Mails: Why no buy-back clauses in England?

Date published: Thursday 26th May 2016 9:45

Some nice variation in this Mailbox. A reminder to those who moan about the Mailboxes being full of Jose Mourinho and Manchester United: you choose what goes in there. We love and much prefer printing the alternative stuff. Send them in to Also, read the latest Mailbox Guest feature here.


Image rights
So, Chelsea still own the rights to Jose Mourinho’s name. I have a possible solution. He could simply change his name.

I suggest Jose McJoseFace.
Terry N


‘I don’t give a s**t about Jose at United’ (but here’s why it might not work)
To Olly in Chester who asked what Chelsea fans thing of Mourinho and Man Utd I say this. I don’t give a sh*t. It doesn’t matter who he buys, or what new adjective he gives himself or even if he wins a trophy, I don’t give a sh*t. I’m concentrating on Conte and him getting us back to being a proper team again.

Both Man United & Mourinho are made for each other and I really wish them a very long and unsuccessful partnership together. They both have the ego to satisfy each other, both have an idea of how to win things (oh how fun it would be were Mourinho to not win anything) and they both have the best thing of all – complete hatred from anyone who isn’t already a convert. I think Mourinho will even have lost most of his Chelsea faithful already, and the rest will follow when the silly, childish mind games come out.

Man Utd fans need to be careful what they wish for. I’ve seen a lot of fans talk about how they think he will improve all of their players, notably Rashford, Depay and Schweinsteiger, but I say to you this, for Rashford see Josh McEachran, for Depay see Cuadrado or Schurrle, and for Schweinsteiger see Lassana Diarra. He will stifle the youth, suffocate the creative players and then sell anyone he deems not worthy for a very expensive replacement. I know United have the finances for it, but don’t get used to any sentimentality. After Mourinho at Man Utd, there will never be another ‘Class of ’92’ again, all these youngsters in your squad now will be drowned, sent on loan or sold and either perish or if they are strong enough become better elsewhere.

I for one am looking forward to the rivalry, and to having a United team who I can hate even more than I did before. Most of all I’m hoping won’t Man Utd not be as successful as the fans think they should, just because they’ve hired a guy who has won a few trophies before. Sometimes it doesn’t work like that.
Stefan (Only problem is the Man Utd complaints in the mailbox) Chelsea Fan, London


It sucks
How do Chelsea fans feel about Mourinho at United? In one sentence: it sucks.

But the events of last season squirt a healthy dose of syrup on this bitter and jagged pill and make it much easier to swallow. Had Mourinho sauntered off right after winning the title the wailing and teeth gnashery would have been biblically epic. As it stands I am still haunted by the poor results, the surreal and manic pressers as things got progressively worse, and, of course, his inexcusable treatment of Ms. Eva Caneiro…something over which he’s yet to show any remorse.

But, the fact of the matter is he will win at Utd. It might not happen immediately, it probably won’t be pretty; there will be an epidemic of Utd “purists” dramatically fainting due to the type of football on show…but win he will…and that sucks.

The one fact that mitigates that suction is that he’ll only be there for three years and the break-up will be acrimonious. Or he could be there for a decade and win the league in 8/10 seasons…you never know with that guy.
Kho, Chelsea fans are not all unhinged, Malawi


Why not more buy-back clauses in England?
Why don’t more big clubs in English use buy-back clauses instead of loans? Especially for that crop of younger players whose first team future is highly uncertain. Not players like Rashford but more of the player of the ilk of, say, Pereira.

Real Madrid have used this quite successfully. Dani Carvajal was sold to Leverkusen and then bought back for relatively modest sums and has become one of the best right backs in the world. They have the option to do the same with Morata and have done it many times in the past with players like Granero, Pedro Leon etc.

A transfer with a buy back clause has quite a few advantages. For the buying club, the incentive to improve the player is much more as the player is now on their books. Buying clubs will also be more sure of the young players role in their squad and be more sure of his quality because now they would have to pay a transfer fees rather than a much more meager loan fees. For example think of Bamford who simply wasted a season. Probably Palace would have been more thorough in their research on his quality and role if they had had to play 8-10 million quid for him.

It’s what us Business School students (yes, I put that irrelevant piece of information about my education here) call escalation of commitment and buying clubs would be more inclined to put efforts in developing the player because of their investment in him. For the player himself, he is usually a part of the same set up usually for a couple of years and hence is more able to integrate to the squad. Also, since there is no guarantee that his parent club will come back for him, he would probably be more professional in his conduct (I am looking at you Januzaj).

