There are a few explanations for why Man United seem so comfortable in Europe but not so at home, while some people really aren't very happy with Roy Keane...
As Gerrard and Henderson both struggle with injuries, was it a mistake for Liverpool to sell Jonjo Shelvey? Plus, thoughts on Arsenal, Everton, United and Chelsea's strikers...
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Liverpool Hold None Of The Cards But Suarez Is Staying
I think this morning's mailbox Liverpool supporters have got it all wrong on Suarez. Liverpool hold none of the cards. Suarez holds none of the cards. Absolutely every CL club holds every single card, and not one of them will be showing them soon.
Someone asked when has a player's personality ever been an issue for a buying club but they're ignoring the obvious ... How often are players scouted and then not thought about again? All the time. Far more often than they are scouted, approached and signed. Suarez is the perfect example of a player whose personality ruled him out of joining the big clubs.
It's folly to think only Liverpool noticed his superb goal record at Ajax, or that only Liverpool were able to pry him away. The simple fact of the matter is that it was that the big CL clubs could afford to overlook a personally flawed talent - they had the money and clout to look elsewhere. Liverpool did not, and so they took a punt on someone everyone knew about but no-one wanted to go near. And this summer will be exactly the same. I'll happily wager that the links to Arsenal, Chelsea and City have come from Suarez's camp as the player starts to panic, and that Liverpool would actually be delighted to get an offer.
Everyone wants a player of Suarez's ability but not everyone is reduced to putting up with the crap he creates. Other clubs will happily go for slightly lesser players who won't be suspended for 30% of their games. So don't worry, Suarez will definitely still be a Liverpool player come September.
He's A Cretin. Just Accept This
I appreciate this site is all about opinion but I for one am getting sick and tired of reading posts written by moaning LFC fans.
If Cliff Mallinder was trying to make a serious point do you think he would have used a dog and pet shop analogy?! The inevitable uproar from LFC fans when someone has dared poke fun at anything related to their club or one of their players if quite frankly ridiculous.
Just accept the fact that one of your players is a cretin who seems to treat your club with very little respect. As a result, other fans will mock you and rightly so.
Will Suarez stay? Probably not. How much will he be sold for? Probably about £30M-£40M, maybe a little more if he stays in the Prem. Does the fact he's an utter tool reduce his value: Absolutely 100% (it just does, end of story). Now can we just leave it alone please - or at least until someone other than Suarez himself says anything about a potential transfer!!
Dave, THFC (still expecting Bale to be sold this summer)
Good Riddance, Surely
In response to the three mails this morning on how Liverpool hold all the cards in the Suarez saga and how Cliff Malinder missed 'the point' of the whole affair, whatever 'the point' is, I feel that they are looking at it through rose-tinted glasses.
Matt, LA has claimed that it would be a knee-jerk decision to sell him but it is probably more knee-jerk to refuse to sell him. Suarez has proven himself to be an incredibly selfish, petulant little so-and-so, we seen what Tevez did when he flew home and refused to play for Man City for a few months, could you really rule out Suarez doing something similar? He is banned for the first six games of next season, at £120,000 a week that is costing Liverpool £720,000 give or take, plus the four games he missed at the tail end of last season.
Someone as childish and blatantly unprofessional as Suarez will undoubtedly be a disruptive influence on the rest of the squad, how will the rest of the squad interact with someone who clearly feels himself to be above them and also the rest of the club? Do you really think that he will give 100% in training and matches when he really doesn't want to be there, as the only world-class player left at the club how will those around him react when they see he doesn't care?
What I really can't understand is how all Liverpool fans seem to still want him at their club, not because of the biting/racism/diving incidents but the fact that he doesn't want to be there. He is a mercenary of the highest order, the fact he constantly says in the media about wanting to leave but won't hand in a transfer request so he still gets his 'loyalty bonus', he's showing some loyalty to the club. If his family's lives were being made as unbearable as he claims I'm sure a wealthy man such as him would have no issue missing out on that bonus to get away and start a new life in a foreign country...even though he would happily move to Arsenal.
Fantastic footballer, but there are more out there, who can better fit into Brendan's system and won't give as much aggro, and won't miss a quarter of every season through suspension. His lies about loving the club, wanting to leave because of the media, loyalty bonuses are all a bit hard to swallow after what Liverpool were put through defending him. Take £35-40million for him and say good riddance, get a new striker and a new centre-half with the money and everybody move on.
