Tag Archives: Roy Hodgson

Steven Gerrard – The Pied Piper Of Anfield

Pied-Pipper-Of-Anfield

One of the greatest midfielders, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been the lynchpin of the Reds for the past decade or so and has also been the part of the transformation plans of four managers since the triumphant spectacle at Istanbul. However, the critics have doubted the current influence of the 32-year old English captain.

Under the current Chelsea interim boss – Rafael Benitez, Anfield was a place most teams around Europe feared to go. It was a fortress in its true sense. A young Gerrrad was given a more advanced role to play, just behind the target man Fernando Torres, Peter Crouch or Andrei Voronin. With Xabi Alonso at the centre of the park and the smart Javier Mascherano as the holding midfielder – the link between the midfield & the back four – Gerrard was handed the responsibility of handling the attacking side of the game. Liverpool were known for their direct style of play, fluent passing and classic counter attacks. The 2008-09 season was the highlight of this Liverpool side’s strength and ability. Benitez was clearly a manager who understood each player’s psychology, style of play and the suitable position required for his effective influence in the side’s game. Gerrard was at his very best and had expressed his happiness under the Spanish boss.

Benitez-Formation
Liverpool’s formation under Rafa Benitez

Liverpool’s inability of holding on to Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, the stalwarts of the Liverpool midfield was followed by the exit of Benitez. This led to a beginning of a doubtful and disappointing transition in the history of the football club. The entry of Roy Hodgson led to a hope for the Koptites as the former Fulham manager seemed like a hopeful perspective. But his tenure ended after just 31 matches following a run of disappointing results. Meanwhile, the Liverpool skipper suffered a recurring hamstring injury in training.

The sacking of Hodgson meant that Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish would step in his shoes. After a struggling start and a serious injury Lucas Leiva, Gerrard was given a role of playing behind Jordan Henderson and play as a deep-lying playmaker, a position to which the English midfielder was not much acclimated to. The introduction of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Henderson meant that the injury affected captain had to play behind the attacking midfielders. However, this was the time when the then 31 year-old midfielder suffered his major injury setbacks. He was sidelined for six months with a grueling groin injury and was again sidelined for an infection injury on his right ankle.

Dalglish-Formation
Liverpool’s formation under Kenny Dalglish

These injuries forced the manager to play him in a safe deep position which would keep him away from exertion and hard tackling and thus keep him away from further injuries. However, the fan favourite had mentioned in his interviews that he was more than willing to play the same role that he had played for Liverpool over the years but was happy with any role given by the manager. A 1-0 defeat on the final day of the season at  Swansea City meant the end of a disappointing era for Dalglish. Gerrard was criticized by many as a player too old for the British game but was still able to get 8 goals in the meager amount of games that he played.

Then came Brendan Rodgers. The former Swansea boss provides a whole new type of game of retaining the ball as quickly as possible and playing an aggressive & fast game. Meaning, the type of game Gerrard longs to play, with wholehearted commitment in every tackle.

Rodgers-Liverpool

However, the current role given to Gerrard has frustrated many a Liverpool fan. The influential and committed skipper has been given a tamed role of playing the ball in the final third from a deep position. But with a lack of strike force and a berserk Luis Suarez when it comes to finishing the obvious chances, the only support in the front-line, the midfielder is forced to give away the ball due to lack of options. The main and obvious remedy to this is to bring in a new striker, especially a striker who can make his presence felt in the box. The reason being that Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling do all the hard work on the wings, taking defenders to the byline and then when they look up there is hardly a shadow in the box to aim at. Due to the inexperienced midfield comprising of Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Allen, Gerrard is given the responsibility of handling the defensive duties as well. For a 32-year-old it is too big a task. Allen after an impressive first three games has exposed his physical weakness and has given the ball away cheaply especially against the likes of Chelsea who have a hefty attacking line-up.

Remedy-Formation
The formation that Brendan Rodgers should play, which will get the best out of Gerrard

A makeshift solution can be of playing Lucas and Allen as the holding midfielders and Gerrard playing in front of them. This will enable him to move to either wing to support Sterling or the newly fullback turned left midfielder Jose Enrique as also of playing the final ball to Suarez or taking the shot on from outside the area, for which he was so feared till a season or two ago. The main problem is that the more deep he falls in the midfield the more the midfield looses its experience and the dynamic presence of an attacking and creative midfielder and thus his influence in the game reduces drastically. For a man who has given everything for his home club and wants to fulfill his only desire of winning the Premier League title, he should be given the role of a trequilesta, even if it drains out all his energy and has to sit out a third of the game.

