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Monday Fulham Stuff - 20/11/23...

Started by WhiteJC, November 20, 2023, 08:06:17 AM

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Tottenham, Chelsea join London rivals Fulham in hunt to land £30m Norway attacking sensation
Tottenham and Chelsea are reportedly ready to rival Fulham in the race to sign impressive Club Brugge forward Antonio Nusa in the January transfer window.

The teenage striker is currently making a big name for himself in Belgium, with Fulham in particular identifying his ability to play anywhere across the front line.

However, other suitors have now joined the chase for the 18-year-old, despite the fact that he only signed a new contract that runs until June 2027 earlier this year.

It's also stated that Brugge do not want to lose the attacking sensation in the new year, especially as they are going well in both the Belgian Pro League and Europa League this term.

However, a Football Insider source has revealed that Brugge are likely to demand a fee of around £30million if they do decide to cash in on the player's strong start to the campaign.

Indee, Brugge are hoping that Tottenham and Chelsea's interest will materialise into an auction for Nusa's services, driving up the price in the process.

Nusa has made 17 appearances across all competitions this term, scoring twice and adding assists.

The attacker also played a major role in helping his side win the Belgian Super Cup last season, making 53 appearances in all despite still being a teenager.

Nusa, who is comfortable playing on either wing or through the middle, scored his first senior goal Norway in a friendly with Jordan back in September. He has now won four caps for his country.

Tottenham, Chelsea to make January moves
Meanwhile, Tottenham and Chelsea's hunt for new attacking talent is well known, with the former in particular needing fresh additions after a full-blow injury crisis.

Spurs, who are also after Juventus talent Samuel Iling-Junior, currently have Richarlison, Manor Solomon, Ryan Sessegnon and James Maddison on the sidelines, while Ivan Perisic has been ruled out for the entire season.

That has led Ange Postecoglou to look at players who can strengthen his squad, although the Australian was going to look at signing a new No.9 anyway after not replacing Harry Kane in the summer transfer window.

As for Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino wants more competition for his front three, especially with Christopher Nkunku remaining on the sidelines with the serious knee issue he picked up in pre-season.

Both Tottenham and Chelsea will be back in action the international break, with the in-form Blues taking on Newcastle on Novemver 25, while Spurs welcome Aston Villa a day later.


Blues' Jay Stansfield makes England Under-21s debut

With the final Men's international break of 2023 underway, takes a trip around the world to see how Blues' players have been faring for their respective nations.
Jay Stansfield made his England Under-21s bow as Lee Carsley's team beat Serbia 0-3 in a 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualification fixture on Saturday afternoon. The Fulham loanee was a 67th-minute substitute for Liam Delap and nearly marked his debut with a goal, hitting the post during the Group F clash at the TSC Arena, Backa Topola.

The Young Lions second qualifier of this international break is against Northern Ireland at Goodison Park on Tuesday 21 November, kick-off 7.45pm, where Stansfield could go up against fellow Birmingham City man Tommy Fogarty who is part of the visitor's squad led by Tommy Wright.

Jordan James completed the full 90 minutes of Wales' 1-1 draw away to Armenia in UEFA EURO 2024 Qualification. The result gives Croatia the edge over the Dragons as they fight it out for Group D's second automatic qualifying spot going into the final matchday when Turkey visit the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday 21 November, kick-off 7.45pm. Rob Page's side need to win in the Welsh capital and hope that Croatia fail to collect all three points versus Armenia.

Neil Etheridge captained the Philippines as they were beaten 0-2 by Vietnam at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Thursday afternoon. This was the first of two FIFA Men's World Cup 2026-AFC Asian Cup 2027 Preliminary Joint Qualifiers in Manila, with the Azkals next hosting Indonesia in the Filipino capital on Tuesday 21 November, kick-off 11am.

Juninho Bacuna was on the scoresheet for Curacao as they completed an international friendly against El Salvador at the Ergilio Hato Stadium on Friday. Blues' midfielder struck after just three minutes for the hosts but they were denied victory by a late equaliser in Willemstad. They will, however, have another chance to get one over their CONCACAF counterparts when they meet at the same venue for the second time in five days on Tuesday 21 November, kick-off 1pm.

