years back. They were told by Spurs there was no chance. Jose is a big fan and is very interested. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will move on next summer, more than likely, freeing up a load of cash they plan to use.'

'The problem for United is the money could get to a ridiculous level. It’s going to be more than Kylian Mbappe. It’s money they can lay their hands on but it will be interesting to see what Levy’s stance on the whole thing will be.'

Tottenham are understood to have little intention of letting their star man leave the club and plan to increase Kane's wages in an attempt to stop his head being turned. They were recently branded as the 'Harry Kane club' by Pep Guardiola in reference to their reliance on his goals.

Many of Tottenham's best players have been allowed to move on from North London once the bids have gotten high enough. £170 million could be enough to ensure that this tradition continues next summer.

Crazy Footballers Names – A Commentators Mare

For the strictly immature football fan and something to beat your mates at, next time you’re down the pub and it starts, you know, the old what’s the maddest name of any footballer you’ve ever come across.

Wellington Paulista – Forward – West Ham, often looked as though his feet were stuck in deep mud.

He joined on loan back in January 2013 from Cruzeiro, Brazil. Initially joined on a 6-month trial with the view to a permanent deal.  Unfortunately, he left without making a single first team appearance, he did make it off from the bench on two occasions, so that’s something.

Danger Fourpence – Defence/Midfield, really only ever endangered himself on the pitch.

Still plays, in his native Zimbabwe, where he’s a dangerous man-marker, currently at Kiglon, where he sometimes ventures in to a midfield area.

Wolfgang Wolf – Defence, too sheepish around the opponent’s box but would pounce if anyone got too close to his goal.

Now in the coaching game and worked within the confounds of FC Wolfsburg, true! Wolfgang Wolf of Wolfsburg.

Fabian Assman – Goalkeeper, never sat out a game or would rest his load, no way man.

Currently, still playing in his homeland of Argentina, for Velez Sarsfield. He managed to get a loan spell in Spain with Las Palmas before returning to Independiente in July 2010. He was pursued by Chelsea in the 2009 season, though they never followed through...

Otto Addo - never really added up to anything too special, but did manage to get out on the pitch with his country of origin, Ghana.

He’s succeeding within the realms of coaching and currently works for FC Nordsjaelland in the Danish super league.

Creedance Clearwater Cuoto – Striker, nicknamed Paulista, for obvious reasons.

His parents named him, they usually do, and were fantastic fans of the American rock band Creedance Clearwater Revival. They never really caught on, in his homeland of Brazil, and still haven’t, hence his nickname. Stills plays too, for Taubate, always on the team sheet usually named at the top of the bill…

Have-a-Look Dube, calling out “Have A Look”, whilst running down the wing, would often catch Have-a-Look Dube’s attention; it’s his name.

He had a great look in when playing in his native country, Zimbabwe. Still playing for the same team – Njube Sundowns.

Anil Koc - Midfield, providing penetration but didn’t last the pace.

Started his career with the Turkish side of Antalyaspor, he had a loan spell at Charlton in the 2013 – 14 seasons’ but failed to make a single appearance.

Wayne Wanklyn - winger for Reading, never really got himself off.

Started life in Hull and hit himself along the way before making a stain for himself at Reading, though never really achieved massive things.

Andre Muff – forward, made the Swiss team, last played for FC Concordia Basel.

Fantastically named and often found himself partnering Bernt Haas, when on international duty. Haas and Muff enjoyed playing the forward line on many international call-ups.

Mario Turdo, not a very successful Argentine striker, never really sank it. Still pushing though, and has been since 1997, though he’s currently without a club.

Managed a few spells in Europe, before skidding out and back to Argentina in 2005. He played out some seasons with Celta Vigo, Las Palmas and CD Leganes.

We know we’ve missed a few, but can you top any of the above names?  We bet you can’t. Talking of bets, we teamed up with the Footy Accumulator guys to put this piece together. For football odds and bet tipping insights follow the link through to their website. You’ll also find previews of the latest games across a multitude of leagues too.

If you know of any other names worthy of the above list, send them across. We may add to them.

Direct play and ‘Nuclear Option’ is now a possibility

In completing the signing of Nemanja Matic from fellow Premier League rivals Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has captured a potential bargain.

With long range shooting capabilities and an ability to play deep, Matic boasts the type of versatility the Red Devils need, as the club prepares to embark on its latest quest to win a fourteenth Premier League title. The towering trophy that is its embodiment has now been absent from the Old Trafford trophy room for three years. Such a long absence would have been unthinkable in that halcyon period of the late 1990s to early 2000s, during which United became the first English to team to complete a cup treble. Much of the success experienced by United during that era is, of course, attributed to the now-legendary ‘Class of 92’, with Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham providing a ‘midfield engine’ that had no equal in the Premier League.

