Read the mailbox and then watch England before sending some views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Well done FA on Aguero ban
Good to see the FA saw sense and handed Aguero a three-game ban after intentionally assaulting another player. Considering his nice guy image, the fact he was set to miss one of the biggest games of the season in the Manchester derby and that sponsors seem to have some sort of sway over the FA’s decisions (Rooney’s place in the England squad), I was half thinking he wouldn’t be banned. Possibly Man City appealed for this reason also (their given excuse was paper thin). If not it just smacks of arrogance considering the video evidence. Hopefully Pep realises Man City are not Barca, the FA and refs here will not kiss his behind so his players will have to conduct themselves properly on the pitch or face sanctions.
The season has started great and the FA showing they are a governing body not just a commercial entity is a refreshing icing on the cake.
Everton: It’s not about the money, money, money
I can’t understand the underwhelming feeling some people have regarding Everton’s transfer window. I’m glad we didn’t go spunking £50m left, right and centre on bog average/untried players for the sake of ‘marquee’ signings because our new owner simply doesn’t have that kind of money to waste.
What we have done is sign a goalkeeper with over 50 international caps for Holland whose early-season form has been enough to justify not throwing panic money at £40m Joe Hart. Long term? No, good enough to see us through to at least January and maybe Summer? Absolutely. Instead of shelling out fortunes on untried centre-backs with the promise of big reputations we have an unblocked path for Mason Holgate who’s taken his chance – playing out of position – to look equally as good as John Stones did at that age whilst bringing in the proven leadership of Ashley Williams at a bargain price. We don’t need Williams to be long term, we have Holgate coming through and some promising youngsters to nurture for this season. We might need a centre-back next summer but then again we might be turning down £40m bids for Holgate too.
We’ve signed a midfielder who could well turn out to be the bargain of the summer if he maintains his form whilst retaining James McCarthy and dodging a bullet in Sissoko. Who knows where the truth lay with that one but I pray he stood us up rather than the embarrassing ‘leaked message’ to Jim White…surely that’s fake?!?! And it’s a lot of money so Bolasie will need to find consistency quickly if the ‘Goodison bear pit’ doesn’t target him within the first five minutes of every game though surely we can invoke the ‘every transfer’s a gamble’ cliché card here?
To top it off, we have an actual manager now who already has had a profound impact on Barkley’s work rate even if Mike Bassett chooses to ignore his early-season form and natural ability. So, underwhelming transfer window? Astute I’d say, we clearly tried to add more but we’re definitely stronger and more balanced than when we started the season.
Ben ‘I purposely didn’t mention Valencia as I seem to be one of the admitted few who actually likes him’ Houghton
In defence of Chelsea’s loan policy
Okay Leon, I’ll explain Chelsea’s loan policy for you.
1. Originally it was felt that the youth league wasn’t competitive enough for the talent Chelsea had.
2. But FFP meant the club also had to raise more money, so Chelsea charge loan fees for their 38 players, raising significant undisclosed revenue.
3. They may of course also unearth the next big talent, eg Charley Musonda, who is facing Barca and Real Madrid instead of Ipswich u18s.
4. It establishes relationships with big agents, allowing the pick of the emerging superstars.
So why would any player come to Chelsea when he may never play for the first team?
They have excellent facilities, and regular progress reports and communication for the loan players.
The nippers play regular first-team football, with minutes virtually guaranteed by the loan arrangement.
They build contacts and gain exposure, meaning they have far more opportunity to move on if they don’t make it at Chelsea than if they had only ever played youth team football.
And finally, it means many English youngsters eg Dom Solanke and Lewis Baker play abroad, gaining an experience of other leagues and styles of play. I thought that’s what many of us wanted English youngsters to do – learn about a style of play different to the English punt and run.
And of course our youth teams are also some of the best in England and Europe.
Harry CFC (PS. I cannot disagree more about Luiz)
…In response to Leon, Basel, I believe that the Chelsea youth recruiting system was started as a direct consequence of the so called ‘Financial Fair Play’. The primary objective of the club was to buy low, develop the player and then sell at a profit. The unearthing of hidden gems and their inclusion into the first team was to be an added bonus. In that regards, I think we have been relatively successful as we seem to have made a profit on all the youths that we’ve sold. A more accurate data could be acquired if we included the players’ wages, etc. however in terms of buying and selling we’ve definitely made a profit.
Regarding the failure to include these youths into the first team, highlighted by the cases of Lukaku and De Bruyne, it’s indeed an annoyance; however, it’s more the failure of the manager (the same one that you’re singing praises of in your mail) than that of the transfer committee. After all, it’s the manager who makes the final decisions for the squad and if a player is not getting any minutes, he’ll inevitably look elsewhere. There’s only so much the committee can do.
