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Hulk not going to Tottenham – good for both parties

With a replacement for Gareth Bale on the top of Tottenham’s transfer list, the north London club have been linked with a move for Zenit St Petersburg attacker Hulk. Andre Villas-Boas knows the Brazil international well from their joint time at Porto, and is being rumoured to be keen to sign the South American after missing out on Willian.

However, the powers that be at the Russian club have ensured their fans that the attacker is not for sale and will not be moving to north London. Despite this meaning that one more potential high-profile target is not available, the news could well be a blessing in disguise for Spurs.

Hulk

Although Hulk is a talented and able player, he is not the player that Tottenham need. Spurs need a creative player to create chances for Roberto Soldado – Hulk is not that player. Someone like Christian Eriksen is a more suitable option for the White Hart Lane side and would be a much more affordable player. Even so it may be worth checking the odds at bwin when the January window opens as he will most likely be on the move around that time.

Hulk’s goalscoring record for a forward is not overly impressive and Spurs would be paying over the odds for a player who built his reputation on one strong season at Porto.

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Hulk is not the answer to Chelsea’s attacking problems

When Andre Villas-Boas got the Chelsea job in 2011 one of the first names linked to follow him from his successful Porto side was Hulk. It didn’t come to pass. Last summer, Chelsea were linked to Hulk once again. It didn’t come to pass. This summer, they are being linked to Hulk yet again. And their fans should be hoping that this story follows the familiar pattern. Only this time, he has said ‘If I said there wasn’t anything in it, I would be lying. But that is not for now.’ Are Chelsea really about to sign a wide forward to play centre forward?

If Chelsea do want to sign a striker, and all signs say they do, the quality of names they are being linked with is bafflingly low or with players who don’t play the position. They’ve been linked most strongly to Man City cast-off Edin Dzeko, Fiorentina attacking midfielder Steven Jovetic and Hulk. There is Gonzalo Higuain on the market and even closer to home, the returning Romelu Lukaku. On top of this, they are expected to sign yet another attacking midfielder/forward type in André Schürrle. It all seems like a bit of a messy process and would indicate an unusually scruffy transfer policy for Chelsea compared to recent years. But one thing is for sure, amongst this group, Hulk is definitely not the answer.

Hulk

There are two key reasons that he is so wrong for Chelsea. Firstly, he’s not a central striker. His positional versatility is limited to the right hand side of a three man forward line. Not only does he not fit Chelsea’s need, they don’t even play the system that he can almost exclusively play in. The reason he is so position limited is that he is a one trick pony. His sole attacking device is to get the ball on the right, cut inside and try to smash the ball with left foot. Does that sound like a basic Arjen Robben perhaps? Well, imagine Chelsea eyeing up Robben to play as the lone striker. Would that not be considered ridiculous?

Secondly, the transfer fee is insane. Last summer Zenit St. Petersburg paid £50m for Hulk and the football world was stunned, staggered and amused in equal measure. They had to pay a premium because they were buying from Porto and because they were buying very late in the transfer window. Ask Monaco about buying from Porto and ask Liverpool about buying late in the transfer window. See; Carroll, Andy.

The price was absurdly inflated. Now, Chelsea are being talked about as offering £35m for Hulk. £35m?! It’s unfathomable. Zenit would be swallowing a £15m loss in one year, and more critically, he’s just not worth that much money. Before Villas-Boas’ single season at Porto transformed his career, his highest league return was eight goals. In Portugal. The season after AVB and Falcao left Porto he scored 16 domestic goals and has got seven in Russia. With respect, these aren’t the best leagues in Europe we’re talking about. Luis Suarez cost Liverpool £24m after scoring 35 goals in Holland. Even at his peak Hulk’s highest was 23. Is this a career record that screams out £35m?

In other words, his last calendar year compares unfavourably with Fernando Torres. Perhaps that is the starkest way of phrasing it. If Chelsea lay out this much for a player of no positional need, no proven record of scoring in major competitions, the year Porto won the Europa League it was Falcao getting the goals, Hulk only got two in that run, and for this crazy fee it will be at odds with their recent policy. He’s a one-season wonder, who only has one trick in his arsenal. If they sign him they are blocking the path of Romelu Lukaku to the first team and still not addressing their search for regular striker in the process. But, he can smash a free-kick sometimes.

