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Why Arsenal’s Edu thoroughly deserves director award
We’ll start with Arsenal, who enjoyed a dramatic late victory away to Luton Town last night, and who have also been winning off the pitch as their sporting director Edu was recognised with an award for the best director at the Golden Boy ceremony.
Edu’s award is absolutely deserved, in my opinion. He’s probably underrated but he’s done an excellent job at Arsenal. Extending contracts of top players like Saka, Saliba, Martinelli, Odegaard and many others; signing super stars like Declan Rice with perfect strategy; players love him and the daily contact at the ground.
Also, he protected Arteta in difficult moments at the beginning. Arsenal are a fantastic football club now after a difficult few years at the end of the Arsene Wenger era. It’s now a wonderful project and Edu deserves a good part of the credit for that.
Staying with Arsenal, I’ve also had some fans asking me about links with Kenan Yildiz – this very talented youngster at Juventus has at least ten top clubs from around Europe following him, but it’s just scouting, nothing else. He only signed a new deal with Juve around six weeks ago, so there are no talks or negotiations, nothing happening for January. He’s happy at Juventus, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to links with Arsenal or any other clubs right now.
The latest on Manchester United ahead of crucial game against Chelsea
It’s a negative moment for Marcus Rashford, but we can’t forget what he did last season at Manchester United. His feeling with Erik ten Hag has always been excellent, so I think it’s just a very negative moment, but it’s not just because of Rashford. We know it’s been a complicated beginning of the season in general for Manchester United, also for other players.
So he needs some time, but people in the coaching staff are still backing him, trusting him, and he’s still convinced of the decision he made months ago to sign a deal at Manchester United. I don’t think there is going to be any change in the upcoming months.
It’s obviously also a difficult moment for Ten Hag, with the club responding to negative media reports by banning some outlets from their press conference yesterday. To handle the pressure is not easy and the media reports have been very strong attacking Ten Hag as manager but also his methods and his coaching staff.
My understanding is that Ten Hag is 100% convinced that the players are with him, he’s happy of the behaviour and of the commitment. Despite this negative moment he feels the support of the club. For sure, though, they need to change the trend on the pitch as this is not at Man United level right now.
The Chelsea game looks so important for both teams, as neither are where they want to be at the moment, but it’s maybe especially important for United to react – they can’t lose this game for many reasons after the horrible week they had. Chelsea have been very good this season against important teams so it’s a chance to confirm their level again. I think it’s going to be a very good game.
The feeling is still for Jadon Sancho to leave Manchester United in the January window, still waiting to see what’s going to be the best solution, still waiting to understand what kind of position Manchester United will have.
And that’s the position of Juventus too. Juventus have an interest in Jadon Sancho. Juventus spoke to people close to the player, but they’re waiting for May United to have this famous new board, new structure with new people in charge, deciding on what they want to do for the outgoings, including Jadon Sancho.
Kalvin Phillips looks set to leave – could Newcastle be an option?
I remain 95% sure that Kalvin Phillips will leave Manchester City in the January transfer window – he has this kind of priority. He really wanted to stay in the summer because he had many possibilities in different countries with different clubs, but he wanted to compete, to stay, to fight for his place.
Now, however, it’s clear he’s almost never playing in important games and that’s why he wants to go and he wants to have a different opportunity, also because of concerns about his England place for the Euros next summer.
Man City are informed, so I think it’s just a matter of time and then they will pick the best solution. My understanding is that Newcastle could be a possibility – they are one of the clubs interested.
However, as I always mentioned, from what I’m told Newcastle will decide the player they want to sign in that position once they will know the situation in the Champions League. So it depends a lot on whether they will still be in the Champions League or if they drop to the Europa League or whatever. That is going to be a crucial step.
