In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including Jude Bellingham’s proposed move to Real Madrid, Erling Haaland’s record-breaking week and which three clubs will get relegated, plus much more.
Real Madrid would be an excellent move for Jude Bellingham…
I think a move to Real Madrid for Jude Bellingham would be a really good deal for both the club and the player.
Madrid have an ageing midfield with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, and although both are still top players, they’re not getting any younger so it’s time to think about their long-term replacements. Not only that but to have one of the world’s best young midfielders want to sign for you sends a huge signal of intent. Being able to say ‘come and play with Bellingham’ would probably prompt others to join as well which is always a nice incentive for clubs to have.
As for the player himself, what a move it would be for him. There aren’t many teenagers out there who can say they’ve played in the Bundesliga and La Liga for two of Europe’s biggest and most prestigious clubs.
When you think about it, Bellingham could genuinely play for Madrid for six years, win countless trophies, and still only be 25 years old when he thinks about his next move, and the door to the Premier League is likely to always be open due to the fact he’s English, and the huge amounts of money available to clubs in this country.
I also think a possible move to Madrid would see his hopes of one day captaining England boosted. If he were to go to the Santiago Bernabeu, cope with the pressure that comes with playing for Los Blancos, and have a positive impact on the team, there is no way he won’t be considered for the Three Lions’ armband.
Erling Haaland: Premier League? – Completed it mate!
Firstly, what a fantastic achievement by Erling Haaland to break Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s long-standing record for most Premier League goals scored in a season! – 35 goals in 31 games… Wow!
The Norweigan is an incredible goalscorer with a remarkable ability to always be in the right place at the right time. Some will argue that a lot of his goals are ‘tap-ins’ – but even though he is in a team with arguably the best creators in the world, knowing where to be and beating a line of defenders is not easy but Haaland is the master of it.
I do wonder how long he’ll be at City for though. Now he’s broken that record, and with the focus obviously on winning the treble, if Haaland and City were able to do that, how much incentive would there be for him to stay at the Etihad? – Very little, in my opinion. Add that to the fact he is really, really good friends with Bellingham, and as I have said multiple times before, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he see the pair reunited at Madrid. It would be a move that would make sense for Haaland – I doubt very much he will see out his career at City and to play for arguably the greatest club in the world and join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul, Ronaldo Nazario, Luis Figo, Sergio Ramos, Roberto Carlos, Alfredo Di Stefano and Zinedine Zidane in the legends book is likely to be the only thing missing from his career. So watch this space – Haaland to Real Madrid in the next few seasons.
Huge win for Brighton on Thursday…
A win last night for Brighton was a huge result in the race for Europe – if Brighton can continue the way they are from now until the end of the season, then Europa League qualification is theirs. The same for Man United and the Champions League – I think it’s going to be very difficult for Liverpool to catch them, especially with the Red Devils having a game in hand.
As for the game itself, I thought it was a really competitive and combative encounter. I know there has been some disgruntled fans on social media slating some of the refereeing decisions, including Casemiro’s possible red card, but I actually thought Andre Mariner had an excellent game. I don’t think Casemiro’s foul in the second half should have resulted in a second yellow card. I am glad referees are taking the adapted rules and allowing for more physicality in matches. We don’t want to see players booked and sent off for every single challenge that goes in.
The idea that the Brazilian would have received a booking if he wasn’t already on one is just a knee-jerk reaction. I am sure Mariner would have looked at Casemiro’s tackle, thought about it very quickly and in real-time, and decided it was a foul and nothing more – the fact the midfielder had already been booked probably wasn’t even thought about in the split second it took the referee to make his decision, so overall, no issues from me – I thought it was an entertaining game, and even though I am a fan of Aston Villa, who are obviously in direct competition with Brighton for a spot in the Europa League, I thought the Seagulls once again proved that they deserve to be where they are in the league.
Is a World Cup winner heading to Liverpool?
If Alexis Mac Allister joined Liverpool at the end of the season, he’d arrive at Anfield as a World Cup winner and I think he would be the top dog. He’s highly energetic, goes box-to-box, has a goal in him and is exactly what Jurgen Klopp needs given his need for a new midfield.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Liverpool have had him on their shortlist since before last year’s World Cup so I am sure conversations over an early transfer have long since taken place.
If the Reds can get him and another two or three others like Mason Mount, for example, then I would fully expect Klopp to turn the team back into the competitive force they were a season or two ago. It looks like it’s going to be a really busy and exciting summer for Liverpool and their fans.
Todd Boehly has to own Chelsea’s mistakes…
I saw an interview that Todd Boehly did recently where he spoke about Chelsea Football Club being in an area of the country that is one of the best cities in the world; a place where young footballers want to live and play, and that surprised me a little bit. He didn’t really mention how the club have a history of winning major silverware, it was more like they’re a club that COULD be successful.
I think he needed to own up and come out and say ‘mistakes were made, and as I am the owner, I take full responsibility for those mistakes. Perhaps I came in and ran before I could walk’ – If he had said something along the lines of that, it’d have taken some of the heat out of the situation.
Having said that, let’s not forget – Chelsea do have one of the best squads in world football but there are too many players. They need to trim their squad down from 30 or 40 players to 25 players maximum, who can compete for trophies again.
It’s no secret – the challenge now is for Boehly and his hierarchy to announce their next permanent manager, trim the squad and get the ones who stay fully firing because to see them down in 12th is shocking and their form this season just can’t be allowed to continue into next. Although I don’t think it’ll happen, the fact they can be relegated with four or five games to go is absolutely staggering.
My three picks to be relegated…
As for which teams I do think will go down…
Southampton look doomed – I think they’re probably most people’s first pick, so no surprises there. Everton’s remaining fixtures look really, really tough, so they’re my second pick and purely because Nottingham Forest have a couple more winnable games (on paper) than Leeds United do, I am going to make the Whites my third pick.