Grading The Deal; The Accession Of Ahmed Musa To Leicester City

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The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

Defending English Premier League Champions, Leicester City Football Club, have had to deal with the threat of their league winning side being raided by traditionally bigger clubs; after warding off interest from Arsenal for the signature of last season’s club top scorer, Jamie Vardy, The Foxes watched on in agony as Ngolo Kanté turned down a new deal and eventually chose to join Antonio Conte’s revolution in London. The recent weeks have seen the club’s marquee player, Riyad Mahrez, also turn down an improved deal from Leicester and angle for a move to a much bigger club, with Arsenal said to be leading the chase; the rumour mill has continued to tick with news of players leaving the club, as Jeffrey Schlupp and Ben Chilwell have both been courted by Premier League clubs in recent weeks.

Enter Ahmed Musa, the club’s record signing ,and a player that has the ability to make up for much of the losses Leicester have and may still incur, from losing players due to their unforeseen success. The Nigerian attacking dynamo nearly came close to signing for The Foxes in the January transfer window, but a reported £23m bid was rejected by CSKA Moscow, who he then helped guide to their 3rd league title in the last 4 seasons, with a 17 goal haul in all competitions. Securing the services of a young elite level talent like Ahmed Musa for a truly laughable fee of £16m, in today’s transfer climate, is another example of the great business done by Leicester City in recent years. The former CSKA & VVV-Venlo star brings with him a wealth of Champions League experience, to a team that will be in unchartered waters in the coming season; Ahmed has already amassed 24 Champions League appearances thus far in his career, and his expertise will come in handy for The Foxes.

The one undeniable quality Musa brings to Leicester City, apart from his blistering pace, is his ability to play on the flanks, behind the striker & upfront as well; the versatility of The Foxes new addition will afford them with the perfect platform to unleash him in areas where he can be most effective, against specific opposition, in Leicester’s highly effective counter-attacking game. The rise of The Foxes can be witnessed off the field as well, as Ahmed Musa reportedly turned down offers from Everton, Southampton & West Ham United prior to penning his 4 year deal with Leicester City; the one time Arsenal target is overjoyed to be finally fulfilling his dream of emulating childhood idol and friend Nwankwo Kanu, by starring in the Premier League and hopefully going on to become another Nigerian legend in the division.

Ahmed Musa

Bio

DoB: October 14th, 1992 (23)

PoB:  Jos, Plateau State; Nigeria

Nationality: Nigerian

Caps & Goals: 58 Caps, 11 Goals & 6 Assists

Position/s: Inside Forward, Winger, Deep-Lying Forward, Poacher (L/R/C)

Height: 1, 70m

Preferred Foot: Either

Club: Leicester City Football Club

Jersey No: #7

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2020

Transfer Fee: £16m

Former Club: Jos University Teaching Hospital Football Club (Loan, 2008 – 2009) | Kano Pillars (Loan, 2009 – 2010) | VVV-Venlo (2010 – 2012) | CSKA Moscow (2012 – 2016)

Development Nest: GBS Football Academy (2008 – 2010)

2015/16 Club Stats: 44 Games, 18 Goals & 6 Assists

Total Career Stats: 253 Games, 86 Goals & 41 Assists

GSV Deal Grader: Trevor Benjamin from Cambridge United F.C.  to Leicester City F.C. for £ 1.3m on July 12th, 2000 (3/5)

The Grand Stand View

The former Nigerian Premier League record goalscorer, a record he had set at 17 years of age with 18 goals for Kano Pillars, Ahmed Musa has made great strides in his career thus far; a Nigerian International at 17, after making his debut on August 5th of 2010, Musa has gone onto net 10 further international goals after scoring his 1st for the Super Eagles in March of 2011, as a 17 year old prodigy. It seems almost unfathomable that the diminutive attacking marvel hung up his gloves at age 12, after playing as a keeper since he was 10, to become an infield player that has terrorised shot-stoppers since.

