Everton submit €30m bid to sign new striker from Premier League rivals

Everton

Everton have reportedly made a formal bid worth €30m in order to acquire the signature of Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea in the current transfer window. The Belgium international has recently been attracting interest from AS Monaco, who are keen on pursuing him on loan but the Toffees may have leapfrogged the Principality outfit after making a permanent offer for the marksman.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport's Nicolo Schira, the Toffees are said to have made an offer in the region of €30m to prise away Batshuayi, who has struggled to establish himself with the Blues. The Belgium international is currently on a season-long loan with Valencia but the Spanish outfit have already confirmed that they are expected to terminate the striker’s contract after he managed just one league goal during the first half of the campaign.

Amidst this, the Blues have been fancied to offload Batshuayi this month with manager Maurizio Sarri deeming him surplus to requirements, and the Toffees could be leading the race after making the approach to pursue the Belgian on a permanent basis. In the current campaign, Marco Silva has tried out Cenk Tosun and Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the centre-forward position but neither have been hugely effective in the quest to score regularly.

As such, the pursuit of a new marksman makes perfect sense for the Toffees and their €30m offer for Batshuayi could prove a potential bargain, should Silva manage to revive the striker’s form from his time with Les Phoceens. Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson have handled the goalscoring burden for the Toffees this term with more than 50 per cent of the goals scored but Silva could certainly do with an out-and-out marksman, who can contribute alongside to enhance the club’s results.

Aston Villa star Bree takes dig at former manager Bruce

Aston Villa

Aston Villa star James Bree has taken a sly dig at former manager Steve Bruce.  Bruce was sacked by the Midlands club earlier on this season after it was looking clear that they would not challenge for a place in the promotion playoffs under his guidance.

Since the club sacked Bruce and appointed Dean Smith as manager, things have improved though they will probably still not be among the favourites to secure promotion at the end of the season.

Since joining the Villains from Barnsley in 2017, Bree has always been a fringe-player and never established himself as a first-team regular.

This season also started that way but he has since gone on to play for his club during their past six games in all competitions.

When Bree arrived at the club, he was inexperienced with the side already having the likes of Alan Hutton, Ahmed Elmohamady, Ritchie de Laet and Micah Richards above him in the pecking order.

Following their 3-0 loss against Wigan Athletic last weekend, Villa fell into 12th position on the Championship standings. They are five points adrift of sixth placed Derby County and will need to recover as soon as possible if they want to stand a chance of winning promotion to the top-flight.

Bree told AVTV:

"It's just nice to be back playing again.

"It's been a couple of years since I have had a regular run in the team and it's just nice to be back playing - hopefully, I can stay in the team."

West Ham suffer blow as Real Madrid are reportedly interested in their key target

Real Madrid

Nobody can dispute that Genoa striker Krzysztof Piatek has been one of the best breakout superstars from the top five leagues across Europe this season.

He has scored an impressive 13 goals from 19 games for his club in the Serie A this season. This is especially commendable because the Italian top-flight is one of the hardest leagues to score in as it is very defensive minded.

There is no doubt that many big clubs will be eyeing Piatek. He definitely deserves a chance to play in the Champions League.

With Genoa currently in 14th place on the Serie A standings, it will be very surprising if Piatek does end up staying with them beyond next summer.

One of the clubs targeting the forward is West Ham. The Hammers will need to bring in a new forward next summer as they prepare for the departures of unsettled men such as Javier Hernandez, Lucas Perez, Andy Caroll and most notably the influential Marko Arnautovic.

A report from AS has however claimed that Spanish giants Real Madrid are also interested in Piatek. Los Blancos need to find a replacement for Karim Benzema who is past his prime.

They have also had a very frustrating season so far and need to bring in new quality players in attack to replace the void that was left by the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last summer.

David Wagner pays the price

Huddersfield Town

Mutual consent. The sacred get out clause for any manager which of course sounds and looks better on your CV than a sacking, but for David Wagner it certainly came as no surprise when the popular German left the Premier League’s bottom club Huddersfield Town earlier this week.

Wagner will go down in the club’s history as one of their greatest manager’s having led the Terriers in the top division for the first time in over half a century but trying to compete against the oil rich and those who are well marketed across the world was always going to make this a tough challenge.

After defying the odds in their first season to finish outside the relegation zone and gaining plaudits for their resolve, second season syndrome is well and truly alive in West Yorkshire as Huddersfield find themselves with more than a mountain to climb to keep alive their Premier League status. The tone was set straight away with no wins from their first 10 games, almost a quarter of the season ebbed away without a win.

Currently eight points from safety and with only two league wins this season, Wagner and his team were always going to be up against it to repeat last season’s feat. The lack of a goal-scorer is evident in the lowly 13 goals they’ve scored this season whilst not keeping them out at the other end has meant goal difference is not currently on their side should they mount the most unlikely of escapes.

