Hojlund > Kane decision is ‘surely obvious’ as the Glazer family make double Man Utd deal impossible

Editor F365
Man Utd targets Harry Kane and Rasmus Hojlund
Harry Kane and Rasmus Hojlund: the striker Man Utd wanted and the one they got

The Mailbox defends Man Utd for signing Rasmus Hojlund over Harry Kane and this ‘might be the year’ we are treated to a six-club Premier League title race…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com…


Kane-less? No stress…
Harry Kane is Spurs’ best player by an absolute mile. That’s not up for debate. So selling him will be a disaster, right?

Yes. Obviously. How can we replace a generational talent? We can’t. We’re f***ed.

But also, no… There’s absolutely nothing to worry about due to an unquestionable fact; Spurs can’t win less trophies in a post-Kane world than we‘ve won in a Spurs-Kane world.

The good news is we can’t win less than zero, and trophies are all that matter. That’s the bar that was set for Poch’s team when we were ‘successful’, so I’m assuming that rule still applies now and will continue to apply post-Kane.

If Spurs use the euros from Kane’s sale to recruit proper quality players, it could be transformative for the Club.

Granted that ‘if’ is doing a hell of a lot of work, but Kane has been our cheat code for too long. Without him, there’s nowhere left to hide for Levy. It’s either proper investment on the pitch, or we’re a mid-table club again.

Kane leaving could be the seismic turning point that Spurs desperately need. Or, he leaves, we sign a load of shite, and the never-ending cycle of pain continues.

To dare is to do? Nah. It’s the hope that kills.
David, Mile End


Kane vs Hojlund, Mount and Onana
My email stated that Kane would almost certainly improve the team more than Hojlund
, James, Kent. In an ideal world, we’d be signing both and getting rid of Martial. The gist was that Kane alone wouldn’t win us the league, not when the overwhelming reason for United losing games last season was a lack of control away from home against teams that pressed us. For that, we need more press-resistant players, especially in the first phase, as well as a striker.

Kane (3-4 years, £100-120m fee, £400-580k a week) would cost about as much as Onana, Mount and Hojlund put together (5 years, £170m total fees, £450k a week) per season. Unfortunately, we live in a world of Glazer ownership and can’t do both, I don’t think it’s especially obvious which scenario results in a better side, but I lean to the one that addresses more of our weaknesses than just the one.

Even if you prefer the idea of signing Kane over the other three, there’s no guarantee that a deal could have been done early in the window, and in that case, it would have left us scrambling with an unimproved side at the very end of the window, should Levy have decided he doesn’t want to sell to us.

Simon M, LFC and Gaurav MUFC, you both bring up examples of United making bad decisions in the market and using that as justification for spending the money on Kane. Surely, we should be learning from the mistakes of the past, instead of repeating them (or not if you’re an LFC supporter).

The three best-run clubs in the world, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and (ugh) Manchester City, haven’t paid any sort of fee for a player over the age of 27 (Mane and Vidal being the two Bavarian exceptions and neither worked out) in over a decade. Almost all their major signings are under the age of 26, and all will let older players who are still performing go rather than be saddled with long, expensive contracts for players who could begin to decline at any moment, see Ronaldo, Casemiro, Varane, Lewandowski, Hummels, Schweinsteiger, Sterling, Mahrez and Gundogan.

In closing, United would almost certainly finish higher in the table and have greater potential for winning Big Ears with Kane instead of Hojlund. But that’s a false choice, it’s Kane vs Hojlund, Mount and Onana. One monstrously expensive (and currently world class) 30-year-old is way riskier than three players who improve multiple positions and have the age profile to perform better as their contracts progress rather than the inverse.
Taz, Manchester


Six-club Premier League title race?
Will this be the year? I think this most summers but will it finally happen? A season where four or five teams are neck and neck right to the end?

It might be, so – if you’ll indulge me – let’s look into it.

Liverpool– A really strong squad having fixed their weakest department (nearly) and with elite level or even WC players throughout the first team and beyond. (WC meaning comparable to the best.)

Klopp’s switch to 3 at the back/ hybrid defender system and the players finally getting some time off means they should be right back up there.

