Spain have such an embarrassment of riches that the likes of Jesé Rodriguéz, Isco, Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Morata are in the U-21s. Where does the production line end?
Somebody mentions Paul Scholes and everybody writes in with those quotes from Zidane etc. Dull dull dull. We've ignored them. There's plenty more to enjoy here...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Attack v Defence
Love the suggestion that Reds buy Mata. Unfortunately won't happen cos Liverpool don't have more than a fiver and any loose change they can find behind John W Henry's sofa.
Plus you may not have noticed but the defence/midfield are looking a tad shaky at the moment. I shudder to think of what Attack v Defence games are like at LFC training sessions.
Actually, if people are bored, who'd win in an attack v defence game at your club?
I'm guessing Chelsea matches would be tight, as would Everton.
Mata Makes Sense For Chelsea
It's looking ever more likely that Chelsea will sell Mata to Utd for close on £40m (usually reliable sources like the Guardian suggest that the deal is agreed between the clubs). On reflection, this seems like a deal that makes a lot of sense for Chelsea:
- It almost in an instant resolves any FFP issues we might have had.
- We will still have lots of options in that position, who are all young and talented.
- It should free some funds to address gaps in our squad elsewhere - notably in central defence and centre forward, and potentially left-back.
- For Utd, I think it's unclear whether this will be a good or bad thing in the long run. It should help them this season, but I suspect not enough to close the gap to fourth. They need a marquee signing to signal they're still a big club and lift the gloom. In the long run, though, with FFP in place spending £40M on one player now could hurt their ability to spend on players they need more desperately in the summer (which despite consistent press rumours I'd suggest doesn't include a new left back as a high priority).
- In all likelihood, it's a transfer that signals Wayne Rooney's departure in the summer - it could be that there's some kind of gentleman's agreement regarding the summer and Rooney as part of the deal.
As a Chelsea fan, I'll be sad to see Mata leave - he's been a great player for us in the last couple of seasons. But it's been sad seeing him on the bench, and the reality is that he's not as good as the three players ahead of him (at least not with our current system and playing style).
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
Just Lend Them Mata
I like the idea of selling Juan Mata to United to kill of Chelsea's title rivals. But it will definitely come back and bite our own arse the next season. But I have another idea which is a win-win situations to all parties concerned.
LOAN MATA TO MANCHESTER UNITED for the remainder of the season.
There are three points...
1) Mourinho has effectively given a sharp weapon to United to hurt Chelsea's title rivals as they don't have to play United again this season except probably in the Champions League where Mata is nonetheless cup-tied. And of course he will not hurt Chelsea the next season.
2) Manchester United has got a serious talent to fight for that coveted fourth place and Champions League football next season and the loads of cash that come their way as well as attracting top talents across Europe.
3) Mata will be able to play regular football (Unless Moyes still persists with Ashley Young) in the coming months to convince the Spanish manager that he deserves a World Cup place in the Brazil.
All in all a win win win win win situation to everyone and I am happy.
It Makes No Sense For United
I'm not sure why other United fans are orgasming over the potential arrival of Juan Mata.
Look at the way the other creative player in the hole has been treated by United....
Shelling out 40m for a player we really don't really need is ridiculous, it would just be a panic buy.
Mata: Awesome But Not The Right Choice
I want to start off by saying that I think Mata is awesome, he's a player I'd wanted United to sign before he went to Chelsea, and provided Mata's arrival isn't placating the fans for Rooney's departure, I'll still be a very happy person.
It's been pretty obvious that Moyes seems intent on keeping United in a 442 system, there has been very little attempt at migrating our style, or improving the gameplay at all, in fact, it's just worse in every department. Whilst, I'm sure any number of ABUs would argue that this is how poor the team actually is, they still are the team that won the league at a canter last year. If last year was United playing greater than the sum of their parts, then this year, the opposite is true.
The main problem with Mata's arrival would be the exact same one we've currently got with Kagawa, he's a player who wants to get on the ball, have the teammates make runs in and around the box, and he can find them.
