That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...
Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
I wasn't overly excited about Van Gaal coming to Utd because if I'm honest, I didn't know too much about him but after reading Daniel Storey's piece about him this morning... I was almost vibrating with excitement.
He sounds absolutely mental and absolutely perfect for Utd and the Premier League.
Zlatan can't handle his craziness and his ego... just let that sink in for a moment.
Sign him up.
What Could Go Wrong?
It probably isn't true, but if Roy Keane does come back to United as an assistant manager, the club simply have to do a "Being: Liverpool" style documentary of pre-season, if only so we can see how many times he makes Tom Cleverley and Marouane Fellaini cry.
...Please let LVG get this gig! It's about time that some of these princess earning millions while sulking are dealt with, frozen out, and they can get dropped from the England squad for next Euro due to lack of game time at club level. Oops got a little specific there despite trying my best to vague. Don't lie, one name is burning in your mind right now.
Young, Carrick the lazy, Rafael, Nani, Anderson(!!!), you can all also line up and take your beatings thank you. Tired of it being everyone to blame, from us fans to Fergie to the shape of the football, instead of blaming the lazy 11 sods who run out and disrespect us and our club by refusing to play for a new manager they didn't agree with.
Whether or not Moyes sucks, to sum it up in a word for you, is irrelevant to this discussion. MUFC appointed him in an official position, one which the players refused to acknowledge or respect. Because they are just the best and most skilful players ever seen hey?!
Like Rooney knows a thing about classy football and has the right to undermine ANY coach with his badges! Even if we win nought, we have a better shot at getting back a semblance of what we call normality regarding player effort and commitment under a renowned hardass. If the players must be bullied into performing for United, then so be it!
Starting to see that this argument was actually correct the first time both F365 and the mailbox raised it. SAF did indeed go uncharacteristically soft with Rooney, allowing a player to over extend his power, and it's not even the best player he has worked with, where you could expect if not yet understand a double standard.
Should have sold him for the millions on top of millions we could have got in 2010, before the world cup started, or more likely in the summer, after that tired effort from England here in South Africa. As I stated in my lengthy defence of him from last month United could have developed him better, but if he can be a mercenary towards us, we shouldn't feel much guilt either actually.
Manc in SA (dying for a dictator to be back at the helm!)
Pep No Better Than Moyes
Reading some contributions to the mailbox earlier today, I agree with some assertions that Pep may have lost his mojo somewhat. It appeared to me that when he brought on Martinez, that Pep instructed Bayern to cross the ball in more and used Martinez as a target man. This despite being a beast of defensive midfielder in the all-conquering side last year (Bundesliga's record signing too at 40 million euros). AND with an adept target man on the pitch anyway in Manduckic (surely he could have occasionally taken a break from the passing dominance and attempted a few crosses onto Mario's head before then?) It came across as desperation stations from Pep last night. In fact it was akin to Moyes lumping the ball up to Fellaini, and for that reason alone he should be criticised.
Brian (serious man love for Alonso and his beard), Wexford.
Criteria For The New Manager
Here are the 3 things that I believe are crucial when Manchester United begin their search for a new manager- European success, longevity/loyalty to a single club, and age. Considering Sir Alex himself came to United at age 45, after 8 years at Aberdeen and having won the Cup Winners' Cup and Super Cup, I don't think it's too much to ask for the next manager to have similar credentials. Here is a shortlist of all managers who have won the UEFA Cup/Europa League or Champions League since 2000:
Fatih Terim, Gerard Houllier, Bert van Marwijk, Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez, Valery Gazzaev, Juande Ramos, Dick Advocaat, Mircea Lucescu, Quique Sanchez Flores, Andre Villas-Boas, Diego Simeone, Vicente Del Bosque, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, Roberto Di Matteo.
Each manager would have needed to have worked at a single club for at least 4 straight seasons. They need to demonstrate an eat-live-breath passion for the job, show loyalty to the club, having earned the owners trust to stay in position for so long to be considered a viable long-term successor. The shortened list then: Terim, Marwijk, Benitez, Gazzaev, Advocaat, Lucescu, Del Bosque, Hitzfeld, Ancelotti, Rijkaard, Guardiola.
