Calcio Bag - June 22nd, 2018
This will be the first edition of the Calcio Bag. The idea here is to take your questions, and give the best answers we can. We'll provide insight, but in a very laid back and entertaining format, not to be taken too seriously. As much as I love football, I obviously can't cover each league in depth, but the great thing about the Cloud Sports site is that we have so many people working now so even if I am not too familiar with a topic, one of my colleagues is sure to be able to provide some answers. Remember: if you have a question please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, DM it to me on Twitter @CPerfetto11 or tweet it to me. Thanks for the support, now let's get started...
From Connor (@theconnordeal) via Twitter:
Is Arsenal looking to sign a winger?
Thanks to Connor for starting me off with a topic that I am not that knowledgeable about... Luckily, my good buddy Dean (Twitter: @ArsenalNexus) follows Arsenal closely. Dean believes Arsenal is definitely in the market for a winger. According to the news he follows, they have looked at Chucky Lozano, Pavon and Malcom back in January. They have also tried to sign Gelson twice. Arsenal is off to a blazing start in the transfer market under new coach Unai Emery. They have already signed a new goalie in Leno, new defender in Lichtsteiner and look close to signing a new midfielder in Torreira of Sampdoria. The rumor mill suggests they are far from finished and you'd have to think that they will look for an attacking winger in order to strengthen their squad and make it more complete. Good times ahead for the Gunners...
From Dean (@ArsenalNexus) via Twitter:
Will Roma lower their demands for Alisson in order to sell him to Real Madrid or could he end up staying in Rome?
Since Dean was so kind to help me with the Arsenal question, I figured I'd repay the favor by answering one of his questions. Di Marzio has reported that Real Madrid are very interested in signing Alisson. They are willing to go up to 70 million euros, including bonuses, while Roma are holding out for 100 million. The player's will is going to be a major part in this transfer happening. Roma have been released from their Financial Fair Play settlement agreement, so they have absolutely no need to sell the keeper. The only way they will lower their demands is if the player himself wants to leave. There will be no problem negotiating his personal contract with Real Madrid, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will force Roma's hand. He is one of the best goalies in the world and is coming off a great season. Roma have already reinforced this summer and are looking to make more signings. I would put this at 50/50 at the moment because I'm not sure Alisson is desperate to leave Roma so soon and I don't see Real Madrid hitting the 100 million euro price tag. One thing is for sure: this one will probably heat up after the World Cup as the keeper is focused on the competition as Brazil's Number 1.
From Sam (@CSportsfootball) via Twitter:
What will the FFP implications mean for Milan? Are they getting banned from Europe?
Firstly, as a Milan fan I would like to thank Sam for stabbing me right in the heart with this question. Now let me give you my unbiased (lol) opinion. Milan's rumor mill has been absolutely crazy. Every day you can see some reports stating they are going after major attackers like Belotti, Morata or even Luis Suarez today. On the other hand, reports are stating that Li can't come up with the 32 million euro capital injection and Elliot will be taking over the team. It is certainly crazy times for Milan. The FFP will have major implications for the team because they will be very limited in being able to spend. Just looking at what Roma and Inter have had to go through for the past few seasons, FFP makes it very difficult to operate on the transfer market and actually forces you to sell players for below market value because you need to balance the books (See Roma & Salah in 2017). As far as Milan being banned from Europe, it is certainly possible but I will only believe it when I see it. It is the harshest penalty they can get, so if UEFA were to do it, it would mean they are really in bad financial shape or UEFA are looking to make an example of them. If the situation is not that dire, I don't see UEFA doing this because Milan is a prestigious name and obviously bring interest and attention to the Europe League. So to answer the question, I don't think they will be banned from Europe. (This probably won't age well...)
From Steve via email
Will Chelsea hire Sarri?
