Andre Villas-Boas has become a manager in demand. The Tottenham manager who has had a season of rehabilitation at White Hart Lane after his disappointing experience with Chelsea is among names being suggested for top managerial posts across Europe. At the time of the initial rumours of Jose Mourinho leaving Real Madrid the Spurs manager [...]
The twenty Premier League teams for next season are very close to being finalised, with the final place being decided this weekend in a £120m game between Crystal Palace & Watford. Both clubs have had new managers in the last 10 months and both are (almost) reaping the rewards. This means that 15 of the [...]
Premier League Managerial Changes: Do They Guarantee Success? Stats
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Tottenham travelled to Jamaica for an end of season exhibition match at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in The Bahamas. The club had accepted an invitation from the Government of The Bahamas to play the match which was one of the major events in the new 15,000-seat stadium in the year-long celebration to mark [...]
Happy Friday Spursland! You know what keeps me up at night these days? The rumors that the Steinbrenners are looking to buy an English team. There is evil in English football: the far right chanting, the restrictions on standing, and Theo Walcott. But The Stienbrenners would be a bridge too far. The rumors have apparently been around for years and I was blissfully ignorant, but no longer. Someone find my my blankie to comfort me.
And now the "news"
Pipe down, you look like Fernando Torres if he was missing [redacted], your reputation is that of someone who has reached levels of douchedom not seen on this planet since Ted Nugent's facial expressions in the High Enough video. Nobody cares what you think, I would imagine several are surprised your brain works enough for you to speak.
So we miss out on the thing we wanted. And I mean this.
Good Lord, I know you said ruthless but you weren't kidding with what you suggest here. This might be beyond Tywin Lannister levels of ruthless. It would be easier to just have typed out David Moyes should start just cutting people's heads off.
This is a level of genius I have rarely seen. it is so awesome I am furious that I cannot have an idea as clever as this. Furthermore (and this is inside baseball folks but who cares I'm pulling back the curtain) the way he organizes and aggregates everything makes it so it really isn't that much work for him. My mind is blown. Also we might be stealing it so look for that coming soon, maybe.
He could totally be a stunt driver in some sort of stoner version of the Fast and the Furious.
I have maintained that SB Nation's error page is the best in the world for some time. Not anymore.
After a cagey opening, the match came to life in the seventh minute when a Michael Dawson long ball presented Jermain Defoe with the first real opportunity of the game, the striker racing through on goal but failing to hit the target with a looping effort from a tight angle.
Brad Friedel was forced into action on midway through the half, diving low to his right to parry away an effort from Reggae Boyz captain Jermaine Hue and Keammar Daley went even closer nine minutes later, cutting in from the left and curling a right-footed shot past the American which cannoned off the outside of the post.
The last kick of the half saw Hue involved once again, blasting over with a free-kick from the right as the players exited the field to the sounds of vuvuzelas and steel bands playing from the stands.
Four changes by Andre Villas-Boas at half-time altered the flow of the game in our favour early in the second half. Emmanuel Adebayor got in behind the Jamaica defence to latch onto Tom Huddlestone's through ball and forced a good save from second half substitute Andre Blake.
Moments later, the goalkeeper was called into action again to push out a Gylfi Sigurdsson shot from outside the area before reacting quickly to tip the ball away from Mousa Dembele to deny him a simple tap finish from the rebound.
With the Jamaicans on top, Bale entered the fray to stem the tide and received a rapturous reception from the crowd. His quick turn of pace and ability to create something from nothing - as seen so many times in the Premier League this season - raised expectations that we might see one final moment of magic from the Welshman in a season where he has provided so many.
The game had a frantic final 20 minutes with chances at both ends. Hugo Lloris had to be at his best to save at his near post from Darren Mattocks' powerful shot before the rebound was scuffed wide, while at the other end Vertonghen was denied by the legs of Blake after connecting well with Benoit Assou-Ekotto's fierce cross from the left.
Bale came closest to scoring the winning goal for us with a turn and shot from the edge of the box which Blake could only parry the ball into the path of Steven Caulker. The defender duly buried the rebound only to be caught a yard offside in the last meaningful act of the match.
Spurs team: Friedel (Lloris 46); Walker (Assou-Ekotto 39), Dawson, Caulker, Naughton; Livermore, Dembele (Bale 61), Mason (Huddlestone 46), Holtby (Vertonghen 46), Sigurdsson; Defoe (Adebayor 46)]]>
We will also bring you a match report and reaction to the result here on tottenhamhotspur.com soon after full-time.
