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Big clubs do sign unknown players
On the subject of big clubs signing lesser-known or unknown players, Clock End John and Jack Manchester both did a great job of summarizing a lot of the reasons this simply isn’t true. From a Liverpool perspective, here is a summary of what I would call “non-obvious transfers” over recent seasons:
2015-16: Firmino, Ings, Gomez
2014-15: Can, Markovic
2013-14: Alberto, Aspas
2012-13: Assaidi, Coutinho, Sturridge
2010-11: Shelvey, Jovanovic
I have included different types of players for different reasons – you can disagree on some, but it’s to illustrate the point as best I can. Some players seem obvious because they’re expensive (Firmino) but few actually saw him in action before his arrival, and his move wasn’t rumored all year, it seemed to just happen suddenly. Some may seem obvious because of how well they ended up playing (Ings, Gomez, Can, Coutinho, Sturridge).
But more importantly, a lot of signings Liverpool + other big teams have made seem different to Kante Mahrez and Vardy, but really the only difference is that those signings ended up being s**t. That does not mean gambles on players weren’t repeatedly taken by big teams.
Oliver (Especially Liverpool…) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
Clock End John states that Wenger still buys unknowns but the situation is not as straight forward. Since Arsenal became a rich(er) club, Wenger has clearly changed his buying habits and only wants to by “highest quality players” – read high status – for starting positions. Ozil, Sanchez, Cech and the failed attempts at Higuain, Saurez and Benzema attest to that. And if he can’t get them, he’ll rather not have anyone instead. He’ll only buy below the “top talent” if it’s for back up positions: Monreal, Ospina, Welbeck, Gabriel and now Elneny were all bought as backups for their positions but have managed to get starting positions through injury/ form. Wenger can clearly still spot good second tier talent, which makes it all the more infuriating that he doesn’t have credible second choice options when he finds himself unwilling to pay what the other club demands for the “top talent”.
To be fair, although they were well known around Europe by then, Giroud, Poldoski and Mertesacker were the last budget options bought for starting positions, maybe that’s what put him off…
PS. Elneny is a BOSS. I wonder which these 3 Wenger will bench if they are ever all fit at the same time: Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere, Elneny, and Coquelin (plus Iwobi – Wenger is inclined to play CMs in attacking positions).
The best set of managers
Would the premier league have the best set of managers next season? With Antonio Conte , Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Arsene Wenger, Jurgen Klopp, thats already five very good managers. Then you think who united could appoint, probably Mourinho or someone of that caliber. Then we’d also have Claudio Ranieri, Stefan Bilic, Mark Hughes and even managers like Eddie Howe and Quiqe Florres who are pretty decent tactically. If Rafa Benitez somehow manages to keep Newcastle up? And somehow Tony Pulis strikes me as someone who could drink five pints of vodka and look the exact same way he did before drinking.
So next season would City win the title? or would Chelsea finally get relegated? I actually feel for clubs who would gain promotion to the Premier league in the 2016/2017 season, they have to go straight down, no? Well i think its a big summer for Tottenham because their success is mostly down to Pochettinho and if he stays, Harry Kane is more likely to stay. Speaking of spirits and people that are not real, Harry Kane’s next club intrigues me. It would be one of the Manchester clubs wouldn’t it, or he goes abroad (Very unlikely). He is definitely not going to Arsenal or Chelsea, so he either stays at Tottenham, or is a replacement for either Aguero or Rooney in a few years.
The impactful nature of managers
I’m at a loss of words very often in my life. The stupid nature of people is so vast and ever present on so many levels and in so many ways. This is routinely present in the average football fan. A football fan – just football- by definition is dumb. Anywhere in the world. A football fan who also is a fan of multiple sports, tennis, basketball, boxing is a different animal. More cultured, more skilled, better equipped for the world in so many ways. But let’s focus on the first, the “only football” type of fan. The recent stunning victory of Real Madrid ending Barça’s exceptional 39 matches undefeated makes a case for this type. Remembering the appointment of Zidane, the sacking of Benitez, the 0-4 scoreline at the bernabeu prompting many “smart football brains” for Madrid to rollover at the Camp Nou and Luis Suarez to score a hat-trick whilst Messi would reach the 500th goal milestone…
If only football was so stupidly easy. Before the game I would hear Barça was overwhelming favorite yet I had Madrid lined up to pull an upset. Why? Because there are things that are so easily observable for me that somehow are completely disregarded by many. Haven’t many of you realized how the appointment of Zidane CHANGED fundamentally the ambience at Madrid? How happy players are to play for such a legend? How priviledged they feel? How Ronaldo beams with pride? (not uncommon though) How Bale seems to evolve into the world class threat he always was? How he’s killing it game after game?? Do you know what it is to observe how players want to win for their manager? They want his approval and words of praise to show in the press? How Madrid transpires anything but usual distress and dressing room furore & player revolts, hurt egos -Ronaldo- in mutiny??
