Keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
I am a grown man and I spent a better part of the last hour eating my lunch while following online trackers of what is believed to be Aubameyang’s private flight from Dortmund to London’s Luton Airport.
The love for the beautiful game shows itself in many ways.
David (Gooner in Nairobi, Kenya)
Another John Stones
Now, Almeric Laporte is a very good player and I have a lot of respect for a player who choses to move to a physical league, mid-season, in order to prove their doubters – National Team Manager included – wrong and earn a ticket to the World Cup. Whilst he is still a young player, he won’t be by the 2022 Tournament so it really is now or never for the him.
However, City have a very similar player at centre back in the form of John Stones. Both are very good on the ball, they are a similar age, similar build and both can be world class centre backs in the near future. However, City don’t really need another Rolls Royce centre back, they have Stones. What they need is the fire and brimstone, never-say-die, leader to anchor all the impressive talent. You recently ran a piece on the best January transfers that made a similar point about Vidic and Ferdinand.
All the best centre back pairings have composure and commitment dovetailing in equal measure: Vidic & Ferdinand, Terry & Carvalho, heck, even Pep had Puyol & Pique! What City really need is a player similar to Kompany, when fit (and in his heyday), he could be the rock that allows Stones/Laporte to flourish. However, few centre backs of this ilk exist in the modern game (Glik?). It will be interesting to see how the Stones/Laporte pairing works out, or, if Pep switches back to a back 3 like he did at the beginning of the season. With Sane injured, I wouldn’t rule out the latter.
Joe, Midlands (Notable shout outs Pallister & Bruce, Adams & Keown, Weir & Stubbs and all the other old-school knucklehead centre backs)
Food for thought
On the 29th January, the US State Department released a list of Russian politicians and Oligarchs, with ties to Putin, as part of a new Sanctions Act passed in 2017 (has there ever been a drier opening to a Football365 submission?) in retaliation for Russian election meddling in the US election.
“Who cares?” you may ask, but if i were a Chelsea or Arsenal fan i would be a little concerned, as both Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov were named. The list itself doesn’t mean those individuals are facing new sanctions, but they’ve been put on notice.
The impact on Chelsea may already being felt. Chelsea have been tightening the belt buckle, no longer able to compete with the “big boys” in Europe having once been the hundred pound gorilla, much to Conte’s dismay. Iit’s unclear what impact, if any, this will have on Abramovich bank rolling the 500M redevelopment of Stamford Bridge in future, but many oligarchs are already taking measures to protect their fortunes (some going as far as divorcing wives and transferring assets into their names).
More importantly, it removes any doubt about the nature of Abramovich’s and Usmanov’s positions in Russian political circles, and their insidious link to the government of a fascist dictator whose regime has opposition politicians and journalists murdered. Perhaps the FA and Premier League might finally take a look at their “Fit and Proper Persons” test, but i’m not holding my breathe.
I’m not sure what people expected from Olivier Giroud.
The oft-criticised centre forward was consistently our top goal scorer during a time in which we recovered the knack of securing silverware.
The reason I get so annoyed with the likes of Cesc, Theo and RVP is they were sold as the successors to an all conquering trio.
Giroud, on the other hand, is Alan Smith. Loyal, dependable but no fireworks Alan Smith and I, for one, will never boo him – even when he inevitably rocks up to the Emirates in Devil’s Blue.
He was a £12m striker and we got more than our money’s worth. Walcott would have been a rip off if we’d paid Southampton to take him off their hands.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Conte could screw Wenger
I think its quite obvious why Arsenal are willing to sell Giroud for only £15m (if figures are correct) but will it backfire in spectacular fashion?
Chelsea actually have the upper hand here, Arsenal are desperate to get Aubameyang in, Dortmund won’t sell without a replacement and have identified Batshuayi as his replacement. At the same time Chelsea will not let him go without a replacement.
It looks to me like Arsenal are willing to take a hit on Giroud in order to let the rotation of players between the three clubs, if Mourinho was at Chelsea still id bet the world he’d take Giroud before denying Batshuayi his move to Dortmund just to spite Wenger/Arsenal.
Anyway onto the point i was looking to make, could Conte do this? Who knows but I wouldn’t be massively shocked if he did.
Is this reason why things seem to of come to a standstill (Wenger wanting guarantees that Chelsea will move the striker on once agreeing to the Giroud move) How can you put that clause into a sale?
I’d be more concerned if i was an arsenal fan over the scenario given in the paragraph above than if they were to sign Aubameyang or not.
What’s the thoughts of other posters regarding this potential disaster for Arsenal in this dangerous triangle, given there recent luck I wouldnt be surprised in the slightest if this was to happen to Arsenal
Russ the blade (Sheffield united, not some wannabe gangster giving myself a cool nickname)
Ummm, Daniel Storey seems to have forgotten about the gigantic arsed Serbian goal scoring beast who tore up and down the Chelsea right wing for the best part of 5 years in his best January signings.
Sure his form fell off a cliff in the last season (a bit like the other Serb on the list) but by god was Ivanovic a great player in his prime.
I’d have him in the top three easily.
Lee (the size of that arse alone is the reason he shouldn’t have been forgotten) Highbury
No Sturridge, no problem
Goose says the release of Sturridge to WBA means Ings could potentially be starting in the CL should Firmino be injured, and whilst it’s trye Liverpool are short of (proven) strikers, that’s far from the scenario I would expect.
