Manchester United right to wait for Erik Ten Hag’s Van Dijk amid renewed optimism…

Date published: Monday 18th July 2022 6:58 - Editor F365

Vrigil van Dijk and Frenkie De Jong celebrate a Holland goal.

The Mailbox reckons Man Utd are right to sit tight while Frenkie De Jong slowly comes around to the idea of swapping Barca for Old Trafford…

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There is a lot of noise around United’s pursuit of Frenkie De Jong, with some fans, perhaps understandably, getting impatient and wanting the club to move on to other targets. The media has differing views on the saga and they would have you believe Frenkie’s position changes every day, when in reality nobody knows what his actual thoughts are. Publicly, he has said he is happy at Barca but that was before they screwed him around; and if there was no mission of him leaving he would have communicated this to Ten Hag and we would have put the brakes on. But we didn’t and have now agreed a transfer fee with Barca, who clearly need him off their books.

F365 refers to this drawn-out pursuit as naive (today’s Ronaldo article) but, assuming FDJ has not privately shut the door completely to this move ever happening, I can understand why there is no rush to move on to other targets at this stage. Ten Hag has identified FDJ as a key component to his vision for the team. He doesn’t just want someone in there to do a job, we have plenty of those and some potential stars who are currently not ready. If he is happy to wait then the board can afford to be patient to see how it plays out. Is Neves or Tielemans, the other two names we’ve been linked with, a massive jump up from Fred and/or McTominay when they’re at their best (which hopefully they will be under Ten Hag)? Or, to put it another way, will either make a massive step change to our MF? It’s debatable at least.

FDJ is essentially Ten Hag’s Van Dijk, in that he is willing to wait to get his man. We have consistently made hasty decisions and have rightly been criticised for our transfer activity in the past. Barca have already green-lighted it, so hopefully it’s only a matter of time. If it doesn’t happen this summer we will at least have shown FDJ he was considered that important to us that we were willing to wait for the divorce, instead of just batting our eyes at the next floozy that comes along. That may play to our advantage in future windows if he does ever leave Barca. Now, Tielemans and Neves aren’t floozies per se but they will likely be attainable late in the window if TH so desires or he might, alternatively, take a chance on one of the youth products if he thinks they can make the step up. Patience is a virtue for a reason.
Garey Vance, MUFC


…This long drawn out transfer of De Jong, a player who looks pretty good (stats I’ve seen say he’s marginally better than what we have and not the colossus he’s being painted as) with a pretty large transfer fee attached – still no guarantee he will be a success should he eventually sign. How many long drawn out and expensive transfers have ended up being successful? It seems to me they add weight to the shoulders of the player that makes it more difficult for them to prove themselves.

Other than the other stumbling blocks, the one that really seems stupid is that he doesn’t appear to want to move to Utd. If this is true utd are idiots for persevering. If it is not then Frenkie and his agent are idiots for allowing the rumour to continue.

Either way, utd should pull out rather than doubling down on this one. Having said that, should he sign I hope he’s awesome.
Jon, Cape Town (reminds me of Angel di Maria, fine player but never settled at utd)


For the love, not the glory
Well lads and lasses, club football’s nearly back with us and this United fan’s got a bit of a spring back in his step that’s not been seen since 2013.

More on that later, but first, let’s get it out the way early doors. City are going to walk it this year. To all the “ah, but can he do it in the Prem?” lot, the answer is yes, he most definitely can. And he will. In spades. He’ll take an imperious team and make it better. Deal with it and move on. The interest lies beneath. The Bridesmaids have lost the perma threat that is Mane, and paid a wad that would choke a whale on a big fish in a farmer’s league pond that, turns out, couldn’t hit a donkey’s arse with a banjo. Klopp seems like a decent coach, so might get a tune out of him, but there’s no getting away from it, they’re starting the 22/23 campaign weaker than last.

