Mails: What if United had never sold Pogba?

Date published: Friday 29th July 2016 2:18

You’ve had a decent week. Mail, and you might even get a Sunday Mailbox. If you’re good.


Are Adidas driving the Pogba deal?
For years he has been the next big thing in football, while having good games, and some great game turning moments, in terms of sheer consistency, he is not in the top bracket of global stars at this time.

Wayne Rooney has been the face of Manchester United for over 10 years. A Nike sponsored player captaining and being the face of, a now, Adidas sponsored team. With a £750m deal in the background, he has been seemingly the first name on the team sheet, despite poor performance after poor performance, and even with the fans turning on him. Is this so that the kit provider can plaster his face all over their stores, despite him being a Nike footballer?

Now he is on the decline, are both Adidas, and Manchester United, looking for the new face to take on that mantle? Sign the most expensive player in the world, another Nike sponsored footballer, and plaster his face all over Adidas stores too.

Even if you look at the rival for his signature, Real Madrid also sponsored by Adidas, are the only other team interested. Again, this would allow Adidas to use the image of a Nike footballer, the most expensive player in history, at the launching of new kits.

He may well move to United and prove to be the greatest midfielder we have ever seen in the Premier League. But I’m not convinced as to the reasoning behind the deal. In a pure footballing sense, there simply have to be better ways out there for United to improve both their 11, and their squad, without even touching the kind of money they will spend on the Frenchman, surely there are?

Football, bloody hell.
Adam, LFC, Belfast.


Rick and Morty
Long time reader, first time mailer. As it stands utd are in pole position to re sign Paul Pogba…..but let’s go a bit Rick and Morty here and imagine that in an alternate universe pogba never left and had developed to his current level. Would you rather be in 2016 having Real Madrid/Barcelona sniffing around a Man Utd Paul Pogba and taking him away for a record fee before he potentially hits his peak years. Or are you happier with the current 2016 situation, with Utd paying the record amount and arguably gaining his best years. Obviously it’s all hyperthetical and Real could just sneak in and make all of this redundant by Sunday lunch but I think it throws up an interesting debate. For me personally I like seeing Spurs develop players, who sadly then go onto better things. However I like the idea of Daniel Levi scrapping the new stadium, rushing to Madrid airport rom-com style to bring back back Modric……I’ve gone way off here so I will show myself out. But I’ll put the question out there for all supporters.
Joffrey (Spurs)


Does the Galactico pull exist any more?
Will today’s top young players like Martial see Real Madrid through the rose-tinted eyes that others before them did?

Bale and Ronaldo would have grown up watching Figo, Ronaldo, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Raul etc when they won things a lot and when Barca weren’t as good. Young players now surely must dream of Barcelona after the era of Xavi/Iniesta and now ‘MSN’?

Madrid have two recent Champions League titles but they have only one the league once in 8 or 9 years and they usually get spanked in the Classicos. Do people want to be the next Kroos/Modric as much as the next Xavi/Iniesta? The next Benzema over Suarez?
Silvio (Martial to Real Madrid for 90m in 4 years then) Dante


Trying to explain Arsenal and money
While I am no accountant (a business management degree has a whole course on it though…), and Swiss Ramble would probably do an infinitely better job than me of explaining than I can, I will explain the issue as I see it.

Everyone is walking around touting a £200m pound transfer kitty. That we are the 5th give or take richest club in the world and that we could be signing players for £60m. But thats just looking at the surface and not reading between the lines.

Firstly, the cash conundrum. Cash is great, it means you can go and buy things, anything, without worrying about the consequences. Unfortunately, in football this isn’t quite true. Enter Wages. A £60m footballer is likely to cost £150,000 per week in wages. That is £7,8m per year. Throw on top of that all the bonuses, a £60m player probably very quickly becomes a £75m player. This means, realistically, Arsenal could effectively sign 2x£75m players and continue to make profit. Wait, did someone say agent fees? Ok £85m player. We have to pay to help move them, do admin, and many other costs. Ok a £90m. Suddenly, £200m doesn’t go very far.

The problem with cash is, once its gone, its gone. So that £10m+ wage next year still has to be paid. Cash isn’t all that unfortunately. We don’t have huge revenues at because we ultimately don’t have the fanbase or marketing machines that Utd, Barcelona or Madrid have to generate these massive revenues, which allows them to spend more on a yearly basis as it is recurring investment. That isn’t to say we are poor…

Secondly, we are the 5th richest club in the world. Cash does not equal richness. What Arsenal do have however is one of the most state of the art stadiums in the world. In the centre of London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. And great training facilities, near London. It has a pretty good brand globally, partly due to the “football style” we play. Notably, the brand is very strong in Asian markets, which have a growing and emerging middle class who all want an Arsenal shirt. Assets maketh the richest and Arsenal has valuable assets in abundance. We also don’t rely on loans quite as much as some other clubs, increasing our “richness”.

