Only Bloom better for Liverpool than FSG, credit for Levy, and Man Utd’s transfers rated…

Editor F365
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag and Liverpool owner John W Henry.
The Mailbox discusses a window's work for Erik ten Hag and John W. Henry.

The Mailbox offers mixed reviews of Manchester United’s transfer window after deadline day, while Liverpool and Tottenham’s owners come in for some rare praise…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

In defence of FSG
In 2010 when FSG acquired Liverpool FC, they promised to optimise the club and make it more commercially successful, and to reinvest all money the club earned back into making the club more successful on the pitch. FSG never promised to be sugar-daddies. FSG never promised to invest hundreds of millions of pounds into transfer fees.

This was seen as a good thing at the time. And this is despite the fact that at the time, the idea that Liverpool would win the Premier League and Champions League under FSG’s watch was not expected. The idea that Liverpool would reach 3 Champions League finals under FSG was not expected. The idea that Liverpool would almost win a Quadruple was not expected.

FSG expected UEFA’s FFP regulations to be enforced and for there to be a level playing field. That didn’t happen, but FSG succeeded anyway.

FSG’s medium/long-term plans for how to operate Liverpool were clearly significantly impacted by the timing of COVID and the lockdown(s). Despite this, the club has remained successful. Even last year’s mediocre season compares favorably to the final season prior to FSG and the first few FSG seasons while the club recovered from the prior owners’ mismanagement.

In this post-COVID, post-lockdown, post-PIF era of football, FSG might not be the ideal owners for Liverpool FC anymore. But they certainly have been the ideal owners for the last 13 years, and I certainly don’t want them to be replaced by [state investment fund] or [someone Todd Boehly-esque]. I would only want FSG to be replaced by another group of hyper-competent experts. If Tony Bloom wants to sell Brighton and buy Liverpool, he’d certainly have my support. But other than that, I’d rather stick with FSG, and wish other Liverpool fans would be happy with a self-sustainable club instead of desperately begging for owners to subsidize tranfser fees.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

 

…Some very valid points in terms of overall club net spend made from Mike, LFC, Dubai but this is exactly why I made a mention of having a very good ex Director in Michael Edwards who again master minded some unbelievable signings for what would now be seen as bargain basement prices over his tenure at the club.

Liverpool will never be able to go toe to toe and spend as much as what the City’s, the Chelsea’s, the United’s can heck even Arsenal and Tottenham now as Mike also stated. Liverpool have always played it smart and found ways to unearth diamonds in the rough for absolute steals. Phillipè Coutinho is the most obvious that comes to mind, having a great manager at the helm who is able to identify the exact player he wants and needs backed by a very good Director has equated to pulling off some of the greatest transfers in this clubs history without having to as the old saying goes “splash the cash” this is what makes our club so special.

It’s not about how much you have to spend, it’s not a statistical competition as Mike stated with the each clubs net spending. It’s about the quality of the signing that you’re bringing in. Sir. Alex proved this theory for decades. Leicester City proved that you barely have to spend anything to reach the pinnacle although save for a one in a million miracle season, it’s still possible to achieve. Liverpool have shown time and again that they’re able to pull off the bargain signing gem but also go big e.g. Darwin Nunez, Virgil, Szobo etc when they need to secure the signing. More often then not it’s the former hence why there overall net spend is much lower then the other so called ‘Big 6’

A lot more trust and faith has to be given as fans towards the way this club is being managed. We’ve already rebuilt the ageing midfield of last season, with the arrivals of MacAllister, Szoboszlai, Endo and the imminent arrival of Gravenberch. All in the space of one transfer window.
Shaq, (trust the process), LFC

 

…Did I miss a mailbox somewhere?

Who are the crazy people demanding FSG out please?