Chelsea seem to have bought well but, as yet, haven’t replaced the goal machine that was Lukaku. Fingers crossed Boehly is a student of the Ed Woodward School of Player Acquisitions and slaps an offer in for Ronaldo. Totts have done ok, and there seems to be a lot of optimism around what Conte can squeeze out of them. Sorry Barry, but I just don’t see it. They’ll do better than United, but not by much. Now, Arsenal. For me, Jesus will be the signing of the season and make Arsenal a completely different prospect than last. Add yet another Vieira prowling round in an Arsenal shirt and I think you’re looking at the surprise unit of the season.

Now, Manchester United. They are my team, and also my lover but sorry lads, we ain’t gonna tear up any trees. I’m mad, you say! This year’s gonna be our year! Fraid not. All I want from this season, win, lose or draw, is to start enjoying watching United again. To feel like I’m actually watching an actual football team, instead of a bunch of cloggers that would make Nunez look special. So far we’ve bought well, with or without de Jong, got rid of yet more tat, and seem to have an actual coach in charge. Unfortunately, we still have Maguire, Ronaldo and said coach reckons he can turn Martial into a striker, so there’s still many many bumps in the road. Will we be better than last season? Who knows. Let’s just say I’ll be relieved when we reach 40 points.

So, in a spirit I hope most will carry forward into the new season, good luck people. May you get exactly what you deserve, and here’s to an exciting campaign.
SB, Formentera.


…I know United fans writing in excited about Erikson, Martinez etc will probably dominate emails this morning. But I feel this is the most positive and forward thinking the club has been since SAF left.

The team can now field a team of DeGea, Shaw/Malacia, Varane, Martinez, Dalot/Lindelof, De Jong (hopefully), Fred, Fernandez plus any combination of an exciting attacking 3 (with or without CR7, I hope without).

This current team is more cosmopolitan and technical than any we have had in a long while.

I had written in before that we were falling behind by acting like a Brexit team in the modern football world and was subject to the ire of many.

The current needs-based recruitment of younger technical players is much more forward thinking than buying Declan Rice for exorbitant sums just because he is British. Phasing out the likes of Wan Bissaka and most of all McGuire is now a matter of time. These players would have never been brought to a team of Uniteds stature if not for the “young British players” trope Ole and the board was pushing to keep the masses on their sides

The likes of McTominay who is a good squad player can come off the bench to offer solidity when needed to close out games. Garner, Iqbal and hopefully Mejbri all look cultured at such a young age and will hopefully develop with ETH.

Even the persistence with De Jong is not something to cause despair as he is exactly what we needed for years. And if we do land him I think we will be a shoe in for top 4 and even have an outside (far outside I stress) chance of the title. I am liking what I am seeing.

The challenge I see now is that if we probably start out slow, until the team gels and new signings acclimatize with the league. the likes of Neville (what a…) will likely to be run their mouthes about lacking steel etc even though they were so silent about the Ole farce.

That’s my two cents. Very excited for next season
Mike, Atlanta


Where are we on the Manchester United optimism scale? Does Ronaldo help or hinder?


Tour trouble
I’ve seen more than a few getting their panties in a twist about players going/not going on pre-season.

For instance, de Jong looks like he’s on Barcelona’s pre-season tour. Why is this considered a bad thing? Maybe it shows some sort of signal that the deal isn’t quite over line (if it ever will be), but surely, you’d want him there. He will be training with the first team and getting his match fitness, rather than at home training alone, or with lesser coaching and players.

Ronaldo not going on tour is a little different. It is quite the coincidence that he’s stayed behind when everything seems to point to him no longer wanting to be part of the team. If this is the case, and ‘family reasons’ is a ruse, then I’m sure those in charge at the club will do the sensible thing: they will drop him. If there are genuine family reasons for Ronaldo not going on tour, neither Ronaldo nor the club, need to explain that any further. Fans have the right to lambast players for lack of effort, but they don’t have the right to know all the intricacies that make up their life.
Bagpuss (this will be Fred’s year)


Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Manchester United.
Big club semantics
I find a lot of these arguments over what makes a club big to be rather odd, as if there is only one metric to go by, and often a metric that only applies to the club supported by the mailbox writer at that.