I am not in any way saying we should not be aiming to sign a top striker/Mahrez (please) but it is not as simple as “if I have cash in my wallet, I can buy a Big Mac”. If that big Mac kept asking you for money every year, you might start to realise…this analogy isn’t going anywhere. Sorry about that.
Rob A (£100m Pogba quickly becomes a £150m+ Pogba) AFC


The morality of Klopp
A question for you all to ponder on the back of Klopp’s suggestion that he wouldn’t spend £100m on one player. Ignoring the fact that he has never had the option to spend big as he has always managed relatively small clubs, imagine if John W. Henry sat him down and said: “You know what Jurgen, I like you, and for this reason I’m going to go nuts and spend £100m on Pogba/Neymar/Bale for your team and it will be great for the club in a commercial sense”.

Does anyone really believe that Klopp would say to him: “Sorry John, but the day that this is football, I’m not in a job any more, because the game is about playing together. If I spend money, it is because I am trying to build a team, a real team”? Would he balls! Henry would have no hands left after they have been gnawed off by a rabified German.

Your morals can only be considered noble after they have been tested.
Garey (Joking about the “small clubs” obviously; Dortmund are not a small club) Vance, MUFC


Allardyce foundations
Something crossed my mind a few weeks ago that I could see similarities between what happened at Everton after Bobby took over from Moyes, and West Ham with Allardyce. David Moyes laid the foundations and Bobby reaped the benefits by implementing his attacking style the season after. He got praised from all angles but it all unravelled once David Moyes original defensive discipline wore off and Martinez deemed defending unnecessary.

Slaven Bilic came in and is pronounced the second coming from fans, media and 365. Everyone adores the crazy smoking Slaven. Allardyce dissed, and is a useless outdated dinosaur that plays prehistoric football.

It will be interesting to see just how West Ham fare this season and whether Bilic is actually a good manager. I believe he is a good motivator, and judging from his scalps last season, obviously knows how to get results against the big boys so most definitely has some decent tactical acumen.

If memory serves me correctly, West Ham struggled against the so called smaller teams, but the beating of the big boys masked this fact. I could be totally wrong, and talking nonsense, but would be interested in the views from West Ham fans.

Not a huge fan of Big Sam, but I don’t think he is that much of a mug and deserves a shot at England. Either way, we have been that rancid, we probably deserve him so it all makes sense.
Ben (Everything has an end except the sausage has two) Howarth


International tournaments: Not the pinnacle
Something that has bugged me for a bit now but I keep seeing it so thought I’d put my thoughts down here. The thing that bugs me is this constant nonsense of international tournaments being the highest barometer for calibre of player. It really isn’t!

Now I love international tournaments but when people always talk of this as the highest level and any top player that doesn’t have a good tournament has shown they go missing on big occasions is really dumb. The thing is international tournaments are best set up for players that have had a season coasting it or playing for a team that haven’t been playing in a high gear all season. If a top class player has had a gruelling season then it’s more likely that he will have a disappointing tournament. Similarly a player that you assumed was average to poor for that level (think Joe Allen, Robson-Kanu etc) could well have a good tournament due to not really going flat out all season.

So yes for example Pogba didn’t have a brilliant tournament (although I’d still say it was decent) and that will be due to him exerting himself all season for Juventus. Same for Ronaldo, Muller, Zlatan etc. I really don’t believe Nani would have been as good at the Euros as he was had he still been playing for Man United. Harry Kane is another prime example, leading the line on his own all season for a team that was going out all guns blazing all season. Come the Euros he was spent. This does not mean he’s not a good player or he bottles the big occasion.

In fact I would say this is one of England’s major issues at tournaments and I really do believe that sometimes they should try picking players that have had seasons where they haven’t been put through the wringer. Andros Townsend is someone who springs to mind as someone that could have been great.

So in conclusion yes let’s enjoy international tournaments but please don’t refer to them as the measure of a top player or big game bottler.
Bradley (Yes I’m aware there will always be exceptions like Griezmann before this is pointed out) Kirrage.


The new ref rules
I can’t remember if this has been covered, but the new rules regarding abuse of referees has come in, and the talk surrounding it (5 live had a good discussion with Danny Mills and John Motson) was a bit laughable. Every issue like this (shirt-pulling at set-pieces springs to mind,) follows the same line – consistently happens throughout season, outrage from pundits and ex-pros that it is allowed to happen, discussion about how to fix, refs told to clamp down on it, pundits and ex-pros outcry about increased punishment ‘ruining the game’.

It’s the same line – ‘they’ll be sending 5 players off every game’. That’s exactly what should happen. The refs aren’t the ones breaching the rules, the players are. The only way to enforce a change is to alter the risk/reward scale. It’s why players are simply not going to stop rolling around on the floor when they are fouled – there is no risk, as they can’t be booked for pretending to be hurt (or, I’ve certainly never seen that), but there is ample opportunity for reward – ref may give increased punishment. If you gave a penalty for EVERY instance of grappling in the box, leading to 12 penalties per game for 5 weeks, players would understand that the scale has shifted. Although I think most players decision making is instinctual, I do think they weigh up the risk and reward for what they do – professional fouls are a good example.

