The Insider this week features a host of the hottest topics in the game right now
Kaveh Solhekol’s insider column returns – this time he casts his net wide, taking a view on the Manchester City UEFA saga, Jude Bellingham’s transfer and the job David Moyes has done since taking over at West Ham.
Moyes to bank £2m West Ham bonus
Not many people in football would argue that David Moyes does not deserve his £2million bonus for keeping West Ham in the Premier League.
- Transfer Centre
- Soucek: The Premier League’s ultimate runner
They are six points clear of the relegation zone with two games to play and their superior goal difference means only a set of freak results would see them go down.
Rewind to the end of December and Moyes had a lot to deal with when he was appointed for a second time after the club’s owners lost faith in Manuel Pellegrini.
Barring a freak turn of events, David Moyes has led West Ham to Premier League safety
His short-term target was to keep the club in the Premier League and impressive recent wins against Chelsea, Norwich and Watford have almost guaranteed that.
Moyes signed an 18-month contract when he replaced Pellegrini and that means he will start next season with less than a year left on his deal.
West Ham are relaxed about that and there are no plans at present to hold talks about extending his deal until January at the earliest.
Moyes does not always get the credit he deserves but he is making a real mark at the club. He is very popular with the players and he has an excellent working relationship with the owners.
Could QPR’s Eberechi Eze be on his way to West Ham this summer?
One of the most impressive things about him is his work ethic. Less than 12 hours after West Ham beat Watford on Friday night, Moyes was at The Valley to watch Charlton draw with Wigan. That was a 12.30pm kick-off. Two and a half hours later, Moyes was on the other side of London to watch Queens Park Rangers beat Millwall at Loftus Road.
Moyes was looking at players such as QPR attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze. His strategy this summer will be to buy young hungry players and he has been keeping a close eye on the best players in the Championship.
Re-appointing Moyes may not have been a popular decision, but overall you have to say West Ham’s owners made the right calls in December and January. They re-appointed Moyes and they signed two players who have made a real impact – Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek.
Dortmund stepping stone for Bellingham
Jude Bellingham has the world at his feet and he has made a great decision to sign for Borussia Dortmund. Let’s not kid ourselves though that he grew up dreaming of wearing their famous yellow shirts.
Jude Bellingham will be plying his trade in the Bundesliga next season
Dortmund are a fantastic club but Bellingham is moving there to develop as a player and move on. He is using them as a stepping stone and Dortmund have no problem with that. It is their business model. Buy young players, develop them, let them play and sell them on for a big profit.
Bellingham’s move is not a match made in heaven, it’s a marriage of convenience.
Man City need voice at top table
Ever since Manchester City were banned from Europe for two seasons in February, they have made it clear that they have no problem with UEFA.
Their problem was with UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body which investigates and punishes clubs who have broken financial fair play rules.
The Etihad Stadium will see Champions League football next season after Manchester City won their battle against UEFA in the courts
UEFA is run by an executive committee made up of some of the most powerful men and women in European football. It is where you want to be if you want to have a real say in how the European game is run.
Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill is on the committee, along with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli and Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Maybe it’s time for City to seek a voice at European football’s top table as well. Stranger things have happened.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin called City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak after the CAS verdict
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was guest of honour at City’s home Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk last November and when City won their appeal against their European ban last week, Ceferin was one of the first people to call City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
Next season will be City’s tenth season in a row in the Champions League. City are establishing themselves as one of the most successful and powerful clubs in the world – on and off the pitch.
China crisis for English clubs
It’s a sign of how big a global business football has become that the UK Government’s decision to ban Huawei from the UK’s 5G network could have a big impact on several Premier League and Championship clubs.
China says there will be consequences for the UK and state media in Beijing has called for “painful and public retaliation”. China’s relations with the UK have also been strained by major disagreements over Hong Kong and the imposition of a controversial new security law in the former British colony.
Wolves are one of a number of Chinese owned clubs in the UK
China is expected to introduce more restrictions on its companies and citizens investing in UK businesses.
That could be bad news for Chinese-owned clubs in the UK such as Wolves, Southampton, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham and Reading.
Willian doing his talking on the pitch
Like every Premier League club, Arsenal do a lot of background checks on players before they sign them.
It would be interesting to compare and contrast the reports on Willian and Ryan Fraser. Both are very talented players who are free agents this summer.
Willian has another Wembley date to look forward to on August 1
But while Willian signed a short-term contract extension to carry on playing for Chelsea during Project Restart, Fraser decided he didn’t want to risk injury and jeopardise a move by playing for Bournemouth after his contract ran out last month.
Bournemouth are now heading to the Championship, while Chelsea and Willian are in the FA Cup final and Frank Lampard’s team are on course to be in the Champions League next season.
Fraser released a statement at the start of the month saying Bournemouth would always have a special place in his heart.
Willian does his talking on the pitch.
United should have gone for Neuer
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t make many mistakes but Manchester United really should have tried harder to sign Manuel Neuer instead of David De Gea in 2011.
They needed to sign a goalkeeper to replace Edwin van der Sar and Ferguson has admitted that Neuer was “on our agenda”.
Manuel Neuer has won eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern
Neuer had established himself at Schalke as the best young goalkeeper in the world but United’s goalkeeping coach Eric Steele had other ideas.
He convinced Ferguson that De Gea was a better prospect so United signed him instead for £19million from Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile, in the same summer, Bayern Munich signed Neuer for €18million.
De Gea has made some breath-taking saves at United but he’s also made some very high-profile mistakes. The latest one against Chelsea on Sunday has led to questions being asked about his long-term future despite the fact that he signed a new £375,000-a-week contract last September.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea was at fault for Chelsea’s second goal on Sunday
De Gea is great at making reaction saves, but does he have the presence, character and authority to follow in the footsteps of legends like Peter Schmeichel? That’s a question for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
In the meantime, Neuer can’t have any regrets about signing for Bayern instead of United. He may not earn as much as De Gea, but he has won eight league titles in nine seasons.
You can read Kaveh Solhekol’s feature on the 50 best players Manchester United missed out on here.