Ahead of the return of Premier League football this weekend, we caught up with BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former Liverpool and England midfielder shared his thoughts on Mikel Arteta being the catalyst for Arsenal’s improvement, the exciting future of Newcastle United and Paul Pogba needing to improve his attitude at Manchester United.
John Barnes Exclusive: Arsenal’s turn of fortune is purely down to Mikel Arteta and the fans’ unwavering support
“Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White have played a huge part in Arsenal’s change of fortune in recent weeks. But more importantly, Mikel Arteta has been supported by the fans and the hierarchy.
“When you support a manager, believe in him, and the players believe in him, this is what can happen. This is a testament to Arsenal fans, the owners and people supporting Arteta even in difficult times. I’m not certain they’ve turned the corner, but they are doing much better.
“The better players have come in and aided the situation, but it truly is down to the support and those that believe in his hard work.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Newcastle fans deserve this takeover and can be very excited about the future
“If you are a Newcastle fan, you should be excited by the new owners.
“When something like this happens, like when Roman Abramovich took over at Chelsea, we see better quality players come to the Premier League, and another club who could potentially be fighting to win the Champions League in years to come.
“I’m happy for the Newcastle fans though, they deserve it and I’m certainly looking forward to the new world class players they attract.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Liverpool have the best team, but they don’t have the strongest starting XI in the League
“If you look player for player, Liverpool do not have the best starting line up in the league. Manchester City’s is better. Look at the money Manchester United have spent on the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Liverpool have the best team, but not player for player.
“Liverpool always challenge for the League. The fact that Mohamed Salah came out after their game against Manchester City and said they could, is nothing new. But so too can Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Obviously, Liverpool wouldn’t have said that five or six years ago, or even if they had done, no one would have believed them.
“What everyone does know that if Liverpool keep their players fit and focused, which they have done so far, they’ve got a great chance. Saying that they can challenge for the title is nothing new.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Dean Henderson is first-choice standard, but he might have to move away from United to realise it
“Manchester United thought Dean Henderson might become their first team keeper last year, that was why he came back to the club. Obviously, that hasn’t worked out as David De Gea is now back as the first choice.
“Henderson has to decide for himself whether he is willing to wait another year or two and put up with the current situation and wait for De Gea to have a drop in form. Only Dean can decide what he wants for himself. He’s good enough be a number one for so many Premier League clubs.
“Maybe not this year, or in January, but Henderson could definitely look to leave next year depending on how the rest of this season pans out. He has to make a decision over whether he feels he can truly take over as the number one at Manchester United.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Aaron Ramsey could fit in at any Premier League club if he returned to England
“Aaron Ramsey would be an excellent fit at any Premier League club. He is an excellent player, he has a super attitude, is a model footballer in terms of high energy and his ability to get up and down the field. Aaron can attack, as well as defend too.
“Maybe it hasn’t worked out for him at Juventus because perhaps Italian football doesn’t suit his style. He is more suited to the English game.
“There are plenty of Premier League clubs he’d be great for.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Paul Pogba needs to improve his attitude if he is to win anything with Manchester United
“Winning the World Cup in 2018 didn’t help Paul Pogba to win any trophies for Manchester United.
“Playing for France and Manchester United are two different things. He plays much better for France than Manchester United, and that has a lot to do with how he feels about playing for France, in terms of being a team player. Whereas, for Manchester United, with his price tag, and being who he is, and the way we treat our superstar players in England. He probably feels he is a superstar, so therefore plays differently, rather than being the team player he is for the national side.
“Winning a trophy with France won’t necessarily help him at Manchester United, until he decides to have the same attitude playing his club football, as he does for France.”
John Barnes Exclusive: If Pogba isn’t signing a contract, United should sell him in January
“From Paul Pogba’s point of view, leaving Manchester United right now wouldn’t be a good time. With his contract set to expire this summer, he should let it run down so he has a free transfer if he wants to go earn more money.
“But, from Manchester United’s point of view, if he isn’t going to sign a new contract, now would be a good time to sell him and at least get some money. That’s the nature of football.
“There are obviously two different dynamics. It all depends on whether he wants to stay or go, which we obviously don’t know.”
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