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Top Ten Best-Paid Managers In The World

best-paid managers

Brazilian sports business consultants – Pluri Consultoria – have this week published online a list of the best-paid football managers in the world, by annual salary.

There is no surprise who heads the pack but there are some interesting names on the list. Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the top ten managers from that rich list…

10. ROBERTO MANCINI (MANCHESTER CITY | €5.9 MILLION)

Roberto-Mancini

When you are managing a club owned by oil-rich owners you are expected to be earning a huge annual salary and it’s no surprise to see the current Manchester City manager on the list, perhaps that he is tenth on the list is a bit surprising. The former Inter and Lazio boss has won the FA Cup and the Premier League during his time at Eastlands and is at the helm of Europe’s few undefeated teams in the league this season.

9. JOSE CAMACHO (CHINA | €5.9 MILLION)

Jose-Camacho

In order to catch up with the Asian heavyweights like Japan and South Korea, the rich Chinese FA searched in many parts of Europe – mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain – for an experienced coach, and appointed Jose Camacho. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach was given the job with objective of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Despite his huge annual paycheck the Spaniard failed and is now preparing for next year’s Asian Cup.

8. TITO VILANOVA (BARCELONA | €7 MILLION)

Tito-Vilanova

Taking over at Barcelona is not an easy job especially from the club’s most successful manager in history – Pep Guardiola. However, the former assistant is justifying his millions in his first top-flight job and currently has a win rate of 86%, which is more than his predecessor. The Catalan giants are 11 points clear of Real Madrid in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7. FABIO CAPELLO (RUSSIA | €7.8 MILLION)

Fabio-Capello

A CV boasting of five Serie A titles, one Champions League and two La Liga titles, it’s no surprise that the Italian is the best-paid international manager in the world during his current tenure as Russia coach. His current salary is a slight increase than what he earned during his time as England coach, where his contributions were a bit disappointing. However, the Russians under Capello are undefeated with five win in seven games and are at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

6. GUUS HIDDINK (ANZHI MAKHACHKALA | €8.3 MILLION)

Guus-Hiddink

Like Capello, the Dutchman has also enjoed a long and successful managerial career at club and international level. After failing to qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine with Turkey, Hiddink joined the Russian moneybags earlier this year. With Anzhi second in the Russian Premier League, the former Chelsea boss has announced that his current annual paycheck will be the last one as he will be retiring at the end of the season.

5. ARSENE WENGER (ARSENAL | €9.3 MILLION)

Arsene-Wenger

With his intelligent spending, innovative training techniques and brilliant ability to develop youngsters, the Frenchman might be the cleverest manager in the game and he gets very well paid for that. Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 15 consecutive seasons of Champions League football since taking over at Arsenal in 1996. Yet his willingness to sell Arsenal’s best players has been identified as a major flaw by the fans. With the Gunners virtually out of the title race, Wenger’s days may be numbered if his team fails to finish in the top four.

4. SIR ALEX FERGUSON (MANCHESTER UNITED | €9.4 MILLION)

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

The Scot has been at the same job – Manchester United – for over 25 years, which makes his annual salary seem relatively modest compared to ones above him in the list. The Red Devils were in deep trouble when he took over and has made them one of most successful teams in the world by winning 12 league titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and four League Cups. This season, Sir Alex’s side remain on course for yet another league title and have also reached the last-16 of the Champions League.

3. MARCELLO LIPPI (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE | €10 MILLION)

Marcello-Lippi

A manager whose resume boasts a World Cup, five Serie A titles and a Champions  League is expected to earn an annual salary in double figures. The former Italy coach joined the Chinese Super League champions in May this year on a two-and-a-half year contract worth up to €30 million. So far, Lippi has fulfilled the club’s expectations by guiding them to their second consecutive league title in October and also by winning the Chinese FA Cup in November for the first time evert in the club’s history.