Femi Olofinjana played the whole second-half at Dama De Noche as Norway Under-19s were defeated by Germany on Thursday. The first of this international doubleheader ended 1-3 to die Mannschaft, with the sides meeting again on Sunday 19 November at Stadion La Linea.


Iwobi equals legendary CB Stephen Keshi and eight other things to note on Super Eagles starting XI
Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro has announced his starting lineup for the 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Zimbabwe at the Huye Stadium, Butare.'s editorial staff  brings you nine things to note on the starting lineup to face the Warriors.

1) Jose Peseiro has made six changes from the side held to a 1-1 draw by Lesotho, inserting Ola Aina, Bruno Onyemaechi, Nathan Tella, Moses Simon, Joe Aribo and Terem Moffi.

2) The eleven players selected in the starting lineup have an average age of 25.82 years, with Semi Ajayi the oldest at 30 years and Calvin Bassey the youngest at 23 years.

3) Arsenal academy product Nathan Tella will be officially cap-tied to Nigeria barring an injury in the pre-match warm up. The Bayer Leverkusen winger was eligible to play international football for his country of birth, England before he was named in the starting lineup.

4) Four players named in Nigeria's provisional squad to the 2018 World Cup will start against the Warriors: goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defender Ola Aina, midfielder Alex Iwobi and forward Moses Simon.

5) Southampton midfielder Joe Aribo starts a competitive game for the Super Eagles since a 3-2 win against Sierra Leone in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on June 18, 2023.

6) Fulham midfielder Alex Iwobi, who earns his 68th cap today, equals legendary centre-back Stephen Keshi as the eighth-most capped player for the national team, behind Ahmed Musa, Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, Obi Mikel, Nwankwo Kanu, Muda Lawal and Austin Jay-Jay Okocha.

7) Seven of the starters have ties to English clubs. Semi Ajayi, Alex Iwobi and Nathan Tella previously played for Arsenal's youth teams before moving on to pastures new. Ola Aina, Calvin Bassey, Frank Onyeka and Joe Aribo are currently on the books of Nottingham Forest, Fulham, Brentford and Southampton respectively.

8) Moses Simon will captain the side in the absence of Ahmed Musa and William Troost-Ekong.

9) Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho makes his seventh start for the Super Eagles in 2023, more than any other player in the squad.

Nigeria's starting XI: Uzoho; Aina, Ajayi, Bassey, Onyemaechi; Onyeka, Iwobi, Tella, Moses Simon; Aribo,

Substitutes:  Obasogie, Ojo, Osayi-Samuel, Boniface, Iheanacho,Umar, Awaziem, Collins, Omeruo, Loookman, Onyedika

Ifeanyi Emmanuel


Arsenal and Spurs blow as PL rival now lead race to sign £30m star Edu has personally scouted
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur may be set for disappointment if they hope to sign Andre during the January transfer window, with Fulham now leading the race to sign the midfielder.

That is according to a report from the Sunday Mirror (19/11; page 74), which notes that Liverpool have also scouted the Fluminense youngster.

Andre appears to be destined to be one of the next Brazilian prospects to move to the Premier League in the coming weeks. The 22-year-old has already made well over a century of league appearances for his club.

Fulham lead race to sign Andre
It is looking extremely likely that Andre will move in January, with Liverpool one of the sides who have been named as a front-runner for his signature.

Meanwhile, Graeme Bailey told the Talking Transfers podcast claimed that Arsenal sporting director Edu has watched Andre, who could cost around £30 million.

The Sunday Mirror (19/11; page 74) is also reporting that Arsenal and Liverpool, along with Tottenham, have watched Andre. However, their report claims that it is Fulham who find themselves on pole position.

Marco Silva's men are interested in the starlet as a potential replacement for Joao Palhinha, who may get another opportunity to join Bayern Munich in January.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs may kick themselves if they miss out on Brazilian
Joining Fulham would arguably be a smart move for Andre. If Palhinha leaves, they will offer the clearest path to regular first-team football. And if he impresses at Craven Cottage, the interest from the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool is unlikely to go anywhere.