I keep seeing LFC fans referred to but I cant find anyone saying they actually want FSG out

We have been bloody amazing since they came in
We have signed generally great players
We have played amazing football (more times than not)
And we have won everything that can be won by a club team during their time I believe (maybe the 2nd level Euro cup this season too?? as long as its not he 3rd one next year…)

We have crazy good front line with back up

We now have a fully refurbed midfield with youth and quality

Ok so we are still a bit light at the back – but a stronger midfield should aid in the panic at the back somewhat (is my hope)

We still have one of the best keepers in the world (thank f*** sometimes)

Im not sure what people want if they truly believe that they want FSG out.. whats the option..

Screaming OUT is fair enough but whats the next step.. You cant make an problem unless you have a solution to the problem you have made!
Al – LFC – No problem here. Happy as my neighbour… (Larry, they call him)

 

Saudis targeting Liverpool?
Philip Law, LA’s eyebrow-waggling mail makes me wonder what he thinks he sees? Jorg Schmadtke must’ve snapped fingers off seizing on offers of 40 million for Fabinho and 12 million for Henderson, two of last season’s worst performers, both well past their best. That paid for Dominic Szobszlai, while lowering the club’s wage bill. And he’ll take a whole hand snatching 171 million for a seemingly unsettled 31 year-old Muslim icon who is by a factor of 50% the club’s highest earner. “Targeted,” forsooth. I wish the Saudi league would target Newcastle the way they’ve done Liverpool, but the EPL would throw a fit.
Chris C, Toon Army DC

Read more: All the Premier League completed transfers in the summer window of 2023

Credit Levy
I think it is time to recognise that Spurs have been through the ‘painful rebuild’ that Poch told us was necessary and done a pretty good job so far. It is too early to tell how sustainable it all is, but if you look back over the last couple of years, you can actually see a plan coming together. Who is driving this (Paratici in the shadows?) it is difficult to say, but Levy deserves some credit. He got an extra €40m out of Bayern for Kane and Forest took less than the £50m they demanded for Johnson – Levy has been ridiculed in the press, but he was right, they were just trying it on. Think about it for a moment, that is £40m, forget the cartoon numbers of the Premier League and just think, £40m….anyway the point is that no matter how hard we all try to convince ourselves that whoever we support is a football club, first and foremost to the people who actually hold the levers of power it is either a business, rich man’s playthings (Chelsea) or State owned window dressing (Manchester City and Newcastle). Tottenham don’t have limitless financing and it is a much easier narrative to say Spurs are being awkward, rather than saying the other teams are trying it on.

Anyway, Maddison and Van de Ven look great, Vicario looks solid, Sarr, Bissouma and Udogi look like superb value at the price paid and let’s not forget Kulusevski and Bentancur. Other recent purchases like Porro and Romero have also improved under Postecoglou. But yes, I do realise the season is only three games old and it can all go horribly wrong.

So, maybe the team responsible for building the squad at Spurs deserve a bit of credit from the supporters and wider media, we are early into the journey, but the Poch team all grew old together and within a relatively short period of time we have changed the whole team to look young, vibrant and exciting. I am agnostic on Levy, he has done a lot of good and also made some terrible decisions (see Mourinho, Conte, Sanchez for example) and we all highlight the mistakes, but not pandering to media pressure and sticking to principles seems to be working out alright at the moment. And let’s be fair, none of us really know what we are talking about when it comes to running a football club and building a team (apart from the mailbox contributors, obvs).
Rob (now see us lose to Burnley later today)

 

Mediocre United
I’ve never seen a football club so remarkably bad at negotiating with other footballs clubs as much as United. It is painful to see that United seem to be struggling with cash too in brining in a Moroccan defensive midfielder in Amrabat. Don’t get me wrong, as a fellow North African myself, it would be fantastic to see a player like him at United and would learn well off someone like Casemiro and Eriksen too. At a good age as well, so could definitely turn out to be a useful player for United in the next few years.

However the point I’m trying to say is how it’s another case where United are struggling to sign a player that only really has a ‘good‘ status, not a ‘fantastic’ or ‘great’ one. Let’s be clear, since Ferguson’s retirement, United have only signed a few players that have turned out to be really successful, two of which comes to mind are Zlatan Ibrahimivic and Bruno Fernandes. You can say for sure that Zlatan was a short term signing, but an extremely effective one given he had a manager who knew exactly how to get the best out of him. Whereas with Fernandes, he seemed to actually join United with the right reasons and intentions, and was a typically good signing as they have done in the past with players like Keane, Van Nistelrooy etc.

