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I know he looks like a potato, but hear me out…
I’m going to open a can of worms and voice a different take on the Rooney conundrum. Please don’t try and hammer me for saying what I’m just about to because it’s just my opinion, and that’s all it is, an OPINION! Anyway, here we go.
United still need Rooney and we need him in the 1st team. There we go, I said it! Take Rooney out of United and we aren’t anywhere near the TEAM that we are when he is playing.
Rooney’s technical ability has clearly been diminishing over the last few years, I don’t think that anyone will debate that fact. However, whilst he is now prone to shinning a 5 yard pass into the back of the K stand, something that hasn’t diminished is his on field leadership and footballing brain – surely the primary factors to his captaincy status at United.
Great captains aren’t just a leaders. They also dictate and organise the team on the pitch and must ensure that everyone adheres to the managers tactical preparation. Whilst some tactical instructions can be dictated from the touchline a manager cannot instruct the entire team and react to the gameplay on a second by second basis. Therefore the captain must be able to perform this duty by understanding and conveying the managers tactics.
Rooney does this brilliantly. He will always dictate the structure of the team and ensure that they are fully organised, correctly positioned etc etc. All you need to do is watch him off the ball, ‘You there, you there, fall back, press on, yadda yadda yadda’, you get the gist, he never stops. Many captains will obviously perform this task, but I’m sure that it’s not easy to find a captain like this that also has the footballing brain that Rooney has. I don’t just see it as a coincidence and blind loyalty that the likes of Fergie, LVG, Jose etc have trusted Rooney with this task over the years and regardless of the competition. Just look at some of the captains that he’s played under and learnt from.
Now I’m sure there will be many who will argue that you’d rather have someone who doesn’t resemble a potato with legs and is currently a better player, and fair enough, that’s your opinion. For me United need an on the field leader with the tactical nous and footballing brain that Rooney has. He evidently performs his captaincy task exactly how our managers have wanted, thus why he is still chosen as one of the first names on the team sheet.
Al (ear muffs at the ready) Williams
Reasons to be cheerful
Murray this morning said that he didn’t feel Arsenal was a big draw anymore. Not entirely sure that’s true…
Admittedly Perez isn’t exactly marquee but he has a decent record. Xhaka is a player that has been linked with big clubs before and played very well for Mongladbach last season.
Mustafi has 12 caps for Germany who have a relative wealth of CBs at their disposal. I haven’t seen many top CBs move this window that I can think of (don’t say Stones, Bailly seems decent though). We also came second last year, so it’s not ridiculous to say we don’t need sweeping changes like Utd or an aging City.
While it’s not exactly Pogba and ibrahimovic, it’s not exactly poor players we are bringing in. It’s not that long ago we brought in Ozil and Sanchez, what short memories we have.
We don’t pay any players 200K plus per year so we lose that battle if money is important. If London is important, Chelsea offers tough competition and Paris/Madrid/Barcelona/Liverpool are just as nice locations.
While I think we did our business too late, I’m not overly disappointed. That is if we get both Mustafi and Perez…
Rob A (wish we could hear some opinions on transfers lower down the table in the mailbox) AFC
Has any manager in the history of the game lived for so long on past success? I think Wenger is unique in that many apologists see only his former greatness. Allardyce played lovely football with Bolton, but we only speak about his recent style. Martinez won the FA cup, with figgen Wigan, yet he’ll not get much love from anyone after his second/third year with Everton, Brenton got less than two years after an amazing over achievement finishing second and it’s plain to see how many feel about his management, Moyes’s time at Everton is now underplayed after his stink out with United. There are many more examples.
Next up, Bilic. One good year after adding an attacking plan to a squad Allardyce had trained to defend well (Martinez after Moyes anyone?). Failing to reach the uefa cup two years running against pretty poor opposition will see the critics circle soon.
Anthony Kane, Milan
Zaha to Tottenham does work for some parties
Andrei, Newcastle is right that Wilf Zaha to Spurs doesn’t seem to suit anyone. I think he’s been a bit harsh on Zaha, but then I’m bound to say that. He and Yannick Bolasie were an electrifying tandem, offering threats down either wing, during our scarcely believable start to the season, and when Bolasie got injured, Zaha was one of few bright spots in that dire run. He did, after all, dribble the ball past more opponents than just about everyone in any of the elite leagues in Europe last season.
I agree that Zaha to Tottenham doesn’t make a lot of sense, but not because Zaha isn’t up to it. In today’s news, it’s emerged that Erik Lamela’s “showboating” has landed him in hot water with his boss. This heinous crime was nutmegging former teammate Andros Townsend. Given that one of Zaha’s main attributes is his trickery, and using his skills to beat opponents, were he to go to Hotspur he’d likely be sat next to Lamela in the doghouse. This, incidentally, is why he didn’t succeed at Manchester United – he was signed by Sir Alex, who was impressed by his tricks, but he made his debut under David Moyes, who wanted him to forget all that nonsense and just put crosses in. I seem to remember that tactic working especially well when Manchester United played Fulham, albeit without Zaha in the side.