The potential drawbacks are of course, that the selling club would probably have to settle for a slightly lesser fee than an outright sale to compensate the buying club for agreeing to insert the clause. And that the player might not want to come back. However, for the big clubs like United, City, Chelsea etc these shouldn’t be a big issue.

And there are so many players I can think of that would benefit from this. Januzaj, Pereira, McNair for United, Ibe for Pool, the whole Vitesse squad on Chelsea’s book. Just imagine if Chelsea had sold De Bruyne to wolfsburg with a buy back clause of 30 million or so.

Anyway, anyone knows any specific reasons why this isn’t a more common practice in England?
Apoorv, MUFC


On this day in 1989…
With absolutely all due respect to Manchester City, Sergio Aguerooooo, and Phil Jones’ hauntingly bewildered face, on this day in 1989, a Friday, as the sun was setting on a beautiful early summer evening, the greatest finale to an English league season unfolded at Anfield.

I’m not yet that old and embittered that I think Michael Thomas charging through the midfield has been shamefully forgotten by the generation of fans that came after me, and obviously my allegiances mean I’m bound to remember it all being up for grabs now even more fondly than the neutrals, but we do live in an age where the inauguration of the Premier League is treated as Year Dot in English football.

It’s a strange phenomenon, as it ignores the vast majority of English football’s great moments and figures, though maybe that’s the point, as such glory days threaten to take the shine off the often prosaic Best League in the World™. That evening in Liverpool is truly one of those high points, and its majesty is reinforced by its roots in illustrious history – while City left it late to plunder a pretty terrible QPR side, Arsenal travelled to the home of the most dominant team in English football needing more than just a win. They needed more than just a two-goal cushion too, they needed to somehow withstand the momentum of what felt like the inevitable: that come the end of May, no matter what had happened beforehand, the title went to Liverpool.

Having led the league from before the halfway stage, five dropped points in the last two home games saw Arsenal stumble into second on the penultimate round of the season. The team seemed to have have lost their power as Liverpool steamrolled their way through the late stages of the league programme and the natural order of things began to exert its weight.

But George Graham believed, and he convinced his players to believe too. So they went to fortress Anfield, played five at the back on a night they needed to win by two, and got one goal through the criminally underrated Alan Smith. And then, right at the end, on a wave that started with John Lukic, then built through Lee Dixon’s strained long ball and Smith’s knock down until it irresistibly carried Michael Thomas through Liverpool’s defence, and broke to the sight of his dinked finish over Bruce Grobbelaar, the iconic sound of Brian Moore’s perfect commentary, and a rush of blood that sent me (and I’m sure thousands of others) screaming through the house, drunk on the strongest, purest, shot of prayers-granted joy I’m yet to experience.

I was a kid at the time, eight years old, an Arsenal fan for about a year to that point. An Arsenal fan forever afterwards. It was a moment you write (really bloody good) books about, and if you were emotionally enriched by it, it feels like one of the immovable reference points in your life. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience for me, and it was only once I grew older that I remember the dejection of the Liverpool players, the stone-cold look on Kenny Dalglish’s face and realise just a little how it must have felt to be on the other side. The tragedy of Hillsborough must have lent perspective to a lost football match and a title momentarily ceded, but I do understand that for the profound joy it brings so many, memories of Anfield on May 26th, 1989 must be miserable for so many others.

In that, I guess it captures a lot of what makes football so important to us. It was a night where 22 men and one ball proved the depth of the emotions and memories they could create.
Will O’D


Why would the Euros delay contract negotiations?
So there is some gossip going around that Mesut Ozil doesn’t want to enter contract talks until after the Euros. This is fairly standard for players – putting off contract talks so that they can focus on the actual business of playing football. All very sensible…

Apart from it isn’t really is it? The vast majority of players have agents, some seem to have multiple agents, and I imagine a tiny percentage of elite level players actually sit in on the negotiations themselves. They basically just send their agent in, who takes the club for all they can while releasing stories to the press about other teams being ready to ‘swoop’ despite said player being fully committed to the team but also interested in other teams/leagues/planets.

All the player has to do is take the odd phone call:
Agent: “They will offer you £100k a week plus all the Instagram followers you want”
Player: “How much is £100k? Put it in terms I can understand”
Agent: “It’s a sh*t ton. You can buy x amount of Gucci travel bags”
Player: “Right. Put a cross where the signature is meant to be”

Surely they are doing it just to see if anything better comes along in the meantime, or to apply pressure to the club to pay them more? Am I missing something, or am I right to be cynical?
Jack (Can only afford travel bags from Sports Direct) Manchester


Peter Odemwingie: Decent from Russia
Andrei, Newcastle asked if there were any African players signed from the Russian league who were a success. I put forward the case of Peter Osaze Odemwingie.

