Tag Archives: Wesley Sneijder

Manchester City’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

What a season it was for Manchester City!! On a dramatic final day of the season, the Blues went on to win the Premier League for the first time in 44 years but were very disappointing in Europea – both the Champions League and the Europa League.

This summer, Roberto Mancini has not signed any player yet but is expected to sign a couple of big players before the start of the season to strengthen the squad. With the Citizens having won the Premier League in the previous season, their aim for the upcoming season will not only be to defend their title but also put in a good performance in Europe ie atleast reach the the quarter-finals or the semi-finals of the Champions League. Here are Manchester City’s potential summer transfer targets..

JACK BUTLAND – BIRMINGHAM CITY (GOALKEEPER)

The 19-year-old English keeper was the part of the England squad for the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine. The Birmingham City stopper – who spent the previous season on loan at Cheltenham Town – has impressed the England coaching staff and Joe Hart has urged City to try to sign him. However, the young keeper who is in the Great Britain squad for the upcoming Olympics, wants to sign for a club where he will be assured regular first team football so that he can progress and reach his potential. That looks highly impossible at City, but they could sign him and loan him away immediately to another Premier League or Championship club.

FABRICO COLOCCINI – NEWCASTLE UNITED (DEFENDER)

Roberto Mancini is reportedly trying to sign players that will strengthen his backline and the Argentine defender from St. James Park is said to be on his shopping list. Coloccini was at his best last season as he helped Newcastle finish fifth in the league, above Chelsea, and qualify for the Europa League. Coloccini will be a great good addition to the squad and will also add the necessary competition for places at the back. The 30-year-old has recently signed a new deal at Newcastle but the lure of Champions League football and winning titles will be very hard to reject.

STEFAN RADU – LAZIO (DEFENDER)

Stefan Radu is another name mentioned around the Etihad Stadium for the past couple of months. The 25-year-old Romanian has been in impressive form for Lazio since arriving in Rome, in 2008. His performances has attracted interest from many clubs across Europe. The 6ft centre-back, who can also play as a left-back, will be a great addition to the City squad and will also strengthen their defence which looked very vulnerable in the absence of Vincent Kompany. City will tough face some competition for his signature as Arsenal and Tottenham are also said to be interested in him.

MARTIN SKRTEL – LIVERPOOL (DEFENDER)

Stefan Savic looked vulnerable as a cover and with Joleon Lescott ageing, another centre-back is a need for City after their league winning season. According to the reports, Martin Skrtel is one of the transfer targets of the club. The 27-year-old was Liverpool best man last season, having featured in every league game. The arrival of the Slovakian, who is rated around £20m, will be a great addition to the squad and will no doubt strengthen the defence. The transfer might also see Lescott leave the club and head in the opposite direction.

THIAGO SILVA – AC MILAN (DEFENDER)

Manchester City being interested in Thiago Silva is no news as its been going on since the start of the summer. Reports in various UK papers claimed that Mancini met the Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri in May to discuss a possible deal for the £42m rated Brazilian defender but nothing as ever materialized. Some reports in the past month suggested that the 27-year-old could snub interested from City and join Paris Saint-Germain but he also squashed all those rumours by signing a new deal at the San Siro.

DANIELE DE ROSSI – AS ROMA (MIDFIELDER)

Its a well known fact that Roberto Mancini is a huge fan of Daniele De Rossi and with Nigel De Jong linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium, the Italian, who starred for the UEFA EURO 2012 finalists in Poland/Ukraine this summer, may well join his compatriot in Manchester. The 28-year-old, who recently signed a new five year deal with the Serie A side, has said he is ready to try his hand in different league having played in the Serie A for more than 11 years. De Rossi would be a huge addition to City midfield, who are set to lose Yaya Toure in January due to the African Cup of Nations.

