Premier League side Stoke City are keen to complete the deal for Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma this summer.
The player is set to continue with his development away from Stamford Bridge after his career threatening injury.
The player broke through the St Etienne ranks at the age of 16. The centre half has progressed through the age grades for France from Under 16 to the national team. His physical size, pace and commitment sets him apart as one of the best centre half.
Zouma joined Chelsea for £12 million in 2014 but he spent that season on loan at St Etienne. He returned to the Premier League champs where he has earned 71 caps. The player’s knee injury meant he was sidelined for nine months.
Chelsea have enough options at the back so Antonio Conte is confident of allowing the player go out on loan. The recent successful switch of Victor Moses at the club is a good story to replicate. The Nigerian agreed a long term deal with Chelsea after his impressive time at Stoke. Fans thought he would struggle for chances at Chelsea but after time away at West Ham, he returned a more versatile player that contributed to the 2017 title win.
Andreas Christensen has returned to the club after his time out on loan in the German Bundesliga. Conte just signed German highly-rated defender and FIFA Confed Cup star Antonio Rudiger. And then there are the three stable players in skipper Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Zouma is expected to feature in the centre back role at Stoke City. Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi were decent last term. With Indi returning to his employers, Zouma could partner Shawcross. The club is still hoping to get Indi in a permanent deal. The three players could form the back three. However, Phil Bardsley and Glen Johnson just agreed to a one year deal.
There are options in XherdanShaqiri, MameDiouf, Ryan Sweeney, Harry Souttar, and Philipp Wollscheid in defence or wing back role. Well, that’s Mark Hughes headache!
A former Sunderland star Phil Bardsley is disappointed that the Premier League side lost their top tier status recently.
The club endured a poor season after years of struggling before now being sent back to the English Championship.
Bardsley himself witnessed the struggles at the club before he departed the Stadium of Light for Stoke City in 2014. However, the 31-year old remains attached to the club where he played 200 games in seven years.
“I’m deeply disappointed because it’s a phenomenal football club with all the right facilities in place. The fans are sensational up there. They live and breathe the game and it’s just very disappointing to see where they’ve gone,” the player said.
The player added that moving forward the club’s future rests on its owner Ellis Short. Bardsley said Short would need to decide what he wants for the club, the manager and the players and everything other thing.
Like Newcastle United who went down and are back up in a year, Sunderland would need financial support and a good manager to return to elite English football. With the club posting a loss of over £100 million, the owner might be forced to sell it. There are provides limited cash each year and hardly shows face at the club. The club needs serious planning and funding to move ahead else another ‘drop’ is imminent.
Full back Phil Bardsley could get dismissed going by comments attributed to Stoke City manager Mark Hughes.
Hughes said he is committed at reducing the average age of the squad. This means Bardsley, defender Glen Johnson and midfielder Charlie Adam could get booted out as they are all at least 31 years old.
“We’ve talked with most of them. With Glen, it’s down to game time and he could trigger an option himself by playing, so that’s still on track. Phil we’ve had discussion with, and Charlie has obviously intimated he would like to stay,” the boss said.
Adam and Bardsley are both of the longest-serving stars in the set-up but they might not remain with the team for long. Hughes added that he would work towards maintaining a balance in the team as he would not want to lose all the experienced legs.
“We’ve got a group of predominantly senor players and that’s okay, but when everybody is fit and well, it becomes more difficult to keep everybody happy. So we will be carrying less senior players next year and see where that takes us,” the manager added.
Bardsley faces an uncertain future. He was not selected for the games against Canada and Slovenia by Gordon Strachan. He received a red card in the game against Chelsea. His deal with Stoke is set to lapse at the end of the season, and there would likely not be a new deal.
Stoke have Leicester City, Burnley and Liverpool in forthcoming games as they try to consolidate on their top half finish this term.
Premier League side Stoke City is se to host Southampton on Wednesday.
Mark Hughes men face a stern test after recent improvements in the team’s performance. City started slowly but picked up the pace. They had just one victory in 14 games in the league but soon changed. They have won five of their last eight games. The Saints would meet a resolute side that has won their last three of four home games when they visit.
After ten games in the league, City conceded more than a goal when they lost to the Gunners 3-1. Also Southampton have struggled to net goals with their tally of 14 in 15 league games.
