In a Sunday Mailbox which is understandably dominated by Manchester United, there are a few little bits for the rest, specifically Chelsea & a Liverpool Christmas list...
One Mailboxer may have spent lunch in the pub in suggesting Van Persie could go back to Arsenal. Also, some Premier League meh-ing and a fine Acewatch suggestion...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
God this transfer window is dull.
If I were Daniel Levy I would request that Real Madrid include Cristiano Ronaldo as a makeweight in the Bale deal just to see if Ronaldo's head would explode.
Mark C, London
Ah, The Elusive Two New Signings
My fellow Gooners are all crying out for new signings but I do wonder if we're getting ahead of ourselves and not stopping to ask what we actually need.
In goal most of us should be content to stick with Szczesny and have Fabianski as back-up or competition. Third-choice goalie can be a youngster like Martinez or an old-timer.
We have full-back covered in Monreal+Gibbs and Sagna+Jenkinson. No-one is suggesting we break-up the Mertesacker/Koscielny partnership and if Vermaelen finds form and fitness he will provide competition for them. We do need a fourth centre-back but we are talking about a back-up player so maybe a promising youngster (Matthias Ginter?). Wenger has also been experimenting in pre-season with Sagna there as a contingency.
In the box-to-box centre-mid role we have Wilshere, Ramsey and at a push Oxlade-Chamberlain. In the attacking-mid spot we have Cazorla, Rosicky and at a push Wilshere. Arteta is alone in the holding-mid spot so we could do with finding a player to be his back-up/competition/long-term successor. Again, no-one would suggest we drop Arteta so an up-and-coming youngster may be fine (Matthias Ginter again?).
On the wings we have Podolski and Walcott. Beyond that we are looking at Oxlade-Chamberlain or very raw youngsters like Gnabry and Miyaichi, so a new winger of real quality is needed. At centre-forward we only have Giroud so a top class player there is needed too. That said, Suarez can play up-front on his own or wide in an attacking three so he might solve both problems at once.
What I'm saying is that two signings could complete our squad. £55mil on Suarez and £15mil on Ginter may be enough. Any more and we will need to decide who makes way. We have two players for every other position and in some cases three. I'm not sure who my fellow Gooners are suggesting gets moved on and replaced?
Players' Benevolent Fund
When one player is rumoured to be getting sold for £100 million and a club is struggling to stay afloat due to debts of £600k, now is the time for something to be done to help these clubs out. If I was a player who was earning millions a year, I would feel bad when teams all around me where going under for debts less than my wages.
What I think should be done about this, is players should donate at least 1% of their wage into a fund set up to help clubs and even players who suffer a career ending injury early on in their career. Millions could be raised from player's contributions as well as the interest that would be generated. If you take the Premier League's wages in year 2011/12, (courtesy of The Guardian) this is what could have been generated from a player's 1% donation:
Team Wages (m) 1% Donation (m)
Arsenal 143 1.43
Aston Villa 70 .7
Blackburn 50 .5
Bolton 55 .55
Chelsea 173 1.73
Everton 63 .63
Fulham 62 .62
Liverpool 119 1.19
Man City 202 2.02
Man Utd 162 1.62
Newcastle 64 .64
Norwich 37 .37
QPR 58 .58
Stoke 53 .53
Sunderland 64 .64
Swansea 35 .35
Spurs 90 .90
West Brom 50 .50
Wigan 38 .38
Wolves 38 .38
Total 1,626 16.26
That's £16 million generated in one year. 1% is nothing to a player earning 6 figure sums. When a team like Coventry are in threat of liquidation or administration, they could apply for funds from the account in order to stop them going under and this would help clubs to keeps jobs safe and to keep the team in the local area (in Coventry's case). A truly independent board could be set up to oversee the running of the fund and to decide if a club/player really needs it or deserves it.
No doubt there could be problems with this idea. Chairmen might see it as a "get out of jail card" and take more risks with their clubs. Players might not want to contribute to it. I think its a good idea that should be set up but apart from writing into the mailbox, I don't know how to go about getting it set up. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated
I actually think this loan Bale idea has potential. Let's look at a few hypotheticals. A loan with cash plus player deal (let's take the original suggestions of 15mil and Di Maria). Tell Di Maria that he is playing for his place. Either to get a full-time move to Spurs or to be seen as a first team player back in Madrid when his loan expires. Use the 15 mil to buy a prospect.
So, if Bale is successful in his year in Spain, then you are in a strong bargaining position to get a decent wedge of cash plus Di Maria if he has been any good. If he is integral to their team, they have little option but to meet your price. If he hasn't, you welcome him back to the fold like the prodigal son and make him the player he once was. Sure there are risks to it but, as I said, it does have potential to be win-win.
