But it must only be used for a shot seemingly launched from a catapult with reckless abandon. We also have mails on Dimi Berbatov, Cesc Fabregas and lots more...
That's the question posed in a wide and varied Mailbox, along with several others including Lloris dropping bollocks, Stewie Griffin's return & a thank you to David Healy...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bad News For England?
The Ozil transfer, whilst great for my club Arsenal, isn't so great for the England team. It now means Jack Wilshere will be used as a box to box Midfielder when really England needed him to progress as the attacking playmaker and most advanced of the midfield 3 at Arsenal.
That now means England will rely solely on Cleverly to break down defenses....
Luca James Sparks
Eddy Three Planks: Castaway
My favourite rumour of transfer deadline day was that when Ed Woodward left United's pre season tour early, he actually left Australia by boat and attempted to sail home. On the way, his boat was plundered by Somalian Pirates, who kidnapped our brave hero.
From captivity, Eddy Three Planks was forced to submit all United's transfer dealings via the medium of 'message in a bottle.' After busting free, Woodward managed to escape on a raft after a ferocious battle with the pirates. With only a football with a face on it for company, Edwood plotted earth shattering, ground breaking signings that would ensure United's domination of English football continued for at least another decade. Regrettably for Ed, his spherical companion grew weary of his ramblings so rolled himself overboard and drifted off into the horizon.
Never one to give up, Woodward continued his epic journey through fierce storms and many a wrong turn. At 11:01pm on Monday 2nd September, Ed and his raft drifted into Salford Quays. He left Australia a man and returned a hero!
If this rumour is true, and I have no reason to doubt it (my sources are
solid!) then this man should not be laughed at. The fact that he even managed to secure Fellaini makes him a true legend in my book!
Kev The Clarke, MUFC (How much wood would Edward Woodward chuck if Edward Woodward could chuck wood? 4 million more than necessary probably) Skem
In Defence Of Ewar Woowar
I don't know if it's blind faith for my beloved club or just my way of rationalising the poor window we have just encountered, but I think I may be able to put together a slight defence of Ed Woodward... I may live to regret this.
The negotiations or lack there of are taking place for a Mr Ander Herrera, with Bilbao being the 'romantic local club, they brand themselves as say asking price or no dice, which it appeared as though United were willing to pay.
Enter the 3 mystery men, Spanish lawyers, who helped conclude the deal for Javi Martinez no less. Rock up at the La Liga offices saying they are here to represent United. Now could it be possible that Bilbao selected these lawyers themselves and stipulated that the payment must be made through them for any deal to go throgh? Bayern encountered problems post Martinez deal and had to stump up a few million more euros after some shady paperwork. Now is it inconceivable for them to have tried the same trick again?
Now conspiracy theory in tow here is my defence of Ed Woodward; under pressure after an admittedly shambolic window Ed, ruefully aware of Bilbaos dirty tactics still had the balls to say to Bilbao 'kiss my ass man, you ain't gon' play me like that.' and bailed on the deal to leave Bilbao with egg on their faces, taking the hit of a little(?) collateral damage and abuse from the twatters world over.
Probably not the way it went down they probably just ballsed it all up. But I thought I'd share my thinly veiled attempt to subside the agony of deadline day for a united fan.
Kyle (I should have 'quoted' sources close to the situation)
So it turns out Fellaini essentially paid the extra 4m by handing in a transfer request. If that supposedly brought the few down to 23.5m can someone please tell me why Everton announced a fee of 27.5m? Surely the 4m non-payment of a loyalty clause that DIDN'T change hands between anyone shouldn't be counted as part of the fee?! So did Everton announce it just to make united look foolish? Or was the actual transfer fee 27.5m in addition to 4m saved from the loyalty fee? If so, is Levy doing a bit of consultancy work on the side food them?? Actually...
United Don't Always Get Their Man
Getting more than a bit fed up with people saying that this transfer window would never have happened under Fergie and that he always got his man quietly and with little fuss.
People may forget about our season long very public chase for Ronaldhino, that Arjen Robben was supposedly at Old Trafford with the paperwork agreed in principle when his dad got a call from Chelsea or how we dicked about buying Rooney for about a month until he signed with about an hour of the window to go.
The fact is that transfers are complicated things and - for good or for bad - our billionaire owners are interested in making/saving money rather than some or our Russian/Arab/Spanish friends who don't seem to have any concern around economic realities.
