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Sturring up some trouble
Could current free agent Daniel Sturridge be the answer to Ole Gunnar Soskjaer’s striking worries. He just missed out on a creaking 33 year old for £15m as the transfer window slammed shut; could he take a creaking 29 year old for free instead?
He is likely to be injured for at least half the season. For the other half, he can come in and do a job to give the youngsters a bit of time out of the spotlight. He could be the perfect foil to allow someone like Mason Greenwood the air cover to get starts and develop, without having the pressure of playing every week. The more I think about it the only downside might be that it will cause some rancour for Sturridge with Liverpool fans. Michael Owen has never really lived it down…
You heard it here first.
Ed Woodward is a symptom of football’s toxic future
Hello – I don’t support Man Utd and find this all very VERY funny.
But I’m also a football fan that isn’t writing in to gloat. There was an email published yesterday from someone arguing that all Utd needed to was get rid of Ed Woodward and then they’d be on easy street. The Glazers, whilst objectively bad, weren’t the thing holding Utd back. There’s obviously merit to this argument because, as we all know by now, Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward TM is a disaster. This much is clear.
But Ed Woodward is merely a symptom of the parasitic ownership of the Glazers. For Ed Woodward, read Ivan Gazidis. For Gazidis read Christian Purslow.
The issue isn’t so much that these ‘executives’ were bad at their jobs. The problems come in when the only measure that a clubs owners care about is how much money they are making. As long as Woodward brings in the cash – and as long as Utd can continue being used as an ATM – he will remain. The vast majority of billionaire owners who have come into the premier league do not really care about whether or not their team finishes in the top 4, mid table etc they care about that cold hard cash. They care about getting their troughs into the tv money and a select few ultimately care about being picked up by the more popular european kids when the inevitable and lamentable european super league becomes a reality.
As long as the money remains good, the guys that bring it in remain. This is an issue of ownership and indifference. And this is the way that football is ultimately going.
Obviously its awful and everyone at some point will have to decide if they want to go along with it. But the real bet that all these guys are making is that when it really comes down to it and we have to choose, they know that we will.
Have a good weekend!
Man Utd’s window
Certainly an extra midfielder would not have gone amiss, but the kids could go alright you know.
We can assume the squad’s fitness levels are up on last season, and it is not a long shot that all three signings will be a success, so if say, Gomes and Greenwood step up, it’s a much better first eleven than last year.
Glass half full and all that.
Enjoy the football everyone.
I’m going to go ahead and stick my neck on the line here by defending United’s business in the transfer window. I have to say I was shocked to see everyone on social media having a sh*tfit about United’ business but let me try to give you my view.
Man United desperately needed defenders to shore up what was a very leaky defence. AWB is a very good move, fee size aside everyone can agree good call. Maguire, again we needed someone to lead the centre of defence and he was one of the best on the market (not the world!). Maguire is better than any centre half already at United and, while no way worth 80m, the transfer fee is not his fault.
United fell well short in clearing the dead wood but I’m focusing on how United were proactively strengthening the squad.
What I was most interested by was United’s clear and early briefings on how they weren’t going to be taken for a ride by Mr A (rgentinian) or Mr D (ane). It turns out Ed has learnt two things:
(a) Telling everyone in the world you’re going to break the transfer record is very bad for negotiating said deals, and
(b) Paying whatever Mr A or Mr D ask for annihilates squad cohesion and only drives up what the next guy asks for.
For years, United fans have been hoping Ed would learn some lessons and I, for one, think he has. I think it’s been a decent transfer window which lays the foundations for the future. Ole needs to pick up the baton now and run with it.
Arsenal’s transfer window
I had to laugh at the idea in this mornings mailbox that Arsenal had simply replaced like-for-like and therefore not had a good transfer window.
Firstly let’s take Luiz. Liverpool were roundly praised by sticking to their guns and waiting for VVD. If you can’t get your main target Upameacano then don’t go and spend £35m on a panic, we did that before with Mustafi and got burned. We spent a lot on Saliba with the aim of him being the long term CB. Getting Luiz in for £8m for two seasons is sensible. As for all those people saying he’s a total liability I don’t remember seeing this outcry in the review of Chelsea’s 3rd place finish and Europa winning season last year, OR seeing Chelsea bing described as screwed in defence for this season because they had to rely on Luiz and couldn’t buy replacements. Of course he’s a massive upgrade on Koscielny. Kos is barely fit and his chronic achilles injury has robbed him of all his pace. An upgrade for a net of £3m. Sounds good
Pepe possibly not being an upgrade on Iwobi? Are you serious? The only other player to get 20 goals and 10 assists in the top 5 European leagues last year was Messi. Iwobi got 3 league goals in each of his last 3 seasons. Iwobi is a nice player but has no end product. Pepe has proven himself in a different league to Iwobi.