Those of you who were looking to see Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho wearing a Spurs shirt next season, prepare to be let down.
French side AS Monaco, who were taken over by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev in December, have €100M to play with after the tycoon bought a majority share in the Ligue 2 champions. Porto star Moutinho is poised to be the first of many signings planned by manager Claudio Ranieri, who also targets Ramadel Falcao from Atletico Madrid, Carlos Tevez from Man City and Patrice Evra from Manchester United.
Check in to Transfer Window: Done Deal Alerts
Sergio Ramos says Tottenham star Gareth Bale would fit in at Real Madrid, amid speculation that the Spanish club will bid for the Welsh winger.
Bale has been arguably the best player in the Premier League this season, scoring a number of stunning goals to push his team up to fifth in the table, narrowly missing out on Champions League football.
Their failure to finish fourth has now led to speculation that he could leave for a bigger club, with Real Madrid showing the strongest interest in the former Southampton man.
Spanish centre-back Ramos told the Sun that he hopes the 23-year-old will move to the Bernebeu this summer, as he is a 'Real Madrid-quality signing'.
"Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid-quality signing. He has had an exceptional season. He can punish any team in the world and has the footballing qualities we look for in Madrid.
"I am sure Madrid will not be the only team that want to sign him — but he is the right mould for us."
Manchester United are also being strongly linked with an interest in Bale, though it seems unlikely that Spurs will want to sell their prized asset to a Premier League rival.
Bale may also be the ideal replacement at Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo, who is being linked with a move back to United this summer.
With endless speculation over whether or not Mr Levy will open up his chequebook this summer, it is easy to forget about the opposing end of the transfer window.
Spurs are one of the most financially sound clubs in the League, yet have been famed for high-profile leavers rather than big name signings in past seasons.
Yet there are still a few drifters amid the Tottenham squad. Drifters which that, unless they can prove themselves useful within the pre-season time scale, could find themselves folding up their kit and leaving N17 for new lands rather swiftly...
Check in to Transfer Window: Done Deal Alerts
West Ham could emerge as shock contenders to sign Real Betis midfielder Benat, according to talkSPORT.
The Premier League club will make a contract offer to the 26-year-old Spanish international, who is available on a free transfer in this summer's transfer window.
The former Athletic Bilbao man, who has two caps for Spain, looked likely to favour a return to his former club, but was also said to be attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham.
However, the Hammers are keen to strengthen their squad this summer, planning a number of high-profile signings, and Benat on a free would certainly be good business for manager Sam Allardyce if he can pull it off.
The Spaniard could join the likes of Andy Carroll and Romelu Lukaku at Upton Park this summer, as Allardyce looks to improve on their 10th place finish of this campaign.
Benat would certainly add some quality in the middle of the park, with 4 goals and 8 assists from midfield in La Liga this season. With Arsenal adn Tottenham target Mohamed Diame possibly leaving the club, Benat could prove a very useful replacement.
Apparently, Andre Villas-Boas is being targeted by Napoli for their managerial vacancy. According to Metro, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis said 'Yes' when asked by a Portuguese paper if Villas-Boas is among his targets. Below are a list of bullet points to help you understand this story and my thoughts on it.
- I support Napoli as well as Tottenham Hotspur. Full disclosure.
- Napoli is not as big of a club as Tottenham Hotspur, despite their history, Edinson Cavani and Champions League football. Their stadium doesn't fill up unless it's a massive match, they don't have as much money as Spurs, and they're not going to have as much money as Spurs do in the next decade. Even if they keep finishing top three in Serie A.
- Seriously though, there's a reason guys take crappy Premier League jobs over jobs with Europa League clubs in other leagues. It's a better gig right now. That might change ... in a decade.
- He's only been here a year and his name was dirt to just about everyone but us and Porto a year ago. It would be pretty crappy for AVB to cut and run after we revived his career.
- There's no indication that AVB wants to leave us for Napoli.
- Aurelio De Laurentiis is nuts. He once paid a food delivery boy to drive him away after he angrily stormed out of a meeting of Serie A chairmen. The food delivery boy was driving a small moped.
- It's pretty easy to misunderstand or fabricate a simple "Yes", and we don't know what the exact question was. Maybe ADL was asked if AVB is a good enough manager for Napoli, or if he'd speak to AVB if he got a phonecall from his agent?