Paul (and anyway, I still think we'd have bought Ronaldo if Bale had gone to Madrid earlier in the window) Jones
David's Wingless Wonders
United have been famous for many years for having exciting wing play and players who have the ability to beat a man and create danger. United now possess a stable of wingers that create nothing or very little and are afraid or simply unable to beat a man and provide good service for our strikers. Valencia is a shell of the player from a couple seasons ago, Nani is unbelievably talented but doesn't do it so who cares if he has the ability to? Young has been unlucky with injuries but I don't think he is good enough to start for a title winning team. Zaha is only young and has potential but cannot be relied upon. So all in all it's not very impressive so United need to change formation to get our best players on the pitch.
After such a disastrous transfer window, myself and a lot of United fans have been crying out for Kagawa to get more game time but its difficult when RVP and Rooney are sure to start whatever happens. If United were to switch to a wingback formation of 3 centre halves for example Rio, Vidic, and Jones with wingbacks of Evra and Rafael with Fellaini and Carrick in the middle we can then afford to have RVP up front with both Rooney and Kagawa playing off him and interchanging. This formation will allow Rafael and Evra to provide real width and with those 3 centre halves being protected by Fellaini and Carrick I would feel pretty confident we could find the balance between attack and defence. This could be seen a drastic solution to try and shoehorn Kagawa in but from the glimpses weve seen from last year and his record at Dortmund I feel he deserves the chance of a consistent run in the centre. From a selfish point of view I think it would be great as I wouldn't have to keep banging my head against a wall every time I watch Valencia pass it back to the full back instead of taking on a full back or Nani over hit a cross or hit row Z or watch Young dive again before hitting the first man.
We haven't got decent wingers and trying to shoehorn Welbeck or Giggs shows Moyes believes it so give Shinji a chance where he belongs.
What's the worst that could happen?
Greg (don't you hate pants?) Doherty
Vindictive, Sure, But Oddly Poetic
There are few things in my life that give me more pleasure than watching the ultra slow motion, car crash in progress that is Man Utd. Right now we're at the point in the video where the driver hasn't yet slammed the brakes on. The parked car won't even appear on the screen for another few seconds. We're going to get to watch the change in the drivers' expression. The wheels locking up, the tyres melting...and that strangely beautiful concertina effect as the bonnet ripples and then squishes upon impact.
Slow motion. Its a beautiful thing.
Tom, London (Moyes for Rogers, lads ?)
Wait: This Was All In A Text Message?
As a Liverpool fan, I've just sent the following, rather lengthy text message to a Man Utd supporting friend who claims the football season for him is over already, courtesy of Man Utd's activity, or relative lack thereof, in the recently ceased summer transfer window. The aim was to cheer him up a little.
I'll say no more, other than to let the mailbox read.
I know you aren't thrilled about deadline day and transfer window as a whole (and I should say that it's not very often I put this level of thought into a United team bcos, you know, I'm a Liverpool fan and, by default, have a deep seated dislike for United, but I'm trying to keep you interested in football here, so you can damn well show some gratitude!! ). However, a first XI of......
Rafael - Rio - Vidic - Evra
Carrick - Fellaini
Nani - Kagawa - Rooney
Bench: Lindegaard, Jones, Smalling, Cleverley, Young, Valencia, Hernandez.
Let Giggs be a coach, and stick him on the bench now and again. Anderson is still to be accounted for yes, he's fat, but he's got decent talent and can cover as necessary. Also Jonny Evans and Alex Buttner who, maybe aren't world beaters but Evans is decent quality and Buttner isn't the worst reserve LB in the world. Christ, Liverpool won the CL with Djimi Traore at LB!!
You might look at that team and think its a bit narrow, but Rafael and Evra can provide a bit of width. Nani gets a bad rep for being wasteful but the guy's got immense ability and that should be nurtured like it was with Ronaldo. Not saying he'll be as good (too late for that) but he certainly provides a huge element of unpredictability. That leaves Rooney and Kagawa to provide the creative quality. They are both more than capable of doing that, especially playing in a more narrow formation that allows them to operate more centrally.
I accept that this is all based on Moyes going down roughy the route I've laid out, but I can't see how a proven premiership manager could consistently allow such a creative talent as Shinji Kagawa sit on the bench.
Steven LFC, Manchester (this you undoubtedly still won't be ours, but 9 from 3 is better than 2 from 5)
"King Arsene, the people are starving and I fear they shall revolt"
"Why? Why are they starving, I am a kind and benevolent king. Except to Lord Pards - I hate that guy"
"Your majesty, you ordered all the farmers to stop growing Wheat, and Potatoes and instead to grow Silk and Opium"
"Yes, that's right. Those crops are beautiful and will turn a profit for our country. It's vital that we can make a profit. What's the problem?"