This is not how United play, nor does it look like Moyes has any idea how to implement it.
Whilst every United fan is crying out for a midfielder who can play a forward pass, that won't count for anything if that's not what the team are set up to do. It's been a problem for a while, that we will manage to contain the opponent up to the edge of their own box, then struggle to get the ball out wide, so we can put the ball on the overlap and try to get in behind them, it's even more obvious this year, it's part of the reason Kagawa has never shone for United, you can't have one intricate and fluid attacker in a sea of statues and assume he'll be able to do something with it, United only come alive when the ball goes out wide.
Unless United start to implement a different system, or try to make a more fluid style of play, Mata would have no where to fit in, and certainly nowhere to play as well as he has for Chelsea, mainly because he isn't a Winger, he couldn't play in a midfield two (because he wouldn't defend enough), and he isn't a striker. You can try to put names on it as much as you want, United don't have a number 10, Rooney may drop deeper to pick up the ball, but he isn't looking to play between the midfield and the defence and link the midfield to the striker, he is still one of the front two, he gets the ball, and plays it to Valencia (60% of his passes must be out to the right wing, at least) before getting in to the box. I'm not saying Mata doesn't have the ability to do this, but he wouldn't be as good in our system as Rooney is.
If we're going to spend that much on a player, they really should either suit the system we're trying to achieve (we aren't changing tactic it appears) or walk straight into a position that we're weak in (he's not as good played out wide, and he wouldn't get as many goals as Rooney up front)
So, to cut it short, yea, Mata is the calibre of player we should be looking to buy, but honestly, I can only see if turning into another Kagawa headache. If we're gonna spend that much on a player, I'd rather get Reus
Ready To Do Something Unspeakable
Right, firstly D. Cromwell - if David Moyes and Ed Woodward's plans of spending 40 million Mancunian pounds truly hinges on whether or not we beat Sunderland in a League Cup game then they both need to be immediately airlifted out of Old Trafford and unceremoniously dumped somewhere in the Pacific. I know lots of people enjoy a good hypethetical scenario but come on, think man.
The best thing about this transfer saga is that it cannot last longer than nine days. If we were to trust gossip columns then, over the past few years, we have already agreed deals Thiago, Cesc Fabregas and Wesley Sneijder and yet here I am, still waiting for them to for them to turn up at Old Trafford whilst Tom Cleverley trundles round, losing possession and looking constipated.
Frankly, I think I'm going to do something inappropriate and not safe for work if we manage to actually sign him, United clearly need a lift mentally and signing a player of Mata's status and facial hair would be a huge boon for a team in desparate need of one. Will Juan Mata fit in the squad? Of course, look at him - he doesn't take up much room. Will Moyes make it work? Current evidence suggests not but he needs a bloody miracle and Juan Mata looks like a tidy Jesus.
Besides, after Fellaini, anyone we get is going to look like Maradona. It's like the best time of night to step up for the karaoke.
What's The Mata With You All?
As an avid reader of the mailbox, I have managed to bite my tongue on several occasions from the current dross written about my team from usual suspects, but this morning's mailbox was a step too far.
It now seems to have become the in thing to do to slate your own team as a United fan. Talk of not wanting to reach a cup final in fear of a beating. The idea of players refusing to join in sheer fear of having to be coached by David Moyes. But worst of all the mail from Bradley Kirrage questioning why the holy Juan would want to join "his" club is quite simply baffling.
Why would he want to join our club? We won't win a thing this year! We are out the FA Cup! We definitely won't win the league and probably won't make the Champions League places!! And most importantly, it's really sunny elsewhere.
What a fantastic supporter of the club you are. A real gem to have on board. Writing us off for everything possible, warning players of the huge mistake they would be making joining 'your' club. If you go to Paris Juan, you'll get a nice tan AND trophies to boot.
