Tagged: Aspirer

Senegal: The Lions of Teranga Roar at the 2002 World Cup – The Aspirer

Senegal: The Lions of Teranga Roar at the 2002 World Cup – The Aspirer

My piece for the Aspirer on Senegal at the 2002 World Cup

Playing the reigning World and European champions in your first game and at your first World Cup isn’t ideal.

Top that off with a South American side with plenty of history and a solid European team and the script doesn’t look so good. Those were the odds facing one of Africa’s five representatives in the 2002 World Cup. Many other sides would have folded and followed the script verbatim.

Senegal, or the Lions of Teranga as they are known, weren’t ready to submit to the script.

The 2002 World Cup had many interesting subplots leading up to it; redemption for Brazil’s Ronaldo, the first World Cup on Asian soil and the possibility of repeat World champions in the form of the French. Few would’ve expected one more story to arrive in such exciting fashion from Senegal. France, Uruguay and Denmark were their opponents and few gave them a chance to progress. Led by French coach, Bruno Metsu, Senegal’s team weren’t the starry-eyed inexperienced side many made them out to be.

The majority of the side played with teams in the top two French leagues such as Auxerre, Lens and Monaco. Most were in their prime, with Soulemayne Camara the youngest at 19 and Amara Traore the oldest at 36. Goalkeeper, Tony Sylva, had a chance to show his shot-stopping skills, the defense was led by the rock solid Lamine Diatta and the midfield boasted the powerful trio of Salif Diao, Papa Boupa Diop and Aliou Cisse. Up front is where the excitement lay, though. Reigning African player of the year, El Hadj Diouf, was full of pace and creativity while the likes of Henri Camara and Khalilou Fadiga were capable of engineering exciting moments.

The Lions of Teranga were also coming off their best finish in the 2002 edition of the African Nations cup, remaining undefeated until losing out to Cameroon on penalties in the final.  A strong team spirit, work ethic, power, pace and creativity were what held the side together. That would be on display in what was to be a fantastic World Cup performance.

First up, France.

The reigning champions would be without their talisman, Zinedine Zidane, but many expected nothing less than a French victory. The players were also of same mind, with some discounting the fact that their opponents, who were from a French-speaking nation, would offer much resistance.

Senegal, smartly, set up with a 4-5-1 formation to stifle the French. Even without Zidane the likes of Youri Djorkaeff, Thierry Henry and David Trezequet had to be held in check. The score was still 0-0 when Trezequet, released by Henry, hit the post and left Sylva standing. Only a few minutes later Diouf was sent free down the left hand side and beat Frank Leboeuf before placing a dangerous low cross into the path of the onrushing Diop. The midfielders first shot was stopped by Fabien Barthez but, quick to react despite sliding on the floor, Diop bundled it in. Cue shock and pandemonium, and a celebration that warmed fans across the globe, bar France, of course.

There was still an hour remaining though and the French tested Sylva, and the crossbar, a few times but failed to find the back of the net. Zidane could only look on in bemusement. Fadiga had a chance to lengthen the lead after a nice solo run down the left but he too hit the crossbar with a ferocious shot. As Lilian Thuram launched one more ball into the box the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of first game of the World Cup. Three points in the bag for Senegal and zero for their illustrious opponents.

Denmark were the next opponents for this giant-slaying side, and they were determined not to follow a similar fate to their European counterparts. The Danes had the services of Martin Laursen, Jesper Gronkjaer and Jon Dahl Tomasson and had beaten Uruguay in their first game. Senegal were lucky not be down a man early on after Fadiga kicked out at an opponent in retaliation to a tackle. A shoving match ensued between the sides but order was restored and the game resumed.

It was the Danes who struck first after Diao bundled over Tomasson from behind to give away a penalty. Tomasson coolly slotted away the penalty to Sylva’s right, despite the keeper guessing correctly. Sixteen minutes in and the Lions were facing their first bit of adversity in the tournament. Things could have gotten worse just a few minutes later as Tomasson beat Sylva again only for the goal to be called off for a handball from the forward. Replays showed that the call could have gone either way. Bullet dodged, Senegal started to come into the game more and create a few chances themselves.

It wasn’t until the second half that the Africans got their reward with one of the best team moves of the tournament.