The rumours of Zaha to Spurs do suit a few parties though:
*Zaha himself, as he’s trying to get a payrise. Having seen the numbers floating around, of what he’s apparently on, and what he’s after, I don’t know why the club aren’t agreeing (unless he’s got a long time left on his contract).
*Alan Pardew, as it gives him another ready-made excuse when we lose to Bournemouth tomorrow (“bigger clubs are coming in and turning our players’ heads, it’s hard as a manager to keep them focussed”).
*People who want Pardew gone from Palace, because this will fuel their fire. Seems everybody else can make it without a fight.
*John Nicholson and anyone else (including me) who likes to point out the ridiculous guff the PFMs spout. Were Zaha to go, that will be the last of the Palace academy graduates to become successful first XI players from the pre-Pardew era to depart, for a club that has always trumpeted its roots in its local community. As such, when the PFMs talk about foreigns coming in and not appreciating the history of a club, we can point to yet another example (see also Allardyce, Samuel, and Redknapp, Henry James) of a British manager creating a Year Zero environment, where the only players accepted into the teams are ones they’ve personally signed, rather than proving their adaptability by working with talented players they’ve inherited.
As Peter G, our favourite resident of Pennsylvania, points out, Bournemouth’s style is ready made for Crystal Palace’s. So it will be interesting to see exactly how the Eagles make a pig’s ear of it.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
Big players creating false economy
Murray Whiteford this morning hit upon (likely by accident) something that I’ve been considering for some time now. What exactly is a ‘big’ player nowadays? And how can you possibly judge how well someone’s transfer window has gone just by the amount of players that team have signed? Even if it does ‘solve’ an apparent problem? In previous transfer windows, like other Gooners, I’ve salivated at the thought of so and so joining but instead they went off to Chelsea or United etc. But actually, what purpose does buying the ‘big’ and shiny player actually provide? It only really appeases the fans, and more so people who play FIFA on the Xbox as it means they have a higher rated team (that’s an email for another day).
I work in an area dominated by a brigade of yummy mummies. As a result, every other month a shiny new coffee shop opens here to attract the trendiest amongst them to break away with last month’s best. The new coffee shop is better just because it is newer. It is essentially the same. However, the previous go-to coffee shop then spends the rest of the year struggling to work out where it all went wrong. Sell up and close. Most likely with an horrendous loss. Only the big chains survive as they can cope with this fickle market place.
A player may have a decent whoscored track record and may well be the player of the moment, but that is mostly what they are. The player of the moment. Vardy had a great season last season. Amazing. But, whose to say he’ll carry that on? I think we dodged a bullet there as I never saw him fitting into our team. Likewise Mahrez. I remember when Liverpool spent their post-Suarez money and I looked across (like other Gooners) in envy of the shopping spree. The entire team ended up being utter shite (in the main). Sp*rs did the same after Bale. I was gutted when United bought Di Maria (although I still think he’d have done a job for us) and look how that went? Total waste of money for them, thankfully(!) for them they re-cooped it.
The Premier League is the buying market at the moment, but in any economy the rule of thumb (to flourish) is to buy when people are selling and to sell when people are buying. Nobody outside our League is buying our players, as was highlighted on this very website. This feels like an extraordinary bubble (as does our economy in general – look at our fragile housing market). What happens to bubbles? They burst. With all the money around and a desperation to re-invest, bad decisions will be made. I applaud our cautiousness (he says through gritted teeth) as I want MY club to flourish. If we’d paid £75m for Higuain I guarantee he’d do his cruciate within a month and never be the same player again. That would undo all the good the club has been trying to do (high ticket prices aside) over the years since the new stadium was built.
Next summer there’ll be a glut of this summer’s signings on the market who’ll be regarded as flops as clubs become desperate to please their fans all over again with a new collection of shiny trendy players. All the while panicking as they need to balance the books and are stuck with overpaid average players (including Arsenal) that they cannot shift on. The yummy mummies have found a new cafe, time to panic.
Forever bursting bubbles
You will probably get a few of these in the morning mailbox but I am waking up this morning in such a bad mood and it is purely down to one thing. West Ham.
After having one of the best seasons I can remember as a fan the potential reward for European football to mark our first season at our new stadium should have been priority number one. Last night it just felt like it was a hindrance to our season.
As a West Ham fan we don’t expect to win every game or even challenge for a top four position but being involved in the Europa League would have demonstrated a steady progress which has been bubbling (excuse the pun) under the surface at West Ham for a while now. All our efforts from last season needlessly thrown away in a night where we just didn’t turn up. I know at the moment we are suffering from an injury list even Arsenal would wince at but we cant make these excuses when the players on the pitch should have had more than enough about them to take us through. Although this is disappointing there are other things that are really adding to my grumpy mood.
At the moment there is a bit of a bad feeling at the club, maybe I am reading too much into the bile that comes out of some so called ‘fans’ mouths on twitter who are questioning the stadium move, the transfer policy and even Bilic and the owners, but it makes me feel a bit uneasy. We are three competitive games in at the new stadium and people are already saying we should never have moved.