Kev (No show like a Joe show)
I can only assume that Steve Bradley of Tuesday morning mailbox fame is doing that trolling thing that internet junkies are now using to fill up their free time between masturbation sessions.
Firstly Stephen, I am going to guess that you are American, in that you state that the British drink 'warm lager'. Just to clarify, we drink cold lager but we drink (sometimes) warm beer and ale - these are different drinks served at different temperatures and any self-respecting, alcoholic British person would miss a hearty dose of beer or ale like they would miss an old, bearded friend.
As for your proposed loan deal - there are many things I could help Daniel Levy with. I could recommend a better quality coat than the one he usually sports, I could point out a couple of excellent restaurants were he ever to come to York and I could show him the finer points of FIFA 13. One thing I would not do is advise him on is how to conduct his transfer business.
Real Madrid might be happy with your suggestion but I don't think Tottenham (or Di Maria for that matter) would be too enamoured. So Spurs lose their best player for a year for £15 million with no guarantee of future fees and might get an unhappy returning star one year further into his contract with a decreased value? All because Real can't bank on Bale being a reliable performer?
Tell you what, you suggest that to Daniel while I find him a nice coat.
The Latest Hare-Brained Swap Idea
Is it a too obvious solution, but why not swap Rooney for Torres. Rooney will be the main man at Chelsea in front of a busy skillful midfield buzzing around working as hard 'The special one' likes and Torres gets to support Van Persie and when he is rotated in gets to run on to all slick passing moves Man Utd are famous for. Torres is a swashbuckler Mourinho is not Rooney is a battering ram albeit with the skill resplendent of a 'white pele'. Liverpool lose all ends up and Chelsea get to deal with Rooney in London and Torres gets the love he desires. Win win. Unless Torres is rubbish and Rooney wins the champions league. Actually swap Rooney for Luiz just for the lols.
I was quite amused by Graham Simons assertion that Wenger replaced players like Bergkamp and Vieira with sub-standard youth players.
If they read the mailbox, I am sure Van Persie and Fabregas would both be quite insulted.
Gav, exiled goner Melbourne.
'Football's Function Is To Entertain' - Responses
I'm sure that you're going to get a lot of these, in response to Scott's e-mail, and that my response will not be the most erudite, but what the heck.
Lets address each of Scott's points in turn.
1) Analysis doesn't give clear opinions. - To a certain extent I agree with this, when done poorly, analysis tends to hide some of the more important aspects you only get through watching the game. However as someone who did a lot of work with the Opta data set published by Man City last year, you could see some real insight when people do turn to maths. John Obi Mikel passes backwards all the time you say? Nope. And this is to make no mention of Zonal Marking and its contemporaries, who actually attempt to use statistics to give extra insight into the tactical battles which take place on the pitch.
2) Trying to have a deeper insight into what goes on makes football less enjoyable? I guess this was the point Scott was making, but holy good God.
3) Football should act as a tonic to allow the lads to let their hair down. - Having a nice round of golf afterwards with Shearer and Hansen would also probably allow the boys to relax, and I wont judge that, despite the fact I can think of nothing more horrible. Some fans like analysis and such, others like watching the game. It's probably ok to let people relax how they want. If you don't want to read statistical analysis, then...don't?
4) People who use analysis have fake opinions. - I'm just going to let this one sit here.
I know it's silly season and that some of the opinions put forward by fans going slightly mental at a lack of the beautiful game are...interesting, but then don't read about it. Go for a pint instead and let the rest of us keep going insane thinking about the relative merits of Bale going to Madrid.
Jordan (Full disclosure, I work for a company which does statistical/econometric analysis of sport and you probably wouldn't want to be sat next to me at the bar)
...Scott, Cork. Oh no, no, no! Football's function is to entertain? Really? When those guys who invented the game in the 1800s decided to play football against each other, it was for entertainment? When we're kicking a ball around on a Sunday morning, being watched by a man and a dog, is our prime concern that he be entertained? No.
Football is about this and only this. Beating the opposition. That people find it entertaining to the extent that they are willing to pay money to watch it at the top level is mere happenstance. Football is a sport, not a product. I think these people who think that Sky invented football in 1992, moan about Stoke, have never kicked an actual football, and boo their team if they're not 2-0 up by half time could do with remembering that from time to time.
Thanks for coming Scott, but you can go back to watching Chelsea City versus The Red Team on Sky Go now. Hope it relieves your stress.