The Suarez Smokescreen
Isn't the real reason why Suarez is agitating his socks off for a move from Anfield - and one that was alluded to by Andy LFC in the morning mailbox - much simpler than all the poor-me, victimised nonsense he is claiming? Essentially: he doesn't believe he's playing for a club that has a chance of making the Champions League in the next two years. Form would indicate that three of the four qualifying spots are the concrete property of United, City and Chelsea, and when considering the fourth one, what could honestly tell Suarez that Liverpool will best either Spurs or Arsenal? Their superior squad? Their superior manager?! I think the fact he came from Ajax plays a big part in this; he's tasted the thrill of elite European competition, but never in a team that stood a chance of making a mark on it.
What he wants, you'd assume, is to take the field in the Bernabeu or the Allianz and not simply be making up the numbers, before it's too late. Perhaps Liverpool fans should be touched that he'd rather say 'I hate it here because the press hate me', as opposed to 'I hate it here because I don't have a chance of winning sod-all.'
Bad Behaviour DOES Cost Players
I see that Minty, LFC and Andy (good God, I've just realised how cynical I am), LFC have taken umbrage with the suggestion in Cliff Mallinder's dog analogy that a player's behaviour will affect their career and/or value.
Gloriously, Andy uses the following players as examples; Suarez, Tevez, Balotelli, Terry, Mutu and Barton. So, following some, let's say, interesting behaviour Tevez, Balotelli and Mutu all rocked up at clubs in a weaker league for either less than the selling club paid for them (Balotelli and Mutu) or much less than their talent might otherwise dictate (Tevez). Joey Barton was turfed out of City the moment the money started rolling in despite being one of the better players in the squad at the time (the very youngest of readers on F365 may find this hard to comprehend). He then left Newcastle on a free, spent last season on loan in a weaker league and is now returning to a Championship team who don't really seem too interested in him. The impact that indiscretions have had on Terry's career is harder to judge since he's never been transferred as an established pro. The impression that I get is that Chelsea have been trying to reduce their reliance on him in the last few years, although I'm willing to accept that this might be more to do with his injury record. He did get stripped of the England captaincy though and effectively ended up retiring from international football as a result.
As an Arsenal fan I kinda wish Minty and Andy were right, because if they were we might not have so much trouble getting rid of serial moron Nicklas Bentner.
Specifically on-pitch behaviour is an issue too. Check Tiote and Lee Cattermole for example may well have got transfers to higher-profile teams if they didn't spend so much time suspended. With that in mind, I note that Suarez has racked up something like 20 games worth of suspensions in the last two seasons.
For the benefit of fairness I will mention that interesting events do not appear to have had too much of an impact on the careers of Eric Cantona or Rio Ferdinand, although neither have been involved in a transfer since things got tasty. So in conclusion, to suggest that a player's behaviour will not affect their career or transfer value is probably rather wishful thinking. Of course this may be the very thing that keeps Suarez at Liverpool this summer, so maybe their fans should encourage him to partake in more funny business.
...It seems that a balance has failed to materialise between the emails of Cliff Mallinder and Minty/Andy regarding Suarez' value...He's obviously not the worthless mongrel that Cliff has insinuated with his (reasonably witty) pet-shop analogy, however the paired rebuttals have also failed to recognise the obvious impact of Suarez' behaviour on his price-tag. Yes, he is paid to 'kick ball', but you should surely know you are over-simplifying matters there. Suarez', in his two short seasons at Liverpool, has managed to:
• Miss 18 (is it more?) games through racial abuse and biting, both atrocious crimes that have ruled him out of 25% of the two seasons.
• Bring the club into disrepute which then alienated itself by defending him.
• Attempted to (and often succeeded) cheat consistently (as well as nail players with sneaky & nasty ankle-high challenges).
• Seemingly quash the confidence of players around him with his general spikiness (whisper it, but even Hendo and Borini look decent in Luis' absence).
• Ignore teammates on several occasions to shoot from angles at which Rocket Ronnie wouldn't attempt a pot from.
• Blame the media for his disgusting behaviour.
• Sell out the club and fans that backed him in spite of said behaviour, flirting with any club that's keen.
As a result, the average fan not only despises Suarez but harbours negative (often hateful) feelings towards Liverpool - not just United fans, I'm talking about yer Brentfords, yer Chesterfields and yer Lutons et al. Clubs like Real Madrid rely so heavily on commercialisation, which itself relies very heavily on reputation. Suarez has conclusively proved that he can severely damage reputations and show little to no remorse, making him a difficult gamble for a club like Real. He certainly won't sell as many shirts as a player with a squeaky clean rep - parents won't be racing to get his name on the back of little Miguel's shirt will they? At the very least, his crimes will significantly lower his price tag.
