Liverpool fans defend VVD; Man United fans defend Mourinho

Date published: Thursday 28th December 2017 2:59

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Explaining the fee
A point of interest for me in the transfer of Van Dijk to Liverpool is to watch what it means for future transfers. For me, it can point to 3 different possibilities:

1) With defenders going from 50M in the Summer to 75M in the Winter, it could mean the whole market is still in an inflation cycle, doped by the new TV money. If this proves to be true, it could lead to midfielders like Pogba starting to cost 150-200M for example.

2) But it could also be that defenders have been generally undervalued in the market until now, and that their price going up is just a realisation from clubs of their importance and just catching back the general trend. In this scenario, prices for attackers and midfielders wouldn’t go up that much, in this transfer window at least.

3) Van Dijk to Liverpool could just be an outlier, with Liverpool desperately wanting him and confident they can pay this transfer by selling another of their players for huge money. In this scenario, Van Dijk would stay the most expensive defender for a period of time.

We should learn pretty quickly which one of these scenarios is the good one, but on which would you bet in the meantime?
Fredegar, Switzerland


Backing Virg
OK Seyi, so Liverpool could have bought two top Centre Backs for £75m… who? City paid £50m for Walker, lots of people said it was over the odds but they needed a right back and he was the one who would improve the team. How has that turned out? I seriously struggle to see where the two top Centre Backs come from, each for £37.5m (and presumably sharing VVD’s wages). John Stones was £49m. Victor Lindelof is an example of what you get in the £30-40m range…

I completely agree that £75m for one player is a massive amount of money but that is the market now. Can anyone honestly say that Liverpool wouldn’t have been better off paying the money in August and having it done with? Liverpool are five points behind Utd in second. We dropped two points after Lovren’s soft penalty against Everton and two points after the five minute meltdown against Arsenal. Find me one more point in the other eighteen games and VVD could have had us second in the league at Christmas.

On the point about scouting, the reference is always made to smaller clubs uncovering gems (how can Leicester uncover Kante and Mahrez) but ignores failures (Leicester paid £29m for Slimani, £25m for Iheanacho and £16.6m for Musa). It also ignores the fact that in recent years Liverpool have scouted (and signed for very small fees) and/ or developed Raheem Sterling, Rhian Brewster, Dominic Solanke, Ben Woodburn, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and, wait for it, Philippe Coutinho who was signed for £8m… makes Kante look like an expensive mistake.

And can we knock this idea that Sakho was drummed out of the club for being late to a training session. Have a word with yourself will you. Jurgen Klopp forced Liverpool’s best defender (and Bambi on ice impersonator) out of the club for being late to a training session did he? Presumably that was also why he left PSG (his last appearance coming on as a substitute goalkeeper) and why world class clubs were queuing around the block to sign him (sorry Palace fans).

Liverpool had a massive problem area and went out to find what they feel is the best possible solution. That sounds pretty sensible to me.
Micki (I thought £35m was way too much for Salah in the summer) Attridge


We definitely overpaid, but it’s ok:

· Liverpool are in the Champions League and are seriously hoping to stay there. That becomes less and less likely the more mistakes are made by the leaky defence. Lovren, Klavan and Matip can (between them) look competent for a string of games but one bad performance and the old anxiety creeps back in. Any club, not just the Saints, would see this weakness and know that Liverpool are desperate for a quality centre back. Paying an inflated fee was inevitable where ever we decided to do our shopping.

· VVD was Klopps first choice defensive target. Never underestimate the importance of the footballing world seeing a club “get their target no matter the cost”. Liverpool wish to be seen as a powerhouse of European football again. This move doesn’t guarantee that status shift by any stretch of the imagination but it is a step in the right direction.

· Qualify for the Champions League again and the money spent will easily be recouped.

· Coutinho will most likely leave in the summer. I doubt Liverpool will let him go in January but come August he’ll be gone. FSG are not digging into their pockets they are throwing around the Coutinho profit in advance of its arrival. This doesn’t justify 75 million spent but it makes the sudden willingness to pay an extortionate fee almost seem logical.

· We have surely filled up our Saints loyalty card and can now claim a free Shane Long.

There is no doubt other defenders, of equal or increased quality are available, but Liverpool are in an awkward situation. Being desperate for reinforcements in central defence means the club can be forced to over pay. Being a “giant” of the game (based on former glories) means the club can be forced to overpay. Having a history of over paying means….you get the idea. I can’t pretend that VVD is worth 75million from a completely objective point of view but Liverpool had to get a centre back, had to get their first choice and had to prove they still have ‘muscle’.

