Everton Laughing As Richarlison Worth The Gamble… So Far

Everton splashed a lot of cash this offseason but drew a lot of laughter by forking over big cash for unproven Premier League winger Richarlison. Well, two games in and Everton look to be laughing now as their big addition has hit the ground running.

The player mentioned is Richarlison, formerly of Watford and formerly managed by Marco Silva. Silva lost his managing position mid-season in 2017/18 after reports that Everton was interested in him. Ronald Koeman had been sacked and Silva was a solid choice moving forward.

Six months later Silva is Everton’s manager and his first big move was spending in excess of £40 million for his former left winger. The price was exorbitant and many believed it to be an overpay, simply because the manager’s ex-club wanted to make him pay for taking a player off their hands.

So why did Silva target the player? Well in 2017/18 he only managed five goals and ended the season with 27 games without a goal. The thing is that Richarlison only scored when Silva was his manager. The two seem to know how to work off of each other, the manager knows how to get the best out of the player and the player trusts the manager to set him up to succeed.

Anyone who has watched him play can see his insane speed. Down the left side of the pitch, few Premier League players can keep up with him. He also doesn’t like to stay outside meaning his play relies on fast cuts and tricky dribbles to get into the oppositions box, almost positioning himself as a secondary striker at times.

Two games into his season and Richarlison has begun repaying the faith and fee Everton and Silva had in him, netting three goals in just two games. The golden boot isn’t his just yet, but he is showing why his former and current manager believed enough in him to spend that money on the 21-year-old Brazilian talent.

Having Premier League experience is an added bonus for Richarlison, and is proving costly for another team who splurged a similar transfer fee for a speedy Brazilian winger. West Ham is currently at a loss for why Felipe Anderson hasn’t adjusted to the Premier League style of play.

Richarlison has already adapted to the physical play-style and immediately has a step up on Anderson, his fellow Brazilian winger.

It’s all laughs for Silva and Richarlison right now as his form is currently untouchable. Will he be worth the £40m? Only time will tell but such a talent at that young of an age is all positive for the Toffee’s as it stands now!


Bayern Munich Transfer Alphonso Davies to Grow Soccer Intensity in Canada

Outside of individuals and pockets of supporters (who are insanely and admirably fanatic), soccer is generally lower in the pecking order in Canada than the big four sports. Wonder-kid Alphonso Davies could be the person to change this for the Great White North. The Vancouver Whitecaps player was bought by Bayern Munich for a fee between €13-19 million (up to $22 million) but will remain in Vancouver until the end of the season.

Alphono Davies who is just 17 years old, is a left wing attacker who uses his ridiculous pace to create goals and offense. According to freeflowfootball.com, Davies is very strong on the ball and can beat defenders with his speed, strength, or technical skills on the ball. He is an extremely promising talent and on that should garner plenty of attention when he links up with Bayern at the end of the MLS season.

I mean, you don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate the skills here:

Moving from Vancouver to Germany to play for Bayern Munich is an absolutely massive move for a footballer. Munich is regarded as one of the top clubs in world football, they are elite from top to bottom, and possess players like Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, and Franck Ribery for Davies to link up with and learn from. However, for home supporters this move could be perceived as a move away from Canadian eyes in MLS football. On the contrary, with an extensive season populated with tournaments like Champions League, Davies and Bayern will be completely visible for soccer viewers in Canada on both TSN and Sportsnet.

Davies looks to be following the path of American top youngster and legitimate stud Christian Pulisic by moving to Bundesliga football in Germany. The right sided attacker has been in Borussia Dortmund’s system for a few years, and now at 19 years old is already established in European football and a prominent member of their first team starting XI. For reference, clubs who are scouting Pulisic are being asked for bids in excess of €70 million to even be considered.

Canada has a potential budding superstar on their hands and it is promising news for the growth of soccer across the nation. With the upcoming 2026 World Cup being held in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, there will be more intensity during the international friendlies that lead up to that tournament and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Hopefully Davies can star for his nation in these matches and emerge on the global stage for Canada. Every sports program needs a corner stone build off of – for Canada it is their exciting, 17 year old attacker name Alphonso Davies.