I can understand some supporters being apprehensive especially with the amount of ‘day trippers’ a stadium like ours attracts (ones with other team shirts should not even be allowed to attend in my opinion). But we need to look at the bigger picture, Yes the Boleyn was great place but a 36k stadium isn’t going to cut it if we want to move forward. Also lets not make it out it was some sort of fortress either. Yes we had a good few results last year but we also got played off the park by Bournemouth and Swansea and our best results were away at stadiums with 45k-50k+ capacity.
Having our chairman’s teenage son spout transfer rumours is pretty embarrassing, but having grown men begging this lad about transfers on Twitter and then hurling abuse at him is even worse. Although how nobody in the club has reigned in that lads social media use is the biggest mystery. We go from glory to shambles in a heartbeat but I guess that is West Ham for you.
Now I am sitting here thinking will Payet really want to be involved in a club for much longer that isn’t in Europe? I am not 100% sure if Zaza is the answer either, one mailboxer hit the nail on the head about Italian players in the premier league and I cant really see him bucking that trend, but I hope I am proved wrong.
I am sure things will improve but having to put up with this shambles and some or our ‘supporters’ is testing my Friday feeling to its limits.
Ross (Let’s go the Etihad, have a pint and wait for this to all blow over) Jenkins
…Big fan of the mailbox but have never found the need to write in. However, there is something that I really don’t get about certain English sides and the Europa League (will always be UEFA Cup to me but I digress). I’m a Manchester United fan and have been all my life and it truly pains me that we’re in this competition this year instead of the Champions League. That being said I’d be absolutely fuming and I’m sure the majority of fellow fans would be to if Jose didn’t give it a proper crack.
This takes me to my issue, why do teams such as West Ham treat qualifying and the competition as a hindrance. West Ham, a team that have spent nearly €60m this summer seem content with being embarrassed and knocked out by a team valued at €17million in total. Why is there no uproar from the fans, the press etc. about this complete failure.. If this was one of the ‘Big Boys’ people would be calling for heads to roll.
The point I’m trying to make is that teams like West Ham will never really be in the mix for the Top 4 (I know all about Leicester but let’s be realistic here) so surely qualifying for The Europa league should be the pinnacle for them. I’m sick of hearing the likes of Bilic etc. complain and moan about the Europa league being a hassle for them and relegating it to the status of EFL Cup. If that’s your attitude then why bother at all, there are plenty of smaller leagues in Europe with teams and fans who would rejoice at the prospect of having European Football. All you have to do is look at how Sevilla have fared over the past few seasons to know it’s a competition worth challenging for. If anything it was West Ham’s best shot at making the Champions League next year and I for one hope that if they find themselves occupying one of the qualifying spots with 4 games to go this season that they kindly field a 2nd string team and get pushed further down the table and let someone who actually wants to play in it have a go.
Just want to get some of the fans opinions on this as it seems to be a trend with mid-table English Clubs?
JayC (POGBA > City’s summer spending) MUFC
The world needs more Andy Websters
With a lot of talk taking place earlier this week (and a couple of articles on this very fine site) I am struggling to understand why more players are not using the Webster ruling when their careers start to stall?
There are seemingly a number of players who appear to be stuck in some kind of limbo. Their current clubs don’t deem them good enough to warrant regular game time but there are supposedly a number of takers interested in offering them an escape route back to 1st team football.
The problem appears to be that as premier league is awash with cash (no surprise there really) and as a result clubs are quoting silly money to allow the players to leave. Case in point being Jeffrey Schlupp, Leicester have already rejected (if reports are to be believed) upwards of £10 million from West Brom for him.
The Webster ruling was as test case dating back about 10 years where Andy Webster took advantage of rule changes made by Fifa that allowed him to buy out the remaining term of his contract so he could freely move to wherever he wished.
If Jeff Schlupp’s remaining contract term/value exceeds £10 million then (I’m a Dutchman and..) I would be very surprised. Surely, if West Brom agree to cover the buy out value as a signing-on fee then why isn’t Schlupp doing exactly that? I am sure there are many, many more footballers in this predicament it’s just Schlupp is the one I can immediately think of.
Anyway, what is it I am missing? Why are more footballers not taking advantage of this? Surely, it would help bring the spiraling transfer fees currently being banded about back into control. I just don’t get it.
Andy West CTID
Can I take a moment to doff my cap to Sarah Winterburn for this line from Big Weekend.
“Pinch yourself but is that potentially the world’s most complete footballer in midfield? And is that Paul Pogba alongside him?”
Well played, madam. Well played.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (took me a while to work out who was being zinged… it’s a slow brain day.)
Time to get off the merry-go-round
Note to mailbox, Merry-go-round does not mean change.
Spurs swapping one crap player for another is not a Merry-go-round.
Cillisen/Ajax to Barca, Bravo/Barca to city, Hart/City to …. Is not a Merry-go-round.
It means things never change, the same wooden/plastic animals go round and round and round.
Arsenal’s last ten years, now that’s a merry go round.
Just because the meeja use it doesn’t mean it’s true.
Anthony Kane, Milan