"Well, it's the starving people you see? I mentioned them earlier. Without any staple crops, they will revolt or die"
"Hmn, yes I see. I'll tell you what, give them each one canapé topped with caviar and foie gras. Having the very, very finest foods, the like of which they have never seen will distract them from their petty concerns about bread or potatoes. At least until January."
"Yes, your majesty. I shall send our merchants to Madrid post-haste. Um, while we're there I believe they do have potatoes readily available for sale at a quite reasonable price...should I enquire about those?"
"No, no. Let the Italians have them. Just the canapés will be fine"
I'm a big fan of G. West's email regarding fans and money. I do feel the figures surrounding Fellaini/Baines/Herrera have embarrassed and indeed highlighted United's shortcoming in the transfer market, but as a United fan, I don't really care what they're paying; it's not coming out of my pocket.
Improved technology, as pointed by F365 and its readership for some time, has allowed us to become saturated by football to the point where we know everything about clubs, players and staff. It's reached the stage where I can almost always identify the fourth official and highlight his weaker points. Further to this, we now know pretty much every player and manager's wages, something I find increasingly annoying; not because I'm limited and hate new information but because it's become a weapon in football fans' arsenal with regard to attacking other clubs, incidentally Arsenal being the most obvious (and irritating) culprit - though Ozil's £200k should wedge a stick in that spoke. The mailbox was alive last season with punters mocking other clubs' financial dealings and crowing about the successes of their own. If I hear the phrase 'we're run like a business' one more time, well, I won't do anything about it but rest assured I'll be irked. In a culture where keyboard warriors reign supreme and aggression underpins most online discussion, it's no real surprise that people will use any semblance of superiority as a stick with which to beat a rival, but seeing as (I'm guessing) none of us work behind the scenes at football clubs and have no vested interest (other than marginally contributing to gate receipts) in the finances of football clubs, why should we give a sh*t? If we're going to argue, at least let it be based on the performances of the players on the pitch as opposed to the suits upstairs.
One more gripe; why are more and more folk yelling in the mailbox? If you have to SHOUT YOUR POINT for people to NOTICE IT, surely it wasn't that salient to begin with.
Scott (YOU CAN USE MY OFFICE AND AFTERWARDS MAYBE WE CAN GO TO LUNCH), San Diago
Kudos to Alex Kueny in this afternoon's Mailbox for beautifully illustrating the fickle nature of Arsenal fans.
After spending the past three months consistently crying out for a stronger midfield and defensive spine, Arsenal fans are suddenly declaring this to be the bestest transfer window in the history of the world primarily because they landed an attacking midfielder. Even the normally level-headed Matt Stanger hops on board the gravy train, declaring Ozil to be "the best player to move in any league anywhere in the world this summer." Really? Better than Falcao to Monaco, who will basically guarantee them a Champions League place? Better than Cavani to PSG, whose partnership with Ibrahimovic can best be described as unfair to Ligue 1 defenders? Ozil, it seems, will ensure Arsenal win the Fourth Place Trophy (or even the Third Place Cup or Second Place Gong) because he will provide and score goals, and as Mr. Kueny says: "Clean sheets guarantee draws; goals win you matches."
Actually, the opposite is true. As brilliantly illustrated by Chris Anderson and David Sally in their most recent book, "The Numbers Game," a clean sheet will generally win you an average of 2.5 points per match. A goal will only earn you about 1 point per match. Even if you concede a goal, you'll still pick up about 1.5 points per match. And in any event, over the last 20 years of the Premier League, the team scoring the most goals has only won the title about 60% of the time. As we say here in America: Offense sells tickets; defense wins championships.
So while the London clubs seem to be having a competition amongst themselves to determine who can shoehorn the most attacking midfielders into a side, perhaps it would be more prudent if one of those Scrooge McDuck cash vaults was spent on ensuring that we never again have to suffer the ignominy of seeing Bacary Sagna as a center back.
Dave, LFC, New York
A Lengthy Mail On West Brom
Having read Richard (8-12th should be expectations now), Cambridge's mail, I just thought I'd try to set a few things straight, restore the balance a little, and show that not all West Brom fans are such whiny, delusional nutcases.