Having said that, Liverpool do appear to need a holding midfielder. And Tottenham will not say no to further depth as they prepare to lose Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr to AFCON 2023.

Arsenal have seen Thomas Partey sustain another injury recently. So they may also be wary of not strengthening after missing out on the Premier League title last year.

Given the amount of talent which has emerged from Brazil in the last few years, there may well be a number of sides which are left kicking themselves if Fulham win the £30 million race.


Fulham Women 2-2 Arsenal Women Academy (3-2 on pens)

Fulham Women knocked Arsenal Women Academy out of the Capital Cup on a dramatic afternoon at Craven Cottage.

The girls stormed into a two goal lead in the first half, with Rachel Panting adding to Megalie Mendes' penalty.

Arsenal, the competition holders, fought back well after the break and restored parity with two goals of their own, before Fulham substitute goalkeeper Ellie Parker saved a stoppage time penalty.

Parker would prove to be the difference in the shootout that followed, too, saving three spot-kicks to win the tie for her team.

After a strong start, Fulham Women were handed a golden opportunity on 10 minutes when Georgia Heasman was pulled down in the box as she tried to connect with Panting's teasing delivery. Maddison Stanbury guessed the right way, but Mendes' spot-kick was too clean and flew beyond the Arsenal goalkeeper.

The Whites were getting plenty of joy down the right-hand side, with Sasha Adamson running onto another Panting delivery, but Stanbury was equal to her swept effort.

We hadn't seen loads from Arsenal in an attacking sense, with Fulham snuffing them out whenever they entered the final third, but Amelia Bloom fashioned an opening in the 25th minute, with Libby Stratton making a fine save to deny the Gunners forward.

It was Bloom versus Stratton again two minutes later, but this time it was a routine stop for the FFCW 'keeper.

A fortunate bounce around the Arsenal area then saw the ball drop kindly for Heasman, but Stanbury was equal to her placed strike.

A nice move from the visitors ended with Maddy Earl attempting to chip Stratton, but our number one was well positioned and made a simple catch.

Out of nothing, Arsenal almost grabbed an equaliser when Sienna Hurrell's skewed cross smacked against the crossbar. It came straight out to Isabella Fisher, but thankfully she could only head over.

It was the woodwork at the other end that was shaking moments later, with Stanbury showing excellent agility to turn Adamson's piledriver onto the bar and over.

Arsenal struggled to clear the subsequent corner and were duly punished when the unmarked Adamson was able to square for Panting, who side-footed home her volley with aplomb.

Naturally, the young Gunners will have wanted a quick reaction in the second half, and they nearly grabbed it when Bloom was slipped through. Stratton was off her line quickly, though, to narrow the angle and make the save.

The visitors were playing with purpose after the restart, but almost found themselves three down on the hour mark. A lovely spin from Heasman saw her get away from her marker, with Stanbury palming her wicked cross straight to Adamson, who saw her strike blocked from near the line by Maisie Wilson.

The ball then dropped to Betty Barron-Clark on the edge of the box, who hit her shot well but it just cleared the target.

That proved to be a crucial moment as Arsenal went straight up the other end to half the deficit courtesy of Bloom's pinpoint first time finish.

Arsenal tails were up, and they threatened a quickfire double when Vivienne Lea broke free, but Stratton made a big stop to preserve her side's lead.

That lead did not remain intact for too long, though. A driving run from Hurrell culminated in her bending a great pass into Bloom, who worked a yard of space before slotting into the corner.

Fulham looked to quickly reassert themselves on proceedings, with Adamson showing good strength to hold off the last defender, but she couldn't get enough power on her attempt to beat Stanbury.

Hearts were in mouths as we entered the final 10 as Bloom looked certain to poke home her second, but Olivia Dale made a fantastic last ditch tackle to deny the Arsenal forward.

They almost capitalised from the corner that followed, but Becky Stormer was able to clear a loose ball from off the line.

Mendes did find the net with a looped effort with two minutes to go, but the whistle had already gone for a foul.

