Written by The Final Ball on 18/03/2021
Welcome to The Final Ball Blog! This is where we’ll have weekly a weekly detailed insight into the last week of sport for those of you who just couldn’t live by only listening to us for an hour a week!
And to start off with, something that is constantly on everyone’s mind, money. It’s the very thing that has made the multitude of institutions that hold a place in our hearts, and it’s also the very thing that the majority of football clubs are scrambling around for in desperation to stay afloat. Ligue 1 clubs are looking administration in the face all the way to the top and we might be in for another summer where the big players across Europe will struggle to make a statement signing in the 9-figure region. But where the big leagues can find solutions within the academies that they’ve invested in over the years, others haven’t been afforded the same luxuries in the past. But for the Eredivisie, it finally looks like things might change for the majority of teams over in the Netherlands. Mirroring the media/TV rights deal of the Premier League, smaller teams in the Dutch league will finally receive significant amounts of cash irrespective of how bad they are. Especially after the annulment of the league last year, the teams at the bottom can finally say “it’s the taking part that counts”.
Sticking in Europe, we have to give props to Omar Richards, who has managed to secure a move to one of the most prestigious clubs in the world in Bayern Munich. His performances for Reading have deserved a bigger opportunity, and Bayern are starting to make a habit of snapping up young talent and future-proofing what is already a star-studded squad. Aside from all that, the experience of watching and working with people at the pinnacle of the game is what everyone that plays aspires to do. It doesn’t really matter what he happens next, he’s just got to enjoy every moment.
And speaking of making the most of opportunities, it seems that we may have found a couple of replacements for Joe Gomez in the England squad for the summer. For the first one we don’t even have to leave Merseyside, Ben Godfrey. Now he came to the Premier League with Norwich with a lot of hype being part of a crop of young talents but after they went down with a whimper, so did a lot of their reputations. Since then Norwich have picked up where they left off in the Championship and will inevitably have another crack at the big time, but Ben Godfrey managed to secure the big move and he’s never looked back. Plays in a variety of positions, covers the ground with ease, works well with Michael Keane and reads the game extremely well, just like the aforementioned Gomez. The other option has also been working with an England international in the form of Tyrone Mings but which might be why he’s fallen under the radar a little bit, but Ezri Konsa has come on leaps and bounds over the last year to the point that he might even pip his teammate to the plane(might just end up racing him for it). Offering similar attributes to Godfrey, what these players can offer will make up for the lack of pace that Maguire & Dier have and the concentration issues that Stones have had in the past. Now it’s unlikely that either of these players go because Southgate just seems like a boring individual but taking a diverse combination of attributes would surely serve England better than the dull and sluggish nature that their defence currently have.
Finally, we’ll finish off on a positive note. It seems like the ball has finally dropped for Kelechi Iheanacho. Throughout his career, we’ve always known him to be a great finisher whether it’s off the bench for Citeh or for Leicester, but he seemed to love the bench so much that he never looked comfortable starting a game. Starting a game became a bit alien for him, he didn’t know whether to linkup the play in midfield or pick out passes like David Silva. Everyone knew that there was a talent there, but he needed an opportunity and belief that he’ll get a chance for a considerable amount of time, which he is finally getting. And he has managed to translate that into goals, which is what we’ve always wanted from him. And with that, he’s managed to get his first Premier League hat-trick, which feels long overdue and hopefully for him it’s the first of many. It also led to a beautiful heartfelt tribute to mothers worldwide on Mother’s Day, which had more significance for him considering his circumstance. It showed a human side to footballers which we all love to see, and I think it might be the spark that lights his career and hopefully he’ll carry this confidence into the international stage. Whether or not he does, he’ll at least have all the mums rooting for him.