You could say someone like Sancho should be much better than he is, as he was a typical young signing United have made down the years, but what us frustrating about United is how poor we are at negotiating with teams. Why on earth did they sign a player like Sancho, similarly to Antony, for £75 million knowing that he wasn’t the finished article, and currently had a manager (Ole) in place incapable of building on that potential. People say Grealish was a rip off at £100 million, I did so as well at the time, however he’s joined for the right reasons (To play for a specific manager)and was also old/experienced enough to deal with difficult situations (As his first year at City was poor), however his second year was unbelievable and he didn’t his first year/18 months dictate him. On top of that, United signed Ronaldo the same year as well, indicating to Sancho we like you, but don’t really 100% believe in you, so this 36 year old will probably play more than you. Mind you, United signed someone like Garnacho for £500K and also Eriksen for free, so there seems to be some sense at United, but still the overall signings are just okay at best.

Just using this as a comparison regarding Grealish (a British record at the time) when comparing with players like Pogba and Sancho, who had so much potential when initially signing them, but are proven to be wasted talents because they aren’t managed properly or the manager is scared of these players should I say. Players like this could turn out to be brilliant at United, but they see how toxic it is from the top to bottom at the club and the lack of progression to match with expectation and simply just play the game in staying in a safe environment for themselves. This is especially the case as well when silly money is offered initially to make it an easier negotiation tactic, when they are one of the highest paid players in the league as soon as they begin playing, they are bound to play with some form of inconsistency.

It’s as if United purposely build up the ego of the player, it deliberately turns on the manager to take all responsibility when shit fits the fan, they eventually get sacked and it’s the same thing every 2-3 years. The Glazers as owners are to blame and should take most of the responsibility, but the sooner they sell the club, the better simply due to the need for a big reset button. If the new owners truly have honest and positive intentions, it could be the start to something new, but United on and off the pitch have to take more risks and be smarter respectfully, otherwise they will end up an inconsistent Top 4-6 team in the league, in maybe winning a Carling or FA cup.
Rami, Manchester

 

…I wrote at the start of the transfer window that this could be our best transfer window for years after we finally got rid of De Gea and we signed Mount. I stated at the time that Mount was in no way a bad signing.
Yep, I spoke too soon about Mount (not his fault) and too soon about it possibly being our best window. What a joke of a club we have become eh?
Eric, when he joined us said that HE chooses the team and HE chooses the signings. One of the reasons Utd went for him over Poch was that Poch wanted far too much of a transfer kitty, judging by what Hag has requested and got, did Poch ask for a billion?

We needed a new Keeper, but there was no way that we needed to spend 50 million on one when we had Henderson who would have done a job for a season or Raya (now at Arsenal and will become their #1) on loan with an option. Both upgrades on last season. Both Free.

Currently, we have 2 crocked left backs of average standard, but we also had 2 young left backs in Alvaro Fernandez and, ok, Williams, but surely Fernandez should have been given a chance instead of bringing in Reguilon, Spur’s 3rd choice left back? What’s the point of a youth set up? Both loaned out. Loan out 2 left backs to loan in one left back to cover for 2 injured left backs. That’s hilarious.

We still have no cover at CB for when Varane get’s injured, surprise in case you didn’t know, he is already. The way Martinez is playing, he’s a red card waiting to happen so it could be Maguire and Lindelof partnership soon, that’s criminal neglect on behalf of Eric! Sorry, my mistake, we’ve resigned Jonny Evans a 35 year old who couldn’t get in the Leicester side that were relegated. You just can’t make this stuff up, it’s just so bad.
We still don’t know who our actual RB is, AWB Or Dalot, Hag doesn’t even know.