- Good god this rumor is stupid and I hate myself for writing this post.
The match marks one of the major events in the new 15,000-seat stadium and the year-long celebration of The Bahamas’ 40th anniversary of independence.
USA striker Clint faced Jamaica in back-to-back World Cup qualifying matches in round three of the North, Central America and Caribbean zone in September.
He scored as the USA were beaten 2-1 in Kingston before winning the return match four days later. Both teams qualified for the final round - 'the Hexagonal' - and will meet again in Kingston on June 7.
That is one of three World Cup qualifiers Clint faces after this exhibition match, with Jamaica also preparing for three more matches on the road to Brazil 2014.
"Jamaica have a lot of good players, many of whom play in Europe," said Clint.
"They are using this match to prepare for their World Cup qualfying matches and that's exactly what I'm looking forward to as well.
"We know Jamaica are a good team and they will be ready to play."
Jamaica have some familiar names - Jermaine Johnson (Sheffield Wednesday), Adrian Marriappa, Garath McClaery, Jobi McAnuff (all Reading), Rodolph Austin (Leeds), Dane Richards (Burnley), Theo Robinson and Jermain Beckford (both Huddersfield) all ply their trade in England.
Listen: I've said some things on this blog. A lot of the stuff I've said, I've said in jest. But just so we're clear: I'm not joking when I say there is no Tottenham Hotspur transfer target I want more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Name: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Team: Association Sportive Saint-Étienne Loire
League: Ligue 1
Primary position: Hard to say. The front one, I guess?
Can also play: All the other front ones.
Should I copy-and-paste the WhoScored interview with Aubameyang, complete with stats? Because that shit essentially makes the case for me.
Even though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 38 goals in all competitions during the 2011-2012 season, you would have been forgiven if you'd approached a possible Spurs transfer for the Gabonese international during the summer of 2012 with some skepticism. After all, Leandro Damião looms large in all our imaginations, Fernando Llorente was still an option, and Emmanuel Adebayor had put in a decent shift at the striker position the previous season. Why take a risk with a young striker in an emerging league who more than doubled his goal-scoring total from the previous season? Couldn't Aubameyang just be a flash in the pan? What would happen when Ligue 1 defenses got their stuff together and decided to mark the guy?
Well, if you had doubts before, you can pretty much put those to bed now. Aubameyang scored 37 goals in all competitions this year, missing last year's total by one goal. (By the by, do you know who scored more goals than PEA in France? Zlatan Ibrahimovic. That's it.) And here's the thing: It's not just that the man can score goals. Aubameyang is also tied for joint fourth in Ligue 1 in assists with nine this season, feeding Brandão and other Saint-Étienne players at an astonishing rate. His dad is a former scout for AC Milan. He's fast, he's strong, he's intelligent. He's as good on both the left and right wings as he is in the middle of a 4-3-3. I mean, just look at his work:
Aubameyang has mentioned Dortmund and Milan as dream destinations, and last summer he revealed he was creeped out by Levy & Co.'s approaches to his father. I think it's pretty clear Spurs are not on PEA's radar, or at least not in a positive way, which would make a transfer far less likely. With today's rumor that Newcastle are interested in Aubameyang's services, maybe it's time for Levy to make amends with the Aubameyang family and sign him up.
Likely price: £10M
Probability that valuation is wrong: If Spurs get involved in a bidding war with one of the continental giants, that number could go up significantly.
Team's willingness to sell: Who can say? I mean, Saint-Étienne would take a major step backwards without PEA, but money is money. If the fee is right, I have a hard time seeing les Verts turning us down.
Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: Good to great. The worry I have about Aubameyang is that he seems to be at his best when running on to the ball in a quick counterattack as opposed to seeking out pockets of space created by Andre Villas-Boas's high line system. That said, Aubameyang has shown himself to be supremely adaptable, so there's a good chance he learns to work with less space in front of him.
Possibility he ends up at Spurs: Not all that rosy, given last summer's botched approach and PEA's affection for BVB and Milan. That said, for the right money, he'd probably come around.
Grade if this transfer goes through at likely price: A+. In terms of value for money, there isn't a better striking option for Tottenham Hotspur this summer than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Given his goalscoring prowess, passing ability and positional flexibility, Daniel Levy should buy Aubameyang right. effing. now.
Changes to Champions League rules agreed today could see Europe’s top nations having up to five teams in UEFA’s top club competition.
