It's a reactive Monday morning Mailbox. Liverpool fans are getting pretty sodding worried, whilst we have the latest on the Southampton CRISIS. Plus, well done Michael Oliver...
It looks like we might need to give a bit more coverage to Crystal Palace after one reader compiled the number of mentions for each club on F365. Plus, more complaining...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
If Calum Chambers does actually cost Arsenal £16m this would mean he is Arsenal's most expensive defender. Chambers would cost nearly twice as much as Vermaelen who had been a first team player at Ajax playing European football and was a Belgium international, twice as much as Koscienly who had played nearly 150 games in the French leagues, more than French international first team player Debuchy and twice as much as world cup winner Per Mertesacker who had already played for Germany 75 times before moving to Arsenal. Calum Chambers has made 25 first team appearances.
And people wonder why Wenger never bought British before....
Paul Kempt London
If Arsenal now sign Khedira having signed Sanchez, Ospina and Chambers then what the hell have we got left to moan about? #WengerOut
JazGooner (fed up to the back teeth with Arsenal)
Good Points On Van Gaal
Sorry Aaron Dubai, it IS ridiculous to suggest that Van Gaal is one of, or the best, manager(s) in the Premier League before he has even taken charge of a single game in said league. His track record is unquestionably impressive, and although it is likely that he will succeed, it is by no means a given that that will happen in a new league with different parameters to the other countries he has managed in. Mancini's array of silverwear only translated into moderate success at City, Scolari's world cup win and AVB's record at Porto didn't equal success at Chelsea and the likes of Ramos and Santini also came to England with successful careers behind them only to fall flat on their rear ends. I am sure Van Gaal will do well, but at the moment he has proven nothing in the arena that he is due to enter.
Mourinho has far more directly relevant experience (and proven success) in the league he is managing in and therefore a comparison at this stage between the coaches is irrelevant and unfair. To wish to brand him 'the best' is little more than a pre-season d*ck-swinging competition. For the record, I hope he is as good for Man Utd as he has been elsewhere, as it will make for a better league.
Also Soei, Arsenal/Bergkamp fan, Van Gaal left Bayern after an appalling (for Bayern's standards) start to the Bundesliga season following heavy investment. Their poor form was arguably a direct consequence of his ability to find compromises and create a workable harmony in his squad (something Ferguson managed to do consistently throughout his Utd tenure). This is as much his failing as it is the players'. And it's probably not worth mentioning this but...you're conflicted about the fortunes of your club because a manager you respect is in charge of one of your most direct rivals - Arsenal must be crying out for fans like you.
Malballs (Conflicted every time I watch England play because of all the respect)
United To Struggle
It is interesting to see that so many people are hailing Van Gaal's genius in bringing a 3-5-2 formation to Manchester United. It would appear that the key to that system is to have three strong center-halves with quality in distribution. Presently, United have Jones, Smalling, and Evans as their senior CBs. Do they necessarily fit the bill? Great coaching will undoubtedly lead to added points but player ability is capped at a certain threshold.
United to still struggle this season.
David C. - Toronto
Worried About Saints
Having just witnessed the missive on the Transfer Blog about Southampton, I feel inspired to mail in.
While no one can doubt that the money they have brought in is impressive, one does have to wonder how much damage it has done.
Firstly, selling clubs are no doubt going to jack-up their prices when Southampton come calling. Like Spurs after selling Bale, they will find it more difficult to get good players on the cheap, because everyone now knows they have money to spend.
Secondly, the core of their team is now missing. Lovren, Shaw and Chambers made 35, 38 and 18 appearances, respectively; that's two of their first-choice back four gone (Clyne and Fonte made 20 and 35 appearances). Their captain and top scorer have both gone as well; both are hard assets to replace in any team (look how hard United have found it to adequately replace Keane).
More worrying than the task of replacing them is the message that it sends to other teams. At the start of the window Southampton came out fighting, promising that they didn't need to sell any of their stars for financial reasons. Just a few weeks later and most of them have gone, and you get the feeling that it's not over yet. Rumours abound regarding Rodriguez and Schneiderlin; how long before a big club offers yet more big money for one or both of them? Can they really say no now?
Finally, their manager has gone, and to a team they could realistically be targeting as finishing above, had they managed to keep their players. I don't know how Koeman will fit in to the setup at Southampton but it's a big task to a) replace the departed players b) get the replacements to gel into the squad and c) get the existing players to adapt to his methods before the new season starts. There is a lot of work to be done and quickly.
I want to make it clear that I'm not criticising Southampton at all; I agree that their hand was forced, to an extent. United offered silly money for Shaw, as did Liverpool for Lallana. £7m for Lambert is a great price and Lovren really didn't want to stay any more. You can't really begrudge them taking those deals. But I can't help but feel that they've made a rod for their own back.
There is of course the chance that Shaw might not be worth the money and it will look like a great deal; that Lambert is past his best at his age; that Lovren would have been disruptive or poor having been denied his "dream", but the gamble Southampton have taken will only have paid off if the replacements they can source turn out to be at least decent in their stead.
It's all very well having the money but they've got to use it wisely, in a time of super-inflated prices and a very competitive market. I really do hope they manage to succeed, because they are one of the few Premier League clubs who actually bring through quality young players, but I fear that they've made their task just that bit too difficult.
But What Could They Do?