Chelsea have had a very confusing transfer market thus far. Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all been working diligently to reinforce for next season, while Chelsea haven't even made a decision on their coach yet. Very baffling. Napoli keep saying that they have not received any requests for Sarri from Chelsea as of yet. It could be that Chelsea are trying to workout a deal with the coach before they go to Napoli, but how long should it take to workout an agreement with Sarri? Antonio Conte is still the coach as far as anyone is concerned, and it will cost a lot of money to get rid of Conte and that could be why Chelsea are hesitant. One thing is clear though, if Chelsea don't wake up soon and either confirm Conte or fire him, they will be in for another long season. My gut tells me that Sarri will not be at Chelsea next season because if they wanted to make a move, it would have been done by now.
From Lauren (@FinnyFace) via email:
Who should I root for if my country is out (or never got in) of the World Cup?
So after a little research, I found out that Lauren is an Irish-American. I am currently going through the same thing, Lauren, as I don't have the United States or Italy to root for in this competition. If you're looking for a team that actually has a shot of winning this competition, you have to go with one of the favorites: Germany, Brazil, Spain or France. But what fun would that be? I will be kind enough to give you two teams. If you want the great back story, but not really a shot of winning the competition, go with Iceland. It's a beautiful country, they aren't here often and some of the players have full time jobs in other fields because they don't play the sport professionally. A true underdog. They also have amazing fans with a great Viking thunderclap chant thing that is beautiful and intimidating at the same time. They are also a pretty good team. They had a great run at Euro 2016 beating England in the round of 16 and making it to the quarter finals. In World Cup qualifying, they topped a group that included Croatia, Turkey and Ukraine, so it wasn't a walk in the park. They are about to lose to Nigeria as I'm writing this, so their chances of advancing are pretty slim, but hey, it's still fun to get behind them for their last group game.
If you're looking for a real dark horse, look no further than Croatia. They might not be a favorite in the competition, but they have loads of talent and have looked great so far after comfortable wins against Nigeria and Argentina. Luka Modric is one of the best players in the competition and he forms a great midfield along with Rakitic and Brozovic. The team consists of players who are on teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus, so they have a lot of top level talent. They are on the outside of the top four favorites of this competition, but if things line up their way, they can really go deep in this tournament.
From Rich via text message:
Does Lionel Messi lack the clutch gene?
It is unfair to say Lionel Messi lacks the clutch gene. It has not been a good tournament for Messi as Argentina have tied Iceland 1-1 and were dismantled by Croatia 3-0. At the same time, Cristiano Ronaldo has been absolutely clutch for Portugal, scoring four goals and leading them to a draw against Spain and a win against Morocco. Messi is clutch for Barcelona as he has come up time and time again for the Spanish club. He has also done a good job for Argentina in the past, bringing them to two Copa America finals and a World Cup final in 2014. He just hasn't been able to get over the hump. I think all of the criticism from the Argentine fans has really gotten to him and has stripped him of his love for playing for his country. What should be a great honor and joy has become a major burden for the superstar. His coach has not helped him at all in this tournament, as his squad selection has been very questionable. He left Mauro Icardi at home after he had a magnificent season for Inter Milan, and is scared to play Paulo Dybala alongside Messi for a whole match even though Dybala is one of the best players in the world and came through big for Juventus all season. In watching Messi closely, I think he has the clutch gene but a combination of his coach and the pressure has taken him out of this World Cup.
From Jessica (@je_saraa) via Twitter:
Which World Cup game has been the most surprising to you so far?
There are many of them, but I would have to say Germany/Mexico has been the most surprising. The result is what surprises me the most about the game. Mexico is a good team, and I expected a very entertaining back and forth game, but I expected Germany to win. The Germans are very professional and the expectations were on them to start this World Cup with a professional victory. They had their chances, but were not clinical enough in front of goal and it cost them the match. It is also very important for Germany to win their group because if they come in second they will most likely play Brazil in the Round of 16, which would be a very difficult match-up for both teams. This led me to believe that Germany would put Mexico away. Kudos to Mexico, however, as they played with courage and were not afraid of the Germans coming away with an impressive 1-0 victory.
Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. If you enjoyed this please share it and submit questions yourself for next week's Calcio Bag.