Forget Fernandes and Longstaff…Man United need these two

Date published: Thursday 25th July 2019 9:08

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Sensible signings
What are some transfers that make sense to you but don’t seem to be rumoured to be happening.

Yes, yes I know this is all a bit Football Manager, but silly season is still upon us so please indulge me.

These are all suggestions a bit different from the norm (Maguire, Zaha, Blah Blah Blah…) and look at areas where teams could improve on their current occupants.

Suggested Signings – Lascelles or Otamendi
Current Alternatives – Sokratis & Mustafi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leadership and solid defensive skills, Lascelles would be a superb signing for Arsenal. He would sure up that back line and replace their current MIA, 9 years serving, no testimonial now, wasted all the goodwill you’ve built up, no chance of an ambassadors role, Captain Koscielny. Not the most glamourous but when you are making decisions like signing a 18 year old wonderkid centre back from France, who you then will loan back, even though you could use him right now option, the ‘Transfer Committee’ needs all the help it can get! (Apologies for the double zing, but Arsenals transfer business is abit ridiculous this season, loans and loan backs, hardly inspiring) I don’t think Lascelles would be ridiculous money and would definitely be a decent option for the coming seasons.

What about a cheeky bid for Otamendi? Not cheeky in a £40mill and £1 kind of way, more a testing of the waters to see if it was possible. Otamendi would certainly add much need aggression to that back line and I could see him and Sokratis forming a good partnership. His contract is out in 2022, so City could be persuaded with a reasonable offer, he would get the game time he craves but with Atletico rumoured to be interested it may be a difficult one to pull off.

Chelsea – LOL

Man Utd – Need a Midfield Engine Room
Suggested Signings – Ruben Neves & Wilfred Ndidi
Current Alternative – Fred & Matic

Whilst a Centre Back and a clear out is desperately need I can’t help but feel Man Utd midfield desperately requires some quality. Step in Ruben Neves, a player who I cannot understand why he is not being lined up by a bigger team. A superb passer of the ball and a great reader of the game he would be ideal in that deep lying playmaking role, pinning accurate long through balls for the likes of Rashford and Martial to run on to when counter attacking.

United should also look at welcoming Wilfred Ndidi into that destroyer role alongside Neves. Interceptions, tackling and defensive cover, Wilfred could fill the role that arguably has not been filled since Roy Keane left all those years ago. United have long been crying out for a defensive midfielder who can win back the ball and provide a platform to progress from and alongside Neves playmaking from deep and Pogba free roaming further ahead, suddenly that midfield looks abit tasty.

Man City – An injury free, left back is my main position, Left back
Suggested Signings – Lucas Digne
Current Alternative – Zinchenko, Mendy, Angelino

With Mendy making more appearances on Instagram, Angelino being an unknown and Zinchenko being an attacking midfielder, can City go a third season winning everything without a proper left back. Well yes more than likely, but that does not fit my narrative so this is my suggestion.

A very good first season at Everton for Digne, his attacking abilities would fit in as lovely as an ice cold beer would right now (its really bloody hot in England!). However, as I continue this sweaty metaphor from my desk at work, 4 assists in the Prem for Everton might not set the world on fire (like England right now) but what do you expect in a team with no decent striker. If it happened he would have 15 assists next year easy, I would bet my inevitable sunburn on it.

What are your suggestions? If I survive the next two days in this Hell on Earth (still really hot) I’ll do another one.


Best pre-season goals
Edwin Ambrose did not let me down with his suggestion of Drogba vs AC Milan for “Best Pre-Season Goal” what a strike, it did remind me of another but less as impressive goal during pre-season, scored by Lee Martin for Manchester United against Guangzhou Pharmaceutical back in 2007  , I cannot remember why I was watching this game at the time but what a strike, shame Lee Martin never went on to bigger things.
Mikey, CFC


This one sticks in my mind. Yossi Benayoun for Chelsea vs Wycombe Wanderers.

Playing 4D chess against a pigeon
Harry CFC, London


Kiss my face!
I’m amazed at the way Arsenal are trying to shape a deal to get Zaha. £40m, then 40m + Nelson on loan then 55m but 10m on add-ons and Nelson is still on the table !? How much for a half Nelson ? I don’t know either, it’s time to tap out.

I wondered what people do think is acceptable, particularly of course Ed but other Palace fans too shy to write in or happy for Ed to quote the raven for them…. here’s some ideas:-

Iwobi (worth 30m !?) + Nelson (20m!?) + 20m = 70m

Nelson + 40m plus Mikhitaryan on loan for a year (Arsenal pay his wages and no fee)

Nketieh + Nelson (both on loan) + 50m

And finally…….

