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 email@example.com
We Should Have Sold Bale For £85m
You know a few weeks ago I was involved in some mailbox back and forth regarding my feeling that Bale should be sold at 60 million pounds. I bit my lip as 85 million was mentioned, I went into full on frenzy once over 100 mill was being bandied about as the figure. Does anyone with sense really think Gareth Bale is worth 85 million pounds? More than Cristiano Ronaldo? I always thought the Messi/Ronaldo comparisons were flattering but optimistic at best. You (apparently)had a chance to get MORE than the world-record fee for a player and started d*cking around demanding more and now if reports are to be believed interest is cooling off.
Assuming there was some truth to most of what we heard so far this window, 60 million would have been great business in my opinion. 60 million plus Fabio Coentrao would have been excellent business. 85 million would have been a masterclass in extracting maximum value. Everything else was just plain greed and now we are 'stuck' with a player whose dreams we crushed. The most we can hope for is that he performs at an even higher level to keep himself in the shop window for an entire season or at least until January. Oh and that he doesn't get injured.
I grew up with posters of Ruel Fox and Chris Armstrong (I am in my early 30s now) on my wall. I idolised Anderton, Ginola and Klinsmann - it was always over too soon though. I stopped thinking that players had any kind of affinity to the club I love and support when we lost Keane and Berbatov the way we did. By the time Modric started his sulking I couldn't have cared less. We have been spending money reasonably wisely in the recent past, and 85 million for a player that clearly doesn't care a jot about being at Tottenham Hotspur is a hefty and handy wedge. I had full faith in part or all of that money being sensibly invested in the squad. There are two players in world football right now that are worth 85 million right now and Gareth Bale is not currently one of them. We could have got that much or close to it. It would have been a robbery.
Neil Green, THFC
The Most Stupid Manager Is...
So apparently already injury-prone Sanogo's going to miss the start of the season with a hamstring injury, while Chamakh's been sold and we have a striker we pay £2.7m a season who will just hang around the club next season and not play because nobody wants him.
So my question is: Is Arsene Wenger currently the stupidest man managing in the Premiership right now?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Arsenal Summer Theories
As a 'long-suffering' (is there another kind?) AFC supporter I have some theories on why the transfer window is such a nightmare for fellow Arsenal fans which I would like to share for others' views and additions/corrections:
1. The Fifth Column Theory - AW is annoyed with the Board (and Ivan) and is sabotaging the club from within by not buying; therefore ensuring the squad is so thin it will easily break (this is a postulate that can only be evaluated properly on 3 Sep, but the signs are ominous).
2. The Big Bang Theory - We have already made a number of signings but Arsene (for reasons only known to him, ie to anger the WOB folks) will have a big splash on a day very soon - a day which never seems to come BTW (again a proposition that can only be examined for sure after the window closes, but this looks less and less likely every day).
3. The Clueless Theory - there is no structure or plan (A or B) and the normal business is to fly by the seat of your pants and hope a T. Henry falls out of the sky to save you for a few years. The proof can be found in the past several years' transfer windows where panic set in 24 hrs before the window closed. Panic is already in place among the supporters (while the board is only concerned about whether they will have solid food tonight and their depends adult diapers are delivered and changed on time). This is a theory which has a lot of empirical evidence.
4. The Eggs-in-One-Basket Theory - Self-explanatory and a bad egg at that, but if LFC is true to the many ultimatums delivered, then the game is up and Bendtner is our back-up striker (NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!).
5. The Bait and Switch Theory - The claims of a 70+M£ war chest was never real and only designed to get season ticket holders to re-new. A discounted theory as there is a waiting list for season tickets, but believed by some of the 'Board Out' proponents).
6. The Arsene is Arsene and We'll Never Learn Theory (aka Groundhog Day) - This is the most likely theory and is supported by years of experience. Every year it is the same thing; people think/hope Arsene will change but he doesn't AND every year we hope that this is THE year when it will be different BUT it isn't.
Come 2 Sep we will be faced with the usual flotsam and jetsam on offer at bargain basement or super-inflated rates and some will be purchased with one or two making marginal contributions to the campaign. And we will sweat out the start of the season and the UCL qualifier and hope that Spurs and 'Pool, despite solid improvements to their squads, somehow screw it up again and we limp home in fourth.
BXL Gooner (AFC, as if the monniker isn't enough)
Liverpool Don't Need Suarez
According to the form table for the Premier League's last dozen games of last season (four of which were without rat boy) Liverpool were third in the form table after these games - above Man United, Man City, and Spurs. I would suggest this turnaround in form post-Christmas had as much to do with Phil Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge than any other factor. What I don't understand though, is why Liverpool are talked about as mid-table fodder, when the table clearly shows a team that - based on recent stats - competes at the very top of the table.
