Football Index

Adrien Rabiot & PSG Is No More

 

It’s been eight years, but Paris Saint-Germain have finally had enough. Adrien Rabiot will depart the capital side in the summer, with the Ligue 1 champions finally drawing to the conclusion that the 23-year-old midfielder is simply more hassle than he is worth.

They are not the first to reach such a conclusion, with several suitors to international midfielder having recoiled in the face of the demands of his agent and mother, Veronique, while France boss Didier Deschamps was content to leave the haughty player out of his squad that won the World Cup in Russia.

It was not a decision that Deschamps took lightly. On ability, Rabiot would have been in the squad, but in terms of his attitude, he was considered to be toxic to the balance of the party – one of the key reasons why Les Bleus emerged triumphant.

PSG, meanwhile, did their best to persevere. Rabiot similarly threatened to leave to Roma in 2014 only for an eleventh-hour U-turn to be completed.

When he re-signed on that occasion, it was hailed by president Nasser Al-Khelaifi as “one of the most important signatures for the future of the club” and yet in the face of his most recent demands they are content to allow him to leave.

“It’s a decision of the club that Adrien is not with the team,” head coach Thomas Tuchel told Goal. “I understand and respect this decision, now we’re going to wait.

“I’ve said a lot of times I love the player, but the situation has been going on for a long time, that’s how it is … The club made this decision and I have to respect it.”

Often, allowing academy products to depart in such a fashion would spark uproar from supporters, but instead there is an indifference to the forthcoming departure.

If Rabiot’s contract demands were astronomical – he reportedly wanted paid in a similar bracket to Kylian Mbappe – his on-field performance has not warranted such rewards.

He has made clear in the past that he sees himself as an attacking midfielder and not a box-to-box dogsbody or a disciplined anchoring player in front of the defence, which are roles that successive coaches have seen him better fit to play.

If it is Neymar that comes under the international microscope for lacking work-rate, Rabiot is the player who comes under greater scrutiny from fans of the Parisian side, who believe that he does not provide the industry he is capable of.

Indeed, there is a sense that over the last couple of years he has been given a free ride due to his status as an academy product.

Speaking in 2015, former PSG defender Pierre Dreossi said: “Rabiot is precious. For any club of a very high level, it is important to have local players to carry the club’s identity and values.”

Against Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League, things started come unravelled. While Neymar and Mbappe were again the ones criticised in the world media for a supposed lack of industry, Rabiot’s performance in the midfield was wretched.

It was a game in which he had the chance to prove himself worthy of the demands he had made to the board but instead he fell dramatically short.

He played just 12 minutes of PSG’s final three Champions League group-stage matches.

Although there has been interest from the Premier League, most notably Liverpool and Arsenal, the club where he would best appear suited to playing, there have been overtures from Juventus, who may have Financial Fair Play issues to juggle after signing Cristiano Ronaldo last summer.

It is, however, Barcelona who are leading the way for Rabiot’s signature. Indeed, in France it is widely reported that a deal has been agreed and that it is simply a matter of timing when he moves to Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana will certainly provide a stage that Rabiot feels befits his talents, although he will have to curb his individualist nature if he is to survive at a club where there is a tradition of the team coming before everything else.

His attitude has already cost him the opportunity to be a World Cup winner and it would be a waste of undoubted talent if he was to squander another opportunity in pursuit of a golden handshake.

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Guillem Balague: Team of the Year – Premier League & La Liga

 

Of the 18 players picked for my Premier League/La Liga mixed team, no fewer than 13 of them come from the Premier League. “Quelle surprise,” as the French might say.

The reason is blisteringly simple. In the Premier League money is always going to attract the creme de la creme.

But perhaps more tellingly only one is actually English (Raheem Sterling) in what is a veritable United Nations of footballing excellence that sees players from Belgium (de Bruyne, Hazard), Spain (Silva, Alba, de Gea), France (Varane, Laporte, Kante), Germany (Sane), Croatia( Modric), The Netherlands (Van Dijk), Denmark (Eriksen), Brazil (Alisson), Argentina (Messi), Uruguay (Suarez), Egypt (Salah) and Gabon (Aubameyang).

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But if forced to pick my top five including one keeper, defender, midfielder and forward plus one for luck who would I go for?

Here are my five. Discuss. Seconds out, round one.