There's been a lot of talk today on the blog about Southampton selling all their players and going backwards.
But they really don't have a choice, this is exactly what United, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Arsenal wanted when the Premier League was formed. The whole point of the Premiership was to maximize the incomes of those few clubs (as well as City and Chelsea who have now come along). All of the marketing and TV money was focused around marketing these clubs as the biggest and best in the world, obviously things have changed in the last 25 years. But it's impossible to ignore that United, Liverpool and Arsenal as well as City and Chelsea are by far and away the richest clubs, and even without Champions League football they would all have potential to outspend everyone else.
The reason United were so successful in the early days and through to today is that they capitalized on this new money better than anyone, and left the likes of Liverpool behind. Everton are probably the only club out of all of them who really haven't utilized the opportunity very well. The problem this has resulted in is that the top 7 is now essentially a closed shop, over the next few years the only club I can see potentially dropping away are Everton. I can't see any of the others dropping away unless there is another Man City/Chelsea buy-out.
Because they have so much more money than everyone and are all camped at the top of the table they will inevitably sign all the best talents in the league below them. There is very little the lower placed clubs can do about it as essentially players from abroad and even in England see them has stepping stone clubs to the top 6 and European football. So in conclusion what has happened to Southampton this season is something that will only occur more and more especially with things like the new BT Sport money for Champions League. There is simply no escaping it.
These top clubs 25 years ago ensured they would protect themselves and make it as difficult as possible for anyone else to join in, look at the clubs who have: Leeds Utd essentially went bust and got relegated, Newcastle got relegated soon after Champions League as well, same at Blackburn. Only City and Chelsea have sustained purely because they have exceptionally wealthy owners who have also realised the importance of commercial revenues, which I don't think the others did very well.
Dave T, LFC
I like to take transfer rumours literally to make them more entertaining.
United Chase Vidal: I envisage the United squad playing a giant game of chasing with Vidal the only guy left to be caught. CHAOS
Liverpool in the Hunt for Reus: This is Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard in Camouflage gear with rifles while in a restaurant while Reus is having dinner
Chelsea prepare bid for Pogba: I see this as some sort of Masterchef challenge where all the players and execs make a dinner where the best one goes to entice Pogba to join
Man City monitor Mangala situation: actually quite similar to the leaked footage of the medical but in this case they have hacked into the worlds CCTV footage using facial recognition to follow him everywhere
Other references like hot pursuit (manager with rocket boots chasing player in car) and closing the deal (a guy finally sleeping with a long term target) also come to mind
Have fun with your own
Anto Curran, Dublin
In response to Rob in Sweden asking whether anywhere plays seven-a-side football - I would direct him towards the HKFC International Soccer Sevens, hosted in Hong Kong every May. I believe that there is a more famous rugby version of the same tournament. There's a youth tournament (at which the likes of Gabby Agbonhalor, Anton Ferdinand, David Bentley and Glen Johnson have played in the past) and a masters tournament which has featured Jurgen Klinsmann, Andy Cole, Matt Le Tissier and John Barnes.
He's quite prescient in thinking that Villa might do quite well in that format, they've have won it five times since it started in 1999 and are the most successful team in the competition's history. Man City won it this year, so I'm guessing our time in the sun in yet another format of the game is now over.
I want to issue a challenge to any IT/Photoshop/YouTube savvy F365 readers....
With the transfer window bringing in a few relatively unknown players, it seems most fans haven't actually seen their new signings play for any decent length of time and have to turn to YouTube to see the best "Tricks and Goals" of their new favourite player. (Yes, I know all you hipsters have been watching foreign football for years and know ALL of these players inside out... yawn..).
This YouTube phenomenon got me realising that (obviously) these video clips feature the edited versions of the 'best' bits.
Therefore my challenge is to see who can compile a "best of" of some of the worst players in the premier league (current and/or past).
My thinking is that someone can find the odd flick or step over from Iago Aspas that makes him resemble somewhat of a decent footballer along with some other useless premier league "stars".
I would love to see a video of "The Best of the Premier League" made up of the best bits of the worst players. The idea is that I can send a link to the next person who says "He looks like a good signing, I've seen him on YouTube" just to show them how ridiculous their "proof" is!!!
Jon, LFC in Leeds
Speroni's Still At Palace
Instead of a best signing XI as suggested by (Girish, AFC, Chennai) in the mailbox this morning/yesterday (depends if I'm too late mailing this in).
I've come up with a Premier League freebie team, players released by Premier League teams and I only chose one player from each team.
GK: Julian Speroni
RB: Steven Reid
CB: Nemanja Vidic
CB: Joleon Lescott
LB: Ashley Cole
RW: Joe Cole
CM: Steve Sidwell
CM: Craig Gardner
LW: Craig Bellamy
ST: Shoala Ameobi
ST: Nicolas Anelka
Bloody hell that was hard!! Was a toss-up between Ferdinand/ Vidic at UTD, Cole/ Lampard at Chelsea and Lescott and Barry at Man City plus I know the Subs bench looks muck but I think that starting XI would at least fight off relegation. Plus it was not made any easier clicking back and forth everytime my boss walked past my computer.
Robbie DFC - "time wasting since 1982"
La Liga Signings
In case nobody follows up here's a La Liga XI
Struggled for defensive signings.
GK: Ter Stegen
LF: Vidal (Aleix)
Girish, AFC, Chennai