Tag Archives: Manchester United

Why are Arsenal targeting Jonny Evans?

Jonny Evans had been a supposed Arsenal target for 18 months. When you say his name, a lot of Arsenal fans laugh. Why would we want a Manchester United reject who currently plays for WBA?

But then Manchester City, until recently, were also heavily linked with them. So clearly he is a player that, even if some fans do not rate, the likes of Pep Guardiola does.

So why are Arsenal targeting the Northern Irishman?

Arsenal need a centre back: with Per Mertesacker set to leave on a free transfer, Laurent Koscielny having ongoing injury issues, and Holding, Chambers and Mavropanos all still young and inexperienced, Arsenal need an experienced centre back to partner Shkodran Mustafi.

Evans is Premier League proven: Manchester City are about to spend £57m on Aymeric Laporte. As they have shown over the years, it is very easy to spend a lot of money on a centre back and get it wrong (John Stones – £47.5m, Nicolas Otamendi – £32m, Eliaquim Mangala – £40m, Matija Nastasic – £12m , Stefan Savic – £6m). Buying foreign, buying potential, is a big risk. Arguably their two best centre backs in recent years were their cheapest – Vincent Kompany (£6.7m) and Martín Demichelis (£3.5m).

With Jonny Evans, Arsenal are signing a player with over 250 Premier League appearances, 130 of which have been for Manchester United, the rest for WBA – so he has the right mix of being involved in successful teams and being a battle hardened centre back.

Age: John Stones was a big risk for Manchester City due to his lack of experience. Arsenal have the likes of Calum chambers, Rob Holding and the new Greek lad Mavropanos. They have youthful talent covered, but with Per going, the experience is dramatically reduced.

I was surprised that Evans was just 30 years old. I thought he was a lot older than that. He is a player who has looked after himself and does not have a poor injury record. He could have another 5 / 6 years at the top level.

Leadership: We have lacked a good leader for a decade. Jonny Evans is captain  of WBA and Northern Ireland.

Not only is he a captain, he is also an organiser. Often when Koscielny and Mustafi play together, the centre of the defence looks lost, disorganised. Evans is a director, someone who his centre back partner and the full backs can take their lead from.

Style of play: It perhaps go’s against Jonny Evans that he is very much a British centre back. He is no nonsense. But is that not what we have missed recently? Someone who can put their head in, who knows when to clear their lines, a simplistic player who sees defending as his main job.

But Evans can also play. Occasionally at Manchester United he moved into central midfield. He is not just a thug like Ryan Shawcross, he can actually play a bit as well.

Winner: Johnny Evans has 3 Premier League winners medals. In the 2012/13 season, with Nemanja Vidic injured, Evans was Rio Ferdinand’s partner at the back, as Manchester United won the league comfortably.

Home grown: It might not seem like much, but Premier League rules dictate you can only have 17 foreign players in your squad. Evans, having been at Manchester United since he 9, is home grown. This then frees up a foreign based squad position for players in alternative positions.

Price:  Finally, his price. This is where you all moan.

The fact is, Arsenal do not have a bottomless pit of money like Manchester City. We can not afford to spend £300m just on centre backs in the hope 2 of them make it. Evans is just £10m. If WBA get relegated, he reportedly has a £3m release clause.

So you are getting a Premier League proven centre back, a leader, a winner, for £10m. When yo use Virgil van Dijk going for £75m, Arsenal would be getting a steal for Evans. And at £3m, it would be a no brainer in the summer.


If you want a no nonsense, Premier League experienced defender, who would fit in straight away, you could do a lot worse than Evans for £10m.

Yes, Arsenal could target a Raphael Varane or Samuel Umtiti, or whichever centre back everyone that plays FIFA is currently using, but spending big does not guarantee you are getting what you pay for – as seen by Manchester City’s exploits in the central defence market.

Evans would be a reliable, experienced centre back to put alongside Mustafi.

 

Keenos

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Arsenal target Manchester United star that outperforms Sanchez & Ozil

Rumours doing the round that Arsenal want to take Manchester United’s Anthony Martial as part of the deal that will see Alexis Sanchez go to the red side of Manchester.

