Liverpool blowing £110m on Caicedo after refusing to pay for Bellingham reeks of desperation…

Editor F365
Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham and Brighton's Moises Caicedo.
Jude Bellingham was too expensive but now Liverpool will pay for Moises Caicedo.

Liverpool fans in the Mailbox aren’t comfortable with the money being spent on Moises Caicedo. Also: farewell, Harry; and how Newcastle will make F365 look like the idiots we are…

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Panic on the streets of Liverpool
F*ck me. £110m for Caicedo. Nothing against the lad at all, and honestly hope he is a roaring success but you’re telling me the club baulked at pay £88m for Bellingham (I am pretty sure that’s the Bellingham fee but feel free to correct me) but are happy to shell out £110m on Caicedo?! This smacks of a panic buy. And if this the end of Liverpool’s transfer business for the summer then I think our midfield is going to be seriously light and 1 injury away from being completely wankered. If Liverpool really want to back up this statement signing then lay down the £50m for Lavia and really have a midfield with some depth.
Peter, Auckland, NZ


…I know it’s not a done deal, but £100m+ for a player who has played 82 career games? As a Liverpool fan I am desperate for them to sign players, but this has panic buy written all over it. And I am not sure what mental gymnastics some of the fans will use to justify this – with the £40m we got for Fabinho, does this mean it only cost us £60m really? Or something?

I was looking at United and Hjolund – £70m for a striker with less than 30 goals to his name – and thinking Christ, that’s a gamble, and whilst Caicedo *might* be a safer option after a solid season with Brighton, it’s still a staggering outlay for such a young player.

Once upon a time under Klopp I would have trusted this without question, but there can be little doubt that our transfer business is not the finely tuned engine it once was.

In saying all of that, I have been moaning about the lack of activity, so I suppose I should be happy they have acted decisively.

Still need to bolster that defence though…
Matthew (deeply uncomfortable about the money being spent here)


Rice was a bargain
Just seen the news about Caicedo to Liverpool. Mental stuff, this window. It does though prove in my mind what wonderful business we’ve done. All this talk of Liverpool challenging city is ignoring the fact that Liverpool are actually having to challenge City AND Arsenal.

The media may be downplaying our chances of challenging again but the other teams certainly aren’t. Going into this season as underdogs again suits us just fine.

£100m for Rice now looks an amazing bit of business compared with Caicedo. However, the player we’ve signed quietly and cheaply is Timber. What a player. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s earmarked to play the Partey role (if he leaves).

We’re looking in such good shape. Arteta has a clear plan and the other managers know this. Liverpool and Chelsea in particular are panicking. This will be a super exciting year. Can’t wait for it to kick off..!
JazGooner, Cobham (Kane to leave too..!)


God speed, Harry
As much as Sky Sports would have us belive the accolade of being the highest scorer in Premier League is nothing without success with one’s team.

Kane put in bad, terrible, hard seasons with a club that he obviously loved dearly and kept with them out of contract requirements, loyalty, sheer belief that better was yet to come.

He stuck it out in counter-intuitive systems and still ended up with incredibly healthy goals and assists statistics. He succeeded in spite of Tottenham’s awful efforts of maintaining and building a team to battle for trophies/European qualification/keeping the lights on.

Unfortunately the people in charge never rightly matched his ambition to the very basic level of winning a “thing”, “anything” in fact – a clear case in point being the League Cup post-Mourinho. It is desperately sad to see Harry Kane go. He really has adapted so well in any team he has played in and you do see a footballer wanting to honestly do the best he can do for the team and for himself. He is not wholly unique in that trait, however, Daniel Levy et al seem to be special in their own way of not providing a team of ambition and positivity.

Given the most recent appointment of Ange, one would hope they see a clear path towards success. Unfortunately, Kane wont be a part of that, but it certaintly isn’t his fault. Every power to him going to Germany.
Paul, COYS, Ireland


Chatting kit
Having read your away kits ranking and reread your home kits ranking, I have notes.
– NUFC’s green away kit’s stripes are meant to evoke the sheltering “glass” overhangs at SJP. I want to hate it, because I think a green kit is stupid on a green pitch, but it actually does like quite sharp in person. The home kit is classy AF, but since buying it will directly enrich the Saudi royal family owners in ways that feel different from attending a match, it’ll have to wait for next year and a purchase of retired/faked stock, after they’ve taken their profit. Which sucks, because buying from the club shop would also directly benefit the club. Sportwashing poses baffling, impossible, and possibly stupid questions.