Everton Miss Malcom and the Mark With Richarlison – 200takes

Richarlison for £50m is a weird transfer and valuation for Everton and the player. It is clear that Everton need more options in attack after their mid-season sputter last season, however is overpaying for an unproven asset the resolution?

The history of Everton’s valuations being off is there:


But for new manager Marco Silva, Richarlison is a friendly face and one he got the best out of as his manager at Watford (Richarlison scored all five of his goals last season with him as manager). Still, despite the impressive upside of the 21 year old Brazilian, £50 million seems like a lot for a player who only managed five goals in 36 games, going 26 games without scoring.

What really puts this move into perspective is the signing of 21 year old, Brazilian winger Malcom by Barcalona from Bordeaux. Malcom managed 12 goals (7 more than Richarlison) and 7 assists, and only cost Barcelona a rumored fee of £36.5.

Simply put Everton have missed the mark on their new attacker – that is not an indictment on the player who could prove us all wrong, but the board of Everton. Valuations can save your club from wasting money, allowing it to be used more effectively elsewhere. In this case Everton’s budget has been busted on an unproven player.

Keeping Snodgrass Makes Sense for West Ham

Bought in the January 2017 trasnfer window to lessen the blow of Dimitri Payet up and leaving West Ham, Robert Snodgrass had a brutal second half with West Ham. The team sputtered without their star player and Snodgrass being played out of position didn’t help. From unfair criticism on his play, to being slagged off by West Ham’s board members, Snodgrass has had a tumultuous time at West Ham.

Following a truly superb season on loan at Aston Villa for Snodgrass, Manuel Pellegrini has apparently been very impressed with the Scotsman’s work ethic and performances in the Hammers’ preseason so far. So, should West Ham keep the attacking midfielder?

As it stands now, not only is Snodgrass a solid locker room figure for his teammates, he has also found his form again from his Hull days. These are both two massive points that should turn Pellegrini into a Snodgrass supporter. As well, the formation Pellegrini plays seems to fit Snodgrass’ abilities and play style perfectly, built on attacking midfielders who have creative license on the pitch.

This organizational fit that is on the horizon under Pellegrini is a stark contrast from Bilic’s days at the helm when he bought Snodgrass and forced him to play left wing. Snodgrass, a noted right sided or central attacker willingly tentatively agreed to play on the left but was certainly not a one-for-one replacement for Payet.

No, Pellegrini won’t force his players to play out of position, but rather will tailor the formation to better suit them – for Snodgrass this means roaming attacking midfield positions that allow for creativity from the centre of the pitch. It is well documented that Pellegrini likes formations with two strikers and 2-3 attacking midfielders in support behind them. Snodgrass has shown so far in preseason that he can play this AM role and back up the strikers.

Outside of a brief and ongoing preseason Snodgrass proved at Villa last season that he still has the ability to perform. In Birmingham Mail‘s Aston Villa season player rankings Snodgrass got an 8/10 for his massive contribution in Villa’s promotion playoff final loss season. Dubbed the assist king, Snodgrass registered 14 assists, good enough for tied-first ranking in the Championship. He also added 8 goals, proving he still has that offensive touch Bilic and West Ham believed he did when they bought him.

At worst Snodgrass pushes the squads pace in training and provides depth for Pellegrini’s attacking midfield focused formations. He is controllable, and offers probably more value as a squad player than he would return dollar-wise in a transfer out. I say keep him, give the Scotsman a chance to prove himself at the highest level of English football again.

…oh and my feelings on Snodgrass have NOTHING to do with the fact that I bought his jersey when he signed with West Ham. I swear.

West Ham get their man, but where does Anderson fit into the squad?

West Ham and their new manager Manuel Pellegrini have got their man in Lazio attacking midfielder Felipe Anderson. Anderson boasts some extremely potent speed and some slick dribbling skills that seem to get him into the oppositions area in dangerous areas. For a team that lost their main midfield attacker in Manuel Lanzini, Anderson offers some reprieve for what could have been a dampened season.

West Ham have smashed their transfer record for Anderson who is believed to have cost around £40 million. The transfer record was previously at £22 million from another Pellegrini transfer acquisition in Issa Diop brought in this window; it is fairly clear that Pellegrini is not wasting his time at West Ham United.