Goalkeeper – Alisson Becker – Liverpool (£1.82)

On current form almost certainly the best goalkeper in the world and unquestionably the main reason Liverpool’s name is in the hat for the last 16 of the Champions League after his last-gasp save against Napoli.

Jurgen Klopp said after the game: “If I knew Alisson was this good, I would have paid double. The save ‘Ali’ made, I have no words. It was a lifesaver. He did it. I never saw something similar.”

Former Roma goalkeeping coach Roberto Negrisolo says of him, “He is the number one of No.1s. He is the Messi of goalkeepers, because he has the same mentality as Messi. He is a goalkeeper who can define an era.”

Defender – Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool (£3.39)

The most expensive defender in history (£75m), a price now regarded by many as a bargain.

This season no team in Europe have conceded fewer league goals than Liverpool, (six in 16, or .38 goals per game) something that sees them sit unbeaten at the top of the table, a point ahead of a rampant Manchester City side, and much of that is due to the uncompromising brilliance of the Dutch centre back.

In the 14 games with the Dutch captain in their back four last term, Liverpool conceded an average of 0.7 goals compared to the 1.2 they shipped in the 24 matches without him.

His greatest attributes are all about combining a colossus frame with superb defensive acumen, great skill with the ball on the ground and a huge seemingly unassailable presence in aerial battles.

Midfielder – David Silva – Manchester City (£3.24)

Pep Guardiola once said of Silva: “When I say I’m a lucky guy, it’s because I was with Xavi, Iniesta and now with Silva. All three are outstanding players.”

He now plays him in his favourite central midfield role:  “Pep Guardiola has put me in a position where my best qualities are most to the fore. There are subtle differences when you’re playing centrally, but that’s definitely the best place for me because I always love to have the ball.”

Silva has won just about everything in football apart from a club European trophy. Don’t bet against him breaking his duck in this year’s competition. It would be the perfect way for Merlin the magician from Gran Canaria to bring the curtain down on an illustrious career.

Forward – Leo Messi – Barcelona (£15.76)

In 2018 (up to November 28)  “the fifth best player in the world” made 44 league appearances for Barcelona when he scored 41 goals (three hat tricks), gave 19 assists in a record that brought 29 wins, 11 draws and just four defeats.

Last season his frequent use as the club’s perpetual “Get Out of Jail Free Card” meant that football’s Superman was frequently used to dig Barcelona  out of the ‘do-do’, something he did so effectively that the club went on to claim another La LIga title (his ninth) and another Copa del Rey (his sixth).

Now with the Christmas break looming this Barcelona side finds itself three points clear at the top of the table and with Messi’s beady gaze firmly focused on that Champions League trophy that he is so desperate to lift for the fifth time.

Not bad for the fifth best player in the world!

And my fifth choice is:

Defender – Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City (£3.24)

French coach Didier Deschamps must be the only man in the world that doesn’t think Aymeric Laporte is worth a call-up, never mind a starting place in the French national side.

One man who has no such reservations about playing him is his current coach Pep Guardiola and ironically one of the main reasons why Pep is so keen on playing him could well be because his lack of international games means he will always be fresher for his club.

The City boss is so keen on having a centre-back with a strong left foot and the purchase of Laporte for a club-record £57million gave him a bona fide central defender with that strength.

Add to that the fact he also has great quality on the ball which is essential for any central defender that wants to be part of Guardiola’s plans, is strong in the air and at just 24 is already being touted by some as arguably the best defender in the world.

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Friday 21st December 2018 IPOs

Footballer Position Club Price Time Guide
Charlie Gilmour Midfielder Arsenal £1.20 10:00 – 12:00
Yan Valery Defender Southampton £1.60 10:00 – 12:00
Jean-Victor Makengo Midfielder Nice £1.60 10:00 – 12:00
Rogerio Defender Sassuolo on loan from Juventus £1.20 10:00 – 12:00
Conor Gallagher Midfielder Chelsea £1.50 12:00 – 14:00
Arijanet Muric Goalkeeper Manchester City £0.80 12:00 – 14:00
Yunus Akgun Forward Galatasaray £1.20 12:00 – 14:00
Aleksa Terzic Defender Crvena Zvezda £1.10 12:00 – 14:00
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Who could be the next Richarlison to arrive in the Premier League?

Richarlison’s meteoric rise on the index has caught the eye of many, currently trading at £4.35, the 21-year-old Brazilian has taken his game to the next level since joining Everton, for both club and country.