Strengths

One trait that immediately stands out about Ahmed Musa’s game is his electric pace; the lad is well versed in the art of accelerating quickly, while maintaining his top speed and balance, often leaving his marker eating dust when he’s on one of his trademark mazy runs. A technically gifted attacking weapon with bags of tricks to unleash on any marker brave enough to square up against him, Ahmed uses his low centre of gravity to evade opposition defenders with ease; a trait that makes him a commodity in the game today, where players have to work even harder to create space for themselves or their teammates. Agile and capable of running hard for the entire duration of a game, Musa is a player that stays a threat for 90 minutes, and often punishes the opposition late in games as they tire of chasing him about. A consummate finisher, Ahmed Musa knows how to find the back of the net, while also creating his fair share of chances for his teammates as well.

Weaknesses

The one downside to playing Ahmed Musa on the flanks is his lack of an end product as it pertains to crossing or looking to pick out better positioned teammates 1st, prior to digging into his bag of tricks to create a better chance for himself to score. The lack of composure in the final third is rather surprising, for a player with the goal & assist tally that Ahmed boasts, something he will have to improve upon as he acclimatises to life In the Premier League. Despite being naturally diminutive, Musa will need to strengthen his body, if he is to truly succeed in a fiercely competitive league; his all action game and trickery will naturally invite tougher treatment from opposition defenders, and a stronger body will be crucial to remaining fit for each battle.

Grading The Deal; The Grandeur of Granit Xhaka to Arsenal

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The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

Arsène Wenger is a man that developed a blueprint to winning titles in England, refined it and made an art form out of its intricacy, before discarding the model for one that was based on the Tiki-Taka era that blossomed before reaching its plateau and fading out in popularity and effectiveness. The largely unflattering season past seems to have reignited a fire in Le Professor’s belly, a fire that has seemed to coincide with what can only be the result of a nostalgic wine induced trip down memory lane with the Missus, one that lead to him digging in the attic and dusting off his “master plan for success”. The pre-Tiki-Taka Arsenal were a combative, yet technical football side, that could play as pretty as they could mix it up, and get stuck in if need be; that flexibility allowed Wenger to showcase his tactical dexterity, by making subtle changes in-game without having to totally move certain players out of position, or sacrifice the balance or functionality of the team, in an attempt to attain the desired outcome.

The current Arsenal squad is largely undersized when compared to the more bullish big EPL sides like Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United, who over the years have sampled that formula hatched by Wenger, to build combative yet attacking sides, that won games and titles with more regularity than the more aesthetically pleasing Arsenal led by Wenger. From Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira to Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira, a thriving Arsenal side under Wenger has always been built around two physical, yet technical central midfield players, that form the heart of the team and offer balance on both sides of the ball. Le Prof seems to be returning to those deep roots, judging by his last two transfers. Mohamed Elneny came in as a much needed buy in January, and the industrious Egyptian has already won over many fans with his tenacious approach on the defensive end, while his propensity to take a pop from range has him marked as a future terrace favourite in the making. The arrival of Elneny has been followed up with yet another physical yet technically gifted former FC Basel 1893 midfield player, a lad who may just be the long awaited replacement for Patrick Vieira that many Gooners have prayed for, in more ways than one. Granit Xhaka could be the type of player Arsenal fans have been yearning for in their quest to reaffirm themselves as one of the elite clubs in English and World football, the squad knows that they can go a long way towards fulfilling their undoubted potential by winning a major piece of silverware or two for Wenger before he hangs up his faulty zipper having winter coat.

Granit Xhaka

Bio

Full Name: Granit Xhaka

DoB: September 27th, 1992 (23)

PoB: Basel; Switzerland

Nationalities: Albanian, Swiss

Caps & Goals: 47 Caps, 6 Goals & 5 Assists

Position/s: Ball-Winning Midfielder, Deep-Lying Playmaker, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista, Inside Forward, Winger (L/R/C)

Height: 1, 85m

Preferred Foot: Left

Club: Arsenal FC

Jersey No: #29

Former Clubs: FC Basel 1893 (2010-2012), Borussia Mönchengladbach (2012-2016)

Development Nest/s: Concordia Basel (2000-2002), FC Basel Youth (2002-2010)

Transfer Fee: £30m + add-ons

Wage: £120k p/w

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2019 + 1 Year Renewal Option