So, where does the pacy attacker fit into West Ham’s team? Well that depends on the formation. Pellegrini is known for two formations: 4-2-2-2 or 4-1-3-2; in either formation we would see Anderson in a wide attacking midfield position. He did feature on the right side for Lazio, even as a wingback opposite West Ham target Jordan Lukaku. With West Ham’s new recruits on defense Anderson won’t have to worry about tracking back too far.

Possible formations

Fredericks – Diop – Ogbonna – Masuaku
Rice – Wilshere
Yarmolenko             –               Anderson
Chicharito – Arnautovic

Fredericks – Diop – Ogbonna – Masuaku
Yarmolenko – Wilshere – Anderson
Chicharito – Arnautovic

In both of these proposed lineups we see a dedication to having two strikers; for Anderson this should be exciting. Not required to dribble into the box every attack to create offense, Anderson can pick and choose when he cuts inside and will constantly have options to cross to.

Also, in both of these formations I would line up Anderson on the left side, which he can play, behind Arnautovic. Arnie has the ability to pick up the ball and bring it forward, and could overlap with Anderson in attack. Yarmolenko, while a strong dribbler, looks more dangerous from range which would make him a solid winger/attacker behind Chicharito.

An underrated aspect of the Anderson signing is his age, at just 24 years old Anderson is just entering his prime. Anderson also signed a four year contract, “locking him in” at West Ham for the foreseeable future. For the Hammers they are getting a dynamic playmaker with elite speed and quality finishing. He has been playing top flight football in Italy’s Serie A for five season, bringing European experience with him to East London.

This is a true signing of intent for Pellegrini, the board, and West Ham in general. The Hammers are looking to put a few abyssal season behind them with a completely revamped squad. The new team is built upon speed and skill and should be able to put on a show for the West Ham faithful.

Two Linked Targets West Ham Should Buy

The West Ham squad is currently in transition as new manager Manuel Pellegrini and his director of football Mario Husillos have assumed their positions, and look to improve the quality of players at their disposal. A few names have been linked, but a midfielder from FC Porto, and a defender from Bayer Leverkusen with Premier League experience may fit West Ham’s needs in more than one way. One thing that links these two targets is that that are good friends with our likely strikers next season

Herrera from FC Porto

Currently on international duty for Mexico, Hector Herrera patrols Porto’s midfield in Liga NOS. Herrera is reportedly great friends with West Ham striker Javier Hernandez, and could help solidify his stay in East London. Reports emerged that Hernandez was unhappy after being relegated to a bench position last season under David Moyes. It was also believed that Hernandez was looking for a move to MLS to be closer to his home in Mexico in the January transfer window.

The addition of Herrera would not only help settle Hernandez under new manager Pellegrini, but would also allow for more and better options in the midfield. Herrera, who played in 42 games in all competitions last season, scored 5 goals and added 7 assists. These totals eclipse the duo of Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang for combined scoring last season.

Herrera hasn’t quite reached his lofty scouting potential in 2014. He was originally ranked 7/10 across the board on skills, and given a 10/10 for potential when scouted at age 22. Now 28 Herrera has settled into an advanced midfielder role. He can play central midfield well but also likes to jump into the attack and contribute offensively, too. For Herrera to fit in it would likely be the likes of Joao Mario not getting a new loan/permanent deal to East London. It would be about £10 million in savings for West Ham and could prove to be good business if Pellegrini believes a club youngster could potentially be filling that void soon…cough cough Marcus Browne.

Aleksandar Dragovic from Bayer Leverkusen

A defender most West Ham fans should be familiar with, Austrian international and Leicester City loanee Aleksandar Dragovic is good friends with Marco Arnautovic. The 27 year old defender played in 18 games in all competitions last season without registering a point (not the end of the world for a defender).

His greatest attribute, according to his scouring report, is his size matched with his ability to read play. Dragovic comfortably adjusts his defensive coverage and man marking, especially on dead ball plays making him an ideal late game defensive substitution. He is also very strong on aerial balls, noted for winning duels in the air and using his heading abilities to out let the ball.

With links to Manchester United and back to Inter Milan, it is crucial for West Ham to settle Arnautovic, their truculent front man, and have him commit to the team for the foreseeable future. The addition of this depth defender would likely see the end of Winston Reid at West Ham who one the whole is probably a better defender than Dragovic, but near constant injury problems have caused his value to drop in recent years.

