SCOUTING REPORT: Ross Barkley - Everton/ England

Everton began their premier league campaign this week against QPR due to their postponed fixture with Tottenham last week. It didn’t turn out all that well for the toffees who lost 1 - 0 at home against newly promoted side QPR, which marked the London club’s first away victory in the premier league since 1996.

Everton have had almost no investment this summer, a fact that everyone at the club knew at the start of the transfer window. In his 10th year as Everton manager, David Moyes has to work with what he’s got. What he’s got is Ross Barkley.

Fortunately for Everton, they’ve got one of the best youth systems in England, not to mention a strong heart of the team including Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Mikel Arteta, Johnny Heitenga, Phil Neville & another talented young player in Jack Rodwell. Ross Barkley is also a product of their youth system, who at 17 has been a part of the academy since he arrived in 2005 at the age of 11

What struck me about Barkley is his presence on the ball, a term so loosely thrown around these days a lot of people have seemed to forget what it really means. Barkley never seemed phased by having the ball at his feet, in fact he was always putting himself in good positions to receive the ball which, for me is always the mark of a good young player rather than the typical standing still and waving their arms about. Barkley also showed a natural poise, and patience that is something that can be rarely taught to players, especially so young. He isn’t afraid to wait, look at his options before choosing the right pass. His head moves as fast as his feet, which is always the mark of a good player. He looks focused. Completely, unaware of the occassion, Barkley looked like he belonged out there.  He picked his passes and barely put a step out of line. In some ways, I was reminded of Wayne Rooney, the only similarity was that of a player playing well beyond his years on a big stage, completely oblivious of the occassion which allowed his talent to seep through.

With Blackburn, Aston Villa, & Wigan on the schedule in coming weeks, Barkley will likely get the chance he needs to become a regular in the toffees squad, especially with depth such an issue at Goodison Park this season. It’s looking good for the young midfielder who is only 17 and already 6’2” (178cm). One thing is for sure, if he keeps playing like this, he wont be at Everton for long. Too bad he’ll never play for Liverpool, another loss to be rued by the Anfield outlet, another one of potential praise by Manchester United. Afterall, if you’re for Everton & you hate Liverpool enough, it’s only natural to go to United. Here’s to hoping he wont, and he loves Everton enough to see them through tough times. I know I’m excited to see what game Ross Barkley has to bring in the coming weeks and months, and to see how often he can make the Goodison faithful sing.

Arsenal sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton

Chamberlain signs for Arsenal for a reported £12 million a move that many Gunners fans will find curious considering their needs in defense & the looming question of Fabregas. Some Arsenal fans are saying Fabregas should go & the money could be better used to lure highly rated prospect Juan Mata from Valencia, as well as a couple more quality defenders to the books as Arsenal’s habit of leaking goals at the worst possible time has cost them dearly the last two seasons.

Overall, it’s been a quiet summer at the Emirates as many fans feel the gaps in the team haven’t been filled as needed. 

But Chamberlain is highly rated, and will play well in a Gunners shirt. Some however will ask if his price tag has been wisely spent. There will be controversy brewing early on at the Emirates if Arsenal do not get up to the start they need in what is surely to be the toughest Premier League season yet

Good Luck!

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16 year old Diego Fagundez scores his first Professional goal against Chivas USA, playing for the New England Revolution. It has to be said, it was a cool finish from the teenager, who cleverly worked around the defender and slotted home. Looking forward to seeing more goals from this kid over the coming years

Congrats Diego!

Chelsea agree fee for 18 year old wonderkid Lukaku

Chelsea have agreed a fee with Anderlect for the transfer of precocious Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, who will complete a move to Stamford Bridge subject to him passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

Romelu Lukaku is set to become Chelsea’s third summer signing. Lukaku, 18, has been linked with the Blues throughout the summer, but appears set to finally seal a switch to the three-time Premier League champions.

"An agreement has been reached with Anderlecht for the transfer to Chelsea of striker Romelu Lukaku," a statement on Chelsea’s official website said. "The move is now subject to the player passing a medical and agreeing personal terms."