Camara, on at halftime to spark things in attack, won the ball deep in his own half and quickly launched the attack. Two passes later and Senegal were in Denmark’s half and bearing down on goal. Diao made amends when he finished off the move by latching onto a through-ball and poking it past Thomas Sorensen from close-range. There were no more goals in the game but Senegal were forced to end the game with 10 men after Diao ended an eventful outing with a red card. Two games down, four points for Senegal and progression was looking likely.

The final group game came against a Uruguayan team that needed to win to have a chance at progressing. The South American side followed up the loss to Denmark with a draw against France but wouldn’t have expected what was to come.

The Senegalese, fearless, jumped out to a 3-0 lead by halftime.

Diouf continued to be a nuisance to opposition defenders, and in the 20th minute he anticipated a poor back pass to the Uruguay goalkeeper. With one touch he got past the keeper and was then pulled down by the keeper. Penalty. The Uruguayan defenders were incensed as it seemed Diouf had actually dived to fool the referee. Replays show there was little to no contact. The decision stood and Fadiga stepped up to dispatch it with confidence to put his side in the lead. A few minutes later Boupa Diop returned to the forefront to emphatically dispatch a shot from the edge of the box following a quick counterattack. The South Americans were reeling. Things would get worse as Diop scored his third and final goal of the tournament with an acrobatic effort inside the box. Again, the decision was questionable as the midfielder seemed to be slightly offside with his run.

Uruguay weren’t ready to give up though and immediately after the restart they found themselves on the scoreboard.

Richard Morales pounced on a rebound to sweep home his side’s first and the comeback was one. The South American’s continued to push as Senegal finally showed signs of creaking. In the 7oth minute, Diego Forlan scored one of the goals of the tournament with a majestic shot on the volley to beat Sylva from outside the box. A draw looked inevitable as the pressure continued and it eventually came with another dubious penalty, this time for the Uruguayans. Alvaro Recoba followed Fadiga’s lead and beat Sylva to tie the game 3-3. The result was still enough for Senegal to finish second in the group and progress. The fairytale continued.

A round of 16 tie against Sweden was next for one of the surprise teams of the tournament. Senegal were the only African team left but few expected them to get past a side that won a group including England, Argentina and Nigeria.

Sweden, like their Nordic counterparts Denmark, weren’t going to be upstaged and came out on a mission. Their early pressure paid off as a mistake by Sylva, possibly still rattled by letting in three against Uruguay, allowed Henrik Larsson to head into an open net from a corner. Senegal almost hit back instantly through Bouba Dioup but he was, rightly, flagged offside. They didn’t have to wait long though as Camara, provider of two goals against Uruguay, created some space on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner with a very accurate shot. There were no more goals in full-time for either side so to extra-time, and golden goal, we went.

The Europeans increased the pressure and were unlucky not to end the game first. A beautiful piece of skill by Anders Svensson inside the box left his defenders for dead only for his shot to rattle the upright as Sylva looked on. Senegal responded with Diouf again weaving his magic only to drag his shot wide. Just as he had in regular time, Camara came to Senegal’s rescue with a somewhat fortuitous finish inside the box after being slipped through by Diao. The Lions of Teranga had matched the feats of Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions over a decade ago.

An African team was in the quarterfinals. Turkey, another European side, were the opponents there, having beaten one of the hosts, Japan, to make it through.

Senegal were still up to the task and gave their opponents a few scares early on. Camara was ruled offside after smashing the ball into the net from close range while Fadiga hit the side netting from just inside the box. It was then Senegal’s turn to feel the pressure as Omar Daf, a key performer at left back throughout, had to clear the ball of his line to deny Yildiray Basturk. There were few clear-cut chances for either side for the remainder of the game but Diouf came close with a free-kick from close range.

Extra-time beckoned again for the second time for the Africans and, crucially, the first time for Turkey. The European side had more energy than Senegal and that proved vital on a counterattack early in first half of extra-time as Ilhan Mansiz finished off a nice move with a well-taken strike. The fairytale had ended but Senegal had little to be upset about.

Over the course of five games Senegal scored seven goals and conceded six. All those games were closely fought against, on paper, superior opposition but only one of those games ended in defeat. There were no bowed heads after the loss to Turkey though as everyone’s favourite team left the tournament to widespread praise from the footballing world. There were mixed reactions in Senegal though, with the press and some former players criticizing Metsu’s selections after the loss to Turkey. Common sense prevailed in the end, as the players were welcomed home as the heroes they were.

