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 Laudable Lewis Cook to AFC Bournemouth

Lewis Cook (YPOTY)

AFC_Bournemouth_(2013).svg

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

Leeds United Football Club can hang their hat on the club’s youth development academy’s ability to produce elite level ready young talents, many of whom often go onto have successful professional football careers in the game. Lewis Cook has followed Sam Byram by joining an ambitious English Premier League club after earning his stripes at Leeds United, while Byram chose to sign for West Ham United in January of 2016, Lewis watched on in agony as his move to The Cherries fell-through at the eleventh hour, when odds looked on for him to join Benik Afobe as the other hot English prospect signing for AFC Bournemouth. Eddie Howe is said to be a keen admirer of Lewis Cook and what he brings to the table, having scouted the wunderkind on numerous occasions over the course of last season, Cook will have been reassured of the opportunities he will have to further his development, in a team that seems perfectly suited to his dynamic game play.

Lewis Cook has made great strides in his relatively young professional career thus far, the lad has progressed in many regards due to regular first team exposure at a highly competitive level; while his potential ceiling remains extremely high, many have questioned just how far he could be in his development, were it not for having to play under 7 coaches during his time in the Leeds United first team, a spell that coincides with the rule of enigmatic & controversial Leeds United manager axing owner Massimo Cellino. A fresh start, and the lure of stability, in a culture that is not too dissimilar to what Leeds United have been aspiring to recreate within their illustrious club, will only serve Lewis Cook well as he continues to develop into the world-class talent he promises to become.

The departure of Matt Ritchie to Newcastle United for £12m had created a void in the Bournemouth midfield, Lewis Cook’s experience playing in multiple positions, and his effectiveness in different roles, garnered from playing differing systems, will have been great preparation for his new challenge in a team that looks to play their passing game while also adapting their structure to combat specific opposition threats. In Lewis Cook, AFC Bournemouth have secured the services of one of the hottest young prospects in English football, the transition from Championship to Premier League level will not necessarily be easy or without obstacles, but the structure in place at the club should allow the transition to be one that only progresses Lewis Cook’s development.

Lewis Cook

Bio

Full Name: Lewis John Cook

DoB: February 3rd, 1997 (19)

PoB: York, North Yorkshire; England

Nationality: English

Caps & Goals: u/16, 5 Caps | u/17, 15 Caps | u/18, 1 Cap | u/19, 9 Caps

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

Height: 1, 75m

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: A.F.C. Bournemouth

Jersey No: Not Yet Assigned

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2020

Transfer Fee: £6m + add-ons up to £10m

Former Club: Leeds United Football Club (2014-2016)

Development Nest: Leeds United Youth Academy (2004-2014)

2015/16 Club Stats: 47 Games, 2 Goals & 3 Assists

Total Career Stats: 85 Games, 2 Goals & 5 Assists

GSV Deal Grader: Matt Holland from West Ham United FC to A.F.C. Bournemouth on a Free Transfer in 1994 (4/5)

The Grand Stand View

Leeds United gaffer Garry Monk had withdrawn Cook from the England u/19 squad to compete in the 2016 UEFA European u/19 Championship, as he looked to work with the young starlet for a full pre-season, a decision that could eventually come back to benefit Eddie Howe and his Bournemouth side in the coming season, as they now have enough time to get Lewis up to pace with his new teammates. The England youth international was one of the talented young players who went onto win the 2014 UEFA European Championship in Malta; Lewis Cook is also one of the few players from that successful side to progress into fully fledged professionals, after that breakthrough tournament for many in the team, something that may translate into progress at the senior national team level over time, and with great effort invested.

Strengths

Dynamic young attacking English talents with potential world-class ability often catch the eye, due mainly to the rarity of such talents in English football, Lewis Cook is blessed with that almost unEnglish ability to take on players with his dribbling ability, and create space to be exploited simply via his ability to beat his marker 1v1. Blessed with a high level of creativity, to compliment his impressive technical gifts, Cook uses his attacking gifts extremely well and his movement on and off the ball allows him to remain a constant threat in midfield. While his final product still needs some work, Lewis has the ability to distribute the ball well at the elite level, and create attacking opportunities for his side when he goes on one of his mazy runs, that often destabilise opposition defensive lines.