Hughes would face selection problems in light of the injury wave that hit the club. Jack Buland, Phil Bradsley, Geoff Cameron and Ibrahim Afellay are not poised to make a return to the team anytime soon. Marc Muniesa and Glen Johnson are not confirmed for the clash after knocks during the Arsenal game. However, Ryan Shawcross and Jonathan Walters could return but nothing is guaranteed for now.
One that is guaranteed is that Saints would be without star Charlie Austin as he has been ruled out for a minimum of three months due to shoulder injury he sustained during a European game. And of course, Jeremy Pied and Matt Targett remain sidelined with their long term injuries.
The game would be an important milestone for City manager Hughes who will be supervising his 400th Premier League game – only five other managers have such landmarks.
Claude Puel’s men face a tough one without Austin, and having won just one of seven league games away, the required confidence might be lacking. However, they remain favourites for a victory despite Stoke’s home advantage.
Stoke City’s defender Phil Bardsley believes that the team will recover from their poor start to the season.
He said that some players have returned late from the pre-season and that this is what has affected the team. He believes that under the guidance of their manager they should be able to come back strongly and get a more decent ranking.
He believes that Stoke City has a decent squad this season and it will all depend on how consistent they are. He said things had changed a lot at Stoke City from the days under Tony Pulis and that now they are considered as a proper football team.
Bardsley said that in the past, opposition team was expecting a physical battle when they come and play at Stoke City, but he believes that it is the contrary that is happening now. Stoke City has some technical footballers that can keep the ball now and the only way that some teams have found to stop them is to play physically.
For this style of football to work, it is important that every player in the team is fit and he believes that this caused the poor form at the beginning of the campaign. He said that Mark Hughes is not a manager that will tolerate nonsense and that he is making them work hard in training.
Concerning Joe Allen, he said that it is a great thing for the team to have a player of this quality and that he can change the course of a game in a second. He believes that Allen has some good experience of top level football and that his experience will be beneficial for Stoke City during the course of the season.
He believes that Stoke City can finish in the top half of the table and even have a good run in the Cup competition.
After coming close to snatching an unlikely point at the Etihad stadium in the opening weekend, there is a lot of expectation surrounding Sunderland.
It has largely come about as a result of David Moyes coming into the club. Moyes has been quite active in the transfer market bringing in players like Paddy McNair and PapyDjilobodji on permanent transfers. Players like Adnan Januzaj have demonstrated a huge talent at the parent clubs. They will receive a lot of first-team opportunities at Sunderland after joining the north-east club on a season-long loan. Almost the entire squad has been revamped, but Moyes says that the club are far from being the finished article.
It is clear from the transfer business done by the club that they are looking to increase the British talent in the squad. However, they have also been looking at highly talented players available on a cheap like Yann M’Vila. The former Sunderland player is currently playing at Rubin Kazan. It is not the first time that Sunderland have been going after British players. The club has had a large contingent of English players like Wes Brown, Phil Bardsley, Danny Simpson, and Jonny Evans. Moyes accepted that these players have not enjoyed big success here, but Moyes is confident of making a major difference.
“I think the reassurance is we are actually starting to get players in. That’s the fact. Centre-half in, boy on loan, two young players, but we need some more. That’s a fact. Don’t think I’m done by any means.I’m on the phone all the time trying to improve things because we’re nowhere near the finished article – even for September for what I would like to get. I’d like to bring a bit of Britishness back to the club if I can,” said Moyes.
Gordon Strachan reckons Scotland can take a leaf out of the books of some of the other minnows which have shown how it is possible to compete in majors even without having a squad full of World class Footballers.
As per Strachan, not all the Footballers in those teams have high level skills. If their one big name is taken away, they are almost nothing, but, because they have remained centred around that one big name and have looked to set the play for him, they have created problems for top oppositions.
Strachan opines it’s not that only a certain formation in the game can bear fruits. The formations for different teams can be different. A coach just has to realize what his players can do and what they can’t and then has to think how he can make the most out of the squad he has.
The 59-year old former playmaker who retired with 50 Scotland caps said, “Out of all the teams which did well in Euro, how many had similar formation? Was there any kind of a trend among them in terms of the formations used? No. The formations were different.”