Check in to Transfer Window: Done Deal Alerts
10. Victor Valdes (Barcelona)
The long-serving Barcelona shot-stopper has announced his intention to leave the club this summer, saying he wants a new challenge and expressing a particular fondness for English football. What better opportunity then for Arsenal to upgrade on Wojciech Szczesny? The Polish 'keeper has had a disappointing season and doesn't look like fulfilling his potential at the Emirates Stadium since his breakthrough a couple of seasons ago. If Arsenal choose to compete with the likes of Manchester United and PSG for Valdes, they will be adding a three-time European champion and six-time La Liga winner to their ranks, which is just the kind of experience they need in a squad consisting mostly of young players or of players who haven't ever won anything.
Although he is 31 and would certainly command high wages, he could still be a bargain for the Gunners with just a year remaining on his current contract at the Nou Camp, and that experience and extra bit of quality to make game-changing saves at important times could be enough to make the difference over the course of a season.
9. Gokhan Inler (Napoli)
The Swiss midfielder has been one of the best and most consistent performers in Serie A for the last six years since he joined Udinese from FC Zurich. Now 28-years-old, he is a key player for Napoli, and helped guide them to second place in Serie A this season with his tough tackling and battling displays in the middle of the park, as well as providing six goals and two assists.
It could be a summer of exits at the club, with star striker Edinson Cavani wanted by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, and manager Walter Pazzarri possibly leaving to take over at Inter Milan. Inler has been linked with Arsenal before, and now may be a good time for the Gunners to move for him as Napoli undergo a series of changes in this transfer window. He would be expensive, but he'd be an immediate starter in this current Arsenal team, providing more protection to the back four than the likes of Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey, who have been played somewhat out of position this season.
8. Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund)
This latest prospect coming out of Germany is another player who could fill the defensive midfield void at Arsenal left by the departing Alex Song last summer. The 22-year-old has established himself as a key member of Borussia Dortmund's team and has all the attributes to be a fine player for almost any top club. Manchester United and Barcelona have shown an interest in him, but Arsenal have also been linked with a £22million bid, which is just the kind of ambition they need to show this summer.
Ilkay Gundogan would slot right in to the Arsenal team and could be their midfield enforcer for many years to come, and what a boost it would be for the club's fans to know they beat other big teams to his signature - just the kind of lift they need after eight years without silverware.
7. Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle)
With Newcastle performing below expectation this season, it is no surprise to see star midfielder Yohan Cabaye being linked with a move away. Arsenal have been linked with him several times now since he moved to the Premier League and quickly showed he could take his fine form with Lille to the English game. Manchester United are also interested in the Frenchman as they eye a long term replacement for the retiring Paul Scholes, but Arsenal could also do with a player like Cabaye to take the pressure off main playmaker Santi Cazorla. The 27-year-old is also an experienced France international who could give the Gunners something a bit different with his excellent long range shots and free kicks, putting an end to this current crop of players' obsession with trying to walk the ball into the net.
Cabaye would cost around £20million, but he belongs at a bigger club and would surely jump at the chance to link up with Arsene Wenger and play in a team that would suit his technical playing style perfectly. One potential problem is his fitness, which has seen him miss a lot of this season, though he has still managed six goals and two assists in 26 league games for Alan Pardew's side, adding to his five goals and nine assists from the season before. If Wenger fails to land Cabaye, there are several other high profile players at Newcastle who might feel they want to leave the club for bigger things this summer, such as Hatem Ben Arfa, Tim Krul and Papiss Cisse.
6. Marouane Fellaini (Everton)
It's been a brilliant season for Marouane Fellaini, standing out as Everton's best player with 11 goals and 5 assists in the league, helping them to an impressive sixth place. His displays will surely have caught the attention of the Premier League big boys, and the biggest rumour at the moment, somewhat understandably, is that the Belgian will follow departing manager David Moyes to Manchester United.
Chelsea are also interested in the 25-year-old, but Arsenal should make sure they are in the running too. The towering midfielder can play a defensive midfield role as well as off the striker, providing a physicality and aerial threat that is currently desperately missing from Arsenal's play, both in the midfield engine room and in attack. Fellaini reportedly has a minimum release fee clause of around £25million and Arsene Wenger would be well advised to fork out for this player, who looks like being the missing link between the Gunners and glory at the moment. He is a big name as well, after many years in the Premier League, and would certainly sell shirts and create a buzz around the Emirates Stadium next season.
5. Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
Arsenal have been linked several times with this talented French attacker, and he, along with Yohan Cabaye, could be another excellent addition to their midfield this summer. The 28-year-old has an excellent record over the last couple of seasons as he has really reached his peak at Marseille, with 9 goals and 16 assists in 2011/12 and a further 5 goals and 14 assists this year. The playmaker has 20 caps for France and is a Ligue 1 title winner as well after helping Marseille to glory in 2009/10. He is just the player Arsenal need to take the workload off the likes of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere and give them more option to rotate their squad, which would in turn help avoid the injuries that have plagued Wilshere in particular over the last couple of years.
Valbuena will surely be keen to work with French legend Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium, and Wenger too will be a fan of the way Valbuena plays the game, as he is a skillful passer and unselfish player from midfield.
4. Dani Alves (Barcelona)
With it looking increasingly more likely that Bacary Sagna will leave Arsenal in the summer, a new right-back is a must. Carl Jenkinson has shown himself to be a decent backup, but he is not ready to replace the long-serving Frenchman just yet. Rumour has it, Barcelona's Dani Alves could be available after a less than convincing season this year. Still, the 30-year-old has fantastic ability on his day and would be a great addition to the Arsenal squad. He has been linked with a move to the Gunners before, and with one goal and seven assists this season, he would be a significant improvement going forward on Sagna, who has 0 goals and 0 assists this term.
Sagna may be more reliable defensively, but Alves is arguably under-rated in this regard, and could slot in nicely into Arsenal's back four, whilst also providing far more width and ammunition for the front players, as attacks currently have a habit of breaking down when they reach Sagna on Arsenal's right-hand side. Like Victor Valdes, Alves has a very healthy collection of winners' medals from his time with Barca and this experience could be invaluable to Arsenal as they seek to end their eight-year wait for trophies next season. This may be a risky signing, but the Brazilian is still a big name whose skills will get fans of their seats at the Emirates Stadium.
3. Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan)
Arsenal have already been linked with a surprisingly ambitious bid for AC Milan starlet Stephan El Shaarawy. The 20-year-old is one of the brightest prospects in world football, catching the eye in Serie A this season with 16 goals and 4 assists, playing both as a winger and as a forward. He is already a full Italian international, with six appearances and one goal for the national side, and has regularly shown himself to have an eye for the spectacular, with some wonderful goals for Milan this year. Manchester City are also interested in the youngster, who would cost close to £30million, but will surely be one of the best players in the world for much of the next decade.
Arsenal are still lacking a regular goal scorer upfront since Robin van Persie left, and El Shaarawy can certainly give them that extra quality in the final third. Milan will be keen not to sell, but Arsenal should try as hard as possible for this world class talent.
2. Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina)
The Fiorentina striker has been linked with Arsenal for much of the season, and is one of the biggest names in Serie A at the moment. A striker is clearly a priority for Arsene Wenger this summer, and this deal could go through in the next few weeks. He should be something of a bargain at around £15million, but he's still the big name Arsenal need. Manchester City and Chelsea have also been linked with Jovetic, and it would be a real boost for the Gunners to sign an established player that their rivals have shown an interest in.
The Montenegro international has 13 goals and 5 assists for La Viola this season, and looks like the all-round skillful forward that Arsenal need, who can score goals and play in team mates like van Persie used to. He should be their first major signing of the summer and may well prove to be the most important.
1. Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
Gonzalo Higuain has been unfortunate to find himself on the transfer list at Real Madrid this summer, after a good seven years with the club. The Argentine has fallen down the pecking order this season in a difficult year for the club all round, and is simply the victim of the owners' desire to make wholesale changes in the upcoming transfer window. The 25-year-old has still managed 17 goals in a season spent mostly on the bench, and is the kind of expert finisher that Arsenal have been looking for for many years.
Real Madrid have set an asking price of around £22million for the striker, and the Gunners will likely face competition from Juventus, Manchester City and Tottenham for Higuain's signature. This interest in him shows his talent and potential, and Arsenal would do very well to lure him to the Emirates Stadium, where he would almost certainly be one of the Premier League's top scorers, and a more reliable marksman than some of the players in Arsenal's recent history, who have been known for missing relatively easy chances and costing their side crucial points.
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UEFA are considering winners of the Europa League (from 2015) will win a place in the Champions League.
It's not as good as it might sound.