JAVI MARTINEZ – ATHLETIC BILBAO (MIDFIELDER)

With Nigel De Jong’s future doubtful and Yaya Toure’s international commitments during the mid-season, City reportedly are preparing a £25m offer for Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish international. Javi Martinez, who can also play as a holding midfielder or as a centre-back, has been attracting a lot of interest from many European clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich after an excellent season with the Europa League finalists. Martinez will be real coup for the champions but they are set to face some tough competition from Barcelona, who are said to be the favourites to land him.

GASTON RAMIREZ – BOLOGNA (MIDFIELDER)

Ramirez, 21, is an attacking central midfielder with an eye for goal and was impressive for his Serie A side during last season. Ramirez is rated around £16m by his Italian club and has attracted interest from many European clubs in the past one year with Manchester City, Liverpool and Juventus being one of them. The midfielder who scored eight times last season would be a great signing for future and at the same time would provide good cover for David Silva and Samir Nasri.

WESLEY SNEIJDER – INTER MILAN (MIDFIELDER)

Sneijder has been linked with a move to the Red side of Manchester for the past couple of seasons but now City are the favourites to land him. Mancini has been looking at various different attacking midfield options since Hazard snubbed the Citizens to join Chelsea and signing Sneijder would be like putting salt on the wounds of Manchester United, who have spent more than 2 season in trying to sign him. The Dutch international would no doubt strengthen the team but he would cost more than £30m and his form since the World Cup has been very disappointing.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus, Manchester City are the favourites to sign the Arsenal skipper, Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Edin Dzeko set to leave during the summer, there is place for Van Persie in the squad. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be accepted.

GONZALO HIGUAIN – REAL MADRID (STRIKER)

The Argentine is one of the most hottest property available in European football this season. Higuain has scored 22 La Liga in just 18 starts last season and yet he is second choice at Madrid behind Karim Benzema. The 24-year-old was linked with a move to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the summer but nothing at all developed. Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has stated his intend to keep Higuain at the Bernabeu for many more seasons but a chance to play in the Premier League and alongside his Argentina teammates Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta may be too hard to reject.

EDINSON CAVANI – NAPOLI (STRIKER)

Along with Robin van Persie and Gonzalo Higuain, Manchester City are also keeping tabs on the inform Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. If the 25-year-old Uruguayan was unknown to English football then he made himself known by scoring against both Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League last season. Cavani has been tremendous goal scoring form since joining Napoli in 2010, having scored 66 times in 94 league matches. The strong forward would be a marquee signing for the club but the Premier League champions face competition for his signature from Serie A champions Juventus, who are also interested in him.

Netherlands v Germany Preview

Netherlands meet Germany in today’s do-or-die Group B clash in Kharkiv, knowing that another defeat will mean the end an early exit in the group stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist. 

Bert van Marwijk’s side have to pick themselves up after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark, in a match the Dutch had largely dominated but were very wasteful. They now have to beat rivals Germany at the Metalist Stadium, then Portugal on Sunday to be sure of qualifying from the group, which has been dubbed ‘The Group of Death’. While the Dutch will be fighting for survival, Germany know another win will put them in the quarter-finals following their 1-0 victory over Portugal.

Clashes between Holland and neighbours Germany are amongst the biggest in world football and always tend to be spicy affairs and there will be no quarter given when they renew their historic rivalry. This will be the eighth time the teams have met at a finals tournament and the fifth occasion at a European Championship. Germany have three wins against two for the Dutch and two draws. And there have been some classic matches between these countries such as the 1974 World Cup final, when Johan Cruyff’s team scored an early penalty, only to lose 2-1 to the Germans in Munich. The Euro ’88 semi-final in Hamburg was a special moment for the Oranje Army as Marco Van Basten scored a last minute winner to beat the hosts 2-1. And then there was the tempestuous 1990 World Cup second round encounter at the San Siro in Milan which Germany won 2-1, after their striker Rudi Voeller and Dutch stalwart Frank Rijkaard were sent-off before Andreas Brehme curled home a late winner.