You could call a man big if he’s tall, you could call him big if he’s rather wide but short. You could call him big if he has lots of influence, you might call someone big for being rich, or famous. Andre the giant was large. Prince was once one of the biggest people in the world. Elon is massive. Danny DeVito was huge.

You don’t have to be all of those metrics at once to be a big club, but chances are if you’re at least one then you qualify, and the more you are the bigger the your club is. Probably. United won loads of trophies and have a massive reach worldwide. Big club. Real and Barca are probably the biggest clubs historically. Pool have been a big club for a long time and might be one of the biggest currently. Newcastle’s owners suck but their money will bring talent and fame which will bring reach and influence, they’re inflating as we speak. PSG went from thin man to Michelin man overnight. Stop arguing who’s big and who’s not just to elevate your club over others. I’m a lifelong united fan, and my club is huge, but currently it’s probably not as big as Liverpool is. Celebrate wins and trophies. Those are the real bragging rights. Crystal Palace might not be a huge club but I bet they felt big as waistlines after the holidays when they beat City 2-0 last year. Games like that are why we support our clubs and watch this game for.
Jamin (big mailboxer), Montreal


Agenda bender
I hope you’re all enjoying William from Leicester’s information silo bound ramblings. I especially like the bit where he compares ‘marxism’, ‘globalism’ and ‘fascism’ together ignoring the fact that they are all opposing idealogies. Before spouting a load of drivel try reading a book by someone qualified, a Wikipedia page or even a dictionary entry.

Much love,
Aaron ITFC
P.S. MLK was a Marxist and the Nazis weren’t socialists. It’s a shock, I know.


…Anti BBC guff and continuous misuse of the word woke. Did William from Leicester mistake Football 365 for the Daily Mail?
Seán (woke up hot) Dublin


…In brief reply to William of Leicester and his “End to Woke Nonsense”:

More women have lower paid jobs than men. More women do more housework than men (regardless of whether they make more money than their male partner). Following William’s logic, women prefer lower paid jobs and they like doing housework. We don’t need to investigate any further into gender pay gaps or why, even if they make less money than their female partner, men just can’t be arsed to do the dishes; women must like being poor and overworked.

In William’s world, black women like athletics and South Asian people like cricket. That’s just how it is! I actually had to check that his line about Chinese people preferring rice is not a quote taken directly from Father Ted.

It’s ok to ask the question, particularly when women’s football is finally getting more recognition, why white women are better represented. The fact that William is reactionary highlights his own fears and issues more so than any wokeness on the part of anyone else. It should be in everyone’s interest to diversify a sport that has attracted recent investment and improved visibility. As study after study has found, if children don’t see people who look like them succeeding in an endeavour, then they are far less likely to give it a go themselves.

As for the reasons why there is a lack of diversity in women’s football? Here’s Hope Powell on the subject:

“Women’s football became a middle-class sport and less accessible for inner city/urban kids who cannot get to RTCs [Regional Talent Centres] because of affordability. In order to fulfil licence requirement, some centres have moved out of urban areas into the suburbs; kids of lower-income families can’t afford to access them, and therefore, fall out of the elite pathway opportunities.”

Since she actually played professional football and managed the England team, she might know something about it.

I’m far from an expert, but I would also imagine that having a former coach of the England team make racist jokes, and be supported by the FA, probably doesn’t act as an incentive either. See Eni Aluko and the time she had bringing such comments to light.

In fact, the reasons for lack of diversity will no doubt prove many and complex. Which is why it would be a good idea to look into them. Maybe ask some questions.

As for his reference to the BBC and their hiring controversy, I presume William is referring to their entirely legal positive action last year in hiring people from under-represented groups for a trainee role. The BBC apparently aimed to “get more people from BAME backgrounds since their recent pay report found that no one with a BAME background featured in the BBC’s top 10 earners”. But if you ask William he’ll tell you it’s ok, white people like making more money and being on TV, and people with BAME backgrounds would prefer to do something else. That’s just how it is.
Rough Justice, Dublin

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