Chelsea — I’m not the only one who has noticed the dressing room has been running this club since the days of JT and I wonder if Boelly has played a blinder by doing a dressing room clear out.

They’ve got real talent, in depth. Still need a CDM and I’m sure they’ll get one and of course ( like so many) a top CF. Problem is the out and out CF role, in the modern game, is near impossible for any human. I can think of two – and M’bappe still needs testing in a competitive league.

There’s Kane but I agree with previous mailers that he looks good in second level teams but goes missing in the biggest games and would melt in the limelight of the stage at the ‘theatre of dreams’ ( lol) for example.

With Poch – with a stronger squad than Spurss ever had – they should be much better this season.

United — ETH is a properly good manager and he’s done good. He’s fixed the massive problem – Onana will be worth 15-20 points – and Mount makes that a WC midfield.

Talk was of wanting an elite level attacking RB in June but I’m guessing ETH will follow Pep and do hybrid defender which would mean you need a left-sided CD. ( With Shaw/Varane playing hybrid?).

Again CF. Listen, (or read? Doesn’t feel as imperative…) you already had a great team in the mid-nineties and Cantona was the icing. You may have to wait for a new king.

But that said I reckon 7 of the last 8 top two finishers have played a false 9. It’s a good system. Buying an overpriced, over the hill, big reputation CF is so* Utd but honestly, you’ve done right by going for Hojlund.

That said, what is it about Utd that destroys promising young careers? Fan pressure?

They’ll be better and they were already good.

Arsenal– Oh so close last year – though maybe more expectation this year – and strong recruitment, again, means they should be in the mix.

CL distraction? Maybe, but it’s not a competition they can win (more on that later) and Arteta ain’t a Fool so they really might go all the way this time.

Newcastle– the weakest squad of any ‘ big six ‘ side but they did so well last time and, though they’ve been a bit quiet, I’m sure will do some serious moves before the window slams shut.

CL distraction? Well, of course, but if Howe focuses on the league then IDK but I have a weird feeling they might do it. That or finish lower than Tottenham!

City — the classic error champions make is resting on their laurels and what was already the thinnest squad in the league could soon be down to bare bones. Gundogan and Mahrez gone, Silva, Laporte and Walker ( nooo!) maybe to follow – it’s looking grim.

Kovacic is decent but will take time to settle, Gvardiol (so close to Guardiola it must be destiny [on a related note surely there’s a thread in nominative matching in football – Arsene at Arsenal, Mancini at Man City… I’m sure there’s more,] ) would be amazing but we might need a couple more and tbh strengthen if we hope to win the CL again. You know, to get over eufa bias; over half of all European comps over the last 10 years have been won by Spanish teams.

(On a side note, I now get it, the CL really is the big one. Even as the most armchair fan…ooh the feel of it, the taste almost, it’s so glorious. Mmm.)

Assuming City do some transfer business, they should be also able to mount a challenge.

So, is this the year? God, I hope so.

At the very least it might distract from the unfettered capitalism turning into neo-feudalism that’s killing our futures. Truly they have no plan to save us, only to rinse us and hang on to power by dividing us, in the hope their money insulates them from the crumbling world they’ve created.

Big love beautiful humans.
Hartley MCFC Somerset

The madness of transfer fees
Reading Zaks’ email where he argues that Liverpool should just pay £7m extra to secure Southampton’s young midfielder Lavia who is “somewhat proven” in the league has got me thinking about a worrying trend in football discourse at the minute. This isn’t a criticism of Zak – his mail is well-reasoned and I understand his point even if I’m not in agreement.

On this website alone this transfer window there have been articles arguing that Man Utd just stump up an extra £10m for Kane, Arsenal to pay up “only” another £10m for Rice and most recently for West Ham to pay an extra £10m to secure Ward-Prowse.

Surely we are all in agreement that transfer fees are getting out of hand and along with absurd wages are crippling football clubs with the knock-on effects on smaller clubs being potentially catastrophic as well as effectively pricing most fans out of even watching football on TV never mind considering taking their families to attend matches or buying shirts.

I think attempts to resist this insane inflation of players’ values should be encouraged and applauded, not criticised for trying to save “only” multiple millions. Madness.

