Look, there’s not long left until the football starts. Send your mails in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manchester United really need to sign Jose Fonte
I must say I was elated at the Fonte to Man Utd rumours yesterday even though it may turn out to be invented media clickbaits. The reason is because I think that as impressive and swift as United’s transfer business has been (bar the Pogba saga), an experienced centre back is still needed to fully strengthen the squad.
United’s centre back list runs thus:
– Chris Smalling (26); regarded as the best we have at the moment, greatly improved but still retains the occasional brain fart with costly own goals/penalties/red cards. His last minute own goal on the last game of the season cost De Gea the golden glove he deserved.
– Eric Bailly (22); one of the best in La Liga last season, but new to the league, still young with much to learn and don’t forget will travel for the AFCON during the busy months of January to February.
– Phil Jones (25); did he contract some kinda arsenalitis? You can never count on him to have an injury-free season. Why is he never mentioned among the deadwood to be trimmed from the squad?
– Daley Blind (26); the most versatile player in the squad, deputised admirably last season, making up for pace and strength with intelligence. But Jose likes specialists and he may likely play deputy to Shaw and Schneiderlin.
Heard rumours Marcos Rojo may be offloaded and Paddy McNair is going out on loan, don’t know Jose’s plans for Fosu-Mensah (see him as a holding midfielder though).
So the squad needs that composed head at the back, Fonte has had a great career at Southampton, and his partners keep getting most of the credit. He’s good on the ball, has good positioning, an organizer, a leader, aerial threat at set pieces, and smart. He just won the Euros with Portugal, has been consistent in the premier league and would slot in seamlessly in the team.
He’s 32 yes, but won’t cost £100m. What’s not to like?
Mere Godled, MUFC, Nigeria
Can we a stop the shirt sales nonsense now?
Can we please put to bed this nonsense (inevitably put forward every year by a fan trying to justify an obscene transfer fee) that a club can recover the fee for a player in shirt sales. It’s patently untrue! Most recently it was Nez, (can’t explain wages but loves gravy) Kent saying:
“I see it if Pogba costs £100 million, then United will get that back in shirt sales between Pogba and Ibrahimovic”
Luckily, he’s just gone and picked one of the few clubs who are actually publicly listed so we have some readily available data to scrutinise these claims. Low and behold) after a brief google search led me here. It turns out it’s not even close. In the last 5 years they haven’t even broken £40m. That’s not just shirt sales either. It includes “Retail, merchandising, apparel & products licensing revenue”. So basically everything they physically sell. Shockingly, clubs don’t actually receive every single penny from every single shirt sale as the sensationalist media would have you believe.
I could go on in a third paragraph (does a quote count as a paragraph?) about how the large majority of this revenue would have been received regardless of who we (yes, I’m a utd fan who says ‘we’) signed but I think my points been made.
Mark (As if a mail including a link to something as boring as financial statements has a hope of being published) Feighery
… Shirt sales will not even come close to recouping the cost of Pogba, so can we please stop with the utter fallacy? Utd make about 10-15% of the value of each shirt sale, Adidas make the rest of it. They’re not paying Utd that sum of money merely for the privilege of producing their shirts, they do it because it’s a fiscal benefit to them via shirt sales. It’s explained more in depth here. http://thesetpieces.com/features/transfer-window-myth-busting/
Jonathan (Increasingly grumpy) Rose
… I won’t be the only one to have sent this in, I’m sure. But just in case, if anyone tries to suggest shirt sales might go towards paying off the Pogba deal, please direct them to this article on myths of the transfer window.
Suffice to say, they’re barking up the wrong tree.
Why didn’t Arsenal go after Williams?
Everton signing Ashley Williams for €10 million. And that in a nutshell is why Ronald Koeman is one of the best managers in the world.
Williams is a proven quality Premier League defender who was instrumental in helping Wales reach the European Championship semi final. The Everton defence has resembled The Keystone Cops without the music over the last 2 seasons. Williams coolness will wash away all the f*ckwittery. Critics will snipe at the foolishness of spending €10 million on a 32 year old but fail to mention the ages of the last eight Premier League winning centre halves.