We definitely overpaid, but it’s (probably) ok
Martin Jackson


I’ve had a couple of mails published lately blaming Klopp for Liverpool’s defensive problems, so it’s only fair that I give credit where it’s due now. Because there is no way Liverpool sign Virgil Van Dijk with anyone else in charge. This is Klopp’s pulling power to the fore, and a timely reminder (for me) of why we would be worse off without him.

I still maintain that the club could have brought in someone better than Lovren for around the £10m mark once the Van Dijk summer deal broke down, and in fact I still think the club should do that, since Matip is regularly injured for long spells. But this news is encouraging for two reasons: firstly it shows Klopp does indeed understand the defending needs to improve; and secondly it shows the owners are willing to back his judgement. Things are looking up.
Neil, LFC


Defending the fee
I struck me reading Seyi’s email how illogical some of the over reaction to recent transfer spending has been. Seyi and others are saddened by the fact that Liverpool spent £75 million on a player they think is worth no more than £30 million – somehow missing the fact that £30 million is already an astronomical amount of  money to pay. It seems a little arbitrary and absurd to me to accept £30 million but then take issue when figures inflate beyond certain imaginary and arbitrary lines.

As long as fans accept the fact that the game they love is built around buying and selling players for money – and they not only accept it, the lap it up (look how much they have traffic all those SEO transfer gossip pages get), then it’s absurd to get so worked up over something which is natural and logical. The more money we as fans throw into the game (which we do through tickets, TV subscriptions, jerseys and merch, even by flocking to the pubs who then pay over fat sums to Sky) then we really shouldn’t get so worked up over transfer fees.

And that’s leaving aside all the hypocrisy from many Liverpool fans who criticised the last owners for not spending and now conplain when the new ones do.
Damian (Insert witty comment here), Dublin 


Leicester and Southampton can bring in players on the cheap because there’s less pressure. At the top clubs managers want as close to the finished article/risk free as possible.

Clubs are always aware of these players but it’s better to let a “lower tier” club take the initial risk of proving the player in the league and then just doubling or tripling what they paid to get him later.

Long term it’s likely not sustainable but that’s the rationale of the big clubs and it seems to be working for them so far so let’s not pretend Liverpool are the only ones to do this.

As for your aversion to hugs, you probably should have left that “physical contact between men is icky” phase a while ago as like you said you’re a grown man.
Vinnie Dublin 


His name is Rio and…
The great thing about the internet is that you can delve deep into the past. Given the reaction to the price Liverpool paid for VVD, I thought I’d look and see what people were saying when United Paid £30m for Rio Ferdinand:

Ferdinand is a good player…not a great one. The £30m price tag is a joke. By that reckoning, Damien Duff must be worth £40m. Not content with having made the biggest transfer blunder last year forking out £28m for the insipid Veron, they are now resorting to desperate measures to shore up their leaky defence.

I can’t help thinking that Fergie has placed all of his proverbial eggs in one basket. One gaping hole has been filled, but what about the other three places at the back?

£30m is good business for a player worth £22m at best. With Bowyer and Keane shying away from transfers, Venables has the cash to get a cheaper replacement.

Rio is a great defender but the rest of his play is overrated – no-one else was bidding for him – £30m is excellent business for Leeds.

Leeds have really pulled a fast one over Man Utd. Ferdinand is over-rated; if he wasn’t British Leeds wouldn’t have dared to ask that much. He’ll help out Man U but Leeds must be laughing their heads off at the moment.

Football has changed. £75 million will become the new normal. If VVD is anywhere near as good as Ferdinand was, then £75m will be a bargain. Time will tell if thats the case.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Some questions
Some transfer window thoughts as the deals start to roll in…

1) With the changes to the summer window – earlier start and finish – and the hectic few weeks that will include the World Cup, I wonder will see more clubs moving for players in this window? I’m sure over the next few years, the redefined PL summer window will become far more normal and managable, but given that it is out of kilter with most of the rest of Europe (all of the continent?) for this summer at least, you’d think some teams may try to move quickly to avoid being gazumped.

2) Or, on the same point, given that the summer window is so soon after the January one, will teams hold off in an effort to get better value?