Weaknesses

The lack of consistency in playing one specific role, where he can acclimate to playing for a prolonged period of time, has hurt Lewis in many ways; while the lad is blessed with the potential to do magical things on the ball, his decision making and anticipation of in-game situations has to improve, if he is to fully translate his potential into regular displays of elite level ability in the Premier League. Final product is a great issue of concern for many gifted young players, the pace of football today is prone to expose a player’s lack of composure or execution, now that one has even less time on the ball; Lewis Cook has to work on his final ball or action in attack, his assists and goals tally is not a true reflection of his ability as a player. If Lewis Cook is to eventually progress into playing his more naturally suited role of the deep-lying playmaker, his tackling and anticipation of space on the defensive end will also need to be worked on, yet there is no denying that the lad has many of the intangible gifts truly needed to flourish in a role that he has all the attacking traits to star in at the elite level.

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.

The Heir Apparent; Reinventing The Makélélé Role, The Nutritive N’Golo Kanté

Kante(The Engine Of The Fearless Foxes)
The Engine Of The Fearless Foxes | N’Golo Kante
ClaudeMaklele(Legendary Boots To Fiil)
Legendary Boots To Fill | Claude Makelele

#TheBootRoom

For many football purists, it’s not uncommon to have one player redefine the way we look at an individual role and the value it adds to the overall team game; one such player, who changed the way we viewed defensive midfielders was a bite-sized French destroyer of African origin named Claude Makalele. The legendary holding midfielder has forever revolutionised the way many look at defensive minded players today; while the rise to prominence of the Regista {the Deep-Lying Playmaker} can be largely attributed to a legend named Andrea Pirlo, an effective holding midfield player will always be judged by the Makélélé standard when playing in the Makélélé Role.

Not the most technically gifted or the most physically imposing, yet Claude was blessed with great anticipation and ox-like strength in the tackle; when one combines such good defensive attributes with the mindset to play as a foil for the defence and remain composed while under pressure, you have the quintessential midfield enforcer that needn’t be a hard-man that picks up unnecessary cautions due to an over aggressive nature or poor positional sense.

Whether a team plays purist attacking football or looks to absorb pressure and hit the opposition on the break, in this modern age of high-pressing and less possession dominated football, every team has the need for an able defensive midfielder that breaks up play efficiently and offers a reliable shield for the defensive line. While some gaffers will nitpick attributes like passing ability and overall offensive output when assessing defensive midfield players, there remains no substitute for a defensive midfield general that knows the art of defending and is well versed in the Makélélé art of holding one’s position and affording the more technically gifted players an optimal opportunity to be effective in attack.

The comparisons between the two players are to be taken with a pinch of salt, when one considers the advancements in the game and the expectations placed on holding midfield players in more 3-man midfields that offer less space and demand more defensive organisation and ball-winning capabilities; yet Kanté remains one of the finest proponents of how successful a good team becomes when they have a dedicated midfielder that seeks to win the ball off the opposition and afford his teammates an opportunity to create more attacking chances for themselves.

Makélélé

Claude Makalele begun his professional career at FC Nantes after joining them from Brest as an 18 year old in 1991, the same year Kanté was born; Claude went on to win a league title and register a Champions League semi-final appearance in his 5 year stint at the club, as the more illustrious Olympique de Marseille came in for the tenacious midfielder who was showing great promise while being deployed in a myriad of midfield positions. His stay at Marseille lasted just one season, before Claude was packing his bags for Spain; 2 successful seasons at Celta Vigo saw Makélélé develop into one of the most effective holding midfield players in world football after spending some time playing further up field and out wide. The bite sized bundle of energy had reinvented himself as a premier holding midfield player that had the maturity to do his job effectively in a successful side.

Such great form saw Claude sign for the most illustrious football club in the world, and he quickly established himself as one of the most irreplaceable Galaticos, if not the most undervalued one. 3 trophy laden seasons at Real came to an unceremonious end as his request for wages befitting his importance was rebuffed by the chairman. Claude was snapped up by Claudio Ranieri for the ambitious Chelsea side in 2003 and he helped form the backbone for the squad that José Mourinho enjoyed great success with. The Blues established themselves as a powerhouse club off the back of impressive performances inspired by a midfield anchored by the immovable Makélélé, a man that changed how British football viewed defensive midfield players to this day.  6 trophies in 5 seasons at Stamford Bridge, and the honour of having a position named after him, when some lads are fortunate to earn testimonial matches, are a testament to the immeasurable value Claude added to any team he played for. The great man retired at PSG, where he managed to win his final trophy in the city where he spent his childhood.