Chelsea and Hulk: Not an ideal solution

It has been reported in the press today that Chelsea may well make a move for Hulk this summer to further their options in attack. Roman Abramovich was hot on the heels of the Brazil international last summer, but the South American chose a move to Zenit St Petersburg instead. However, with Hulk unsettled in Russia, should Chelsea reignite their attempts to sign him?

On first glance it appears that Hulk may well  be what the Blues need – physical, strong, fast with an excellent goal scoring record. However while placing your bet on your favorite team in Soccer other options should be considered; the Stamford Bridge club will have more suitable players available to them for the astronomical transfer fee that it will take to bring Hulk to west London.

Hulk

Despite his physical attributes, Hulk fancies himself as a ball player and in traditional Brazilian style wants to drop deep to get involved in possession. There is nothing wrong with this, however that type of player is not what is needed at Chelsea. With the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and the mercurial Juan Mata as playmakers, another player dropping into the mix to play passes is unnecessary.

With the creative players at the club’s disposal, an out-an-out finisher and goalscorer is needed to convert chances rather than another technical ball player. In that respect Hulk’s former Porto teammate Radamel Falcao is a much closer fit, as is someone like Edinson Cavani or Robert Lewandowski.

One must also quest Hulk’s motivations, after Chelsea lost out to Zenit in the battle for his signature last summer. The South American has followed the money to play in Russia, and after realising that he does not want to be there now is ready to jump ship; this despite the fact that he only moved to Zenit in September.

Chelsea need team players and characters that are ready to battle to win close games. As talented as Hulk is, it appears that he is not the right player for the Blues, and has questionable motives. Given the huge potential transfer fee also, Mr. Abramovich would be best spend his money elsewhere.

Chelsea’s striker dilemma: Who should replace Didier Drogba?

Chelsea’s Champions League success in 2011-12 has given the club a real boost, with Roman Abramovich looking to bolster his squad to challenge on all fronts next term. Despite the enterprise and talent of new midfielders Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Marko Marin, with Didier Drogba’s departure a new top-class striker replacement is needed. But who?

Hulk

Initially the frontrunner to be the Ivorian’s successor, a big-money move from Porto looked all-but sewn up a couple of weeks ago. However negotiations appear to have broken down, and the Portuguese champions’ astronomical fee demands seem to have put a dampener on Chelsea’s early enthusiasm. Although the Brazilian is burly and strong, he tends to drop deep or wide to pick up the ball, and as such may not be the targetman/centre forward the Blues need.

Radamel Falcao

The Colombian marksman has shown his calibre in Europe for both Porto and now Atletico Madrid, with back-to-back Europa League successes a testament to his goalscoring ability. With the Vicente Calderon side missing out on Champions League football for next term, one feels a concerted Chelsea effort could bring the South American to Stamford Bridge.

Edinson Cavani

One of the most predatory finishers in world football, Cavani has been the spearhead for a mightily-impressive San Paolo attack over the last two years, terrorising defences across Italy and into Europe. The Serie A side will not want to sell, but with Juventus also circling and strike partner Ezequiel Lavezzi leaving this summer already, Cavani is by no means unattainable.

Stevan Jovetic

Mobile, skilful and with an eye for goal, the Montenegro international has improved markedly over the last two years in a mediocre Fiorentina side. A move to a bigger club looks almost certain, but whether or not Jovetic is ready to make the switch from a big fish in a small pond to Didier Drogba’s replacement is unclear.

Andre Schurrle

Part of a breed of exciting young German attackers, Schurrle is Bayer Leverkusen’s prize asset and involvement in Joachim Low’s Germany squad at Euro 2012 is no mean feat. The Blues are said to have had a bid already rejected for Schurrle, but with additional pressure the BayArena side could be convinced to sell. However, as gifted as he is, Schurrle’s ability to replace Drogba through the middle is questionable, as his style is different to his potential predecessor.

With Abramovich’s multi-millions ready to be spent, any of these five could be acquired if Chelsea really wanted. However, with a new-look talented team in need of an out-an-out centre forward to score chances, Cavani or Falcao look the most relevant targets.