Overall, I don’t love the idea of letting players dictate who is brought into the club but I can make an exception when the moves would be mutually beneficial. Dragovic and Herrera would make West Ham better, and both are not on onerous contracts (Herrera one more year, Dragovic three). If making these two smaller moves allows for West Ham to know their striker duo will be settled at the club they would be two moves of solid business for the club.

Do Big Club Struggles Mean a Better World Cup?

An end of game goal from defender Marcos Rojo saw Lionel Messi’s Argentina team through the group stages of the World Cup. A team that boasts Messi, Dybala, Aguero, and Higuain shouldn’t have struggled against Nigeria, Iceland and Croatia but they did. As much as it took a toll on Argentina fans hearts, for neutral viewers this World Cup may be the best in recent memory, and it’s all about the open doors elite teams are leaving the underdogs – or rather the doors the underdog teams for smashing open.

As fun as the round of 16 should be, few days will have as much tension and excitement as June 25th – the day Iran almost topped Portugal and Spain. Group B, the Group of Death was aptly titled but for all the wrong reasons. Spain and Portugal were in hot water on the final day of group play with Iran threatening to not only eliminate one of the two Iberian footballing giants, but win the Group! The football gods would not allow this to happen, however the thrill of a no call red card, or un-disallowed goal made tuning in and switching between the two simultaneous games a thrilling experience.

Like group B, groups E and F are full of potential world class upsets. Group E had bookie favourite to win the World Cup Brazil slotted in alongside Serbia, Switzerland, and Costa Rica. Despite Keylor Navas, Costa Rica was written off from the start, and it was believed that while Brazil would easily grab top spot, the group would have an interesting battle for second place between the Serbians and the Swiss. Fast forward to the final day of group play and we see the likes of Brazil facing a real threat of missing the group stages by losing to Serbia and Switzerland. Although this did not happen, Costa Rica who was out of contention to move on had a terrific final game and fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Switzerland.

Group F was similarly destructive to “safe” sports bets all over the world and exciting to onlookers around the world. Germany have looked less than their elite selves leading up to this World Cup and started off poorly by dropping all three points against Mexico and needing a stoppage time free kick winner to defeat Sweden. Germany’s disappointment has translated to Mexican and Swedish joy as the unlikely happened. Germany needed to win against South Korea after Mexico put up a shockingly bad performance in a 3-0 loss to Sweden. To shock the work Germany fell 2-0 to South Korea in a result that saw Sweden and Mexico move on to the round of 16 while the defending champions go home.

France has made it through the group stages, but has done so in unimpressive fashion. They narrowly defeated Australia in their opening match 2-1, a close 1-0 win over Peru, and a 0-0 draw with Denmark. No one would have predicted that such a young, talented squad would be challenged when it came to goal scoring. But, the struggles for France meant an underdog team like Denmark were able to shut them down with strong defensive play and escape through to the round of sixteen.

Denmark’s spot through group play is an example of what some might call a symptom of a better World Cup – underdog success. But, It is hard to say “better” since enjoyment is so subjective based off of national support of each viewer. If we look at this World Cup objectively up to to this point it is a more competitive tournament that has made matches that include teams like Iran, Morocco, Sweden, and Switzerland much watch viewing.

Realistically there have only been three big-dogs who have gotten to eat so far – Uruguay, Belgium, and England. Uruguay were tagged as the group A favourites and haven’t disappointed going unbeaten in group play and not yet conceding a goal. Belgium and England reside in group G together and have collectively put up 16 goals (8 a team) against Panama and Tunisia. Sure their competition hasn’t been great, but both teams looked comfortable so far, and just have each other yet to play to determine who takes first in the group. So, a massive accolade to the the less elite ranked teams; you are making this World Cup different and exciting, not the football superpowers.

What Russia 2018 is proving is that the gap between the world elite and the underdog countries is quickly closing. Does this mean it is a better tournament? Maybe not, but more exciting? Absolutely. What this World Cup should be remembered for (so far) is the smaller nations having success on the world stage, upsetting the heavy favourites along the way.