Everyone going nuts over Amrabat, who everyone had never heard of until the world cup, and only after it had ended when Utd said they were interested (cue the youtube clips, woooh he’s amazing). He had an OK tournament, but it’s the world cup and Maguire had a good world cup. Apparently he was great in the Italian league last season, yay, but yet again, nobody else wanted him. We couldn’t even afford him because Eric has spuffed all the money away.

We started last season with Ronaldo, Eric pissed him off because he signed Antony who hasn’t got an assist or even a decent pass in him. So replaced Ronaldo with a bloke who was playing for some team (any ideas?) and who was only at that team on loan from Burnley, yep Weghorst wasn’t good enough for Burnley but was for us? He did run (very slowly) a lot and scored an incredible 2 goals in 32 appearances. That’s genius Eric.
But in fairness Eric, it isn’t that much worse than the bloke you’ve signed for 72 million quid who’s, surprise! injured and scored a wonderful 9 last season. Because he’s injured, we’ve still got Martial playing because he’s just a hapless as Rashford who can’t be arsed when playing through the middle. Oh yeah and both only turn up 1 out of 5 games if we are lucky. Which funnily enough is 1 more than Erics golden boy, the undroppable Antony, who simply doesn’t turn up. What does that say about Sancho, just how bad must Sancho be in training? No need to answer, I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of watching him since he joined.
Garnacho is nothing but a spice boy now, you can see it, he’s ruined. What was so promising has been replaced by parties on Yachts and headless chicken performances. Great discipline Eric.
Then we have Mount who, well, where does he play in this so called system? Oh and he’s also injured. Should have stayed at Chelsea lad.

Now, he stressed at the start that he was in charge, it’s all him, the players, the transfers, it’s him or he wouldn’t take the job. So, that was a silly thing to say because now after 3 transfer windows and over half a billion quid, ETH has made us worse compared to the sides were should be competing against which is everyone. Every team we play fancies beating us, they are not afraid and they’ll just have a little waltz through our midfield without breaking sweat. Are we any better than at the start of last season? Be honest. Is the football of any marked improvement when he’s had that much money? Is there any set style of play? Do we even know if they are going to turn up for a game? Are we confident of a good start or a strong finish? The answer is no. He’s a complete fraud, he has no idea what he’s doing. He’s like a caveman picking berries to see which ones might kill him, but instead he’s just signing his former players and a few random dudes picked out of a tombola. But it all needs time yes. Half a billion quid and we still need time, time to challenge for the title yes we are and will still be shit because ETH doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing and this window proves it.

On Sunday, if Arsenal play in anyway to their abilities they’ll smash us, it won’t be pretty. It pains me to say it, but the sooner we start to get beat by the scores our performances warrant, the sooner this joker’s gone.
Hugo

 

Happy with United’s business
Have United’s signings really been mediocre? I mean, buying players for United means they inevitably have to buy from smaller teams, unless they buy from purely Bayern, Barca and Real.

The signings so far have been excellent imo.
Onana gives a new dimension, and cost what you would expect if not slightly less. His new back up Bayindir appears to be capable, and with far less wages than DeGea or Henderson.

Mount is one of Englands most unique specialty players, and despite an off start, he is young MF good enough to come good in due course, and again, for a fee you’d expect if not lower. Amrabat is about to join, and he’s another who fits the coach’s system, offers a skill set needed by United, and was reasonably priced. I’d consider both upgrades on Fred and Sabitzer.

Upfront, regardless of how it goes, he’s an improvement on Weghorst, and if he can stay fit, will be more useful than Martial. At 20, tall, fast and capable of scoring, this is another one to get excited about. Yes, it’s not Kane, but I feel people have naively looking at what Bayern paid, and assumed United could have added on a little more. Just no. Levy wasn’t going to allow it, and United couldn’t afford it. If he has a Mane year, maybe next year he can come but it was never a reality this year.