The aftermath of their World Cup performances meant many of key players in the team moved on to new pastures.

Diouf, the undoubted star of the team, who was also selected to the tournaments all-star team, had the highest profile move to Liverpool and Diao joined him there. Sylva eventually made his way to Lille and carved out a solid career there. Boupa Diop moved first to Lens then had adventures with Fulham and Portsmouth among other teams. Cisse made it to England as well, with Birmingham City and Portsmouth his first two destinations. Camara found himself at no less than seven British clubs and his time at Wigan was arguably his most successful.

None of them ever returned to the heights that they did in that tournament, and neither did Senegal. The Lions of Teranga have yet to feature at a World Cup since 2002 and haven’t impressed on the continent either. That may change with a group of players very similar to the ones that made history over a decade ago. Still, being the second African team to make a World Cup quarterfinal amidst very tough odds is something that squad will always be remembered for.

Not bad.

Arsenal Should Sign Asier Illarramendi to Strengthen Defensive Midfield – The Aspirer

Arsenal Should Sign Asier Illarramendi to Strengthen Defensive Midfield – The Aspirer.

My piece for the Aspirer on why Arsenal Should Have Signed Asier Illarramendi.(Real Sociedad snapped him back up today, acting pretty quickly as rumours just surfaced recently)

Arsenal still need two key pieces to be considered title contenders.

The Gunners have been relatively quiet in the transfer market this summer. Petr Cech is so far the only arrival for the first team despite a number of departures. The former Chelsea keeper’s arrival sorted out a long-term issue with the goalkeeping position and heightened expectations that Arsene Wenger would finally complete the necessary team overhaul. In many eyes, the Gunners still need a world-class forward and a strong defensive midfielder to be at full strength.

While the club has arguably enough talent to get by in attack, it is defensive midfield that is a real concern.

Francis Coquelin emerged last season, putting in some impressive performances and helping shore up what was a soft Arsenal midfield. That he came at no cost, and ticked all the necessary boxes, means he has kept his starting spot. That was the worry heading into this season.

Wenger now has a pure defensive midfielder, one the fans have cried out for, but he didn’t have to pay a cent. Make no mistake, Coquelin has shown himself to be a solid player and should continue to play an important role for the Gunners moving forward. His constant inclusion in the starting lineup is also part of Arsenal’s problem though.

In Arsenal’s two games so far this season the midfield has been an issue.

Coquelin was ineffective defensively against West Ham and, not known for his range of passing, with Aaron Ramsey beside him Arsenal struggled to fully control the match. Arsenal’s defense was too open at times and that led to both the free-kick for West Ham’s opener and the eventual winner. Coquelin was nowhere to be seen in either situation. He partnered Santi Cazorla in the visit to Crystal Palace and the Spaniard’s presence enabled Arsenal to control the game. Therein lies the problem with having Coquelin as the defensive midfielder. He is still not at the level required to shut out the likes of Dimitri Payet and hinders the Gunners ability to control games.

The Gunners were expected to make a move for former Southampton midfielder, Morgan Schneiderlin, early in the summer to address that concern but the Frenchman moved to Manchester United. More recently, Sevilla’s Thomas Kryowchiwak was linked with a move to the club. One name that hasn’t been mentioned, but should be considered is Asier Illaramendi.

The Spanish midfielder has seen his stock drop since joining Real Madrid but a move to Arsenal would be perfect for both sides.

Illaramendi shot to prominence at Real Sociedad after some impressive displays in midfield during the 2012/13 season. The 25-year-old was brought in as the heir to Xabi Alonso at the Bernabeu but that hasn’t panned out. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are ahead of him in the pecking order for his best position and the recent arrival of the talented Mateo Kovavic means his time at the club is running out. He may still be in Rafa Benitez’s plans but he would be wise to consider his options should a club like Arsenal come calling.

Illarramendi wouldn’t be guaranteed a starting spot straight away but the odds are that he’d win the battle with Coquelin to be the club’s defensive midfielder.

The former Real Sociedad man combines the traits of both Cazorla and Coquelin in one player. Illarramendi has solid positional sense and is adept at tackling as well. He also has the technical skills to fit in well at Arsenal and the ability to pick passes from deep while helping his side control the game. His arrival could even allow Aaron Ramsey to play his best position at the base of midfield.

