1- Laporte Improves La Roja: Don’t understand why France manager Didier Deschamps refused to give Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte a national team call up. He’s been among the Premier League’s top ten central defenders for three years. His switch of allegiance to Spain is a godsend for La Roja boss Luis Enrique as he’s better than Pau Torres, Diego Llorente and Nacho Monreal, the three centre backs Enrique has been pairing with Sergio Ramos.
2- Relegated clubs gold mine of talent. All across Europe, several individual players have been outstanding despite suffering the ignominy of relegation. Crotone’s 20-goal forward Simeon Nwankwo ‘Simy’, Benevento’s Gianluca Lapadula, Huesca’s Rafa Mir, West Brom pair Mbaye Diagne and Matteus Perreira as we as Fulham trio Ademola Lookman, Joachim Andersen and Andre-Frank Anguissa have earned a reputation that warrants recruitment by a top division club.
3- Barcelona ought to change: A year ago, I opined in these very inches that so much is wrong with Barcelona’s transfer business. Although club technical secretary Eric Abidal has since left, Blagruana are trapped in a two year transition because the wrong players are coming in. Phillipe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanic, Martin Braithwaite, Sergio Roberto and Samuel Umtiti are among players who should move on to make room for a new generation of emerging stars. And why on earth did club force Luis Suarez out?
4- Real Madrid cycle has ended: Record Spanish champions Real Madrid have not made glaring mistakes in the transfer market but their squad is in need of renewal as six of the players to win four Champions League titles are on the wrong side of thirty. Florentino Perez must decide how to renew Los Blancos without alienating club legends Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos. Karim Benzema, 34, is the only multiple Champions League winners still operating at full throttle.
5- Celtic perfect for Lampard: Steven Gerrard’s spectacular spell which has seen Rangers end Celtic’s domestic dominance is a good pointer to former team mate Frank Lampard on how to build a coaching career. The former Chelsea boss was rushed into the Stamford Bridge hot-seat. Three years with Celtic would groom him into the manager he’s always wanted to be. Crystal Palace doesn’t offer as much time or range of opportunities.
6- High intensity football can last: It was common for football pundits to predict Leeds United would fade badly in the Premier League home straight due to the intense nature of their game. They were wrong. Matter of fact Marcelo Bielsa’s side have won more points since January. The EPL newcomers have also learnt how to conserve energy during games, which portends glad tidings. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them challenging for Europe next season.
7- Fulham loan signings impeding organic growth: Norwich City and Watford have made an immediate return to the Premier League thanks to the organic nature of their growth. If relegated Fulham are to follow a similar pattern, manager Scott Parker must send back the seven loan signings to where they came from. There is a mercenary aura about a team dominated by loan signings as commitment levels aren’t at the apex.
8- Chelsea need two strikers. A key lesson from Chelsea’s FA Cup final loss to Leicester City is that Timo Werner can’t operate as a loan striker. He needs a body close to him. The impending departures of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud mean manager Thomas Tuchel might in fact need two strikers. Chelsea haven’t evolved enough to match Manchester City’s striker-less formation. If Erling Braut Haaland is too expensive, Arkadiusz Milik can help lift the scoring burden off Werner’s shoulders.
9- Europa League final not a procession: Ole Gunnar Solkjaer and Manchester United players ought to guard against the mentality that next Thursday’s Europa League final against Unai Emery’s Villarreal will be a walk in the park. As they showed in outlasting Arsenal over two legs and dismantling a talented Sevilla outfit 4-0 on Sunday, Villarreal pack a real punch. United stand warned.
10- Juventus need soul searching: Regardless of whether the Bianconeri qualify for the Champions League or not, the hierarchy at the Turin club ought to start thinking about changing playing personnel. Gigi Buffon has already left by his own volition. Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chellini and Paulo Dybala also need to take stern look at their Juventus careers. A strong inertia is afflicting the Old Lady.