A Sit Down with John Barnes – 16th July 2020 – Premier League Tips

After another week of Premier League action, we’ve spoken to BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former England and Liverpool midfielder shared his thoughts on Manchester United’s Top Four ambitions, financial fair play loopholes, recent rumours regarding Declan Rice’s future and how Steven Gerrard needs to focus on Rangers before looking at the Liverpool job.

John Barnes Exclusive: Manchester United would be an ideal move for Declan Rice

Regarding the ongoing transfer rumours on Declan Rice, I am not sure that he would come into Manchester United and take over that defensive midfield role, especially as Nemanja Matic has recently signed a 2-year contract. However, United must look to the future and Rice is a good young English player and would be a good signing for United. Of course, he’s a West Ham player and from his own point of view if he must move on, I think United would be a good place for him.

John Barnes Exclusive: Financial Fair Play is not enforceable, we should introduce a salary cap

For me, the financial fair play rules (FFP) don’t make sense. You can’t enforce FFP because it’s too ambiguous in terms money being brought into football clubs. It states that clubs have to earn their spending money themselves. For example, if you buy Coca-Cola and therefore own Coca-Cola, you can make payments from that owned company to your own club and the payments will still appear as if it had come from an outside and therefore FFP legal source. Loopholes like this mean that FFP doesn’t make sense as a policy, it can’t be enforced because there are too many ways to get around it. Whereas there’s no way around a policy like a salary cap. John-Barnes

For those that are worried that top players won’t be attracted to teams because of a salary cap, this is not the case, because it doesn’t affect the high earners. It affects the very large number of medium earning players which teams will be able to get for cheaper. This would result in clubs being able to manage their finances a lot better.

Some players may go abroad, but at the end of the day, the best players will end up going to teams like Sheffield United, Norwich City etc. The top teams in the Premier league can afford to pay their top players £200k a week. However, what they can’t afford is to pay all their other players 50-60k a week. If those player’s salaries were reduced to 30k a week, the smaller teams could handle their finances a lot better.

Now with a salary cap, the top Premier League clubs won’t be able to afford all the best players so those top players who can’t be bought by the best teams will go to the so-called lesser EPL teams, making the league far more competitive. This happens in basketball and most American sports.

What you want is for Norwich and other teams that come up to have a chance at staying up. To do this they’d need to spend money on better players. This would be possible for them if it wasn’t for the fact that all the best players go to the top teams, who can pay them as much as they want due to the lack of a salary cap. So, a salary cap would make things much fairer for the so-called lesser teams.

John Barnes Exclusive: Arsenal need buy defensive midfielders and change their way of playing

Arsenal have problems with David Luiz, but it’s more to do with the way they defend as a team. When Arsene Wenger first joined the club and created this way of playing, they were fine with Martin Keown, Tony Adams and other good defenders, as well as Patrick Viera and Emmanuel Petit in front of them, who were defensively hard-working midfielders.

Now, because of this new way of playing, as the team developed, they gained players who could go forwards with the same attacking philosophy but who couldn’t protect the back four. The main problem is that they have a creative midfield who don’t protect the defense, with no holding-midfielder type players. Of course, they can always get better players, but the bigger problem is how they defend and play as a team.

For example, Matteo Guendouzi is nice player, but they need more defensive steel in the midfield. People who are not quite as good on the ball but can defend. Or you look for a defender like Adams, Bould, Keown and Dixon. You don’t need anyone protecting them because although they may not be as good on the ball, they can defend. Arteta will have to decide how he wants to play this.

John Barnes Exclusive: Tierney has all the potential to be a great player for Arsenal

I was impressed with Kieran Tierney since he first came to Celtic and Arsenal. He struggled with injuries at Celtic, but he’s a good player and I hope it’ll work out for him at Arsenal. They’ve got to create the right environment for him, that’s the most important thing. That’s what Guardiola, Klopp and Chris Wilder do – they find the right players and create the right environment for them. Tierney is a good player with a great future.

John Barnes Exclusive: I hope Leeds get promoted to the Premier League

I hope that Leeds get promoted this season. They are a big club and last year they were unfortunate not to get promotion. They obviously have a great manager and the fans are fantastic. They’re not there yet though, they still have Brentford hot on their heels, but fingers crossed.

John Barnes Exclusive: 10 in a row would be huge for Celtic despite Rangers demise leaving them unchallenged

It’d be huge for Celtic fans if the team were able to win their 10th Scottish Premiership title in a row. With the demise of Rangers, it left them unchallenged for several years, but to win 10 titles in a row and be that dominate in Scotland, will be huge for the club, the fans and everyone involved with the team.

John Barnes Exclusive: Rangers need stability to challenge Celtic for the title

For Rangers to put pressure on Celtic, they must get stability and decide that Steven Gerrard is the manager for them, whether they win or not. Then they need to build, slowly. Every year they’ve got closer, however in the last five years, they’ve been through a few managers and haven’t challenged Celtic. Even with Klopp or Mourinho at the helm, Rangers wouldn’t have challenged Celtic, because of the players and finances available. Its only in the last two years with Gerrard at the helm that they’ve slowed down and tried to get the harmony, togetherness and belief right. They’ve realised they need to give it time and if they don’t do it next year then perhaps the year after.

John Barnes Exclusive: Steven Gerrard needs to be successful at Rangers before he can think about getting his dream job at Liverpool

Steven Gerrard needs to have both eyes on Rangers, how can he have an eye on Liverpool when he hasn’t yet done anything for Rangers? You need to earn the right to manage a club like Liverpool and the only way you earn that right is if you’re successful. If he doesn’t have his full focus on Rangers, he could end up finishing way behind Celtic, maybe even finishing third, then how will he get to Liverpool? Steven’s not stupid so he knows he’ll have to do a job at Rangers first.

John Barnes Exclusive: People’s thoughts need to change in society to protect black players

I’m not surprised the incident with Wilfred Zaha happened because racism is a feature in life, so there’s nothing new to say now other than what I’ve always said. To protect players, we must change the perception many people have of black people, that’s the only way. There’s nothing you can do on social media, nothing you can do in employment, nothing you can do regarding giving black managers opportunities and nothing you can do to prevent police stopping and searching black people. If you stop racism in social media then it’ll just show up elsewhere, for example, in the street or in the way black people are prevented from getting jobs and opportunities. There are no laws you can pass to stop people being racist, its racist people’s perceptions that must change if we are to protect black players.


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