2. CARLO ANCELOTTI (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €13.5 MILLION)

Carlo-Ancelotti

The Italian proved that getting sacked at Chelsea doesn’t put a dent to your managerial career when he signing a multi-million Euro deal to take over at Qatar-funded PSG last year. He took charge when the French side were at the top of the league, but failed to guide them to the title. Despite spending heavily during the transfer windows, he has yet to bring any silverware to the Paresians. However, the former Milan boss could turn things around this season, as PSG are third in the league – five points behind Lyon – and are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

1, JOSE MOURINHO (REAL MADRID | €15.3 MILLION)

Jose-Mourinho

The Portuguese takes home the largest amount each year and it is hardly surprising given his extraordinary record since guiding Porto to an historic treble in 2003. The Special One has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter. However, things aren’t going well for him in the current campaign, with Los Blancos 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. Such a margin is a bit too much in the La Liga and if Mou fails to bring the Champions League to the Bernabeu, he might get his marching orders at the end of the season.

Here are the remaining twenty managers from the 30-man rich list..

11. Frank Rijkaard (Saudi Arabia | €5.3 Million)
12. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich | €5.2 Million)
13. Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur | €4.5 Million)
14. Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers | €4 Million)
15. Jorge Jesus (Benfica | €4 Million)
16. David Moyes (Everton | €3.6 Million)
17. Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga | €3.6 Million)
18. Paulo Autuori (Qatar | €3.6 Million)
19. Abel Braga (Fluminense | €3.5 Million)
20. Luciano Spaletti (Zenit St Petersburg | €3.3 Million)
21. Antonio Conte (Juventus | €3 Million)
22. Cesare Prandelli (Italy | €3 Million)
23. Luxemburgo (Gremio | €3 Million)
24. Muricy (Santos | €3 Million)
25. Tite (Corinthians | €3 Million)
26. Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland | €2.6 Million)
27. Joachim Low (Germany | €2.5 Million)
28. Marcelo Biesla (Athletic Bilbao | €2.5 Million)
29. Martin O’Neill (Sunderland | €2.5 Million)
30. Roy Hodgson (England | €2.5 Million)

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 11

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eleventh weekend in the Premier League. West Ham United are the only side to provide two players, while there is one each from Chelsea, Arsenal, Fulham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Stoke City, Norwich City and Everton.

Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham United)

Kevin Nolan returned to St. James Park to haunt his old club, but the win was only possible thanks to a wonder save by the West Ham shot-stopper. Demba Ba thought he had levelled matters for Newcastle with a powerful header, but the keeper sprang across his goal to claw the ball away before it crossed the line.

Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

For some time, the Blues have struggled to find a solid right-back who can fulfill the role with consistency and the Chelsea new-boy looks like he might be the one who can cope with the demands of playing in the Chelsea defence without buckling under the pressure. He was impressive against Shakhtar Donetsk and even more adventurous against Liverpool.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

The former Manchester United defender has enjoyed an excellent start to the season and looks set to challenge for a spot in Roy Hodgson’s England side in the next few months, and that continued on Saturday as he put in a commanding display in the Potters’ 1-0 win over QPR. He kept Djibril Cisse quiet for the whole game and was also a threat inside the attacking third.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

It was one of those desperate games for Norwich where they had to put their bodies on the line to defend but in the end they earned a valuable point against Reading. The former Tottenham and Newcastle man had one of his best games of the season as he single-handedly kept Jason Roberts, Stephen Hunt, Jobi McAnuff and Pavel Pogrebnyak quiet.

Jose Enrique (Liverpool)

Chelsea’s lack of width in the midfield gave Enrique all kinds of space and the Spaniard needs no invitation to go forward. He controlled the left flank for the Reds against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He was unable to keep a clean sheet, but impressed for Brendan Rodgers’ side and almost scored an injury time winner.

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa)

Scoring two goals against Manchester United and ending on the losing side felt like ‘losing a cup final’ to Weimann. He can, however, take plenty of heart from the fact that he was able to breach a Manchester United defence on two occasions. His first was an unstoppable drive which fizzed past David de Gea and his second saw him display some predatory instincts inside the box.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The Belgian midfielder is in the form of his life and there is no doubt he is attracting so much of interest from the top clubs. He has taken his game to a new level this season with talismanic displays put in on a weekly basis. Another inspirational showing on Saturday saw him score one and make the other for Nikica Jelavic as the Toffees overcame Sunderland 2-1.

Kevin Nolan (West Ham United)

Nolan gets the nod over Tottenham’s Sandro and Manchester City’s David Silva, as he collected three points and scored the winner for West Ham against his former employers at St. James Park. The former Bolton man put in yet another professional display for his side and not only scored the only goal of the game but also provided Andy Carroll with a chance to seal the game.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

It has taken a while for Giroud to get going in the Premier League, but he is now displaying the kind of form which saw him score for fun in France and earn international recognition. The powerful frontman netted a brace against Fulham over the weekend, with the only surprise being that a man brimming with confidence did not step up to take a late penalty.

Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)

Manchester United’s brilliant comeback win over Aston Villa has been mentioned a lot in this past week but it would have been impossible without this man. Voted as United’s player of the month, Hernandez started from the bench but was introduced at the interval to devastating effect. He completely turned the game on its head with his brilliant hat-trick and went home with the match-ball.

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

While Giroud was good for Arsenal on Saturday, Berbatov was even better. He too helped himself to a brace, but also provided an assist as Fulham held Arsenal to a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Emirates. The Bulgarian’s class was seen, as he controlled the game at his own pace, and the composure he displayed in slotting home a penalty perfectly illustrated what he is all about.

St Geroge’s Park – Royal Opening (Pics)

The new National Football Centre at St George’s Park was officially opened on Tuesday by the Duke (Prince William) and Duchess (Catherine) of Cambridge. 

The Duke and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, formally opened the £105 million St George’s Park project which was first mooted more than a decade ago. The aim is for the 330 acre complex to produce more and higher quality coaches – and with it better players to give England the best chance of becoming a major footballing force.

Here in our today’s Picture Specials, we have a look at the official launch of St George’s Park National Football Centre. Have a look at the fantastic images in our picture gallery below. Pictures courtesy Zimbio.

John Terry Quits England, But Is The FA To Blame For It?

John Terry has sensationally announced his retirement from intenational football less than 24 hours before the Football Association hearing into the Anton Ferdinand saga is expected to begin.

The Chelsea defender, 31, was cleared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in July of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game. But Terry, who won 78 caps, still faces a Football Association disciplinary hearing over the matter on today (Monday). The Chelsea captain said he could not play for England because of the FA’s decision to pursue charges against him and his position with the England national team was now “untenable”.

In a statement, John Terry said:

“I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.

“Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish Roy and the team every success for the future.

“I now look forward to playing for Chelsea and challenging for domestic and European honours, and I want to thank the fans and the club for their continued support.

“I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps. I have had great pleasure in sharing that honour with all the players that I’ve played with. I would like to thank them, the fans and my family for their support and encouragement during my international career.”

England face a couple of World Cup qualifiers next month. First they welcome San Marino to Wembley and then, four days later, face Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland in Warsaw.

Is The England FA to Blame for it?

John Terry claiming his position in the England team “untenable” or the lack of the support from the governing body is complete ‘nonsense’. The Chelsea skipper is the author of his own downfall and there is no one else to blame for it.

Whether it was the Wayne Bridge saga, the dispute with Anton Ferdinand and subsequent fallout with Rio Ferdinand or the impression he gave that the England armband belonged to him, Terry had become a poisonous asset during the international week. Keeping aside his performances on the pitch, he brought with himself too much additional baggage whenever he boarded the England bus.

The FA charge he faces this week has become almost incidental in the public’s eyes. Even if Terry’s name is cleared, the storm clouds won’t automatically go away. His unpopularity will remain. He represents much of the arrogance and ego that alienates many people from modern football.

If he was chasing for any sympathy by yesterday’s swipe at the FA, then it’s unlikely to happen. He calling his position in the England team “untenable” isn’t true at all. He was continued to be picked by England managers during his troubled times. First Fabio Capello and then Roy Hodgson. The current England boss backed him strongly during his squad selection for the Euros, a tactic that looks even more doubtful now that Terry has walked away.

Terry’s inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad came at the expense of Rio Ferdinand. Nobody fully believed Hodgson’s reason that the Manchester United defender was omitted “for footballing reasons”. It was all to do with the dressing-room dynamic, with the tension between the pair following Terry’s dispute with Ferdinand’s brother Anton. Hodgson took him to Poland and Ukraine, he behaved but his presence was always an issue.

What Next For England?

For all the off field controversey he caused, his 78 caps with England should be remembered for his never ending commitment on the pitch. He is a proud, patriotic individual and this decision to quit from representing his country will have been a painful one. Along with Steven Gerrard, Terry was England’s best play in Poland and Ukraine.

