(Ben W) #1

I’ve yet to meet a football supporter who doesn’t enjoy


reading about transfer speculation. It’s part and parcel of


the game, but so much of what appears online has very


little basis, often prompted by agents touting their clients



  • both players and clubs.


Our main feature this month – Football’s Most Wanted


(page 33) – is an attempt to sift through and weed out


some of the more outlandish


rumours that have been doing


the rounds.


It presents an opportunity to focus


on some of the outstanding players


and stories of this season. Whether


that’s emerging talents such as


Nicolo Zaniolo, Eder Militao or


Aaron Wan-Bissaka; those who have


escaped our attentions in the past,


such as Kalidou Koulibaly or


Samuel Umtiti; players who have slipped under the


radar, such as Thiago Mendes of Lille; or those, like Nabil


Fekir, Julian Weigl or Jean-Kevin Augustin, whose


careers have not taken the route that many predicted.


Next month, things get very busy. The
African Nations Cup joins
a growing list of summer
tournaments that demand
our coverage and attention.
Until then, enjoy the issue.

Moise Kean racism row .....................................................................................................p
Brazilian championship begins ......................................................................................p
German FA president quits ..............................................................................................p
Racing Club win title in Argentina ..................................................................................p
Gnabry stars as Germany win in Holland .....................................................................p
Cannavaro takes charge of China ...................................................................................p
African Nations Cup fi nalists confi rmed .......................................................................p
New Canadian league kicks off ......................................................................................p
Copa America 2020 in Colombia and Argentina .......................................................p
Messi leads Golden Shoe standings ..............................................................................p

Gavin Hamilton, Editor


USA

FIFA council


approves


Club World


Cup revamp


FIFA has ignored European opposition and will
press ahead with plans to revamp the Club World
Cup as a new 24-team tournament starting in
June 2021.
But scrapping the current seven-team event,
which takes place every winter and struggles for
recognition, and replacing it with a contest every
fourth summer, could place the world governing
body on a collision course with Europe.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino hopes Europe
will provide eight of the 24 teams, with six from
South America, three each from Africa, Asia and
CONCACAF, and one from Oceania.
However the European Club Association
(ECA), which represents 232 of the continent’s
leading sides, said it would not take part in any
new competition until 2024 at the earliest.
ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli also denied
reports that there was a separate plan to create
a Champions League with four groups of eight,
saying he had not heard of it, adding: “There are
/atar from 32 to 48 teams until its annual
congress in June.

Transfer
speculation is
part and parcel
of the game, but
so much of what
appears online
has very little
basis

Unloved...Gianni Infantino presents
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale with the
Golden Ball award at December’s
Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi

THE WORLD THIS MONTH