On Football Index, his rise highlights how young Brazilian’s moving to the Premier League can be very profitable for traders. So, in an attempt to get ahead of the curve, I take a look at who could be the next similar player to arrive in the Premier League.

Joelinton £1.93

A player who is starting to catch the attention of many in Europe is Joelinton. The Brazilian signed for Hoffenheim in June 2015 aged just 18 – after just one appearance for the German club in his debut season, he moved to Rapid Wien on loan for two years and gained valuable experience, scoring 15 goals in 60 appearances and featuring regularly for the first team, including in the Europa League. Now back in Germany, he has become a regular for Hoffenheim both in the Champions League and Bundesliga. He’s been in excellent form, netting 4 times and assisting 4 more in the Bundesliga, but his all-round team play is what makes him a fans favourite. Standing at 6ft 1’, he’s a very physical player, strong in the air but also a great dribbler of the ball. His versatility will certainly attract potential buyers too, as, like Richarlison, Joelinton can play anywhere across the front three. He’s also notched up some decent scores on matchday rankings including a 156 – Richarlison’s highest score to date this season is 169.

David Neres £1.93

Another young and exciting Brazilian winger is David Neres. Still playing for Ajax, Neres has a huge amount of interest in him from clubs in the top five European leagues. Trading at £1.91 currently, there’s certainly room for growth in the player’s price should he make a move to England. Several top clubs would vastly benefit from a player with his skillset and versatility, now 21 and after spending two years in Holland, Neres is ready to take the next step in his career.

Wesley £1.93

Other names to keep an eye on are Wesley Moraes from Club Brugge, the 22-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal and netted twice in the Champions League this season. Matheus Cunha, currently at RB Leipzig, is a 19-year-old winger with a huge amount of potential, but yet to really break into the first team for the German club.

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Football Index

Mourinho Bites the Dust

The breaking news today has been nothing short of sensational, with Manchester United formally announcing the parting of ways with manager Jose Mourinho. 

The straw that appears to have broken the camel’s back was the dismal performance in the 3-1 defeat at arch-rivals Liverpool on Sunday, where Jurgen Klopp’s men nearly registered 40 shots at David De Gea’s (£1.27) goal. The negativity has been surrounding Old Trafford seemingly all season with stories about several players, uninspiring performances and concerns about the quality of the playing staff despite huge swathes of money being spent under Mourinho’s reign and on the eve of the frantic Christmas period, the Red Devils have moved to remove the ‘Special One’ from his duties. What does it all mean on the Football Index though?

One of the largest stories in recent months has been the ongoing battle for supremacy between record signing Paul Pogba (£11.90) and Mourinho. The World Cup winner has found himself benched in the past few weeks and rumours were beginning to intensify about a transfer away from Old Trafford which saw the United number 6 collect yesterday’s £0.05 Media Dividends.  There have been almost weekly public spats between the two protagonists with agents and the media only too keen to comment. Yet with the removal of the manager, it appears to instantly make Pogba more likely to stay in Manchester. This was evidenced with Pogba dropping by £0.73 from a price of £12.67 earlier this morning as the main problem for Pogba at United now seems to have gone.

Elsewhere on the Index, the news is also likely to be a welcome boost to forwards, Antony Martial (£5.50), Marcus Rashford (£6.09) and Alexis Sanchez (£4.92) all of whom have been criticised by Mourinho at various times. The hope of United fans and Indexers alike will be that the forwards will now thrive in a new attacking system for the Red Devils which will help them to recapture their best form and improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford. The news alone has seen Martial increase by £1.14, Rashford by £0.75 and Sanchez by £0.54 in the last 24 hours as seen above.

Finally in the world of the Football Index, what does this all mean for the upcoming January transfer window? Quite frankly it could be huge, with the United hierarchy seemingly unwilling to support Mourinho’s plans in the last window will they now proceed with other plans? They have already made the huge decision to remove Mourinho before the January window and there are sure to be changes, keep an eye out on those transfer rumours.

It’s a huge day in the Premier League and unsurprisingly the Index has been quick to react to the incredible news.