That leaves the final two signings: Evans and Reguilon. I think there could be some truth to stating they are mediocre signings, but only if you ignore reality as well. Evans was raised at United, understands what it means, offers leadership and is clearly there for squad support. Certainly an upgrade on Phil Jones, he cost nothing, and is paid less.
As for Reguilon, he was almost signed by United before Spurs got him, and while it’s not gone well for him since, remember, this is an emergency signing due to two LB injuries. It’s not as if the club foresaw both injuries and cheaply pencilled Reguilon as their long term replacement. So for a club with little money left, that’s a reasonable signing all things considered.

There may have been some truth to the £100M budget the club allegedly had, with all sales, purchases and wages ironing out to about that give or take. If that truly is the case, then they’ve done a great job. So it’s not really fair to quote mediocrates here, “that’ll do”.
Calvino (Already anticipating “yeah but net spend..” from LFC fans if Salah goes)

 

…I get that the narrative is that United are quite crap at the transfer malarkey, but it seems to have taken over what by any objective means would be a pretty good transfer window. We entered the window carrying the baggage of the errors of previous years, but let’s look at the key decisions. We terminated the De Gea contract, and we signed Onana. That a 250k per week saving based on reported salaries for the two. Which means that we save 13m per year. In other words over 5 years the Onana fee would be more than made up. We also managed to sell Henderson and sign a back up keeper for a 15m net profit, with a net 4m savings on salary per year. So we’ve replaced/ upgraded our goalkeepers with a net gain of about £35m.

We signed a striker – yes, it wasn’t Harry Kane or Oisimhen. But the current prices and the player demands (a reported 500K+ per week for Kane) would have meant that it would blow the salary cap, and kill the rest of the transfer window. Could have gone for someone proven like Ollie Watkins – but Villa would have no obligation to sell given their trajectory and most strikers have absurd price tags attached at present. Time will tell if the Hoijlund gamble pays off. But while Kane would have been instantly amazing, that kind of salary would have hurt us in 3 years. Maybe the hierarchy were hoping for a more favourable conclusion to the Greenwood debacle, but that’s a different discussion.

We signed a back up to Casemiro. Yes, it took till the deadline day but it’s done. And I don’t know of any top club whose fans would not be happy to sign Amrabat, even before he’s kicked a ball in the league. And with Mainoo waiting in the wings, I certainly have much less worry about our DM position. Who knows, a Saudi club could make a big bid for Casemiro within the next 7 days, he’s the right profile for them! And despite the extra loan fees, we’ve retained the option rather than the obligation to buy Amrabat.

Mount hasn’t set the stands alight yet, but his real value may become clearer if and when Fernandes is unavailable. Bruno seems indestructible, but surely the chances are that at some point he will face a spell on the sidelines. We don’t have another player who can step into that role. Peak Eriksen might have been an option but we can see the current version struggle to get through 90 mins and also he gets overrun at the very top level. Mount is being equated to Havertz, but with due respect to Havertz, his best years were in his pre-Chelsea days – he’s been an almost man at Chelsea for 3 years. Mount has had one bad year after 2 player-of-the-year seasons in a Champions League winning team.

We were also forced into the late left back bid, which on balance was handled as well as it could be. We have a proven left back – I’m sure nobody doubts that Reguilon could do a job for half the season. Shaw’s injury also meant that we had a potential centre back missing, in addition to Varane’s injury prone condition. So again, holding onto Maguire and adding Evans as a 5th choice is a good enough option.

On the departures side, given the circumstances, getting Greenwood out of the club was always going to be a challenge. Everybody would have loved to see the back of Maguire but he is within his rights to fight for his future and turn down an option that doesn’t work for him. At any rate, we may find out whether the problem was Maguire or De Gea and I think he deserves that chance. McTominay also divides opinion but again he has the engine to make a difference in late stages of crucial games. We just need him to replicate his Scotland form more often.

You can always be a half empty kind of person – what if we had signed Kim Min-Jae, Victor Oisimhen, and Caicedo? But football has become a sport of monopoly money for the fans, and many of us would rather see the club owned by a Qatari or Saudi fund as long as the megabucks are spent on players. United are probably still carrying some payment commitments for players bought in previous years (the A word strikes again), and I think the club have acquitted themselves well in this window.