2015/16 Club Stats: 36 Games, 3 Goals, 2 Assists, 7 Yellow Cards, 2 Double Yellow/Red Cards & 1 Red Card

Total Career Stats: 207 Games, 12 Goals, 15 Assists, 45 Yellow Cards, 5 Double Yellow/Reds & 1 Red Card

GSV Deal Grader: Patrick Vieira to Arsenal from Inter Milan on August 14th, 1996 for £3.5m (5/5)

Signing Granit Xhaka is a sign of intent from Arsenal, the former Gladbach skipper brings leadership traits and a physical prowess that has been sorely missed at London Colney; Xhaka may take a few months to fully adapt to the style of play at Arsenal, yet he seems like a long-term replacement for the pivotal Santi Cazorla in the deep-lying playmaker role. Xhaka affords Wenger more flexibility in tactical outlook and personnel selection, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the team change formations more often in the coming season, as Wenger looks to get the best out of an already talented midfield group, one that can be said to have underachieved given the plethora of talent battling for the 5 starting positions.

A combative, yet intelligent midfield general, with a good eye for the pass and an instinctive positional sense that allows him to keep the midfield ticking over on both sides of the ball, Granit Xhaka has all the tools required to develop into an elite level regista for Arsenal and Switzerland.

Strengths

Granit may have played in a more direct system at Gladbach, yet he has always been the player who starts most attacking moves, with a decisive pass or a defensive line shifting run. An average passing accuracy of 85%, with an average pass length of 20m, in the 2015/16 season, proves that Xhaka will not necessarily take too long adapting to the constant passing demanded in an Arsenal side; Granit is well adept at looking to play with his head up and look for the forward pass first, before going sideways or backwards to retain possession if the pass is not on, this trait makes him akin to Santi Cazorla in many ways, and that places him in good stead for the future in an Arsenal jersey. An 81% success rate in take-ons, 30 out of 37 attempted, is a testament to the brilliant combination of guile and strength that is Granit Xhaka; the midfield general is well versed in the art of breaking from deep in midfield, ala-Aaron Ramsey or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and forcing the opposition defenders to break out of shape to halt him, it’s on such runs that Granit makes his living, picking out teammates with pinpoint through-passes.

Weaknesses

A return of 3 goals in 28 games during the previous campaign is a poor showing for such a talented midfield player, Xhaka will have to up his goal tally and aim for double figures in all competitions if he seeks to be an upgrade to the players he seeks to play over regularly; Arsenal have largely failed to reach the lofty heights of the great Wenger sides before them, due to a drought of goals from midfield, where they used to get a steady supply in the past from players like Marc Overmars, Robert Pirès, Fredrik Ljunberg, Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord & Ray Parlour. It’s worth noting how Xhaka had a 48% shot accuracy for Gladbach in the 2015/16 season; as a technically gifted player with a powerful shot on him, the Basel born star can expect to get tons of encouragement from the terraces to have a pop from range when there is an opening for him to shoot on sight, something that seems to be currently largely unencouraged from within the team.

For a deep-lying playmaker ,with good positional sense and a frame that allows him to compete with the best of them, Granit Xhaka still seems a tad bit naïve in some defensive situations, and that will be something which has to be worked on, if Arsenal aren’t going to stop turning-over the ball in midfield as often as they do; a 41% success-rate in tackles, 49 out of 121 attempted, is also not flattering for a player that carries so much defensive responsibility in the double-pivot. Xhaka has also seemingly unfairly developed the tag of being a hot-headed player, due to his determination to succeed, coupled with his inability to time tackles as well as he should, much like a modern age Paul Scholes. The lad is maturing with each season, and his defensive game can only improve when playing in a side that forces defenders to earn their keep more often than not, due to their more expansive style of play and obvious defensive fragilities.

