Sunday, 24 July 2011

Who is Oriol Romeu?

Chelsea have agreed a £4.5 million fee for 19 year old Barcelona B midfielder Oriol Romeu, and is expected to complete his move to London next week.

The Spanish Under-19 international is currently representing Spain at the Under 20 World Cup, and is another product of the famed La Masia Barcelona youth system, and has been on the books at the Catalan club since 2004, after signing from fellow Barcelona based club; Espanyol.

Oriol is a defensive midfielder, who is also capable of playing at centre back, similar to that of current Barcelona and Spanish international Sergio Busquets. He was apparently previously scouted by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, while Everton, Blackburn and Newcastle were previously linked.

He is 6ft tall, right footed, with excellent stamina and responsiveness, and acts as the defensive wall in front of the two central defenders. He is not just a ball winning midfielder, nor is he just an in your face Darren Fletcher style of player, he has great vision and passing ability, something drummed into him as part of the Barcelona philosophy. reports that Romeu has “a rare blend of pace, strength, tactical sense, technique and anticipation”.

Joining Chelsea, he is expected to compete with Jon Obi Mikel for the defensive midfield role in Andres Villas-Boas’ team, as it became vacant due to Michael Essien’s unfortunate, yet serious knee injury.

Here’s all you need to know

Age: 19

Date of birth: 24/09/1991

Nationality: Spanish

Position: Defensive Midfielder

Previous club: Barcelona/Barcelona B

Club: Chelsea

Club Apps: 49 Club Goals: 1 (Stats for Barca B)

Spain U-19 Level

International Caps: 11 International Goals: 1

Transfer fee: £4.5 million

Here is a video of him in action, he is wearing the number 6 shirt

Real Talk Football

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Who is Romelu Lukaku?

One of the most exciting and promising strikers in Europe, surely every fan of European football has had a conversation about the 18 year old in the past twelve months. Real Talk Football is going to look at why he has received so much publicity recently, leading him to be linked with a move to the Premiership, possible suitors being Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City.

I named him as one of the most promising players in the world last year, and he has came into the media spotlight this past week, after Chelsea had reportedly put in a £18 million bid for the youngster.

Lukaku was born in Antwerp in Belgium, and has currently spent the last two years of his career at one of the country’s biggest sides; RSC Anderlecht. He has made 71 appearances for the Purple and White, and scored 31 times. He hit 16 goals in the Belgian Pro League last season, and a fabled story tagged with the young striker, is that in his youth career with Lierse and Anderlecht, he hit over 100 goals.

He says he looks up to Didier Drogba as his football hero, not to mention Lukaku being a self confessed Chelsea fan, and is in the same mould as the Stamford Bridge legend. He is 6ft 3in, blessed with raw power, pace and strength. He is predominatly left footed, but capable of scoring with his right foot. He is excellent in the air, and displays the same ability as Drogba, using these attributes to score. I’d argue he has the same knack for hitting those scuff-shots with inevitably end up in the net, just like Drogba.

Not only is he gifted on the football pitch, but he speaks four different languages; Dutch, French, Congolese and English. Anderlecht are holding for £25 million, and it seems they are willing to bide their time in order to get their true valuation of the player. Chelsea are the apparent front runners at the moment, and the chances of him moving to West London have been rated “50/50”.

Lukaku has played nine times for the Belgium national team, scoring twice. Should he join Chelsea, he’d already have to contend with Roman Abramovic’s favourite Fernando Torres, established striker Nicholas Anelka, promising forward Daniel Sturridge and his “idol” Didier Drogba. This move, of course still remains nowhere near completion but it would be fantastic to see someone who seems so equipped to play in the Premiership finally testing himself in one of the toughest leagues in the world.

Here’s all you need to know

Age: 18

Date of birth: 13/05/1993

Nationality: Belgian

Position: Striker

Club: Anderlecht

Club Apps: 71 Club Goals: 31

International Caps: 9 International Goals: 2

Real Talk Football

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Who is Joel Campbell?

I have been keeping an eye on this year’s Copa America tournament in Argentina, and while Japan was expected to take part as a special guest of the tournament, they had to withdraw due to the Tsunami disaster. CONMEBOL, South America’s football governing body subsequently sought a replacement; they looked to Central America; Costa Rica. An invitation to the tournament they duly accepted, and take this as an opportunity to test out what was essentially an under 23 squad, given this was their second major tournament this year, after the Gold Cup.

With this opportunity, and the young squad, it was a chance for a young Costa Rican to display his ability at a football tournament which has gained more television exposure than ever before. I was watching the highlights of the Group A match between Costa Rica and Bolivia, an entertaining game with two players sent off for Bolivia and Costa Rica running out 2-0 winners. There was one individual who was the stand out performer in the win, and this was a young man only earning his fifth international cap, and that was 19 year old Joel Campbell.

