Theo Walcott will take Everton's team talk for Arsenal clash, Sam Allardyce jokes

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Everton star Theo Walcott

Everton winger Theo Walcott returns to former club Arsenal with manager Sam Allardyce insisting he can be a pivotal player for his new side in a way he was no longer for the Gunners.

The England international moved to Goodison Park last month in a £20million deal, having found opportunities limited this season under Arsene Wenger, making just six substitute appearances in the Premier League.

By contrast Walcott has played the full 90 minutes twice since joining Everton, providing an assist in his first match and scoring twice in Wednesday’s win over Leicester.

And Allardyce expects the 28-year-old to play an increasingly important part over the coming seasons.

“He’ll be doing the team talk tomorrow,” joked Allardyce ahead of the trip to London.

“I think he is looking forward to it. I am sure he will get a good reception when he goes back to The Emirates considering the time he spent there.

“Everyone can understand why he has left because now he has the opportunity to be one of the key players for Everton now.

“I think he saw that was going to be the case (for Arsenal) last season when he played 30-plus games and scored 19 goals.

“Then all of a sudden this season that hasn’t been the case, but he can be a pivotal figure for us in the future.

“Hopefully he can go and perform as well as he did on Wednesday night.”

Walcott struck up an immediate partnership with right-back Seamus Coleman, playing his first match in 319 days after a double fracture of his leg.

The Republic of Ireland international played the full game and his performance was second only to Walcott’s, leaving Allardyce hailing his fortitude.

“I don’t go this far normally, but it was almost super-human,” said the Toffees boss.

“I’ve never seen anyone come back after 10 months out and perform for 90 minutes.

“He is an inspiration from that point of view. It can be more psychological rather than physical, but it hasn’t affected Seamus.

“Mentally he is very strong and I think it is great to have him back. Now we have to make sure we keep him fit.

“We have to have an assessment on where we do lie with playing him again – he will say he is fine, I know that for a fact.

“We don’t know if he will dip off because the euphoria of coming back can get you through a game, but the effect may come in two or three games’ time so we will have to monitor that because the last thing we want is to find he is getting re-injured.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

Most popular

Lucas Moura rejected other offers to join Tottenham after being persuaded by good friend Serge Aurier

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Tottenham's new signing Lucas Moura

Lucas Moura had other offers in the January transfer window but joined Tottenham to have fun again, according to his former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Serge Aurier.

Aurier, who also swapped the Ligue 1 champions for Spurs last summer, played a major role in persuading Lucas to follow suit.

The pair are close friends after their time together in France. A Tottenham video posted on Twitter to announce Lucas’ arrival ended with him and Aurier sharing a carefully choreographed handshake.

Lucas, who cost an initial fee of £25million, had fallen out of favour at PSG and Aurier says the forward was keen for a fresh start.

“I’m really happy to have him here. I spoke a lot to him before his arrival and I reassured him,” Aurier said.

“I think he made the right decision. He had other opportunities, but I think it’s the best choice for him and for his career.

“I told him it’s an ambitious club, a beautiful club with a really good team. I think he was looking for somewhere where he could have fun again and he has come to the right team.

“It’s a spirited group here, which is not afraid of welcoming new players and in that regard I know what I’m talking about.

“So he simply made the right choice and now I just hope he’s going to adapt as quickly as possible.”

Lucas could make his debut against Liverpool on Sunday and given he has not featured for PSG in this season’s Champions League, he is also eligible when Tottenham face Juventus later this month.

Asked if Lucas could become a league champion in England, Aurier said with a smile: “We are a bit late for that! But if later this year we succeed in winning something, a cup or something like that, I’m going to try and make him say thank you in English. I think it will be much appreciated by everyone.”

Lucas may need time to get up to speed, with Mauricio Pochettino meticulous about his players being in the best physical shape.

But, despite making only six substitute appearances this term, Aurier believes Lucas will bear no scars from his difficult time at PSG.

“I think it’s behind him today and I hope he’s going to quickly start smiling again at Tottenham,” Aurier said.

“I think he knows a coach makes choices and even if he was disappointed with the amount of time he played there, he is now coming here and finding joy again.

“It’s important for a player to feel confidence and joy and here, it’s an ambitious club, it’s a young group, I think one of the Premier League’s youngest, so it’s a really good choice for him.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

Most popular

Barcelona's transfer window has been perfect but Liverpool needed to replace Philippe Coutinho

Alex Rea 31/01/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

And breathe! A collective sigh of relief all around as the manic January transfer window finally draws to a close on Wednesday.

Unsurprisingly, this window has seen the most amount of money spent in the winter ever and there have been some mega deals completed.

Of course, with the window going right down to the wire, deals can still be completed but the overall narrative has been set with some clubs performing magnificently and others poorly.

With that in mind, we take a look at 10 of the biggest clubs from around Europe and grade their transfer business so far.

LIVERPOOL 

Grade = C-

Key ins: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) £75m 

Key outs: Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) £142m, Daniel Sturridge (West Brom) Loan

As was the case in the summer, Coutinho and Van Dijk dominated the headlines.

On the positive side, Jurgen Klopp finally acquired a commanding centre-back but the failure to replace Coutinho – an early switch for Naby Keita was rejected – has left his side short of midfield ingenuity.