Whilst the game is awash with money and with it being especially prominent in the Premier League there is always that fine line for the smaller clubs as to whether they gamble their cash in the hope of remaining a part of the elite or it all goes belly up, and despite contracts being better structured than in the early days that almost crippled clubs such as Leeds and Bradford for good, it can still damage a club for years to come especially if they fail to unload players after relegation.

Without a win since the end of November, many might argue Wagner was either living on borrowed time or being given the time to turn things around, you can argue it could have been both. It doesn’t get any easier this coming weekend as they host the champions Manchester City, who are coming good once again on the heels of leaders Liverpool, along with Chelsea and Arsenal.

However, it was only last week where Wagner was sure he was still the man to arrest the slide and felt he had the support and backing of his chairman.

You can expect the usual names of David Moyes, Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce to be trotted out by the press as the man to save the club on a short-term basis, but with only 2 weeks left in the January window, time is in short supply for the Terriers to decide whether they spend some money in the vain hope to retain their top flight status or give in to the inevitable and prepare already for life in the Championship.

Whoever is next in the chair will find themselves in a 'no lose' situation and could possibly be the greatest escape ever if Huddersfield Town find themselves with Premier League status next season, but they’re going to have to fire a side lacking maybe in class and experience at this level and it might only be January, but the remainder of the campaign is looking bleak for Terriers fans.

Celtic make transfer decision on Yaya Toure amid speculation

Celtic

Celtic are reportedly said to hold no interest in signing Yaya Toure despite the recent speculation in the media. The ex-Manchester City star was recently tipped to join Brendan Rodger’s team through a Greek report and the speculation further intensified with the midfielder refusing to rule out a potential move to the Scottish champions.

However, according to Sky Sports Scotland, that does not seem the case and the Glasgow giants are understood to have no plans of approaching the former Premier League star. Toure only joined Olympiacos on a free transfer during September but he could not make much of an impression before mutually parting ways three months later.

The Ivorian has since been a free-agent without being linked with any high-profile clubs and it appears that the Hoops won’t be making an approach for the veteran. Despite this, the 35-year-old does not seem likely to hang up his boots after recently acknowledging that he would prefer another one or two years in the game while refusing to rule out a Premier League comeback.

A player of Toure’s calibre would no doubt provide the added expertise at the heart of the Hoops midfield but the club are unlikely to be in the position of affording his wages alongside the signing-on bonus. Therefore, the decision appears wise enough with the team already making quality business this month after pursuing frontmen Oliver Burke, Timothy Weah and Vakoun Issouf Bayo – the former on short-term loans from West Bromwich Albion and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.

Celtic are currently top of the Scottish Premiership despite a mixed campaign and they are leading Old Firm rivals Rangers on goal difference with a game in hand. Following the winter break, they return to action with a Scottish Cup fourth round tie with minnows Airdrieonians which they are expected to firmly dominate and win.

Celtic must once again move for South African international

Celtic

A report published by The Scottish Sun claimed that South African defender Rivaldo Coetzee was on the verge of joining Scottish giants Celtic during the summer of 2017. However, the move ended up not materializing after the youngster failed a medical test.

After failing his medical test at Parkhead, the 22-year-old ended up moving to South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns.

He did spend a lengthy amount of time on the side lines and only made his debut for Sundowns last December. Coetzee has made a promising return to action in his homeland.

Celtic have dominated Scottish football for nearly a decade. However, this season has seen arch-rivals Rangers revitalized under the guidance of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.

This season’s title race is also likely to go down to the wire. This means that the Hoops cannot afford to be complacent and need to make sure that they have quality in each and every department. Sealing a move to Celtic could be too good to turn down for Coetzee if Brendan Rodgers side once again come calling.

The player made his debut for his native South Africa in 2014 at the age of 17 and became the youngest ever player to turn out for his country. He has drawn comparisons to Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe who captained South Africa at the 2002 World Cup.

While he is not blessed with height, Coetzee is a gifted defender and has a good ability to read the game. He has what it takes to become a success for the Hoops.

Jamie Carragher speaks out on Huddersfield Town parting ways with David Wagner

Huddersfield Town

Former Liverpool star turned pundit Jamie Carragher has claimed that David Wagner did an impressive job as manager of the Terriers and added that he will be missed by the club.

Wagner parted ways with the Terriers by mutual consent on Monday. From all the team’s in the League this season, Town look like they are the most likely to get relegated.

They are rooted to the bottom of the standings with 11 points from 22 games and are eight points adrift of safety. Under the helm of Wagner, they only scored 13 goals this season which is the fewest out of any team in the top-flight. 

Wagner spent the past three years as Town boss and brought them to the Premier League after guiding them to promotion playoff victory during the 2016-17 season. Prior to the 2017-18 season, many pundits and fans expected the Terriers to place last in the Premier League and back straight back down to the Championship.

However, they overcame the odds and secured a respectable 16th place finish on the standings.

Reactions to Wagner’s parting of ways has been mixed. Some feel that the Terriers have been playing a boring brand of football this season and need fresh energy if they want to stand a chance of avoiding the drop.

