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Agent’s column: Man City to win UCL, Howe to stay at Newcastle and more!



In his fortnightly exclusive column for CaughtOffside, Jon Smith, one of football’s first-ever agents and a man who was an integral figure in the forming of the Premier League, discusses why Man City will win the Champions League, why Newcastle won’t sack Eddie Howe, why the Saudis don’t want the Pro League turning into a circus – and more! 

Man City will win the Champions League, Arsenal want the Premier League

Man City I think will get through against Real Madrid next week.

Just like there is an art to staying in the Premier League, similarly, there’s an art to playing football in Europe, in particular the Champions League – something that Man City do wonderfully well.

It’s difficult to try and encapsulate that because in reality, what is a mindset?


It’s not just a question of being a good football team, but something extra is definitely needed at the top of most sports because it’s just different in that rarified atmosphere.

Think of how many tennis players say how playing at Wimbledon is unlike playing anywhere else both because of the different mindset needed and recognising of course that grass is different from clay.

Man City clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday

PSG are a little fragile so my initial reaction without thinking about it too much is I think Barcelona might go through in that tie.

Again, they’ve just got that mindset in the Champions League and though they’ve not been at their best for the past few years, I think they’ll go through.

Arsenal I have a fear for in Europe, I just don’t think they’re quite there yet.

It might be unprofessional to say it but I think they’ll win the Premier League. I just think that’s what they want and I think it’s their passport to what happens next.


If I use the word sacrifice it will be with a very small ’s,’ and I think Arsenal may sacrifice the Champions League in exchange for winning the Premier League.

Fans must be included when a decision is made by Semi Automated Offside Technology

I think we’ve said in the past that the Semi Automated Offside Technology that was used at the Qatar World Cup was a much more superior model than the one in use in the Premier League.

The Premier League has overplayed VAR to the point where the supporters can’t celebrate a goal. They’re waiting for the challenges which are multifaceted, and then there’s a bit too much discussion on it.

In simplistic form, the officials absolutely need to run the process publicly.

You must put it on the screens if there are screens at the grounds, because otherwise the whole atmosphere loses its momentum.

Fans are crying out for change because it’s spoiling the beautiful game.


For Hawk-Eye in cricket supporters see the ball, you see the line in tennis in real time too… football needs to catch up and quickly.

Newcastle will stick with Howe

Eddie Howe’s job at Newcastle United is not in doubt.

The supporters reading this will know that the best chance of putting together a team and a system, and the variety of systems that play within it, is at the beginning of pre-season.

If a manager has a bad start but they’re allowed to get through to November before a change occurs, that’s not great for anyone for obvious reasons. In some cases the change happens as early as late August!

I think Eddie Howe is a very good manager and the Saudi Public Investment Fund will know that a question of whether to replace him is a very, very difficult one for them to answer.

He’s had a few months of unfortunate injuries and so if it was me, I wouldn’t knee jerk. I would take the risk, and I hope the Saudis will do the same. I think they probably will.

They’re in it for the long game so my guess is that they’ll let Howe and his team hang around for a little while longer.


Saudis won’t want the Pro League turning into a circus

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Saudi Pro League project runs the risk of becoming a bit of a circus.

As we’ve articulated that previously, I think it’s a great venture and one that could benefit the game with sizeable financial input – providing it’s done in a considerate manner for the game rather than for political expediency.

I think you will find a lot of the Northern European players potentially resistant to going there even though the money is good.

If the money is great that resistance will drop, but in some instances, the younger players will say, “well, I’m earning good money here as well. So that’s where I want to be.”

If that’s the case, which I think it will be, I think you’ll see a lot more Americans and Southern Europeans going into Saudi Arabia, and possibly some Australians as well. I can see a lot of Brazilians and Argentinians and Uruguayans going there.

There’s a few obviously from Northern Europe too, but I think that will be the intake.

The interesting thing is that they’re extending foreign intake per club to 10 players, meaning they only need a Saudi goalkeeper and the rest of the squad could be from overseas – which I think begins to point to foreign recruitment in easier territories.


Source link: Caughtoffside

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