Grading The Deal; The Illimitable İlkay Gündoğan Moves To Manchester City

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The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

When the Jürgen Klopp led Borussia Dortmund outfit was gradually establishing their status as one of the pioneering teams of the modern era, with their heavy metal gegen-pressing game often leaving opposition sides looking overawed; the team was often kept together in midfield by a player that helped to fully integrate the deep-lying playmaker position in a high pressing side globally. İlkay Gündoğan is a player that is light-years ahead of most midfield players today talent wise; blessed with the ability to read a game as well as the best of them, while also having the technical proficiency to make magic with scrumptious passes that often lead to something positive happening for his side, Gündoğan is a premier level deep-lying playmaker of high regard. When Xavi Hernández was ranked as the premier regista is World football, he played the position better than anybody on the planet and exemplified al it meant to be a deep-lying playmaker in positioning and output on both ends of the ball. The baton was passed from Pirlo to Xavi, and many felt that it was firmly between Luka Modrić & İlkay Gündoğan as to who would wear that mantle for the next 5 years. İlkay suffered some injury setbacks, and his time away from the elite stage saw the further rise of players like Paul Pogba & Mateo Kovačić, who will now be seen as the rivals that he needs to compete against as he attempts to solidify his place as one of the best deep-lying playmakers of his generation.

The new Manchester City, under gaffer legendary Pep Guardiola, will need to have their own unique identity, one that allows for the coach to build his own foundation for the work ahead upon the great platform already laid in terms of infrastructure and operations. Many of the old-guard were long expected to make way for younger players that are expected to form part of the bright future being envisioned by the board, fans and the new technical team; a world-class like İlkay Gündoğan is a must have if Pep wants to bring his intricate game to England and enjoy any measurable success in a physically demanding league. The fact that he is looked at as somewhat of a low-key signing by some, due to his lack of output over the last 24 plus months, may just assist Gündoğan in acclimatising to his new surroundings and quickly getting up to the pace & intensity of the league, without too much expectation on him to lead the new-look side in what is expected to be a modified midfield. İlkay has the experience to know that this new challenge is one he must grab with both hands if he seeks to get his career back on track & prove his merit as a genuine world-class talent, one who could be a lot further on in his development were it not for injuries, that have combined to make him miss a total of 132 games, 88 of those from one injury, for the 2 clubs he has represented since 2009.

İlkay Gündoğan

Bio

DoB: October 24th, 1990 (25)

PoB: Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia; Germany

Nationality: German

Caps & Goals: 16 Caps, 4 Goals & 3 Assists

Position/s: Deep-Lying Playmaker, Box-To-Box Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista

Height: 1, 80m

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: Manchester City Football Club

Jersey No: #16

Former Clubs: VfL Bochum II (2008-2009), 1. FC Nürnberg (2009-2011), Borussia Dortmund (2011-2016)

Development Nest/s: SV Gelsenkirchen-Hessler 06, Schalke 04, SSv Buer, VfL Bochum

Transfer Fee: £20m

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2020

2015/16 Club Stats: 40 Games, 3 Goals, 7 Assists & 2 Yellow Cards

Total Career Stats: 210 Games, 23 Goals, 27 Assists & 16 Yellow Cards

GSV Deal Grader: David Silva, from Valencia CF to Manchester City, June 2010 for £26m (5/5)

The Grand Stand View

İlkay Gündoğan did well to overcome the spinal compression injury that ruled him out for a year from August of 2013 to September of 2014; he is currently sidelined with a dislocated patella, which has had him out of action since the 2nd of May 2016, Manchester City will have to use their vast medical resources to manage the physical regiment of Gündoğan and help him stay as fit as possible. İlkay is expected to miss the 1st few games of the season as he shrugs off his injury, but the one ca trust that he will be fighting to prove his worth once he is fully fit and ready to play.

The transfer fee is a relatively small outlay for a player of İlkay’s repute; the players rather sketchy injury record, the fact that he had a year left to run on his Dortmund deal and his willingness to explore a new challenge have all combined to allow City to truly steal a world-class player, for a fee that wouldn’t buy you a decent young prospect in the current transfer market. The considerable savings on the deal should allow the spending to continue, as Pep looks to build the team he feels is armed with the weapons to play his attacking game.

