Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org to get us through the internationals.
Perez is jinxed
What the hell are Arsenal thinking giving new signing Perez the number 9 shirt?
Players to have worn that number include Merse, Arsenal regular before giving his number to Dennis and within two years he was sold, Anelka – great until he sodded off to Madrid, Suker – yes, he did actually play for Arsenal but you wouldn’t know it – go look it up, permacrock Eduardo, want away Reyes and Francis bloody Jeffers.
There are probably more that I’ve forgotten – either retire the number or give it to Sanogo or Walcott – the number is quite clearly jinxed.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Don’t praise Wilshere for staying at home
It seems a little odd that Jack Wilshere is being triumphed for the mature decision of turning down a move abroad for family reasons. Why is that if foreign player comes to the Premier League, the upheaval of their family is very, very rarely mentioned? Whilst I can appreciate the thinking behind it, and I’m sure these things do impact the decisions of players, it only seems to be applied to English players. I think it is to make it seem more noble, that they aren’t uprooting their family to move abroad, rather than focusing on the notion (as raised in the mailbox) that they simply are too scared to test themselves in a different football environment. It all seems a bit typical “loyal Englanders vs mercenary Europeans” when these things are brought up as an excuse for a player rejecting a move abroad. We love watching foreigners come over here and struggle to adapt to the beautiful English game, as it legitimises the English players that succeed in this league. I think it becomes too much of a reality check (not that we need one) as to how tactically naive our players are if they go play abroad and fail.
Rob A – are Roma or Milan really an “organisation” similar to Bournemouth? That’s a terrible analogy. And also simplifies your argument to a degree to make your point redundant. What if you were to be offered the chance to do a similar job to what you’re doing now, but with the potential that you take some new ideas from a new organisation (as they do things a bit differently), and come back in a years’ time with a new skill set that you didn’t have before, all whilst living in a highly desirable European city? I know I just called your analogy terrible, and then used it again, but the point I’m trying to make is that you can adapt an analogy to suit any agenda, and it simplifies the argument far too much to give a decent argument.
Chelsea and stockpiling
I thought I’d write in an email which isn’t based around Liverpool’s bizarre love/hate relationship for managers, players and transfer policy.
For the last few seasons I’ve watched Chelsea stockpile a ridiculous amount of young talent only for them to stagnate, be shipped off on loan to The Netherlands or Germany, or be sold on and become fantastically complete players. Not only that, they have also signed some truly bizarre players to provide competition in the first team squad.
Manchester United were a laughing stock for the past few seasons under Moyes and later Van Gaal, and rightly so. Our transfer policy was a scatter gun approach in which we attempted to sign every world class name going in order to justify the club’s existence of a footballing superpower. Rather than establishing an attractive brand of football and creating a cohesive team trophies, the club believed that signing household names was the way back to the top. It failed miserably. Now there seems to be a strategy that is in place due the combination of a determined and single minded manger and a chief executive who has the financial and negotiating ability who just needed the direction and determination of a manager like Mourinho to push the right deals over the line.
But Chelsea seem to be continuing a scatter gun policy towards youth players. They are stockpiling young talent in the hope of discovering the next big thing or attempting to sell them on for profit. Whilst some may disagree, I don’t believe this is a long-term policy which can be sustained. Chelsea have 38 (I believe so don’t hound me if this statistic is wrong) players out on loan, some of which are not young players. Juan Cuadardo and Michael Hector are perfect examples of this policy. Furthermore, this policy has led to the sales of players such as De Bruyne, Lukaku and Matic, two of whom were either re-signed or attempted to re-sign. I’m struggling to understand what the long term project is at Chelsea. Are Chelsea fans happy with the way the club is conducting transfer business?
Don’t get me started on Luiz.
What would my Kalidou?
I have to weigh in on the comment that Koulibaly is “decent, not amazing” with some disagreement.
He was the best defender in Serie A last year, a league that includes Miranda, Manolas, Barzalgi, Bonnucci, Chielini, and a good few more top drawer defenders.
He’s certainly better than David Luiz and probably everybody in the Premier League bar Koscielny.
I support Adam, London, LFC’s poo-pooing of other fans’ poo-pooing of Klopp’s use of Milner at left back.
So much so that I would like to pre-emptively poo-poo anyone who writes in to poo-poo Adam’s poo-pooing of other fans’ poo-pooing.
Oliver (see also: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo”) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
I’ve seen recently that a lot of players and managers are asking for the transfer window to shut prior to the start of the season. Couldn’t agree more. I do think, however, that there are further opportunities to investigate whether the current approach is fit for purpose.
