Can Redmond really become the next Henry?

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Claude Puel has begun to field Nathan Redmond as a striker, and believes that the youngster can prosper in the role in the same way Thierry Henry did at Arsenal.

Henry began his professional career on the wing at Monaco and used to play together with Puel, before Southampton’s new boss went on to manage the Ligue 1 side. The man who became such a prolific scorer for Arsenal only notched 20 goals in over 100 appearances for Monaco, but Puel saw something that previous managers hadn’t, and that was his keen eye for goal.

It was under Puel’s tutelage that Henry was converted into a striker, and he later flourished when he moved to Arsenal. It didn’t take long for the Frenchman to become one of the best forwards the Premier League has ever seen, as he regularly top the goal scoring charts.

In preseason and in Southampton’s opening game, Puel fielded Redmond in one of the striking positions in a 4-4-2 formation. Previously, at Norwich City, the 22-year-old was used as a wide midfielder, but Puel said: “it’s a pity to leave him on the right, I can see in the future he can play as a striker”.

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Henry emerged as the top scorer in four separate seasons during his time with the Gunners. At the time of writing, Redmond is at odds of 100/1 with Betvictor to win the Golden Boot this year. Having a punt on that would hardly see you make bgo’s list of the biggest bets of all time, but it would produce healthy returns if the player was to emerge as a surprise star this term. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez became shock superstars last season, though. Could Redmond be about to follow the same path?

The move to St Mary’s was certainly a promising one in terms of Redmond’s career trajectory. After suffering the gruelling challenge of a failing relegation battle with the Canaries, the England U21 made a progressive move to a club that has finished higher each season since they returned to the top flight.

Southampton sold one of their chief attackers, Sadio Mane, to Liverpool this summer, and Redmond now has the chance to fill the shoes of the explosive forward. Although the Saints continue to lose key players each time a transfer window rolls around, others always rise to the challenge and pay testament to the high levels of ambition at the club. The bookies are certainly not writing off Southampton’s ability to continue rising, and 188 bet have them at 5/1 to finish in the top 6.

Redmond’s performance against Watford on the opening day was positive, and if he continues to perform in the same way, the position up front will be his to lose. In the first clash of the new campaign, Redmond registered 5 attempts on goal and scored once. To put this into perspective, his strike partner, Shane Long, only had 1 shot in the game. The former Norwich player also had 7 penalty box touches to the Irishman’s 3. These are encouraging stats for Southampton’s new signing.

It is exciting to think what Redmond may be capable of in this new position under Puel. If he can become anywhere near as good as Henry, it would be excellent not only for Southampton, but for England as well.

Inter Boss Identifies Manchester United Star as Top Summer Target

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According to reports coming from Italian media outlet Gazzetta Dello Sport, new Inter Milan manager Frank De Boer has identified Manchester United defender Daley Blind as his top target for the remainder of summer transfer window.

De Boer, who took charge at Inter following the sacking of Mancini, rates the Dutch player highly and wants to make him a part of his team at Milan.

Blind joined Manchester United in the summer of 2014 for £13.8m. Ever since his arrival at the club, the Dutch midfielder, turned into a defender by Louis Van Gaal, has proved to be a divisive figure among the Manchester United faithful.

To be fair to Blind, he didn’t do much to earn the criticism which has been leveled at him in recent times.

While Van Gaal signed him for a role in the midfield, the Dutch Manager opted to turn Blind into a makeshift defender.

Having never played that role in his entire career before that, Blind struggled to solve the defensive woes of United.

However, all of that could change now that Mourinho has arrived at the helm. The Portuguese tactician has no space in his team for makeshift players, and with the arrival of Eric Bailey from Spain, Blind may well have played his last game in Manchester.

Thankfully for the Dutch player, former Ajax and current Inter Milan manager Frank De Boer wants to include him in his plans.

De Boer, who coached Blind during his time at Ajax, wants to reunite with his former student at the Sani Siro.

Moreover, as evident from the plans of Jose Mourinho so far, it seems Manchester United could give Blind the permission to join the Italian side sooner rather than later.

Harry Kane key to Tottenham Hotspur title challenge

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Tottenham Hotspur fell agonisingly short in their pursuit of the Premier League title this season and even slipped behind north London rivals Arsenal after their final day thrashing at Newcastle United. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will learn from their mistakes and come back stronger next season, especially if Spurs frontman and Golden Boot winner Harry Kane returns from this summer’s European Championship in fine form.

Without a doubt, Kane is one of the best strikers in the top flight and he will be looking to lead Tottenham to the title next season. The 22-year- old has netted 46 goals in 78 league games for Spurs in the last two years and he will be fired up after the disappointment of dropping to third in the table. If nothing else, Kane will be chomping at the bit to get back to his club side after what could be a relatively busy summer on international duty.

In fact, the Tottenham man is going to be an integral part of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 plans this summer. Kane scored in England’s 2-1 victory over Turkey in their most recent warm-up clash and the Spurs forward is likely to lead the line for The Three Lions throughout the competition. At the time of writing, Kane is priced at 14/1 to finish as the top goalscorer in Paddy Power’s Euro 2016 markets and, if nothing else, he will play a key role as England look to win a first major title since 1966.

