How signing Karim Benzema now could help Man Utd get Harry Kane for free…

Editor F365
Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring his final goal for Real Madrid.

The Mailbox urges Man Utd to offer Karim Benzema a pre-Saudi pit-stop while allowing Harry Kane to run down his Spurs deal. Also: Spurs; kits; and ALDERWEIRRRRREEEEEEEELLLLDDD!

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Bagging Benzema
Benzema announcing his departure from Real Madrid has got me thinking: what if United could get him to sign a one-year deal with us? Then we could just wait for Kane to run down his contract at Spurs before signing him on a free next year? Even if we had to pay Benzema silly, silly wages it’d still be a money-saver in the end, while avoiding having to negotiate with Levy at all. Of course, Benzema might not fancy it, the Saudi deal might be all tied up already, and who’s to say what will happen with Kane—but surely it’s worth a punt? I’m sure there would still be a big pay day waiting for Benzema next year, and he’d be teaming up with old muckers Varane and Casemiro while having a chance to see what playing in England’s all about—so there’s a reasonable case to be made to him.

While on the subject of United’s transfer business, Kim and Mount both seem like fairly sensible options, but I can’t understand why we’re not all over Joshua Kimmich (if he really is sounding out his options). Pop him at right back and all of a sudden our defence looks genuinely first class, plus he can either play alongside or—whenever he’s injured/suspended—in place of Casemiro, too. He’d be a top priority if it were up to me, alongside a striker and goalkeeper. In any case, it’s going to be a very interesting summer indeed.
Tiger (MUFC), Cambridge


Poor imitation
Sh*te, they’re going to do it. Manchester United have had a very good season, Manchester city are going to recreate a nearly 25 year old record. I would argue there is no where near as much joy at stake.

I watched Giggs score the equaliser against Juventus when I was thrown out of the delivery room at my daughter’s birth.

Keane putting in a man of the match performance, when he knew he would miss the final.

The last thing Peter Schmeichel did as a Manchester United player was lifting the champions league cup.

The Giggs goal against Arsenal…

There are no stories like that this year.

And ole is the best impact sub that I’ve ever seen.


Read more: Why Man Utd’s Treble in 1999 would always be superior to Manchester City’s in 2023

Pep v Fergie
Allow me to use a couple of metaphors to highlight the difference between Pep and Sir Alex.

Pep Guardiola is like the genius teacher who does wonders with the clever kids, but doesn’t have the patience to deal with the average hard working kids. And god forbid the laggards at the back of the class! Sir Alex on the other hand is the teacher under whom an average class wins a national academic award.

A lot of people defend Guardiola and Man City by pointing to the fact that others have also spent as much or more money and achieved a lot less. Chelsea and Man United are the most obvious examples. It’s true that money isn’t sufficient. But Pep can only do magic with the best players. What Pep has never achieved in his career to date is to take a relatively weaker team to the top. His Barcelona team as we all know was built around Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Alvez and others. The Man City team has ridiculous depth – they had £400m+ of talent on the subs bench in the FA Cup final. For most of his career, Guardiola has gone into every game as the favourite to win. The only time he was an underdog arguably in the Champions League at Bayern, where they were thrashed by Madrid in the CL semifinals, and lost to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid as well, in subsequent years.

By comparison Sir Alex had set an early benchmark with Aberdeen, and while Man United were arguably the financially dominant team in the League for much of his time, you could argue that they were not the favourites against Juventus or Bayern Munich in the Champions League in 99. Nor were they favourites (or financially stronger) vs Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2006, or against Man City in 2012-13. May I remind you that in 2012-13, alongside Carrick who played 34 games, United’s midfield were a rag tag lot made up of Cleverly (18 games), Kagawa (17 games), Ashley Young (17 games), Giggs (12), Anderson (9), Scholes (8), and Nani (7). Of whom Giggs and Scholes were 39 and 38 respectively. By comparison the Man City midfield had Yaya Toure, Nasri, Milner, David Silva, Gareth Barry, and Javi Garcia.