Kanté

A proud product of the US Boulogne youth academy, the same club that gave Franck Ribéry his professional break, N’Golo Kanté turned pro in 2012 as he made his debut in a 2-1 home loss to AS Monaco as a 21 year old prospect. The Paris born midfielder broke into the 1st team setup during the 2012-13 season, where his stellar performances and all-action game led to him being noticed by ambitious Ligue 2 side Stade Malherbe de Caen.

An impressive debut season with Caen saw the team finish 3rd and earn promotion to Ligue 1; Kanté continued his impressive development in the French top flight during his second season at the club, dominant displays saw his star rise as comparisons to the legendary Makélélé begun to surface. Interest in the now established midfield enforcer was high during the off-season, and the defensive midfielder deficient Arsenal were just one of the many clubs linked with a young man that seemed destined to shine at the highest level. His current club, Leicester City had been linked to the diminutive enforcer even before Claudio Ranieri penned on the dotted line on July 13th of 2015; to the shock of many pundits and fans alike, The Foxes spent a considerable £5.6m to beat off all competition from Southampton, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Olympique de Marseille in early August of 2015 to acquire the signing of a player that has already repaid a large portion of his transfer fee with scintillating displays in midfield for the surprise table toppers this season.

Although many have noted how unique N’Golo Kanté is in comparison to his predecessor; Claude was a designated holding midfielder who rarely moved from his station and closed down opposition attackers once they entered his defensive 3rd of the field before disarming dangerous attacking moves, while Kante is the modern age version of what Claude was, a talented lad who uses his great defensive attributes and outstanding levels of athleticism to press opposition players higher up the field and win the ball back in positions where his fellow teammates can launch potent counter-attacks when the opposition is destabilised defensively. If one had any fears of the defensive midfielder role becoming obsolete as football evolves, N’Golo Kanté is a glimmer of hope for all who marvelled at the brilliance and unselfish nature of Claude Makélélé and the generations of anchormen he has inspired to go on and star in the Makélélé Role.

Claude Makélélé

Full Name: Claude Makélélé Sinda

DoB; February 18th, 1973 (42)

PoB: Kinshasa, Zaire (Now Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Height: 1.70m

Positions: Anchorman, Defensive Midfielder, Ball-Winning Midfielder, Deep-Lying Playmaker

Preferred Foot: Right

Professional Career Span: 1991 – 2011

Previous Clubs: FC Nantes (91-97), Marseille (97-98), Celta Vigo (98-’00), Real Madrid (’00-’03), Chelsea (’03-’08), Paris Saint-Germain (’08-’11)

Youth Development nests: US Melun (89-90), Stade Brestois (90-91)

Career Club Record: 573 Games, 10 Goals, 13 Assists, 101 Yellow Cards, 2 Double Yellow/Red Cards

Career Club Honours: Ligue 1, Nantes (94-95); La Liga, Real Madrid (00-01 & 02-03); Supercopa de España, Real Madrid (2001 & 2003); UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid (01-02); UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid (2002); Intercontinental Cup, Real Madrid (2002); English Premier League, Chelsea (04-05 & 05-06); League Cup, Chelsea (04-05 & 06-07); English Community Shield, Chelsea (05); English FA Cup, Chelsea (06-07); Coupe de  France, Paris Saint-Germain (09-2010)

International Career

Record: 72 Caps, 2 Assists, 7 Yellow Cards, 1 Double Yellow/ Red Card

Honours: FIFA World Cup Runner-Up (2006)

Personal Accolades: 2005 FIFPro World XI, UNFPT Trophée d’honner (2010)

N’Golo Kanté

Bio

DoB: March 29th, 1991 (24)

PoB: Paris, France

Nationalities: French, Malian

Caps & Goals: N/A

Position/s: Anchorman, Defensive Midfielder, Ball-Winning Midfielder, Box-To-Box Midfielder

Height: 1.69m

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: Leicester City FC

Club Jersey No: #14

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2019

Previous Clubs: US Boulogne (July ’12 – July – ’13), SM Caen (July ’13 – August ’15)

Development Academies: JS Suresnes, US Boulogne

Career Club Record: 102 Games, 7 Goals, 11 Assists, 11 Yellow Cards, 1 Double Yellow/ Red Card