Assuming they'd want a successor who could build another dynasty/bring long-term stability to the club, anyone over the age of 60 could then be eliminated, leaving us with: Terim, Benitez, Gassaev, Ancelotti, Rijkaard, Guardiola.
Gassaev is now manager/president at Alania Vladikavkaz so we can rule him out. Rijkaard has slipped off the map, plying his trade in Saudi Arabia these last few years, so that's a no-go. One can also safely assume that Benitez's history with Liverpool and the lingering animosity between him and Fergie would rule him out too, leaving us with a final list of: Terim, Ancelotti, Guardiola.
So who would you choose? Personally, if Benfica win the Europa League this season I'd give it to Jorge Jesus, but that's just me.
Sanjit (a Cantona and Giggs dream-team would work too!) Randhawa, Kuala Lumpur.
Chelsea's 'Weakened' Team
So Jose has come out and conceded that he wants to field a 'weakened' team on Sunday and give up the title (and Chelsea fans wonder why their club is arguably the most despised in the countryn - I mean I couldn't see clubs like Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool publicly conceding the league when they are still in a shout to win the thing and their respective boards giving them the green light to do so). Apart from being highly unprofessional, this smells like a truly sinister 'mind game'. let's take a look at what this 'weakened' team might look like, as well as their price:
Now the total cost of this team is 123.7m and this 'weakened' team does look good. Jose and his mind games really grind my gears. Knowing Jose, this whole escapade about fielding a weaker team and being out of the title race could be one elaborate, giant, mind game, in an attempt to derail Liverpools focus. I Wouldn't be surprised to see Chelsea pick an even stronger team than above for Sundays game and go for broke against Liverpool.
Optimistic About England
I rarely email the inbox with anything serious as, from a Saints fan's perspective and therefore having no particular loyalty to any of the "big" teams, it's just much funnier to sit back and watch the mayhem unfold as Liverpool fans slate United, United fans slate Liverpool, Someone loves Mourinho, most hate Mourinho, Brendan is pretty good, David isn't...it's just such great entertainment. So thank you to everyone who contributes and for the MC for taking the time to compile it.
The reason I now feel the urge to discuss something is that, probably because I'm a Saints fan, I feel very optimistic about the future of the English national team. I'll stop you there as I know what you're going to say; I am not saying we're going to win the World Cup. I am not even saying we are much more than an average team on the World stage, but looking at some of the talent coming through, and more importantly the amount of money being invested by clubs on their youth academies really do invoke a sense of optimism, something which I have been careful to avoid since Euro '96.
Reading the news and the mailboxes over the past few days I have been interested in the level of importance that people seem to place on youth development. It seems that with a noticeable slump in general sport participation a decade or two ago the nation as a whole appear to have recognised that sport was in decline and, with great help from the London Olympics, made an effort to start getting young people involved in sport again. With teams investing more than ever in academies due to the huge amount of money they're getting from the Premier League, the future looks bright for the next generations of English footballer.
This is why we shouldn't complain, with the odd exception, about foreign owners. Right now they're still quite new so buying all the best players from around the world makes sense if you want to be a rich, recognisable, attractive brand, but both Chelsea and City have invested huge amounts of money in developing state of the art youth facilities. We may not see many of them playing right now but in five or ten years' time, with the younger generations being taught by some of the best coaches in the world, that could and should change.
Perhaps I am being too optimistic, but we do have some exciting young players. Perhaps the team now is a quarter-final level team and no better, but if we get many more Shaw/Flanagan level players come through then they could grow into a very good team. Finally, why on Earth do we have so many good left backs? Seriously, can we not have a world class striker instead?
Falling Out Of Love With Football, And In Love With Banter
"This is the Thomas Muller who, with no discernable strong part to his game, pops up with "important" goals all the bloody time.."
I'm guessing you're a Chelsea fan Stu, so just wondering how you'd describe Frank Lampard? Muller minus the tactical nous?
