Liverpool should hold Coutinho to ransom (& sign Barkley)

Date published: Friday 18th August 2017 5:39

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A crazy fee counter point
F365 I do love you and I know its summer so I will forgive you for publishing endless scouse maths transfer calculations, but Dan G’s mail broke me. For those who haven’t read Dan G’s or the many other emails that have been posted over the summer they have applied historic inflation figures to historic transfer fees to them compare them to today’s market.

Now I do love a good spreadsheet but I am limited for time, so let me prove to the mail box that transfer fees are not inflated in a rather crude method.

My argument that I put to the mailbox is that I would expect transfer fees to grow in line with a clubs total revenue. So I chose two clubs as my sample, Arsenal and Manchester United. As financial information was easier to find, and you could argue they have been in a ‘steady’ state since in the inception of the premier league ie no relegations or serious irregular changes in their financial positions.

So on to the numbers, in 1996 ManU had revenue of $68.67m in 2016 it was $663.89m, so the compounded annual growth rate was 12.01%. Arsenal in 2001 had revenue of $83.5m and in 2016 had revenue of $456.02m so a CAGR of 11.98%. So let’s say a 12% CAGR between the years 1996 to 2016 (I know, my toes curl at the broadness of this assumption).

Now lets apply that 12% CAGR to mighty Shearers transfer fee of £15m……. its £125m. That’s enough money for 1.5 Lukaku’s, 2 Morata’s or a Kane. Now I know this is assumption ridden but if anyone wants to collect the data I am more than happy to crunch the numbers. But can this please draw the line on ‘ridiculous’ transfer fees, transfer fees are not ridiculous they have just moved relative to all the money in football.

Football is the most popular sport in the world, and in the grand scheme of the world and all the money in it, £200m is not a lot of money for football to spend on the arguable the third best player in the world. But for all those that are disillusioned by it, follow the mighty Hatters in League 2 while we march to the Title.
Liam, LTFC (I’d 8 2 to a Yeovil fan)


Just enjoy the game…
So we’ve waited all summer and finally football is back. You’d expect that fans of the beautiful game everywhere would be delighted.

Inevitably our emotions have been put through the wringer as our teams have failed to live up to our hopes – but really we’re only one or two games in.

I am already reading that Various clubs are rubbish, that fans who enjoy a win are delusional, and that Henderson is sh*t. I am all for banter and gloating, and rueful smiles and hoping for better next time, but it seems like we just can’t enjoy ourselves with football any more. Or let anyone else enjoy it- particularly the players.

I saw an Arsenal fan shouting F***ing c*** at Mesut Ozil and I just thought “what is the point?”

He isn’t over hitting a free kick on purpose. Moreno is not failing to tackle because he hates Liverpool fans. Even players we ridicule are far better than we ever will be.

So I am appealing to all of you to enjoy the weekend, laugh at the missed goals and comedy defending, and applaud those rich lucky sods who are playing in your team. 
Paul in Brussels (LFC if you must know)


Tedious ownership complaints
To follow from Matt’s email yesterday, it must be tedious beyond measure to hear LFC fans complaining about their ownership, when you have the likes of Mike Ashley et al doing the rounds. Even Spurs’ gripe about ticketing for Wembley seems a more legitimate grumble. Or Gooners understandable irritation at the amount of money their ownership takes out rather than spends in transfers or reduced tickets. Neither of those is the case with Liverpool. My home town club even had Stephen Vaughan (google him), and I doubt as much fuss was made then as is currently against FSG.

Since they bought the club they’ve only won a league cup, but that could have been 2 League Cups if LFC were better at pens. If Reina wasn’t a fat mess or Carroll’s header was one inch to the left then they’d have had a chance with the FA Cup in 2012, and if the players had shown up against a terrible Villa they could have had another final in 2015. LFC were 45 mins from the Europe League. But for Gerrard’s slip, they could have had a title…  All close and endless “ifs, buts, maybes” but unless I’ve a terrible memory, back when I fell in love with the game you got cross at the players or at the manager for those tight margins. Now it seems it’s perfectly reasonable to demand media time with a clubs commercial director and hold him to account for something that happens on the pitch? Cobblers. Yeah, there’s not been the Rafa-esque consistent Champions League… but the manager they inherited was talking about relegation in November. An immediate turnaround was unlikely whilst City emerged, and Spurs started to dabble in competency, alongside the usual suspects of Arsenal, Chelsea and United.

Basically, it’s been 4 cup finals, 3 further cup semi-finals, and our best ever league challenge. In 6 years they’ve managed more than in a decade in the 90’s – but I don’t recall fan groups pressuring for a change of ownership then?  Off the pitch, since they literally rescued the club from administration in 2011, then a) the ground, b) the squad, c) the commercial arm and internal financing, and d) the youth set up and ladies side are all significantly improved upon. Matt referenced “other companies and conglomerates willing to do the same” but – bluntly – that isn’t true. H&G and even Parry and Moores tried flogging the club to Dubai but couldn’t. There wasn’t anyone else stepping in. The reason they got the club “for a steal” is because everyone else looked at the squad, wage bill and limitations on the ground and thought it too hard, so they were the sole bidders. Since buying it, they have either put in, or secured external funding almost equal to their purchase price.