Possessing the same ‘midfield engine’ will again be a crucial element if Mourinho is to ever come anywhere near his predecessor’s monstrous haul of 38 trophies in 27 years. Sadly Mourinho’s midfield is presently in dire need of fine tuning, with a Europa League trophy win over inferior opposition merely papering over the proverbial cracks. Most notably, last summer’s marquee signing Paul Pogba has thus far failed to justify the price tag that brought him to Old Trafford. Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the latter of whom also arrived in the summer of 2016, have also failed to live up to the hype that surrounded their respective transfers. 2016/17 proved to be a frustrating season of inconsistency for both players, but they were by no means the worst of an underachieving group.

The weakest links

Two midfield players – Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial – are in dire danger of being forced through the Old Trafford exit door. For his part, Martial arrived from Monaco as a striker in his pomp, but he has been played out of position more recently. While that is a possible mitigating circumstance for the Frenchman, his willingness to fight for the Manchester United shirt has not been as evident as it was when he first exploded onto the scene and became the darling of Fantasy Football players across the country. A revised setup may save his future, but it very much remains in the balance.

Marouane Fellaini, made newly ugly by a ball to the general derision of the Twittersphere, remains a figure of curiosity. He stood a colossus throughout his final (2012/13) season at Everton, using his height as a lethal weapon on the end of set pieces, and showing a great ability to control the ball and settle play when Everton’s opposition was aggressing. Upon arrival at Old Trafford, and a quickfire reunion with new Manchester United manager David Moyes, his form went into a steep decline. Unable to fit into Louis van Gaal’s regime, and now apparently threatened by the arrival of Matic, the Belgian must admit that his days in the famous red, white and black are numbered unless. That is, of course, unless he rediscovers the form that once made him a fan favourite at Goodison Park.

New signings

Though Manchster United are second favourites (at 10/3) to win the title on Sun Bets football betting odds page, signing more midfielders will not necessarily improve the Red Devils ailing Premier League fortunes. A change in the playing system can often prove just as crucial as a £100m signing, and one possible option for Mourinho would be to deploy Martial alongside recent £75m acquisition Romelu Lukaku. Naturally, Pogba and Matic would then play alongside one another in the centre of the park, and if Mourinho dares to make such a bold switch, United will at least boast a physically strong core.

While this has the potential to work effectively, there is a catch. Both Martial and Lukaku only truly thrive when the ball is delivered as they face goal. Therefore, Mourinho would need to ensure the arrival of additional wingers – ones that possess the greatest accuracy money can buy. Failure to secure such talents under this new strategy would see United slip to an all-time low in the Premier League era. In light of United’s failure to lure Croatian sensation Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan, perennial ‘nuclear option’ Gareth Bale has been touted as a potential target.

Out with the old, in with the nuclear

Bale was an agent of destruction in Real Madrid’s UEFA Super Cup win over United, and while signing the Welsh wing wizard would undoubtedly end Mourinho’s summer spending, his capabilities need no introduction. Bale would be a support striker as much as a winger, and in successfully overlapping with the likes of Martial, the opposition’s right flank would surely be rendered helpless. Another winger, of nearly the same ability, would be needed if United were to be sufficiently balanced in 2017/18. Regardless of how Mourinho chooses to proceed, his next move will be a huge gamble. Yet, in football, the future belongs to the brave and the headstrong. Sir Alex Ferguson, after whom an Old Trafford stand is now named, is a living and breathing testament to that philosophy.

Author bio

Tamhas Woods is a BJTC-accredited sports journalist with a Masters in Journalism from Staffordshire University.

Man City look to make transfer for England star happen this summer

Joe Hart is on the move again after his year long loan spell at Torino. Pep Guardiola has made it clear he is not wanted at Manchester City anymore, meaning the England goalkeeper is on the look out for new opportunities this summer.

West Ham are one of the clubs that have shown interest in taking Hart off Pep's hands according the Daily Express. They have reported that the Hammers' would like the 30-year-old to take a £75,000 a week pay cut in order to make the move happen.

Although Hart remains England's first choice keeper, his stock has fallen greatly over the last couple of seasons which has seen him fall out of favour at City. After letting in two free kicks in quick succession during England's game against Scotland at the weekend his position in the starting line up has come under question.

Competition to be England's number one keeper is particularly strong at the moment with Heaton, Butland, Forster and Pickford all applying pressure on Hart. Choosing the right club this summer could be pivotal to Hart hanging on to his place in England's first team.

