Louis van Gaal is ripping the soul out of Manchester United. Also: Brendan Rodgers has lost his bottle, Arsenal are incompetent, and (plenty) more on David De Gea.
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A Message From Jim White
I was intending to write to you to congratulate you on your Deadline Day Drinking Game. However, I played it and am already smashed.
This took 15 minutes to write. A plague on all your houses.
Aidan, EFC, P*ss*d
So United could end up with Adebayor after being linked with the likes of Pedro, Muller and Lewandowski. Its like being told you might possibly sleep with Beyonce, Shakira or JLo and ending the night with Susan Boyle
More On Martial
The best part of the United outrage over Martial is that it’s not £30m/£36m. It’s €50m + €30m in “easy add-ons”, which means he’s actually £36.7m – £58.7m. He could become the most expensive signing in Premier history…(in Euros).
Davs, (wondering if we’ll sign anyone) CFC
Van Gaal Ripping The Soul Out
I have tried to remain relatively passive about the ins and outs at United over the past 2 and a bit years since Fergie left, but honestly this is just starting to feel like the whole club is disintegrating now.
I was born in 1992, and so have known nothing but success in my time as a United fan. But the thing is I’m not dying to see Bale or Benzema come in the door, I don’t demand trophies, I just miss the way that I used to actually like the players.
Since Van Gaal came in, the players who have left the club include Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Rafael, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Robin Van Persie, Nani, Chicharito, and now possibly David De Gea. Admittedly a number of those weren’t quite up to scratch (I’m looking at you TC23) but they did have something that precious few in the squad now have – they were one of our own. Whether they were at the club a long time, came through the academy or contributed massively to success, they felt like real United players.
As of this moment, the number of players who played first team football under Sir Alex who are still at the club reads as follows: David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney. This squad overhaul absolutely cannot be good for morale, there is no two ways about it. For me ‘the United way’ isn’t about flying wingers or a style of play, it’s about liking and loving the team who goes onto the pitch, and seeing them really care for the cause. This may be an inevitable result of the immediacy of modern football, but it just doesn’t feel good right now.
I saw something the other day that suggested United are a collection of individuals rather than a team, and to me that hits the nail perfectly on the head. I can’t help feeling that a huge amount of that is down to this ‘ruthless’ approach of Van Gaal, and that another manager may be able to recognise that footballers are human beings and not only ‘parts of a process’. It’s no good having a philosophy if it means that players don’t enjoy what they’re doing. Especially if that ‘process’ requires you to sell or release a squads worth of players in just over a year.
Rodgers Has Lost His Bottle
A mail from Kevin this morning made me want to write in about something I’ve thought for a while but have only recently been able to pull together in my head. It’s particularly relevant given the options for the United game without Coutinho. I think Rodgers has lost all of his bottle at this point.
Two seasons ago we nearly won the league playing gung-ho football which was incredible to watch. We were unpredictable and at times unstoppable. The begrudgers will say it was down to Suarez, but it was Rodgers who gave him a strike partner and an attacking midfield with Gerrard as the deepest player the majority of the time.
On to now. I think the Chelsea game that year has scarred Rodgers as a manager. I honestly can’t remember Liverpool going for it properly since that season, excluding maybe the Spurs game when we played two strikers last year. Maybe the criticism got to him, maybe he blames himself for losing the title, I really have no idea. But if he actually realised he nearly won us the title playing that way he’d get his balls back.
For the United game he now has the option of playing Sturridge/Ings and Benteke up front against a poor team. But will he? Realistically he is going to replace Coutinho with the inferior Lallana and we will continue playing our now mediocre brand of football. Just sort yourself out and have a go man.
Deadline Day Guide
Deadline Day for a Red Top Journalist.
· Get up at 4am, print off all the Premier League Squads from Wikipedia
· Black out all outstanding players getting regular starting berths.
· Green Highlight all starting players who’s position isn’t ‘exactly’ guaranteed at each club
· Orange Highlight all substitutes in squads on more than £20k a week
· Link orange highlighted player to club in need of such a player where highlighted in Green (As above).
· Print off report, and dip it deep in cow dung to give it all a significant whiff of BS.
When one comes in, bask in your 2% success rate of transfer ‘Exclusivity’ and expand upon it the following day.
Arsenal’s Deadline Day
As a handy guide for an arsenal fan on deadline day, here’s the 5 stages of grief to help us cope:
08:00 Denial: “no chance are we going to be signing benzema/cavani/ a n other. but we might”
13:00 Anger: “just spend some f***ing money Wenger!”
15:00 Bargaining: “Is Rabiot better than the Ox? I’m not sure”
20:00 Depression: “that’s it, another summer wasted, why do we even bother?”