How can’t people tell how stupidly obvious all this is. It’s like telling me Liverpool hasn’t changed since Klopp in comparision to Rodgers. I remember when I wrote berating Benitez for his awful Madrid and being completely under-par manager for them expressing my satisfaction for his sacking. I was chastised and massacred by the token stupid Liverpool fan – and I support Liverpool – telling me Rafa was “statistically Madrid’s most succesful manager ever” and they had just won a record scoreline 10-2 that I was this and that blah blah blah… Do you remember how miserable players where under him? Did you even remember players smiling, raising their arms in celebration under Rafa? How Bale was going to come to united by the end of the season after failing at Madrid? The air was so contaminated during his tenure. These same players who came from behind to win against one of the greatest sides ever just wanted to get shot in the foot rather than play under benitez for one more game. They where so bad game after game referee’s came to the rescue with humilliating penalties and red carding enough opposition players to ensure an artificial madrid rout like the aforementioned.. statistically Madrid’s most succesful manager ever they still said…
There is no greater barometer for success, no greater indicator for success than enthusiasm and happiness in doing what you do. Imagine waking up and wanting to go to work whatever you do. That’s the victory in and itself. That’s Madrid and Liverpool – to a lesser extent – right now. There’s just something different in the air and it offends me that so many people just can’t see that. As though you could be succesful through routine sorrow and anger and misery and somehow get to the promised land out of the blue. This is exactly what is happening much to my happiness to Manchester United. They are mired in unhappiness, cries of boredom & insatisfaction, recriminations, frustration, loss, infighting with those who hillariously support LvG… and that will never change until the cancer (van gaal) is removed. You remove the infected tumour and bring about a talismanic leader and the troops rally around him and magic happens.
Some people say managers aren’t as important because they don’t play. Sacrebleu… managers are everything. The psychology of sports is everything. Only an “only football” fan couldn’t see that.
Raúl H. García (Benitez at a club of his stature at NUFC) Liverpool FC 1892
It’s your year
I’d like to remind the crowing Liverpool fan Brian that Anfield has been the place where title dreams go to die for a long time. I seem to remember captain fantastic slipping over after bellowing at his bemused teammates that ‘we do not let this f*cking slip’.
As for ‘it’s your time next season’, you say this every year. Next year Spurs will have more than one forward, Man City will have a serial champion, as will Chelsea. Arsenal have already purchased 4th spot at a Premier League auction, and Man Utd will continue to improve. I think another season languishing in mid table struggling to beat dross beckons.
Spurs’ Harry Kane is probably the best example of the phenomenon of people who aren’t real and don’t exist, but surely Brian LFC is F365’s tribute to / trolling of a crude (and, I should add, largely misplaced) stereotype of a delusional ‘Pool fan. Always chirping up as Billy Big Balls in advance of LFC games with fighting talk predictions, and then either vanishing completely or (as per yesterday’s mailbox) deflecting his disappointment with digs at higher-placed teams when they don’t come off.
Yesterday’s entry certainly saw Brian on classic form: Klopp “wasn’t arsed” about the game? Hmm…he did a good impression of looking pretty bothered when endangering the front row of the day trippers from Dublin and Devon (calm down, only kidding) after Coutinho’s goal didn’t he…and sorry to deny you the personal “win” you’re clearly craving, but Spurs’ title aspirations didn’t founder on the basis of a well earned draw against a very good Liverpool performance at Anfield on Saturday-the key dropped points which might have given us a chance were in August and at home to Leicester in January. I have to agree with Brian on one thing though-Anfield is where PL title dreams die: Brian might remember a certain fateful slip a couple of years ago.
Anyway, nothing personal Brian, it’s only fair to call out some of the more outrageous claims you’ve made over the season; a personal favourite being the claim back in October that Spurs fans were jealous of the appointment of Klopp. This Spurs fan is very helpful with Poch ta very much. This is all irrelevant because Brian can’t possibly be real, can he? My bet is that he’s a middle aged bloke living in the basement of F365 towers clad head to toe in leathers and gag ball, and on a slow day Winty issues the order to “bring out the gimp”… Either way, keep it coming fella, it’s absolutely cracking stuff.
Re Brian LFC from Yesterday’s mailbox ‘Anfield is becoming the place where Premier League dreams come to die’
Well it has certainly killed Liverpools for the last 23 years…
Steve Bell, London
Why don’t club managers go international?
Who wants to go to the World Cup? or the Euros?
Upon reading of the Syrian national team approaching Mourinho I thought of how, in an unpublished earlier mail, I had suggested that England (or basically any ‘big enough’ international team) would be a perfect next career move for Mourinho. This led me to wondering: why don’t typically-club managers seek more chances of employment in the international scene?
Of course there’s several reasons to be drawn to club football over international football: the lack of time spent with the players; dealing with injuries that aren’t ‘your’ fault; the very obvious difference in potential $$$ to be earned, etc etc. But surely every single such reason (like ALL the reasons put together) has to be overshadowed by the possibility of being at/winning the World Cup, the biggest competition and trophy of them all? There was talk in the mailbox of Champions qualification being more vital than winning the EPL, which is crazy talk; but surely the craziest talk of all has to be that the Champions League is a bigger trophy than the World Cup?!