With penalties approaching, substitute goalkeeper Ellie Parker was brought on in place of Stratton, and she found herself facing a spot-kick earlier than expected when Ella Tagliavini committed a foul in stoppage time. Bloom went for power with her effort from 12 yards, but Parker stood tall and got a firm arm on it to push over, to the delight of the crowd.

In the shootout, Sophie Manzi and Hurrell both netted, but Mendes saw her kick strike the underside of the bar, landing the wrong side of the line.

Lucy Lyon and Madi Parsonson converted for either side, before Parker denied Ruby Seaby to level things up. Unfortunately we could not capitalise, with Lilly Lambird shooting straight at Stanbury, but she was given an immediate reprieve when Parker kept out Lia.

Dale then thumped a perfect strike into the corner, meaning it was all on Bloom to keep Arsenal in it. She'd had a fine game up top for her side, but Parker had been imperious since her introduction, making yet another stop to dump the holders out and put Fulham Women into the next round.


"We're disappointed" ‚Äď Iwobi and Peseiro bemoan Super Eagles lack of goals

Iwobi played the entire ninety minutes in both of the Super Eagles games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, albeit in a more reserved role.

Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi, has expressed his disappointment at Nigeria's inability to be prolific in front of goal, following the 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe, reports.

The ex-Arsenal player has played ninety minutes in the two qualifying games the Super Eagles have been involved in and has urged his teammates to do better.

Speaking in the post-match interview alongside the team coach, Jose Peseiro, the 27-year-old reiterated the coach's point of travel fatigue not being an excuse. Peseiro initially said;

"It was a tough trip from Nigeria to this place. The flight, the bus. It's a lot of work, and the players didn't have enough rest, coupled with injuries, but that's not an excuse. We had more energy and could have won that match."

Iwobi then added that the quality of the squad at the Portuguese's disposal should have been enough to win the game, pleading with Nigerian fans to continue to support the team.

"Travel is not an excuse, we're professional enough and we have a lot of quality in the side. The first half wasn't good enough, but the second half was better, so we have to look at that and analyse the game and see what went wrong and what we can do to improve. I'll just ask the Nigerian fans to stick by us," the former Everton man told

For Iwobi, it is a disappointment to not come away with all three points and wants to fight for Nigeria's spot at the next FIFA World Cup.

"We're disappointed with the players we have, Nigeria is a country with a lot of quality players, we should have been able to get more points and goals. We won't dwell on this, we'll keep fighting till the very end to make sure we qualify," He added.

The next time the Super Eagles will be in action will be at the 2024 AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast.


'It's personal' - Tim Ream explains strong emotions ahead of USMNT's first visit to Trinidad & Tobago since 2018 World Cup failure
Tim Ream says some with the U.S. men's national team still feel something as they prepare to play at Trinidad & Tobago for the first time since 2017.

    Ream says most of USMNT has moved on
    First visit to T&T since 2017
    U.S. holding onto 3-0 lead after first leg


The USMNT's last visit to T&T came all the way back in 2017, and it remains the darkest day in the program's history. Needing a result to clinch a spot in the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. fell 2-1 and, combined with results across CONCACAF, failed to qualify for that next summer's tournament as a result.

That loss led to a total rebuilding of the program, with almost all of the players in the current squad coming in after that defeat. 36-year-old defender Ream, though, has been around for several cycles and he says that there's still some emotion that comes with playing T&T.


The U.S. has faced Trinidad & Tobago multiple times since that day and have gone unbeaten against the Soca Warriors in the six years since.

The two sides have faced off four times since, with the U.S. winning by an aggregate scoreline of 22-0 over those four games. In total, the U.S. is 22-4-4 against T&T, but one loss still looms over the program all these years later.


"I think for everybody, it's personal, when they move on, when they move past it," Ream said. "I think for for me it was, I'd say, 2019 Gold Cup, I believe. We played, if I recall correctly and that was kind of the moment for me and then I think as a whole, as a squad, I'd definitely say it was going into into the World Cup last year. Obviously the guys qualify for that and put the wrongs of the past on a better path.

"Again, it's personal for everyone but yeah, for me, it was definitely the Trinidad game, playing them in the Gold Cup. I know it's not the same. This is the first time we've been back and some may feel that this will be the moment but yeah, I think, like I said for me, it was it was back in 2019."


