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
Kaka To Liverpool?
This will never happen, but I think Liverpool should inquire about a loan for Kaka, given that he desperately wants out of Madrid. The guy would be class in England, and if he was to give the Premier League a go, where would he get guaranteed playing time at any of the other top 6 clubs? A big name like Liverpool currently unable to attract the top-end players due to lack of European participation but with enough quality & potential to fight with the richer clubs in the league, and in desperate need of another quality attacker would be perfect for him. A permanent transfer is obviously out of the question but a year's loan would work for both parties, as it would give him a platform to show what he can still at one of the world's most famous clubs.
After a successful season in England he could then go and get one last bumper pay day. I think he'd be worth a few points to Liverpool in their battle for the top four. We have failed to land any of our major targets so far, maybe this is the way to go until we are back in the Champions League.
Can somebody please help me understand why Lukaku isn't being chased by about 15 premier league clubs at this moment in time?
With the purchase of Samuel Eto, you would have to assume that Lukaku is now 4th on the Chelsea striker pecking order behind Torres, Ba and Eto. So what am I missing?
Lukaku is a proven premier league goal scorer. He scored 17 goals last season for an average West Brom team. He can shoot with both feet. He is terrific in the air. He is big, strong, powerful. His impact was as big as Benteke's (and I actually think overall he is a better footballer than his Aston Villa counterpart.)
For a few million quid in wages, and a modest loan fee - Crystal Palace, Cardiff or Hull could all but guarantee themselves a stay in the premier league beyond this season. Or any team outside the top 6 would immediately improve themselves with a striker who is by far not the finished product, but likely to get better and better each season.
For me, there seems to be very little downside, particularly in a loan deal. That way Chelsea still have him on their books, he has another season to develop playing week in, week out in the premier league - and a mid/lower table team get the benefit of a terrific player and assisting in his development.
Seems like a no-brainer.
Justin (are there any other sleepers out there like Lukaku? I'm sure he's not the only one.) LFC
Tramps In A Fancy Restaurant
I have to say I find it rather interesting as we approach the final day of the transfer window the two managers yet to spend in any meaningful way are Moyes and Wenger.
These two men are like tramps who suddenly find themselves transported into a world where they can eat at the finest restaurants and shop at the finest clothes shops. The problem is because both men have become so used to not spending a bean they find they just can't part the purse strings and pay the going rate for top transfers.
It's sad but I really think both managers are the wrong men for the situations their club's find themselves in. Moyes may well have done a sterling job as manager of United circa 1986 but he's not taking over a club whose best days are way behind them in the way Fergie did. In a similar way Wenger isn't hampered by the same transfer constraints he was in 2006. Even before 2006 people forget Arsene balanced the £10m signing of Henry with the £23m sale of Anelka.
While it's been argued a Holloway or a Coppell can get you into the Premiership it's an Allardyce or Curbishley that keeps you there, maybe Moyes and Wenger just aren't built to spend the cash so both clubs need to recruit managers who can and will.
Graham Simons, (My Podolski mail yesterday wasn't a joke - I genuinely believe Wenger is stupid enough to sell him to balance the books) Gooner, Norf London
Savour The Big Games
I suspect that many Gooners are now feeling a tad worried about our upcoming Champions League journey given the tough group we've landed in after yesterday's draw. Dortmund and Napoli are arguably the two best teams from Pots 3 and 4, and no doubt they were the teams everyone wanted to avoid.
My message to any worried Gooners out there - isn't the point of qualifying for the Champions League to play against Europe's elite? If we wanted to play against the weaker teams in Europe then there's a far easier way to achieve that - finish 5th and play in the Europa League instead. Just ask Spurs fans if they would swap their Thursday night football to get what we have, and I'm pretty sure the answers would be a unanimous 'YES'.
If anything, our Gunners have thrived when up against more fancied opposition. Recent wins against Barca, Milan, and Bayern Munich were not enough to prevent us getting knocked out, but those wins served to give us a boost midway through the season, not something the Europa League might have offered.