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Tuesday 18th December 2018 Fixtures

Here are today’s eligible fixtures:

Bundesliga

Borussia M’gladbach v Nurnberg | 17:30
Hertha BSC v Augsburg | 19:30
Wolfsburg v Stuttgart | 19:30
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Dortmund | 19:30

Ligue 1

Caen v Toulouse | 18:30

Serie A

Bologna v Milan | 18:30

Double Match Day Payouts

Top Defender: £0.08
Top Midfielder: £0.08
Top Forward: £0.08
Star Player: £0.04

In-Play Dividends

Goal

£0.02: Forward & Midfielder
£0.03: Defender & Goalkeeper

Assist

£0.01: All positions

Clean Sheet

£0.02: Goalkeeper over 90 minutes in a single game

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Monday 17th December 2018 IPOs

Footballer Position Club Price Time Guide
Daniel Ginczek Forward VfL Wolfsburg £1.40 10:00 – 12:00
Fredrik Gulbrandsen Forward FC Red Bull Salzburg £1.20 10:00 – 12:00
Patrick Bamford Forward Leeds United £0.80 10:00 – 12:00
Philippe Sandler Defender Manchester City £0.90 10:00 – 12:00
Zech Medley Defender Arsenal £1.10 10:00 – 12:00
Haji Wright Forward FC Schalke 04 £1.50 12:00 – 14:00
Tonny Vilhena Midfielder Feyenoord £1.50 12:00 – 14:00
Zakaria Labyad Midfielder Ajax £1.00 12:00 – 14:00
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How Rennes’ Boss Stephan Is Poised To Make Ben Arfa Explode Back To Life

Rennes became the fifth Ligue 1 club to change head coach when they put Sabri Lamouchi on gardening leave on December 3.

The impact has been instantaneous, with interim boss Julien Stephan acing the audition to such an extent that he has been handed an 18-month opportunity to shine at the helm of the Roazhon Park side only nine days after stepping into the job.

Stephan may be a rookie in terms of his first-team experience, but the 38-year-old, whose father Guy is assistant to Didier Deschamps with France, is of such note that Monaco boss Thierry Henry wanted him as his No.2 with the principality club. Rennes, however, did not allow their reserve team boss since 2015 to depart Brittany.

A defensive midfielder during his playing days, which were spent with the B teams of Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain, then subsequently in France’s lower leagues, he has overseen 2-0 victories over Dijon and Lyon in his only two matches in charge.

Rennes’ play, though, has enjoyed a startling turnaround, largely thanks to Stephan’s willingness to liberate Hatem Ben Arfa.

The club’s most intriguing signing of the summer, Ben Arfa never truly earned the confidence of Lamouchi. After a year frozen out of the game by PSG, the ex-Newcastle, Lyon and Marseille forward was always likely to need a little time – and crucially a little love – to rediscover his best level.

“We have to build the team around him and tell him that he is indispensable,” Claude Puel, who got the best out of the player in Nice, once explained.

The mercurial 31-year-old clearly did not feel important during Lamouchi’s latter days, often cast to the bench and even entirely dropped from the squad at points.

Although he netted in his last appearance under Lamouchi in a 2-2 draw with Montpellier, the numbers are otherwise quite startling to emphasise his change in importance to the side. During that game, he touched the ball only 25 times – fewer than goalkeeper Thomas Koubek.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and in the clash against Dijon, he was involved on 77 occasions – more than any of his team-mates. It was a performance capped with a stoppage-time goal, which provided his side with welcome insurance to see out the victory after Benjamin Bourigeaud, another much-improved specimen, had opened the scoring with a deflected shot. Of course, it was Ben Arfa’s enterprising break down the left that was the catalyst.

Days earlier, he had provided a similar virtuoso performance – and an even better goal – as Stephan’s side began with a shock win over Lyon, who had gone unbeaten in nine previous games, including one against Manchester City.

Rennes’ approach has changed under the new coach, who has placed more of a premium on the attacking side of the game, which will be of benefit to the dynamic forward, who revels in the freedom to take risks and thrives upon the spotlight.

“All talented players who can win games interest me, and Hatem is one of those players,” Stephan explained. “He’s played two very good matches and contributed to the results with his goals, we hope it lasts. But it’s primarily through the team that players earn results, and through them some individuals, like Hatem, can emerge.”

This is the framework through which Ben Arfa prospered in Nice by scoring 17 Ligue 1 goals and chipping in with six assists during the 2015-16 season, and the early signs are that it will allow him to shine in Rennes, too.

Harnessed properly, he remains one of the most potent attacking threats in Ligue 1, though the balance needs to be just right for him to succeed. It’s early days yet, but Stephan seems to have hit upon that equilibrium already.