-You’ve got it all wrong on Palace’s home kit. I almost want to buy one, if only because it would allow me to explain that the background was the *actual Crystal Palace to curious fellow Americans. And if it looks like an FC Richmond kit, that’s just going to sell it in the US (where fake Richmond gear is seen all over).

-The next time you see Chelsea play under lights in their blue tops irl – like I did in Philadelphia — you’re going to hate the sh*t out of those iridescent badges. Eleven players with those f*ckers on both their shorts and their shirts is distracting to the point of fury. Needs banning.
-From the same day’s matches, that mint-and-blue Bournemouth number is tasty AF irl, and so is Brighton’s black-and-green.

-I kinda dig Luton Town’s reversed home-and-away strips. It feels like it should be a Thing, and asymmetry is almost always a nice change. Also sort of reminds me of a Volendam FC shirt from my first ever European football match back in the 90s.

-The differently coloured shoulder stripes on Fulham’s home are just plain cool. Asymmetry ftw again. This rule also applies to every sash kit I can think of.

-I hate to admit it, but Liverpool’s away kit is class. Same goes for Manchester United’s white away kit with the red devil badge. But ManU’s striped number is nauseating. I think I might have seen one in Philly and mistaken it for a Brentford kit from the 80s. (Not that I know what Brentford wore in the 80s.)

-The Blades’ “steel” kit makes all sorts of sense (though I’d’ve used a Damascus steel pattern; that’s a no-brainer). But Manchester United proved in the 90s that while a grey top looks fine with jeans, it’s blah on the pitch.

As a child, I seem to recall watching an episode of – I think – The Greatest American Hero – in which a teenaged girl explained the statistics involved in her enormously complicated and successful system of predicting NFL scores to the protagonist, who was all like, “that’s amazing, but how do you tell which team wins?” The girl replied, “oh, the team with the coolest helmet!” (Somebody is probably going to come along and tell me that was from Calvin and Hobbes or Miami Vice or something.) I’d suggest a an overall kit table poll, but Liverpool, Arsenal or ManU’s kits would have a ridiculous advantage amongst this lot or of readers.

But that memory does make me wonder to what extent gaining supporters in markets abroad is a factor of kit coolness. My support for Newcastle United dates from 95-96, so I can’t deny that it had an effect on me.
Chris C, Toon Army DC

Read more: Arsenal and Man Utd f*** it right up while a Palace sash delights in our 2023/24 away kit rankings


No novelty
As a Chelsea fan being linked to yet another new player on a daily I’m no longer able to enjoy the anticipation that used to come with the potential of a signing. Our recent Boehly transfer splurge feels akin being newly single and being able to have all the sex I want. But now that I’ve had my fill of transfer hedonism and debauchery, I’m just left feeling hollow and pining for a night in front of the telly with the missus and a brew before heading up to bed by 9pm
Woz (Chelsea)


Newcastle will make us look daft
I note with interest that nobody sees Newcastle maintaining their 22/23 League position. Quite reassuring given nobody’s ability to pick them for a CL spot this time last year. Of the teams around us I would say that only Arsenal and Villa have so far had better windows on a net basis, but we’re definitely not done yet. And we will likely be adding in January.

Chelsea’s efforts in the window are as desperate as ever and Spurs were doing ok until they sold Kane. Liverpool are a team on the slide, neatly mirrored by their manager and Man United have gambled rather than invested.

Now Newcastle’s business to date, and rumoured business to come, doesn’t exactly excite me. But we look very solid and will hopefully be even harder to beat this time around, with a couple of excellent youngsters on the verge of breaking out. SJP will remain a fortress and the lightning pace on the break will help away from home.

The concerns I have is that we need a number ten (Spurs’ star signing Maddison wasn’t ultimately deemed adequate) and the Champions League demands will weigh on us. On the subject of Tonali I am amused by those with zero knowledge of the club stating so confidently that he doesn’t want to be there. Strange choice then, when he had multiple options and when you realise NUFC definitely don’t pay top dollar in wages.