Mustafi + Ozil + Xhaka + Mikhitaryan + 70m and a big thank you card from the Arsenal supporters club and Stan.

Also nice one on getting your predictions in, I’ve been saving your answers so will continue to record them as they come in and send my own in over the weekend. Will send an update on who is the most accurate so far at the end of October.
Ian (it’s really hot in Hong Kong) LFC 


I’m so tired of F365 saying the Big 6 are becoming more and more entrenched when they need to make that point and also saying the Big 6 are now in danger of losing their spots with other clubs knocking on their door when they need to make that point.

So to put things back into perspective United who had a terrible season last year (who didn’t win any in their last 6 if I recall correctly) ended up with 9 more points than Wolves, 12 more points than Everton and 14 more points than Leicester. This is the same Leicester that is now apparently on the cusp of a top 6 spot, is in ascendancy with young manager who hasn’t failed in the PL before, and is the same club that Harry Maguire might be better off playing for.

We tend to get carried away and make bold pre-season predictions, last year it was Everton who made a splash in the market and were tipped to break the top 6 only to fall flat. Leicester might have made some good signings, but it remains to be seen if these signings can provide a 14 point push! That is not even considering that United in their first post-Mou season are bound to get a few more points than last year.

I’m not sure why Leicester have suddenly become the media darlings. West Ham who finished only 3 points lower than Leicester, have a PL winning manager, and have made some exciting signings (waiting to see Fornals in action). Crystal Palace, who finished 3 points lower might end up losing 2 of their best players but will potentially have around 130m to reinvest back into their squad! Why are these teams not being tipped to break up the Big 6?

My prediction? Expect a more entrenched top 6, with a gap separating an even more crowded mid table. These teams might snatch a couple of results from the Big 6 but I would expect them to trade a lot of wins and loses with each other.
Yash, MUFC (Getting hyped)


Swap trumps
Can everyone that is suggesting these outrageous player swap deals please stop and have a think about just how rare they are.

Every mailbox seems to have a:

Bale for Sanchez
Lukaku for Icardi
Pogba for half the Madrid line up

Dan, Herts email put it well when he explained the complexities of getting one transfer across the line let alone trying to negotiate 2 or 3 in one hit.

Not sure if everyone is still on a high from Sanchez & Mkhitaryan (and hasn’t that gone well!) but this is not the NBA and transfers like this are few and far between.
Phil, LFC 


Bale away, Bale away, Bale away
A (Long) response to Guillaume, can we please stop putting forward simple statements without backing them up with any sort of evidence or facts to support them?

The lack of respect shown by Madrid fans to their own players is an embarrassment. Between the treatment of Bale and the ‘we want Mbappe’ chants at Hazard’s unveiling, I have have become really disinterested by Madrid because of their fans and to clarify, I also do not consider myself a fan Barcelona due to the theatrics.

You have compared number of games per season between Bale & Benzema (I am disregarding Ronaldo as he is widely considered as one of the greatest of all time) While I agree stats do not tell the whole story, you use an extremely basic stat which does not take into consideration relevant external factors such as injuries or managers preference (and I think we can all agree that Zidane has not shown Bale much love).

As you appear to view Benzema in a much better light than Bale, I have decided to look into some more stats to compare the two which may help eliminate some (but by no means all) external factors.

Goals per game over the 6 years you have referenced:
Bale – Goal every 2.3 games
Benzema – Goal every 2.2 games

Assists per game over the 6 years you have referenced:
Bale – Assist every 4.6 games
Benzema – Assist every 4.7 games

(Goals and assist stats for both were taken from the same website and only relate to Real Madrid but feel free to check yourself)

You state that other players in the Madrid team played a much more integral part than Bale but do not support this with any facts or logic but make some odd comparison to David May and Gerrard. So lets look at some of the integral contributions that Bale has made since joining Madrid. The below were directly involved in cup finals which Madrid went on to win:

2014: Copa del ray final v Barcelona, Bale scores the winner on 85th minute (you might remember, its the one where he ran half the pitch)
2014 Champions league final, goal v Atletico to put them up 2-1 in extra time
2018 Champions league final, scored twice against Liverpool including a goal which is arguably the best goal scored in a champions league final (ironically the only one which could be argued to be better is Zidane’s V Bayer in my opinion)

Granted you mentioned that he had a good first season which is the 2014 but to flippantly disregard such monumental moments in 3 major cup finals is Madrid’s history is ridiculous.