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Cash In On Salah With United Game

Mohamed Salah has certainly enjoyed a good week on the pitch, and Football Index traders have benefited from the Egyptian King’s fantastic form.

The Liverpool forward started his week by bagging himself a hat-trick against Bournemouth which included a sublime goal that saw Salah outmuscle Steve Cook and then take it around Asmir Begovic not once, but twice, before slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Salah then get the Kop roaring on Tuesday night as he scored the winning goal against Napoli that saw the Reds leapfrog Napoli in their Champions League group and qualify for the Round of 16.

It’s not only on the pitch Salah has enjoyed some good form. Traders on Football Index have seen his share price rise over 14.3%, or £1.43, in the past week.

Naturally, Salah’s performances for the Reds have earned him two Media Dividend (daily payouts on the most talked about footballer) wins since last Saturday. On top of that, Salah’s four goals in the last week has earnt him £0.08 per share in In-Play Dividends (payouts for every goal, assist and clean sheet in an eligible competition).

Liverpool will be welcoming Manchester United to Anfield this Sunday afternoon, and the 26-year-old will be licking his lips at the prospect of coming up against an uninspired Man United team that have found it tough to get going in the league this season and lost to Valencia in the Champions League this week.

Football Index allows customers to buy & sell shares in the world’s top footballers like commodities on a stock exchange. Traders can earn dividends on both media and Opta powered performance metrics from their portfolio of footballers. The share prices are dictated purely by demand, with profit potential in every trade.

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Carlo Ancelotti Faces A Big Night In Europe

Former Napoli and Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was asked by Italian Newspaper Corriere dello Sport to name a player from each side that could make the difference in Tuesday’s Champions League clash between the two this week.

“I could say many players, both from Liverpool and Napoli,” the Spaniard admitted. “On the one hand [Sadio] Mane, [Roberto] Firmino, [Daniel] Sturridge; on the other [Jose] Callejon, [Dries] Mertens, [Raul] Albiol and [Kalidou] Koulibaly. However, if I’m asked about one from each side then I’d have to say [Mohamed] Salah and [Lorenzo] Insigne.”

While it is true that both sides have players that can hurt the other, Napoli have evolved more than once since the Benitez era at the Stadio San Paolo. Three years of the precise, passing style of Maurizio Sarri brought the Partenopei within agonising distance of lifting the Scudetto at the end of last season, the tactician moving on to a fresh challenge with Chelsea in the summer.

In his place stepped Carlo Ancelotti for 2018/19, a man whose achievements on paper vastly outweighed his predecessor. The arrival of a man who had won the Champions League on three separate occasions spelled a change of tack for Napoli, a rotation system quickly installed in place of Sarri’s rigid starting XI that had been drained of all energy by the end of the last three consecutive campaigns.

Defensive frailties blighted their early league encounters, as Napoli conceded no less than six goals with their first six shots faced on target under the new man in charge, registering a 2-1 win over Lazio, a 3-2 victory versus AC Milan and a shock 3-0 loss to Sampdoria. Yet the international break gave Ancelotti time to work with his defenders, who were very clearly lost at sea after a move away from the rigid methods of their former boss.

The next four matches saw Napoli concede just one goal before going down to a 3-1 defeat to Juventus in Turin on September 29th. This, and the match with Sampdoria remain Napoli’s only two domestic defeats, and the fact they still sit eight points behind the Bianconeri in the league is more to do with the latter side’s sheer dominance than any failures from Ancelotti’s men.

Of course, it is in European competition where Ancelotti’s pedigree comes into its own, and once again he is proving this in his native Italy. The Partenopei are unbeaten in Group C, sitting at the top with nine points going into the final match, when many – after they were drawn out to play Liverpool, Paris Saint Germain and Red Star Belgrade – didn’t expect them to compete at all.

Let’s be clear, Napoli do not benefit from rich owners, the current squad constructed mainly from funds generated from player sales. Indeed, Since making their debut in the Champions League in 2011/12, this season marks the first time they have ever been unbeaten in their first four group stage matches.

Versus Liverpool, the neutral supporters should be in for a treat, as two sides with clear attacking prowess will go toe-to-toe with a place in the knockout stages on the line. It will not be easy versus a team with obvious European pedigree and with Anfield as a venue having already hosted many exciting nights like this. This will be a real test for Ancelotti and his new-look Napoli but – given the Coach’s personal record in the competition – no-one should be surprised if they do what’s necessary to go through.

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