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All things United
Reading the latest missives on my club has really made me sad. Why do you even watch 11 men kick a spherical object into a net if the signing of possibly the greatest player of all time who also happened to have become that at your club doesn’t excite you? Whats the point? Sure it doesn’t make logic but neither does football it’s the emotions of it and it doesn’t get better than this. All this bullshit of City didn’t want him oh yeah who would want your rival clubs best player of all time. Rubbish. Of course they were in for him they wanted him he chose United. And this notion of “oh sure he will score us 20 goals” like its nothing. Seriously I never knew how many people watch football for the defensive midfield masteries of Kante before Ronaldo’s signing. Oh its not what United need. Everyone needs a 20 goal a season striker. Its like saying oh I don’t need a jetpack cos I have a car to drive me places. I mean u don’t NEED IT but it’s a FUCKING JETPACK. Oh now we can’t get Haaland. Yeah Haaland was just holding his fingers crossed hoping United don’t sign anyone this summer so he can waltz in and fulfill his dream of doing it on a rainy night in Stoke. Who was the last player of Haalands quality we signed? Why would he choose United who has recently been the 2nd best (arguably even worse) team in England over say a Madrid or a Bayern who will be looking to replace the aging Lewandowski? Not to mention PSG will be looking for a Mbappe replacement if he goes to Madrid.
And I don’t get the Solskajer thing. On the one hand people are like he improved United. Did he? I would say hes probably done worse than Mou. Finishing second instead of finishing fourth is a bit like not fucking Natalie Portman or not fucking Jennifer Lawrence. It doesn’t really matter who it is. But on the other hand this talk of oh hes a PE teacher oh we will never win anything with him? It strikes me like the things that were being said before Fergie won the Fa Cup. I honestly believe for the first time that we have a squad that is capable to actually win the title. Varane is an incredible signing. Sancho is also a very good signing. Ronaldo is an incredible signing. Greenwood looks really exciting. I think Ronaldo coming will have a positive impact on him. I think he will still get plenty of opportunities while also knowing Ronaldo wont be the main man long term.
United fans should be more excited than they have been for a long time.
Dino (Tottenham have had a terrible summer and will battle for top 6) Kantardzic
Ronaldo, Saul, and the United transfer window
I can’t believe this has to be said, but United didn’t sign Ronaldo because of nostalgia, or because we had an obvious weakness in the position he plays, or at the expense of a defensive midfielder – we signed him because we couldn’t let City have him. That’s literally it. Allowing City to sign Ronaldo would not only strengthen them, but it would taint some of our best memories from the last 20 years (especially since we haven’t really been setting the world alight in the last few). Every time we’d think about 08, or the three on the bounce, or Fergie’s last real great team, we’d be reminded that the best player in that team, the man that lead us to those trophies now played for City. It wouldn’t help that he’d definitely fire them to another title, and probably the Champions League too. There was simply no way we could let that happen.
The fact that he is still very bloody good helps too. As we’ve seen over the weekend, despite good recruitment, we’re still a team that relies on individual brilliance, and there is nobody better than Ronaldo at that. There are still a few question marks around this team – is Wan Bissaka good enough, does Ole have what it takes, and of course, how do we address the weakness in midfield. This brings me to Saul, and he’s definitely better than Fred (who bloody isn’t), but he hasn’t had the best two years at Atletico, and ultimately he would just be another versatile central midfielder plugged into the DM role he’s not really a specialist in. I’d definitely take him over what we have, but I’m not certain he would be able to play that role on his own, which means Fred would probably still have to play next to him, so what’s the point? We have too many quality attacking players now to play two average DM’s every game.
So where does that leave us? Overall I think we’ve had an amazing transfer window, but not addressing that gaping hole in the middle of the pitch will definitely make the big trophies harder to win. Every top team that’s won a major trophy over the last decade has had a world class DM – we have the inexperienced and inconsistent McTominay, the gormless Matic, and the disaster that is Fred. This is the problem Ole will have to solve. Can he do it? I’m not so sure, but there are no more excuses allowed this season. No team is ever perfect after all.
IP (If Lukaku is a guarantee at 100m, what is Ronaldo at 20m)
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 1, 2021
I couldn’t agree more with Edwin Ambrose. The whole coming home PR BS is grating. I saw Ronaldo’s Instagram message everywhere yesterday. So many Man Utd fans lapped it up. Instantly forgetting he was actually on his way to City.
Coming home me arse.
Culk the Younger
Notes from the Underground
Now I am not a huge fan of rejoinders and rebuttals on the F365 mailbox; lets face it, no one wants to see hair-splitting back-and-forths by egotistical middle aged men like myself. Yet, a couple of quick notes on the two Man Utd fans referring to my last mail, for sullying my name, I shall not stand for:
– Monsieur Ash de Metcalfe asks how the magic figure of 12 midfielders at Man Utd was reached? Ok, now take a deep breath and repeat after me: 1) Fernandes, 2) Pogba, 3) Sancho, 4) Matic, 5) Mata, 6) Van de Beek, 7) Fred, 8) Greenwood, 9) Rashford, 10) Lingard, 11) McTominay, and 12) Dan James (at the time of writing. However, as he departs, I see Diallo’s loan to Feyenoord has broken down and Diallo slots in comfortably in my list, if not the United team).
You might say ‘but ah, fred, matic, mata, diallo et al.’ are hardly ‘world-class’. Well, they were all signed for significant sums (median transfer value about 40 million odd quid), and if we accept that they aren’t world class, then why were such significant sums splashed on them? A failure, then, is it not? The rest are home-grown, but that doesn’t mean they are not world-class. Let’s face it, if Arsenal had half the number of those midfielders of that calibre, the whole world would be shaming us for ‘mismanagement’.