For starters, the competitions identity is clouded. It's an afterthought that currently exists to appease faltering clubs that fall out of the CL after the group stage. If UEFA announced that no side from the Champions League would parachute into the Europa League then we might start to see less of an indenity crisis and a true competition begin to reshape into something worth winning, not because of add-ons but because it matters.
But it doesn't matter because only one competition does in this dear old modern landscape we love to hate and hate to love.
Brutally stated by @drwinston001 on Twitter, one of the key areas that will allow this competition to slowly move out of the shadow of its bigger bullying brother is if UEFA levelled out the prize money between the two competitions. Two key points to this.
The first is - it will close the financial gap between the clubs competing in the CL and EL. The second is a by-product of the first. The competitiveness of said clubs, due to that extra financial clout, would make them stronger meaning that any potential for the current dominant top tier of the hierarchy to push further away would be held back.
But that isn't the point is it? If we retain a cynical outlook the rich (who can't possibly fail not to get richer) are comfortably allowed to do just that (get richer) and the gulf between them and the rest will grow, holding down any potential for a mass change at the top. The CL changed everything. That and the television money earned domestically. The big time players have already been defined and there is no necessity for that to change. Because why would they want to risk the power and the money for any upstart to come within punching reach of a knock-out blow?
My cynical outlook concludes with the fabled European Super League that will one day soon replace the Champions League.
From a Tottenham perspective, I'm hoping by 2015, it doesn't matter too much as we should be finishing 3rd or better (aim high right?). However, if the Premier League era is about to shift towards a time-share where clubs are swapping around in the top positions, if we do happen to find our way into the Europa League post 2015, do we take it seriously? If we don't or we get knocked out, then finish fourth, someone who has finished well below us in the league but has won the EL might well take the CL place from us.
That's a prominent question. To clarify - if someone (in England) wins the EL and we (or anyone else) happened to finish 4th - does that place become void to avoid 5 clubs representing the same country in the CL?
Confused? Don't be. UEFA are making it up as they go along. The rules change to make sure they fit whatever whimsical agenda currently floating around in their big empty heads.
How does the winner of the UEFA Cup defend it if they've qualified for the CL the following season? Get knocked out of that to drop back into it?
No chance of a Champions League spot just going to a champion or domestic cup winner? Of course not. Now that would be whimsical.
What a mess.
Twitter time-line action from:
We invite our readers to vote in a poll that will help us to produce a Premier League Best XI of 2012/13.
Today is the turn of the wingers.
Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
May well end up winning this poll by a country mile, such has been his level of form throughout the campaign. 21 Premier League goals to his name.
Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Saints hero has adapted well to life in the top tier, one of the St Mary's sides chief creators.
Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
Stylish Belgian has done well in his first season in the English top flight, nine goals and six assists to his name.
Steven Pienaar (Everton)
South African has impressed this term, working well in front of Leighton Baines on the flank.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Belgian, who also got a nod in our creative midfielder category, is also worth a mention on our winger poll, 20 assists in all competitions!
David Silva (Man City)
Perhaps a less glorious individual campaign than last term but the crafty Spaniard is still one of the Premier League's most effective attackers.
Aaron Lennon (Tottenham)
Perhaps Bale's displays have left the England man in the shadows somewhat but the pint sized performer has nonetheless impressed this term.
Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City)
Canaries are no doubt indebted to the efforts of the Scottish international.
Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Arsenal man may like to be considered for the striking role at the Gunners but out wide he has had a very effective campaign, 14 goals and 10 assists in Premier League action alone.
Shaun Maloney (Wigan Athletic)
The Latics may have been relegated by Maloney has still been a very productive player this season.
Check in to Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich - 2013 UEFA Champions League Final
Newcastle United have supposedly ruled themselves out of a bid for Liverpool's Andy Carroll, according to Sky Sports.
The striker initially joined Liverpool from Newcastle for in 2011 for £35million, a record transfer fee for a British player. However, the 24-year-old has not been a success at Anfield, scoring just 11 goals in 58 appearances for the club.
He has since been farmed out on loan to West Ham, and his form has improved at Upton Park under Sam Allardyce, who is now keen to land the England international on a permanent deal.
The Hammers have agreed a fee of £15million with Liverpool, who have no plans to keep Carroll, and his former club Newcastle have also been credited with an interest in his services.
However, the club claim they will not be making a move for their old player, who is said to be weighing up other options before committing to a move to West Ham.
Monaco have been linked with a surprise interest in Carroll, and Tottenham are also said to be monitoring his situation, and he would favour a switch to a club playing European football.