Terry’s absence will be felt in the dressing-room but the national team will survive without him. His Chelsea team-mate, Gary Cahill has shown he can contribute a lot for both club and country. The former Bolton defender is a European champion with Chelsea, Joleon Lescott is a Premier League winner with Manchester City and Phil Jagielka has imporved a lot in the last couple of seasons at Everton. Rio Ferdinand is in the twilight of his career, but deserves a recall.

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both will be back soon from their long term injuries and have the potential to be the next best England centre-back pairing. Steven Caulker is maturing and developing promisingly at Tottenham Hotspur and is worth a long-term audition, along with Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, who surely deserves a England callup in the near future.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – West Brom Albion

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at West Bromwich Albion’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Steve Clarke.
Captain: Chris Brunt.
Stadium: The Hawthorns (26,272).
Last season: 10th.
Leading scorer (PL): Peter Odemwingie (9).
Odds: Title 2000-1. Relegation 7-2.

In: Yassine El Ghanassy (Loan, Genk), Ben Foster (£4.4m, Birmingham), Romelu Lukaku (Loan, Chelsea), Markus Rosenberg (Free, Werder Bremen), Claudio Yacob (Free, Racing Club de Avellaneda).

Out: Lateef Elford-Alliyu (Free, Bury), Kieth Andrews (Free, Bolton), Simon Cox (£2m, Nottingham), Paul Downing (Free, Walsall), Marton Fulop (Free, Ast. Tripolis), Joe Mattock (Free, Sheff Wed), Paul Scharner (Free, Hambuerger), Nicky Shorey (Free, Reading), Somen Tchoyi (Released).

Kits

Key Man – Ben Foster
The former Manchester United shot-stopper was the Baggies star performer last term and was named the Fans’ Player Of the Year and the Players’ Player of the Year. He is arguably the second-best English goalkeeper behind Joe Hart and Hodgson wanted the keeper to come out of a self-imposed England excile for Euro 2012 given his form. His form this season will be vital for the Baggies and the number of clean sheets he manages could be the difference between survival and relegation.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – Liverpool (H)
25-Aug – Tottenham (A)
01-Sep – Everton (H)
15-Sep – Fulham (A)
22-Sep – Reading (H)
30-Sep – Aston Villa (A)

Probable Formation (4-4-2): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Gera, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Brunt; Lukaku, Rosenberg.

Verdict: Steve Clarke has a tough task to deal with after Roy Hodgson left for the England job, but the Baggies have a strong enough squad to stay safe and survive this season, especially with arrival of Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea. The Baggies are strongest up front, Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long are goal threats, even before the addition of the Belgium international. However the defence isn’t as strong as the attack but good enough to keep them up. This is the first real test of Clarke’s managerial abilities and it could mean a tricky season. I expect the Baggies to survive but just.

Prediction: 17th.

Premier League’s Top 10 Most Expensive Teenagers

With both Oscar and Lucas Moura linked with big money moves to Chelsea and Manchester United this summer, we look at the teenagers who joined a Premier League club for big money in the past. Here are Premier League’s top 10 most expensive teenagers.  

10. GARETH BALE: SOUTHAMPTON –> TOTTENHAM – £7m

The young Welsh full-back burst onto the scene at Southampton as a 16-year-old in 2006, immediately becoming the Saints’ first choice left-back and free-kick specialist. Manchester United and Arsenal were both interested in the teenager but Bale signed for the White Hart Lane club in 2007 for a fee in the region of £5m (rising to £10m based on appearances), but a year later it was settled to £7m. The Welsh international had a bizarre start to his career at White Hart Lane as he struggled with injuries and bad luck. Bale eventually settled in at the club and made a name for himself as a left winger. Bale is one of the most dangerous left wingers around in the game and also won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award in 2010-11 for his eye-catching performances in the league and in Europe.

9. CONNOR WICKHAM: IPSWICH –> SUNDERLAND – £7m (RISING TO £12m)

Wickham made a name for himself in the nPower Championship with Ipswich Town by scoring a total of  15 goals in two full seasons. The England under-21 international attracted a lot of interest from many Premier League clubs, but in the end Sunderland made the move and brought him to the Stadium of Light at the start of last season. The 6ft 3in striker, who is tipped to be a future England star, had a bad first season in the Premier League as he managed to find the back of the net just once in thirteen appearances.