As for what to do with Coutinho, a newbie might not necc start all the games this season. So whomever Liverpool sign isn’t under an immediate amount of pressure to perform. So I don’t get why Kloppo wouldn’t make a wildcard punt. Draxler as was mentioned in the last mailbox & seems logical. As does Oxlaide Chamberlain. Even a cheeky bid on Ross Barkley just to annoy everton might be entertaining.

There are about 162 potential starting places available in the forward three, and midfield three. (38 prem games, 3 league cup, 3 fa cup, and 10 european games [2 quals, 6 group, 2 ko games]). Up front, they have loads (Firmino, Mane, Salah & Sturridge as decent, and Origi, Ings, Solanke, Woodburn & Kent as squad options) so the club isn’t down to the bare-bones as ‘arry would say. The midfield three is different, but assuming that Lallana, Henderson and Emre Can all want to start at least 40 games, that only leaves 42 starts for Wijnaldum, Milner and Grucic to share with this new signing. The rest is sub appearances. So go crazy and take a punt Jurgen!
Tom G


Hold Coutinho to ransom, not the other way around
On the subject of the World Cup squads coming up, could Liverpool choose to hold Coutinho to ransom as much as he is doing to them? If the rumours are to be true and he’s refusing to play, why don’t Liverpool say, hard and fast: you’re not going this year, you can go next. We expect performances akin to last year otherwise you shall not be released for any international squads.

With the first international squads announced by the end of the transfer window maybe this would convince him to stop the shenanigans. Maybe it would make him yearn for Barça more, but ultimately it’s Liverpool who decide when to sell, and if they want to keep him they need to get the most out of him.

On a completely unrelated note, with Spurs and Chelsea fancying around with Barkley leaving him in purgatory, if I were him I’d be asking my agent to get on the blower to European Champions League squads. I think he’d be fantastic for Juventus with the protection their defence offers plus the time you get on the ball, and could even get a Pogba-esque reputation. Plus he’d be a shoo-in for international squads due to the “exotic” experience nobody else has. 
KC (would work for Atletico too were it not for the ban)


He’s not even that good
Am I the only person who doesn’t think Coutinho is really that good? I can remember him having 3 months of looking world class about two years ago but that’s about it.

I am not doubting he is capable of great things but he’s nowhere near consistent enough to command that kind of fee. Everybody is calling him ‘Liverpool’s best player’ but I’d be much happier to see them lose Mané! With the addition of Salah and a proposed drop back for Coutinho to midfield, what will that mean for Adam Lallana? Will they not be in each other’s way?

Just think back to this time last year, there were a couple of fans in the mailbox wanting rid after the Burnley defeat. He’s the same player as he was then! One in about 30 of his speculative efforts will go in the rest will end up in the crowd. Like Charlie Adam and his long passing.

Liverpool should’ve negotiated the first offer for around £90m and sorted out their obvious weaknesses.
ThaiWolf, Hong Kong


Alderweireld to Liverpool?
I read some murmurs that a certain Toby Alderweireld is seeking parity with Spurs’ top earners. He’s apparently on 50k/week, which is half of what Jesse Lingard earns at Manchester United. Let that sink in.

Anyway, why not put in a cheeky Matic-esque 40 million bid for one of the top centre halves in the league? Poch and Levy will never let it happen but who knows – money seems to talk.
Dominic, LFC, Singapore


So Kevin Wimmer is off to West Brom. Another tall defender who is rather good at heading the ball. Am beginning to think Pulis is considering using a revolutionary 8-2-0 with the ‘2’ being set-piece takers like Brunt and Phillips. Now they only have to sign Smalling, Ben Gibson, Sakho and Scott Dann before Pulis can get to work destroying zonal marking. They could actually finish in the top 4 if they sign Ward-Prowse and Snodgrass to deliver balls to those monsters.
Greg Tric.


Big Weekend‘s little brother
Southampton-West Ham United. Two teams with familiar problems. The Saints failed to score in their last five home matches last year, and came up empty again last week. West Ham couldn’t defend last season, and didn’t at Old Trafford. The Saints are better off: they’re creating lots of chances, and eventually have to finish them. Nathan Redmond and Dusan Tadic were both excellent against Swansea, James Ward-Prowse less so. Manolo Gabbiadini was ineffective; does Mauricio Pellegrino play Charlie Austin instead? The Hammers should have Michail Antonio back to match fitness, and Chicharito looked lively in his debut, but they’re not going to stop the goals from coming in. Since Arthur Masuaku isn’t much of a defender, the left back spot might revert to Aaron Cresswell. But the only cure for No Holding Midfielder Disease is the transfer market, which is why the club are pursuing William Carvalho.

