It's all very well having a go at David Moyes (and a few more do), but just who else would they get in? Plus, England in the Group of Death, Pantilimon and the helicopter...
It's the Mailbox all but United fans have been longing for, with Davey Moyes copping so much stick. Also have love for Martinez, Luis Suarez and Southampton. Enjoy...
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Can everyone calm down a little?
*Newcastle (total summer spend: nowt) lost their first game against a team that cost the sharp end of a billion pounds.
*Arsenal were slightly unlucky to lose to a much improved Villa team
*Man Utd enjoyed more than a little luck to run out 4-1 winners against a decent Swansea team
*Chelsea eased their way back in against an underwhelming Hull team
None of this proves anything until we have seen all of these teams against other opposition, yet I have already heard Newcastle fans talking about "lucky to finish 19th" and Arsenal fans convinced they will feature out of the Champions League places. Why don't we all wait until we have a few games under our belt, and all our transfers done, before getting carried away?
That said, we were sh*t; Joe Kinnear, what do you actually do?
Pardew Has A Point
As mental as Pardew sounded after City thumped Newcastle last night, he does have a point.....sort of. I propose a slight modification of the French transfer window system. In France, when the window closes (which like England,is after the season has started) there is then a further - "Joker" week, where a team can make one additional transfer, but only from a club in the same division.
My idea is that the English transfer window closes 3 days before the opening weekend (to allow proper time for registration etc), then after the first round of fixtures a similar "Joker week" starts where a team can only sign one other player from any division in England.
You see, I understand how frustrating it is for a manager to shape his team all summer, only for a bigger club to swoop in and scupper your season by taking a key component two weeks in, yet on the same hand a counter argument can be made that you can only see if your teams philosophy is working after playing competitive games. I think this proposal would satisfy both those predicaments.
Conor (Moyes looks like Moe Szyslak) O'Rourke, Dublin
...Back in the day, a young Jackie Milburn would put in half a shift at Hazlerigg colliery on a Saturday morning, before zooming up to St James' Park on his motorbike to turn out for the Magpies. His situation was not unique in those days.
Newcastle's opponents last night, Manchester City, once witnessed their own example of dedication to the cause, when their goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann (sadly recently deceased), played on in the 1956 FA Cup final with a broken neck (yes, that's neck, not fingernail).
Last night, Yohan Cabaye, felt that he couldn't turn out for Newcastle, because he wasn't in the right frame of mind after Arsenal made a derisory bid to lure him southward. His abandonment of his team mates and those who support him (and pay his vast wages) at a time when his services were needed, exemplifies the mercenary footballer of today, who is more motivated by lucre than loyalty (having said that, I think we would have still been hammered even with Cabaye).
Of course, footballers have always chased the money, but today's culture of sheer greed, those utterly tedious phantom injuries suffered by players who are subject to transfer speculation, and contracts that are meaningless leave an increasingly bitter taste in the mouth. So much so, that fans on forums and phone-ins across the land are 'falling out of love with the game'.
As for M. Cabaye; well, mon ami, as someone learning French in primary school might say, fermer la porte on your way out.
So, although the football has started back up, it seems that the interminable Transfer Window still has legs, and is dominating the headlines more than the actual football it supports.
Whether Alan Pardew likes it or not, the Premier League is 20 businesses trying to do the best business they can, whilst incidentally some people kick a ball around a field once in a while. I think we've all come to accept this and make of it the best we can.
So, this brings me on to my main gripe / point - why the hell is he getting so precious about the timing of a bid, which he deems insufficient for one of his players? As the manager of the club, all he has to say is "No, give us twice as much" to Arsenal and to Cabaye "Pull yourself together and do what you are handsomely paid for, for 90 minutes"...it's hard requires the oratory skills of Martin Luther King.
Are players really THAT unprofessional, that hearing that someone else might be interested in them that they completely freeze and are unable to play football any more? Or Alan, are you just looking for an excuse for a p*ss-poor performance?
Brett (the head's not for turning) Stirling, Zurich
Do Arsenal Need Cabaye?
No doubt you have received enough mail on the subject of Arsenal to make your eyes bleed and your mailbox collapse under its own weight so I apologise for adding one more but I'll try and make it brief on our (yes I'm a gooner) bid for Cabaye:-
1. Not the player we need. He is a French Arteta. We have an Arteta (albeit an injured one).
2. Newcastle's response should be to fax back (because for some reason clubs still use fax) and just say "ROFL, no seriously what's your bid?"
3. This is another 'bid' from Arsenal designed to make headlines to show that they are trying but knowing full well it will not be accepted. Aww bless em, they're working 24/7.
4. We all know how it will play out. Arsenal will up their bid by say what maybe 1 or another 2 million before getting annoyed that a club wants a realistic amount of money for one of their star players.
5. With all due respect to Cabaye, this bid very much smacks of desperation and reaching the bottom of the list.
Before Newcastle fans get on their high horse I do actually like Cabaye as a player, I just don't think he's what we need.
We will not sign anyone else in this transfer window. End of.
Yours, perplexed, dismayed and glad he gave his season ticket up
Will City Keep Everyone Happy?
I think Man City could have a real problem this year with keeping players happy. All is rosy at the moment, however they have A LOT of world class players who all want to play in the same areas of the pitch.
The obvious one is up front. Aguero, Dzeko, Negredo and Jovetic are all going to want to play. None could really play on the wing, Jovetic could probably play a little deeper. In tough away games domestically and in Europe, only one might play up top. At the moment, Dzeko appears in favour but I would predict Aguero to be the number one striker as the season goes on. Some egos are going to need serious man management form Pellegrini.