Long story short, I think the three emails in question all held valid points but were bias to the extreme (Minty & Andy both LFC? Shock) - Suarez will be expensive because he kicks ball real good, but any denial his stock has fallen on account of being a complete cretin is exactly that: denial.
PS Minty I don't think Cliff sounds 'simple' at all - that's a pretty hypocritical retort from someone who can't think critically about his own football club through ignorant tribalism; you turned the gun on yourself with that one.
Scott, (Pots 'n' Kettles) London
United Buying From Rivals
Perhaps Gaz, MUFC has a very short memory (or a limited grasp of Google), but didn't Man U sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds? I think most people would agree that there's a teensy spot of rivalry there.
I'd also argue that in addition to RVP and Rio, at the very least the signings of Carrick, Jones, Valencia and Smalling would represent picking up domestic players who were either already at an 'aspiring rival', or who were also a transfer target for an actual rival. Other transfers in a similar mould off the top of my head would be Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Berbatov, Sheringham, Roy Keane...
That said United do clearly have a strong scouting network and youth set-up, and for every name listed above there is a Neville, Giggs, Beckham, Rafael, Anderson etc. so I guess the predicably boring answer is, they're both right.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (Exeter v QPR tonight, come on you Grecians!)
Nobody Wants To Play Here Anymore
Well, it looks like Thiago is off to Bayern Munich. The surprising thing isn't that it's happening, it's that so many United fans dared to dream it would end differently given the last few years of transfer saga disappointments. At least David Moyes still looks pleased, he comes across as literally giddy to be wearing his blazer in all the tour photos to date.
Rival teams might look around and laugh at their misfortune, but the bigger issue is that nobody wants to play here any more. Cavani, Falcao, Thiago (probably), Lewandowski, Isco, Mkhitaryan (had to Google it), Moutinho and others have all either opted for other leagues or seem about to. The point is that nobody is winning when none of our teams can sign anybody. The only loser is us, paying our increasing ticket prices and Sky Sports subscriptions to watch our teams crash out of the Champions League before March again. Even with the good players we do have, it almost feels like this league is like an overflow car park because Barcelona, Madrid and Bayern's midfield's are at capacity and literally can't find room for Mata, Cazorla and others. Thiago seems to sum up the ridiculousness of the situation, the year before a World Cup he would rather move to Bayern and sit at a slightly more favorable bench than play for Manchester United. The 2008 final of Ronaldo, Drogba, Tevez, Ballack, Makelele, Shevchenko (he was still a big draw when he signed) seems a long time ago now, doesn't it?
I'm concerned that we're about to go through our own Serie A barren patch, with 20 abysmal teams arguing amongst themselves about who gets to be mayor of shittesville. Because there are so many other teams across the continent hemorrhaging money everywhere even that doesn't seem to pull anyone in any more.
Is our future becoming the kind of league where players go for a final pay day when they hit 30? Surely we want to have the kind of league Ronaldo wants to join now, not on a free transfer when he's 32. Maybe we should accept our fate and start putting in bids for Inzaghi or Raul and be done with it. Is this just a hysterical overreaction, or can other people feel the winds of change in the air?
Moyes v Pep
Moyes questioned about signing players...his response "We don't speak about players contracted by other clubs".
Pep has a press conference, and announces, "I want Thiago. He's a super player, I want him and only him."
Where do you think player will want to go? Seems aside from football, the British also have another thing or two to learn from the Spanish.
Sandy (MUFC, we're never ever signing a CM, ever ever ever)
Liking Uncle Manuel But...
I like Manuel Pellegrini. He looks like he would be the best uncle ever (not a 'touchy' uncle but the kind that gives you beer even though you're 10) and I fully welcome him to England.
But could he please stop mentioning how he was nearly Liverpool manager back in 2010. Bad memories, man. Bad memories.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Clicky, Clicky, Media Mo'Chine!
Nick Miller raised an interesting point this morning when he said:
'One wonders how the Twitter servers would have coped had it been in existence when the Juan Sebastian Veron deal was going through...'
It got me thinking...looking back at some of the biggest football moments of yesteryear one does indeed wonder what the response of society would have been had twitter/Facebook etc. been in existence and what its impact would have been.
From a Premier League point of view, just think of the outbursts following 'Cantona's kung-fu kick' or 'Di Canio's push'.
Both men received their punishments (and to my memory) newspapers died down after a few weeks and normal business resumed...