To get a genuine European star (imagine Rice with added energy) like that is an indication that he will not be the last of that level joining the club. Maldini who was basically pushing him into our arms, also seemed to be of the same opinion. He knows a thing or two. Anyway, I see us hitting 4th (cashed in nicely on that outcome last season) at worst and maybe 3rd, depending on the next three weeks and the month of January. We have some very shrewd people taking the decisions and so far they have got very little wrong. See you in May,


…Interesting that 0 (zero) of F365’s nine season predictors for the top 4 had any of the teams that actually came in 4th, 6th or 7th last year making it into the top 4 this year, while quite a few went for the historic big 6 teams that either:

– A) came 8th last year, and will probably lose their by-far-best player/talisman/captain/main source of both goals and assists with little time to replace/rebuild

– B) came 12th last year, and have sold or released a whole first XI and more of experienced premier league players, infilling with assorted young talent from other leagues

I can see plausible reasons to think Chelsea might improve (mostly M Pochettino), but he’s got a huge to do list, a high level of transition, and a squad that’s now mostly unproven in the PL plus some remains deadwood. It’s also really unclear to me what’s meant to have improved drastically at Spurs.

Meanwhile Villa and Newcastle continue to acquire several more players you’d think would materially improve the first XIs and squads, as well as their system-focused managers having a full pre season to bed in players. While Brighton continue to be the best run club in the country.

As a Newcastle fan thinking about our top 4 place. I’m much more worried Villa and Brighton could continue their rapid progress.

What do Chelsea / Spurs fans think? Are your new managers and transfers going to bounce you straight back to the top (and, how?) Or is this the media just looking at the club names and expecting way too much for one summer?
Roger (Newcastle in London)

Read more: Football365’s season predictions for 2023/24: Arsenal champions, Everton down, Hojlund flops


Pool pessimism
Pool fans getting giddy (with it) in the Mailbox, wringing every last drop out of “next year could be our year” before the season starts I suppose. I don’t necessarily disagree that are reasons for optimism (primarily: surely it can’t be as bad as last season), but the general consensus seems to be that Liverpool are nailed on for top four, but why? As for anybody who thinks Pool might win the Title?! Bless – you probably thought Jordan LGBT+ Icon Henderson wouldn’t join the oppressors.

Citeh will win the title again because they have distilled their illegal blood money into unstoppable goalbot / injectable PED form, Arsenal have kept all their best players and added a lighthouse (wtf – top trolling from Mikel there), United have improved their defence tenfold by binning off their actual lighthouse (as in massive and immobile) Maguire, and Newcastle have reinforced sensibly from a position of strength.

Liverpool have gone from having no midfield due to injury, along with burnout from a near quadruple, to having literally no midfield at all, apart from two new boys who will take at least a season to get up to speed with Klopp’s system. In time they might turn out to be very good signings, but they aren’t going to be able to replace the departure of every other established midfielder, all of whom knew their jobs. So how does an abject season due to a midfield in dire need of a refresh, become a winning season without even that past-it midfield?

Pool have talent up front, but no platform to give them the ball. Pool’s defence has been porous for years, and hasn’t been strengthened, and now has even less protection than last season. Seriously, where are people getting the notion that this season is going to be an improvement?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going all Stewie – I’ll support and love the team and Klopp this season same as always, but I’m certainly not expecting to be anywhere near any of the trophies come the end of the season. Love to be proved wrong, but FSG just aren’t investing enough, well enough, for us to remain competitive – Carra and F365 have noticed – why not the fans? Klopp’s deal runs until 2026 – I sincerely hope he stays at least that long, and is given the investment sorely needed in future transfer windows in order to make Liverpool competitive again, because they certainly will not be this season.
Gofezo (still got Salah and Trent in the Fantasy League though obvs)


Winning line
I think the title is more open this year than for a long time but I disagree with the 94 points required for the title. This new found 95-100 pts to win the title has been a recent thing brought about by the title being 2 horse races from early days and the rest of the so called top 6 lying down against the top 2 for the past few seasons. City / Liverpool and then City / Arsenal have been head and shoulders above the rest. I can’t see that this season.

What I believe opens up the title race for more competition is that the top few teams look like they might actually give city a tougher time home and away. Arsenal clearly will, Liverpool can’t be as bad as they were for the first half of last season, Utd are definitely stronger and Chelsea also can’t be as bad. Then you have Spurs and Newcastle who can definitely beat anyone on their day. And as others have mentioned, City have lost some top established players.

Hence, the title race could go back to one where 87 points (the average for the premier league era) is going to get you close to the title.

Alternatively, Arsenal, Liverpool, Utd et al take points off each other and make it even easier for City to win with a measly 90 points.

My point remains though, for City to be dislodged, there needs to be multiple teams capable of taking points off them to bring them down a peg or two and put some pressure on domestically,
Jon, Cape Town


More predictions
Season is starting everyone’s got a shout, here’s mine (but less shout than shaky mumblings…)

Top 6 by order of finish

1) Arsenal– gamble predicting them 1st but arteta looks the (lego)man on a mission, reckon he’ll really crack that whip this term, spent wisely to strengthen all over the pitch and vibes are good. The way i see it, they were a smoothly spinning top last season ( like the one in Inception) leading most of the way before Firminooo made it 2-2 followed quickly by another 2-2 and their wobble ensued; I think theyve learnt, there should be bottle and grit this yr

2) City– squad depth took small step back despite adding really nice pieces, even more so if they snare paqueta; theyll win big ears again and quickly close down on Utd / Chelsea for european pedigree and probably pass them both before the decade is out…

3) man U– friend mentioned to me yrs ago that man utds crest looks like a fat-lipped catfish mouth or a clown mouth with a ball gag (once you see it you cant unsee it) and I rarely glance over at that clubs ethos w/o some mix of disdain and awe, but i will say their 3rd kit this yr isvery nice, so… they;ll come 3rd then. And might I add, they popped their mascot devil guy off their clown mouth-catfish crest to put on the shirt, we did that with our Liver bird ages ago so honestly just unoriginl biters them mancs

4) Liverpool Football Club You’ll Never Walk Alone This Means More feat. Newfangled Box Midfield (and box as presently constituted= two 10s another hybrid-10 and a fullback wtf)– if we add two midfielders (one a holder) by deadline I’d say we can get 4th and darwin must fire and Luis diaz must bring more than showmanship presence on the left and back four must stay uninjured. We’ll also get to the last four of Europa league and possibly win it if we aren’t facing villa/ Emery. If we don’t add the two midfielders, we finish 6th. It’s that stark a divide.

5) Chelsea– ive always wondered if poch was overrated and we are about to find out… Todd boehly has made chelsea into a super wealthy Nott’ham F, adding 30 incomings per window. If poch gets it sorted theyll maktop 4 (at our expense) but thats a big if and as I said, ive always wondered if poch was overrated and I think i also said we are about to find out

6) Newcastle– theyll be new (recently new) to the juggling on two fronts but i can see Newcastle lasting the course and not falling away as sharply as many think. There must be rain in Sunderland fans’ lving rms I believe this is a new era of top flight and really newcastle are now the 6th biggest club in the country and soon (too soon) theyll be in and amongst it as a permanent title contender

***Relegated– Sheffield Utd; Wolverhampton; 50-50 on one of everton / Luton

The OTHER league toppers

La Liga: barca
Bundesliga: Bayern (w or w/o hot wings harry)
Serie a: Milan
Farmers: Psg (featuring a 5-5 double banked formation and 0 forwards)
MLS: pink kits publix kardashian adios phil neville etc
saudi pro: probably the club w/ best 2-3 marquee names added to a side full of probable heterosexuals ?
Eric, Los Angeles CA

England are in the World Cup quarter-finals

Ladies and gentlemen
I found the initial mail from Al, LFC to be cringeworthy and came across as at minimum misogyny-adjacent, or even perhaps outright sexist. His subsequent mail defending his use of the word “Ladies” to describe the England Women’s team was also cringeworthy (citing the dictionary in an argument is never a good look, regardless of whether you are right or wrong).

Despite that, I wanted to share this anecdote as a counter-example:

On Monday morning, immediately after England won the shoot-out vs Nigeria, I instant messaged my teammate at work, who is an English woman (late 20’s/early 30’s). I asked her if she had been watching the football that morning. She said no. I told her that England won an exciting shootout. Her response was “Oh awesome, go England ladies team!” It almost goes without saying, but my colleague is not sexist. She is in fact admirably and sincerely engaged with the DE&I efforts at the company we work for. She has always came across as pro-Feminism and supportive of other women, etc.

It’s entirely fair for The Editor to ask “would you have said England Gentlemen?” – but I’m wondering how they would feel/respond if the one using the term “England Ladies” was a woman, rather than a seemingly-archaic man!
Anonymous Mailbox Regular