Andy, Basement Nerd, London
Played By The Rags
I was reading the gossip column this morning (and every morning) and it occurred to me that if a mate told me every day: "I'm thinking of lining up a bid for a Ferrari", "I'm gonna swoop for a villa in Marbella" or "I'm showing an interest in the blonde across the way" but he ended up deciding the Ferrari cost too much to buy, run and insure; the weathers been nice this summer so stick with what I have and the blonde across the way is nice to look at but realistically I've no chance, then I would in all likelihood politely ignore his future claims of what he is about to do. I'm not stupid, I know BS when I hear it and know when to listen only when he has got, not what he might get.
It made me question why I was interested in the gossip from the papers when in truth 90% of it is nonsense and proven wrong (Cavani, Falcao as recent examples). The 10% tends to be only those deals which have actually got to contract/medical stage or the parties have actually stated they are looking to do business - I.e. reporting on events, not made up stories.
I'm angry that I'm being played like a fool by the rag-tops. They take my money for made up rubbish to give me my gossip fix. I am Football Gossip Junkie. The papers are my supplier. They see me on the corner waiting with their plucked from nowhere stories. They know I will buy it no matter how weak the product. A shot of bullsh1t and I'll be back tomorrow for more.
I need an intervention - roll on August 31st.
Michael - Dublin (Sadly, looking forward to tomorrows Gossip)
RE Chris ITFC, Liverpool in this morning's mailbox and his "I should know, I've been there on me hols" assertion that most Old Firm fans pick a side based on religion: what a bunch of arse. In Glasgow, where both teams are - ya know actually BASED most fans pick a side based on any number of reasons, religion being right down the list of priorities. Hence you have fans on both sides who are atheists, fans from the same family supporting one side of the other, and fans who couldn't tell you what the six counties were or which par of the island of Ireland they were located in. Now shush you ego wanking mailbox junky: you don't need to have a mail published every day of the week on every subject. The Old Firm: many fans in Northern Ireland. Probably more fans in Scotland tho!
Baz Foster, Glasgow
...I'd have to argue with Chris ITFC, Liverpool that although you perhaps don't get to choose you allegiances to either of the Old Firm in perhaps Belfast, or Glasgow , you do get to choose if you live in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. Both of the aforementioned cities have teams split by their religious origins although I would hazard that the religious aspect in both of these cities has long since gone.
I am aware that football can cause conflict due to religion and segregation, but there is little to no reason as to why there should be so many Old Firm fans in Aberdeen, Dundee or Edinburgh. If these Old Firm supporters, many of whom don't even go to games often, actually picked one of the teams from their home cities, the attendances would skyrocket and Scottish football would be far more competitive and enjoyable to watch. Instead it is having huge financial problems and is absolutely p*sh to endure.
Dundee United and Aberdeen have had their successes through the 1980's, and gained a lot of support through these times. However, the drop of success has also managed to swing a lot of local support back into the hands of the big two.
Being a Dundee fan, I have had one day out in my life at a final and I'll bet it feels more special to me than any fan of the Old Firm fans several visits. They'll be back again either this year or next whereas the rest of the Scottish football clubs could all be waiting decades, maybe more, until they get their chance in the sunlight again.
I would hope that youngsters do pick their local teams. There are huge benefits that I think really do outweigh picking one of the big two, but I doubt that swing will happen again any time soon.
Stu (Dundee United Are Sh*te) Dundee
Just a quick word to Rob and Steve, Gravesend, on their childhood team choices: I really don't care which team you picked as a kid, I don't. The only problem I've got is that people like yourselves seem to think you're the same thing that we are.
See, I was a little Man United fan, I watched them on the TV, bought the merchandise and the shirts. This lasted until the day I actually went to a football match. It was Ipswich Town versus Coventry City at Portman Road, and the whole experience dragged me in: the noise, the atmosphere, the fans, the stadium, the over-excited middle-aged men calling the ref a c*nt, and almost incidentally the football team. I got addicted to the experience of watching live football, so I started going every week and pretty soon the ups and downs of the team - in that place with that specific kind of experience - became the thing I was following. And the thing is, when you've had that kind of experience, it's impossible to take the long-distance supporter seriously. You simply don't understand why they would care, and won't believe that they really do. You just don't see in them the same thing you see in yourself and the people around you.
I'm surely over-romanticising it, but the accumulation of those experiences was genuinely why I cared about it. I say cared, because it's basically dead now, killed so it could be just another branch of the entertainment industry to be consumed at a distance like a TV-soap. Oh well.
Jack S (F*ck modern football)
Apologies in advance for this email.
Unfortunately, the clip from today's Mediawatch is not Mario Balotelli playing the piano for Andrea Pirlo. If you look at Mario's top from the front view, it's zipped up. However, when the camera pans past the Pirlo's back to show the hands playing the piano, the top is clearly unzipped. Then, after it pans back around to the front (after being obscured again by someone's back), and Mario is, once again, fully zipped up.
Once again, I apologise. My heart broke a bit too.