Had today's social media hotbed been in play back then, their reputations would have slammed into the ground and perhaps they would be heading down the same route as Luis over in Merseyside and looking to head abroad...Bad times!!
On the flip side, the reaction of Nigel Winterburn to Di Canio's push would have ensured he would have been at the butt end of every internet Meme and Youtube compilation...Good Times!!
As an Irish man, the clusterf**k of a meltdown following Maradona's Hand of God would have been spectacular reading...Good Times!!!
Irish international football up until 1987/1988...Bad Times!
I'm sure the Mailbox can come up with some other incidents from years gone by that may have been made better or worse based social media reactions.
I'm also certain that there are a few witty individuals who may even entertain us with their rendition of nostalgic social media reaction to incidents gone by!?!?!
Dig (Brian Clough's Leeds days and slapping of a fan would have been internet GOLD) Dig, Ireland
How About We Talk About Some REAL Things?
God, I hate the Summer transfer gossip. At least 95% of it all is absolute nonsense, essentially completely made up by journalists to sell newspapers - you can't really blame them for that though, it's their job to sell; if you need to blame anyone it's us for allowing us to be moved by this tripe because we all dream of our team signing some superstar and get scared, or even angry (if you're a Liverpool fan usually) if your current star(s) are linked with anyone else.
Having said that, I REALLY hate it when a transfer actually goes through and a red-top paper inserts one of those comments saying 'Look, we got this news first!' and shows the earliest headline they have that that particular transfer might happen. No, it wasn't brilliant contacts or insight on your part, it's just that if you throw enough s**t, eventually some of it's going to stick - in fact, that they feel the need to highlight when they get it right should only indicate how much more often they get it wrong. Where's all the bragging about the 'EXCLUSIVE!' news of Falcao joining Chelsea, Isco moving to Man City and Ronaldo returning to Man Utd?
I guess what I'm saying is, as addictive as it can be to be excited by all this transfer guff, maybe this is an opportunity for people (including the mailbox) to discuss more general issues surrounding football. The plight of Coventry City is a good start - their situation (or rather the situation their fans are in) should be the hot topic of the moment, but because they're not a big enough club, Man Utd fans in Kent would rather read a 'story' about Thiago Alcantara, despite there not being any tangible information available.
Other things we could discuss could include:
• Financial Fair Play - is it actually going to make that much of a difference, or will it only further consolidate the strength of the traditional 'big' clubs with the greatest marketing potential, and will there be too many opportunities to exploit loop-holes like paying over the odds in sponsorship (cough...Etihad...cough) to pad out reported 'income', rather than investment.
• Corruption in FIFA - just because we're not in a year with senior International competition doesn't mean Blatter's not still a crook. A real shake-up is still desperately needed.
• Should people make more of an effort to support their local clubs? Sometimes people get snobby about people so-say supporting more than one team, but if you're been raised a Liverpool fan yet live in Torquay, maybe you can persuade yourself to get down to Plainmoor every once in a while, soak up a different kind of atmosphere (not necessarily better, or more 'real', just different) and look up both teams score on your phone when you're in the pub on a Tuesday night and they're both playing in the Carling Cup.
• Grassroots football - do you see anything especially good or bad when you play yourself on a Sunday morning or while watching your kids play? Maybe you see eight-year-olds diving or biting the opposition? (!)
Just a thought...
Nick Hamblin, Bristol
I know this has already been mentioned in Mediawatch today but I feel the need to get all serious and register my disgust at The Sun's reprehensible front page on Gazza. Their efforts to sell papers are so transparent and made even more sickening when they try to justify it by saying they are trying to 'save' Gazza.
The Sun and other red top rags have a long history in hypocritical bulls**t, today they are trying to save him. Tomorrow they could be publically crucifying him just as quickly if it sells a few extra papers, such is their ridiculously fickle nature.
Personally I haven't bought a copy of The Sun since they published those vile and graphic pictures of Fabrice Muamba in cardiac arrest on its website.
I can't believe they are allowed to get away with such gutter press.
Marc (Man City Fan), Bury
Regarding Mediawatch's non-football story of the day - I hope I am the first [of many] to write in and comment thus....
Whatever floats your boat.
I thank you.
Alex Stokoe, Newcastle upon Tyne
Penis Intact? Boo.
I'm very disappointed that today's Mediawatch non-football story did not end with the strange mans penis becoming severed by said pool raft.
Is it wrong that I am actually beginning to miss these stories??
Tony (I fear that I'm not normal) CFC