David de Gea looks a realistic opportunity for Newcastle
At the moment I still don’t have any confirmation on Newcastle’s plans with David de Gea, despite a lot of speculation. For sure, De Gea is a big opportunity, and he is waiting for this kind of opportunity, because it had some possibilities in Saudi at the end of August, beginning of September, and he always wanted to wait for European opportunities, and Newcastle would be absolutely perfect, so I’m sure that he would be keen on that kind of opportunity.
But at the same time for Newcastle I also heard in the recent days and also right after the injury of Nick Pope that they really trust Martin Dubravka, they believe he’s a very good backup goalkeeper, they trust him and so I would not be surprised if they decide to give him a chance in the upcoming games and then decide about David de Gea as an opportunity in the next weeks.
I will do my best to keep you all updated in the next hours when I will have some confirmation on this story but for sure De Gea could be an opportunity, he’s a free agent and he would love to continue in Europe so I’m sure De Gea would be keen on that kind of opportunity.
What next for Serhou Guirassy?
I think it’s a possibility that we’ll see Serhou Guirassy move this January after his excellent form at Stuttgart this season. He has a special release clause – very cheap at just €17.5m, and it’s also valid in January, which is not normally the case as they’re usually only for the summer.
So it’s a special situation and many clubs are informed. Newcastle are informed, United, but also Italian clubs, German clubs. A lot of clubs know very well how this clause works and they are interested in the situation, but at the moment there is still no decision made on player side also, because Stuttgart are trying in every way to convince Guirassy to stay until the end of the season and then leave in the summer, but from what I’m hearing, the possibility for a January move is really concrete.
It’s something that the player is also considering, so I’m sure that in the next 2-3 weeks they will keep discussing, especially on player side. It’s more on player side than on club side. I think he has to decide what kind of step he wants to take, and so there are discussions ongoing, but still no clarity whether this Newcastle opportunity is the only one. I think there are many clubs interested in Guirassy.
Victor Osimhen not close to new Napoli contract
Despite what Napoli are saying about Victor Osimhen and a new contract, I’m not sure they are that close to signing a new deal. Napoli president De Laurentiis has shown many times that he likes to use the media also to put some pressure, so it’s also normal.
Napoli are trying, Napoli are trying with the best proposal in their history to Osimhen – it’s a higher salary than players like Cavani, Higuain and many others had in the recent years, so it’s a really big, big contract. But from what I’m hearing at the moment, there is still no full agreement in place with Osimhen.
Napoli are pushing, Napoli are insisting, Napoli also improved their proposal, so they’re waiting for him. De Laurentiis is optimistic, but from what I’m hearing, it’s still not a done deal.
In any case, I think the opportunity for Osimhen to leave in summer 2024 remains really, really concrete. As I always mention, I don’t see a January exit for the player, but I think the most likely solution is going to be a summer move and I’m not so sure that he’s going to sign a new deal.
Joao Felix Barcelona stay and FFP complications
Joao Felix scored the winner for Barcelona against his parent club Atletico Madrid at the weekend, so what does the long-term future hold for him? As is often the case, it will depend on a lot of factors…
It will depend on the Financial Fair Play situation, on the sales that Barcelona will be able to complete. So there are many factors and for sure I think this is going to be a saga for May and for June, not for now.
So for now Barcelona just want to enjoy Felix – he just arrived three months ago. They’re very happy with him and he’s very happy there. The feeling is really great and also the feeling of those close to the player is that he can’t return to Atletico Madrid.
In other news…
Thiago Almada – This talented young player from Atlanta United has made it clear he wants a move to Europe. Napoli tried to sign him in May last summer but then nothing happened as club director Cristiano Giuntoli left right before the start of the transfer window. He was also on Villarreal’s list last year, let’s see who’s going to join the race now.
Mohammed Kudus – We know there was interest from other clubs in the summer, but Kudus joined West Ham just 100 days ago, so it’s too early to talk already about his next move. I think it would be disrespectful to mention other clubs at this stage. He’s now adapting to new league, new club, doing very well. It’s not time for him to think about a new transfer from what I’m told.