Huth (31) Morgan (32) Terry (35) Cahill (30) Kompany (30) Lescott ( 33) Ferdinand ( 34) Vidic (31) Selling Stones for close to €50 million and replacing with Williams for €10 million is an impressive piece of business.
Koeman has previous in this department after selling Lovren for €20 million and replacing him with the superior Van Djiik for €13 million. Why wasn’t anyone else in for Williams? You can’t tell me he wouldn’t improve an Arsenal defence which now that Mertesacker is out for the rest of the year is one hamstring to the average Gabriel or the knackered Koscielney away from calling upon the never starting talents of Callum Chambers or the untested Rob Holden.
People say Arsenal are one or two players away from being a title winning team which always tickles me. I reckon they need 2 defensive signings and a new goalkeeper before they even begin to address their obvious deficiencies up top. They are ill equipped to mount a serious challenge with that squad.( Wilshire injured again I see.) Wenger needs to pull his finger out quick. How is he attempting to outwit Mourinho, Guardiola, Klopp, Pochettino, Conte, Koeman and Ranieri with that defence? Williams would have been an ideal signing.
I’d be pretty happy if I was an Everton fan this morning. Koeman you crafty bastard.
Sorry. We really are.
We’re not going to buy anyone are we?
Stu AFC (Astonishing Fu**ing Complacency) Wrexham
Oh Davey Moyes
So poor David feels he was badly treated at United.
Quick tip for you then Davey lad: Don’t turn up as the manager of the UK’s biggest club acting like a small child who has won the chance of meeting David Beckham for the day. Don’t spout out that United aspire to be like City and definitely don’t buy Fellaini from your old club and tout him as some sort of World beating Midfielder.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
…Chelsea’s 4-4-2 and loving 3-5-2
In response to Jamie Rowe’s challenge to 4-4-2 my team, here would be Chelsea’s:
Azpi J. Terry Cahill Ivanovic
Willian Fabregas Kanté Hazard
The main players missing out that could potentially bid for a starting position would be Pedro, Batshuayi (both could sub up front as the game wore on), and Oscar who hasn’t had a decent season since 2014 and should have moved on to Juve ages ago.
This challenge got me thinking about formations in general, though. In high school, my title-winning team played in a 3-5-2 formation, with the midfield triangle fluctuating between two stoppers and one stopper, depending on the flow of the game and whether or not we had the ball. When I took a very basic coaching course a few years later, the instructor asked what were all the possible formations we could think of. When I put forward 3-5-2, he laughed in my face and told me there was no such thing, as a 3-5-2 always becomes a 4-4-2 in the end.
As a 19 year old female in an all-male coaching course, I felt I could only debate with this guy for so long before losing what little respect I had. Now, of course, I wish I had the confidence (and knowledge) to cite England’s 1996 Euro team, as well as Conte’s Juventus, who won three back-to-back Scudetti, and the Netherlands-Spain game in the 2014 WC. Also seeing Italy and Wales in this past Euros gave me a little happy thrill.
A Bayern Munich ‘old-school’ 4-4-2
Lahm Boateng Hummels Alaba
Robben Sanches Vidal Ribéry
Wooooof! That’s friggin awesome. Pretty hard to beat I’d say.
Bet Carlo has figured that out already and will play exactly like this…
…And a Tottenham one
Thought I would chuck together my Spurs 442 for the mornings mailbox.
Walker Vertonghen Alderweireld Rose
Alli Dembele Dier Eriksen
Now this formation is obviously from the England international school of picking players. Pick the best/favourite 11 and shoe-horn players into the formation. For this to actually work at Spurs i suspect we would have to drop one of Dembele or Dier and move Alli into the middle. Probably sticking either Chadli or Lamela onto the wing. Even then it would still feel very lop-sided with Eriksen on the left however I just can’t bring myself to drop him to make the formation work.
