Rangers have continued fine without their summer ‘marquee’ signings
The club added Joey Barton this summer despite the interests in the player after a decent run last term. Niko Kranjcar was another signing who brought hope to the side.
Rangers Coach Mark Warburton would have been praying for a chance to get Premiership promotion after recently enjoying one, and armed with a young, hungry side keen on more successes. With the suspension of Barton and Kranjcar’s cruciate ligament tear, it would have been a scare. However, Jason Holt, Andy Halliday and Josh Windass seem to have found a good combination in the middle.
Barton’s signing received praises, particularly with the way Warburton got him. However, many would be cursing under their breath as it looks like the player may have played his last for Rangers. For Kranjcar, there were concerns as he came from North America. He started the season slowly, but he was gradually proving his naysayers wrong before he picked up the injury.
Surprisingly, the Rangers squad seems not to be too bothered with the absence of the Croatian.
Veterans Matt Gilks and Clint Hill were among the nine new faces Warburton signed before the season. Warburton wanted to add Aston Villa’s Joleon Lescott to the list but the player failed the club’s medicals so the coach opted for former Arsenal player Phillipe Senderos.
The available players seem to be focused on the club’s games. Halliday is even on goal-scoring form, Holt has been decent, and Windass has proved that it was wise signing him from Accrington. There are still options in Matt Crooks and Jordan Rossiter as they gradually regain full match fitness. Barrie McKay and Harry Forrester can play in central positions, provided the much needed cover to the summer ‘marquee’ signings.
Philippe Senderos will be regarded as one of the biggest failures of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who is usually exceptional when it comes to spotting talent.
The Swiss international, though, has found no shortage of interested parties even in the Premier league, as he has represented the likes of Fulham and Aston Villa in the last couple of years. Following the relegation of Villa into the Championship, it was very much expected that Senderos would also dropped down the divisions and continue his career. However, he decided to join Swiss outfit Grasshoppers on a six-month contract.
Following the end of this deal, though, he seems to have sufficiently impressed Scottish outfit Rangers so much for that he has secured a free transfer to the giant. Rangers only recently returned to the top division and were actively looking at players with a lot of experience in the top level. Senderos is someone who fits the bill extremely well after having played for the likes of Arsenal, Fulham and Aston Villa. He has joined the club on a free transfer and could make his debut in one of the biggest matches of the campaign, the old firm derby against Celtic.
The game against Celtic is regarded as one of the fiercest in the world and having a player of Senderos’ experience will only help the team. Incredibly, Rangers were extremely close on signing Manchester City defender Lescott. It was only because the England international failed to pass a medical did Senderos enter into the picture. As an experienced international who has represented the national team in more than 50 games, Senderos has signed a one-year deal with Rangers. Since the player has been out of touch with regard to the top level for the last 12 months, he may need some time to warm up and reach his best.
Switzerland has found a new hero in Granit Xhaka. Before the Euros tournament in France, many people believed that XherdanShaqiri was going to be the main player for Switzerland but things did not go according to plan for the Stoke player.
The winger was nowhere at his best and was the culprit of some poor performance. Indeed XherdanShaqiri did not make this performance only at the Euros but also in the Premier League where he has failed to replicate the performance that has made him a renowned player.
It was the new Arsenal player Granit Xhaka who steals the show at the Euros. The Switzerland player was named twice as man-of-the-match in the group stage. Xhaka was everywhere for his team sometimes up front to create danger in the opposing team and sometime at the back to help his team defend when under pressure. Granit Xhaka has shown the talent that has prompted Arsene Wenger to sign him before the start of the tournament. It was a wise move by the French manager as his price might have soared after the performance in France.
Granit Xhaka and Gunners fans around the world will be hoping that the midfielder can replicate the sort of performance in the Premier League. If this is the case, then Arsenal can have a solid midfield. When you realize that Arsenal already has players such as Ozil, Cazorla, and Ramsey in the middle of the park, the addition of Granit Xhaka will make this midfield stronger.
Switzerland, on the other hand, will be hoping that XherdanShaqiri improves his form for the World Cup qualifiers that are due to start in September. If Shaqiri finds his form and with the addition of Xhaka, Switzerland will be difficult to beat in the qualifiers.
With the Euro 2016 having come to an end, the aftermath offers different results to the different teams and players.
Many teams have shuffled their players and coaches or managers, are working on different strategies to spruce up the squads so that they can qualify again for the next upcoming tournament. Philippe Senderos has been facing changes in his national team allocation as well.