3) In a world where Virgil Van Dijk can cost £75m, Oxlade Chamberlain £35m and full backs go for north of £40m, is the concept of value redundant? PL sides have so much cash to throw around that fees almost seem irrelevant when the TV money is factored in to the income streams. For a long time, we heard that there was no value in the January market – does that even matter anymore?

4) Why don’t more clubs go for bigger signings in January ahead of summer departures? I’ve always thought this was strange. If Arsenal are to lose Ozil and Sanchez in the summer, surely adding Mahrez or someone now makes sense. It gives six months to bed in even if they don’t play every single game and eases the pressure on the summer market. See also, Coutinho – if Liverpool had the cash, could Nabil Fekir or Milinkovic-Savic not be looked into now?

Just a few questions to ponder. Now, I am entirely aware that the answer to all of these is “But the selling club…” which I understand, I’m just wondering how much change we will now see to the accepted parameters of the windows due to the influx of cash and the changes on the horizon.

I am also 100% aware that it is less fun to talk about transfers than actual football, so please disregard if necessary…
Kevin, LFC (We signed a bloody defender!), Cork


FFP alternatives
As an aside to the other brilliant mail of mine you’ll no doubt publish this afternoon, on Spurs wages and the criticism they receive, I’d like to put forward an alternative measure for enforcing Financial Fair Play (FFP)

The current system, I think we can all agree, is not working. Financial penalties do not work as punishments for clubs that overspend. Clubs that spend more money than they generate, tend to be privately funded entities, with benefactors who can afford to spend their own wealth and as a result, can absorb fines. If you look at how any major corporation works, they will have a slush fund set aside to deal with inevitabilities that are borne from their approach, such as litigation and specialist investment opportunities. Fining somebody rich with money like fining a dirty beach by demanding payment in sand. It’s not going to make a difference and the sand the beach paid out would end up being replaced by the sand under the sea being dumped on top of it when the tide comes in. In case you’re wondering, the tide in this metaphor could be TV revenue money or further cash injection by a bored millionaire spending the interest in his or hers otherwise dormant offshore bank account.

Lets see a handicap system brought into place with a sliding severity scale, measured in points. Lets agree a % of turnover level that is acceptable and start teams who exceed this by starting them on minus points. Breaching FFP should be judged the same as going into administration. It is financial misconduct and should be treated as such. If a club is operating outside a natural level of expenditure it is not sustainable without private investment, and whilst football will inevitably carry on forever, there is no guarantee that the private investment will. It protects fans first and foremost who are part of the livelihood of football, not the rich oligarchs.

Closer inspection of turnover will also be required. I don’t want to be seeing Etihad sponsoring the penalty box at Man City for £300m a season to get around it, so caps on sponsorship levels or at least some semblance of financial integrity checks will be needed. Simply spending millions more than your opposition not only makes the competition boring, but also uncompetitive.

Like any measure brought in to tackle the cash rich, you will inevitably have the problem of corruption. Scrupulous financial forensics of club accounts would need to be recorded by both audio and video link before being signed off as meeting the required standard. This may sound radical, but radical reform is what is needed for a sport that is so lacking in any form of financial regulation that it’s almost beyond parody.

Shoot me down, mailbox…lets have arguments and counter arguments.


Is managing United impossible?
After another mailbox filled with United fans eagerly piling on with their criticism of the team and manager (we really are the worst sometimes), it got me wondering, is managing Manchester United now an impossible job? Clearly the club has massive resources to call on, and its history and prestige mean it’ll always be able to attract top-class talent. But the media environment and fan culture have created a constant swirl of negativity, sucking the joy out of the place, sapping players of their confidence and making any manager’s job so much harder than at a normal club.

Fans talk of the ‘United ‘Way’, of not only winning, but doing so with ceaselessly attacking, carefree, glorious football that no team could hope to resist. But it’s become an unachievable ideal, a legend that outsiders are destined only to sully. Every bad result is treated not just as a setback, like a more rational fanbase might do, but analysed in the light of some fantasy United standard that the new guy, of course, doesn’t get and can’t possibly hope to reach. It creates a relentless negativity, the pervading sense that our glory days must, inevitably, be behind us.