Before his Loftus Road car park antics the £1.5 million signing from Lokomotiv was really rather good for Albion. Scoring the only goal on his debut at home to Sunderland helped him settle immediately. After scoring in five successive games near the end of season, finishing on 15 goals for an unfancied side, and picking up two Premier League player of the month awards, it was an excellent debut premier league season.

He hit double figures again and another player of the month award was to come the following season, on the back of a hat-trick in a 5-1 demolition job of Wolves at Molineux, arguably the highlight of Odemwingie’s Black Country adventure.

Before the January 2013 transfer saga, he performed well, especially in victories over Liverpool and Chelsea as part of a very impressive attacking triumvirate alongside Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku. Oh what could have been. Now Albion don’t resort to having shots.

Thanks for the memories, Osaze.
Glen (first time mailbox submitter, long time listener), Quinton diaspora, Northants


Why are players from Portugal so expensive?
Andrei, Newcastle asked about the viability of African players being bought from the Russian League but I think Andrei is being harsh to the Africans specifically: no one out of Russia (of the top of my head right now) has been a roaring success in the EPL for any extensive amounts of time. If anything, Christopher Samba was somewhat sought-after when still at Blackburn, but his spell at Anzhi (which wasn’t an easy one, I know) turned his football abilities to cr*p.

That said, Arshavin (three months aside) and Pavlyuchenko are two non-African players considered amongst Russia’s finest ever but barely made a mark in England.

More concerning, however, is the value for money being gotten out of the Portugese Superliga. Bebe, Fernando and Mangala cost a combined 50 million; Yacine Brahimi, who is being chased by Liverpool according to reports today, is being branded at 45 million; for William Carvalho or Ruben Neves, bidding starts at 40-50million minimum; exactly who was the last super-success out of Portugal that inspired such prices for these players? Renato Sanches at 80 million (!!!) was looking like the worst deal Manchester United could’ve gotten and I’m somewhat glad he p*ssed off to Bayern Munich.

Players out of Portugal seemed to have fared much better in La Liga and the Serie A but outside of Ronaldo, who has been a 40 million-rated performer in England to have transferred straight from Portugal? Or is this just the effect of Jorge Mendes (the new Director of Football for Manchester United) being a part-owner (or whatever the f*** his position is) of the league?
Emad MUFC Boston


Ferguson didn’t sign marquee? Huh?
What about….

Van Nistelrooy
Andy Cole
De Gea
Van Persie

Just look at some of those names… The amount spent on their transfers – many of them records for their position, coming off the back of a strong tournament, or a huge splurge on ‘potential’. Even RVP – Fergie basically paid 23m for one season and the PL title! (I acknowledge this was a bargain in RVP’s case – Mourinho will spend 10x that and probably not win it.)
Jean E. Forrestier, Dublin
(MC – Doubt that Poborsky, Stam, De Gea or Keane were marquee names when Man United signed them, though. Doesn’t ‘marquee’ at least hint at established world-class player, rather than potential?).


Some late love for Eusebio
This might be a few weeks late but I’ve been an avid fan of Eusebio and the portrait of an icon didn’t do enough justice and people tend to get mad (mostly the English) but he is probably the best striker the world has ever seen.

Yes I said it. Ignore the fact that in the 1966 world cup, they changed venues at the last minute and the Portuguese team had to drive to get to London all the way from Liverpool. Let’s ignore that he scored against one of the best Brazil sides ever (knocking them out), best English side ever, and the plucky North Koreans. This considering most of the referees were English. He is probably one of the few players of old who could play at the same level in today’s game. He had the entire package.

People also ignore the fact that he was a black guy in Portugal in the 1960’s specifically, a Mozambican. Now I know many might not know about this but Portugal was one of the worst Colonialist governments of all time. Constantly referenced by Malcolm X. Now assume you’re a kid and the only way to make it big is to suck it up to the same guys who made your entire county suffer in abject poverty.

Such levels of mental resilience is something many overlook (Balotelli for one has always seemed afflicted by the racism in Italy) and his goals and character are something to be admired and doesn’t matter if Cristiano Ronaldo scores 10,000 goals in his career. Eusebio will still be the best Portuguese player of all time.
Nelson MUFC


Are we the mistress or the wife?
Is Edquoththeraven the same Ed (Taylor) whom I spotted in yesterday’s “Fiver” bemoaning letters bemoaning his “constant presence” in the mailbox?

Nothing really to say, other than he clearly has little in the way of work interfering with his missive writing. I wonder how many sites he gets published on in a day. How about it Ed, what’s your record?


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