We all know by now that despite putting in a tremendous effort, and playing well for large parts of the season, Tottenham's quest to finish in the top four of the Premier League ultimately failed on the final day.
They came tantalisingly close to qualifying for the Champions League, missing out by the slenderest of margins. In fact, when it came down to it, only six points separated Manchester City in second and Tottenham in fifth, so as disappointed as Spurs fans will be, they should be proud of what was yet another fantastic season.
Of course, we're now at the end of the season, and it's normally the time when the rumour mill goes into overdrive, especially about the best players in the league.
Spurs fans must be worried that their star man, Gareth Bale, might seek a move away from Tottenham because of their failure to qualify for the Champions League, but in my opinion, Bale shouldn't decide his future on a whim. Instead, he should think long, hard and very carefully about what he chooses to do this summer.
Let's look at both sides of the coin shall we?
If the worst were to happen, and Gareth Bale decides he wants to move on, where would he go? You would have to think he would command a transfer fee in excess of £50million and there are very few clubs in Europe who could afford a fee of that size.
In England, you would be looking at teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. The Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona might also be able to stretch to that, and there's Bayern Munich in Germany, as well as PSG in France.
Even if Bale does decide to leave North London, moving clubs isn't a guarantee of success. Other players have moved for big transfer fees, like Fernando Torres at Chelsea and Torres has had a tough time of it.
Cesc Fabregas chose to move to Barcelona from Arsenal and he's found games hard to come by. When Cesc does start games, he's substituted more often than not. Who's to say it would be different with Bale? As good as Bale is, nobody knows what the future holds, and it may not work out for him.
Tottenham had a very good season last year, but they know what they have to do to go that extra mile and keep up with their rivals at the top end of the Premier League table.
In my opinion, Bale would be best served staying at Spurs, at least for the short term. By staying loyal to them, Bale has the chance to be part of something special.
I've got absolutely no doubt that chairman Daniel Levy will help Andre Villas-Boas invest in the squad during the upcoming transfer window and if Bale sees that Spurs are making the right moves, it could be enough to persuade him to stay.
Spurs need to add more attacking options to the squad. Only having Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor up front hindered them at times last season and that's something Andre Villas-Boas will want to address in the summer.
I've already mentioned that I believe Bale would be better off staying at Tottenham for at least another season. He's only 23 (he'll be 24 in July), so has plenty of time to win trophies during his career, whether that's at Tottenham or elsewhere.
Earlier this year, Bale was being mentioned in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of being one of the best players in the world. By staying at Spurs and proving just how good he is for another full season, he might just end up making believers out of all of us.
Although finishing fifth in the league must have been a disappointment for everyone at Spurs, my gut feeling is that Gareth Bale will stay to try to help them get back in to the Champions League. It's all about ambition. If Bale believes he can achieve his goals of competing for trophies and qualifying for the Champions League at Spurs, then he won't go anywhere.
It'll be interesting to see what happens, but I think that ambition, not money, will determine where Gareth Bale's future lies.
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Check in to Transfer Window: Done Deal Alerts
Italian news source La Repubblica reports that Juventus are now favourites to sign Gonzalo Higuain from under the noses of Arsenal.
The Argentine striker has been put up for sale by Real Madrid this summer, and Arsenal were told to pay around £22million to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners are known to be on the lookout for a striker in this transfer window, as the likes of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have not quite helped fill the void left by Robin van Persie.
Higuain is said to be a main target, though Arsenal have also had their eye on Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina, who may be available for cheaper, at around £15million.
Juventus have also shown an interest in Jovetic, though Fiorentina's reluctance to sell to another Serie A club has seen the Italian champions make their move for Higuain instead.
The talented finisher has 120 goals for the Bernebeu club in 264 appearances, but has fallen down the pecking order this season and could make way as the club look to reel in bigger targets, such as Tottenham's Gareth Bale.
January signalled the arrival of The German Under-21 captain as Lewis Holtby completed his £1.5 million move from FC Schalke. Having already signed a pre-contract agreement to join the club this summer, the club then took up the option of bringing the transfer forward for just £2 million. So how has Holtby done in his first half-season at Spurs?
Outlined as a key target very early on in the Winter Transfer Window, he made his first appearance for the club coming on against Norwich for a 20 minute cameo at the latter end of January, impressing with a performance of energy, creation and willingness. This was then backed up by an admirable showing in the following game against West Brom as he replaced Jermain Defoe in the first half and continued where he left off at Norwich. Fans marvelled at the stunning bargain purchase the club had made and were soon calling for him to be offered first team opportunities.