As the below stats shows, Arsenal would be getting a player who is much more efficient than both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

I was surprised when I pumped the names into the SQUAWKA COMPARISON MATRIX. Whilst I expected Martial to not be too far in terms of minutes per goal and assist last season, I did not expect to see him ahead of both.

“Minutes per” statistics will often favour the player who plays less minutes, but it is undeniable that Martial is an impressive player.

He currently averages a goal every 3.4 games in the Premier League. A decent figure when you consider 15% of his appearances have come from the bench.

He has also only just turned 22. He is young, hungry and quality.

A surprisingly competitive replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

Keenos

How many Twitter followers does your club have?

In November 2013, I did a little analysis to see who was the most followed football club on twitter. Arsenal came out on top, but what was surprising was that, at the time, Mesut Ozil had more followers than any Premier League football club.

As it is quite at work in my industry with the lead up to Christmas, I have decided to review the blog and update the figures.

To get a proper provisional analysis, the above is a list of teams who were in the Premier League in 2013, and are in it now.

The first interesting analysis is just how much Twitter has grown over the last 4 years. On average, Premier League sides have increased their following by 552%.

Secondly, Manchester United, who in 2013 were the 4th most followed side in the Premier League, are now topping the table.

In 2013, I noted that I was surprised to see Man U in 4th place as they are easily the most supported club in the UK, and one of the most supported in the world. It shows how poor their media team probably were back in 2013.

The growth of Manchester United aside, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have shown a similar growth pattern.

With regards to Liverpool and Arsenal, it shows how strong and historic the clubs are, that they have been able to continue to grow their support without league titles at a quicker rate than the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea who have won league titles. It shows success is not everything.

Saying that, Spurs now languish a long way behind Manchester City. I wonder how many of those fans that follow City had heard of the club when Twitter was first launched back in 2006?

City’s growth over Spurs does highlight that success is very important, especially when it comes to gaining new fans, and foreign fans.

Spurs have not much bigger a following than Everton, an equally unsuccessful side over the last 20 years. It perhaps shows that Spurs fans claim that there has been a power shift, and that they are a massive club, are false.

In terms of Twitter following, Spurs are the 6th most followed in England. They are probably also the 6th biggest club in the country.

It probably also shows the brand of the Premier League that the biggest growers (bar Manchester United) were smaller clubs, lower down the table. I feel a lot of their followers are general fans of the Premier League, rather than fans of the clubs they follow.

The second table is the clubs who were not in the Premier League in 2013, so I have no original data on them. What is interesting is Leicester City.

At 1.1million followers, they would be placed just behind Newcastle. It would have been interesting to see their 2013 data in comparison. I imagine it would have been not too much higher than Southampton. Leicester’s does show just how much success can increase support.

Like success has boasted Leicester, relegation is also clearly damaging.

Those clubs who went down have still grown their twitter following, but at a slower rate than those who stayed in the Premier League.

The 6 teams who are no longer in the Premier League have increased their Twitter following by, on average, 398%. The bottom 6 teams in the Premier League by followers have increased by 557%.

And finally we come on to how the Premier League sides compare to the rest of the world

The first observation is that Real Madrid have overtaken Barcelona since 2013. Although by the time you include alternative languages for both, Barcelona are still ahead.

One interesting thing to note is the Spanish version of Real Madrid’s twitter is followed by more than the English version, but the English version of Barcelona is followed by more than the Spanish version.

Perhaps this indicates that Real Madrid are more popular in Spain, whilst Barcelona are followed more by foreign fans. I know what I would prefer.

Another interesting thing to note is once you remove the English sides, the rest of the world has only grown by 293%. That against the Premier League’s growth of 522%. It shows that in terms of leagues, the Premier League is still the most popular in the world, even if Barcelona and Real Madrid are streaks ahead in terms of individual club.

The last thing to note is how small Celtic are.

With just 551,000 followers, they are not much bigger than Norwich City, and are well behind the likes of Crystal Palace, WBA and Swansea. They might be a big side in Scotland, but it certainly shows they are a big fish in a small pond. And if they ever did join the Premier League, they would be a very small fish in a big pond.

Until next time

Keenos