Pep’s CV will undoubtedly be shinier than Sir Alex’s by the time he finishes. He’s a like an F1 champion driver who has spent his career with the best constructors. You still need the skill but the car makes a massive difference. What Fergie achieved by comparison with some of his teams was the equivalent of driving a car constructed with quite a few parts that were borrowed from your local garage, and still ending up in first place.
Ved Sen (MUFC)


Defending Jose
It’s hilarious reading all the pathetic mails attacking Mourinho and in one case me for not actually defending him, just pointing out reality. Now I will defend him as these mails are clearly from immature fans of clubs who he got one over in the past and they cannot get over it.

Mourinho is far by the most entertaining manager most will ever come across. Yes he is an a**hole but at least he has passion for the game and win or lose you know there will not be a dull moment.

One thing most miss is that his achievements are far more impressive than Pep’s so he will certainly not be “soon consigned to history and one in which we only remember what a truly disgusting person he is, through and through” (sorry Paul he isn’t ever going to date you). Mourinho won the Champions league with Porto and Inter Milan, both good teams but certainly not great. The Inter win made even the more impressive because he beat Pep’s Barca, the greatest club side ever in terms of talent and cheating over 2 legs to reach the final. Few managers, certainly not Pep would have won the CL with those squads. Most managers even top ones wouldn’t have clue how to do it never mind achieve the feat.

Mourinho is also the only manager to have won all 3 of UEFA’s current competitions. A feat that probably will not be matched in a while. This is added to the fact he has won titles in all 4 leagues he has managed in, a feat which is also a record.

Mourinho’s achievements make him the most successful manager of this era (except for Fergie who won a European trophy with Aberdeen, yes really). Pep may have won more trophies but inheriting the best club squad ever (while the club was bribing refs) then managing the richest clubs in Germany and England with near unlimited funds is less impressive. Mourinho is the villain but that is a big reason why he wins, he gets under managers and players skins as well as the opposition fans like no other.

You can hate him but football would not have been anywhere near as interesting without him this century so the haters can stick their words where the sun doesn’t shine. Can’t wait for the impending tantrum over my words, better get some popcorn.
William, Leicester


Toby’s jug
Sat and watched the end of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League yesterday, and while it wasn’t quite Agueroooooo, it came really close.

For the second year in a row Union could have been Champs, but again just missed out. This time to a proper thunderbastard in the 94th minute by none other than Toby Alderweireld. Another player who has now won two leagues since leaving Spurs.

Speaking of winning leagues.. congrats to Aubameyang on winning his first league trophy. Courtesy of a 9 minute sub-on at Barca’s first game of this season.

And fourth paragraph shoutout to the only player who might do one better then City’s treble, by winning a quadruple.
The Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and the Bundesliga, give it up for João Cancelo.
Stijn, Amsterdam (I did check WhoScored, and Cancelo got a yellow card in the FA Cup and a sub but no minutes, not sure if he qualifies for the medal)


Spurs protest
Following David (Mile End)’s rant about Levy and Spurs… Agree with him on all counts, but he misses the key to motivating ENIC: they’re very successful real estate investors. For them, the club isn’t the focus, the stadium is. The club and its fans are merely renters. That’s not a complaint, just a feature. Operating a property depends on maintaining a certain emotional detachment from the building’s occupants. For any landlord, the best situation is a building full of unhappy tenants — full, but unhappy. If they were happier, the landlord has probably overspent on “amenities” (like the quality of football on the pitch, in this case). Best is to spend the bare minimum to keep full occupancy. And what’s the situation at Spurs today? A stadium full of unhappy fans; from a real estate standpoint, ENIC are genius landlords! Chants of “ENIC Out” ringing round the stadium are probably music to Mr. Levy’s ears. The strategy is working perfectly: Forbes just confirmed that Spurs are among the world’s most profitable global sports franchises.

