The Mailbox argues why Mikel Arteta is being clever by signing Kai Havertz from Chelsea. Also: bonnie Scotland; ‘gullible’ Liverpool fans respond; sportswashing; and more…
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Hello all, long time reader, first time writer. I normally think of things to write and then never do it but unbeknownst to me this subject has willed pen to paper (or thumb to the notes app). Does anybody else think the reporting around Kai Havertz’s possible transfer is whack?
Every publication under the sun has spent the past year reporting on how Chelsea lack a true number 9 (an accusation also thrown at Jesus by a few) and how old Kai The Guy™ cannot finish and is in fact, not the guy. The opinion that he is best operating as a second striker or a 10 that pushes forward to act as such is repeated constantly.
So why when I see the transfer updates and opinion pieces around his impending transfer to arsenal (or Bayern for that matter), has everybody got him pegged as a back up / replacement for the number 9 position? As if after the season he’s had as a lone 9 would entice either club to invest in him for that position?
(Erm, we didn’t say he would be a back-up No. 9 in our opinion piece – Ed)
Is it not occurring to anybody that Man like Mikel might have something else in mind here? For example, using him as the SECOND striker? Imagine a midfield double pivot of Rice and Odegaard with Havertz sitting in front of them. Waiting for big Dec to regain the possession and either play it off with Ode or go on one of his mad runs forward to get it to Kai outside the box? Or get it out wide and then you have 2 threats to play off of in the box. Worst case scenario Dec can sit while Ode moves forward, Zinchenko pushing into the midfield as he enjoys doing so much and then you’re left with a front 5 of Ode, Havertz, Martinelli, Jesus, Saka.
There are many other possibilities that this could allow as well, not even adding all the combination it will allow during the inevitable injury crisis (of which Havertz has only suffered 3 of, missing 6 premier league games for Chelsea).
And I know a lot of naysayers will point out Kai’s poor stats or say he’s only good at this and not X Y Z but do we really know all that as gospel? Have we seen him with the best structure around him or even in the right position? I’d say the answer can be dictated by how you feel Chelsea’s last 3 seasons have gone.
So in conclusion, media outlets, please stop assuming players can only play in 1 position or system based off of their recent outings and start thinking about why else they may be wanted by a club. Get creative. They obviously want him to play a role and it might not be the exact one we’ve seen him in thus far.
Donathan – hire me Mediawatch – not even an Arsenal fan
B CFC said something in the mailbox this morning that blew me away. While I love Havertz and he is so good for Germany and previously for Leverkusen, he is by no means our second best player. He was a big game player 2-3 years ago.
His finishing is absolutely terrible, and he doesn’t contribute anything else to our play. Timo was always involved in our goals and build up play. Kai isn’t. Yeah he can leave, Arsenal must be the biggest fools in the world to buy the worst finisher in the league for 60 mil.
Kovacic I agree with you, but he’s old and falling off, if we get 28+ mil he should go. There is only 4 players in the entire squad who absolutely cannot leave – Mount, Lewis Hall, Madueke, and Fernandez.
Mount is one of our best academy products of all time. Name me one English CAM who’s better besides maybe Maddison. He’s better than Wirtz, just below Musiala. Top 3 young CAMs in the world. Look at him vs. Real Madrid. He’s one of our own.
Lewis Hall is young, good, and one of our own.
Fernandez as an advanced CM would be crazy. Look at his pass into Havertz vs. West Ham.
Madueke is electric. He’s so dynamic, always driving, he has to start next season.
I think we should give Lukaku another chance as well. He’s strong and a really good finisher. People are clowning in him for CL final, but he got unlucky with header, and Dimarco block wasn’t his fault.
He looked so much better than Dzeko. Imagine what the game could’ve been like with Lukaku starting. He scored 15 last season and 288 goals with 94 assists. Those are elite numbers.
Ben white, chelsea #lukakuhypetrain
Erling Haaland. Can you hear me Erling Haaland?
Ewan McGregor was wrong!
It definitely wasn’t sh*te being Scottish by full time in Oslo last night! What a come back by the boys. We actually have a more than decent team and normally I’d still be fearing a collapse I now think we are certs to go to Germany!
Possibly even top the group above Spain. Loved the Scotland fans serenading Haaland at full time!
…Despite steady progress over the past few years, there was a slight deflation among Scottish fans when the draw for Euro 2024 qualifying was made. We had worked our way up to become second seeds, and yet we were rewarded with about the hardest qualifying draw we could have got.
From pot 1 we could have drawn Switzerland, Poland or Hungary but we drew (Now Nations League champions) Spain.