Looking back at that 2012/13 season, Illaramendi had one key pass per game and an 80 percent pass success rate. He also averaged 3.8 tackles and 2. 3 interceptions per game along with winning 1.5 aerial battles. Coquelin’s statistics last year are certainly better in the defensive categories, and he even has a better pass success rate of 85.9 percent, but Illaremendi wins in key passes and did improve his passing percentage to 88.9 in his first season at Madrid.

For Arsenal, the risk is certainly there in taking a player who may be short on confidence to improve the side, but the talent is without question. There is also the ever-present question of a player adapting to the Premier League. Still only 25, Illarremendi would benefit from the improvement in playing time and the competition from Coquelin. They both would.

Illarramendi’s arrival would also give Wenger greater tactical variety as the season progresses. Coquelin could be used to help the side close out tight games, or to start when the plan is to cede possession as Arsenal did against Manchester City last season. Illarramendi could start when the Gunners are looking to control the game, which is in keeping with Wenger’s preferred style.

While Illarramendi’s teammate, Karim Benzema, is the hot topic as far as Arsenal transfer rumours now, the Gunners should look to cover an even more problematic area in midfield. Illarramendi should be the man to join Arsenal before the window ends. Unfortunately, it seems as though Wenger’s hesitation in the transfer market will cost the Gunners once more, with Illarramendi’s return to Real Sociedad all-but confirmed.

Manchester United move for Barcelona’s Pedro presents questions for all three sides – The Aspirer

Manchester United move for Barcelona’s Pedro presents questions for all three sides – The Aspirer.

My piece for the Aspirer on Pedro to Manchester United


If reports are to believed then Manchester United is close to making another big summer transfer.

Numerous sources have reported on the Red Devils interest in Barcelona’s Pedro since last season ended. With Angel di Maria officially out the door, Louis van Gaal needs another wide presence who can fit into his system and improve his squad. Pedro would be just the player to fit that role, but one can’t help but wonder how this move affects all three parties should it occur.



Pedro has been an important part of Barcelona’s squad since the days of Pep Guardiola but saw his playing time decrease last season due the arrival of Luis Suarez, along with Neymar’s improvement and, of course, the un-droppable Lionel Messi. The Spaniard showed his quality when selected, though, including a fantastic goal against Real Sociedad but has found the situation difficult.

Pedro is 28 years old and is now in his peak years. Going to United would give Pedro a new challenge and would be a fitting end to what’s been a fantastic career.

Pedro won’t just be thinking of the challenge ahead though. A spot in Spain’s squad for the Euro 2016 is on the line as well. Joining a new club a year before a big tournament is always risky but the likely improvement in playing time would help his case.

His importance to Guardiola’s earlier teams has seen him labeled as a “system player.” While it’s true that Pedro is very much a player with Barcelona DNA, it fails to look at the entire picture. Pedro is an intelligent, efficient, clinical and consistent player. He’s been in the double digits in goals at Barcelona ever since becoming a regular starter. His positioning and movement allow him to get into dangerous positions and his technical skills are, as you would expect from a Barcelona product, superb.

Manchester United

Manchester United needed a replacement for Di Maria now that the soap opera is over. Van Gaal has history with Barcelona, and despite a seemingly pragmatic stance compared to the likes of Guardiola, his preferred style is one Pedro would be very accustomed to. The Dutch manager also prefers players who are willing to but the team first and work hard.

Pedro ticks all the boxes.

The Red Devils have trotted out a 4-2-3-1 during preseason but Van Gaal can go with a 4-3-3 knowing that Memphis Depay and Pedro could change sides while Wayne Rooney leads the line. The problem, if you can call it that, is how to keep a resurgent Ashley Young happy and give playing time to someone like Adnan Januzaj. A little healthy competition should only improve all the players involved though.

Pedro also brings with him plenty of experience at the international and club level. He’s used to winning as well. The Red Devils aren’t short of any of those attributes but having a player like Pedro, who’s used to playing in pressure situations, can only help.

And what of Barcelona?

The Catalan side is letting go their only experienced option besides the trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez.

Pedro chipped in six goals and six assists in the league season and was key to keeping the trio fresh. He was certainly worthy of, and deserving of, more but such was his task under Luis Enrique. Should he leave then Barcelona would be in a precarious position if anything happens to one of the starting three.