A simple question to ask is: are the club stronger or weaker after the transfer window – to which the answer is a resounding yes. And a second question – could the money have been spent better? Right now, you could argue that we could have signed Ward-Prowse or Maddison, rather than Mount, but I think we need to wait till the end of the season to really answer that.
Ved Sen, MUFC.

 

Reguilon’s purpose
If United do sign Reguilón, which has not yet been confirmed (it has been now – MC) it is a short-term fix on the basis that two of our recognised left backs are out injured. It would not make sense to go spend money on bringing a LB in, on the basis that there are other fires to fix and Shaw and Malacia are not (hopefully) now missing legs and will, therefore, come back sometime in the near future.

So yes, it is a “you’ll do signing” because spending big money on a LB would be absolute madness. Who knows, he may even find the form that brought him to sign for Real Madrid and Spurs?

And why the need to jibe at Mount, who has barely kicked a ball for us? Given you have confirmed you are a lifelong United supporter, how about you put the claws away Mike and get behind the team and manager who delivered for us last year?
Garey Vance, MUFC

 

United’s lack of versatility
So as expected Man Utd have made a loan signing of a left back due to lack of cover in the position just like they did the two players on loan in January. It Makes me wonder about 2 things that have changed majorly from the fergie era.
We have a highly rated young left back in alvaro fernandez on the books but ten hag doesn’t seem to rate/trust him. Fergie was never afraid to give a youngster chance in the first team during an injury crisis.
Second and most important thing, we do not have players capable of playing in different positions and give a 7/10 performance. I was just curious and made a list of players during SAF era that filled in multiple positions and did a fine job.
Wes brown – RB CB
Sylvestre- LB CB
Phil neville – LB DM
John O’shea- RB CB LB DM CM
Gabriel Heinze LB CB
Park Ji sung- RM CM LM RW LW
Darren Fletcher CM RW RB
Alan Smith CF CM
Ryan Giggs – LW RW CM
Solskjaer – CF RW
Rooney – RW LW CF CM
Ronaldo RW LW CF
Tevez – RW LW CF
this is a huge list of players which formed a backbone of fergie’s title winning teams. The thing of it is thay all of them are not great players talent wise but the likes of park and o’shea had tactical nuance to play at any position asked of them and that is why all of them are remembered so fondly.
Now I acknowledge that the front forwards nowadays are pretty much expected to fill in any slot of the front three but then you look at antony( a player who can not do play in any other position but right wing and that too badly most of the times ) and wonder how limited his ability and footballing brain is. I mean if you are going to be a one footed winger be like robben otherwise just hang up your boots.
The reason united keep having to go for emergency loan deals is because the players at the club have extremely limited footballing brain and tactical knowledge.
We all know fergie was an absolute master at man management but this list also shows how good he was at making players understand the needs and roles of different positions and get them to play well in any of these positions. Just makes me appreciate the legend even more.
Swapnil, Mumbai (Man Utd)

 

Musings on moves
My observations from the transfer window:

1. Everyone: “Spanish footballs #metoo moment has finally arrived”. Getafe: “Hold my beer.” It’s a bold move

2. I feel like most Liverpool fans will feel we’ve won this window. Completely rebooted the midfield with much better players. Surely questions about the parsimony of the owners are done after making a British transfer record record bid and rejecting 150m. Defence needs sorting next time out though.

3. The Saudi influence was tough, especially for teams who missed out on the CL but still contain decent players. Reminiscent of the asset stripping of clubs relegated to the championship. We’ve seen a lot of players jump ship this year, but when the PL isn’t the de facto place to realise your earning potential, and just another league (containing Monday night trips to Stoke/Burnley), I wonder how much harder incoming transfers will be to pull off then

4. It’s been detailed better on these pages, but it’s nuts how much Man U transfer business promises vs what it delivers

5. Man City still ruthlessly efficient with all the best toys – hating them is as easy as ABC

6. Brighton still ripping it up. Hat tip to you guys

Yeah, I’m done here.
Adam, LFC

View from a blue
A couple of Mailboxers have written in recently wondering about the Cole Palmer transfer and asking how we Blues feel about it.