Up next for the USMNT is the match on Monday, which comes after a lopsided win in Austin this past Thursday.

The U.S. defeated T&T, 3-0, in the first leg with Ricardo Pepi, Antonee Robinson and Gio Reyna scoring the goals. Should the U.S. hold on in this second leg, the team would book a spot in next summer's Copa America.


Newcastle & Manchester United: Why are Premier League injuries at a new high?

When Newcastle defender Kieran Trippier confronted his own "emotional" fans after the defeat at Bournemouth his message was clear: "How many injuries have we got?" he repeated three times.

The Magpies are currently the worst-hit team in the Premier League with 11 players injured - and the total across the league this season has hit a new high.

There have been 196 injuries in just over three months at the start of the 2023-24 top-flight season, according to data analyst Ben Dinnery, founder of Premier Injuries

- a 15% increase compared with the past four campaigns.

What is the full data? Why are so many players getting injured, and is this a trend? BBC Sport takes a look.

The stats
Newcastle, who qualified for their first Champions League campaign since 2002-03, have 11 players currently registered injured, with a total of 14 separate injuries to players this season. That is a league high shared with Manchester United, whose absences have also been well documented this season.

So, is it simply more games, with high-intensity European campaigns for both sides, meaning more injuries? Not quite, as West Ham, who are competing in the Europa League, currently having zero recorded injures with only five all season - the lowest in the league.

One reason for the stark difference, with a similar schedule, according to Dinnery is that the efforts of Newcastle's core squad in 2022-23 is starting to catch up with them. They only had 15 injuries across the whole of last season.

Dinnery added: "Newcastle were the only team across Europe's top five leagues where nine of their outfield players were able to play a minimum of 75% of their domestic league minutes last season, which is unheard of."

Premier League teams          Total number of injuries 2023-24[/td
Arsenal          9
Aston Villa          10
Bournemouth          7
Brentford          11
Brighton          10
Burnley          9
Chelsea          12
Crystal Palace          13
Everton          7
Fulham          10
Liverpool          9
Luton Town          8
Manchester City          7
Manchester United          14
Newcastle United          14
Nottingham Forest          13
Sheffield United          13
Tottenham          9
West Ham          5
Wolves          6
Avarage          9.8
Source: as of 19 November 2023 - not including suspensions or disciplinary issues

2022 winter World Cup 'hangover'
The impact of last year's winter World Cup may also be adding strain to players, says Dinnery.

One of the main concerns before the men's World Cup in Qatar last November was injuries and player welfare. The first half of the 2022-23 Premier League season was therefore condensed to ensure more games were played before the tournament.

Despite an unforeseen break because of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, 11 matches were played by 24 October, with some teams playing 12.

By gameweek 11, 151 injures were recorded - 45 fewer than this season, and a catch-up on fixtures was required after the World Cup.

"From the outside things looked like they returned to a bit of normality, but the reality of the situation is that we are still suffering a little bit of a hangover from that World Cup," Dinnery explained.

"Going into the World Cup numbers were actually down compared to the last three or four seasons.

"Why? You can never be quite sure. There was talk the players were lowering intensity ahead of the World Cup to try and protect themselves."

New data from global insurance group Howden's 'Men's European Football Injury Index' shows the average length of absences because of injuries across the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 rose from 11.35 days before the 2022 tournament to 19.41 days in the January immediately afterwards.

The Premier League and Bundesliga were impacted most, despite a difference of domestic football in England resuming two days after the World Cup final on 18 December with the Carabao Cup, while German clubs were given a break of just over a month.

The report states the "increased tempo" in the Premier League and Bundesliga may explain why the injury rate was higher than in Italy, Spain and France.

Hamstring, ankle and calf/shin injuries saw the greatest increase in severity.

Hamstrings lead the way this season
Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has not played since the opening game of the season against Burnley because of a hamstring injury.

Likewise, Wolves forward Pedro Neto is out for an extended period of time with the same injury after pulling up against Newcastle at the end of October.