Combine this with a media which clearly recognizes that not many people have much sympathy for United, and that consequently there exists a huge market for hit pieces not just slating the current players or manager, but emphasising how far from the Fergie days the club now is, and how that clearly represents some fundamental crisis, some deep-set wrong at the club’s heart. It’s nonsense of course, but people lap it up. Ex-players from the 90s and 00s dominate the punditry landscape now, and just as former Liverpool players would drive the club insane throughout the 90s, this lot can seldom resist the chance to point out how things are so, so much worse than before – when they were playing of course.

Can any manager succeed in such an environment? Such relentless negativity, on TV, on Twitter, on the fan forums, around the ground, must surely get through to the players and to the manager. I’d argue it creates an impossibly stifling environment, in which the pressure is so great that players are reluctant to take risks, lest they become the next target, In which confidence can be drained so quickly, and poor runs of form become permanent as players sense the lack of support and encouragement they need to come through it. Is the club, or any club which enjoys a spell of dominance, destined to endure a subsequent, lengthy spell without success?
Dave Jackson, Macclesfield


Mourinho worse than Van Gaal
Good to see a fellow reader, Ted, is also of the opinion that Mourinho is no better than Van Gaal. If anything, he’s actually worse.

I must admit, it brings about immeasurable levels of smugness in me to see how United are playing and being man-manged under Mourinho.

Whilst under the stewardship of Van Gaal and amidst the growing desire to get Mourinho as manager I raised the question of just why on earth replacing Van Gaal with Mourinho made any sense whatsoever.

A couple of chaps on Twitter got their half & half scarfs in a twist when I suggested that United didn’t need an egotistical, chaos causing, legacy troublesome manager who advocates soul achingly dull football when they already had one! To be fair to Van Gaal, at least he has a reputation for development of youth players.

I wonder how those chaps are now? Undoubtedly livid about the style of football and the circus that surrounds the Manchester United dressing room whilst simultaneously being completely oblivious to the fact it is all so tediously predictable.
Max Talavera


De Gea is not all that
Why is there a general consensus that DDG is the best in the prem and nobody else can come close? I accept that he’s an incredible player, but his eye-catching saves make up the majority of his reputation and people sometimes fail to see beyond that.

People often judge keepers on their shot-stopping, with good reason, but there’s so much more to the game. For starters, Nick Pope has a better save percentage from a similar amount of shots this season, and whilst I’m sure he’s earnt his dues, he’s not being put in the same bracket as DDG.

He doesn’t have the distribution of the likes of Ederson or Pickford, and benefits from having Lukaku up top if put under pressure, but personally the thing holding him back in my opinion is his propensity to stick to his line when he could move off it it.

DDG concedes roughly every 15 shots, whilst Ederson concedes every 10 shots, but has conceded only 75% of the goals of De Gea. I don’t think Ederson (or Courtois) would have conceded to Maguire in the match against Leicester. The ball travelled 40 yards and was struck from just outside the 6 yard box. A more proactive keeper shouts, and claims that ball under minimum fuss, but given the cush United were under, De Gea stays grounded and makes himself big instead, costing the team 2 points. Point to Smalling all you like, it should never have got to him.

In the match against Bournemouth Ederson made a risky run out of his box and made a tackle which saved a free cross into the box and a big shot to stop.

A couple of crazy statistics: DDG has faced 87 more shots than Liverpool, and more than Huddersfield.

I’m not saying anyone is any better than anyone else, just that DDG does not hold a monopoly on great goalkeeping in the prem, and others such as Courtois, Lloris and Ederson should be considered in the same breath. 
KC (he wasn’t in the top 3 for world goalkeeper of the year award either….) 



Like Adam, Watford, I sympathise with Ryan on the issue of timewasting. We City fans have been treated to the full panoply of delaying tactics this season: the goalkeepers who take 40 seconds over a goalkick (well, you do need to tap both boots against the post before you take one, and heaven forbid the ball should go out of play on the side you actually want to take the goal kick); the substituted players who leave the field at the sort of speed at which continental plates drift away from each other; the right midfielder who goes to take a throw in before realising that actually the right back should be taking it, or the opposition players who can be lions in the tackle when defending a 1-0 lead but are injury prone snowflakes when it’s still 0-0 and every challenge requires lengthy treatment.

By and large, despite these tactics teams who come with a game plan to keep the ball out of play as long as possible have gone away empty handed from the Etihad this season, and it is easy to feel a sense of righteous justice that their anti-football gets no rewards.