Daniel Sturridge has also left on loan to strengthen his England cause in a World Cup year and arguably the two best players in the wake of Luis Suarez’s departure have left the club.

Klopp’s strongest area has been weakened but their weakest, strengthened.

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk

MAN UNITED 

Grade = A

Key ins: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) swap

Key outs: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal)  swap

Only one appearance into his United career and Alexis Sanchez already looks a stellar signing. Solving two problem positions in one signing, the busy Chilean was brilliant on United’s left against Yeovil but as he’s proved previously, the 29-year-old can be equally effective through the middle.

Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, failed to deliver on his promise in the No10 role and was shipped out in exchange to tie up a deal which ultimately suited all parties.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

ARSENAL 

Grade = B+

Key ins: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man United) swap

Key outs: Alexis Sanchez (Man United) swap,  Francis Coquelin (Valencia) £12m, Theo Walcott (Everton) £20m

The grade hinges on Aubameyang’s anticipated arrival but the Gabon international is prolific scorer of goals, injects serious pace into the Arsenal attack and has terrorised defenders from multiple positions.

The reunion with Mkhitaryan – the pair were sensational in the Bundesliga with Dortmund – should excite and the new additions might even help their cause to convince Mesut Ozil to stay with the club.

CHELSEA 

Grade = B

Keys in: Ross Barkley (Everton) £15m, 

Key outs: Kenedy (Newcastle) Loan, Baba Rahman (Schalke) Loan

Barkley is a very shrewd investment. His career hasn’t quite taken off in the manner many hoped with managerial changes and injuries disrupting his progress at Everton.

At Chelsea, he’s in the right environment to fulfill his promise.

Elsewhere, Antonio Conte has signed the extremely versatile full-back Emerson Palmieri from Roma. The 23-year-old is a package of energy and skill, providing Chelsea with dynamism out wide. Capturing Olivier Giroud from Arsenal would be a perfect marriage given their cross-heavy style this season.

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley

DORTMUND 

Grade = B-

Keys in: Manuel Akanji (Basel), £20m

Key outs: Neven Subotic (Saint Etienne)

The Bundesliga has traditionally ignored the January window but Dortmund have been busy.

They will rid themselves of a dressing disruption in Aubameyang and have added Chelsea’s eager Michy Batshuayi as his replacement on loan.

Their best business, however, is in beating Liverpool to the deeply impressive young centre-back Akanji. The 22-year-old is a crisp passer of the ball and his athleticism lends well to the BVB. He needs to improve his aerial prowess but Peter Stoger has a future star in his squad.

Manuel Akanji

Manuel Akanji

REAL MADRID 

Grade = D

Keys in: N/A

Key outs: N/A

Zinedine Zidane has insisted no signings would arrive in January with the ailing Spanish and European champions set to do their big business in the summer.

However, they lost out on their No1 goalkeeper target Kepa Arrizabalaga who has signed a new long-term deal with Athletic Bilbao, while Los Blancos still look dreadfully short of goals in attack.

Lose to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and a quiet January could increase the noise of discontent.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

BARCELONA 

Grade = A+

Keys in: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) £142m, Yerry Mina (Palmeiras) £10m

Key outs: Javier Mascherano (Hebei) Free, Arda Turan (Basaksehir) Loan, Rafinha (Inter) Loan, Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) Loan 

Ernesto Valverde has been clear about wanting to reduce his squad size from 25 and the Barca boss has used the January window to clear out some deadweight.

They’ve bought a premier playmaker in club-record signing Coutinho, while the giant defender Mina provides solid support after the exit of Mascherano.

As has been the case on the pitch, it’s been a perfect window for the runaway La Liga leaders.

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho

INTER MILAN 

Grade = C+

Keys in: Rafinha (Barcelona) Loan, Lisandro Lopez (Benfica) Loan

Key outs: Joao Mario (West Ham) Loan

FFP restrictions have forced Inter to utilise the loan market, but they’ve manipulated it well to bring in much-needed dynamism.

Rafinha is arguably Barca’s most-talented midfielder under the age of 25 but he’s been injured for the entirety of Valverde’s reign.

The 24-year-old will be desperate to reignite his career in Italy. Defensively, Luciano Spalletti has had his back line decimated by injury and so Lopez has reinforced their centre-back options.

Rafinha

Rafinha

AC MILAN

Grade = D

Keys in: N/A

Key outs: N/A

Milan spent big money in the summer with more than £150 milllion worth of talent brought in.

But they started the season dreadfully and haven’t had the ability to solve their issues in the winter. They lack a superstar in attack and backing out of a move for Aubameyang last summer in order to sign Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus appears bad business.

Gennaro Gattuso has steadied the ship, but that’s all they can expect for now.

Gennaro Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso

MONACO

Grade = B

Keys in: Pietro Pellegri(Genoa) £19m

Key outs: Guido Carrillo (£20m)

Astounding what the going rate is for young prospects, especially when you consider Pellegri is only 16-years old, but Monaco beat some of the biggest clubs in Europe to sign the giant striker.

You only have to look at how teams circled Kylian Mbappe before he broke through at Monaco as justification for their eagerness to sign Pellegri. However, clinging onto Thomas Lemar until at least the summer is perhaps their best piece of January business with Liverpool and Arsenal perpetually linked.

Most popular