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In defence of Ed Woodward
I’m no fan of Woodward, and like other United fans, I despair at the lack of a football administration and commercial structure at the club. But put that to one side for a minute and let’s examine of Woodward is really the transfer bungler the media make him out to be. Yes, he started badly, with the double whammy of Ferguson and Gill riding off into the sunset together, and ended up buying Fellaini for a few gazillion more than he needed to. But since then, he has delivered for each of his managers in the transfer market. Whether it was Juan Mata, or Angel Di Maria, or giving or bringing back Paul Pogba, he has supported them with his chequebook.
Now, you might question whether it was worth paying £89m for Pogba or was Sanchez’s salary worth it, but I’m reasonably sure at the time, most fans were delirious at those arrivals, and the managers at the time clearly sanctioned the moves. No manager has complained about players arriving without their approval. Even the bungling of Herera’s contract, which is now laid at Woodward’s door, needs to be seen in the context of Mourinho’s view of Herera. Bear in mind that Mourinho had pushed Herera to the fringes of the team, preferring to start with McTominay and Fellaini. So it was presumably quite low on everybody’s agenda to renew his contract. One more decision where the manager was complicit.
And to the performance in the transfer market, what is he supposed to do? Everybody knows that United need 4-5 players and the specific positions. All clubs are now well funded themselves, and everybody knows United have the money to pay over the top. Unless United’s scouting team can unearth gems before they are found and priced up by other clubs, or the academy starts to produce first teamers on a regular basis, this is a very visible challenge. Given the right back situation, Crystal Palace could probably see the bid coming for AWB 6 months ago. The only thing that Woodward and Solskjaer can do is send out the word that they are in fact done for the summer and have a £100m budget which is now shot. Which will bring the predictable moans from some fans, and hatchet pieces from sections of the media.
Even in this transfer window, United have worked methodically, and in as prudent a manner has possible. In a window where even Daniel Levy has spent £55m (plus add-ons) for Ndombele, Woodward has once again backed his manager. A right back has arrived, a speedy right footed player as well, and a dominant centre back looks like a done deal today. Some £130m has been spent. The club has played hardball with Lukaku and Pogba’s suitors, and it is likely that irrespective of their staying or going, we might get another midfielder. I’m not sure what else he could have done.
Lastly, it has become de rigueur to refer to Woodward as an accountant, as though that automatically precludes his being any good at his job. David Gill was an accountant as well. He did fairly well. Woodwards incessant drive to drum up sponsorships across the world is derided but that’s what will pay for the millions he will have had to throw Leicester’s way to sign Maguire. He looks too smug and could spend more time out of the spotlight, but give the man a break, he has one of the harder jobs in football right now.
Ved (tired of internet critiques) Sen
Mike, WHU doesn’t want anyone to shout righteously at him; so how about I destroy his argument with cold hard facts.
Fact 1 – Megan Rapinoe and her teammates are employed by the US FA; not FIFA, UEFA, Nike or any other organisation.
Fact 2 – Even a cursory use of Google indicates that USWNT generates more revenue for the US FA than the men’s team. They are also a vastly more successful team with multiple world cup wins in comparison to the men
Fact 3 – USWNT team members make, on average 38% of what the men’s team do from the US FA.
Rapinoe and her teammates are absolutely deserving of equal pay. In fact, even your own words stated an employer should be paid commensurate to what they make their employer – so the truth is, the women should be earning MORE than their male counterparts from the US.
The debate about should the prize money for winning the WWC be equal to that of the men’s is a fair one – in the same way that argument exists and is complex for something like Wimbledon/Golf Majors.
However, the point stands that Rapinoe and colleagues are being short-changed by their employer!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells
Adeel’s 300 million-trolley dash puts me in a spot. While its lovely to think about the possibilities, it’s a particularly difficult task considering Liverpool’s current squad and the youngsters coming through.
Anyway, here is how I would spend 300 million as Liverpool’s DoF along with the first 11 (sale values taken from Transfermarkt):
Clyne for 11 million, Karius for 5 million, Ojo for 2 million, Grujic for 18 million, Ryan Kent for 2 million. Total = 38m.
Buy: Ryan Sessegnon for 30 million, Davide Calabria for 20 million, Kylian Mbappe for 275 million. Total = 325 million (spent already so far = Some 5 million or so on Harvey Elliot (done deal?) and Sepp van den Berg).
Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson
Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum
Salah, Mbappe/Firmino, Mane
Put Mbappe on the bench and comments will quickly follow that Liverpool’s bench is worth so many hundreds of million. But IF there is any player worth spending nearly 300 million on right now, its Mbappe.
…Ooh Adeel you dirty transfer tease, I normally would avoid these FIFA/FM fantasy constructs like the plague but I’m hungover, still in bed and can’t resist…plus a mental stimulation other than Peep Show on a loop this morning is rather appealing
Ok, so, I’m in a lovely meeting room with the committee. The sun is shining on a bright July day and we’re overlooking a shimmering coastline. Cold cuts and wonderfully chilled jugs of sangria lay before us on this momentous day.
Right then, we’re champions of Europe and have just registered a record points total in the league, but ultimately have fallen agonisingly short in a fantastic and riveting battle against one of the best teams that have graced our league.
Now, I understand the view point that we’re not looking to rock the boat and make any drastic changes. However, I’m the one that’s won this competition in the paper to be DoF and you’re going to have to bow down to my unparalleled non-experience, Jurgen – sorry.