Michael (falling so far out of love with football that it is becoming a shadow on my world) Manchester
Stu, Chiswick inadvertently raises an interesting point via his schadenfreude around Thomas Muller's failure to score against Real. Cards on the table, I like Muller. I would disagree with the statement that he has no discernable strong part to his game but understand why most people would assume that to be the case. Granted, he's not particularly quick, strong or skillful. However the anticipation, positioning and instinct to get into the right place at the right time and score important goals at all levels of the game (including in tight, pressured games) is something that I would say is equal to or greater than other attributes. What's more, it's significantly harder to coach/improve those skills and is something of a natural talent that few possess. As a reminder - 'Raumdeuter' (Muller's nickname) means 'interpreter of space' which is niche to say the least.
On first glance, many fans may wonder 'what the hell is this guy adding to the game?' and it's likely a player of Muller's attributes would not have made it through the ranks in English football (let's not get started on that one). However I would argue that most fans would welcome a player that had the habit of notching goals in the way Muller does.
Another example (albeit a minor variation) would be Pippo Inzaghi - a player who was generally invisible except for the cumulative 20 seconds where he was scoring 3 of the worst goals you'll ever see but goals that dumped your side of the Champions League. I hated him (more for his inflated sense of ability and goal celebrations which in no way correlated to the way in which he'd just scored) but you'd take a player like that in your side.
As a point of context, given the way the game is evolving and that parked buses are becoming even more common at the heady heights of major competitions, players of Muller's ilk will become even more valuable.
Paul, London (apologies to German readers, I couldn't be bothered to umlaut this email)
Had a flick through the history of Jurgan Klopp (Wikipedia) to discover that he really could be footballs most loyal man. He spent his entire playing career at Mainz (in the Gary Docherty Role) and went on to manage them for a further 7 years despite high profile offers. When relegated he chose to stay with the club but only quit when he found out they would not be allowed promotion due to their financial situation. Such loyalty really is refreshing to see in the modern game and makes it look very unlikely that his head will be turned by a big contract at United.
The catch? He has been married twice the sneaky German.
David (he also did a thesis on walking) MUFC
This Man Hates His Family
To all those people sending in 'bit odd games' and 'reverse names' at least use the right term. They're called spoonerisms. As anyone who's been forced to listen to Radio 4 'comedy' panel shows over the last 30 years can attest, they're much beloved by the upper-middle-class w**kers who populate these assaults on the good name of humour.
A very grumpy man (I once had an 8-hour family car journey in the 1980s accompanied by the braying laughter of these self-satisfied imbeciles. And no, I'm still not over it)
...The first and last word in the reverse name game should surely be Kenny Lunt.
...Can't believe nobody mentioned Flimmy Hoyd Jasselbaink.
One of the many things I love about F365 is the p*ss-taking. 36% is the current vote for Phil Neville to jump into the OT hotseat. Brilliant!
Of course that means the remaining 64% have answered in a serious fashion...for shame.
Course; I still fondly recall the days of '1% said Frank Lampard'...good times.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
So, Michel Platini has confirmed that no club found to be in breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations will be excluded from European competition. They will, instead, face "tough sanctions." I'm sure I speak for the vast majority of F365's readsership when I say, "Sure Michel. I believe you.
Fines and the witholding of prize money, in this context, are not "tough."
This comes as absolutely no surprise, of course, but it does rather raise the following question: what the juddering f*ck is the point?
Given that it's incredibly unlikely that transfer bans will be imposed, FFP will be entirely meaningless. A bureaucratic, form-filling exercise with no impact on outcomes whatsoever. Whether you believe that "financial doping" has a negative impact on the game or not, putting some rules in place that will ostensibly curb it without any meaningful penalty for breaking them is yet another weird, Kafka-esque nonsense imposed by the berks running the show.
I've long been sceptical about the value of FFP, given that there will be so many ways to cheat the system, but to not even have the threat of real action if you're caught doing something wrong is rather dispiriting.
Nick Glover, Scouser in Brum