‘A Sit Down with John Barnes’ – 26th January 2022

As the Premier League heads into its two-week winter break, we sat down with BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The Liverpool legend and former England international gave his thoughts on Yves Bissouma’s looming transfer choices, Ibrahima Konate’s long term role at Liverpool, and Newcastle’s need to invest in players fit for a relegation scrap.

 

John Barnes Exclusive: Ibrahima Konaté will eventually become Liverpool’s leader in defence

“All of Liverpool’s defenders are good players, you can see that whenever they are playing alongside Virgil Van Dijk. Everyone could see Joe Gomez’s improvement when he played with Van Dijk. 

“Playing alongside Virgil [Van Dijk], Liverpool’s defenders show what they are really capable of, and so seeing how well Joël Matip has done this year hasn’t been surprising at all. 

“Ibrahima Konaté is a player for the future and one who will eventually take over this defence. It will take Ibrahima sometime to bed himself into this team, similarly to Fabinho when he first arrived at the club.

“The fact that Joël is doing so well and playing regularly doesn’t necessarily spell the end for the likes of Joe Gomez at Anfield either. If you look at the age of the other central defenders, Ibrahima Konaté aside Gomez is one of the youngest. Joe [Gomez] is a fantastic player and an England international, I’m sure Liverpool would love to keep him too.”

 

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John Barnes Exclusive: Yves Bissouma has the quality to play for Liverpool and should aim higher than Newcastle or Aston Villa

“From a Liverpool perspective, it would be lovely to see Yves Bissouma playing at Anfield rather than for Newcastle or Aston Villa. 

“If you look at the age of Liverpool’s midfielders, a lot of them are aged 30 or older, Yves is young and would be an excellent signing for the club. 

“As to whether Bissouma wants to leave Brighton right now and sign for another team in a relegation dog fight, then that’s up to him. 

“He must decide what is right for himself, but the quality he possesses at this stage of his career – he should be aiming higher [than Aston Villa or Newcastle]. 

“Newcastle is a great club, but if you ask people Liverpool or Newcastle, then it’s a no brainer [you’d pick Liverpool].

“If you wanted to create a template for the ideal Liverpool central midfielder, Bissouma fits it perfectly.”

 

John Barnes Exclusive: Yves Bissouma is a better fit for Liverpool than Youri Tielemans or Jude Bellingham

“Youri Tielemans is a brilliant player, but he’s a completely different type of footballer to Yves Bissouma.

“Tielemans is a very good hardworking midfielder, but if you look at the nature of what Liverpool midfielders do, in terms of their physicality and the ability to get up and down the field, that isn’t necessarily what Tielemans does.

“Youri is excellent in possession and is perhaps maybe more Manchester City’s style of player. Yves Bissouma would suit the Liverpool style more than Tielemans would. The same as he would with Jude Bellingham.”

“All three are excellent players though, Liverpool wouldn’t be doing wrong by signing any of them.” 

 

John Barnes Exclusive: Newcastle must only invest in players fit for a relegation scrap this January

“Newcastle are fortunate that if they are relegated, then they can continue to afford the players they have. maintain the current squad and perhaps buy even better ones to push for promotion.

“When it comes to rumoured signings and their current squad, eventually the new owners will have to decide whether they are happy just staying in the Premier League or if they want to push for the top five.

“This year specifically, it isn’t about buying players who will push them into that top 10, it’s about signing those who will prevent them from being relegated. 

“Any new signings will all depend upon the player in question’s nature, such as Jesse Lingard. He was a player where their impact was clearly felt and seen at West Ham. 

“Newcastle must be very careful about the type of player they want. They could sign top class players, but the great players may not be suited for a relegation dog fight.”

 

John Barnes Exclusive: Martial was a product of his environment at Manchester United

“It’s all about the environment you’re in as a professional footballer. He’s obviously a very good player which is why he was at Manchester United, but things just didn’t work out for him.

“Early on, Martial did really well; but he was inconsistent and that lead to his demise. It’s a similar situation to Memphis Depay when he was at Manchester United, he’s gone on to do well after playing at there, so maybe the environment didn’t suit him.

“It hasn’t worked out for Anthony Martial, but he’s young, he wants to move on and find somewhere to play really well for the club. Sevilla could be a really good move for him [Martial], his time at Manchester United shouldn’t be a total reflection on him as a player.”

 

John Barnes Exclusive: Aubameyang needs to change his attitude to come back into the team

“Aubameyang coming back into the team depends on whether he wants to do well and has the right attitude. If he doesn’t, there is no point bringing him back into the fold. Even if Arsenal aren’t doing too well, it could make the whole situation worse.

“When Arteta left out Aubameyang earlier on this season, Arsenal improved without him [Aubameyang], you can’t just bring him back into the team because suddenly results have gone against you. The manager has decided, unless Aubameyang is willing to change which looks like a relationship and attitude problem, there is only going to be one winner, which is Arteta. For Aubameyang to get back involved we’re going to have to see a marked improvement.

“Mikel Arteta came to Arsenal and changed the culture of the club with non-negotiables and standards to be set. Since he’s done this, Arsenal have reaped the benefits and the future looks bright for them. Obviously, January hasn’t gone particularly well for Arsenal, they’ve had a couple of bad results. But they’re on the right path with Arteta at the helm. “

 

John Barnes Exclusive: Antonio Conte will be backed in the summer, not January

“January is not the time to invest in the squad for Tottenham. At the start of the season. you don’t know what the situation was. Obviously, Antonio Conte wasn’t there, so you would imagine he is likely to get signings at the beginning of next season. This will be a lot more interesting to see. You can’t really strengthen the team in January better than what you have, he’s not going to be able to get better than he has now.

“End of this season and the beginning of next season will be a tell-tale sign as to whether Conte will be backed. We shall see.”

 


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2022-01-26
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