Also one of the recent mails pointed out United’s recent big money buys and their lack of relative success. Just a thought but maybe coming to a big club with a hugely inflated transfer fee adds a layer of pressure that can be seriously detrimental to a players form? There are plenty of other examples in the EPL of big-money players not living up to their valuations.
Steve – Omagh Town FC (Long gone due to financial mismanagement – I’m not comparing the situation to the above, just to point out worst case scenarios of bad decision-making)

READ MORE: Mbappe, Hudson-Odoi… Six ludicrous rejected bids including Chelsea, Everton moments of madness


Big money
Gaurav, I don’t disagree about how much United spent on Antony, I literally said so in my email that you were commenting on.

My feelings about Sancho are quite similar.

But when it comes to signing Hojlund or Kane, United’s historic (and bad) financial decisions are what they are. The money spent on Antony and Sancho is what it is and United live in the real world where they have to contend with the consequences.

Once you’ve spent money once, you can’t spend it again. Sancho is essentially unsellable other than for a gargantuan loss and/or subsidised wages. Not that United would want to, but the same is probably true of Antony. How much United spent on them, and others like Casemiro and Varane (who are on massive wages) are the reason United need to cut their cloth accordingly.

United needed a striker and goalkeeper and wanted a good-quality central midfielder. Signing Hojlund rather than Kane means they got all three rather than just one and will probably be for the overall benefit of the team.

Is Hojlund the right answer, or good value for money? I don’t honestly know, as I’ve barely seen him play, but the principle of why United went for a £70m striker on mid-level wages, rather than a £120m striker on colossal wages – being a team who has literally been fined this summer for a FFP breach – is surely obvious to anyone.


About Those Mega Transfers…
I did a quick count of the top 15 most expensive transfers in the premier league, and only one of them (Van Dijk) could be said to be an immediate and clear success. He was the 10th most expensive signing. In my humble opinion, 6 of them are passable – Antony, Maguire, Kepa, Grealish, Nunez, and Enzo Fernandez, keeping in mind their first year post the transfer only. Enzo gets a pass because he’s barely got his foot in the door. Not failures, but didn’t justify their transfer fee.

Which means 8 of the top 15 are fails – Pogba, Lukaku (twice), Mydrik, Fofana, Sancho, Morata, Pepe. You can see this list is dominated by Chelsea and Man United – which suggests that these 2 clubs have been guilty of paying over the top prices. It would also suggest that generally speaking, footballers aren’t still really worth the 100m+ that clubs now are willing to pay.

Some of these players will come good over time, and if you amortise (there, I said it!) 100m over 10 years, it’s the same as 50m over 5 years, so there’s plenty of hope for Antony, Enzo, Mydric, Sancho, and Nunez. I assume that most City fans now feel Grealish was worth the money.

The success rate rises dramatically when you go past the top 15, down to the 60m range. Then you get to De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Becker, Casemiro.

All of which means that it’s likely that Hojlund, Gvardiol, and yes, even Rice, will underwhelm. People will question their price, in the coming year. Patience will be a virtue. Football confuses scale sometimes. It’s startling to remember that with 100m you can buy and entire block of houses in most places, or half a street in London.

But there’s another point in this data. Some managers have much better hit rates than others. Klopp and Pep unsurprisingly are excellent. Arteta hasn’t done badly. Ten Hag’s success ratio is also up there. So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop being armchair managers and put some faith the same managers who clearly know what they’re doing.
Ved Sen (MUFC)

READ MORE: The 20 biggest transfers in the world in the 2023 summer transfer window


Sofyan Amrabat and… Dennis Bergkamp
By all means, stick Bergkamp among the technically gifted players who made it in the prem from abroad. He’s not in the small technically gifted players category though, he’s a pretty tall dude.

He belongs in the tall technically gifted category along with Berbatov, Ibrahimovic and Cantona, among others.