Of course, everyone (except ENIC) can see that this landlord’s mentality is a disastrous way to run a football club. But to move Daniel Levy to change the strategy, fans would have to show something more than just displeasure; they have to stop spending money. While I appreciate the symbolic gesture of a match boycott, it would be difficult to enact, and that difficulty would only embolden the owners. Instead, I propose three actions:
1) Every match is throwback jersey match. Skip the (magnificent) Spurs store (and it’s online equivalent); demonstrate support for the club, while withholding merchandise revenue from its owners.
2) Eat and drink outside the stadium. No. 8 before the game, Bricklayer after. Support local Tottenham businesses, not the stadium landlord. Halftime is for the toilet.
3) For those overseas, there’s not much revenue you can withhold. (Don’t buy online merchandise!) But, for the first two initiatives to send unambiguous signals to the owners (that the revenue from football operations is underperforming expectations), global club support needs to remain high while revenue falls. So, double down on the support of your local Spurs supporters’ club, because that money doesn’t flow back to the owners. Turn out for the matches, even the 6:00 am ones, buy beer at the host pubs, rant at the TV ref, sing the songs… That’s what makes being a fan fun, anyway, even when the product on the pitch is uninspiring.

David (overseas)

Icon or glory?
A discussion for the mailbox: A jesting discussion with friends about the spursiness of Spurs got me thinking about whether you would rather have won a trophy (singular), or have Harry Kane play in your team for the last near decade? I’m a firm believer in football being about the magic of the week-to-week with the trophy being the ultimate cherry on top, if possible. Would a Spurs fan trade never having had Harry Kane for winning a prem or a Champion’s League? Maybe. An FA Cup or a League Cup? Surely no chance they compare to the joy of watching one of the best players in the world turn out for your team week-in week-out. I mean teams who went through a long lean period but with a superstar throughout: EG. Shearer for Newcastle, Le Tiss for Southampton, or any others you can think of. What do you think, world class entertainment weekly or a trophy?
Neil, Edmonton (Liverpool fan, for context)


United’s season > Arsenal’s
Why United have a better season than Arsenal:

All Comps stats: Arsenal Played: 49 Won: 32 Drew: 7 Lost: 10 Win Rate: 65.3% Prem League: 2nd Europa: Last 16 FA Cup: 4th Round Carabao Cup: 3rd Round Man Utd Played: 62 Won: 42 Drew: 8 Lost: 12 Win Rate: 67.74% Prem League: 3rd Europa: QF FA Cup: Finalists Carabao Cup: Winners

Thanks for reading, I hope this clears everything up 🙂


Picking holes
I’ve noticed a number of my Man United-supporting brederen already getting distracted by the possible addition of _another_ attacking midfielder / forward to our ranks, when there is much to be fixed elsewhere in the squad. So I thought I’d come up with a prioritised list of our top top five squad holes, so that the hot mess that is the United transfer department can keep themselves on track:

1) a first choice striker,
2) a first choice goalkeeper,
3) a first choice right back,
4) a backup defensive midfielder (we’re nowhere without Casemiro),
5) a first-ish choice centre back (if we can ship off Maguire).

What are the top five squad holes at your club?
Andy S


Dodging the blackout
The solution to this is so obvious to be almost insultingly so. If the theory is to protect attendances at 3pm on a Saturday, then just move all 10 prem games every weekend to different slots. Some weeks there are 3 or fewer games in the prem at 3pm in a Saturday anyway, so it’s not a big deal.
Sam, London


Rags and riches
I presume its not just me but is there anybody anywhere going to put an end to this madness? The money involved in football now is sickening. Players wages, ticket prices, countries owning football clubs as a hobby because they’re bored. Today i see Liverpool selling their Jersey for £115. I’m a massive Liverpool fan and never miss a match but there are days when I don’t want to turn on the tv when i see the money that’s ruining the game and then players feigning injury every 5 minutes. Bring back the old honest days!