Let's start with Lukaku to Everton. Apparently, Romelu was keen on coming back to The Hawthorns, as Richard mentions. What he fails to mention is that it was allegedly Chelsea who were so keen on him going to Everton, presumably for financial reasons. Now my understanding is that West Brom offered a £3million loan fee. For one season! Factor in a large proportion of his wages for a player who doesn't even belong to our club, and we're talking about a deal that is clearly out of step with the (highly commendable) structure Peace has put in place to prevent us from becoming another Portsmouth. And yet Peace sanctioned the deal, meaning he was willing to push the boat out in order to bring back a fan favourite, even if the benefit would only be short term. Everton were obviously willing to better that offer, and fair play to them. It has rightly been lauded as one of the best deals of the window, but Everton have financial power that West Bromwich Albion simply do not, regardless of the Toffees' constant portrayal as paupers throughout the media. I also feel Richard is doing Everton a massive disservice in suggesting that they are not a bigger draw than us - they're a much bigger club, a club we have never finished above in my lifetime (to my knowledge; I have no intention of going back through every league table since 1990), and an obvious step up from West Brom. Put simply, we should not be expected to compete for targets with Everton, which I don't think even needs pointing out to 99% of football fans. (He also mentions that Lukaku "became vital for us in the second half of last season and was one of the reasons we finished so high". As everyone and their dog has quite rightly recognised, it was in fact our form in the first half of last season that was the clear reason we finished so high. This isn't to belittle Lukaku's impact, or his hand in us achieving an 8th placed finished, but he barely started a game during our blistering beginning to the season. He was one of our standout players, along with Yacob, Mulumbu and McCauley, but his purple patch came after we had accrued most of our points.)
Also, whilst I am not exactly chuffed with the figures being quoted on the Anichebe deal, to suggest that he isn't a an upgrade on Fortune is ludicrous. Anichebe is far more of a handful, much quicker, can act as a central target man, and is five or six years younger. I also note with caution the figures being bandied around - does anybody think Jeremy Peace, of all people, has just splashed £6million on a forward with Anichebe's scoring record? I'd be very surprised if we paid any more than £3million up front, with the rest coming in potential performance based add-ons. I think the idea of a £6million fee suits everyone, to varying extents. It makes Anichebe feel as though he is highly valued, and as a player who seems to thrive on confidence this can only be a good thing; it makes Everton look as though they got a great deal; it helps to relieve the pressure that fans like Richard put on Peace for being so frugal, even if it may not seem the best deal - it says, "hey, look, I am willing to spend money". But I am totally unconvinced that Jeremy Peace, the Jeremy Peace, just handed over £6million for Victor Anichebe, and anybody who thinks that he did needs their head checked.
OK, moving swiftly on the next point, an admittedly minor one but one that needs to be addressed nonetheless. Shane Long is not "excellent". In fact, even at his best, he is little more than a nuisance. He is not a natural finisher, he can't pass, the ball regularly bounces off him, and if he's asked to move out wide we lose our shape as a team entirely. He doesn't play the lone striker role convincingly, and we can't play with two strikers convincingly. He has a year left on his contract and Hull City were offering £5million for a player who has never been the same since that Hutton challenge almost two years ago. He is a trier, and God loves them apparently, but personally I want a little more from my Premier League forward. I think he's a good option to have, and I certainly have no qualms with his workrate, but I'd have bitten Hull's hand off for that money. The only way I'd have been "scared" of losing him is if we hadn't bought another striker to fill his place in the squad, and with Anichebe coming in I can't understand the reason Clarke vetoed the deal.
Onto the tactical part of Richard's mail now, which shows how terrible his understanding of the game is. Against Southampton Morrison did not play in central midfield, neither in an advanced role nor alongside Mulumbu and Yacob sitting deep. He was out wide in a rigid 4-4-2 that left the team looking lifeless and totally devoid of ideas. He was played deeper in the middle against Everton, though still ahead of the two holding players, and we got a decent result. Against Swansea it was not our central midfield that was the problem (although the usually excellent Yacob did look a little lacklustre), but rather our problems out wide. Richard's beloved Shane Long frequently lost the ball, did absolutely no tracking back to help out the defensively suspect Billy Jones, whilst on the opposite side Sinclair was the definition of pedestrian and Ridgewell had a shocker. And Swansea subsequently tore us apart on the wings throughout the match. I actually thought we looked pretty OK in central midfield, and if Morrison did come deeper at times it was because we were so frequently put on the back foot by the refusal of our widemen to do any defensive legwork. Yes, we've been woeful in the first three games, but it helps to at least recognise why instead of simply plucking non-existent tactical faults out of thin air.