Pot 3 had Romania, Montenegro or Armenia (sorry Wales) but we drew a Haaland-powered Norway,
Pot 4 contained the Faroe Islands and Kosovo and we drew the highest ranked team (and no mugs) Georgia. Even pot 5 drew Cyprus, ranked 3rd in that pot. Given there are 10 teams in each pot and in our group there are no teams ranked lower than 3rd from those pots (except us), we felt pretty unlucky!
And Yet, Scotland are flying. 3 wins from 3, including victories over Spain and a slight smash and grab win away in Norway. If we win on Saturday at home to Georgia (always an if with Scotland) we’ll be 8 points ahead of Norway, with just 12 points to play for. Given Norway would have to play Spain again and play Scotland at Hampden, that would really put qualification within touching distance,
For Euro 2020, qualifying was great but it was through the back door of the Nations League. It’s Scotland, so there are absolutely no chickens being counted yet, but this time, we’re closing in on qualifying directly and into our 2nd major tournament in the past 3 years. Next challenge will be to win a game when we get there!
Mike, LFC, London
A gullible Liverpool FC fan writes…
Okay, I’ll bite.
Simple answer is we don’t. The odd armchair fan might do, but the vast majority of LFC fans know full well we are never going to get a Haaland or Mbappe.
Bellingham was different, our interest in him was before he became the all conquering beast he is today, and it did appear that he was interested at one stage, so apologies for living in hope on that one.
What we do expect is what we’ve got, a fantastic manager and a great scouting system, the ability to find a bargain and occasionally spend big when we’ve manged to sell players for even bigger amounts.
Football comes in cycles and I don’t even think we have reached the end of ours yet, but even if we have, the last seven years have been wonderful, and unless you actually support Citeh, more successful than your own team. Success appeals to big players, and as you say, there’s a humongous fan base, so stands to reason that we are going to be linked with all the big players…even I click when I see us linked with a Haaland, not because I’m gullible, because I’m interested in the ‘sources’ and all the bollocks that comes with it.
I did like your ‘key to happiness’ bit though, proper Jeremy from Peep Show life coaching there. (‘Hit me Jez!’)
On a side note, can someone tell me what the hell is with the comments section? So many fake profiles, got a proper basement dwelling/incel feel to it. Eurgh.
David (sings in the shower) Molby, Shrewsbury
…Liverpool competed in 3 of last 6 champions league finals, lost two leagues to city by a point with record scores and won one….what exactly is elite?
…SC Belfast – I am sure that by now there will be an entire mailbox devoted to outraged scousers about your letter. I actually happen to agree with you, and find the “it means more” nonsense completely exhausting. In fact, my team won a European trophy this year, and qualified for the same tournament in Europe next season as Liverpool. The difference between my team and Liverpool being that we won a trophy this season, did I mention that already? Oh, and our stadium holds 15,000 more fans than theirs. By way of easy illustration of your point, presumably Pool fans have enough self awareness to see and accept/expect that our own Declan Rice would never, and is not, even considering joining your club, not in a million years? No? Didn’t think so.
Mike (WHU, years since last trophy: zero)
What about the migrant workers?
Just to add to the excellent responses from Jerry and Nishul on sportswashing, a quick read on the latest Guardian article regarding the treatment of the migrant workers who made Qatar a reality and who continue to be abused by Qatari authorities
I imagine that the ‘sportswashing’ helps in reducing the outrage from governments on this sordid situation.
I wonder whether James (NUFC) Have a rats fig about the treatment of those migrant workers while raving about the quality of the football at the Qatar World Cup – only made possible by a anti-humanitarian regime that gets to spend wads of cash to help ‘wash away’ the greatest complaints.
And that is the hope that these regimes hope to achieve. It’s about the long game. They expect immediate blowback but have strategize that by splashing the enormous cash around that the regulating, controlling or other government and quasi-government bodies will have to tone down their rhetoric as people like James (NUFC) sow the seeds of ‘it isn’t all that bad.’
James, you are a part of the problem and their solution. And the fact you can’t see it or don’t want to see it shows it works.
Sportswashing most definitely works.
A simple example, the first thing most people used to think at the mention of Saudi was MBS, Kashogi, women’s rights etc etc. Now most (football watching) people will think of Ronaldo, Benzema at just the mention of the word Saudi.
The same would be applicable with Silvio Berlusconi & AC Milan, a literal devil incarnate crime lord/prime minister/pedophile who is celebrated with love & joy for presiding over a successful AC Milan team.
Same with Abrahimovic, who most Chelsea fans would give their first born to, to come back and shower them with money and love. No one thinks of all his shady deals and controversies which brought him to power.
The very mention of Qatar or Etihad airlines evokes memories of PSG & City now. The world cup in Qatar was one of the safest, most family friendly world cups ever hosted, which makes people realize that maybe the middle east isn’t so bad.
So yeah, sportswashing done right definitely works.