West Brom complete club-record £13m deal for Chadli – but is he worth it?

*Header photo by Adam Fradgley - AMA/Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion have today completed a club-record transfer for Nacer Chadli, with the Belgium international joining from Spurs for a reported fee of £13 million.

The 27-year-old was one of the seven players signed by Tottenham with the money raised from Gareth Bale’s then world-record transfer in 2013, with Chadli going on to make 119 appearances for the club, scoring 25 goals.

He departs the north London club having fallen down the pecking order under Mauricio Pochettino, with the likes of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Josh Onomah and Heung-Min Son all getting attention ahead of Chadli so far this term.

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The switch to West Brom will allow the Belgian winger to reinvent himself in a team that will place higher importance on his abilities than he ever enjoyed at White Hart Lane.

Chadli is primarily a left-winger, although he can also operate on the opposite flank or as an out-and-out striker. He will likely replace James McClean in the Baggies’ starting lineup, with fellow summer signing Matt Phillips occupying a place on the right, behind striker Salomon Rondon.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis has spoken of how Chadli will improve the squad and has labelled him as a “top, top player”.

“I’m delighted we’ve got him, Pulis said. “I said last week that these signings all had to be about players who would improve our squad – and Nacer does precisely that.”

But just how will the new man improve the Baggies?

Table: Chadli's 2015/16 Premier League statistics compared to James McClean and Chris Brunt (stats via Squawka).

Table: Chadli’s 2015/16 Premier League statistics compared to James McClean and Chris Brunt (stats via Squawka).

As the table above shows, Chadli is much more of a goal-threat than West Brom’s current left-sided options in James McClean and Chris Brunt.

The former FC Twente man scored more goals than Brunt and McClean combined last season, despite playing significantly fewer minutes than his new teammates.

Chadi also created more than twice as many chances than McClean per 90 minutes last season, and also fired more shots per game too.

The Irishman is more direct in the sense of getting his head down and taking on an opposing defender, but Chadli will add quality to the Baggies attack, with his crossing and eye for goal just two aspects that should help Pulis’ men going forward.

At 27, Chadli should be entering the prime of his career and Pulis will now be looking to get the best out of his new acquisition.

For Chadli, playing regular first-team football will help him rediscover his best form and should also increase his chances of getting back into the Belgium national team picture.

The transfer makes sense for both parties, although paying a club-record fee for any player increases pressure and Chadli will need to try and inject some pace into the team’s attack from the word ‘go’.

He will expect to make his debut in West Brom’s next game away at Bournemouth on September 10 following the international break.

Is Nacer Chadli a good signing for West Brom?

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Are Spurs and West Ham right to be chasing this £40m-rated star?

London rivals Tottenham and West Ham look set for a transfer tug of war this summer, with young Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi the subject of strong interest from both Premier League clubs.

The 22-year-old Belgian striker has scored 22 goals with 10 assists in 49 appearances in all competitions for Marseille this season but is looking set to leave the French club this summer.

He may have signed a contract extension as recently as January, but Marseille coach Franck Passi has confirmed that it looks highly likely that Batshuayi will be plying his trade for new club by the time the new season begins.

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“Everyone knows he’s leaving,” Passi has said. “I think it’s included in the budget that Michy will probably be transferred this summer.”

Marseille president Vincent Labrune spoke last summer about the striker’s value and said clubs would have to pay in the region of €50 million (£40 million) to secure his services.

“There is not a single top-15 world club that is not interested in Batshuayi, Labrune said a year ago.

“He is one of the most wanted players on the market. There were a lot of offers for him this summer, but he didn’t want to leave. He’s proving himself on the pitch, and if clubs want him then they are going to have to pay around €50m.”

But should West Ham or Tottenham be looking to break their transfer records to sign him?

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In short, the answer is probably no. But that doesn’t mean he should be avoided either. While he has yet to shine on the biggest stages in football, Batshuayi’s potential cannot be questioned at this stage of his career.