Liverpool back on track for top 4 thanks to Super Subs





Liverpool's second half comeback yesterday keeps the club on course for a top-four finish. Following a flat first half the Redmen were trailing 1-0 to Stoke following Jonathan Walters's first half goal. However, Klopp's double substitution at half time bringing Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino off the bench turned the game at the Bet365 stadium on its head.

Both Coutinho and Firmino scored in a magical three minute spell in the 70th minute of the match to complete the comeback and give Liverpool the vital three point in their chase for a fourth place finish and Champions League football. 

Speaking after yesterdays win, Klopp explained his decision to leave both Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino on the bench. With Coutinho still recovering from an illness and Firmino suffering from fatigue Klopps medical analysis showed the players would only be ready for 45 minutes of action.

Speaking to the BBC Klopp stated  "We have won a few games this year, but this was really special. You could feel it immediately in the dressing room. Everybody was like, 'that's very important'.

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Griezmann told to reconsider United move


Manchester United transfer target Antione Griezmann has been given a warning about making a potential move to Old Trafford by former French international Youri Djorkaeff.

Djorkaeff urged Griezmann to consider the success he has achieved playing for Atletico before making a move to a different 'big club'.

In an interview with Omnisport, Djorkaeff stated: 'You know, this decision belongs to the player but it's all about what you are offered.'

'People think that Atletico is inferior to all the other big clubs. However Atletico Madrid played two of the three last Champions League finals, they won the Spanish league and Copa del Rey.'

'They have won a lot of trophies, they have played a lot of finals as well. They just miss out maybe on the Champions League.'

'However, there are only a few clubs in the last few years who have reached the final.'

The opportunity to continue playing Champions League football will be a big factor should Griezmann decide to move on from Atletico. Whether or not Mourinho is able to get United in the Champions League next season could play a pivitol role on this long rumoured transfer going through.

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Mourinho and Pep go head to head for £30M defender


Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy is reported to be making a move to Manchester this summer, with both United and City looking to sign the highly sought after 22-year-old.

According to The Daily Star Mendy is being looked at by a number of Premier League clubs, with Pep and Jose currently out in front in the race to land his signature.

Mourinho is has made known his frustration with Luke Shaw and hence may well be on the lookout for a new left back. Guardiola is also said to be desperate to strengthen his defensive options.

Mendy has made a big impact since joining Monaco on a five year contract last June and his performances have helped take his side to the top of Ligue 1 and the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Both Arsenal and Tottenham have also been rumoured to be interested in signing the French international.

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Wenger Out? Arsene to give that answer soon!

Arsene Wenger is currently facing the toughest period in his 21-year reign as Arsenal Manager, with recent ‘Wenger Out’ protests dominating the news surrounding the club.

There is increasing pressure on the Frenchman to step down as manager at the end of the season. A recent poll conducted by Arsenal Supporters Trust has concluded that 78% of fans would like to see Wenger vacate his role.

Arsenal have managed to finish in the top four for the past 20 seasons, something Arsene believes fans have taken forgranted and should "realise it is not as easy as it looked.” Fellow Premier League manager Pep Guardiola has backed Wenger's belief that a top 4 finish is worthy of a trophy stating “Qualifying for the Champions League is definitely like winning a trophy".

In today's press conference Arsene continued to tease the Arsenal fans on an update on his future. When questioned, he stated "I have answered this question many times. You ask again. Don't worry. You will get that answer soon"

It was widely reported last month that Arsene Wenger told West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis that he was planning to stay on at Arsenal. M
aybe Wenger is waiting for a good run on results before announcing his decision to stay to avoid further protests from the Gunners supporters.

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Klopp and Mourinho both chasing £17M Danish star

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is set to do battle with Jose Mourinho in this summer's transfer window according to reports in the Daily Express, with Fenerbahce defender Simon Kjaer being the man who's signature they both want to secure.

The Express has reported that Klopp has sent scouts to view the £17 million rated defender who has also attracted attention from a number of other Premier League clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea.

Klopp is expected to be looking to improve his defensive options this summer and is said to be impressed with the experienced Danish defender who has previously played for Wolfsburg, Lille, Roma and Palermo.

A stumbling block to a potential transfer is that Kjaer has recently stated his wish remain playing his football in Turkey. Speaking to Turkish news outlet the 28-year old stated: 'I have no intention of leaving Turkey, Turkish football has taught me a lot.'

'I have improved to have more responsibility, some of the matches I have played are like something I haven’t experienced anywhere in the world.'

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