Among the new selections being made to form a squad of 23 men, Philippe Senderos will probably not feature for the Switzerland team. The finals that are coming up for Group “A” next month would see Switzerland faces countries like Romania, France and Albania. Philippe would probably be given a rest in these games in the next month. The player had come back to participate in the Swiss Super League in the month of January. Senderos is currently at 31 years of age. When he returned to play in the Swiss Super League in the month of January he took up several games to play. The Premier League did not happen for the team and Senderos had to spend time away from the field, nursing injuries as well as lacking in form.
The final matches for Switzerland needed players who were in good form. Senderos has to take it slow and work on his form this year so that he can recover fully from the injuries he sustained. Indeed, his coach was sympathetic towards his condition. Every player goes through such phases when they are plagued with injuries on the field and lose out on their confidence. Senderos is sure to get back his form soon and his experience will count in the forthcoming matches for the country’s team. He simply needs to hold onto his confidence and find his place again.
Fulham manager SlavisaJokanovic dismissed suggestions of the club having a mass clear out in the summer, as they have to deal with falling revenue after failing to get promotion to the Premier league.
Fulham were one of the established Premier League clubs before the relegation two seasons ago. However, the presence of significant incoming revenue in the form of parachute payments was expected to help Fulham get back to the top division at the first attempt. This was not to be the case; in fact, Fulham even came close to being relegated to League One.
They have been unable to even get into the top half of the table. As a sign of the tough competition within the Championship, it may take a while and some serious effort before Fulham start challenging for the Premier League. This is likely to mean several talented youngsters will want to consider offers elsewhere. The parachute payments will be cut into half starting from next season before it completely stops after the 2018-19 season. In order to balance the books and please players who want to leave, Fulham are expected to see a lot of sales rather than incoming players in the summer transfer window.
This will pose further challenge forJokanovic, as he attempts to get promotion next season.“We need to rebuild the team. It's not about one or two players. It's not about one or two positions.We need to change everything. We need to start working with more ambition in the games, training and office.We have to show ambition in the transfer market. We (finished 20th) in the Championship – I have had a chance to understand the club and how big the support is. I spend these months understanding what I have in my hand and what is in front of us,” said Jokanovic.
Former Arsenal player, Philippe Senderos, is currently getting playing time at Swiss club.
The Centre Back joined the club on a six month contract after Aston Villa terminated his contract in January this year. The former Arsenal, Everton and Fulham defender, whose contract was cancelled by mutual consent by Villa returned home to Switzerland in a bid to revive his career and international selection chances ahead of the European Championships this summer.
Senderos played just nine matches for Villa after injuries hampered his career since joining the club from Valencia on a free transfer in July 2014. The 31-year-old, who has played at three World Cups, made the last of his 55 appearances for Switzerland almost 18 months ago.
The defender has 13 matches to his belt in the Raiffeisen Super League this season even though the club has not been enjoying excellent form in the past few games. The defender who played 113 games at the Emirates for Arsenal joined from Italian side, AC Milan and Everton on loan. He had joined the North London club in the 2003/2004 season from Servette FC for over 1 million Pounds then. He enjoyed decent career growth in his hay days till 2008 when he was sent on loan to AC Milan.
Since joining the Grasshoppers, he has put in some measure of performance but still not able to save the defense as they have lost quite a number of games in the Swiss Super League. Last month they played a draw with Luzern at home before losing away to Sion. Next, they played another draw with Zurich FC before defeating St Gallen. They lost their next game to Young Boys before their slim away margin victory over Lugano. Luzern defeated the club by 3-0 sending them to fourth place in the Super League. They lost another by 2-1 to FC Vaduz on May 16th.
Despite spending much of his best years with Liverpool, goalkeeper Pepe Reina claims that he wants to retire at Napoli
The Spaniard was viewed as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League a couple of years ago. However, his decline started soon after the departure of Rafa Benitez and Reina has never been the same. Spells with Napoli and a move to a big club in the form of Bayern Munich followed for the former Valencia goalkeeper. A huge disappointment awaited the player at Bayern, as he never got any game time by displacing Manuel Neuer.
Now back with Napoli, Reina told Tim Hensel that he has finally found some happiness in his career after a long time and that he is hoping to repay Napoli’s faith by retiring at the club. The 33-year-old has been a permanent player in the Napoli squad only since the summer. However, he made more than 350 appearances for Liverpool in his nine years at the club. He claimed that he was not treated in the due way by his former employees. Another reason for Reina being happy at Napoli is that the weather is similar to that of in Spain. Reina has played in all of the league matches until now.