Ramsey/Cellabos – If Cellabos stays fit that’s already one up on Ramsey. Of course Arsenal fans would have liked to keep Ramsey but people forget his terrible form at the start of last season and the months he sits on the injury table. Cellabos plays deeper and can hopefully help us by being a player who can negotiate the high press and get the ball forward quickly.
Tierney is clearly an upgrade on Monreal whose legs have gone and Kolasinac who can’t defend.
Martinelli is a wild card.
Add in Nelson and Willock (will surprise a lot of people this year) and Arsenal are in much better shape than us fans could have dreamed at the start of the window.
Of course there are still problems with the squad, there is still time to move a few on, but considering the state, age, wages and unbalanced nature of the squad when wenger left I think Raul and his team have done very good work, still on a budget to transform the playing squad and prove there is ambition at Arsenal to get back to the top of the game.
Top 4 is still going to be a big fight this year but this window has given us a much better chance.
Rich (AFC) Ps: Not much mention of spurs having 3 important first 11 players all in the final 12 months of their contract and potentially leaving for free?
Afternoon Mr. Andrew Stevens,
If you’re going to criticise Arsenal and their summer business. You could at least get the name right.
It’s Saliba not Sidiba.
Also; Pepe is leagues ahead of Iwobi. David Luiz will replace Mustafi more than Koscielny and he can’t do worse than Mustafi did last season.
What we bought vastly improved what we had before. Whether they are up for the task ahead is up to them, but they definitely all have the capabilities to improve Arsenal.
The section of Arsenal fans (and I don’t want to tarnish them all with the same brush, it’s more the posturing Twitter mob) trying to spin their team’s transfer activity as ‘the best window of all time’. Behave.
Ceballos on loan with no option to buy works only for the player and Real Madrid. If he excels, he gets what he wanted and promptly goes back to Madrid. If he doesn’t, he’s a passenger in a side badly needing a midfield presence and no-one wins. There’s a reason Mauricio Pochettino reportedly didn’t fancy the deal.
Saliba is a potentially very promising signing. But that’s all it is. He goes straight back to his other team so he’s of no immediate use. And there’s no guarantee he translates his promise once he gets to the Premier League. So not exactly the coup it’s being talked up as.
I’m prepared to be wrong about David Luiz but I honestly can’t see past him and Mustafi being the most comedy CB pairing in the league. Hardly the defensive fix they so desperately need. Strikers up and down the land will be relishing going up against them.
Tierney is a good signing. Lots of potential, not hugely expensive and feels like it could be an Andy Robertson-esque move. A doff of the cap on that one.
And Pepe. Honestly not sure what to make of this. At face value, a great signing. Bags of potential, stats to back it up (although only from Ligue 1 so let’s see…) and he could link brilliantly with their existing forwards… but what if he doesn’t? Or what if anything goes wrong and he just doesn’t fit? I appreciate that this is the risk with literally any signing but spending £72m on a player in an area that didn’t necessarily need strengthening to that level just seems a bit misplaced to me. Why not put the money towards some immediate defensive/midfield strengthening? It feels like the same old story with Arsenal for years now: they’re crying out for investment at the back so they go and spend the bulk of their budget on a forward.
Again, I’m fully prepared to be wrong on all of the above, I don’t want this to be perceived as an attack on all Arsenal fans and the club itself. I just don’t understand or agree with any of the loud noises coming out about how everything is suddenly wonderful again.
When I thought I was out, they pull me back in…
Less than a month ago, as an Arsenal fan I feared this season. There seems a pretty established top three, with one champions league place left to fight over. If last season showed three in to one doesn’t go, then add in Leicester, Wolves and maybe Everton and hopes were dwindling. When factoring in those challenging even Europa league positions were not favourable. I had a wash of gloom come over me.
I knew Chelsea were hamstrung, but as many have been saying this could be a blessing for them. United have their troubles, but I genuinely expected them to throw a lot of cash to fix some if not most areas. The rise of the other clubs was concerning.