The former Standard Liege forward netted 44 goals in 120 games during his time in Belgium before making the move to Marseille in 2014 – an average of 0.37 goals per game.

He has scored 32 in 77 matches since moving to France, netting an improved average of 0.42 goals per game over the past two seasons and has relished in the role of lone striker with L’OM this term.

A move to either Spurs or West Ham would not guarantee Batshuayi a spot as the team’s first-choice striker, with Harry Kane the main forward at White Hart Lane and Andy Carroll the Hammers’ current lead frontman.

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But that won’t necessarily affect Batshuayi. He has only enjoyed one season as the main forward at any club to this point, while he is far from first choice on the international scene with fellow Belgian forwards Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi all fighting for minutes too.

He patiently played second fiddle to Andre-Pierre Gignac to great effect last season, netting nine goals in 897 minutes of league play – an average of a goal every 99 minutes – and used his reduced playing time to adapt to a new league.

Batshuayi would need to do something similar if he does indeed move to the fast-paced Premier League in the next couple of months, rather than being thrust in as a club’s star striker from the word ‘go’.

Spurs appear to be frontrunners for his signature at this stage, with the lure of Champions League football and Mauricio Pochettino’s reputation for developing young talent both huge positives for the player.

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Though a move to West Ham as they prepare for life in the Olympic Stadium will also excite the youngster, who would be able to link back up with former teammate Dimitri Payet with a move to Slaven Bilic’s side.

He has been Marseille’s shining light in what has been a disappointing season but being surrounded by better players would surely see his goalscoring talents continue to evolve – something he would get with a move to either London club.

In today’s market, £40 million is not quite as staggering a fee as it probably should be. But it would still be a huge amount for either Spurs or West Ham to invest in a young striker who has no Premier League experience.

WATCH: Michy Batshuayi’s highlights (via ScoutNationHD on YouTube):

There are several upsides to Batshuayi’s game, with his potential seemingly huge. But if Marseille demand anything in excess of £30 million, there will be an enormous amount of pressure instantly thrust onto the young Belgian’s shoulders, as well as the football club that signs him.

The striker looks set to play his final game for Marseille in the French Cup final against PSG next weekend but where he will be next season remains to be seen.

Do you think Michy Batshuayi is worth £40 million? Which club would he suit better – West Ham or Tottenham?

Manchester City talks underway for £35m-rated former Chelsea star – report

Manchester City have started their summer transfer work as talks are ongoing with £35 million-rated playmaker Kevin De Bruyneaccording to talkSPORT.

The ex-Chelsea midfielder has attracted interest from top clubs all over Europe after an impressive season in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and it is looking likely that he is set for a big money move in the coming months.

The Belgian superstar has found the net ten times and notched 19 assists as he has helped Wolfsburg secure a Champions League place for next season.

Patrick De Koster, De Bruyne’s agent, told talkSPORT that City have confirmed their interest but they are not alone in their pursuit of the talented 23-year-old midfielder.

“Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have made informal contact with me, but there have been no official offers,” De Koster said.

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“The situation has now changed with Wolfsburg qualifying for the Champions League next season, so wherever he plays next season it will be in the Champions League.”

De Koster hasn’t revealed too much on where De Bruyne will be playing next season, but insists it will be a Champions League club and the choice of club is with his client.

“If Wolfsburg decide to sell Kevin, then he will have a choice of clubs who can win their domestic league and challenge for the Champions League as well. The choice is his.”

City will be looking to rejig their squad this season after a difficult and frustrating campaign on all fronts and if they can secure De Bruyne it will be a step in the right direction to rebuild.

It looks as if Yaya Toure will be moving on amongst others but De Bruyne will face tough competition for a number-ten role with David Silva enjoying another successful season at the Etihad.

Would Kevin De Bruyne be a good signing for Manchester City? Is he what they need?