So far this season Firmino has been the undisputed starting striker, with a handful of appearances shared between Sturridge and Solanke with precious little return, so I have two questions:
What’s to say Sturridge would be fit in that scenario? Better he have a comfortable environment with nothing to lose personally and hopefully put all the troubles behind him.
Would he add anything over other squad players? He’s had enough game time (and training time) to show something this term, but Klopp has deemed him unsuitable for the time being.
I would imagine, should Firmino be injured, most likely Mane, or failing that, Salah would be the forward of choice. Ox/Lallana fill the wing and most advanced midfield options, with Gini/Can/Hendo being the other two.
Maybe Ings or Solanke come in given a second injury, but let’s face it, if we’re without two of Firmino/Mane/Salah there’s not a lot Sturridge would be able to conjure up on his own anyway.
The squad overall does look quite shallow, with the very little after who has already been mentioned (Woodburn/Markovic on the wings, Milner/TAA in midfield), and as a result I can see league form suffering just like it did during the Europa run, should Liverpool do well in the Champions League. But ultimately, Sturridge needed a change for himself, and if he is going to add value to the club.
KC (Ox all of a sudden quite important)
Simon, Woking makes a valid point that no-one *should* care about individual awards but the truth is that many do and often to the detriment of the team. As a Utd fan, I was sad to see the talent of Ronaldo leave the club in 2009 but the Champion’s League final showed why it was the right time. He spent most of that game trying to write his own headlines, shooting from stupid distance, taking every free-kick, trying to win the Ronaldo/Messi show and the team lost. Barcelona were the better side but Ronaldo didn’t help the cause through his own selfishness. Worryingly, I’ve seen similar traits from Paul Pogba in the last couple of matches, trying to score against Burnley when not one but two players were better placed than he was for a simple pass and goal. I really hope Jose has a quiet word.
I think it depends on the ego of the player more than anything and while I’m sure Lineker would prefer to win the golden boot than not, I agree he would far rather not win the golden boot and have England win the World Cup. I’m not 100% sure Ronaldo and Pogba would have the same answer but maybe I’m doing them a disservice.
Paul, Man Utd
Impossible to hate
James, Singapore – great mail on universally loved footballers.
Interesting that half of the list was Italian, perhaps some of the Channel 4 Football Italia nostalgia helping things along there? Looking through the same nostalgic goggles, I suggest we also add Batistuta and Rui Costa to that list.
Your last paragraph has prompted me to make a confession…no matter how much I tried to resist as a Spurs fan, I always secretly liked Bergkamp, Zola and Di Canio.
Anyone want to help me feel less dirty by admitting their admiration for a rival teams players?
Flynn (Excited to get back home to WHL), Greenwich
…I’m afraid James, Singapore neglected to include Gabriel Batistuta in his list of universally loved footballers, and has regrettably outed himself as an absolute fraud in the process.
Pride of Britain and Ireland
There have been a few interesting responses to the world class players to have played for England over the past few decades (going back to the 70’s) I though id look at the other nations including the Republic of Ireland to see if I could come up with some world class players to have played for these countries. I don’t expect everyone to agree wit me but here goes:
Garth Bale, Ryan Giggs and Neville Southall – Wales –Southall was the best ‘keeper of his time and still the only ‘keeper to be voted Player of the Year in 1985. Giggs and Bale have won numerous league titles and also European Cups, they have both played for two of the biggest clubs in the world and when both fit no defender would want to play against them.
Pat Jennings, Norman Whiteside and George Best – N Ireland – Jennings was a superb ‘keeper and a bit like Southall was one of the best of his era. Whiteside is probable one than many won’t agree with but injuries and fondness of a wee drink stopped him from fulfilling his potential but on his day no doubt world class. No need to say anything about Best, his surname does the job for itself the BEST player to have played the game at the top level in England and I include Ronaldo in that.
Paul McGrath, Dennis Irwin, Robbie Keane and Roy Keane – ROI – Robbie Keane is the top scoring international player from all the countries, he played at the World Cup and scored a few important goals. Dennis Irwin was part of a great Manchester United side that dominated the league and he was part of the Ireland team were the only team to beat Italy in regulation time at the 94 World Cup. Paul McGrath is like Whiteside injuries, addiction and mental health issues meant that he never really fulfilled his potential but on his day he was colossal again part of the Ireland side that beat Italy and never gave Baggio a kick. Roy Keane was captain of one of the most successful club sides ever and arguably the best midfielder of the past 30 years.
Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish – Scotland – Souness was a player like Keane, a no nonsense midfielder but could also play and played a Liverpool team that were just incredible. Kenny Dalglish was just a magician with the ball and again played for Liverpool when they were the best team in Europe!
Superb work. That is all.
Terry Hall, Switzerland
Keown should keep schtum
In the commentary during the Yeovil .v. Man Utd game Martin Keown maintained his vitriolic stance that Sanchez is a mercenary and had picked the wrong club and should have gone to City (still not sure how he could as they didn’t have a bid accepted, you can’t just walk into another team when under contract) and claimed that although it might be old fashioned, players should always want to go to the better team.
I therefore am very much looking forward to him ripping in to Daniel Sturridge for snubbing Inter and Sevilla to instead join West Brom. Keown must be fuming!
I will especially look forward to this as I missed the article where he tore Theo Walcott a new one for joining Everton ahead of Borussia Dortmund.
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