Oddly I then had a sanguine moment, I somehow believed we would string enough results to probably stay in a Europa spot, but most of all without any hope or expectation for the season I cast my eye across all the areas of interest as almost a neutral. Will City and Liverpool keep up that astonishing assault of quality and results, or fall backwards with City perhaps concentrating on the Champions League and Liverpool not being able to replicate last season’s tremendous effort? Will Spurs use the champions league final to kick on, or fall back? What would United or Chelsea do? What about the promoted teams, who will be relegated, who will be the surprises? Who will challenge in Europe? Who will be the stand out stars and suprises? Exciting times ahead.
Then… then… we have a really really good window. Now what? I’m becoming slightly optimistic, almost hopeful. I’m well trained to know we will mess it all up somewhere. Of course we’re not going to challenge for the title, maybe not even get top four, but we have a much better squad than last year and last year was an improvement on the year before. There’s that pesky hope again.
Arsenal making fans have Michael Corleone moments every year…
Stu, AFC Manchester (We’re bound to have a terrible February, somethings don’t change)
The Top 6 Transfer Window Winners
The transfer window has now shut for another few months and having looked at the majority of signings and news about players last night, I’m almost convinced that we (Liverpool) are one of the biggest winners without doing very much. Right now, I’m looking at it like this:
City have bought Rodri as a replacement for Fernadinho and swapped João Cancelo for Danilo, so they are like for like replacements. However, having lost Sane for most of the season now to his ACL injury, that is a massive blow and they didn’t have time to replace him. For me, they currently look no better or worse than last season so are in a similar position as us.
While Spurs have bought players for the first time in ages…have they bought enough and in the right areas? Not getting another top forward in like Dybala will be a blow, especially if Kane gets another one of the injuries that keeps him out for a few weeks here and there. He could have been a big help with their attack and losing Llorente as his only real cover could be another problem. While Ndombele looks like he will be a good singing, was Sessegnon really needed by Spurs though? One for the future or cover for Rose now? I thought he struggled last season to be honest, but we’ll have to see. I also think that Eriksen will still be off before the European windows closes so there is one of their biggest players gone. They best hope that Lo Celso can do a job if Eriksen does leave.
Chelsea obviously couldn’t sign anyone so now have to rely on an untested manager at this level, their kids and a player who’s never kicked a ball in the league in Pulisic. Will Frank hit the ground running with the kids and over perform, or will this all end in failure, with them out of the Champions League and League cup before Christmas, and trailing the 4 top places? The later seems more likely right now but either way, it’s going to be in interesting season for them.
Arsenal may have tried to tighten up at the back, but it doesn’t look strong enough to help mount a top 4 challenge to me. Mustafi and Luiz at centre half?! Christ! Their new look defence and average at best keeper will continue to leak a lot of goals. They are too light on quality in the middle of the park for me as well. Best hope their front three of Pepe, PAE and Lacazette hit it off quickly and can give them a big return as this current Arsenal side looks like it’s going for a Rodgers Liverpool philosophy of “we’ll score more than you, but we will concede a lot too”.
Man United…I mean, yeah, they needed to strengthen their defence but was that enough? They needed to sign more attacking and creative players to be considered a serious threat the top 4 places and have signed neither. Not getting Eriksen might be their biggest blow but then selling Lukaku and not signing a replacement was bad, and the one they went for was 33 year old, great on his day but no prem experience in Mandzukic. I think they could be in serious trouble for making the top 6 this season as the haven’t bought enough. If Everton would had have got Zaha, then I’m convinced that they would have finished above them.
Maybe I’m being too cynical towards the business of other teams at the minute, but I really don’t see anyone truly improving in the top 6, despite all the money spent. In the case of us and City, we didn’t need much but a bit of tweaking, where as the others all did. Chelsea aside because off their ban, none of them look like they’ve bought well enough or fixed the problems they had.
Maybe I’ll look daft in a few weeks’ time when they all start well and are playing good football, but right now, I think the likes of Everton, Wolves and Leicester must be licking their lips at the prospect of cracking the top 6, with only City and Liverpool out of their realistic reaches.
Neil (bring on the Norwich tonight!) Mulvaney
Everton are certainly winners
Afternoon fellow 365ers
Following on from another great article by Basti Bloor (not sure if he’ll like that nickname) I’d like to confirm that Everton are indeed one of the winners of the transfer window. There are however a few more reasons to add to the list:
1- Selling James McCarthy for £8million – brilliant business. The guy is a perma-crock but when fit, is an incredibly destructive midfield force. His problem is that his style gets him injured, so £8m for someone who has barely played in the last 2 years is astute
2- Getting around £18million up front for Ademola Lookman – One that we all wanted to succeed but didn’t. Everton have shown that they are no longer the pushovers that they’ve been for so long. He’s not pulling his weight, he hasn’t kicked on and by all accounts he wanted to go to Leipzig last year so again, masterstroke of business.
