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Assessing Ferran Torres as Spanish starlet makes Barcelona debut

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Assessing Ferran Torres as Spanish starlet makes Barcelona debut in Supercopa de España

Torres makes long-awaited Barça debut

Spanish international starlet Ferran Torres finally made his full debut for La Liga giants Barcelona tonight when the Blaugrana clashed with bitter rivals Real Madrid at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh during the semi-finals of the Supercopa de España.

Torres was the first signing of the new Xavi regime at the Camp Nou after the iconic former midfielder replaced Ronald Koeman, with the former Manchester City and Valencia forward completing a €55million (£45million) move back to Spain after an 18-month stay in England under Pep Guardiola.

The Valencia academy graduate was part of a front-three that also included Dutch international center-forward Luuk de Jong and French winger Ousmane Dembélé at the expense of Barça wonderkid Ansu Fati and summer signing Memphis Depay.

But Torres only managed to complete just 45-minutes of action in tonight’s loss to Madrid in what was his first appearance since 21 September in City’s 6-1 thrashing of League One outfit Wycombe in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

And perhaps it can be said that the Spanish winger hardly was able to effect proceedings against Los Blancos in a manner befitting his ability on the pitch.

Spanish starlet ineffective in his first club appearance

“Plenty of appetite and passion but it didn’t quite come off for him on his debut.”

Spanish outlet MARCA perfectly summed up the night for Ferran Torres in their match ratings after 45-minutes of action which did little to truly cement his influence on proceedings in the Saudi Arabian capital.

Before his move to Barcelona this winter, Torres began making a name for himself as a goal threat in the final weeks of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign when he bagged 5-goals in 6-appearances between matchdays thirty-one and thirty-eight. That trend continued this season with a brace and an assist against Arsenal in a 5-0 thrashing of the Gunners, with further evidence coming on the international stage with Spain when he found the back of the net on twelve occasions in sixteen caps across the UEFA Nations League, World Cup Qualifying, and Euro 2020.

Assessing Ferran Torres as Spanish starlet makes Barcelona debut in Supercopa de España

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Ferran Torres of Manchester City in action during the The FA Community Shield between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on August 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

For both club and country, Torres’ goalscoring instincts in the final third and off-ball movement during combination play proved vital under Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, with a license to roam and interchange across the forward line allowing him to work the half-spaces rather than be isolated in ineffective positions.

However, against Real Madrid, that is precisely the situation that Torres found himself in as Xavi seemingly tasked the 21-year-old with holding the right-side touchline to find space rather than tucking more centrally to get involved during multiple passages of play.

Assessing Ferran Torres as Spanish starlet makes Barcelona debut in Supercopa de España

As seen in the above heatmap via Sofascore, most of his time was spent wide right in order to allow for combination play with right-back Dani Alves, who oftentimes would look to get forward and utilize underlapping runs that could potentially result in the creation of goalscoring chances, but this undoubtedly stripped Torres of his ability to contribute in more a more effective manner.

The only time Torres did get into a strong position to create or find a sniff at goal produced a cross that was ultimately blocked. Additionally, he managed to attempt just eight passes all night from seventeen touches while being dispossessed on five occasions and only completing a single dribble.

Those numbers could easily have increased if Torres stayed on longer than just until the half-time interval but if Barcelona are to make his capture from Manchester City worthwhile, it is vital that Xavi utilize him in a manner that brought him to their attention in the first place.


This article was edited by
Ben Browning.





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Manchester City & Liverpool have held talks over 22-year-old winger

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Manchester City & Liverpool have held talks over 22-year-old winger

Reports coming out of the Netherlands have credited Manchester City and Liverpool with an interest in PSV’s Cody Gakpo.

According to Goal citing Dutch outlet Voetbal International, Manchester City and Liverpool have both held talks over the potential signing of Cody Gakpo. The 22-year-old is being valued in excess of €40 million.

Gakpo still has three years left to run on his contract, with PSV said to be eager to extend that agreement through to 2026.

However, the report from Goal claims Gakpo wants to move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs in the summer, seemingly opening the door to a move to Man City or Liverpool.

Who is Cody Gakpo?

Cody Gakpo is a player who has spent his entire career on the books of his hometown club, PSV.

The Eindhoven-native has featured on 116 occasions for PSV’s senior side. In said games, he has scored 31 and assisted 29.

Gakpo is having a particularly fruitful 2021/22 season, which has so far seen him notch 10 goals and 11 assists in 28 outings across all competitions – a fantastic return for a winger.