It seemed those wishes had been granted with Holtby starting three of the sides next four games across all competitions in February and March though fatigue became evident in his play across the course of a full ninety minutes, his time off during the Bundesliga’s winter break appearing to catch up on him. Tackles were often rash and energy low, albeit the performances delivered with great passion and commitment.
An impressive showing against his boyhood club, Everton, was enough to regain confidence in the youngster as he looked to have finally adapted to the pace of the Premier League. This was then followed by a match turning cameo against Manchester City as his assist for Defoe’s pivotal goal proved key to Spurs picking up all three points, whilst remaining combative and alert alongside Tom Huddlestone.
To put it simply it’s been a mixed bag of success, though it would perhaps e unfair to expect anything more for a player of his age in a new league joining half way through the season. Positives have been his passion, passing abilities and build up play whilst negatives mainly centre around poor discipline with tackling that the recently retired Paul Scholes would have been proud of.
It still remains unclear as to his most effective position with Holtby having been employed at centre midfield, left midfield and just behind the striker, though the performances against Man City and Everton would suggest that a deeper role suits his game better.
In terms of commitment to the club and the side, Holtby passes on all fronts. His Social Media presence has been positive in conveying his enjoyment at playing for Spurs as well as his responses to interviews whilst on the pitch you always feel like Lewis has given his full effort to help the cause.
The young midfielder still has much to learn but is in the best environment to do just that. These five months have been solid, but now is the time for Holtby, with a full pre-season under his belt, to realise his potential and help lead Spurs to glory next season. The raw tools are all there.
This is the last serious award for the season and it's the one that I think is the most contentious. Moment of the season could be almost anything. It could be a goal, it could be a news item, it could be just about anything. I think there are some clear contenders for this award, that I will list below.
To me, the moment of the season boils down to three choices. The first is July 3, 2012. Andre Villas-Boas was announced as the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur on that day. Given the names that had been floated Villas-Boas seemed to be the best choice, though there were plenty of reservations following his time at Chelsea. In the end, the hire proved to be an inspired one as AVB quickly won over the fans and the players. This hire was certainly season defining.
The second season defining moment might have been one of the biggest surprises. On transfer deadline day, Tottenham wrapped up the signing of French international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. While it would take time to integrate Lloris into the squad, he would eventually become an integral member of the Spurs defense, enabling AVB to play the style of football he was accustomed to. The transfer itself though was a surprising coup. Very few saw the deal coming and the price itself was surprisingly low.
The final moment that defined this season for me, was the victory at Old Trafford. The celebrations by the players and coaches showed everyone just where the team was at. It was an incredible win even without the fact that Spurs hadn't won there in 23 years. The victory didn't exactly serve as a springboard for an amazing run, but it certainly was an indicator of how the season would go.
As with yesterday's goal of the season post, I'll leave it to you, the readers, to provide the nominees and then rec the ones that you think are most deserving of an award. So, commentariat, who
Check in to Transfer Window: Done Deal Alerts
By all accounts Real Madrid are desperate to sign Tottenham winger Gareth Bale and the Daily Star is now reporting on a new offer that may well give White Hart Lane chairman Daniel Levy something to think about.
The Spanish giants are ready to offer £43m, some way below Tottenham's apparent valuation of the 23 year old Welsh international, as well as the choice of a quartet of Real Madrid talents who could help sweeten the deal.
Bernabeu president Florentino Perez is keen to bring in a massive signing to take the club's supporters minds attention away from what has been a very bad season for Real Madrid and will hope that capturing Bale would help his chances of re-election.
The La Liga side are willing to more than match the contract offer Tottenham are currently lining up for Bale and clearly the chance to compete in the Champions League and for major honours in general may well tempt the former Southampton man to consider his future at White Hart Lane.
Madrid have offered Spurs the choice of four players as makeweights in any deal – Pepe, Marcelo, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria.
One would imagine that of the four players on the table it would be Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain who would most interest Andre Villas-Boas as the Tottenham attack is certainly the area of the club's squad that is in the most need of attention.
Bale has of course had an outstanding season, scoring goals aplenty (many of which being of the spectacular variety) and being Villas-Boas's most consistent performer on the whole by some distance, however even with his best efforts Tottenham could not secure a top four finish and that has led many to wonder just how likely the talented attacker is to stay at the North London club.