The number of transfers in and out of clubs is quite alarming. Chelsea’s policy over the last 5-10 years has been viewed as short-termist and detrimental to the development of younger players. Very rarely do you see an academy player break into the first team squad. Should there therefore be a limit on the number of transfers that clubs can complete per window? It would lead to clubs giving greater attention to medium and long term planning, whilst assessing their squad depth with more effectiveness. I wouldn’t be surprised if it improved the quality of coaching as well, as clubs prioritised the development of players, rather than their acquisition.
Beyond this, I also find the loan system quite contradictory. The number of players at all ages being moved from clubs to clubs cannot be wholly beneficial. There are obviously agreements in place that would ensure a minimum number of appearances for the academy players out to get first team experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll develop a strong awareness of the tactics of their parent club. Inevitably, this leads to future loan moves and the spiral of underdevelopment continues. I also question how helpful it is to their own personal development, especially if the player is moving to clubs all over the country, or abroad. I recognise that a lot of PL clubs have relationships with other clubs to guarantee loan signings and allow younger players to get experience, but it is very difficult to ensure that this supports the player.
I’m not sure what my conclusions are on the loan system, but it doesn’t seem to fit with its original objectives. Does it mean that there should be an age limit on the players that can be loaned? I’m not sure.
In a long-winded path, I believe we’ve got to the point where the system of player transfers is just not effective. I’m not bothered about the amount of money spent on players, I just find the high turnover to be detrimental for both the player and clubs. The lifecycle of a player is so short, that surely we should be protecting them and ensuring there is a football “industry” into the future.
Transfer window winners and losers from 1995
Although there was no transfer window in the below seasons I just wanted to write an imaginary snippet of a transfer window winners and losers of yesteryear. Okay so
Summer of 1995:
Arsenal – Wow! Just wow! Okay Bruce Rioch is a very underwhelming appointment but he’s only gone a delivered Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt to Highbury. A title challenge and a trophy is surely on the cards.
Man Utd – A disaster of a window for the Red Devils. Losing the title to Blackburn suggests they needed to strengthen the squad somewhat, however they’ve sold Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis and have brought in nobody. With Eric Cantona suspended until October then I can really see United struggling to even make Europe this season.
May 1996 – Man Utd win the double. Arsenal finish 5th.
Summer of 2001:
Man Utd – The best team in England by a mile has added the world class talents of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and Laurent Blanc to their ranks. The sale of Jaap Stam could prove to be an error of judgement but this team are a shoo-in for the title again.
Arsenal: Man United’s nearest challengers last season really needed to bring in some stellar signings to close the gap but what they’ve got leaves them further apart. Whilst Sol Campbell on a free transfer is great business, the other 4 signings of Francis Jeffers, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Richard Wright and Junichi Inamoto leave a lot to be desired and rather than challenge for the title could now be eclipsed as the 2nd best team in England by the likes of Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds.
May 2002 – Arsenal win the double and Man Utd for the first time in 11 years finish outside of the top 2.
So my obvious point here is while it’s fun to speculate on who has done well and who has done terribly in the transfer window we won’t really know what successes and what failures there will be until the season ends.
Dean = God. Atkinson = Coward
At the start of the week I emailed in about how Mike Dean was the only referee who would continue to try to implement the new/old FA directives about holding in the box at set pieces. That he would continue to do so because he was one of the few referees who have balls enough to apply the rules as they stand no matter how popular or unpopular that made him. I respect that and him even if his judgement is sometimes off.
In the same email I also singled out Martin Atkinson as exactly the kind of cowardly official I can’t stand. One who thinks his job is to keep 22 men on the pitch and tries his damnedest not to have to make a decision for fear of controversy and being accused of ‘ruining the game’. I had no stats to back it up, it was just a hunch based on watching a lot of football.
On Sky Sports today, Martin Tyler’s stats column just pointed out that Atkinson gives a penalty once every 15.5 games, the next highest/lowest is one every 9.5 games. This revelation led me to the Footstats website which has a referee stats breakdown – as I tumbled further down the rabbit hole people.
Here I discovered that Atkinson has also given the highest number of fouls per game of any referee to have covered more than 16 games at 22.83 and the 4th highest number of yellow cards per game at 3.41, yet has the lowest number of red cards per game at 0.03 – out of a sample size of 14 referees.
Unless there is some sort of odd anomaly that has seen the 99 games he covered last season littered with minor technical fouls, all committed in non-threatening areas and never by the same player twice I think this proves my theory. Atkinson is a coward!
Lindsay Bell, Dublin.