Those big games will now come much earlier for us this season, so maybe we'll get that boost in October or November, when we might still harbour hopes of a title challenge. So let us all look forward to some smashing European night action, and let's enjoy the ride while we're at it.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
Some douchebag wrote in saying how none of Spurs' player would get into the Arsenal team. An irrelevant point, as the whole point of having a decent size squad is so you can replace like for like. If Giroud or Walcott get injured, that's basically 90% of Arsenal's goalscoring ability gone.
Arsenal's squad is so paper thin it's a joke. Already the Ox and Podolski are out of action for a few months. More will follow. I would love Arsenal to have a player like Paulinho covering/playing for Wilshere/Ramsey/Arteta. And Soldado covering/playing for Giroud. Not to mention the 18 other players, filling the bench, they have signed to bolster the squad size.
Arsenal can't afford to do well in any Cup competition as it is.
Imagine Arsenal playing 3 games in a week; their squad would be utterly destroyed.
Feeling Sorry For Gooners
I have to say I'm quite enjoying the 'my da's dick's bigger than your da's' squabbles currently occupying the Mailbox between the Spuds and the Arse.
That said, it makes me sad for Arsenal fans that they have been reduced to tediously reminding Spurs fans that they finished above them every year since god knows when. How long can they survive on this second-rate glory?
While Spurs are undoubtedly a club on the up the same cannot be said for Arsenal. Was a time when finishing above the Spuds would have been taken for granted and winning the league - or at least making a creditable fist of it - was expected, with the consolation of a domestic cup if they fell short. Now alls they have left are nervous declarations about how history proves they have the better squad - declarations which do not make any sense and that one can't help wondering whether they actually believe themselves. For the last eight years Wigan Athletic have consistently finished above Cardiff City - does that mean then that the Latics can boast a better squad than the Bluebirds today? It is a warped logic.
While fans of Southampton, Norwich, Cardiff and Swansea marvel at and revel in signings we could only have previously dreamed of making, poor old Arsenal, bereft of any of their own, are forced to dissect their arch rivals' signings in the ever-increasingly desperate hope that they don't turn out to be any good simply because they've never heard of any of them. It really is wretched stuff.
The fact is that, for whatever reason/s, Arsenal have actively attempted to stand still in recent years and, while appearances would suggest they have achieved this ignoble aim by finishing 4th every year, the more sobering reality may be that they have failed in this quest and have in fact regressed; they have simply been lucky that no one has knocked them off their perch, to use a well worn phrase.
I think that unless Arsenal sign somebody of note before the window slides gently to a close - presumably someone their fans have heard of since everyone else is useless - the inevitable will happen and the Spuds will finally finish above them. And I think they know it.
Mort Snort, Saints
Don't Believe The Hype
Prevailing thought seems to suggest that Tottenham have had a good transfer window overall, and are "under pressure" to break the top four once again this year- most likely at Arsenal's expense. However...
At the end of last Summer, there were probably five Spurs players who would have made it into the Arsenal first team (Lloris, Vertonghen, BAE, Sandro, Bale).
A year on, and due to Bale's departure, the improvement of Gibbs/regression of BAE, and Ramsey's phenomenal development, only the first two of those would get into our first team (and the difference between Vertonghen/Mert/Kosc is minimal).
Spurs clearly have the greater strength in depth, but there is very little outstanding talent in their squad, and Arsenal's first XI is a lot stronger than it was a year ago despite a lack of signings.
Take neither the Tottenham hype nor the Arsenal doom-mongering at face value. These two will be close again this year, and it most likely depends on Arsenal's injuries rather than anything Spurs do.
...I have just read Matt Stanger's article on Spurs and I found it very interesting in that seemingly the general consensus really is that Spurs have a stronger side/squad than Arsenal. You will be surprised to discover that I strongly disagree.