In my mind the only way we’re going to improve this squad is to increase competition, not allow any of you Champions League winning warriors to become complacent. I want that desire and hunger to win to remain in their bellies. A strong squad will keep them on their toes, allow rest and cover any of the injuries we were fairly fortunate to avoid last year. I am also aware that new signings at this club tend to have a few months of bedding in and with some sales planned, along with our Milner’s impending retirement or swansong in America, I want us to have an overlap of slight squad bloating ready for these departures.
Anyway, the scene has been set.
Keepers: No movement, Alisson remains undisputed #1. I would like Mignolet to stay, prior reports suggest his professionalism and attitude has been immaculate but there may be itchy feet. We also have a number of youngsters ready and willing to be third choice. If Mignolet does depart then we’ll sort that down the line – capable journeyman keepers in their 30s are one of the commodities football is not lacking.
Defenders: De Ligt. £65m. No argument about this. I would swoop and override Juve immediately. I think there would be some concerns about personal terms overriding the wage structure, but I’m confident we could come to some form of dirty arrangement.
Sessegnon. Call it £35m. Fulham want more, Spurs were supposedly looking at £25m. With the contract situation let’s meet in the middle. Young, versatile, can fill in up the top end if need be.
I’m willing to listen to offers for Lovren.
Midfield: This is where it could get a little tricky. I’m choosing the overstock the midfield here as Oxlade-Chamberlain will also act as cover up top, and I plan to send Lallana back to the South Coast. Milner surely only has another year in him but understands his game time will be limited, plus he’s another option for full back.
Fernandes. £60m. There’s always a risk from Portugal, but those numbers speak for themselves.
Fekir. £30m. Obvious, but at that price I think people are silly not to. That knee issue might flare up, but the previous season shows it a risk worth taking. Offers the creativity from deep and I believe could also function in a similar role to Firmino – our real heartbeat.
Forwards: Only the one, and I want no mockery here – there is a degree of fantasy in these questions and there has to be some leeway.
Mbappe..whatever remains of the budget ,plus sales, goes on Mbappe. Flexible, young, amazing. It would be a tough call and it might put Mane or Salah’s nose out of joint but if they want to sulk then they have to deal with it. They should be excited for the team and for the challenge. If they want to go next year then we would make a hefty profit regardless, but this lad is the one and if, IF, any opportunity to obtain him comes about we would be entirely irresponsible not to.
Thus, my squad for the year approaching consists of:
Alisson / Mignolet / Youth
Van Dijk / De Ligt / Gomez / Matip
TAA / Robertson / Clyne / Sessegnon
Fabinho / Henderson / Wijnaldum / Keita / Fekir / Fernandes / Milner / Oxlade-Chamberlain
Firmino / Mbappe / Salah / Mane / Shaqiri / Wilson / Origi / Brewster
Added to the above are the crop of extremely promising youngsters. A clear and visible pathway to the first team is important, though as is being able to learn from better seniors, smart loan moves and opportunities in cup football. I fully anticipate Origi and Shaqiri moving on after a year, with one, or two, of the midfield also seeking first team football. However, in the grand scheme of things this also gives everyone the opportunity to push themselves, make themselves noticed and not take anything for granted. Yes, some are more assured places than others, but as has been the problem for Liverpool for many years now, the squad needs to be tip top, not the first 11…survival of the fittest after all.
A beautiful mix of experience and youth, versatility, pace, power, potential. Watch out City, it’s a rematch!
Dan. On a coastline…not azure however.
…£300m budget to buy anyone I want you say Adeel? Well I already know what my summer plans would be for Chelsea………..oh, maybe some nice furniture for the offices or a nice upgrade on the lawnmowers for the ground staff it is then, I guess with the leftover £299.9m we could just put it into an ISA account.
Mikey, CFC (That pesky Transfer Ban spoils all good plans)
…For Man Utd:
All this young British talent is great, but some top quality talent and leadership is needed. Plus our CBs, excluding Lindelof, aren’t good enough
Bruno Fernandes £60m
Tough to really understand his contract/release clause situation, but we need to go for him. He’s a good age, scored a ridiculous amount of goals from midfield and shoots on sight, something we’ve been lacking.
Ben Yedder £35m
I believe that’s his release clause. Seems a snip for a player who scores so many goals. Possibly depends on Lukaku staying or going, but he suits Solskjær’s game more.
Bit out of left field, but I love this man and I’m not afraId to say it. Could be a decent replacement for Herrera. Not actually sure how much Real Madrid play him or value him, but I’ve got £15m more in the kitty so THERE YOU GO.
SERIOUS JOHN (Man UTD)
…So you said I have 300 million? Great!
Ins:-Wan Bissakha (45+5 million)
Harry Maguire (60+20 million)
Daniel James (15+3 million)
Sergej Milinkovic savic (75 million)
Bruno Fernandez (60 million)
Mouro Icardi (40 million)
Phil Jones (15 million)
Chris Smalling (15 million)
Paul Pogba (120 million)
Romelu Lukaku (60 million)
Seems like good business at hardly 125 million spent (NET).
Pogba doesn’t wanna be here. He can Flock off(At the right price). Icardi-Lukaku swap deal seems like a no brainer and having Wanda in England. What’s not to like?(His agent)
Nikunj ‘MUFC’ Solanki, Mumbai.
Right on, Rapino
In response to Mike (Sunday Mailbox)…what the heck did I just read? I couldn’t believe it as I went through it angrily trying to find something I could use as a stick to batter you with but no…all I found was a sensible and well reasoned piece of writing!
Well said sir.
Gareth (faux outrage free since last week), Sydney.
Sean Bean XI
Dear Paul Murphy of Manchester,
You bastard, how can you forget the ultimate bastard – Vinnie Jones?
0:06 French bastard Cantona gets scythed down, gets up, sees that its Vinnie Jones, walks away quietly.