“In fact, I would say I have not seen sides playing with as big a variety of formations in any other competition so far as in this Euro and that’s fine because something might be working for the others, but, it might not for you. You have to go with what is likely to work for you.”
“What we have also seen is that everyone in the squad has not got to be a superstar for the deliverance of the results. A team just has to play together centring itself on the main players. The Welsh Football team and even the Polish are the examples.”
Scotland International, Phil Bardsley, who currently plies his trade with English Premier League side Stoke City expressed his disappointment with his former club. Bardsley, the former Manchester United ace is saddened by watching how poorly the team is currently playing.
The right back who would turn 31 years old in June, who came through the youth ranks while Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge at Old Trafford, claims that the Red Devils’ inconsistency is what’s letting them down.
And he believes they’ve been like a pub team on occasions this season.
Bardsley told BBC Radio Five Live.
“At times they look like they are getting back to their best of what they can achieve.
“Then you watch them the next week and they look like the Dog and Duck.”
The former Manchester United player who spent an extensive time on loan in various clubs such as Burnley FC, Rangers, Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Sunderland before joining Stoke City in 2014.
Bardsley has been unimpressed with his former club.
“It hurts a little bit, I like to see United challenging for league titles and I don’t see that happening in the near future.”
Bardsley also pointed out where he believes the Red Devils need to improve.
“I’ve watched them a lot, as soon as they pass the ball forward with pace and power, they create chances.
“For the majority of their games, they’ve been too slow, passing the ball sideways too many times and I think they are far too defensive,” he added.
The player missed more than half of the games for Stoke City as he didn’t join the squad,when he did he was on the bench all through. He has started just nine games out of 37 this season for his club and only just started getting regular games from february this year.
Phil Bardsley is a 30 year old English defender who is performing for Stoke City but he used to perform with Manchester United and the veteran player still is a supporter of his former club but Bardsley said that it’s very hard trying to be a fan of Manchester United taking into consideration how the team of Louis van Gaal have been performing in this season as well as the previous one.
In 34 Premier League games, Manchester United has secured 59 points which is enough for them to secure the 5th position but they are aiming to seal a Champions League spot and they will need to clinch more victories in order to achieve their dream of competing in the European competition for the next season.
According to Phil Bardsley, Manchester United have been performing like a ‘’pub team’’ and they just aren’t the same squad that they used to be some time ago as the quality of the team has diminished and as a fan of them it hurts watching them.
“It is so frustrating to watch as a Manchester United fan. At times they look like they are back to their best, and then next week they look like the Dog and Duck. It hurts a little bit, I like to see Manchester United challenging for league titles and I don’t see that happening in the near future.” Stoke City’s Phil Bardsley said.
Bardsley is struggling trying to get consistent playing time with Stoke City and this is evident by the amount of matches that he has performed with the club. In this season Bardsley has made less than 10 league appearances. The English defender has managed to get time on the pitch in the latest matches of Stoke City but for the majority of the season, Bardsley has been out of the main team.
Phil Neville has been relieved of his assistant managerial duties at Valencia just days after his brother, Gary Neville, was sacked from the managerial role after poor results since the start of his tenure.
The former Manchester United teammates came to the Mestalla in the hope of doing well in their first managerial job. After having been used to the role as an assistant manager with England and Everton, Phil Neville slotted in just behind his brother Gary at the club. Gary Neville was sacked just before the game against Las Palmas, which the club lost under the new regime.
It is understood that Phil Neville was not invited to be part of this game despite his role as the assistant manager. Now, that role has been taken away from his hands, as it is believed that PakoAyestaran will bring his own coaching staff into the club.Ayestaran will be in charge of the Spanish club at least until the end of the campaign. He claimed that since Valencia already had a large coaching staff, the club had to make a decision on the futures of a few. The club are battling against relegation and have just lost their fourth consecutive match.
Valencia still need at least six points in order to be sure about their la Liga status for the next campaign.“We have realised that we do not need to have such a big staff.We have made mistakes, it’s important to bring together ideas but in this short space of time we have to be very clear about what we want from the players,” said the new Valencia boss. Neville has requested time throughout his tenure at Valencia. He spent only a few months at the club winning only a handful of matches. Most of those victories came in cup competitions.