Mostly unhappy, I think.

One or two, I’ve spoken to, don’t think he’s cracked on enough at City which I think is a tad unfair because the lad needs the minutes to show whether he’s capable of cracking on, really. Personally, I think his performances in the Charity Shield and the UEFA Super Club, showed us that he had. The goals in both games were well taken showing more than just a little technique. When he was 16, City were on the verge of letting him go and it was only decided, in the last minute, that City would give the lad more time. That proved to be a sensible decision.

I’ve seen him score more than a few goals and very few are of the ‘tap in’ variety, they’re almost always shots from outside the area or tricky attempts in the first place. He can be a little selfish at times but I don’t mind that in a forward, they have to have the self belief that they are going to do what they can see, in their minds’ eye. It doesn’t do to be too selfish in a Pep team, that only leads to a public berating from the manager, so I think his decision making COULD be a little better but he’s young, it’ll come.

There’s some disquiet amongst Blues who are concerned that we’re selling the family silver. Obviously, I’m aware that we can’t keep everyone and that selling the youth who aren’t going to make it to the first team is a way to bring the money in but clubs from across Europe now recognise that the City Football Academy is producing a special standard of player. Gavin Bazunu, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Darko Gyabi, Juan Larios, Samuel Edozie, Tommy Doyle, Pedro Porro, Romeo Lavia, Lukas Nmecha, Isa Kabore, Josh Wilson-Esbrand, Callum Doyle, James McAtee and many many more, are players that have been sold or gone on loan, in recent years. Several of these players, I’m convinced, could have been a solid part of the City squad and we all like to see our local players play for their team, don’t we? It’s being whispered that the younger lads who we have coming through are even better than the ones we’ve recently let go/loaned/sold so there may be an element of a particularly long game being played by City, here. Obviously, that’s not something we can know yet so we’ll see but, for me? I enjoyed having Cole in the first team and I’m sorry and a little anxious that we’ve let him go (even if the fee was astonishing).

A couple of weeks back, Pep did say that Cole would either stay or be sold, he would not be loaned. At the time, I found this to be a curious thing to say and I still don’t really get where he was coming from. I did see comments from Don Hutchison (a solid gold City contact, of course….! (slaps forehead)) saying that he’d heard Cole wasn’t great when away from the club. Funny really, that was the first I’ve heard of anything remotely like that so, really, it still all doesn’t stack up.

Now, in relation to Nunes, I don’t know one Blue who’s happy he went on strike in order to force a move through. Instantly, we’re suspicious of him as the echoes of Cancelo are still reverberating. I know he wanted to come but striking from training? I don’t like it, it smacks of unprofessional attitudes and petulance.

Another Mailboxer did list the players that City have signed from ‘middling clubs’ (a horrible phrase) that have gone on to be stars in the City team and as Pep did rave about Nunes after a CL game against Sporting, it’s little wonder that City have watched him for a Premier League season before deciding to make the move. I’m not going to doubt Pep in this regard, I’d happily bet that Pep (aka The Greatest Manager Of All Time) knows more about football than I do so if he wants Nunes, lets’ see how that pans out. Penny for Kalvin Phillips’ thoughts, of course….. the opportunity to become a back up of sufficient quality in order that the super hero called Rodri, can take a break when necessary, has been passed up. TBF, he was terrible on the pitch when he WAS seen, last season. He’s clinging to the First Season Syndrome Under Pep idea but it doesn’t feel like that to me. That’s a shame but it’s a brutal game we watch.

In answer to other City comments, as per the CL group games, we all know it’s seeded so that the Pot One inhabitants get easier draws and Red Bull Leipzig did win the German Cup beating Sir Harry’s new team so…. Look, I know we stuffed them last year and it does look like an easy pot, not one to get excited about, truth be told. I suppose people bitching about easy draws etc, are actually paying us compliments, aren’t they? I would answer the comments from Anthony, Dublin, if I could understand what he was on about, perhaps he was overexcited writing into the Football365 mailbox? Person McPerson (that has to be the crappiest pseudonym of all time, I suspect Ronald McDonald suits him better) has his usual snide little digs. Probably still upset about selling Grealish. Time to move on, lad.