GSV Wunderkind Watching; The Marvellous Anthony Martial

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The Teenage Prodigy Showing Class | AS Monaco
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A Record Breaking Wunderkind | Manchester United FC

Wunderkind

: a child prodigy; also :  one who succeeds in a competitive or highly difficult field or profession at an early age

: someone who achieves success or shows great talent at a young age

The transition from playground hero to global superstar is one that only a lucky few get to undergo & complete; child prodigies can be found in every crevice of the globe, yet one does not always get to witness a child prodigy excel at a competitive level and show signs of great promise at a tender age, as gaffers are often under pressure to get immediate results and predictably punt for more seasoned pro’s as they seek to attain some much needed job security. Football remains one of the greatest tests of talent in the modern age, a field where hard work beats talent, when talent refuses to work hard and having talent alone is not enough to truly flourish in the craft. With measured development and sound off-field guidance, a wunderkind can develop into a world-class footballer with the gifts and aptitude to excel at the highest level; wunderkinder do not always become the true stars that their potential levels would have suggested they’d develop into, yet that will not hinder us from watching the best u/20 lads in the game and giving you an informative, enlightening and educational scouting report as our Talent Scout packs his binoculars and goes Wunderkind Watching.

#TheTalentScout

Anthony Martial

Bio

Full Name:

DoB: December 5th, 1995 (20)

PoB: Massy, Essone; Paris

Nationalities: French, Guadeloupian

Caps & Goals: 6 Caps, 3 Assists {u/16, 17 Caps, 9 Goals; u/17, 13 Caps, 9 Goals; u/18, 4 Caps, 3 Goals; u/19, 5 Caps; u/21, 12 Caps, 4 Goals}

Position/s: Winger, Inside Forward, Advanced Forward, Deep-Lying Forward, Poacher (Left, Right, Centre)

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: Manchester United Football Club

Club Jersey No: #9

Development Academy: Olympique Lyonnais

Previous Clubs: Olympique Lyonnais, AS Monaco

Career Club Record: 104 Games, 24 Goals, 14 Assists

Talent Scout Report

Mental: Speed merchants can often go underdeveloped if there is no effort & time invested in making them effective in their movement; much of that begins in the mind, Martial is blessed with great a great sense of anticipation in play and his precise and definitive movement off the ball allows him to make full use of his gifts to exploit gaps in defensive lines despite being deployed to play in a myriad of attacking positions. Forever as cool as a cucumber, the lad seems unflustered on the field and that high level of composure is evident in his clinical finishing. As an offensive player that gets utilised across the attacking line, Anthony would need to have a high level of creativity to get involved in attacking play more frequently; true to form, the relatively physical and dynamic forward has a astonishing creative dexterity which affords him an extra bit of firepower in his offensive armoury.

Despite being blessed with great movement off the ball, the youngster will need to become more aware of the spaces he can exploit if he is to continue being used as more of a playmaker forward than a genuine no: 9; for Martial to become the offensive superstar that he seems destined to become, his positional play will have to improve as he can often look lost in phases where his team sees far less of the ball.

Physical: The marvel of Martial initially lay in his ability to ghost past defenders with ease; the pace and build of a sprinter combined with the mind and technique of a star footballer, sounds a lot like a great Frenchman that terrorised Premier League defenders for fun while winning a few trophies for The Arsenal… Anthony is blessed with a great burst of speed and power in his legs that allows him to accelerate quickly while still motoring on and maintaining his speed after gathering up a head of steam. That impressive movement is coupled with graceful agility that gives his body an opportunity to turn on a dime while maintaining his balance and allowing him to change gears and fly past markers, often leaving them eating dust before they can read his movement.

A great physique is one of the key factors behind Martial proving tough to contain for defenders, the lad can run off the shoulder of his marker or play in front of defenders with relative ease; while many have commended the maturity he has shown playing well out wide, Martial’s physical gifts mean that he could develop into an elite level no: 9 that can score different goals of great quality.

Technical: True to the Thierry Henry comparisons, Martial is a technical work of art that would easily have caught the eye with his technical mastery alone; a consummate finisher with outstanding technique on the ball, one cannot help but marvel at how efficiently the lad uses the ball while allowing his good 1st touch to afford him an extended period of time to think on the ball and make good decisions. That great ability on the ball is largely underpinned by his astonishing capacity to beat his marker on the dribble and allow his creative mind & impressive physique to fuse and make for one outrageously talented attacking prodigy.

GSV Potential Meter: 5/5 Tsamaya’s