With Liverpool crowned Premier League champions last week, we spoke with BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The Premier League Legend discussed his muted celebrations when Liverpool won the league, how far behind Manchester United are from title contenders, and how Manchester City won’t miss Leroy Sané.
John Barnes Exclusive: I didn’t really celebrate Liverpool winning the league, it wasn’t exactly a shock
“I hardly celebrated Liverpool winning the Premier League. This was because we knew Liverpool were going to win it, it wasn’t exactly a shock. I liken it to be winning a game in football, you’re 5-0 up with 30 seconds to go, and at the end of the game, people are celebrating wildly as if it was a possibility of the opposition scoring six goals in 30 seconds. Yes, it is great that we won the league, and I celebrated for half an hour and that was it, now we look forward towards next season.
We knew months ago when the league was suspended that Liverpool were going to win it, but we won it last week and what a huge achievement that was! In typical Liverpool style, we forget about it and start focusing on next season and making sure that we are competitive enough to be up there next season.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Having the African Cup of Nations postponed is great news for Liverpool for next season
“You always want your best players available and around, so it is a good thing that the African Cup of Nations has been postponed. Now it means that for next season, we have Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane available for the whole campaign.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Mason Greenwood has potential, but people shouldn’t get carried away
“As with all young players, you have to give them time to develop because they’ve got great potential and Mason Greenwood has got the same. But we’ve seen it in the past with young players that have too pressure put on them to say how great they are, when really, they aren’t great yet. They (young players) can be great, and if handled right with the right humility, then of course they can go on to achieve their true potential.
Mason Greenwood has got great potential, but I wouldn’t want to put pressure on him to say that he is going to be the next Robin Van Persie. For Manchester United’s sake, let’s hope he can keep developing the way he currently has been, but we should be careful about what we say and not get carried away.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Manchester United are so far behind Liverpool, it’s silly to talk about them as title contenders next season
“Manchester United should always have big aspirations, because they are Manchester United. But they are fifth in the league, that’s a reality. Currently, they’re nowhere near Liverpool or Manchester City. They could potentially be competitive, but the fact that Bruno Fernandes has come in and done well, it isn’t suddenly going to be all be a quick fix for Manchester United.
“It’s silly to say they’re going to challenge next year, they’ve got great potential and have had a great 14 games, which is good for Manchester United. But the fact is, there’s a lot of work to do and I don’t want to get carried away in thinking that suddenly, Manchester United are going to be challenging next year. They’ve bought a good player, they’ve got a good team, and if the harmony is right and the togetherness is there, then they can be competitive, but they are still so far behind Liverpool.
“They’ve only won five games away from home and when they were where they were, people never thought about or mentioned as title contenders, they were considered a bad team. I never get carried away positively or negatively, you look at the situation and they’ve done really well in the last 14 games. The future does look bright for them, we’ll just have to wait and see whether they can continue that that consistency.”
John Barnes Exclusive: Manchester United and Jaden Sancho is all mind games and tactics
“It’s a different time to last season when they bought Maguire. Maybe if it wasn’t for the lockdown and COVID-19 there would have been more than £50 million pounds bided for Jaden Sancho. We can’t judge players of last season with how much players are going to cost in the short term, the financial landscape is so different now.
“If they (Manchester United) decide that they don’t want to pay more than £50 million like they would have done last year right and they feel they shouldn’t, then it’s their right for them to not spend the money. Similarly, to Liverpool with Timo Werner, they felt he was not the right person for them and that they shouldn’t get him, regardless of how many people thought it was the right move.
“If Manchester United decide that they should go more than £50 million then that’s up to them, maybe it’s a tactic to say that they shouldn’t go more than £50 million, or maybe it’s a tactic to then say that they’re willing to pay a bit more, but not the £100 million that they want.
“He’s a good young player with bags of potential, he still must grow and develop into a man and that will decide whether they feel that he’s worth it, and if they’re going to pay more than £50 million. “
John Barnes Exclusive: Bukayo Saka is so important to Arsenal’s future
“He (Bukayo Saka) is a player that I like, Arsenal know him better than me, but I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen so far. If Arsenal and Mikel Arteta think he is worthy of a long-term contract, they must think he has a real future there and you can tell he’s a good player. “
“But it’s not about the individual. You know, it’s about the squad and the team and the harmony and the togetherness because also let’s not forget, Arsenal are eighth in the league, so, if they feel that he can help them to develop, then that is great. I don’t think that Arsenal are necessarily going to now go and win the league, but in terms of building for the future, he’s a big part of that and a good signing in that respect. “
John Barnes Exclusive: Leroy Sané won’t be missed at Manchester City, he wasn’t one of their key players
“Leroy Sané didn’t feature very heavily this season. He’s a great player, but with the squad they’ve got, with the likes of Phil Foden, they’ve got cover and plenty of other players. If they (Manchester City) felt that they needed him, they would have offered him a better contract, but Bayern Munich paid a lot more. “
“Kevin De Bruyne would have been a big loss to them as he is one of their main players in the team, but I don’t think that Sané was necessarily one of the key players this year, so while we understand he’s a good player, Pep obviously felt that as he didn’t want to sign the contract extension, he had to be moved on. This is football, and Manchester City are big enough to replace him if they feel they need to. They have enough money to replace him and get somebody equally as good.
“I never criticise clubs for either signing players or letting players go, because they know more than anybody else what they need in the team. “
John Barnes Exclusive: Watford can stay up, they’re better than teams around them
“I do think Watford will survive this season, as I back them to pick up enough points from their remaining games. Can you see the three teams below them winning enough games to overtake them and survive? That’s also the issue. If you look at Bournemouth and teams down the bottom, they all seem to be in freefall and aren’t looking likely to pick up any points.
“A lot depends on the teams below them and how well they do, but Watford are not playing well enough to pick up enough points either. It’s going to be hard for them, but I think they have enough to survive relegation this season.“
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