Yuletide Hoarding: When Stockpiled Loan Players Embarrass their Parent Clubs

Simon Smith looks at the growing examples of loaned-out players outperforming their parent clubs…

This Christmas I will have to contend with a shocking and unexpected horror when I visit my family for the annual yuletide celebrations. As an Arsenal fan, albeit one who always strives for objectivity in my writing, having a cohort of West Ham fans in the family has on occasion provided me with opportunity for many a laugh at their expense. The Hammers have had their revenge on occasion. They were the first team to win at the Emirates Stadium, and their often pragmatic underperformance in the Premier League is at least easier to deal with than the aneurism inducing heartache of disappointment all Gooners know all too well. But nonetheless I have usually been able to content myself with beating them most of the time and generally being the better club.

Barring a series of favourable results this weekend, I will have to arrive late on Christmas Eve knowing that my beloved Arsenal are lower than West Ham in the table. What’s more, they have done so playing largely eye catching and attractive attacking football, and by getting some of the best out of loan signings Carl Jenkinson and Alex Song.

Song has proved to be something of a coup: if his move to Barcelona seemed a little bizarre, a touch above his pay grade, then it should still be accepted that West Ham is a little below the level that the football community might have expected to drop down to. That shouldn’t be taken as any disrespect to West Ham, especially given their excellent form throughout the season so far, so much as an indication that his status as something of a joke figure in English football was misplaced. Continue reading

Where will Diego Simeone go after Atlético Madrid?

Jonny McConnell looks at Diego Simeone’s options beyond Atlético Madrid…

It has been said over and over again, but even in management, Diego Simeone has retained the ferocity and sheer determination that made him such a formidable opponent in his playing days.

Often unpredictable on the pitch, he had enviable talent and he has impressively taken his playing qualities into his role as a manager. Since replacing Gregorio Manzano in December 2011, Simeone has showed his coaching ability to the world, helping the club escape from a period of mediocrity, moulding them into La Liga winners in the space of two and a half seasons. What next though? Can Simeone and the club improve on this, or have they finally reached their ceiling as a club. Continue reading

Three Emerging Talents from La Liga

La-Liga

The False Nine debutant, Nathan Carr, takes a look at some of the emerging talents in La Liga…

Many are firmly aware of La Liga’s never-ending conveyor-belt of scintillating talent – but while the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, inevitably, continue to enliven Spanish football we mustn’t forget those youthful, fresh-faced folk who are waiting to set the stage alight. Here are three emerging talents from Spain’s top-flight. Continue reading