Finally, can we stop having Liverpool fans write in complaining that they couldn’t afford this player or that that player wouldn’t come because of finances, etc, etc, etc? Lads, you’re soooooo arse-achingly tedious. You support one of the biggest clubs in the world with one of the biggest budgets in the world. Liverpool could easily fight for the top echelon of players if they wanted, your owners just choose not to. I mean, when the likes of West Ham, Aston Villa and NOTTINGHAM FOREST (WTF???) are outspending you in the Five Year Net Spend Table, isn’t it blindingly obvious what’s happening? The Bellingham farce was ridiculous, all the scouse planted stories of how you were backing off because he was going for £120m to Madrid and that you could only afford a go-kart instead of a Ferrari, made you look pretty stupid when he was signed for £88m. Don’t give me hard luck stories about how nasty state owned clubs and billionaire owned clubs have spoilt it for you, Fenway Sports are ALSO billionaires, they just choose not to spend hoping that the increasingly irritating Klopp will save the day. Honestly, the way that FSG play you lot, it’s incredible that you can’t see it. Sell Salah to Saudi if you must, then you can repeat the Coutinho situation and bore the backside off everyone again, pretending that you’re geniuses in the transfer market again and the all time winners of the Net Spend Trophy…again (funny how it’s all gone quiet on that). Just don’t write in here awailing and awhining again, just get on with it! Support the team and recognise FSG for the moneyball game that they play. When they finally sell, making their 1000% mark-up profit on their initial investment, you’ll see what the rest of us can see.

Right, I’m off, the Curry Mile is calling…

ALWAYS helping
Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19

Cole Palmer has completed a move to Chelsea .

Arsenal’s group of meh
Has there ever been a more ‘Arsenal type’ group than the one we were handed yesterday? No absolute ‘giant’ but equally no ‘that should be 6 points from them’ either. I wrote last week saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t get past the CL group stage, and after that draw, I’m not changing my opinion.

At least Newcastle will get to play some giants before finishing bottom.

Of course, when we (and yes I know I won’t have actually helped at all) lift big ears next May, I’ll say I was hacked and didn’t send this…
Stu – Gunner in France (hoping Havertz is rested on Sunday. We shouldn’t over work him)

 

City’s bye
There are a lot of peeps in the mailbox today with short memories and shedding salty tears.

Citeh have been in the group of death more times than I can remember. 2011 wasn’t kind with Bayern Munich, Villeareal and Napoli. All very tough away games if you’ve ever been. The following year might even have been harder with a very tough Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax. 2013 saw a trip to Moscow and Bayern Munich. Paris and Shakhtar in 2014 and perhaps the hardest in 2015 – Juventus, Sevilla (Uefa Cup winners) and Monchengladbach.

Those were the days when the actual league winner wasn’t put in group 1 and the coefficients were against the smaller sides.

Now that the league winners are placed in Group 1 it makes it slightly easier for City. That didn’t stop them getting the group of death in the latter rounds of last years tournament; having to face the two best teams back to back in Bayern and Real Madrid.

At the end of the day, what comes around goes around and instead of moaning you should wipe away your salty tears and embrace playing Europe’s finest.
Rosie Poppins

RLC in Milan
Good to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek enjoying his football again in the Serie A. He was a beauty to watch for Milan against Roma and looks like an integral part of the team. Tomori, Pulisic and even Smalling looked good.
As an aside, it seems playing away from the pressure of the Premier League brings out the best of English players. More of them should take the step of playing on the continent.
Tunji, Lagos.

 

Mo’ Maupay, mo’ problems
Maupay to Brentford might be the maddest deal of the summer. How is the man convincing clubs that he is a Premier league standard footballer?! I thought Brentford were one of the better run clubs.
Will