Youngsters Sandro and Munir would likely see more playing time and there are pros and cons to that. The duo will get a chance to prove they are capable of making the grade in the first team but their inexperience will be an issue. While they may only be relied upon early on, as they were last season, there’s still a risk that they will miss big chances and points dropped as a result. Arda Turan, the most obvious candidate to replace Pedro, can’t play until January due to the restrictions from their transfer ban.

Luis Enrique and teammates like Suarez have urged him to stay, yet a move seems more and more likely. There could be other issues that many outside the club aren’t privy to but it’s hard to see Barcelona letting this saga continue if they really wanted to him to stay. While Pedro has every right to pursue an opportunity like this, a chance to stay and create further history and defend a treble of titles must weigh on the mind.

There are three distinct sides to this saga, and it now looks like it’s going down to the wire as far as the transfer window goes. Manchester United and Pedro would surely be getting the better of the deal if it does occur.

How Much Longer Before Superstar Moves Cease to Exist? – The Aspirer

How Much Longer Before Superstar Moves Cease to Exist? – The Aspirer.

My piece for the Aspirer on Superstar Moves In the Transfer Market.


The summer transfer window has become synonymous with superstars moving at increasingly exorbitant prices.

Last summer it was David Luiz’s afro becoming the most expensive hairdo of all time with a €62 million move from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain. Not to be outdone, Barcelona captured Luis Suarez for an eye-watering €81 million from Liverpool. The summer before it was Gareth Bale’s record-breaking €100 million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid that had us all staring wide-eyed. You get the picture.

As money continues to flow into the game, the list of nouveau riche clubs grow and stars want to “test themselves” and join “exciting projects,” then such moves have become an integral part of football during the summer.

To be clear, there are a few major prerequisites for a superstar move. A super player, of course, a hefty transfer fee, one, or more, super clubs and a saga of some sort, whether it’s the continuous adoring glances of one, or more, suitors or a when will this player move to a bigger scenario type deal. All those moves mentioned above hit all the marks, except you could argue there wasn’t much of saga with Luiz to PSG.

This summer has seen Arturo Vidal move to Bayern Munich from Juventus. The Chilean’s status as the most complete midfielder in the game, and his eventual destination, make this a superstar move even if you don’t check the hefty transfer fee box due to his paltry €37 million price. Looking elsewhere, Angel Di Maria’s impending move from Manchester United to Paris Saint-Germain may take in terms of the most eye-catching deal of the summer.

Sure, this summer has seen Bastian Schweinsteiger, surprisingly, join Manchester United from Bayern Munich and Raheem Sterling’s still unbelievable $50 million dollar fee. Those two don’t fall into the superstar category for a few reasons, namely Schweinsteiger’s age and progressive decline and Sterling being far from the finished product. While those deals are still big in the context of things, they’re not the real headline-grabbers that a move like Di Maria’s to PSG would be, or that Vidal’s move is.

Di Maria, a 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America finalist, is just about to hit his peak and is a player that can boost a team both on and off the pitch. He was an integral part of Real Madrid’s most recent cup success, the fabled “La Decima” victory in the Champions League and equally important in the Copa del Rey the same year. His recent season at Manchester United will surely end up being a one-off when he’s playing in France.

Vidal is in a similar position, minus the European title to his name, one which he may very well add this season, but he does have an international trophy in his collection.

Why this summer is such a droll affair isn’t a huge mystery. We know those in the Premier League have money burning holes in their pockets, but they already have the vast majority of the world’s stars. The few that may not be romping about in England are, even for that lot, unattainable. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the first two to cross the mind, but there are plenty of others.

In Germany, Matts Hummels and Marco Reus have opted to stay at Borussia Dortmund while virtually the entire Bayern Munich squad beyond those who may be aging and those still yet to fulfill their potential are off-limits. Juventus still has Paul Pogba, for now, and Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer fee would be borderline preposterous. Karim Benzema status as the only natural striker at Real Madrid should also keep him around and Edinson Cavani will be key to PSG’s hopes moving forward. Those are just a few names before we even get to those already in England who are unlikely to switch teams, whether domestically or abroad. Eden Hazard, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Wayne Rooney come to mind.