I for one was of the same opinion of G-Nev in thinking he wouldn't be the perfect fit, the team would need a re-shuffle to incorporate him and there are positions that need strengthening a lot more in the team. But as Moyes has said on countless occasions now, the type of players of the required quality we need are not readily available. So why not bring in a player of proven class, up to speed with the demands of the Premier League who can most definitely help us reach the dizzy heights of the top four, hell, we may even muster a late title charge when Rooney and RVP are both fit too!!
But I'll stop there, I wouldn't want this current crop of loyal fans to get their hopes up.
When it gets to a stage that you're warning players from joining your club because they couldn't possibly win a trophy any time soon, I think it's time to move on and focus your devout support elsewhere. I heard Paris is nice this time of year. They'll win a load of trophies too.
...Bradley Kirrage asks the question as to why Mata would go to United, in a deluge of negativity, encapsulated in four paragraphs. In the epic words of Samuel L. Jackson, 'allow me to retort', in bullet points no less:
* Mata is not playing regular football and there is a World Cup on the horizon, he knows he will play regularly at United, the competition is not exactly fierce.
* I can't imagine he will move for a pay cut.
* Hopefully, at 25, he has enough foresight to look to next season and beyond, he may not amass enough games at Chelsea to be eligible for any medals if they win anything and how much satisfaction is there in getting medals for warming the bench?
* United are probably two or three more signings from being a force again, once players return from injury, Mata will improve the side so fourth is not an unrealistic aim.
* Is anyone else definitely in for him? We really don't know the answer to that.
* PSG may be an option but he would be up against Moura, Pastore, Menez, Verratti, Matuidi, Motta, Rabiot, Sissoko and possibly Cabaye if rumours are to be believed, loads of competition.
Ultimately it will depend on Mata's motivation, playing regularly or money, I can't imagine his pay at Chelsea is exactly low, so let's be optimistic and hope he wants plenty of football. United can guarantee that!
Paul Milton, Man Utd
Predicted Bad...But Not This Bad
Before the start of this season, when all were saying that United were the main title contenders with City and Chelsea, I wrote an unpublished
- thanks F365 - mail arguing that it was quite likely United would fall out of the Champions League places, and what's more that it wouldn't necessarily be a disaster. After over a quarter of a century of stability, a season of uncertainty was always a likelihood, simply because so many United players have little less experience of upheaval than their rivals.
However, my point was largely based on the premise that United would wobble, then after a year of learning Moyes ways, these players who had won the title so convincingly would stabilise and rechallenge for the top honours. Maybe two or three players would be needed to complement those there already. Unfortunately, the instability this season has certainly panned out, but it has revealed the extent of the shortcomings of the team in more areas than many expected. Needless to say, I don't think the current squad will carry us through the instability into a renewed challenge next year. So now it has given rise to the issue of a complete overhaul in the summer, but without Champions League football on offer.
And so to this window. As a United fan, I, like many others have come to expect Champions League football, as if it's an entitlement. However, I still will not panic if we don't get Champions League football - it's a competitive league after all. Look at how Chelsea have come back from finishing outside the top four. But the big condition is what happens in this window. If United get the likes of Mata, Coentrao and Dante - or defenders of a similar quality - a season without top European football won't hurt too much. The quality will still be there next year to get back to the top four or better, and maybe one or two players in the summer doesn't seem too daunting. Think next year of this team, 4-2-3-1: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Dante, Coentrao, Carrick, Fellaini/Fletcher, Mata, Rooney, Januzaj/Kagawa, van Persie. Plus a couple of new recruits for the bench or better. Can't complain with that. But without activity in this window, I think the task will be three-four years in the making. End result? Moyes will never survive that long.
A Polite Request
If somehow the stars align and Mata does end up joining United, then I would insist that he and David De Gea spend at least an hour in training practicing taking and saving free-kicks, and that this would be on a live feed for us all to marvel over.
Chris MUFC, Barnet
Hard Man Please
For all the talk about Mata possibly signing for United, here is the player they should really sign. Two words,
You know it makes sense.