Liverpool are not going to win the league, obviously. But is top four really that much of a stretch given their form was better than Man City's after the new year. Without that absolutely horrendous start to the campaign, I highly doubt Spurs and Everton would have finished higher, yet Spurs seem to be talked of as part of the elite, when they have a p***-poor manager who is utterly reliant on Bale's screamers to pick up points while his team struggle to adopt his dog-rank tactics.
Suarez clearly believes he is the sole reason for Liverpool's positive form, but given he was part of the team that was so poor before Christmas, the evidence suggests otherwise.
Dan (Well Bored) Benvenuto
Fanmail For Piggott
I have a feeling F365 published Michael Piggott's mail near the top of yesterday's Mailbox bill in the hope of filling up this morning's Mailbox (that is their agenda after all!)... So allow me to assist.
On Giggs - For a man of almost 40 I think he was doing slightly more than walking around 'Wembly'. I would argue he was one of Man Utd's best players on Sunday. He looked physically fit and mobile - and always provides the leadership you'd expect of a senior figure. You truly can't beat on-field experience and I believe that is something Moyes will benefit from this season.
On Rooney - 'Losing Rooney will not be a big thing'. I think you'll find any team would benefit greatly from a player who contributes as much as Waz, regardless of where they're played or how much hair is on their head. I think it is imperative Moyes convinces Rooney to stay at Man Utd if they want to be competitive across all competitions this season. He provides a massive amount of energy and always chips in with important goals and assists.
On Moyes - 'Still Moyes persists in playing Giggsy'. Would this be the same Moyes that has overseen a grand total of zero competitive games? Too little too late? Give us a break mate; let the guy actually do his job before you judge his team selection. Utd were up against a Wigan outfit that were relegated and had their best players tempted away by Martinez so perhaps Moyes could have given a run out to some of the youngsters... but could you imagine the headlines had they lost? Moyes did the right thing selecting a team as close to a competitive starting XI as possible and I would have done the same thing.
Paul M, LFC
Anderson Looks Okay, You Know
Watching the Community Shield on Sunday, I was intrigued when Anderson was brought on for Man Utd. You see, I only ever get to watch footie when it's on ITV, so I haven't seen United play since the second leg of the Madrid CL tie (at which point I think he was still injured), and I've been hearing all these reports about how fat and lethargic he is.
And? Well, for starters he did a fair bit of running. That was a surprise. He looked happy to put himself about, showed a decent turn of pace, tried to take on Wigan players on a few occasions, played some clever passes (Not all successful but the idea was right) and generally looked like a player who might be on the verge of hitting some decent form. Add in that lovely exchange with Kagawa near the end and there's hope yet. Maybe I'm being optimistic but I do wonder whether an injury-free season this year could see him finally fulfil his potential. I certainly hope so - he's had more than his fair share of bad luck in that respect.
On the Welbeck subject that's been going round, I love the fact that he's a homegrown player and I do think that he deserves more time, but how long can United put up with a forward who doesn't score and rarely assists?
Alex, (Liked the winter cup break idea, not sure it's feasible tho) MUFC
Calendars And Other Bulls**t
I'm going to let the mailbox into a little secret. A secret that will surprise absolutely no-one, especially Mediawatch.
Until very recently, I worked in marketing for one of the UK's biggest football clubs. Hint - they play in red and don't have an inferiority complex. One of my tasks was to produce collateral for season ticket holders, official members etc - this included promo materials, websites and even the dreaded club calendar.
Here's the secret - we were quite often told not to feature certain players in promotional materials. But I seldom scurried to the bookies to place a bet, because this information didn't come from the boardroom or the manager's office. It came from the lowly marketing exec, and was based purely on the tabloid speculation he'd read that week. It was the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy. The Sun says Rooney might leave, the marketing assistant says we better not feature Rooney in case he leaves and we look stupid, then The Sun says 'EXCLUSIVE - departing Rooney absent from kit launch posters'.
I can hereby guarantee that a player's appearance or otherwise in marketing material means nothing, and the painful recent memory of late nights spent redesigning about 50 pieces of marketing that featured a certain purple-nosed Scotsman is testament to that. So please, please, please red-tops - jut stop f*cking pretending you don't already know this.
Name withheld (not sure the purple-nose bit would go down well!)
An E-Mail Sent Very Late
I hope that things take a major turn and Suarez goes to Juventus. Why? So some little kid somewhere in the world who only knows about Suarez and his man eating ways see's a photoshoot picture of him standing next to Tevez, so the kid can recoil in horror at say "Daddy look what Suarez did to that man's neck". And hopefully be extra confused at Carlos smiling insanely beside they guy who "ate his neck".