This summer has seen its share of surprising moves, Andre Ayew to Swansea is one, and grand gestures such as Geoffrey Kondogbia’s move to Inter but those moves may have already been forgotten. Super clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and the richest of the rich in the Premier League will horde the top talent. It’s very likely that moving forward there will be a lot of posturing, rather than actual activity, as far as superstar transfers are concerned. Or not.

It’s a question that won’t be answered this summer, and maybe not for a few more, but there is a big possibility that superstar transfers will become a rarity in the transfer market.

Gerrard, Schweinsteiger and Casillas Moves Signal Beginning of the End for the One-Club Man – The Aspirer

Gerrard, Schweinsteiger and Casillas Moves Signal Beginning of the End for the One-Club Man – The Aspirer.

Here’s my piece for the Aspirer on Gerrard, Schweinsteiger and Casillas’ exits from their clubs.

Steven Gerrard, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Iker Casillas.

Three names one would never have guessed would be seen on any other jersey except that of Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. All those players were institutions for club and country and now they’ll finish their careers in different circumstances. How times have changed.

These thre were among the few remaining big stars who have played for one club throughout their entire career. Once the last of that breed is gone it’s unlikely that we’ll see many more, if any at all.

There is nothing wrong with a player turning out for multiple teams throughout his career. Some of the best players in the history of the game, Pele, Diego Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best, Johan Cruyff to name just a few, have done so. Fans of different clubs, in different eras and in different countries are able to cherish their contributions. That in itself is special.

Still, there is nothing quite like the person who stands with a club through thick and thin, who embodies the very ideals of the club and who contributes to the major successes of the club during his time there. Only one set of fans get to cherish those memories of seeing a youngster come through the academy and be a constant reference point in an ever-changing game.

Marcell Jansen recently retired at the age of 29 stating, as per the Guardian, “I can’t just suddenly kiss another badge now.” Funnily enough, Jansen is not a member of the one-man club as he departs Hamburg after stints with Bayern Munich and Borussia Mochengladbach to his name. His seven years at the club where he made his name is his reasoning behind ending his career and that’s commendable, though very rare. There are no shortage of players ready to kiss badges, as Arsenal fans would be quick to point out in regards to Cesc Fabregas, or send open letters. It’s understandable that players will feel an attachment to somewhere they will have spent a good amount of their career. It’s also understandable that sometimes such gestures produce cynical reactions in this age when players are so ready to force moves a la Raheem Sterling.

That’s what sets the one-club man apart.

He may have received offers elsewhere, as Gerrard did, he may have had lengthy injury layoffs or suffered from poor form and increased competition but he was always there. Gerrard, Schweinsteiger and Casillas were, at one point, arguably the best in the world in their positions and, Gerrard aside, won everything there was to win, sometimes on multiple occasions, with their clubs. The Spaniard and the German pretty much did the same internationally as well.

Schweinsteiger, seemingly, had the least emotional exit but it was quite shocking. Gerrard’s exit was sad because of how obvious his decline had become, as he was exposed time and again by teams cross the Premier League. Had he won the Premier League title at the end of the 2013/14 season then he may have stuck around.

Casillas’ emotional farewell was the very result of that dedication for a man who became synonymous with the success at Madrid. It showed a side to the player, and maybe to players in general, that fans and even neutrals have to appreciate. They aren’t all here for the money.

Of the current crop, Roma’s Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, as well as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta stand out. Those are the biggest names but one could look further afield to CSKA Moscow’s Igor Akinfeev, Bordeaux’s Marc Planus, Real Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto and Galatasaray’s Sabri Sarioglu as other recognizable names.

As more money gets poured into the game and clubs look to increase their profile, or improve their teams, the likelihood is that the one-club man will become extinct.

It may mean little in the commercial department but football will lose out if that’s the case.

Liverpool, Southampton and Barcelona show just how important transfers can be – The Aspirer

Liverpool, Southampton and Barcelona show just how important transfers can be – The Aspirer.

My piece for the Aspirer on how Liverpool, Southampton and Barcelona fared in the transfer window last summer.

Is Serie A’s European Success This Season A One-Off or the Start of a Resurgence? – The Aspirer

Is Serie A’s European Success This Season A One-Off or the Start of a Resurgence? – The Aspirer.

So, as you can see, I missed a lot of my usual posting last due to moving(Not that you care but hey, I’ll write what I want) so I’ll try to make up for that today.  Here’s my piece for the Aspirer on how the Serie A has fared in Europe this season.