Your Theo Walcott comparison is extremely lazy with very no real concrete evidence to support your argument. After a quick search, I think Walcott has averaged over just 13 goals for his best 6 years throughout his career. Bale has averaged a fraction below 20 goals a season since he joined Madrid. Again, not bad for a winger who largely disliked by his manager.

On a separate note, it is funny how a player is considered disloyal scum when they want to leave a club or push through a transfer however they are a parasite when they are refusing to leave and being pushed out. Especially when the player has provided significant contributions to their team in the previous years.

Similarly this spin also seems to vary depend based on their clubs. For example Mardrid or Man united have parasites but when Gary Cahill is considered surplus to requirements and told so by Sarri last year, he kicks up a fuss at year end that he did not get enough game time. Chelsea and Sarri described as the problem even when Cahill reportedly turned down a move to Juve in January and had played few games before Christmas. Again, to clarify I am not a Chelsea fan and largely dislike the club.
James Murphy 


Barcelona’s Pogba moment
Xavi Simons has been highly touted as a Barcelona star since he was 8 years old. Barcelona have invested huge amounts in developing him and now when he is on the cusp of breaking in to the first team. PSG have swooped and taken him away with a lucrative 3 year deal.

That must be painful for Barcelona, especially if he goes on to fulfil his potential and becomes one of the best players in the world. Barcelona apparently offered Xavi 100k euros for next season, in line with the rest of the youth level he would be playing with.

I understand the thought process of treating everyone equal at that age but the brutal reality in sport is that not all players are equal and not all have the same potential for greatness, by refusing to offer Xavi his market value, Barcelona have potentially lost a 100m + euro asset by holding out on several hundred thousands of euros it would take to keep him

Xavi’s wages haven’t been revealed but I think it wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility for PSG to be paying this kid 4000 euros a week plus, with the way transfer fees are increasing year on year, this could turn out to be one of the biggest financial errors in world football history by Barcelona.

I would put the Zlatan to Barcelona deal and the loss of Pogba by United for peanuts at the top of that list, both of which involved Raiola. Can you guess who Xavi’s agent is?


Champions League final fun
Dear F365

In response to Martin, BRFC, um, yes there is- the same two teams could be in it again with a combined total of 89 years…..

Or as a slightly less facetious answer, if the final were Atalanta vs. Liepzig I believe it would be infinity years as neither have ever won (so says Wikipedia) their respective domestic leagues.
Tom (just glad to find there are teams taking part less suited to the title ‘champions’ than Spurs), Melbourne


Martin, BRFC – only 26 of the 32 group stage teams are confirmed at the moment but I expect most of the teams coming from the qualifying rounds won their league last season or fairly recently. So out of the 26 we know (I’m counting years as if they don’t win their domestic league in 2019/20), the most unsuccessful final would be RB Leipzig vs Atalanta, as neither have ever won their domestic leagues. Out of teams that have won their domestic leagues, it would be Spurs (59) vs either Liverpool or Napoli (both 30) for a combined 89 years.
Lucy, LFC


Martin, BRFC asks if any combination of 2020 Champions League finalists is less successful in league terms than last years. The answer is yes – there are at least two teams in the group stage who’ve never won their domestic top division.

In fact, if the final was between RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, they’d have one fourth division title, and one second division title between them.
Andrew (what did we do before Wikipedia?) SFC, London


Martin asked if there is a potential combination for next year’s Champions league final who’ve gone a combined longer period without winning the league than Liverpool and Spurs last season (87 years).

Of the top of my head, Liverpool and Spurs is the obvious example (89 years)…

This won’t make me feel happier about watching my European football on Thursdays mind…
Andy (MUFC)


Martin, BRFC asks if two less successful teams could break the record of Spurs and Liverpool having gone a cumulative 87 years since last winning their domestic title.

The obvious answer is the same pair could push the record to 89 next year!!!!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells


Help a brother out
I know this isn’t a traditional email or footballing rant but figured F365’s viewership may be of the most help on this occasion

Does anyone know if matches in the Slovak Super Liga get moved for TV like the Premier League? I’m sure other readers may have fallen foul of a similar situation in La Liga where the game could be played anywhere over the weekend and it’s not announced until it’s nearly matchday.

Trying to organise tickets to see a match while in Bratislava at the end of September.  Google’s fixture history shows that occasional matches are moved to a Sunday but there’s no obvious geographical or TV reason why.

I’ve emailed Slovan Bratislava, and bizarrely, the league secretary but not had an answer from either.

Many thanks
Joe Boss


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