Alex (CDM) Jegede
Amongst the talk of blockbuster signings, it occured to me that no matter who we sign, David Moyes will still be the Manchester United manager. I'm sure he'd find a way to make Messi, Ronaldo and 2005's Ronaldinho play sh*te.
Players Rule. Obviously
I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it hilarious when armchair critics spout out something along the lines of 'They should just buy players X, Y, Z and all will be solved. Simple!'.
As if it were really that simple. Players are not commodities that teams can just trade willy-nilly. You can't, as Arsene Wenger has pointed out before, walk in and buy good players from a grocery store. Instead, clubs signalling their interest is the easy part. Obviously the actual hard part is convincing the player to join! Why do the broader public still not grasp this truth? Player power is the be all and end all. It has been for a while.
Incidentally I kind of wish this situation was the norm in everyday life. I now have a mental image of going into Tescos, trying to buy a bag of onions and said onions wailing back (in grotesque, vegetable faces) 'But I don't want to get in your basket! I refuse to go!'. And that would be that, you would have to return them to whence they came.
Being Selfish About City Side
Just a quick criticism of Pellegrini. Albeit a small one. Why did he have to play Negredo and Fernandinho for the full match last night? These two play week in, week out and must need a rest (footballers shouldn't play too much football). Jovetic needs the minutes 'cos he's back from injury - sure the full 90 might be a bit too much, but if you say to him, 'Oi Stevan, we're 6-0 up, don't strain yourself - assume this is a friendly' then he should be ok. Rodwell for Fernandinho too. Same instructions. Now Negredo is injured I might have to make changes to my fantasy football team. I don't care about Fernandinho but he fitted into my argument.
Nick P, Burnley FC
Power Ballads To The People
Can I ask all Man City fans to get a new chant going at the weekend?
Stealing the phenomenal lyrics from Starship's 'We Built this City on Rock n Roll'...'We built Man City on Aguerroooooo' or replace Aguero with Negredo. Equally that'll keep us happy.
Phil (trying to get power ballads to the stands since 1993) Pearce, London
Chelsea Ex-Managers' XI
I'm no fan of the club but surely Chelsea would put out one of the best teams? They could get away with playing all their managers who never played top-level football in goal and defence (Mourinho, Benitez, AVB, Grant), with the following front seven:
With Ted Drake on the bench.
Don't Give Nicknames To People You Don't Know
It's good to hear a good old-fashioned rant in the mailbox from Martin Ansell, reminds me of the days before David Moyes/Utd were the topic of every conversation.
Can we have more rants please? Not the same bore inducing, dull, lucid, repetitive, irrelevant, Manc mush.
I do hate nicknames as if you know the player personally, and have done since playschool - J-Rod? You mean, Rodriguez. A real bug barer of mine. My group of friends have affectionately chosen nicknames, born out of playing football together since we were 10. However, I'm guessing you do not have that relationship with a Southampton player therefore this is doesn't make you a more avid fan, just an utter berk.
Passing Without Comment
Following on from a mail a while back on the quality of the comments section I hope you'll allow me to highlight a drop in standards. In that mail a commenter called hump3 was praised, but over the course of the last week his contribution has taken a noticeable dramatic decline, bordering on the woeful. In some cases it has been embarrassing.
I'm not sure whether this capitulation in quality and intellect can be directly linked to the change of ownership of the hump3 and indeed humpy3 moniker to an Arsenal fan of questionable integrity, but credit must go to paul7702 (Manchester United) who was correct in his suspicions. Special mentions here to the views of varicosergent and newfowler, both of whom took hammers and hit the nail firmly on the head. I would say they were both cleverer than humpy3, and his many other guises, but according to humpy3 'cleverer' isn't a real word. Yes, I know, I appreciated the irony in this claim.
Anyway, for those of you who may also have noticed this, this may afford you an explanation. I'll leave you with the erudite opinion of the person who spotted it first. 'Quite what he's getting out of this is anybody's guess'. Quite indeed.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool