That's the question that kicks off an afternoon mailbox full of debate over Arsenal and the size of Patrick Vieira's head. Plus, thoughts on colouring and Chelsea strikers...
The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Concerning all this debate about who is better of Neymar and Oscar recently, and considering they do not even play in the same position, shouldn't the real debate be who is better of Oscar and Coutinho?
Maybe I shouldn't be too surprised in a culture that demands round the clock coverage on a story which essentially boils down to " Rich Woman Has Baby " but even against this backdrop the media and public consensus on David Moyes first month in charge of Manchester United has been nothing short of idiotic.
I expected the tabloids to frantically dip their snouts into the rumour trough now that Lord Ferguson has left the manor. It's what they are paid to do. Sniff out lies and rape the truth to satiate the great unwashed. Was ever thus.
But what I'm struggling to accept is the negativity spouting forth from United fans and more depressingly Evertonians. The crime sheet grows by the day. Moyes cannot attract world class players. Moyes training methods are prehistoric. Moyes has admitted he hasn't a clue about Champions League football. Moyes is disrespecting Everton football club by coming back to steal their players. Moyes is driving out Rooney. Moyes doesn't know what his best team is. Moyes is fracking the water. Moyes. Moyes. Moyes. My eyes.
The simple fact of the matter is nobody knows if Moyes can attract world class players as we have a full month of the transfer window to play out. Until September 2nd we are unable to fully critique his transfer dealings. The fact he is being blamed for not bringing Thiago to Old Trafford is beyond laughable bordering on demented. Thiago's team have come out to say there was no interest from United. Moyes has gone on record to say he was never interested in Thiago. Yet the story spun is Moyes misses out on Thiago. By that logic David Moyes is also responsible for missing out on Lionel Messi, Peter Crouch and my mate Nigel.
The vitriol against his team selections and training methods are pathetic. He's been in charge of 4 football games which have been nothing more than marketing exercises on the other side of the world in varying weather conditions with a squad of athletes slowly making their way back to match fitness. To be branded a clown by Dutch football coach Raymond Verheijen as a result of a couple of training sessions is so unprofessional as to be offensive. Although the ability to offend seems to be Mr Verheijens speciality when you consider his statement 2 days after the death of Gary Speed that it was " Gary's wish " that he take over as Wales national coach.
Moyes has also been derided for admitting he may have to ask Ryan Giggs advice when the Champions League fixtures roll around. How is this a bad thing? This is an example of a manager taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge at his disposal. But yet its reported as a sign of weakness and further proof that he's way out of his depth.
The reaction from the knowledgeable Everton fans I know has baffled me the most. The blue tide has changed and where once they mourned the loss of their Moysiah they now label him a clown intent on stealing their prize players.
I can empathise with their annoyance that Moyes has returned to bring Leighton Baines up the M62 but it's the assertion that he's using his inside knowledge of the club to engineer a derogatory offer which I fail to agree with.
Leighton Baines is the 2nd best left back in England. Has never played Champions League football. Will be 29 years of age in December and therefore has no resell value. On that basis I find United's initial offer of £12 million to be more than fair.
I'm not going to add to the mess that is the Rooney affair as its melting my teeth at this stage. But Wayne Rooney's United future was long decided before David Moyes placed his ginger nuts on Sir Alex's chair.
Maybe he will be a total disaster at United. Maybe he will return to Everton and offer Bebe for Felliani. Or maybe he will win the Champions League in his first season and grow a goatee. The fact remains we haven't a clue how he's going to fare. But so far he has yet to manage a single meaningful United game or complete a transfer window so until that point can we cut out the sensationalist bullsh*t and wait until he declares this year to be Anderson's year before losing the rag.
To paraphrase Renee Zellweger from the movie Jerry Maguire my thoughts on David Moyes are this. I love him, and I don't care what you think. I love him for the man he wants to be, and I love him for the man he almost is.
Moyes = Wenger?
Is David Moyes beginning to sound a little bit like Arsene Wenger when it comes to transfers? He's already making all the same moves and the same noises about prospected transfers!
I wonder if Arsene Wenger has a guide about how to deal with transfers, I could imagine it being a little like this..
1. Identify your transfer target and then state the area of the pitch that this player plays in as a potential weakness.
2. Make an underwhelming bid for the player that you know will be rejected and ignore any press questions on the subject.
3. Make a second bid for the player, which again you know will be rejected.
4. You must now acknowledge a bid has been made for the player BUT you must ensure you make it perfectly clear that this is still a 50/50 deal to maximize hysteria.
5. If your feeling ballsy try this (Not for the faint hearted managers). Strike while the iron is hot, make noises about another world class player and again reiterate your ambition as a top club to attract the best. Furthermore, if you have even larger cojones than this and feel you can do better then why not try another underwhelming bid for another world class player? This has multiple benefits as it doesn't affect your finances in any adverse way and you again create a large sense of hype and hysteria around your club.
6. After the bids have failed YOU MUST play down the bids, make it perfectly clear that you never promised a deal would happen and that it was always unlikely given the circumstances (these circumstances are your choice but the main preference is 'unwillingness to break the wage structure, finances or problems with agents').
7. The fans and media will now be going through the post hysteria stage in which they realise that these transfers aren't going to happen and will become to vent some frustration and anger towards you. Don't worry about this, it's perfectly natural. You must now praise the strength of the current squad and suggest that without additions to the team you cant still challenge for the title next season.
8. If your having serious problems with fans lacking faith in your ability to manage their club then you may want to consider this next step. Make sure you heap praise upon the youngsters who have played in pre season. Fans are suckers for 'next big thing' tagline and will eat this shit up I'm telling you.
9. Promote ideas about youth team policy and maybe even throw in some the odd quote regarding the lack of value in the transfer market and your good to go.
I guess it could be called "How to cock up a Transfer Window in 60 days"...
An Arsenal Conspiracy Theory
Arsenal were (allegedly) "prepared to wait" in their pursuit of Higuain and were subsequently usurped by Napoli who were prepared to pay slightly over the odds after having the receipts from the sale of Edison Cavani burning a hole in their pocket.
Meanwhile, the reportedly 'nailed on' transfer of Jovetic to Arsenal (dating back to before January) never materialised with the striker joining the great pretenders of Manchester for a mere £22m in the meantime.
Now again Arsenal are reportedly "prepared to wait" for Suarez...but be warned Gooners...a certain Totteringham Hotspuds will very soon have £90m+ to play with once Bale completes his move in the next few days - and how better to appease their fans than to go and pay the asking price of £50m straight to Liverpool for Suarez and flick a V-sign to their North London neighbours at the same time whilst starting talk of a power shift once again!
Now I'm going to take off my "slightly cynical" hat off and replace it with my "really cynical" one. Could it be that Arsenal make bids for players that they KNOW will be rejected just so that they can say to their long suffering supporters "well we tried our very best" or "we showed ambition"? How long will Arsenal fans fall for this bunkum as yet again they end up with the only purchase being a promising young Frenchman with a poor injury record or transfer deadline panic buys like Andre Santos?
With three new managers at the top 3 clubs, this year was their chance! £30m for Higuain. £25m for Fellaini. £12m for a quality Centre Half (take your pick) and £6m for a decent back up keeper (again for that money take your pick) = £68m. Offset by actually selling the deadwood (Bendtner, Djourou, Santos, Gervinho + others -which would raise around £13m) and you have a much strengthened team at a net spend of £55m).
Chris (put your money where your mouth is Arsenal and accept you will have to pay over the odds this summer) Charteris
Why Go, Bale?
A few points for Bale to ponder. Why go?
* Spurs are my bet to win the league this coming season, if they can keep hold of Bale and sign Soldado. They have a quality 'keeper, a sold enough back four (plus Kaboul will be back), a Sandro/Paulinho midfield will be insane and a strikeforce of Dembele, Bale, Lennon and Soldado will be quite something. They will have to pick their competitions, possibly focusing all energies on winning the league, and get a bit of luck, but it could very well happen.
* The Premier League needs Bale. Talented, exciting, flair, brilliant to watch and British. He is the star. Would it be the same in Madrid, even for a world-record fee at a club famed in recent times for being dysfunctional? AVB has seemed to unify the dressing room, learned from his mistakes and has the potential to do great things. Is the grass really greener? Coentrao, Modric, Higuain, Benzema and Di Maria were all signed for huge money and big reputations, but have they all really flourished at Madrid?
* Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham or Chelsea could feasibly win the league next season, although with all change on the manager front, stability could bring success. United, City and Chelsea all have new managers so in a way, it has the potential to be quite open this year. The Premier League also boasts other good teams that can beat anyone on their day including Everton, Fulham, Baggies and Liverpool. Interesting (!) seasons await Newcastle and Sunderland, and throw the likes of West Ham in there and no-one can say the Premier League is as uncompetitive as La Liga. It's not equal by any means, but...
* Atletico Madrid have just sold Falcao, Sevilla have just sold Negredo and Navas, Valencia look like they are about to sell Soldado and Real Madrid have signed up Isco for next season from Malaga. Where's the challenge? As all other Spanish clubs get royally shafted by the big two for all TV money and league rights, no other clubs can afford to compete. Why bother sign up for a two-horse race? I would like to bet that Real Madrid will finish either first or second in La Liga next season. I would also like to bet that Barcelona will finish either first or second next season.
* Think you're bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo? Before moving to Madrid, he had almost singlehandedly won United a good few titles, cups and a Champions League. Those were his credentials. Can Bale say the same?
Richard (can any club really afford £90M in transfer fees alone on ONE player?), Cambridge
Keep Suarez Until January
I know that this transfer window is yet to close (or begin if you look at the ongoing protracted transfer sagas, which may or may not have been created by the press themselves); however I was thinking about the Suarez situation. Every year at January, we hear how there is "no value" in the January window, teams do not want to sell and unsettle their squad; while others are desperate for an influx of new players - either due to injury, poor form, push on for European qualification or avoid relegation. In this case the asking prices get ramped up for purchases (cough 35 million for Carroll cough).
Now come January, Suarez may be sulking that Liverpool have not sold him, but I suspect no matter how bad his attitude, once on the pitch his competitive nature will take over and he will still be putting in some decent performances - if only to keep other teams interested. Along with the anticipated inflated prices in January, Suarez will not be cup tied in European competitions, wouldn't this make him more desirable for the teams in and around the Champions League places? Couldn't this drive up the price even more?
So what do Liverpool have to lose? Keep there best player and attempt to convince him to stay, hell even try and demonstrate that they are pushing forward and looking to qualify for the Champions League themselves. Come the January window, he will not have lost any value, as he won't be cup tied for European competitions. Then with a desperate Arsenal struggling their usual fourth place finish, PSG falling behind Monaco in Ligue Un, Madrid chasing Barcelona in La Liga, and Pep's Bayern dropping behind Dortmund, couldn't this lead to a REALLY ridiculous bid in January?
Robert (Still think he is staying - we will sell him after the World Cup)
He Also Said He Wanted To Leave For Barcelona, But Whatever
As I lay in bed reading the news about Pepe Reina going on loan to Napoli as well as his open letter to the fans, I can honestly say that for the first time in 30 years of being a Liverpool supporter, I am genuinely disappointed (but not surprised) with the way the club treated one of our most loyal, non-scouse, world class players.
Here is a man who by all counts has been loyal since he arrived 8 years ago. Despite being treated as a financial asset a few years back, he stuck by the club. And now, he's loaned to Napoli without even being told until after it happened.
He needs to uproot his family, his life, find a new school for his kids and start fresh in a new country for possibly 1 year. Our way of saying thanks.
We hear words like loyalty thrown around quite often by fans and clubs. Only in the last few hours, Rodgers called for loyalty from our flavour of the day Suarez. But, if Suarez leaves, then he's a mercenary who is not loyal to the club ... And no one is bigger than the club right! But, we can ship out Reina without even telling him, that just considered good business! Loyalty from the club to the player is not important ... Really?
I've also read comments from so called fans out there who say it's time for Reina to go. Are you also beating the Suarez should be loyal stick?
Let's hope Brendan's gamble pays off ...
Rob (I was one the 95,000 at the MCG), LFC - Sydney, Australia
Minty, LFC talking about pre-season: We needed to know whether Toure is quick enough to handle the faster premier league strikers.
Surely pre-season is a bit late to be finding that out. Before a contract was signed would have been a better time.
Ben Ghirardani, North London
Davids And The Number One
So, Edgar Davids is set to wear the number 1 whilst playing in midfield for Barnet this season. Does this mean we can finally put an end to the ridiculous trend of describing a player's position by his number? I hate hearing 'he's a classic number 10' even when said player actually wears number 10, never mind when they're wearing a completely different number.
So unless people are going to start describing a tough tackling, box-to-box midfielder as 'a number 1', let's just stop it altogether.
On that note, can anyone put together an 'Unconventional numbers XI'? You've got Davids, and two more off the top of my head are John Terry (26) and Clint Dempsey (2). Anymore? A keeper wearing number 9 perhaps?
Jamie (Maybe a left-footer Welsh winger we all wish was English that doesn't wear the number 11?), Boro
Just been reminiscing with a pal about football songs and how Status Quo's Rocking All Over The World is perfect for the League Cup final. Some clubs like Everton and Liverpool have stuck by the tune they run out too for donkeys years whereas the Arsenal have chopped and changed but never bettered the 89-90 season's theme to The A Team which worked particularly well with Niall Quinn's mullet flowing in the breeze of the tunnel and Kevin Richardson's ginger 'tache.
So then, what songs should team's come out too nowadays?
Arsenal - Money's Too Tight To Mention
Chelsea - Can't Buy Me Love
Spurs - Jealous Guy
Stoke - Alive and Kicking
There's got to be plenty of others out there.
There seems to be an unusually high fascination with penises on a Monday morning. What with Matt Stanger's reference to Madrid's manhood and Daniel Levy's testicles and John Nicholson painting a vivid image of the lead guitarist thrusting his panted armidillo in the face of frenzied fans.
Is this overcompensation to amend for the anxiety caused by stories of mickey mutilation in previous months?