Published – Soccerlens

Brazil’s strength in depth – the players that didn’t make the Copa America cut

The 2011 Copa America in Argentina kicks off in early July, with the hosts the favourites amongst most bookmakers. Despite this, eight time tournament winners and current holders Brazil, as always, have a star studded squad capable of beating anyone on their day. Coach Mano Menezes has named a mightily impressive squad, that includes the mercurial attacking talents of Neymar, Robinho and Alexandre Pato, and the Selecao fans must be confident of their sides chances in the competition. The nation’s true football calibre can be showcased not by the 28 players the former Corinthians boss has selected however, but by the names missing. The following is a potential Brazil international side that will be watching their countrymen compete from the comfort of their armchairs.

GK : Heurelho Gomes, Tottenham Hotspur (11 caps) – Brazil’s number one is Inter’s Julio Cesar, who has made the starting spot his own, and rightfully so as he is the best goalkeeper at Menezes’ deposal. Tottenham’s Heurelho Gomes missed out after one blunder too many may have blotted the copybook beyond salvation. The former PSV stopper’s club future is unclear also, with mistakes in high profile matches, such as against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter finals still fresh in the memory. Undoubtedly has the potential to pull off a match winning save at a second’s notice, but Brazil won’t miss Gomes in Argentina.

LB : Marcelo, Real Madrid (6 caps)– The national coach chose to omit the 23-year-old from his 28 largely due to indiscipline, with the former Fluminense full-back reportedly feigning injury to avoid an international friendly against Scotland and stay in Spain to focus on pressing affairs at the Santiago Bernabeu. Despite his small number of caps, Marcelo has progressed this season with excellent performances for Jose Mourinho’s side both domestically and in Europe and is a player of quality despite his off the field problems.

CB : Alex, Chelsea (17 caps) – The former Santos defender has been replaced both at club and international level by the emerging talents of David Luiz, and has not made the final cut. A solid centre half with a venomous left foot, he will be missed more for the thunderbolt free-kicks than his defensive prowess, with Brazil most likely electing Thiago Silva and Lucio in the starting XI in his absence

CB : Juan, Roma (79 caps) – The 32 year old is maybe past his best but brings a wealth of experience to his current club employers Roma. He formed an effective club and country partnership with Lucio whilst the pair were at Bayer Leverkusen, but a potential move back to the Brasiliero will be the Rio born veteran’s only reason to return to South America this summer.

RB : Fabio and/or Rafael, Manchester United (0 caps) – English football fans will have recognised the progression of the 20 year old brothers this season, who competed with each other for a starting spot in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. Both have flair going forward but need to work on their positioning at the back, and were understandably overlooked in favour of Dani Alves and Maicon. New Bayern Munich signing Rafinha is another right back who will not feature in the tournament.

MF: Anderson, Manchester United (8 caps) – Another Manchester United first-teamer not to make the cut, Anderson has become an increasingly important player at Old Trafford. The former Porto player has an energy and work-rate that would be beneficial to Menezes, but has been overlooked in favour of Premier League compatriots Lucas Leiva and Sandro. A lack of goalscoring has blighted the 23-year-old.

MF : Douglas Costa, Shakhtar Donetsk (0 caps) – The 20-year-old was a key figure in the Shakhtar Donetsk side that made it to the Champions League quarter finals, with two riveting displays to eliminate Roma stuck in the memory. The ex-Gremio man is being linked with a move to a bigger club, and unfortunately for him, despite his talents and a good season, the tournament has come too early for the future international.

MF : Hernanes, Lazio (3 caps) – Has had a very impressive first season in Europe with Lazio, becoming their go-to man in the centre of the park. The 26-year-old former Sao Paulo midfielder has a good range of passing, is excellent in possession, and proved his eye for goal by hitting the back of the net 11 times in 2010/11 for the Biancocelesti. A very good player, unlucky to miss out.

AM : Kaka, Real Madrid (82 caps) – The former Ballon d’Or and World Player of the Year winner has struggled to emulate his scintillating Milan form in Spain, and has had an injury-prone and frustrating two years at the Bernabeu. Recovering from injury in time was one thing; the 29-year-old simply didn’t get enough game-time in 2010/11, finding himself in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow. There is no doubt the talismanic playmaker will don the yellow of his country again in the future, but he needs to get back to his best to oust the likes of Sao Paulo wonderkid Lucas and Santos’ Ganso.