Campbell impressed with his dynamic pace, skill, flair and sheer tenacity. He’s a left footed forward player who is not afraid to take a shot on goal from outside the box, something which will be music to Arsenal fans ears. He is also a admirable set piece taker, and has shown composure in front of goal at international level.

Before the tournament he was linked with a move to Sunderland, but now it seems one of the biggest clubs in Europe, with Arsenal still seen as one of the best clubs for young talent to come, nurture their potential and be having the prospect of being given a first team opportunity.

Joel Campbell is a very promising player, and will be a good piece of business for Arsenal, costing just £900,000. The players father has already said that the medical in San José, Costa Rica, with members of the Arsenal club supervising. He is expected to complete his move from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa, and he will be loaned out for the forthcoming season, because he hasn’t played the full number of required senior internationals to achieve a work permit.

Here’s all you need to know

Age: 19

Date of birth: 26/06/1992

Nationality: Costa Rican

Position: Forward

Club: Arsenal

Previous Club: Deportivo Saprissa

Club Apps: 3 Club Goals: 0

International Apps: 6 International Goals: 2

Transfer Fee: £900,000

Real Talk Football

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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Who is Thibaut Courtois?

With the position of Goalkeeper high on the list of priorities of most Premier League clubs in the transfer market this summer, noticeable examples include Manchester United; who brought in David De Gea from Athletico Madrid, Arsenal; who are content with their decision to make Wojciech Szczesny their new number one, and even Aston Villa; who are trying to tie up a deal for Manchester City ‘keeper Shay Given. A transfer was completed this afternoon for a club who were unlikely to be filling the Goalkeeper void anytime soon, but have brought in one of the most promising young goalkeepers in European football to West London; Thibaut Courtois from Belgian champions Racing Genk.

New manager in charge at Stamford Bridge, Andres Villas-Boas, has finalised the signing for the Premier League runner-up Chelsea, who have spent £7.9 million on the 19 year old. Racing Genk’s director spoke of the deal explaining; “We received an enormous offer that gave us no choice but to let our goalkeeper leave, but I have mixed feelings about this transfer. Genk wanted Thibaut to stay a bit longer."

Thibaut Courtois is 19 years old, standing at a giant 6ft 6in. He has no other international experience at any level for Belgium, apart from 4 caps for the Under 18’s squad. He spent 10 years with the Genk youth team before making his first team debut against Gent in 2009. He has gone on to make 41 appearances for the first team, and was the number one choice last season on route to Genk winning the 2010/11 Jupiler Pro League (Belgian Premiership if you will). While in goal he only conceded 32 goals in 40 appearances while between the sticks.

Chelsea fans can expect Courtois to be the second or maybe third choice goalkeeper for foreseeable future, he’ll be competing with Hilario (who signed a new deal with the club last month) as well as Ross Turnbull, who has two years remaining on his current deal. All that's left Courtois is too agree personal terms, and then he will complete his move.

Here’s all you need to know

Age: 19 years old

Date of birth: 11/05/1992

Nationality: Belgian

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Chelsea

Previous Club: Genk

Club Apps: 41 Club Goals: 0

Transfer Fee: £7.9million

Here’s a video of Thibaut Courtois in action

Real Talk Football

Friday, 8 July 2011

Who is Gervinho?

With all the negative press surrounding Arsenal this week, month even, Arsenal fans would be forgiven for not being so forgiving when it comes to discussing matters relating to their team. Apparently no one wants to play for Arsenal, Arsenal are no longer a big club, Arsenal wont make the Champions League blah blah blah we’ve heard it all before. No doubt rival clubs are licking their lips at the implosion on the horizon for the North London club, but let’s look at the reasons to be optimistic.

Arsenal is indeed in the Champions League, and I believe have qualified for the last twelve seasons in row, Arsenal bookworms please confirm. They first name out the door is Gael Clichy. A good attacking full-back who is not so solid defensively, with a knack for detrimental lapses in concentration which have proven costly to Arsenal on many memorable occasions, leaving the Emirates (I wish Arsenal had given a more sentiomental name rather than selling the rights to an Airline company) than any of the more important names like a Robin Van Persie or a Theo Walcott.

Thomas Vermaelen is back, and he will indeed be like a “new signing”, and with the drama surrounding Samir Nasri, and his contract negotiations, Arsenal are not under any pressure to sell and I’m sure Wenger will go out of his way to convince him to stay. The only name most likely to follow not-so-much fans favourite Gael Clichy out the door is Cesc Fabregas. As soon as Barcelona stump up the fee and stop trying to “mug Arsenal off” the sooner he can pack his bags and watch all the Formula 1 he likes. Oh and be a member of the Barcelona squad, and be that all important “super-sub”. Anyhow, this isn’t about Fabregas, greedy football players or Arsenal hear say. This is about the new striker expected to hit these shores, and hopefully for Arsenal fans, not be tired after just five months!