3- Idrissa Gueye – we loved him, but you can’t stand in the way of someone’s dream. Even though he wanted to go in January, he gave a monumental performance in the second half of last season and I thank him for that. You’ve earned it Gana, we’ll miss you but you never let us down. £29 million for a 29 yr old is again, very good business. Take note Romelu
4- Signing Djibril Sidibe on loan. Won the league with Monaco and got to champions league semis, yet somehow, everyone thought that all the other players were the good ones. An unknown quantity but a very interesting one. really interesting to see how Coleman now performs with some proper competition
5- We’re Gbamin….. we hope you like Gbamin too. Signed as a direct replacement for Gueye and again looks an astute signing, especially for the money. Time will tell how well he fits in but from clips I’ve seen (I know youtube makes Phil Neville look good) he’ll tackle or intercept and then sweep a ball out to the left or right, with either foot. That’s right people, a 2 footed midfielder, the audacity!
6- Andre Gomes for £22 million. I am hard for this guy, we used to have Graziano Pelle but now we have Andre Gomes, what a dish, but again, a 2 footed player with so much quality for a ridiculous price.
So, after all that, where will it leave us? I have no idea but if we can carry on our form from the end of last season, we could be up there. We have no europe to worry about and so can potentially do a Chelsea or a Leicester, but I doubt it
The biggest winner of this in my view though is Marcel Brands. The guy is simply a genius and Moshiri has recognised that and put him immediately on the board so he won’t be poached. Having a decent DOF is one of the keys to a successful modern team and Brands is up there with the best. I am also of the opinion that Silva will improve players like Iwobi, Walcott and others.
The future’s bright, the future is down by the docks with Marcel, Moshiri and Marco
Good luck everyone for the weekend, I’ve had enough of cricket.
Round pegs in square holes
Minty, lets see how delighted you are if Salah, Mane or Bobby (who have all recently played too much football and need a rest) are injured or out of form this season for long periods and god forbid more than one of them at a time? As you point out Minty players are humans!
Just ask Sane if injuries can happen. It would be nice to have more attacking options (as we are so reliant on them for the goals) and the peace of mind City have. Instead we have makeshift or unexperienced replacements (not just in attack but defence also) and a big drop off in quality should our luck run out (results in pre-season showed this). Also the Ox, Lallana, Shaq and Keita are also proving to be injury prone!
I am pleased Brewster (and other youngsters) will seemingly be given a chance but in my opinion the guys that have to score the goals are under the greater pressure! It would be better to blood him in the cups I feel which hopefully is where it will happen. Fingers crossed!
Stef (hopefully we don’t do a Spurs from last season (in the Prem) but it would not surprise me) LFC
Football’s moral cesspool…
There was an interesting line in winners and losers today about Saido Berahino that got me thinking … “Most likely, he needs help rather than condemnation…” … as a general rule about people I would agree. Human beings make mistakes, they can find redemption, they can (and should) get help to be become better people. Sometimes. But at what point players do deserve condemnation? When is it ok to say they’ve been offered enough help and it’s time to admit they are just awful people? I don’t know Berahino personally, but it seems he had quite a few chances to get his act together, help from a wide range of people, players and support mechanisms.
I’m more familiar with another players mentioned in the loser section (rhymes with Mavel Rorrison) who is in a similar boat. Great talent, very troubled, difficult upbringing … and was offered chance after chance after chance to turn his life around. He had endless opportunities to come through the Utd youth system under one of the greatest mangers of all time, and blew every one. He was afforded more ‘last chances’ and opportunities than any ‘normal’ person would ever be afforded in the real world. In particular his personal life and off-field behaviour has been appalling. (You can probably find details online somewhere if you are that way inclined … and that’s just the stuff that’s been reported).
Gazza and Best are other examples, trouble geniuses? For sure. But how far does the sympathy go, how many chances is enough? Suarez and Terry being outright racist … apparently that’s not too far for many of their own fans. Going full Lee Hughes appears to be too much for most. Marco Alonso got away with … well go check for yourself. He should have been booed everywhere he went. Where is the line? And why is it players like Koscielny (to use another example from losers section) get lambasted for what is really only some mildly unprofessional behaviour… but others who have committed far worse crimes (in some cases literally) in their personally lives, are exempt from the wrath of the majority of fans? Answers on a postcard please.