Following this summer’s competition, Kane will return to Spurs – along with the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Danny Rose. Tottenham’s English contingent will be raring to go next season and Pochettino will rely on these stars to guide Spurs to the title, particularly if they have enjoyed a successful summer. The Argentine is a superb manager and he has almost individually transformed Tottenham from peripheral underachievers into potential Premier League champions.

And while Kane’s impact in attack is essential to Tottenham’s title chances, Spurs aren’t completely reliant on their main man. The likes of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Alli are all capable of scoring goals and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pochettino dip into the transfer window to sign another striker. Kane probably won’t lose his place in the starting line-up but Spurs do need a capable replacement as they look to juggle their domestic and Champions League commitments.

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If Tottenham can emulate this season’s efforts, there’s no reason why Pochettino’s men cannot win the title in the 2016/17 campaign. This may be a bold statement but Spurs have the makings of a very, very good squad and with Kane firing on all cylinders, Tottenham will continue to inspire and excite. For now, Kane will be fully focused on guiding England to victory at Euro 2016 but as of August, he will lead Spurs in what could be a memorable campaign for everybody at White Hart Lane.

Could Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid produce a miraculous double?

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Real Madrid enjoyed a successful week in their quest for a famous double by securing their place in the final of the Champions League and sending La Liga’s title race down to the final game.

Since Zinedine Zidane’s promotion to the manager’s position, Real have surged towards glory on two fronts due to a tremendous run of form under the Frenchman.

The oddsmakers, as of 10th May, place Madrid at 7/1 to defeat Deportivo la Coruna and Barcelona to slip up at Granada to allow Real to clinch La Liga’s crown.

The Galacticos struggled to match the exploits of Barcelona under the tenure of Rafael Benitez, failing to wrestle top spot away from the Catalan club.

Meanwhile, Real were expelled from the Copa del Rey for fielding Denis Cheryshev, who was ineligible for their victory over Cadiz.

Benitez’s time at the club was to end in January following a 2-2 draw against Valencia, despite an emphatic 10-2 victory over Rayo Vallecano two matches prior to his dismissal, along with being just four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.

Zidane’s legendary status in the game as well as the club helped ease any tension over his promotion from manager of Real Madrid Castilla to the top job at the Bernabeu.

The Frenchman’s reign began with comprehensive victories over Deportivo La Coruna and Sporting Gijon to keep the club in contention with their rivals, although by the end of the month they remained narrowly off the pace.

Although Real continued their dominance against the lesser sides in the division, their drive for the title appeared to have been halted by a defeat to their city rivals Atletico at the Bernabeu.

Zidane’s men dropped 12 points behind Barca, but their campaign in the Champions League remained on course with a convincing victory over Roma in the first knockout round. However, Madrid proved they were not out of the title race by producing a comeback win over Luis Enrique’s men in El Clasico as Cristiano Ronaldo netted five minutes from time to stun the Nou Camp.

Disappointment was to come in the following week in a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg, but the Galacticos managed to overhaul the deficit at the Bernabeu to secure a semi-final berth.

Their win over Barcelona was their fifth in a row in La Liga, and Zidane’s men have since stretched their imperious run of form to 11 wins on the spin to leave them just one point behind the Catalan club as they into the final match of the campaign.

The performances have not been flawless as the club have only kept six clean sheets in 19 games under the Frenchman’s tenure in the Primera Division, but he has managed to harness the attacking prowess of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.

Even without the Portuguese – following an injury lay-off – the team were able to fire in goals from all angles, with James Rodriguez, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez coming to the fore.

Zidane also managed to procure resilience from his side to overcome Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Joe Hart defied Real at the Etihad Stadium and, although Real were far from their best in the second leg at the Bernabeu, they triumphed through Fernando’s own goal.

The club now face the task of defeating their bitter rivals, Atletico, in the Champions League final for the second time in three years to secure their 11th  European crown.

It would be a remarkable achievement for Zidane to secure the double just five months into his reign, but also a foreshadowing moment for the rest of Europe to take note that Real could be poised for a lengthy period of dominance.

Arsene Wenger Issues Alexis Sanchez warning ahead of Manchester United Clash

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Ahead of his side’s crucial fixture with fierce rivals Manchester United away from home, Arsene Wenger has issued a warning to his Premier League rivals regarding the form of Alexis Sanchez.

Although Arsenal’s position in the Premier League is solid, it is the form of Alexis Sanchez that is concerning the Gunners’ faithful of late.

The Chilean hasn’t managed a goal in all competitions for the last 5 games. Moreover, he has scored just 1 in the Premier League in his last 10 appearances for the Gunners.

After being subjected to a miserable defeat in the midweek at the hands of Catalan giants Barcelona, their stay in this season’s Champions League is now expected to be short lived.

And with Manchester United coming their way this Sunday, the North London side are now focusing fully on the Premier League title race to end their 12-year long title drought.

The Gunners currently sit 3rd in the Premier League table, level on points with 2nd place Tottenham.

Provided that the teams above them drop points, Arsenal could jump to 1st in the table with a victory at the Theatre of Dreams.

Wenger was maybe rightly concerned when he was asked by the journalist regarding the form his main man.

“Yes because he’s a highly motivated player and I believe that he’s conscious of it as well. He wants to do even better.”

After shifting his weight behind Sanchez to recapture his best form, Wenger indicated that it is the form of the whole team that matters the most at the end of the day.

“Let’s focus on the team performance and after that every individual will benefit from a good team performance.”

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