At this current time, there are big tournaments this summer so most international teams are (or, have to be, in Roy Hodgson’s case) content with the coaches in place. But, at the ends of their respective continental tournaments, when all but one team is disappointed and seeking a reshuffle, why not try to tempt a Rafa Benitez (when he inevitably ditches Newcastle in the Champo) or Jose or Brendan Rodgers to Chile or Japan or Netherlands (hypothetical examples)? Won’t this also be a 2(or 4)-year potential reputation fixer for every manager? Moyes gets Scotland to the QFs of the Euros… Brendan Rodgers has the chance to work with Ronaldo and wins the World Cup with Portugal… Jose’s Syrians beat Daesh’s national team with a late goal in extra time after parking the bus the whole tournament in the Pan Arab Games 2019 (joke)… imagine the madness!
Fabio Capello, amongst many more, is an obvious example of how this approach fails. But, the Italian won almost everything at club level then stepped up to take England… kind of exactly how it should be. He failed, not too many tears shed… no harm no foul. If anything, the England players of the time would’ve been appreciative for having the chance to work with Capello as opposed to Hodgson. Today most managers, irrespective of their personal levels of success, repeatedly try (and mostly fail) with the same competitions again and again. Wenger’s obsession with the fourth position is bordering on absurd but would be lauded if he could get England into the top four of any tournament, ever, even just once.
So, mailboxers, what am I missing here? How come this isn’t a thing?
Emad MUFC Boston
Liked your piece on Kingsley Coman what with him and Anthony Martial France are looking frighteningly quick up front, couple that with youthful exuberance and playing without fear I think they have a real chance of winning the whole thing. Football as a whole has some really exciting players coming through now hopefully we can be debating in the future about Coman/Martial Messi/Ronaldo conundrums, the future of football is looking very bright indeed.
The Champion’s League
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Champions league really did just feature champions next year. Whichever of us and Spurs wins the league will have earnt the right to be in a competition called “champions”. We’ve obviously not been there before, but do fans of teams like Arsenal feel a bit undeserving when they qualify for such a competition after finishing 4th?
Toby (Top of the league) Mitchell
Ray Hudson > You
A few choice Ray Hudson moments from El Clasico commentary:
* ‘Suarez’s feet just turned into squid’
* On Benzema- ‘He’s like a fish up a tree with this finish’
* After Pique’s goal- ‘ He punishes the net’ …… ‘ he bounces it in like the branswallace( or something) bomb’
* After Bale’s disallowed goal- ‘that’s a very harsh call against the fire breathing dragon that rises nicely’
* On Ramos’s challenge on Suarez- ‘ that’s a tackle that would dehorn a caribou’
* After Ronaldo’s goal- ‘ Cristiano has chromosomes buzzing about in his body that belong in a Bengal tiger’…… ‘Cristiano is more sparky than a downed power line here’
How is this guy still allowed within a mile of a commentary booth?
Also how awesome would him and Martin Tyler commentating together be? Come on FIFA17, make this happen.
We all dream of a team of…
In response to Toby from yesterday’s afternoon mailbox, my bet would be on Suarez XI. He is one hell of a beast, be it in any department, strength, physicality, mental resilience, determination, stamina, endless running, pace and not to forget his ridiculous skill levels. He can not only operate in all forward positions, but also in midfield and in defence. Hell, he can even be a good goalkeeper, which isvery well documented as well.
Seriously, this guy’s XI can easily win the clones’ premier league if there was any. I would even say he will win the Clones’ Champion’s League, hands down.
On the other hand, Diego Costa’s XI will get relegated, possibly banned from football, because that team would be extremely lucky if it ends a match with even 7 Costa’s on field.
Let the clone wars begin!
A team of David Alaba wins hands down. He is already immense anywhere across the back line and anywhere in midfield. Not sure it’s that far fetched he can play a false 9 too. Boy’s only 22 to boot
Best free-kick takers ever
Excellent piece regarding the top ten freekick specialists, although I didn’t agree with the ranking but I really appreciate the article.
Which reminds me of my own team and how we could use with someone of such technique, we have been absolute #$@#%$%$ in recent years in freekick. Before Sanchez stroke them like nobodys business last year, we were really struggling back then to convert any. Just imagine how many points we could get from these situations? I mean we could even secure fourth in December.
Plus, I believe it affect the opponents psychologically as well, I mean at the back of the defenders head surely he must be more “afraid” to commit any stupid challenges near the penalty knowing Beckham/Payet/Pirlo was on the other side, but Alex Song? Denilson? Never mind mate here’s a two footed lunge.
Syfq Amr, a bias Gooner.
The positioning of Beckham above juninho in the top ten freekick takers list is ridiculous. Sentimental value is something, but juninho never erred, something you quoted from pirlo. Now, The English bias is here too. Good lord.
Sood CFC (next up: James Milner is better than baggio).
Woah woah woah Dimitri Payet and Pierre Van f**king Hooijdonk make the cut but no Ronaldinho?
Have a word.
(Ed – F*** Ronaldinho)