Others feel that the parting of ways was rather harsh and that no manager will be able to turn around the club’s current situation considering the resources that they have available to them.

Speaking on Monday night football, Carragher paid tribute to Wagner saying:

"I just think it's sad the way it has ended - I actually believe it was by mutual consent for once.

"I think in most people's eyes, they're almost down, although we have seen teams in this position before prove us totally wrong.

"What a story and what a job that man has done, getting Huddersfield into the Premier League and keeping them up. It was always going to be difficult and eventually, they were going to go down at some stage.

"It looks like it will be this season, but he will be remembered very fondly at Huddersfield.

"Who knows if they go down this season, how long it will take them to get back in the Premier League? But what happened there certainly in the couple of years he has been there is as absolute fairy tale."

Report: Everton flop not seeking to leave this month

Everton

A report published by Turkish publication Skorer has claimed that Everton forward Cenk Tosun will not seek to leave the club this month.

The 27-year-old Tosun arrived at the Toffees last January for £27 million from Besiktas in his homeland of Turkey. He was expected to add quality to the Merseysiders attack after they struggled to score goals regularly following the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United during the summer of 2017.

The Turkey international has failed to live up to expectations. Last season, he performed decently and netted five times from 14 appearances.

However, he has scored just twice from 18 appearances this season with manager Marco Silva preferring to deploy Richarlison in attack.

Tosun is however prepared to stay at the Toffees and work on fighting his way back into the team.

He told Skorer:

"I will fight more to get back the jersey. I will not go anywhere.

"Everton supporters love me very much. I love them. Instead of giving up to take the shirt, I’ll fight more."

However, it looks like he is now surplus to requirements at the club. He does not appear to be in the long-term vision of the club as evidenced by the fact that he was an unused substitute during the club’s 2-0 win against Bournemouth last weekend.

At this point in time, Tosun should leave for the sake of both his career and Everton football club.

He is capable of playing in the Premier League and could fit into many sides on the bottom half of the standings.

Michail Antonio confirms West Ham United star ‘wants to go’ this month

West Ham United

West Ham United winger Michail Antonio has confirmed that Marko Arnautovic wants to go from the east London club amid the interest from the Chinese Super League. The Austria international has transformed into the go-to man for the Hammers upfront over the past 18 months but his immediate future remains a concern amid the big-money offer from the Far East.

Arnautovic had waved his goodbyes to the Hammers’ faithful when he was substituted during the Hammers’ stunning 1-0 league win over Arsenal at the weekend and Antonio has admitted that the former Stoke City man could be making way with the prospect of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the Chinese Super League.

"Obviously there is interest, everyone knows that Marko wants to go. He’s massive for the club, I think he’s joint top goalscorer, he’s a massive player for us, the fans love him. It’s just one of those things where in his life right now he feels this is another step for him. I think he’s going to probably one of the best clubs over there [in China] and might be able to win some trophies," he told Sky Sports.

West Ham had recently clarified their not-for-stance on the Austrian footballer but manager Manuel Pellegrini was tight-lipped about ruling out a potential transfer in the aftermath of the Gunners game. The striker is currently the subject of a £35m bid from an unnamed Chinese club with wages of nearly £200,000-a-week and it appears that the striker’s future could take the same route like Dimitri Payet, who forced through a departure during the winter of 2017.

Nonetheless, the club would require a quality replacement in the ranks with Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez not enjoying the best of seasons and that may potentially urge them to hold on to the marksman, though the player’s commitment could come into question amid the desire to move on. West Ham are scheduled to face Bournemouth on the road this weekend.

‘Breakthrough performance’ Everton fans on Twitter praise attacker’s display against Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth

A section of the Everton supporters have heaped praise on Ademola Lookman following his impressive showing against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Sunday. The Englishman has endured a tough season with fitness concerns but he managed to make a notable impact against the Cherries after providing a sublime assist for the second goal in the 2-0 triumph. As such, the Toffees faithful have reacted positively on social media with some reserving praise for the former Charlton Athletic graduate.

Here are the best tweets:




Lookman struggled to make much of an impact under the guidance of ex-boss Ronald Koeman and the same remained the case with Sam Allardyce where he was deemed surplus to requirements at one stage. Owing to this, there had been suggestions that the attacker could be sold to RB Leipzig during the summer after his successful loan stint with the Bundesliga side, but the Toffees decided against taking up the option.

The move has certainly paid dividends after a short wait with Lookman putting up impressive displays against Lincoln City and Bournemouth but it remains to be seen whether he can sustain the form over an extended period in order to cement his position on the right side of the Toffees attack. Meanwhile, the victory over Bournemouth ended a tough run of games for the Toffees, who had picked up just two points at Goodison Park since December.

Marco Silva’s team are currently occupying the 10th position on the table with 30 points but they could potentially drop into the bottom half, should Wolverhampton Wanderers secure a shock triumph over Manchester City on the road on Monday night. Next up, the Merseyside outfit are scheduled to travel to the South Coast where Southampton would be their opponents on Saturday.