And yet, especially for City fans, there is this lingering sense that not so very long ago, that was us, too. Back when that mob down the road was adding a champions league to their domestic double, we were squeezing past Gillingham with a 95th minute equaliser on our way out of England’s third tier. When away fans sing ‘where were you when you were s**t’ we reply ‘we were here when we were s**t’ because we were. And we remember that before 2008 when we went to Arsenal, or Liverpool, or Chelsea, we parked the bus too. Usually we got nothing from the game, but from time to time a precious point could be salvaged. Without the resources to go toe-to-toe with the teams that had gorged themselves on champions league handouts for years, we too had to cut our coats according to the cloth we had. So like many other clubs, before our new money arrived we had to do the best we could against the financial giants of the game. And making sure the ball was out of play as much as possible was one of the few, puny weapons at our disposal.So perhaps the contrast between our recent history and our brilliant present makes it easier for us to see both sides of this particular issue.

One of the main complaints about the development of the champions league is the way it cemented the position of the financially stronger teams at the expense of the weaker. It was what was wrong with FFP, too.  Ryan’s suggestion that the game should last for 60 minutes with the clock stopping every time the ball goes out of play takes away one of the few weapons with which the financially weaker teams can defend themselves against the financially stronger. That in itself makes it a bad idea.  Like many other rule changes, the consequence will be that the strong get stronger and the weak even less able to compete than before. It’s not as though time wasting is actually allowed under the rules. They are non consistently applied, I grant you, but neither are many others.

One of the wonderful things about football is that it is a low scoring game. The value of a goal is significantly higher than in every other team sport I can think of. That is a great leveller, and is one of the few ways in which football compensates, to a limited extent, for the gap between the haves and the have nots. Another is that if you aren’t as good as your opponents, you can still get something out of the game by being disciplined and working hard. Another is that the longer the opposition don’t have the ball, the longer they will go without scoring- and if you achieve that partly via 40 second goal kicks and substitutions, so be it. One of the reasons football is so fascinating is that it provides so many different ways to skin the same cat. We tinker with that at our peril. Football in England is an absolute jewel of a thing, and that jewel is no less precious for having the occasional flaw.

So I will continue to howl in frustration at the fact that the money I used to buy my season ticket is being wasted by the antics of teams like Bournemouth or Huddersfield. I will continue to feel righteous indignation at their anti football tactics, and one day, when somebody shuts up shop and comes away from the Etihad with a result, I will absolutely hate it.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chris, CTID


I’m late to the party in this discussion, but I think the worst thing about football is cynical play. I wrote about this after the Manchester derby, City were excellent at it. This isn’t a  moan at that result, Jose’s teams are usually great at it. Last season that was Herrera’s whole job.

Little trips to break up a counter, keeping it in the corner, taking 30 seconds for a goal kick – that sort of thing.

Adam, Watford suggests team punishments for time wasting. That’s what happens in rugby, an accumulation of penalties and the referee will tell the captain that the next offence of the same type will be punished with a spell in the sin bin for whoever commits it.

Obviously football doesn’t have sin bins, but giving the other team an indirect free kick would solve slow goal kicks.

What I’d like to see for preventing keeping the ball in the corner, which while not against the rules at all is anti-football, is to ban any player ( attacker or defender ) from being within 10 yards of the corner kick being taken. Also blocking the ball with your body for more than a couple of seconds should be a foul.

Lastly I’d like to see cynical chance preventing fouls ( little trips ) punished with a spell in the sin bin. The yellow card is not enough. Perhaps rugby style – too many team fouls and the next man goes in the bin.

Another thing that needs to happen is for referees to treat second yellow offences the same as first yellow. It doesn’t matter if you’d get a red – a second bookable offence means off. Introducing the sin bin would give referees a middle ground between no effective punishment and a red card.

It’ll never happen, but ( assuming this is published ) thanks for letting me vent.
Matt ( still upset over Silva tripping Martial in the derby )


Pardew no better than Pulis
I have to take issue with Jim the Baggie’s defence of Pardew. Whilst I accept we have had a few more shots and a bit more of the ball, we have not looked anymore like scoring than we did before Pardew’s arrival. I would even go as far as to say if would have kept Pulis we may even have had a marginally better return on points. But that is hypothetical….

What makes Pardew a loser week in week out is that he is making the same huge errors that Pulis did. He insists on starting every game with 9 men. Pardew has made many tweaks but has constantly picked Rondon and Livermore, just as Pulis did. It is not surprising that our only two wins came when these two passengers were not in the team.

