The Mailbox think one specific Arsenal summer signing could be the “making or breaking” of Mikel Arteta. Also: Gary Neville is exposed as a “hypocrite”.
Get your mails in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
“Bizarre” Arteta decision
As an Arsenal fan, it was all but inevitable this transfer window would be another soap opera.
Heading into the fourth year of Arteta’s tenure after having made a serious run at the Premier League Championship, this is the most important transfer window Arsenal have faced in a few decades. Can they sign Declan Rice and establish themselves as serious rivals to Manchester City?
So it has been bizarre to see Arteta prioritize the signing of Kai Havertz as an integral part of taking the club to the next level. I now question whether the pressure to measure up to his long-time friend and mentor is taking a toll. Guardiola has 16 years experience under his belt and Arteta 3 but, fair or not, it’s all about immediate catch-up.
Arteta has the makings of a world class manager but he is not the finished article. Patently, the level of coaching is excellent and Arsenal for the better part of last season played effervescent football. Until they collapsed as they had done the prior season. Much was made of the lack of depth, that the squad was mentally and physically drained. Fair points but I don’t think it tells the full story.
I ask myself if under the stress Arteta himself gave off a nervous, stressed vibe which the players picked up on. And after some really fraught come-from-behind games, ultimately neither Arteta nor the team had the fortitude to battle a series of in-game collapses. The end to Arsenal’s season was a bitter disappointment, but Arteta had little time to decompress before the transfer window and pressure of the Declan Rice deal.
There is no escaping this will be perceived as a crucial window in terms of credibility. The fact Arteta drove the Kai Havertz deal personally strikes me as odd. Most believe the fee was absurd and the guarantee to pay Havertz at the same rate, making him one of the highest paid at the club, baffling. Arteta has made a strange decision. One which will either see him lauded as next level or potentially, in 2024 hindsight, having committed an act of self sabotage. I suspect the hill Arteta is ready to die on is not the signing of Declan Rice but the rehabilitation of Kai Havertz.
Could Havertz ludicrously end up being the making or breaking of Arteta?
The Nev again
No Andy (MUFC), I haven’t spectacularly missed Gary Neville’s point. Neville is calling for an embargo on ALL transfers to Saudi Arabia while the Premier League investigates potential issues with ONE of their clubs. Why every club and why only Saudi Arabia? Why not any potential transfer from Everton to the MLS because of Man City’s ties with New York? Why shouldn’t Arsenal be able to sell to a Saudi club?
They have no PIF involvement so why should they be affected in any way by Chelsea’s ownership structure? I didn’t suggest he was making a point about ethics. I didn’t suggest he was making a point about players’ individual choices. He did suggest that non-PIF clubs should be banned from selling or buying. Those clubs are as related to Chelsea’s FFP issues as Gary’s dealings in the Gulf is so I think we should embargo all of his businesses. See how ridiculous and hypocritical that is? By all means embargo Chelsea’s transfers but to suggest a blanket embargo stinks of another agenda.
This is not the hill to die on, that hill was foreign state ownership of domestic teams, something Gary is all too fine with.
“Never buy Italian”
I know a mailbox drought when I see one. And Newcastle have given me the opportunity to flesh out an opinion I’ve always had about transfers. And when I say “flesh out” I mean turn what would have just basically been one sentence into maybe 2 paragraphs. Let’s see how we go.
Never buy Italian. That’s it. It’s not scientific. It’s just basic watching the Premier League for 30 years. Italian players do not want to play in England. Italian players do not settle in England. Italian players would much rather never leave Italy at all. If you ask any Italian they will tell you that Italy is home to the best of the following: Weather, Art, Food, People, Football, Culture, etc etc… Very few cultures have such strong bonds and ties to home among the top European players. And they are mostly correct.
Which leads me to Tonali. Apparently in tears over leaving but recognised the huge difference the money would make to not just his family but also his boyhood club. Zola, Di Canio and Vialli. That’s it. All London mainly. I fear Ravanelli at Boro might be the best equivalent.
This is not me having a go at Newcastle just an opportune example of a theory I’ve always had. Also hoping to satisfy the 3 paragraphs and brackets people in one go. They are the best of us and know how this sh*t should work.