Dinnery's team has been collecting data for more than 20 years, with hamstrings accounting for about 42% of soft tissue and muscular injuries.

This season there has been an increase of about 96% for hamstring injuries compared to the last campaign, with 53 incidents - 26 more than during 2022-23.

Overall, it accounts to a 55% increase compared to the previous four-season average. The previous high was 40 hamstring injuries during the 2020-21 season.

There was debate this season about games regularly lasting more than 100 minutes. because of an increase in added time to stop timewasting, and the impact of that on player welfare.

2023-24: Type of injury           Number
Hamstring            53
Thigh            7
Knee             28
Shoulder             6
Calf/Achilles             17
Back            4
Ankle/foot            21
Groin/hip             16
Head/facial             4
Not specified            40
Total            196

The cost of injuries
The report by Howden used wage data provided by Sporting Intelligence to calculate the injury cost, with the overall financial impact on the 2022-23 Premier League season listed as £255.4m, a £70.8m rise on the previous campaign.

While the 946 reported injuries across Europe's big five leagues amounted to a 25% reduction on the previous season, the report says "increased injury severity" was behind the rising cost to clubs.

It works out the cost based on how much a player is a paid while unavailable through injury.

Premier League champions Manchester City recorded 40 injuries at an estimated cost of £11.9m. Manchester United and Nottingham Forest had the highest number of injuries, with 69. Chelsea's 68 injuries in the 2022-23 campaign, when they finished a disappointing 12th, cost them £40.1m, the most of any English club.

Overall, the cost of injuries across the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 during the 2022-23 season increased by 27.3% from £485.2m to £617.8m.

Will it only get worse?
As we approach December it means one thing - a lot of football.

There are three rounds of fixtures between 21 December and 2 January, with the Premier League saying "no club plays within 60 hours of another match".

Chelsea have the least total recovery time across the period with 143.5 hours, and Brighton have the most with 287.5 hours.

"The injures have been unprecedented. I also expect the festive period to be significantly higher as last season had its own build-up," Dinnery said.

"In terms of recovery and those optimum levels, recovery needed we'd say is 72 hours. Anything before that you see it as a bit of a worry."

Dinnery stressed it is impossible to pinpoint the exact reasons for injuries, with every player and team having different circumstances.

However, one thing is clear - it is likely to get worse.

Next season will see the Champions League and Europa League group stage each feature 36 clubs and increase from six match rounds to eight, running into January, with a two-leg play-off to reach the last 16 for the clubs ranked nine to 24 in the overall table.

In addition, 12 European clubs will also participate in the 32-team Club World Cup in the United States in June and July 2025. Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid have already qualified for that, with the current campaign's Champions League winner joining them, plus eight more clubs decided on their coefficient, although there will be a limit on the number of clubs from individual leagues.


Fulham want Andre as replacement for Joao Palhinha
Fulham have earmarked Andre as a potential replacement for midfielder Joao Palhinha, according to a report from Sunday Mirror (19 November, page 74).

German giants Bayern Munich were close to signing Palhinha in the summer transfer window but the deal didn't materialise. Palhinha flew to Bavaria to undergo a medical on deadline day in September but the deal collapsed in the end.

Bayern are keen to sign him in January despite the fact he signed a long-term deal at Craven Cottage.

Sunday Mirror claims that Fulham are likely to drive a "hard bargain" for Palhinha in case he leaves the club. The Cottagers are considering a move for Fluminense star Andre as they see him as a potential replacement.

The 22-year-old is one of the most highly-rated talents in Brazilian football at the moment and clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham are vying for his signature.

However, Fulham are thought to be leading the race at the moment.

Smart move
Palhinha has been a key player for Fulham in the past 18 months or so and losing him would be a massive blow for the Cottagers.

It won't be easy to lure Andre to Craven Cottage considering the fact that several big clubs are vying for his signature and he could be tempted to join them.

However, it is upto Fulham to convince him. He can get regular games at the club and his performances would earn him a further big-money transfer to other big clubs in the Premier League or elsewhere.

At Liverpool, Chelsea or Tottenham, he won't be a regular starter, and this is something Andre must consider while choosing his next club.