Sadly I believe we are doomed and if Not and Pardew has not identified this weakness he deserves to go already. The only problem is I don’t trust those responsible for finding a replacement.

Pardew, Rondon and Livermore are not the cause of the sickness within our club, they are merely symptoms. We need to rid ourselves of Chairman John Williams who has been a disaster since he was appointed, Nicky Hammond our Director of Football who has spent simply failed to provide any direction and Richard Garlick who was over promoted in the wake of Dan Ashworth’s departure. Finally our owner does not have a clue. We really miss Jeremy Peace.
Ben The Baggie


Squad numbers
Squad numbers are seemingly very important these days. So whilst sitting off the food and drink I thought who was the best player to wear each number ever in the premier league era? 1-25 because some of the best players don’t wear up to 11 of course. The rules are, players are judged on their time wearing this particular squad number (for example Thierry Henry is the best 14 but not the best 12 – which he wore on his return in 2012)

1: Peter Schmeichel. Athis was definitely between him, Seaman and Cech. Some younger fans may be asking about De Gea but not for me. These three in their prime were far better.

2: Ivanovic. Someone out these is probably using Neville’s trophy wins to justify his inclusion but for me, Ivanovic was a superior player.

3: Ashley Cole. No arguments right? Moving on

4: Patrick Vieira. Again, no arguments right?

5: Rio Ferdinand. One of the best centre backs in English football history. Of course he’s on here.

6: Tony Adams. See above

7: C Ronaldo. Not as simple as you’d think to come to this conclusion. He was one of the best players in the world in his last 3 years at Utd but before that he was not in the bracket. Robert Pires, cantona and Suarez all contenders.

8: Gerrard. This was difficult. Some great number 8s but it came down to who I thought was better out of him and Lampard. No England manager could choose between the two so pardon me if you don’t agree with my choice but I felt Gerrard drove a lesser team on while Lampard was a key part of a greater team.

9: Alan Shearer. Ok?

10: Dennis Bergkamp. Before the days when everyone just relied on stats to decide how well they rated someone, people could just watch a player for him/herself without being swayed by social media etc that their opinion was wrong. Bergkamp is constantly spoken of as an inspiration to many young players and the players he played with would all say he was the best they played with.

11: Didier Drogba. Gareth bale can count himself unlucky but when Drogba changed from 15 to 11, he became one of the best all round strikers in the world. And before the Ryan Giggs fan boys pipe up, yes he was excellent but again his best achievements are usually due to him being part of the best team in the premier league era. Pires, Bale, Overmars all superior left wingers to him. Don’t @ me.

12: Olivier Giroud. Before you laugh, seriously is there actually a better player to wear the number 12 shirt?

13: Michael Ballack. As most 13’s are usually back up keepers, there wasn’t much competition. Still though Ballack was a great player even if his best days were at Leverkusen and Munich.

14: Thierry Henry. No arguments. Would be the best 14 in the history of world football if it wasn’t for Johan Cruyff.

15: Patrick Berger. Loved this player, massively underrated and would have loved to have seen him at my club. Not many great 15s either. Drogba wasn’t a great when he wore 15.

16: Roy Keane. Very close call between him and Aguero.

17: Kevin De Bruyne. Hasn’t been at it for too long in comparison to the rest of these players but the pool was pretty shallow for this number. Regardless, De Bruyne could easily win a Balon D’or if he carries on as his is. Emmanuel Petit and Tim Cahill were the only others on the radar.

18: Paul Scholes. No need to explain

19: Diego Costa. Again, not here for too long but not many excellent 19s. Wilshere had his outstanding breakthrough season wearing 19 but I just can’t give it to someone for 1 season

20: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

21: David Silva. I’m not a city fan so am happy to be put right but surely he’s the best player in their history?

22: Eidur Gudjohnsen. He was really rather excellent wasn’t he?

23: Sol Campbell. See the point made for numbers 5 and 6.

24:  Hector Bellerin. This was hard, Bellerin is not playing well at the moment but we can’t forget how good he actually is. Plus, there really isn’t many outstanding 24s down the years. A lot of goalkeepers had this number, none of which were amazing. Tim Howard probably the best so the question is, if you could only have one of these players at their best in your team who are you picking?

25: Gianfranco Zola. An excellent player.

Who makes your greatest 25?

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