Other players who are probably not going to play much are Nasri (and we all know what a little b**** he can be), Barry, Milner, Javi Garcia, Rodwell and Richards - all players who would play a lot more in most other teams in the league. About 100m worth of talent. While it is vitally important to have a deep squad, I would argue neither United or Chelsea have players of the same quality, who cost so much, and who will play so little. If Pellegrini can make this work and stay in all 4 competitions for extra games, City will win the league.
By the way, just checked and City paid 26m for Milner while paying 25m for David Silva and 24m for Yaya Toure. If ever there was an example of how clubs get ripped off buying English players, this is it.
Patrick John (They could probably do with a centre half mind)
Well that was a pleasing way for City to kick things off. I mentioned to a friend at the beginning of the match that after the weekend's events, we could do with putting a result on the board and making a statement with a big win. I didn't think I was going to be that lucky.
First off, I'm pleased with the players that came into the side. Fernandinho was excellent and I'm really hopeful that he can fill Barry's role but also provide us with some goals or assists as well. I've said for the last three years that despite Barry's obvious importance in the way we play and in recycling the ball, I always felt we could do better and get someone that could do that as well as chipping in in other areas. In Fernandinho, I hope we finally have that player. I was also incredibly pleased with Navas who worked his little boots off. He chased everything all night and looks like he's going to be an absolute menace to fullbacks all season. Inside forwards like Silva are wonderful to watch but it's nice to see an old fashioned 'chalk on your boots' winger at the club again that can really stretch a defence and give us some width. It's also very nice to see Edin with a smile on his face again. Had his usual 'Oh Edin...' moments and didn't manage to bag a goal but he looked dangerous and motivated. If he can keep it up, his goals will come.
While I'm obviously very pleased with the result and the performance, I think we missed an opportunity to score a few more. I'm not going to cry myself to sleep about that (too pleased... plus it's morning now) but I am still a little concerned at the lack of cover at the back. Javi Garcia's been filling in there in pre-season but behind him, it's Boyata. Not to put too fine a point on it, Boyata is simply not up to a sustained run in a team with title aspirations. He's not really up to a run in a team in the top league. We needed a centre half before Kompany got injured and we definitely need one now. Quite why we haven't been looking at Alderweireld I'm not sure (in fact, I'd have been all over Caulker but he wanted first team football) and I wouldn't deign to know better than the manager but I hope he's got someone up his sleeve. Richards can play in there but I still feel that back line is a body light of where I'd want us to be.
I do feel for Newcastle though in all this. The Cabaye bid would have thrown the pre-match preparations out of the window and more pertinently, it will have thrown out the concentration and focus of the squad. Now Newcastle's fortunes are none of Arsenal's concern but the timing certainly didn't help them out. I'm a big fan of Cabaye and he'd fit in well at Arsenal so I get why they're after him but as Pardew says, they could have hung on until the morning.
Still, a win's a win and I'll take that all day long. A strong and encouraging start to what looks like being a really entertaining league season. Looking forward to it all immensely.
More Moyes Worries
The more you try to understand about Man Utds conduct in this transfer window, the more ridiculous it looks. It seems that whatever Arsene is smoking, he is getting it from Moyes.
*If Moyes always wanted to buy Fellani and Baines, why not do so before the Summer tour, so that they have time to integrate with the squad, than wait till the end of transfer window to save 3-4 million!
*If he wanted to make a marquee signing before going for the obvious ones (the above duo/Cabaye), why not go all out to secure the signing, by making a bid which Barca could not refuse and make a statement of intent, rather than sniffing around with minimal bids, ridiculously hoping that either (a) Barca will sell at a low price or (b) Arsenal will not match this price or (c)Fabregas is desperate enough to submit a written transfer request to his boyhood club. (OK, we can exclude the Option B safely)
*This whole thing about making a marquee signing reeks of an inferioriy complex by Moyes and it looks like he feels he HAS to make a big name signing to prove to the whole world that he is capable of attracting these players. What he had to realize that this squad has been the champions of england, so maybe he just needed to sign 1-2 good solid midfielders (of the Fellani/Cabaye mould - Utd fans would have been very happy with these signings not just last year, but this year too), ensure that the team compete on all fronts this season, prove to the everyone that United will remain a force to be reckoned with under is leadership and he is capable of managing at this level. Wouldnt the so called 'marquee' players be more comfortable joining United then?
*Rather, United's conduct in the transfer window has been embarrassing for everyone (club/player/fans) . Moyes looks like a newbie in fantasy football, who has 20 million to spend on 3 midfielders - but is not sure whether to include Bale or not.
Rishi Gaurav (now dont go and sell Nani) Man Utd
...Never thought I'd suggest this, but fans may want to lay off Moyes' transfer policy a little. He's notably meticulous and thorough, and presumably hasn't had the time to compile the sort of research he normally does on a player. Hence why the only transfers he's publically acknowledged seeking are players he's familiar with, as they've already played in the Premiership for a sustained period. United will have known this about Moyes, and, after the vacillation and downright idiocy of much of Fergie's transfer policy post-2008, it's a welcome improvement.
Whatever statements United make about their commercial revenue and potential to spend, they still don't have the same resources as Chelsea and City in the transfer market. City and Chelsea can afford to invest £30m in a player, with £200k per week wages, and simply buy a replacement if it doesn't work out well. United don't have that luxury.
Assuming he gets Fellaini, I would rather Moyes kept much of his powder dry until January or next summer, than that he went out and bought another Ashley Young or Bebe. United's squad is too poor, too unbalanced, and too old, to allow Moyes any significant margin for error in transfers.