FW : Hulk, Porto (3 caps) – The fact that Hulk is not in the 28 is a testament to the strength of Menezes’ squad, given the excellent season the 24-year-old has just had. Strong on the ball, wonderfully talented and a ruthless finisher, the former Tokyo Verdy frontman was one of the standout performers in Porto’s vast domestic and European success in 2010/11, scoring 31 goals in the process.

FW : Ronaldinho, Flamengo (88 caps) – Another Ballon d’Or past winner to miss out, at 31 the now Flamengo attacker still has gas left in the tank. An unmatchable talent on his day, the former Barcelona hero never settled at AC Milan but still has a lot to offer. 32 international goals to his name and a mesmeric career behind him, Ronny’s bucktooth smile will be missed in Argentina

Other unlucky players to have missed the cut are Internacional’s Leandro Damaio, who is a £15 million target for Arsenal and Spurs, and Villarreal’s Nilmar who continues to impress at El Madrigal.

An unwanted team capable of potentially winning the tournament shows the Selecao’s strength in depth and continual production of top class, world beating players. Mano Menezes’ side start their campaign on July 3rd against Venezuela, and will no doubt prove to be real contenders to retain their crown come the final on July 25th.

Published – http://afootballreport.com/post/6716295666/brazils-strength-in-depth-the-players-that-didnt

Tottenham, Inter and Juventus potential destinations for Porto’s rising stars

FC Porto have been one of European football’s revelations this season, as Andre Villas Boas’ side have swept all-comers aside domestically and in Europe. The side from the Estadio do Dragao finished third last season in the league, but have had a barnstorming and unbeaten run this campaign, winning the title back at a canter, sealing their victorious fate with a 2-1 away win at nearest rivals Benfica. At the time of writing Villas Boas’ men have won 25 of their 27 games, with a startling goal difference of +51, and the newly crowned Portuguese champions are looking for European success also, with a semi-final tie against Villarreal in the Europa League coming up next week.
The Dragoes exemplary run of form has not gone unnoticed, and Europe’s big clubs are starting to circle; three players have been most publicly touted as being pursued by Europe’s bigger clubs, with Italy or England the most likely destination.
Givanildo Vieria de Souza, aka Hulk, is a strong, powerful and abrasive frontman with an eye for goal, and is the Portuguese Primeira Liga top goalscorer with 22 goals and counting. Soon to be Italian champions Milan are reportedly keeping tabs on the Selecao goalgetter, as Massimiliano Allegri looks to add players to his side that can take the goalscoring burden from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shoulders. However, the strikers physical attributes would suggest that he has what it takes to be a success in English football, and Tottenham are apparently ready to spend big to capture the proven goalscorer. Countryman and ex-Porto player Anderson has publicly stated that the 24 year old striker would be an excellent addition at Manchester United also, but the striker is more likely to end up at White Hart Lane.
Hulk’s partner in crime is Radamel Falcao, who has scored 12 goals in 12 Europa League games this season. The 25 year old ex-River Plate forward has proved an excellent foil for Hulk, with an explosive burst of pace and finishing ability with both feet; the pair have scored a frightening 55 goals between them this season. Tottenham again have been linked with Falcao, with even a double move for the partnership being reported, but a more likely destination for the Colombian is Inter. The Nerazzurri are looking for a replacement for ageing Diego Milito, and one of the reason’s behind the Milanese club’s poor season is their dependence on Samuel Eto’o for goals. Falcao would complement the existing personnel at the San Siro, but will not come cheap with a fee of around €20 million being asked by his current employers.
The Porto rearguard is headed up by towering centre back Rolando, who has been the main reason his side have conceded a measly 18 goals domestically this season. The Cape Verde born Portugal international has made 10 appearances for the national side and has grown under Villas Boas’ tutelage. Both Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked with a summer move for the gifted defender, but Rolando may follow Falcao to Italy, with Juventus being the side most adamant in capturing his signature. The Old Lady of Italian football has struggled to replace Fabio Cannavaro and have been guilty of leaking soft goals this season; Rolando is the type of player to get the Turin club back amongst Europe’s top clubs.
Expect an all conquering Porto side to go on and finish the season unbeaten, with European glory a real possibility also. However as with Jose Mourinho’s class of 2004, the vultures will pick off the prize assets from Villas Boas’ team, with the coach himself most likely to follow his talented players out the door.

Published – http://soccerlens.com/tottenham-inter-and-juventus-potential-destinations-for-portos-rising-stars/68948/

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