I would love to see 5 players sent off every match for abuse of the officials – 8 vs 9 could make for some great games for a neutral, and their may be an actual chance of enforcing some change. John Motson and Danny Mills were exhibiting the classic mindset of wanting things to change and agreeing the state of things was not as it should be, but wanted something to happen without putting anything different in place to make it so.

I don’t really know what my point is, other than these things will ultimately never be resolved, because the means of doing it are simply not fathomable in the modern game.
Martin, Brighton


A fraudulent defence
People get offended very easily these days don’t they?

Seems like a lot are missing the whole point of the term fraud. Actually the backlash I received in a way justifies some of my selections i.e. People think they’re brilliant, they’re not, hence, frauds. My opinion ‘though guys no need to get so worked up about it!

On Hamsik, yes I have seen him play outside of for Slovakia at the World Cup. I’m not throwing these fraud accusations around lightly y’know! He’s capable of moments no doubt. However he’s far from the amazing talent many seem to believe. Consistency maybe a reason for that.

Alan Ewens complained about me not rating Napoli. Coming a distant 2nd in a poor Serie A is not overly impressive and they’ve never been able to really push Juve close in the title race (granted Juve are dominant as pointed out). They also got nowhere in the Europa League this season although they did make the semis the year before when they lost to the might of Dnipro, a side they should be beating. Does anything scream fraudulence any more? They won a Coppa Italia a few seasons back… Ok.

“David Luiz plays centre midfield for a Champions League quarter finalist” – right, this is the same quarter final where he started centre back against City in the first leg and was useless right? Pretty sure he was relegated to the bench towards the end of the season aswell. Of all players I’m actually surprised anyone wanted to defend him, a notorious fraud.

England were noticeably worse without Welbeck… Ah now.. England would have been just as big a laughing stock at the Euros with Welbeck in the team pal. But if you want to fool yourself into think otherwise, fair enough (although your name sounds Welsh so who knows). Welbeck is average lads, nothing more.

To the person who wondered did I just make the throwaway comment about Kane precisely to get a mailbox reaction – you’re a clever one, well spotted. It worked too!
Shane (Spurs bottled their chance at the league too if I remember correctly, the massive frauds) Ireland


The final overrated XIs
GK – Buffon. If he’s so good, why has he never won the Ballon d’Or?

LB – Maldini. Just because he’s Italian everybody thought he could defend.

CB – Beckenbauer. Moved to New York because he couldn’t cut it in Europe.

CB – Vidic. Being a City fan I can objectively say he was mediocre.

RB – Gary Neville. English so we would think he was good, wouldn’t we?

DM – Yaya Toure. Has been awful over the last couple of years so this invalidates his entire career.

DM – Viera. Never won the Champion’s league so…

AM – Platini. Always knew he was a fraud!

LW – Messi. Never done it playing for Leicester at 3am during a hurricane away at Stoke . Soooo overrated.

RW – Cristiano Ronaldo. So what if he scored more goals before breakfast this morning than Rooney has in his life? You’re all fanboys!

ST – Pele. His goals look rubbish now.

Honourable mentions – Anyone that hasn’t won the World Cup, has ever played for Monchengladbach or has moved for stupid amounts of money in the last few seasons.
Nic (MCFC).


Hooray for the Czech league
I know England has to wait a couple of weeks for football to come back, but this weekend the Czech league starts! Woohoo! All the big questions you guys have spent hours arguing in the pub over, in offices and playgrounds up and down Britain, will finally be answered!

Can Viktoria Plzeň recreate their Champions’ League heroics of a few years ago? How will Sparta Prague cope after a massively underwhelming Euros somehow swung Ladislav Krejčí a move to Bologna? Will Baník Ostrava (historically, a pretty big name) bounce straight back up after last year’s relegation, or will they be dragged into the hideous morass of the Second Division for longer, playing against towns of a few thousand people whose grounds are little more than a slanty field with a rope around it? Will we see Tomáš Rosicky try one last season back home, risking his knees against industrial challenges from entire teams who wish they were as lithe and mobile as Charlie Adam? And, more pertinently, will Zbrojovka Brno’s new front three of last year’s hero Jakub Řezníček, alongside new signings Jan Štohanzl and Francis Litsingi, fire us into the Europa League? (Anything that means our right-back isn’t our second-highest scorer again would be nice).

So connect the beer taps. Fire up the Huge, Suspicious-Looking Sausage grill. Get out the map and find out just where the hell Karvina is. Football’s back!
David (hi Sam!) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.


PFM status
So, just to clarify, that’s a definitive no on Jacqui then?
Jon (The Vinegar Strokes!), Boston

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