TEAM NEWS

Netherlands

Netherlands have received a boost with the return to fitness of veteran defender Joris Mathijsen ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Euro 2012 showdown with Germany. The Malaga centre-back missed the 1-0 defeat to Denmark with a hamstring problem but looks set to return to the Dutch lineup in place of Ron Vlaar. Midfielder Wesley Sneijder should feature despite sustaining a minor knock, while coach Bert van Marwijk will have to make a very big decision of either playing Robin van Persie or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or maybe both.

Germany

On the other hand, Germany boss Joachim Low has no pressing injury concerns but could make changes to liven up his attack after a low-key performance against Portugal. Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze are all vying for starting berths, with Lukas Podolski or Thomas Muller likely to make way.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played – 38
Netherlands Wins – 10
Draws – 14
Germany Wins – 14

FORM GUIDE

Netherlands – LWWLL
09-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Netherlands 0-1 Denmark
02-Jun-12 – Friendly – Netherlands 6-0 Northern Ireland
31-May-12 – Friendly – Netherlands 2-0 Slovakia
26-May-12 – Friendly – Netherlands 1-2 Bulgaria
23-May-12 – Friendly – Bayern Munich 3-2 Netherlands

Germany – WWLLW
09-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Germany 1-0 Portugal
01-Jun-12 – Friendly – Germany 2-0 Israel
26-May-12 – Friendly – Switzerland 5-3 Germany
01-Mar-12 – Friendly – Germany 1-2 France
16-Nov-11 – Friendly – Germany 3-0 Netherlands

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
The Inter Milan playmaker was impressive in the first game against Denmark but yet he was on the losing side. Sneijder was Netherlands’ star at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa helping them reach the finals, but ever since the final against Spain he has not produced the same kind of form. He has been troubled by injuries and has had a very poor season for Inter Milan. If Netherlands have to progress from the so called ‘Group of Death’ then Sneijder will have to be in top form today.

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Like Sneijder, Arjen Robben is very important to Netherlands success this summer. The Bayern Munich winger reached the Champions League final and ended runners-up in the Bundesliga this season, but the reality is that Robben has been less than impressive. The former Chelsea man missed a penalty against his old employees in the Champions League and was too selfish the other day against Denmark. Robben will have to be at his very best against a very strong German defence and especially Philipp Lahm to help his country reach the quarter finals.

Mesut Ozil (Germany)
The Real Madrid playmaker has had a very successful season both personally and as a team. The 23-year-old has made his mark in world football and is now one of the best attacking midfielders around. The elegant midfield provides guile and craft to the German midfield and his probing passes are sure to test the Dutch backline, which looked vulnerable against Denmark. The former Werder Bremen star hardly losses possession and enjoyed a lot playing in the possession-heavy style adopted by Joachim Low.

Mario Gomez (Germany)
The Spanish origin striker is Joachim Low’s first choice striker ahead of the veteran Miroslaw Klose and is expected to start again today after the scoring the winner against Portugal the other night. The former Stuttgart hitman has been in top goal-scoring form for Bayern Munich this season scoring 41 goals 52 matches and has also netted ten goals for his country in the past one. His ability of being in the right position and at the right time will be the key and a threat to deal with for the Dutch defence.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Netherlands (4-2-3-1): Maarten Stekelenburg; Gregory van der Wiel, Joris Mathijsen, Johnny Heitinga, Jetro Willems; Nigel De Jong, Mark van Bommel (C); Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

With Joris Mathijsen fit, the Malaga man will be back in the side in place of Ron Vlaar, who had a poor game, in the center of the defence alongside Heitinga. The young Jetro Willems impressed many the other day and he will keep his position in the side with Van der Wiel on the right. The experience of Nigel De Jong will see him get the nod ahead of Kevin Strootman along side Mark van Bommel, while Ibrahim Afellay who had a poor game against Denmark in the Group B opener, will be demoted to the bench and Robin van Persie will be moved out on the left wing. The top scorer in the qualifiers, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will lead the lineup for the Dutch with Wesley Sneijder just playing behind him and Arjen Robben on the right wing.

Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm(C); Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira; Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski; Mari Gomez.

Joachin Low said in his pre-match press conference that he is not afraid to chance winning team, but I don’t think there will be any chances for this game especially against the Dutch. This is Germany’s best team and Low will stick with it. Gomez will lead the line with Muller and Podolski join him from the wings. Ozil will operate just behind them and will try and find the killer through balls. Schweinsteiger and Khedira will play center of midfield connecting the defence and attack. Lahm will again start on the left-back with Jerome Boateng on the right-back and the pair of Hummers and Badstuber, who looked well organised against the Portuguese, in the heart of the defence. The ever safe hands of Manuel Neuer will be in the between the sticks for the Germans.

MATCH ODDS

Netherlands 19/10 Draw 23/10 Germany 7/5

PREDICTION

With the Dutch having to win this game to stay in the tournament, they will attack from the start. On recent form, one has agree the Germans are favourites to win and with a settled side & an opening game victory under their belt, the German players will play with less pressure compared to their opponents. The Dutch will need their star players to perform and play as a team. The 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist have a huge task of beating Germany – who have one the most settled units and the best defence in the tournament – and so we are going for a narrow win for the 2008 UEFA European Championship finalist.

Predicted Score – Netherlands 1-2 Germany

UEFA EURO 2012 Team Preview – Netherlands

Population 16.8 million Area 41,543km2 Capital Amsterdam Currency Euro Official Language Dutch

FOOTBALL FACTFILE

Football Asocciation Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB) Official Site http://www.knvb.nl Year of formation 1889 Euro Ranking 8 World Ranking 4 National Stadium Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Fejenoord Stadion, Feyenoord & Phillips Arena, Eindhoven Well-known club sides Ajax, Feyernoord, PSV, FC Twente Leading goalscorers Patrick Kluivert (40), Dennis Bergkamp (37) Most capped players Edwin van der Sar (130), Frank de Boer (112) European Championship finals attended 1976, 1980, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 Best European Championship performance Winners 1988 Playing Record in European Championship P131 W84 D22 L25 Odds of winning UEFA EURO 2012 8/1

JOURNEY TO POLAND/UKRAINE

Despite victory in the 1988 European Championship thanks to a stunning Marco van Basten volley and powerful Ruud Gullit header, Netherlands still find it difficult not to be regarded as the nearly men of European football. They have reached three FIFA World Cup finals, in 1974, 1978 and 2010, and come off second best on each occasion.

Qualification for Poland/Ukraine again suggests they are primed to break this unflattering and slightly unfair imahe. Rightly top-scoring with 37 goals, in a qualifying group comprising Finland, Hungary, Moldova and San Marino. The Netherlands are in formidable shape going into the tournament finals.

Their squad is awash with the kind of flair and flamboyance befitting of their brilliant-orange kit and theur historic ‘Total Football’ ideals. Wesley Sneijder will no doubt pill the strings behind a lone of either Robin van Persie – on of the hottest strikers in Europe this season – or Klaas-Jan-Huntelaar – whooped the scoring charts in qualifying with 12 goals. Should these three not provide, goals can also emanate from the experienced of Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart, or the brutish long-distance punts of captain mark van Bommel. Ofcourse how can you forget the always-dangerous Arjen Robben.

As diabolical as England when it comes to penalty shoot-outs, the Dutch have the experience and capability to overcome theur flaws in 2012. But can they vanquish Spain of their helm?