Stoke City-Arsenal. It’s been all good news on the transfer front for Mark Hughes, with Jesé on loan from PSG and the endless Bruno Martins Indi deal finally over the line. Darren Fletcher was assured in central midfield last weekend, and Bojan is getting another chance. But the side created little at Everton, and Jesé is likely to get on the pitch Saturday. Assuming Hughes stays with three at the back, Hector Bellerin should have a clear advantage over Erik Pieters on their side. It sort of got lost in the weekend’s craziness, but Alexandre Lacazette was brilliant against Leicester, looking every inch the complete forward. The Potters’ back line should offer a tougher test. Further back, Aaron Ramsey is likely to get the start over Mohamed Elneny after his fine cameo. This fixture tends to have a derby feel, so keep an eye on Joe Allen and Granit Xhaka, who between them received 14 yellows and 2 reds last season.

Huddersfield Town-Newcastle United. I don’t know anyone who predicted relegation for Newcastle, but a look at their squad suggests Rafa Benitez is the main thing keeping them from serious danger. The starting left side of their defence will also miss a few games, so Ciaran Clark will probably play left-back with Chancel Mbemba alongside Jamal Lascelles at centre-half. If that’s the pairing, Steve Mounié will try to play against Mbemba, who is significantly weaker in the air. Christian Atsu looked lively at left wing against Spurs, and will test Tommy Smith, who seemed a bit off the pace at Palace coming back from injury. Jonjo Shelvey’s transgressions mean the creative 21-year-old Mikel Merino, on loan from Dortmund, may get his chance in central midfield. Last year Newcastle won this fixture by absorbing pressure and attacking on the counter, which means Merino might be the key man.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA


Thoughts on Milan
My beloved Milan played against FK Shkendija in the Europa League qualifying round and it was amazing (unless you are a Macedonian fan or Inter supporter). I’ll just do a quick review of the players’ performances.

Donnarumma: Had nothing much to do all game but on two occasions he was hesitant when needed by his defenders to come out of the box to clear the danger. Definitely something to work on because the likes of Napoli and Juventus will punish that all day long.

Conti: Provided width and regular support behind the opposing fullback constantly. His link up play with Suso and Kessie down the right is going to be a significant strength for Milan this season.

Bonucci: Gave an intense and motivational pre-match speech in his first official game as Milan captain. Provided a sense of calm in both attacking and defensive phases though he was targeted by the pacy Shkendija forwards in the second half. Montella probably needs to work on ensuring that Mertens, Dybala, Icardi etc don’t expose Bonucci’s lack of pace.

Zapata: Was the more aggressive of the two CBs and marked the opposing striker completely out of the game. His passing is also rather underrated because he rarely actually misplaces a pass. I’d still prefer Musacchio over him though because Zapata is one of those defenders that can have a brainfart moment at any minute.

Antonelli: Brought in at LB probably to allow Rodriguez to be fresh for the Serie A opener on Sunday. Always provided an attacking outlet and his high pressing created the first goal for Silva. Later rewarded himself with a fine goal.

Montolivo: Well well well, where has this Montolivo been these last 2 years? Milan fans have been calling for his benching/sale with increasing intensity since 2015 as he has been absolutely average in that period. In this game, he was more assertive with his passing and forward runs. Scored two goals and you could tell it meant a lot to him. If only he was this decisive in every game.

Kessie: Brilliant yet again. Even when he was Atalanta last season, he never seems to have a bad game. For those who haven’t watched him, he is basically the 2017 version of peak Essien. Intelligent passer, makes great runs with and without the ball, strong tackler, and has like 5 lungs.

Calhanoglu: Played as the most attack-minded of the 3 midfielders. He certainly has an eye for a through ball. Positioned himself well on multiple occasions but poor finishing meant he couldn’t get the goal he deserved. Also, you know how Albrighton and Milner like making inswinging crosses from the left side of the pitch? Well, Calhanoglu likes doing that too, but makes it look way sexier and more delicate.

Borini: What he lacks in actual football skills, he more than makes up for it in sheer hard work. Antonelli at LB was more of an attacking threat than Borini at LW but the good thing about Borini is that he seems to enjoy tracking back and defending. He also set a club record in agility during his medical, which is pretty impressive considering the physical specimens that have passed through Milan.

Suso: Just like Robben, you always know that Suso will cut inside 9 out of 10 times. Took up of the role of trequartista and created several chances. He really has to be more decisive and clinical when presented with a chance himself. Not usually the best at providing defensive cover but Milan were rarely threatened at the back anyway.

Andre Silva: The first 2 of what will hopefully be many goals for the Rossoneri striker. He isn’t as good in the build-up phases of attacks like Benzema and can’t run at defenders like Griezmann but he has sharp movement that gets him into great positions in and around the box.

Nothing much to be said about the subs though Bonaventura came on, looked good and got injured. Again. He is basically an Italian Wilshere now. Coincidentally, he is known as ‘Jack’ in Italy as a short form of his name Giacomo.
Greg Tric.

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