"I want to finish my career at Napoli.In Naples the people live for football, I see a lot of similarities with the south of Spain where I come from.I want to stay at Napoli and retire here. We're thinking about continuing to live in Naples after I retire," said the former Liverpool goalkeeper about his future plans with the Italian outfit. His previous spell with Napoli was on a temporary basis with a potential transfer Liverpool still possible. Napoli are still with a chance of winning the title as they remain only three points behind Juventus.
Pepe Reina continues being one of the main stars of Napoli as the Spanish goal-keeper has played a huge role in the impressive defensive record that Napoli has sustained in this season of the Serie A. Napoli has only conceded 13 goals in 17 appearances which is one of the best records of the Italian league so far.
Napoli recently saw their unbeaten streak of 18 matches reaching its end after sustaining a surprising 3-2 defeat against Bologna. Pepe Reina believes that one of the main reasons of why his team lost this match was due to his teammates being too overconfident.
“We did not start the game with the right humility. We conceded two goals in the opening 20 minutes, something that is extremely rare. When we started playing better, there was my mistake that cost us the game.The Coach had spoken to us at half-time and said it only needed a goal to re-open the game, but unfortunately my mistake was crucial.At the end two magic shots from Gonzalo Higuain gave us hope, but it was not enough to avoid defeat.” Napoli’s Pepe Reina said.
Maurizio Zarri and his players have turned into one of the favorites on lifting the Serie A title of this season and Pepe Reina along with Gonzalo Higuain are some of the most influential figures of the team as both of them have done a superb job in their respective roles but despite this surprisingly amazing first half of the season, Reina does not consider his team to be favorites on winning the Italian League, at least not as much in comparison to Juventus, As.Roma and Inter Milan which are also on the race for glory.
“Juve, Roma and Inter are the favorites, they have strong squads and can rotate well. Roma are a monstrous squad, but Napoli are ready to challenge them. We have to do well this season, but I won’t say any more because we have to be humble.” Pepe Reina added on as he expressed his thoughts about which teams are the favorites on becoming the champions of Italy.
Fulham manager Peter Grant believes that the club should improve a lot in terms of defence of strength in order to start picking up positive results. After being recently appointed as the replacement for Kit Symons, Grant saw his team get a 1-1 draw against Preston North End. This was not exactly a result that will see them rise up the table.
The club are in desperate need of a return to the Premier League in order to shore up their finances. Following their relegation to the Championship, the club need to receive a decent amount of television money, which is only possible if they are in the Premier League, in order to retain their star names.
Grant has been appointed on a caretaker basis, which means that he has to get a good set of results in order to make the case for a permanent position at the club. The club are yet to get their first victory underGrant, which is disappointing given that they have been able to stop the rot in recent weeks. Fulham had the opportunity to improve your home form since they were up against Preston at Craven Cottage. However, the opposition took the lead through Garner in the 11th minute. Fulham were unable to get back into the match until the equaliser from McCormack in the 77th minute.
"It is there for everyone to see. We've scored a lot of goals, the most in the division. That tells you the quality we do have.They have got to show that quality without the ball. They need to be organised at all times. They need to be guided.I'm watching certain games and it looks as though we're playing two at the back. They've got to realise we need a balance in the team," said Grant.
Joe Bennett, Gary Gardner, NicklasHelenius, Lewis Kinsella, Antonio Luna, AleksandarTonev and Micah Richards are all of the players that so far have been signed by Tim Sherwood and added to his team in Aston Villa.
Despite having already had a fairly busy summer transfer activity, the boss of Aston Villa wants to continue adding players that have a winning mindset and wants to eliminate from the squad those who have a pessimistic attitude from the team.
Aston Villa’s Tim Sherwood told reporters: “I said in the latter stages of last season that there is, unfortunately, a losing mentality in the dressing room at Aston Villa.It is something we need to get rid of. It would help by bringing in new players who are used to winning and, also, it is for my staff to instill into them that it is a clean sheet.Everyone is on a level playing field and we need to move forward.It needs to hurt the players as much as it hurts me to lose football matches.”
Swansea City’s Kyle Bartley and Lyon’s IdrissaGueye are a few of the other summer targets of Tim Sherwood as he considers those players to be winners and capable of bringing a positive atmosphere to the dressing room of the Premier League who can also aid in Aston Villa’s quest of staying alive in the top tier English League. In the previous season, Aston Villa managed to avoid being relegated by only 3 points.
Kyle Bartley is a player that can be signed by Aston Villa without having to spend big bucks as the 24 year old defender does not play an important role in Swansea City and this is evidenced by the fact that Bartley was offloaded to Birmingham City on a season long loan deal and after making his return to Swansea City, he only made 7 appearances.