Brian Morrissey, Waterford
“Fair play to Saudi Arabia”
For a long time, everyone scoffed at the “pub leagues” like the SPFL Premiership etc and how terrible their football is because England was the big league with all the money and the only thing that mattered. Now another country has decided to pump stupid money into their own league, is further distorting the market and wants a share (or all) of the lovely EPL money and people are getting upset.
This is the beginning of the end of this kind of top level, stupid money football. It was always going to come to an end but most didn’t want to see it. Aberdeen’s transfer record is £1m and has stood for 25 years. A sustainable club that does well in its league (behind the 2 who are desperate to be in with the silly money clubs) and soon enough many a team will fail, go bankrupt and rue the day they tried to play with the big boys. I don’t want the same teams to win all the time but I also think it’s mad that a club like Bournemouth (no offence to their fans) with a less glorious history and a similar-sized stadium are a “massive” club easily spending £20m, whereas Aberdeen are seen by many as pointless because of Sky deciding to pump money into the country Bournemouth is in 3 decades ago. When Man City buy Rice and any other player they fancy they’ll continue morphing into England’s version of the current Celtic. (With added European success)
There needs to be change before it all collapses. The money is too much, it has been for a long time. Fair play to Saudi Arabia for trying to get something out of the football boom as others have but the state buying the top 4 clubs? Absolute nonsense.
Once everything else is gone, the “cry more” children of the Internet have found something else to obsess over to win Internet points, the sheikhs, oligarchs and trust funds have found a new investment, there will still be football. It’ll be more like 95% of the football in the world currently is.
“Reckless” Zinchenko comments
I really don’t want to bring the mailbox back to this discussion – the public will never agree on this topic. But I do have to say…
As someone who has become familiar with codified bigotry having been literally schooled with people from a completely different walk of life than mine and lacking a certain perspective, I have to say there’s been a ton of that in recent mailboxes. Someone equated “one-up” manship with “Middle Eastern politics” as if “one-up” manship hasn’t been the name of the game since literally the inception of politics regardless of space or time. Wtf do you think democrats and republicans keep fighting over in the US? Yup, that’s right, who can do one better in f***ing over the country more?
Speaking of American society, someone also mentioned the death penalty in Saudi Arabia as if the death penalty isn’t also in effect in the country in which we associate freedom the most. Did you also know that states in the US frequently run out of the drug needed to induce execution – by the way this drug is known to not work oftentimes and cause agonizing pain of death to the point that people in the US actually sometimes request the electric chair as a more peaceful form of death. Also, death by firing squad is still used when states run out of the lethal injections drugs. And also some people actually prefer the firing squad. Free country, eh?
Also, did you know that the Supreme Court of the United States of America recently went back on decades of legal precedent and human rights gains to s**t all over women’s rights because nefarious office-holders in Congress who need to pander to the religious minority in order to stay empowered could give a f*** about a woman’s right to control her own body? This literally just happened. In the United States of America. The government literally decided women don’t have control of their bodies. Free country, eh?
People act like image-washing isn’t something every nation-state has ever done. How do you think the country whose history is more inextricable from slavery than any other has become known as “the land of the free”? The US incarcerates people at a rate that dwarfs the rest of the world. And many of these imprisoned people come from the historically marginalized, former slave class who fell afoul of draconian laws enacted to make sure that the former slave class stays in their place. Sure, we have more freedoms than other countries but we can’t even get our politicians to enact sensible laws to stop children – literal actual children like my niece who is a tiny, adorable 8-year-old – from getting murdered in a hail of gunfire in their classrooms. I don’t think they were expecting that lesson at school that day.
It brings me back to Zinchenko’s recent comments about banning all Russians from competitive sport. Do people like Zinchenko and those who have been making ignorant statements, attacking Gerard Eire for merely pointing out a reality their eyes are too covered with wool to see, know anything about anything? Zinchenko in the same interview admits “he is not political” while proceeding to make blanket assumptions about every single Russian as if they all support Putin. I literally haven’t heard a dumber and more incoherent diatribe than Zinchenko explaining how “he’s not political” (which is all fine and well until you start talking about politics) and acting as if the Russian people have a choice – other than outright rebellion in a country where there are nuclear weapons silos everywhere (surely we all want this) – when they are ruled by an autocrat who is known to murder all of his political opponents. He can say this and yet Mohamed Elneny is not allowed to merely tweet his support for Palestinian refugees getting relentlessly bombed without being reprimanded by his club and their sponsors for “anti-semitism”. I’m not sure how dialogues like the one Zinny had with Piers Morgan – or the blatant hypocrisy being used to demean Islamic countries and the Middle East in general – do anything but stoke more division and misunderstanding between the worlds communities. As a Gunner, I am saddened that the club didn’t distance itself from Zinny’s reckless comments. Free speech though, eh?