All ‘talk’ about any of these football cliches is fluff. If somebody doesn’t succeed in the prem but do elsewhere (Forlan completely redeemed himself) it’s not that they’re succeeding somewhere because it’s less tough than England, they’re succeeding because of just a bunch of things that are going for them where they’re living as opposed to stuff not going their way in their lives. Whether a footballer is doing well generally comes down mostly to them being comfortable. It’s really the most telling thing in a footballers life. There are plenty of footballers and other sportsmen who have excelled despite their personal lives being muck, but it’s usually rare and not the norm for that to happen. Plenty enough times too everything is so adaptable for players socially but on the pitch things just don’t resonate. These are going to be the main things in Amrabat or anyone’s moves, how welcome do they feel. I said above about that not mattering but that’s just to *some*, players, I’d say for 80% of pros it makes all the difference.
Dave (now want a top technically gifted players over 6ft top 10), Dublin

Man Utd transfer target Sofyan Amrabat
Sofyan Amrabat has been heavily linked with a move to Man Utd.


Success or failure
Interesting email from Person McPerson this morning on what it takes for foreign signings to succeed or fail. I remember a long time ago reading some analysis on the differing approaches of Arsene Wenger and Gerard Houllier on this issue.

Houllier’s idea was that, because the Premier League is so frantic and physical, the primary concern for new signings should be strength and fitness. You buy players that can handle the rough and tumble, and then teach them to play in your system. Perhaps the most obvious examples I can think of now are players like Igor Biscan, Salif Diao, Sami Hyypia. Big, imposing guys with basic skills you can mould to your vision. The results were mixed, making the team defensively solid but gradually less and less effective going forward. By the time Rafa Benitez took over, the squad was bloated with very fit, but otherwise mediocre players lacking any inspiration.

Wenger on the other hand would take technically gifted players who would fit his system and had skills to burn, and then worry about physicallity later. Henry is the absolute epitome of this, a guy who arrived off the back of kind of flopping in Italy against grizzled, terminator like defenders, whispy and thin but with great place. He struggled a bit to start with, but as he bulked up and got meaner, he turned into an almost unplayable goal machine. Likewise you could argue he brought out the beast in Dennis Bergkamp (people forget that he was 6ft tall, deceptively strong and essentially made of point elbows). C.F Vieira? Pires? Van Persie? Maybe.

When it comes down to it, what is easier to do? Put a twinkle toed genius in the gym with some protein shakes, or teach a brick shithouse how to have a deft first touch and eye for a killer pass?

I know it’s stretching the analogy by now, but you can sort of see that trajectory with the two greatest players of our age. Both Messi and Ronaldo were precocious teenagers, but rose to true greatness by building muscle, getting stronger and refusing to be bullied. Haaland and Mbappe have developed similarly.

I don’t know where that leaves us on Amrabat (I think those trying to beat him with statistics are choosing to ignore the context of him being part of two relatively mediocre teams in Fiorentina and Morocco, and being surrounded with better players may unlock something in him, but that’s just me).

Also, there are going to be obvious counterexamples to the above, but anything to stop more emails about Saudi or Jordan Henderson right?
Pierre, LFC, Bristol


Brentford are Premier League champions (in an alternative league)
So here is my view on Saudi, women’s world cup and Man United striker signings, nah, sick of all that.

So what I spent a couple of hours doing is looking at the progression of Premier League winners. So how does that work, well Leeds were champions back on the first day football was invented, and remained so (in this league) until they lost to Middlesbrough 8 days into the EPL, who remained champions until they lost to Southampton 7 days later and so on.

Arsenal have spent most days at the top as they were able to utilise most of their 49 game unbeaten run, when they beat Chelsea in October 2003. Manchester United won three real titles in 2007,8 and 9 but only once in that period did they top this table.

Apart from those first eight days, Leeds never again topped this table. Forest managed it for 165 days once, which is why they top the average days at the top table (they have only done it twice). Man United have gone top most, 29. Sheffield United were only on top for 4 days, when they won at Old Trafford in 2021 before losing to Man City..

Chelsea have ended the season top 5 times, Man United 3. 19 different clubs have topped this league at the end of the season, mostly just the one time Tottenham have finished top at the end of the season twice which is nice.

Current champion? Brentford, for the second time, by beating Man City at the end of last season.

Has the new season started yet ?

Ged Biglin