Chelsea star feels Mourinho could have made mistake with De Bruyne

Eden Hazard believes Kevin De Bruyne possessed the quality required to succeed with Chelsea and his comments in L’Equipe suggest he feels Jose Mourinho was wrong to sell him to Wolfsburg.

“He is a great player,” Hazard said. “Mourinho decided to let him go and not play him.

“It was not my decision, even though I know very well that he could play at Chelsea because he has tremendous qualities.”

De Bruyne has an impressive tally of 16 assists in the Bundesliga this season along with nine goals for Wolfsburg, and he could have been the creative attacking spark Chelsea have needed in these past few weeks as they have been somewhat off the boil.

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“I think at Chelsea, you have more pressure than Wolfsburg,” Hazard added. “It’s a shame he’s gone but he’ll have a successful career.”

De Bruyne never really got a look in at Chelsea before Mourinho decided to cash in on the starlet, playing just three times, and now has some of the biggest clubs in Europe chasing him.

Did Jose Mourinho make a mistake by selling Kevin De Bruyne?

What next for Klinsmann and the USA?

USA fell narrowly to Belgium in the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday night, losing 2-1 in extra time but they gave a great account of themselves and earned many plaudits from worldwide supporters.

The USA impressed and exceeded expectations at the World Cup and have now officially announced themselves as an elite footballing nation.

The performance last night typified them as a group. They were unified in defeat and resilient towards the end, with a never-say-die attitude that has to be admired.

Jurgen Klinsmann now has the task of building towards the next World Cup in Russia in 2018, and he has the potential in this squad to succeed there.

DeAndre Yedlin and Julian Green both showed promise and were both a threat against a very strong Belgium side.

Going forward, this ageing USA squad must develop the younger players, which will leave question marks over the international futures of players like DaMarcus Beasley and Kyle Beckerman.

The USA look very strong at the back, and have potential to better the current unit with the likes of John Anthony Brooks and Yedlin coming through the ranks.

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There is a question regarding the excellent Tim Howard and if he will be around for the next World Cup as he will be 39 by the time the tournament in Russia comes around.

There are plenty of emerging American goalkeepers in MLS that now have a chance to prove their quality to Jurgen Klinsmann ahead of the next tournament.

One thing is for sure, the USA can be proud of their team and they have more than proved they are capable of challenging the best on the biggest stage.

Belgium now progress to the quarter-finals on Saturday, where they will play Argentina.

United States to play Belgium on opening day of World Cup in final preparation game

By Louis East

The USMNT will play Belgium in a behind-closed-doors friendly on the 12 June as both sides look to finalise their preparations for the tournament just days before their opening games.

While the rest of the World will be gearing up to watch Brazil take on Croatia in the opening fixture, the US National team and Belgium will be focusing on a friendly to make any last minute adjustments.

FIFA announced on Friday that the two sides will cap off their World Cup preparations by playing each other in Sao Paulo on the opening day of the World Cup.

Some fans will be concerned by the late friendly, as any injuries suffered will affect the nations tournaments.

Though the Belgian football federation have described the game as more of a training session that a competitive match: “It will be a kind of training session for each side.”

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The United States and Belgium are two footballing nations where the sport is rapidly developing, and the Belgian side have an abundance of talent in their squad.

A ‘golden generation’ of Belgian’s are playing across the major leagues in Europe, with several shining in the Premier League.

Whereas the USA’s national league is growing by the year, with Major League Soccer showcasing a better standard of football every season.

These two met in a friendly last May in a six-goal thriller, with Belgium coming out on top 4-2 on that occasion.

It will be the fourth, and final game for Jurgen Klinsmann to assess his side ahead of their World Cup opener against Ghana on June 16.

They will need to get something out of their opener against the Black Stars as they also face Germany and Portugal in the ‘Group of Death’.

The USMNT play against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria in the United States, before travelling out to Brazil in July.