Lastly, yes we finished 8th. But still closer in terms of points to 17th than to 7th. That is the league in which we play, the league of thirteen who are attempting, first and foremost, to avoid relegation. Relegation is a real threat to clubs like us, especially if we were to lose a couple of key players to injury. We have gone down a few times in my lifetime, and every time we have been on a stable financial footing and able to bounce back quickly and efficiently, unlike many other teams who have spent the type of money that Richard is encouraging. We don't have to look very far to find these clubs either; nobody thinks they'll be seeing Wolverhampton Wanderers or Birmingham City back in the Premier League any time soon. I'd much rather we were cautious with our money and continued to build slowly, to use what little resources we have to create a solid foundation for Premier League longevity, a rare commodity for teams of our stature in this day and age. Richard appears to be living in a dreamland - Anichebe is much closer to the calibre of player a club of our size and resources should and can be looking to attract than Mbokani and Lukaku, whether we'd like to admit it or not. Richard would sooner see our club live fast and die young than see it continue to go about its day-to-day business in the right way.
I've recently been reading Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano's expose of the Neapolitan mafia, and the philosophy of the young Camorrista is to try and achieve as much as possible as quickly as possible, be it money or territory, to live some sort of twisted American dream on speed, despite the fact that it regularly leads to an early death or a lifelong jail sentence. Well, I'm quite happy earning £18k a year and making sure I pay my rent on time, to be perfectly honest, and I'm delighted that my football club thinks the same way. So calm down Richard, it isn't the end of the world. I suggest you stop taking what is said in the comment sections of local newspaper websites so seriously, and go out and get some fresh air. Maybe even head to The Hawthorns sometime so that you can form an opinion based on first-hand experience. It'll do you the world of good. We may not have had the best transfer window, we may not have the £10+million striker you wanted, but we certainly haven't had the worst transfer window either. If somebody said to me that by the end of the transfer window we'd have three new strikers, two new wingers and a new centre back, all of whom have some degree of footballing pedigree, I'd have been over the moon. So take a step back and remind yourself that we'll be fine. And even if we're not fine, we'll still be fine, because that's how our club is run. I suggest you get used to it, or else go support the Blues or the Wolves, whose respective recent philosophies are sure to be much more to your liking.
Neil (we'll be alright), Birmingham
Another Optimistic Geordie
To add to Dave (the optimistic Geordie) from yesterday's mailbox, I am also not totally down in the dumps. We aren't going to be challenging for the title, but I don't think things are nearly as bad as we or anyone else is making out.
Keepers: Krul is a Dutch international and apparently coveted by numerous clubs for between 10-12 million. A good shot stopper and he commands his box well (ooh err). He has even stopped booting it aimlessly up the pitch. Rob Elliot is capable if uninspiring back up.
Defence: 2 current French internationals (Debuchy and Yanga-M'Biwa), an Italian international (who Jose and Fantasy Football rate) in Santon and an Argentinean international as our captain. Colo would get into any team in the prem. He oozes class, poise and hair (Luiz and Fellani are impostors to the thrown!). With back up of Taylor (liability-like a rubbish John Terry), Williamson (solid if unspectacular), Haidara and Dummet (local lad, good prospect).
Midfield: This is our main strength depending on how we are made to play. Sissoko the Beast, Big Vernon Anita (very tidy-keeps us ticking over without doing anything stupid), Cabaye (There is a rumour circulating up here that Ashley played him the tape of Arsenals bid in which they baulked at paying 20 million for 'just a reserve'), Goufran (French international), Ben Arfa (French international and enigma). For back up we have Marvuex, Gosling (like a new signing...after he didn't sign for someone else!), Brigiramana (Briggy Smalls), Sammy Ameobi (there's only 2 of them!), Tiote (angry, liability, walking yellow card), Jonas (slow, ponderous, cavalier hair) and Vucic (thunderbas*ard of a shot).
Attack: Well we have Cisse, who needs to find his lovely smile and remember to score absolute peaches of goals (honestly, check it out on Youtube-he only scores pearlers!). Remy looked sharp for his cameo on Saturday and last season. This of course depends on being available with a pending court case. And The Big Sho (he gets less mercurial with time but is still capable of slaying Mackums!). Goufran and Ben Arfa can both play off a central striker too.
To round up, if we finish between 14th and 10th this season will be success (of sorts). A cup run would be nice but won't materialise. My hopes for the season are that Ashley will find a buyer for us and he and his clowns can go off and never ever return. And then whoever replaces him will treat us as football club rather than an ego-driven business venture. The fat cockney (I know he isn't really a cockney and me calling anyone fat is ironic in the truest sense) wan*er.
Even if you think all of the above is total sh**e, a quick reminder of how Didier Zakora and Trabzonspor team-mates deal with racism in football always cheers me up. I can't believe he got booked....