Chelsea’s youth policy is often ridiculed, our ‘loan army’ is criticised as an abomination of modern football but as I see it, the system has been more beneficial for the players than the club itself. Young, incomplete footballers are recruited and given world-class football education at one of the best academies in the world (a fact proven by our recent triumphs at youth level) while paying them first class (youth level) salaries. They are then sent on loan to acquire first-team experiences at competitive levels, both in the domestic and foreign leagues (for shirking which, Jack Wilshere has been recently criticised). Simply put, the club gives them the best chance to fulfill their potentials and even if they haven’t made the first team, as in the cases of De Bruyne, Lukaku and Ryan Bertrand, they’ve gone on to become core members of their respective teams with their reputations enhanced. How is that such a bad thing?
Lastly, to answer your question, I’d say I’m quite happy with our transfer business, especially after the recent window. With shrewd and swift acquisitions of Kante and Batsuayi, add to that a much needed cover at LB, a reserve keeper and a fan favourite CB (whose imperfections are often exaggerated) there’s not much to be disappointed about. We also seem to have a manager now who’s actually willing to give the youngsters (RLC, Aina, Chalobah, Solanke) a chance so who knows, our youth policy may finally pay real dividends.
J Eardley, CFC (no, I’m not Michael Emenalo)
Confused about ‘the English premium’
Can someone explain the business behind the English premium? I was under the impression that teams were paying more for homegrown players because quality players who filled part of the eight home grown player quota were hard to find, but having gone through the entire Premier League squad lists there is only Watford who feel any restriction from this.
It’s less of a homegrown quota, and more a case of you can register 17 foreign players (or Eric Dier) and then you get up to eight freebies from British players (and Harvard Nordveit/Fabregas/etc). This means the homegrown players should cost more as they supplement your squad in a less restricted way, but only if the restrictions are changing anything.
As it stands any club in the Premier League can make their next signing home grown or not and it doesn’t change anything on whether they need to replace a player (25 man squads) or just register them, with the exception of Watford.
Also, considering the lack of interest in Fabregas, and the ease that Nordveit was signed, is the premium irrespective of the home-grown rules, and purely because a player is British? If so then the oligarchs need to have a word because City didn’t need a homegrown player and could have signed pretty much any other centre-back in the world for that price.
KC (refuse to believe it’s an innate desire to help England out)
Ooh, ooh, six clubs who had the best transfer window! That’ll be interesting! Who has raised their game in those foreign leagues? Who has stepped up with some cunning signings?
6. Dortmund. Okay. Sure.
5. Atletico. Right.
4. Bayern. Ah. I guess their signings might help them not to draw?
3. Barca. Oh.
2. Man U. Yeah, I’ve heard something about them, I think.
1. Juve. Bingo!
Thanks. For. That. It was interesting, but maybe call it ‘What the top clubs did this summer’.
Henry (Forest Fan) Wade
Carra really harsh on Aquilani
Just seen the article about the Carra/Ballo tiff on your site and saw one thing I took particular umbrage with. He says the three worst ever Liverpool signings were Balotelli for being rubbish on the pitch, El Hadji Diouf for obvious reasons and Alberto Aquilaini for being injured so much he can’t remember being on the pitch. Now Aquilani was contracted to Liverpool for three seasons, but only had chance to play in one as he was loaned out to Juve, then Fiorentina (good sides). In his full season at Liverpool he actually made 26 appearances which is more than Sturridge has made in all but one Liverpool season, and isn’t too bad for a player you signed injured. Jack Wilshere has only topped that figure 3/9 seasons.
Now I’m not saying he’s amazing (although I do have a soft spot) but he (was) clearly a talented footballer who wasn’t given enough of a chance at Liverpool. The narrative however has been rewritten, and he was just broken and never going to succeed.
No doubt there’s plenty of other players at other clubs binned too early so just wondering who else you think your club should have given a chance to?
KC (maybe it’s just cos Italians can’t hack it in the Prem)
Feeling optimistic about Big Sam’s England
The things that Sam brings to our England team can see him equal the level that Sven brought.
I had my doubts at first, but a repeated (ad infinitum) lack of playing to our strengths and not having enough belief undermined pretty fine England teams under Ron, Graham, Kevin, Glenn, Steve, Fabio and Roy. I don´t see him doing as well as Sir Bobby or Terry, however, he is surely an upgrade on Graham Taylor and Steve McClaren.
Sam´s clearly coached plans B and C will give England an extra few possibilities to unlock ten well-drilled men behind the ball.
It´s interesting to note that our semi-final at Italia 90 came after a long European ban. Some, but not all players were away from England, Lineker at Barcelona, Butcher at Rangers, I am not sure on this but the type of league season we have obviously shatters the players, so when a summer tournament comes round it´s akin to round 6, 7 and 8 of a heavyweight title fight. I.e. the boxer with the better instincts to do the simple things will often find victory. That is where I reckon Sam can work his alchemy.
I am not so interested in the qualifying, as only choices as poor as Graham Taylor and Steve Mclaren can cock that up. (apart from the 70´s).
Peter(don´t judge Sam till the knockout stages), Andalucia
Numbers from the real world
After Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg lost a £150m SpaceX satelite that was to beam free internet onto smartphones all over Sub-Saharan Africa, that put into context the £89m fee that Manchester United paid for Pogba.
Keg Baridi (Nairobi, Kenya)