Gakpo, who made his senior Netherlands debut in June of 2021, is a natural left-winger. However, he is pretty versatile and can operate both on the left-wing and through the middle.

Would Gakpo fit in at Manchester City and Liverpool?

Regarding Liverpool’s interest, it seems like Gakpo would be a decent buy for the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp has proven he is more than capable of taking good players with potential and turning them into world-class talents – see Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool are also in desperate need of some fresh legs up top, especially at left-wing.

As for Man City, they are pretty well stocked on the left flank right now, but could maybe do with some extra legs on the right now Ferran Torres has left and Riyad Mahrez is getting one.

Read more:

Premier League golden boot race: Latest odds and tips 2021/22

Premier League relegation race: Latest odds and tips 2021/22


This article was edited by
Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 22 39 48
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Arsenal FC 21 8 36
7 Tottenham Hotspur 20 2 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Leicester City 20 -3 26
11 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 22 -3 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 18 -11 12
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6



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Bruno Guimaraes set to undergo medical after Lyon accept Newcastle bid

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Bruno Guimaraes set to undergo medical after Lyon accept Newcastle bid

A fresh update on Newcastle’s pursuit of Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has emerged on Wednesday.

Newcastle’s interest in the Brazilian was first reported on Tuesday evening.

It was claimed at the time that Newcastle had submitted a €36m bid for the South American:

And now, it has been reported by Sky that Newcastle have agreed a fee with Lyon for Guimaraes, which is believed to be in the region of £30m.

Elsewhere, David Ornstein is reporting that Guimaraes is set to undergo a medical in Ecuador where he is currently on international duty:

Newcastle still need to improve

Should the Guimaraes deal get over the line, which now seems likely, the Brazilian will be Newcastle’s 3rd signing of the January window after Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood.

All three players are solid additions and should prove valuable to Eddie Howe as he fights to keep the club in the Premier League.

However, it remains obvious that Newcastle still need to bring in a centre-back this month.

Bruno Guimaraes set to undergo medical after Lyon accept Newcastle bid

Diego Carlos of Sevilla FC looks on during the Copa Del Rey match between Real Betis and Sevilla at Estadio Benito Villamarin on January 16. (Photo by Javier Montano/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

The Tyneside outfit are currently in possession of the second-worst defence in the Premier League, only behind Norwich.

Newcastle, though, have struggled to get a deal for a centre-back done.

You can read more about Newcastle’s centre-back woes in the link below:

Newcastle offered another centre-back following Diego Carlos blow

Serie A giants ready to rival Newcastle for Atalanta star


This article was edited by
Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 22 39 48
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Arsenal FC 21 8 36
7 Tottenham Hotspur 20 2 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Leicester City 20 -3 26
11 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 22 -3 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 18 -11 12
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6





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Arsenal-linked right-back admits he is likely to leave current club

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Arsenal-linked right-back admits he is likely to leave current club

Arsenal look to have been put on red alert as a player believed to be of interest to the Gunners has all but confirmed he wants to leave his current side.

The player in question is Ajax and Morocco standout, Noussair Mazraoui.

Mazraoui, 24, would join Ajax’s youth ranks as a child back in 2006. He has since worked his way up to their senior side where he has featured 125 times, scoring 10 and assisting eight in the process.

The full-back has been in especially good form this term, scoring five and assisting two in 16 league outings for Ajax.

Now, though, it looks as though Mazraoui’s time with the Dutch powerhouse could be coming to an end.

The 12-time capped international is out of contract this coming summer. And now, when asked if he could sign an extension at Ajax, Mazraoui stated that there is a small chance he could stay put, but he thinks that it is a good moment for him to leave Ajax: “That’s a good question. I think the chances of me remaining at Ajax are very small, maybe 5%.

“I am open for something new, I have played here for 16 years and I think it’s a good moment to leave.”

Should Arsenal sign Mazraoui?

The same source that provided the Mazraoui quotes also claimed that Arsenal are interested in the African.

But should Arsenal be looking to sign him? The Gunners could certainly do with some competition at right-back for Takehiro Tomiyasu.

However, due to Mikel Arteta’s asymmetrical system, Arsenal generally need a right-back who can slot into a back-three when his side are attacking and is somewhat comfortable being used as a makeshift centre-back.

But as Mazraoui is a fairly attack-minded option, perhaps he may not fit this role.

Read more:

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Arsenal defender William Saliba’s view on joining Marseille permanently revealed


This article was edited by
Ben Browning.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 22 39 48
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Arsenal FC 21 8 36
7 Tottenham Hotspur 20 2 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Leicester City 20 -3 26
11 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 22 -3 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 18 -11 12
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6



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