HOW THEY GOT THERE

03/09/2010 – Group E – San Marino 0-5 Netherlands
07/09/2010 – Group E – Netherlands 2-1 Finland
08/10/2010 – Group E – Moldova 0-1 Netherlands
12/10/2010 – Group E – Netherlands 4-1 Sweden
25/03/2011 – Group E – Hungary 0-4 Netherlands
29/03/2011 – Group E – Netherlands 5-3 Hungary
02/09/2011 – Group E – Netherlands 11-0 San Marino
06/09/2011 – Group E – Finland 0-2 Netherlands
07/10/2011 – Group E – Netherlands 1-0 Moldova
11/10/2011 – Group E – Sweden 3-2 Netherlands

HOME AND AWAY KITS

GROUP FIXTURES – GROUP B

Saturday, 09/06 – Netherlands v Denmark (Kharkiv, 17:00)
Wednesday, 13/06 – Netherlands v Germany (Kharkiv, 19:45)
Sunday, 17/06 – Portugal v Netherlands (Kharkiv, 19:45)

FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Tim Krul (Newcastle United FC), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea City AFC).

Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), John Heitinga (Everton FC), Joris Mathijsen (Málaga CF), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (AFC Ajax), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven).

Midfielders: Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City FC), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Wesley Sneijder (FC Internazionale Milano), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur FC).

Forwards: Ibrahim Afellay (FC Barcelona), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool FC), Luciano Narsingh (sc Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC), Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München).

THE CAPTAIN – MARK VAN BOMMEL

He might be the son-in-law of the head coach, but Bert van Marwijk knows as well as the rest of us that Van Bommel’s place in the side comes not through favouritism but pragmatism. He is the rock to Sneijder’s creativity and Van Persie’s cutting edge. At 35, he is no spring chicken, but his claws are as sharp as ever and no one will relish coming up against him this summer.

THE KEEPER – MAARTEN STEKELENBURG

Another product of the world renowned Ajax youth academy to follow in the footsteps of Edwin van der Sar. Maarten Stekelenburg is the latest in a long line of world-class Dutch keepers. At 6ft 5in, he is one of the biggest goalkeepers in the tournament and will certainly be using his gigantic frame to try to put an end to Holland’s embarrassing penalty nightmares.

STAR MAN – WESLEY SNEIJDER

In a team blessed with outstanding individual players, not least Arsenal’s remarkable, in-form Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder remains the lynchpin for Dutch success. The Netherlands have a knack of sculpting goalscoring midfielders for international arena and few are more terrifying than the Inter Milan star. He enjoyed great success in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will be expected to manufacture opportunities for a sublime strikeforce, and provide the kind of magic that can propel the Oranjemen past comparable opponents.

THE MANAGER – BERT VAN MARWIJK

Took over the role in 2008 from the legendary Marco van Basten, whose managerial abilities didn’t quite live up to his goalscoring ones. Bert van Marwijk, who masterminded Feyernoord’s UEFA Cup triumph in 2001-02, won all of his FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying matches and then guided Holland to the final, and a disappointing, bad-tempered defeat bu a wonderful Spanish team. Will be striving to go one better in 2012 by lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy and, thereby ending Holland’s 24-year wait for silverware.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTION

Semi-Finals – The Dutch eased past their opponents in their qualifying group to make it to the finals but are drawn in the Group of Death along side Denmark, Portugal and Germany. With the later, the favourites to win the group, it’s going to be a real close fight between Portugal and Holland for the 2nd spot. 2nd spot in the group means a potential semi-final clash against either Spain (favourites to win Group C) or England/France (2nd team from Group D).

New Nike “My Time Is Now” Ad

Nike have launched a new marketing campaign entitled ‘My Time is Now’ ahead of the European Championships, featuring a constellation of star names including Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery, Wesley Sneijder and more.

The new ad has been released for the first time today and will be screened during the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea on Saturday. Other players you should be able to spot include Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Mario Götze, Mesut Özil, Yann M’Vila, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck while there are also special guest appearances from Pep Guardiola, Lauren Blanc and basketball superstar LeBron James.

Check it out here…