23:59 Acceptance: “we can still finish fourth with the cohesion we have in our squad”
Andy Smith (Scunthorpe)
I would hate to be an Arsenal fan which is unfortunate because I am. While I am loathe to suggest that spending money for the sake of it is the way forward but it also cannot be disputed that spending money on players is necessary for a team to progress. I understand the idea that there is only sense in buying a striker if he is better than what we have because up front it isn’t numbers that is the issue but rather quality. What I can’t understand is that Wenger puts all his eggs in the highly unlikely Benzema basket and then with a day to go goes off to PSG to try and buy Cavani (according to reports). Naturally they are likely to tell Wenger to jog on because they have no time to buy a replacement (impossible, in fact). Even if Wenger had pulled it off (still technically possible and I’ll gladly eat my shoe if it happens) why is it left until the last minute?
The DM situation is far more worrying with us relying on the fitness of Coquelin and also Cazorla. Ramsey and Coquelin is not a pairing that works in my opinion because neither have the ability to dictate play. Schneiderlin would have paired nicely with Ramsey but alas we decided against him despite seemingly being in pole position. There are other options too such as either of the Bender’s or Krychowiak but nope Wenger has left us short again.
Last year we started the season hilariously weak at centre-half. Mertesacker was barely functioning after about 5 days of preseason, Koscielny had tendonitis in his ankles (an issue Arsenal were aware of) and Chambers had player less than a handful of games at CB (including preseason). In any other job to screw up so badly would be verging on a sackable offence.
Every team around us has spent money. Even Chelsea who have been called out for not strengthening enough have spent close to £50mil. We have spent £10mil (and well worth the £10mil to be fair) but I’d be fairly confident that there are teams in the Championship that have outspent us! How is that even possible for a team that wants to win the title? I just find it incredibly frustrating and disheartening because with the addition of two quality players we could genuinely have had a chance but now I fear a fairly mediocre season. I’ll stop short of saying I want Wenger out simply because there’s no chance of that happening. Given his influence inside the club he’d probably have to sack himself.
Cathal (looking up some shoe recipes) Ireland
Real Madrid = Winners. United…
To everyone in the mailbox claiming earlier today that Real Madrid messed up the De Gea situation, I have two simple points to make:
1. Madrid have an excellent first choice keeper already in Navas while Man United will now have their excellent first choice keeper (who was also their best player last season) sitting on the bench. Bridges have surely been burned and just like De Maria before him, DDG will probably be too p*ssed off at LVG to play this season
2. Madrid will get De Gea on a free next season. You really believe DDG will sign a contract extension now?
I think you wanted to summarize what went down by simply stating that ManU is a shambles.
…Looking forward to tomorrow when all the ‘saga’ has finished and the football can take centre stage, but whilst it’s here I wanted to offer my two cents on the De Gea situation.
Surely Man U aren’t at fault for this one? This is terrible business for them. £30m fee down the drain, big wages for a season for a keeper that won’t play? They must have been trying to tie this up for months. Surely, right?
I see this as Madrid stringing Man U along all summer with the intention of bailing out last second so they can take him for free in 2016.
Mark (Professor Plum, Lead Pipe, Library) MTFC
…Can we stop having a barney about the De Gea situation?
Real Madrid are just going to loan him, 100% wages with a buy clause at £29m or whatever it was and then he will join officially in the January window.
On a side note, Arsenal need to sign somebody. Not because we desperately need somebody, but because it will give a positive boost to the team and might motivate them to that title they say they can win.
Rob A (Striker? Midfielder? I don’t know anymore what we need) AFC
I Want To Talk To You About Fax
What a comical situation this De Gea transfer saga has turned in to.
One expects Rafa Benitez appearing at a press conference bemoaning the “fax” at the end of the week.
Brian (never seen a club merry-go-round like United’s this summer), Wexford
We All Need To Grow Up
All summer I had my football following twitter account deactivated, and it was bliss. Over the last few days I have logged back in and it has been painful. ITK’s, nonsense, supposed adults having tantrums over Arsenal not signing enough players. Tears at graphics showing only Cech came in, next to a really long list of youth and reserve players being sold, released or loaned. They give the impression that even if we win the quadruple it won’t make up for this transfer ‘mess’. Truth is football fans emotional memories don’t last a change of narrative. Some good results in upcoming games against Utd, Chelsea and Spurs and the conversation changes.
I personally haven’t seen a transfer involving an striker who would pass the ‘definite improvement on Giroud, Walcott or Welbeck’ test. I also don’t see why Real Madrid or PSG would sell us world class players if they don’t want to. The Martial madness says a lot about the market this wondow. I do wonder if recently transferred Schneiderlain or Kondogbia might have been improvement on Coquelin though, time will tell.
Basically everyone (incuding myself) needs to grow up. The transfer window isn’t a competition, Arsenal sit in an awkward place of needing a couple of signings, but not just any old player. We all need to turn away from the nonsense and get on with our jobs as well as talking about football, not transferball
Players On Borrowed Time
Surely a £300,000 a week striker, without a league goal since the beginning of April is the epitome of a footballer on borrowed time?
Yours faithfully, Anthony Feeney
I see Liverpool have bought yet another highly-coveted teenager this week; surely 2019 will now be their year?