All that being said…how about them Gunners? We’re really f***ing up this transfer window, aren’t we?
MAW, LA Gooner (This isn’t a defence of totalitarian regimes. This is an offensive to get you to realize that the freedoms you think you have are not what they seem – so get off your f***ing high horse.)
Long time reader, 2nd time writer.
Ian Watson made some points about Mount that really got me laughing, yes he has some solid points and really seems to urge Man Utd not to “overpay”.
Can I say I find those points utter bollocks?… Hear me out.
1. F365 repeatedly say “A player is only worth what the two clubs agree on”, so how come Mount isn’t worth what Chelsea are asking for if Man Utd agrees to pay it?
2. Rice is worth £100m+ because of a bidding war that hasn’t happened or have City bidded yet? 😂 And rice is a transformative signing. Really?….. He is not even England’s best midfielder (that would be Bellingham or Stones)
3. Looking back now, I remember City signing Rodri who was a back up to Partey for €70m ,yet City didn’t “overpay” but are hailed for being the “masters of the £50m transfers” (when they clearly overpaid for Mendy, Walker and co)
4. The same media outlets that criticized Man Utd for signing Casemiro for close to £70m are the same Outlets licking Case’s feet.
5. want some good deals that Man Utd gave gotten? Bruno, Casemiro, Cavani, DDG, Eriksen, Dalot and even Ronaldo e.t.c (we will discuss this another day) were all good deals relative to their price, so can you pipe down the narrative of them “not gaining a good deal”
Phew!! that might be too long. Good day to other mailers too.
Tee Mac, Lagos.
Overlord Megma (Moss from the IT Crowd?) asks, in a drunken Delia kind of way, “Anybody got a good meeting a player story, where are you?”. One of my most boring stories, yet favourite meet-ups, was with Phil Neal, who ran a “Soccer School” near us in the summer (“soccer” though?). He was an absolute gent and clearly knew his football, even though he gave me grief every day for wearing a Utd top. Mal Donaghy was a special guest, and hearing both tell stories as ex-professionals was a memorable experience.
We met Keano, minus his magic hat, in the airport once. He is shorter than you would imagine but would not say it to his face as suspect he might have a mean right hook. Anytime anyone sings about his magic hat I do picture him in Hogwarts though – sorry Roy, that’s your job.
Met a barman on holiday, as drunken teens, who was the absolute spit of Ryan Giggs and was dining out on the “fact” that Utd had instructed him to work in Gran Canaria for the summer to keep his feet on the ground – Jay from the Inbetweeners style. Actually did meet Sir Alex in the airport on the way home which was poignantly hilarious.
Speaking of Sir Alex, we had a mate who worked for BT and was able to get “Alex Ferguson’s” landline number at the time. His f***ing landline number?! We sat around the speaker phone, all giddy after a night of cheap beer, and dialled it in. Fair play to my mate, as an old Scottish bloke did answer in a sleepy daze. Although it could have been Jimmy Krankie for all we knew, but we hung up laughing as someone screamed down the phone what team he was gonna play against Coventry.
To come full circle – Phil Neal must have taken notes, as we drew with Coventry 0-0 that week.
Garey (it’s our year, yeah?) Vance, MUFC
Meeting your heroes
Full disclosure – I did have this story published in the mailbox many moons ago, but it is a corker, so wanted to bring it in for a new generation.
I was a young wide-eyed fan, taking in the glory of Old Trafford, buying a shirt at the megastore and getting it printed at the little portacabin they used to have.
As I was walking through the Munich Tunnel, oblivious to my surroundings, I was very nearly mowed down by a Jaguar – My Dad yanking me to safety at the last second. The car stopped, the window wound down, and to my amazement, Andy Cole stuck his head out and asked ‘Are you alright mate?’
I was well and truly star-struck, thinking about the best way to address one of my heroes I was rudely interrupted by my Dad shouting, ‘Ay, no thanks to you, you d*ckhead!’.
Andy drove away, my Dad was clueless as to who it was, I never forgave him. Great story though.