Ant (Please print this as it’s my Birthday today) Manchester
…And Arsenal too
Great question from Jamie Rowe, Dublin. I think Arsenal would look like this:
1) Ozil and Cazorla would be annoyed at having to play wide.
2) Giroud might get more credit than he currently gets.
3) Plenty of Gooners would consider this to be a better way to set up than our current 4-2-3-1. I don’t however.
EFL, EPPP and other such acronyms
Football fans are good at getting upset. Over many things. Some of them are limited to on-field levels of competence, in either player, manager or official. Often we are upset by off-field issues. Ticket prices, too much money spent on player, not enough money spent on players, owners intent doing everything wrong through simple incompetence or complicated evil. At the moment, many of us fans of football’s bridesmaids are very, very upset about the EFL trophy.
For those of you who somehow missed the news, the EFL Trophy is what was once the Johnstone’s Paint trophy. A benign, rather pointless affair between the teams in England’s 3rd and 4th tier, plus conference teams for a bit. This year though, it’s all re-launched with added Under 21 teams from the Premier League (or not – no one thought to check if the big boys wanted to enter). That’s the bit everyone is upset about. On the back of some rather woolly ‘it’s just a consultation’ type proposals to add U21s and an extra division to the football league a few months back, the EFL trophy is seen as the top of a slippery slope towards that end. The concern seems to be that once the big clubs are allowed to enter U21/B teams in the league they will horde players, and the smaller clubs will suffer. I’m finding it hard to get riled up about this one. The Premier League teams already horde players by the dozen, and are actively encouraged to do so. The thing to get upset about (and this is a long winded answer to the question about academy players in the morning mailbox) was the rules that were introduced a few years back, under the horrifically titled ‘Elite Player Performance Plan’. Very little outrage actually happened that I noticed, which is a pity because the answer to the question ‘why don’t more lower league teams play their academy players?’ is simply “because it’s not worth it”.
Under the EPPP, some rules were changed. One being that there were no limits to where youth players can be recruited from. Previously there was a limit of ’90 mins travel’, so by and large you had to recruit players who were vaguely local. EPPP also introduced some categories for academies and formalised player compensation. The 2 are linked. A category 1 club is expected to spend around £2.3m a year, category 2 £0.9m and category 3 around £300k, the amount the club will receive in compensation for players who leave the club is similarly tiered with additional money based on first team appearances (again, a sliding scale based on the league). It’s a system which is heavily stacked in the favour of the bigger clubs, and provides little incentive to the small clubs to develop their own players. It’s cheaper, by a long way in some cases, to sign a seasoned professional than develop one. Some clubs have closed their academies completely. Not all though, and some teams are still committed to bringing their own players through. Last year Colchester United (a category 2 academy) played a load of academy players. It’s great to see, they bought pace, sound technique and some flair to the team. Colchester also got relegated, and the best prospect I’ve seen in 5 years just left for Wigan for bugger-all money. The chairman remains committed to the policy, and I hope the club will thrive, but it’s easy to see why so many clubs don’t see the incentive to invest in youth.
In theory, I suppose, all those young players hovered up by the big clubs get the best coaching money can buy and will be better players as a result. In practice? TBD.
Hull City: a season preview
I just thought with the season being 12 days away, I’d contribute a season preview for my beloved Hull. Here goes;
No manager, no signings, no concessions, and now Diame going to Newcastle for anywhere between 3-4.5 million. It’s absolutely pathetic, this club is a shambles. What I wonder is, how have the Allams succeeded in business? Allam seems to have the opposite of the midas touch – he’s touched this club and it’s turned to s**t. I have never been less enthused for a football season. 3-5pm on a Saturday in the summer is crap, because it’s boring. Starting soon, 3-5pm on a Saturday afternoon is going to be actively painful.
Ah well, could be worse, not like our first game is against the Champions…
Rob (sigh) Leeds
Great journalism is alive and kicking.
Dave Smith (physically sick), NFFC, Leeds