A team of Sczesney, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud is on paper well well above anything that AVB can put together. Add to this, the fact that that team has been playing together consistently for over a year and has lost 1 game since the beginning of March and I think that this new Spurs side could be well and truly outclassed this weekend.
It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the circus of the transfer window. As soon as teams throw money around they start getting pretty pictures on the back pages and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. People get caught up in the story arcs created by the papers ie. Arsenal will never make the top 4, Tottenham have done wonders in the transfer market but it is all essentially just chit chat. What matters is what is produced on the pitch and signing players does not always make you better.
Bale dragged spurs to 5th last year, he was their talisman and signing Paulinho and Soldado and potentially Lamela doesn't even get close to compensating for his loss. The whole dynamic of the team changes with these guys in and Bale gone and nobody knows if it will work and it would not surprise me if Spurs ended up significantly worse than they were last year. Arsenal, when you look at their 2nd half form from last year compared to their first, are almost certainly going to be reasonably better than they were last year. Last summer we had 3 big players to bed in and we lost our talisman (seeing any similarities). It took time to get it to work because adding so many new players at the same time can really damage teams. I honestly believe that if Arsenal are firing they will rip this brand new Spurs team to shreds. I am going to put my balls on the line here and say that there is going to be a big gulf in quality between the two teams on Sunday and I genuinely expect Arsenal to dominate the game. I think we all need to step away from the articles created by clueless journalists (not you guys, i like you guys). There is 1 Spurs player I would want in this Arsenal side...the goalkeeper. Expect a comfortable Arsenal victory on Sunday.
Tom (and expect a mail from me on Monday morning) Goldenballs
...Undoubtedly, Spurs are putting together a pretty decent side. I do agree with my fellow Arsenal fans that I'm not as jealous of their purchases as others suggest we should be though. Capoue would have been a good signing, although he no longer fits into our dodgy haircut crew, which has a vacancy with the departure of Gervinho.
Onto my real point, even with Lamela and Eriksen, Spurs still won't have replaced Modric. Where Arsenal have Santi Cazorla, Rosicky, Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta who can all pick a pass, Spurs have a load of battering rams at centre midfield and some quick wingers (Lamela is maybe the one player who could do it). This is a problem as indicated in their first 2 games, where they have struggled somewhat to create decent chances and have only managed to score through two 12-yard death strikes (thanks @usasoccerguy). Last season, the problem was often bypassed by Bale's 20 - 30 yard screamers.
They may well beat us at the weekend, and they may well finish above us this season, but even Man Utd's infamously uncreative midfield has a few passers in it, so I don't see Spurs getting near the title anytime soon.
Ross ('Bale receives a minor offence card for a voluntary simulation plunge') AFC London
For those of you who complain about the commentary you get on some matches, and rightly so, I hope you got to watch a bit of the Swansea game at Ploiesti last night, there's nothing like listening to commentary sounding like "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogeryc Peter Odemwingie West Brom, hwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch Ohhh LEON BRITTAN...". You get the sense of excitement from the commentators, but are probably missing the banality of what's actually being said, they seemed to be loving it. No mention of that night in Istanbul or Barcelona (as far as I could tell), compliments all round for whatever they were squeezing all those L's into, good game too.
Second quick point, given the cameras they are using for goal line technology, could they not install a couple more and see if they can find out who those pillocks with the laser pens are? If you do find someone then ban them from every ground for life as far as I'm concerned.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
As it's a Friday and I've just read a funny article about FM and stand-ups jokes about playing the game I thought I would share a funny story of my own.
As manager of Man Utd (I worked my way up thank you) I received a message in my inbox, "The board has decided to award you with £500 million to spend on players." In the 3 seconds it took for me to click on "Accept Offer" I had already decided which world class players I was going to buy. I could have thrown my laptop out the window after what happened next. Up pops a little box to say, "April Fool's!! You didn't think it would be that easy did you!" It was, in fact, April 1st in real life, whatever that is, and in the game. That's right, Football Manager played an April Fool on me.
Cameron Wilford, Up The Cherries.