We all love a good gossip but your Humble Handicapper knows how to separate the pearls of wisdom from the swines of tittle-tattle and make money from the whispers in the wind. Here are his top soccer tips relating to the gossip buzzing around the EPL.
It’s a forgone conclusion that Manchester United's next manager will be Louis van Gaal (as predicted by your Humble Handicapper ), and the gossip-mongers reckon that Robin van Persie will be made skipper at Old Trafford next season under van Gaal, and that Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos will likely be joining in the summer, to add strength and depth to the squad.
"What does that mean in terms of betting?" I hear you ask!
That all simply means that Man Utd. are a very tidy 6/1 to win the Premier League next season (still third favourite behind Man City and Chelsea) and 23/10 on a top two finish. If that doesn’t float your boat you can always throw a few quid on Robin Van Persie to be the season’s top goalscorer (more likely if he’s a happy captain) at best soccer odds of 7/2 (again third favourite).
There’s also good news for the Scouse, as striker Luis Suarez looks to be staying on Merseyside after enrolling his four-year-old daughter in a local school. Little Luis is 7/4 favourite to be the league’s top scorer, and I'd say that’s a decent soccer pick if ever there was one, those odds will only go down after the world cup where I foresee Suarez doing very well.
There are whispers that Barcelona’s star Andres Iniesta might leave Camp Nou this summer after Barca lost out on the La Liga title to Atletico Madrid on the final day of the league campaign last Saturday. The loss may have signalled the end of an era, and with Man City and Arsenal on the up he might well be plying his trade in the EPL next season.
Speaking of Arsenal
Will the FA Cup Winners be a force to be reckoned with next season? It is reported that Arsene Wenger is close to signing a three-year deal with the Gunners for loadsamoney after the FA Cup triumph. Arsenal are still 10/1 (5th favourites) to win the league next season, but if they are going to do it, they’ll be doing it with Arsene.
The bulk of the Arsenal squad are on long-term contracts and my spies tell me that there is a £100 million summer transfer budget. Your Humble Handicapper always says, "success begets success." If you fancy that, why not double your pleasure, and bet on Arsene being the LMA manager of the year 14/15 at 10/1 too. If the first happens, the second will likely follow.
The gossip around Chelsea has been considerably quieter, and involves more exits than new arrivals. Apparently The French champions, Paris Saint-Germain want Chelsea's Eden Hazard and have funds of around 60M€ to tempt him away.
Finally, Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is my top tip to be the next Spurs manager to succeed Tim Sherwood, who was P45’d at White Hart Lane at the end of the season. Pochettino is 8/13 to take over at Spurs while Sherwood is 4/1 to be the next West Brom manager.Speaking of champions, I'm told that Manchester City’s James Milner is seeking to move away from Manchester this summer, and Arsenal and Liverpool are lining up to pick him up. The fact that the England midfielder’s name is cropping up in the same sentence as both Everton and Tottenham would be a clear declaration of intent for both clubs, and could push them into a top four finish. Spurs are 5/2 on a top four finish while Everton are 7/2.