8. THEO WALCOTT: SOUTHAMPTON –> ARSENAL – £9m

The pacey winger was roommates with Gareth Bale at Southampton, but Walcott chose the other side of North London as he made the big money to Arsenal in 2006. The then 16-year-old grabbed all the headlines when he was picked by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup after failing to make a single first-team appearance for the Gunners that season. Walcott didn’t feature at all in Germany and was later overlooked by Fabio Capello for the 2010 World Cup. The 23-year-old is now one of the important members of the Arsenal squad and is also an England regular.

7. CRISTIANO RONALDO: SPORTING LISBON –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £12m

Liverpool and Arsenal were both interested in the signing the Portuguese prodigy back in 2003, but eventually Manchester United brought him to Old Trafford after they played against his team in a pre-season friendly. It took sometime for the Portuguese to settle in England and get used to the Premier League, but once he got used to it he became the club’s star performer. The Portuguese international spent six seasons at Old Trafford making 292 appearances and scoring 118 goals. He helped the Red Devils win three Premier League, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup title before joining Real Madrid in 2009 for a whopping £80m. It was the best business ever done by Sir Alex Ferguson during his time with Manchester United.

6. ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: SOUTHAMPTON –> ARSENAL – £12m (RISING TO £15m)

Another talent from Southampton’s youth academy. Oxlade-Chamberlain made himself known to top teams in the Premier League by scoring 10 goals in the first full season at the St. Mary’s. Arsenal snapped him up last summer and he made his debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The 18-year-old became the youngest ever Englishman to score in the Champions League when he scored the opening goal against Olympiakos. The England under-21 international won the hearts of the Arsenal fans by some impressive displays in his debut season in the top flight and was also selected in England’s UEFA EURO 2012 squad.

5. ROMELU LUKAKU: ANDERLECHT –> CHELSEA – £13m (RISING TO £18m)

Lukaku was already a regular first team member of his club – Anderlecht and his country –  Belgium before Chelsea signed him up in the summer last year. The then 18-year-old strong centre forward was brought in as a potential replacement for Didier Drogba but he failed to get much playing time last season as he made just eight appearances for the Blues in the Premier League. Lukaku, who has a very good goal-scoring record in Belgium, is expected to go out on loan this season in order to get some first-team action and Fulham are said to be the favourites.

4. PHIL JONES: BLACKBURN –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £16.5m

The then 19-year-old had made just 35 first-team league appearances for Blackburn but that didn’t stop Ferguson activating his release clause and bringing him to Old Trafford. The versatile defender – who played as a right-back, a center-back and as a defensive midfielder – had a great first season with Manchester United, making a total of 41 appearances in all competitions and also found the back of the net twice. The 20-year-old’s impressive displays for the Red Devils earned him an England senior team call-up and was also picked up for the Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer by Roy Hodgson.

3. ANDERSON: FC PORTO –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £18m

It seems very unbelievable that the Brazilian costed United more than Ronaldo, but it’s true. Ferguson had to pay a whopping fee of  £18m to bring the young Brazilian, who was dubbed as the ‘next Ronaldinho’, to Old Trafford in 2007 when he was 19. Anderson has had something of a stop-start career at Old Trafford mostly troubled by injuries. The Brazilian international has won three Premier League titles, one League Cup and one Champions League title with the Red Devils during his five years at the club, but has been often linked with a move away from Manchester in the past couple of season. It look’s unlikely that United will be getting their money back if the Brazilian does leave in the near future.

2. MARIO BALOTELLI: INTER –> MANCHESTER CITY – £24m

Even though Balotelli signed for the reigning Premier League champions two days after his 20th birthday, he makes this list as the deal between the two clubs had been agreed when he was still in his teens. The Italian, who costed around £24m, has had a controversial time at the Eastlands both on and off the field. Super Mario has shown the maturity of a boy half his age and has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons’ in the past two years. But, whenever in mood, he has shown the world his true potential with some eye-catching displays for both City and Italy. He also played a vital role in helping Italy finish runners-up at this summer’s European Championship in Poland/Ukraine.

1. WAYNE ROONEY: EVERTON –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £27m

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Wayne Rooney for a staggering £27m in the summer of 2004, after he had starred for England at Euro 2004 in Portugal. Rooney, 18, when he joined United, already had two compete seasons under his belt in the Everton first-team and was one of most sought-after teenagers around. He announced himself to the United supporters with a hat-trick on debut and has become one of the key players for the Red Devils in the recent years. The 26-year-old England international has helped United win four Premier League titles, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup in his eight years at Old Trafford.