 

Anderlecht also confirmed the news on their official wesbite: “RSC Anderlecht and Chelsea have reached an agreement regarding the transfer of Romelu Lukaku. “Subject to the results of medical tests and the conclusion of negotiations between the player and the English club, Romelu Lukaku will therefore move into the colours of the London club.”

Anderlecht general manager Herman van Holsbeeck added: “We regret the departure of Romelu…but the agreement is a win-win situation for the player and RSC Anderlecht. The club’s management is committed to finding a good replacement in the short term. We wish him every success for the rest of his career.”

 

The player posted a comment on Twitter which read: “I have an announcement to make…Next week I’m going to London for the medical tests.” Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas is now closing in on the third signing of his reign, and admitted after Saturday’s friendly against Rangers that a deal was close.

He is a very interesting young prospect and the situation is now that we have to position ourselves to maybe get this kind of talent,” Villas-Boas said. “So I would say that anything can happen.” Lukaku scored 16 goals in 37 league appearances last season and already has two to his name in two games in the current campaign for the Brussels club.

I think Lukaku is a great young prospect for Chelsea, he’s a man at 18, strong with a physical presence & he can finish. I think it will be great for him to develop at Chelsea alongside the likes of Drogba & Torres. As a young striker, knowing where to sit on the backline of defenders and learning how to finish from all finish from all angles & situations. Overall, great buy for Chelsea because he would have been more expensive over the two years.

Japan’s work rate and selflessness on the pitch yield 6 goals against New Zealand in the Under 17 FIFA World Cup. I have the Japanese as favorites, the composure that they’ve shown is well beyond their years, as they have taken the ideals of Asian culture and transfers them to 90 minutes on a football pitch. It’s fascinating to watch a team so young play with such maturity. They have camaraderie, they have skill, but most importantly they have decision making throughout all 11 men on the pitch. These Japanese players have a bright future in football, and I can’t wait to see Japan at the 2014 World Cup in Rio, who knows, many of these players might feature heavily in Brazil

Five clubs agree to pay Neymar's €45m release clause, as Summer of Greed continues

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Press in Brazil is reporting Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala have agreed to pay the release clause in Neymar’s contract with Santos. As such, all five European clubs will be allowed to contact Neymar about a possible transfer away from Brazilian club Santos.

The Summer of Greed is in full swing as the transfer market balloons with inflation thanks to big money owners changing the game as we know it. Now players are going for prices almost double what they’re really worth. Smaller clubs are encouraging the trend, as they aim to sell ‘valuable’ players to the highest bidder, stubborn and arrogant attitudes clog boardrooms. This summer may change the game forever as player exchanges, swaps, or trades between clubs may become more common as an attempt to reduce transfer fees and other spending. For the first time, unproven players are cashing in on a volatile market that is currently favoring the player who can seemingly choose if he just wants to make a buck or in this case €200,000 euro a week.

Who knows if a young teenage player will grow up to be the best in the world, or end up a €45million mistake. After all, boys with big bank accounts are still boys - thanks Arsene Wenger look alike from Goal! Who knows, but with the FIFA Financial Fair Play rules coming into affect next year, it seems that everyone is willing to write a blank check for a superstar in the making. Only time will tell what will become of the players, and the game itself.

Ivory Coast vs Brazil Under 17’s put on a show during their group game at the Under 17 FIFA World Cup. The teams put up 6 goals as the match ended 3-3 with Italy equalizing in the 93rd minute. The highlight of the game had to be a perfectly timed bicycle kick by Ivory Coast’s Souleymane Coulibaly who completed a hat trick against Brazil on the day.

Coulibaly has scored 8 goals in 3 matches and on the biggest stage of his football career so far, is living up to the hype of being ‘the next drogba’ from checking out his highlights, it seems that this nod may be rightfully deserved. We can’t wait to see how this turns out, and I’ll bet Chelsea and Man City will be showing their interest in this prodigy soon. And judging from these highlights, so will the rest of Europe. Credit to the Brazilian goalkeeper Charles who made  a few Julio Cesar like saves of his own. This was an exciting match, and a good look at future stars in football for the next decade. I can’t wait for the knock out round to start. What a week it’s been for football futbol in Mexico