Gervais Yao Kouassi, known commonly as Gervinho, is a 24 year old winger who has established himself as one of the top attackers in French football. He’s a member of the Lille side which won both the Ligue 1 title and the French Cup last season. He chipped in with 15 goals and 10 assist in Lille’s all conquering campaign.

Gervinho started his career with Belgian side KSK Beveren, a club known for developing Ivory Coast players, and were once Arsenal’s “feeder club” through a co-operations deal between the two clubs. His stats for the Jupiler League side were 14 goals in 61 appearances. He moved to France in the summer of 2007 joining Le Mans. He was an instrumental member of the side, and hit 14 goals in 67 appearances for MUC 72.

After two seasons at Le Mans, he joined ambitious side Lille. In his first season, he hit 13 goals in 32 appearances helping Les Dogues finish 4th and securing a Europa League spot. In the 2010/11 season, he joined as part of an attacking Lille front three consisting of Left Winger Eden Hazard, poacher Moussa Sow and Gervinho making up the right side of the three. He hit 15 goals and 10 assists, and helped Lille complete the domestic double.

He’s seen as an erratic player, with fantastic ability and a knack for making things happen. He has a ridiculous hairstyle, but who cares, that’s got absolutely nothing to do with Football. He is a pacey wide man, with flair and skill who is not afraid to take players on. He has great timing, and the ability to arrive late at the far post, and pop up with tap-ins when required.

He has been likened to Samuel Eto’o, as well as Robert Pires. Two contrasting players, but both Football icons in their own right. If Gervinho performs within an inch of their levels, he will be a valuable asset to Arsene Wenger.

Gervinho can play as part of a 4-3-3 formation, either on the left or the right. He likes to cut inside onto his stronger foot from the left, while he is just as suited to flying down the right flank. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes up an Arsenal front three, similar to Lille’s successful style last season, with say Walcott and Robin Van Persie. Their pace will cause all kinds of trouble for opposition defences.

One final note is that Arsenal fans have showed disappointment already at the nature of the signing, and the fact that negations and talks have taken so long. He has passed as medical, and the deal has been rumoured to be pushed back until Monday. First talk of this transfer came to the forefront about three weeks ago, and fans are becoming frustrated at the manner in which Arsenal are fixing the transfer. Although the fans, and very patient they are, know that Arsenal are renowned for taking their time over transfer deals, so maybe fans should cut them a little slack in that department.

As for the calibre of signing, Gervinho is a very good player and could be great for Arsenal. Fans need to get behind the 24 year old, as he is a player who is determined to join the Gunners and perform at the highest level, Arsenal fans should be excited. Gervinho didn’t necessarily need a transfer, he won two trophies last season, and Lille are guaranteed a spot to be competing in the Champions League next season. It’s a big opportunity for him and a good prospect for Arsenal (should all the formalities go through).

Gervinho is improving vastly, and Arsenal fans should look forward to prospect of a new striker setting up at the Emirates. This will probably lead the way for Bendtner and Vela’s exit from the club.

Here’s a YouTube video of some of his best bits

Real Talk Football

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Who is Stefan Savic?

We continue our coverage of detailing relatively unknown players who have been catching the headlines with their transfers all over Europe. Today we look at new arrival in the Premiership, a new defender arriving at Eastlands (not the left back who joined from Arsenal) but 20 year old promising defender Stefan Savic.

Stefan Savic has joined Manchester City from Serbian side Partizan Belgrade, for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £6 million. The 20 year old had a 10 day trail with Arsenal back in 2010 and looked to have agreed a move, but the deal never came to fruition. Savic signs a four year contract, and is expected to compete become first choice defensive partner for Vincent Kompany.

Savic made his professional debut aged just 17 for Serbian top flight side BSK Borca and made 27 appearances at the club. After his proposed move to Arsenal fell through, in August 2010 he joined FK Partizan and made his international debut in the same month. He made 20 league appearances for Partizan last season, and today completed his move to Manchester City.

Stefan Savic scout report is as follows; “He has fantastic self-confidence and stability. He is always composed, even though he is a teenager. Stefan has excellent heading technique and positional sense and good anticipation. He needs to improve his strength and of course gain a bit more experience, but he looks on course to develop into a really top defender”.

He has six international caps for Montenegro, and played four times in the 2010/11 Champions League campaign.

Here’s all you need to know

Age: 20 years old - 8/1/1991

Nationality: Montenegrin

Position: Central Defender

Club Apps: 50 Club Goals: 2

BSK Borca: Serbian First Division 08/09

Partizan: Serbian SuperLiga 10/11
Serbian Cup 2011

Real Talk Football