– Mr. Ved Sen, the 3 critical flaws, perhaps, lie in your rushed reading of my email: I said Partey was the headline signing of the ‘transfer window before this one’, that’s pretty self-explanatory. Second, the ‘trophy argument’ (whichever one that is); nowhere did I say (or mean to say) that just because Arsenal won the FA Cup, Man Utd fans should ‘exchange their positions with’ us (Lord, why would/should they?). It was a call addressed to Arsenal fans to have a bit of ‘perspective’ and take a longer view of things rather than what the score was in the last game, otherwise they will remain perpetually yo-yoing in their worldview. The third flaw that you wanted to point out, I am still searching for in your email.
My email was addressed to Arsenal fans to get some perspective, not for Man Utd fans to be losing theirs, jeezus.
Shahzad, Pakistani Gooner from Dublin, Eire
Look Man Utd fans, I get it,
Ole is not our idea of a winner, we’re lacking the CDM that would give us an ideal FIFA lineup, our style of play sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, Van de Beek isn’t being utilized effectively etc. but I’ll be brave and take the shots that on this low risk platform… WE’RE WINNING EVERYTHING THIS SEASON!
We were 2nd behind Citeh by 12 points and have only strengthened over this window. You’re telling me that adding Ronaldo and Varane alone can’t make that up? Not even including the absolute superstar in the making that Sancho is? It’s been weird seeing some of the ex-United pundits trying to dodge the question of whether we can win the title. I totally agree with the transfer winner’s article; the title is the bar that has been set by the moves we made. This team has more than enough to win this title and for me Ronaldo absolutely certifies that.
We as a society grossly underestimate the influence that team members add to the building/destroying of cultures of teams. I run a business and I have reached the stage in my career where I recognize that although I play an important role within the functioning of the business, I only contribute to around 20% at the most to the overall success of my organization (boo capitalism, boo). I look at Ronaldo and say if I was able to add somebody like that to my team, I am 100% doing it. He will set the standard for these players in a way no manager possibly can because he and Messi are the quintessential examples of what a winning professional footballer should be. Hampering the development of our youngsters? I’d argue he’s going to be the clear reason why in two years time we’ll be on a rocket ship to dominance once again.
From my perspective, Ole’s biggest issue is that although he’s been a part of winning teams in the past, it’s hard for the players to relate to what his explanation of what a winning culture is. He doesn’t have the presence of Sir Alex to get everybody on board and as a leader; you accept your limitations, recognize your gaps and fill them with people who can do what you can’t. Ronaldo does that in a way no player in world football could for Manchester United because he is a Manchester United legend (even if he was only brilliant (weird to say only) for the last 3 years of his first stint) and is still a top 5 player in the world now.
For the first time in ages, I feel that old arrogance that I had in the late 90’s and across the 00’s being a Utd fan. I am going to be a fan of my club in a way I haven’t been able to be since 2013/2014 season. There is no team in this league that we should be afraid of. If we play to our ability, we should win every competition we are in; the talent is there, it’s the belief that is lacking.
Quoting the great Don Robbie but with actual conviction…
WE’RE GONNA DO THIS!
J.D (#21 in 21/22), Nairobi Kenya
At the start of this transfer window, Barcelona were looking forward to a new season with an attack led by one of the best players in the history of the game, fresh from winning his first international trophy in Lionel Messi, World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann, and new signing Mephis Depay. This was to be supplemented by what looked to be the canny signing of Sergio Aguero.
As of today, September 1st, they are heading into the season with a strike force of former Middlesboro striker Martin Braithwaite, former Newcastle striker Luuk de Jong and new signing Memphis Depay. This was to be supplemented by what looked to be the signing of Sergio Aguero who is injured for the first 10 weeks of the of the season.
Mes que un club?
Clubs in a mess more like.
Imagine you’re Memphis Depay.
At the beginning of the summer you’re super excited to play alongside Copa America winning captain and all-round superstar Leo Messi and world cup winner Antoine Griezman.
You’ll take to the field with Martin Braithwaite and Luuk de Jong.
Stijn (Gini Wijnaldum dodged a bullet.) Amsterdam
Arsenal transfer business
I see a lot of my fellow Arsenal supporters moaning about the transfer window we’ve done this year. But I disagree. It was some very good business. I think with these additions we should actually be able to avoid relegation.
I would LOVE IT if Paul Merson became Arsenal’s director of football. It would be hilarious.
Couldn’t call Saul
Tim – Maybe the reason why United did not pursue Saul as a defensive mid is because the very reason he left Atletico Madrid is to play as an attacking midfielder rather than a defensive one. Just speculating based on Saul’s own interview with Ibai Llanos on the reason he wanted to leave in the first place.
Sometimes there is more to these transfers than how obvious they appear to be on Football Manager.
That said – United should have signed a DM.
AD (International breaks three weeks into the season are ridiculous)
If am not mistaken, is Saul actually a CDM? I seem to think he was more of an attack minded CM. I wouldn’t have wanted Manchester United to sign him (except Pogba actually left), and I believe there is a reason he is no longer getting game time at atletico. I suspect it’s because he can’t defend or cover properly and we all know Diego simeone likes players who are good defensively so that’s a big red flag. The other options (Neves, Yves, Ndidi) I can understand and truly hoped we could get, but all in all we can still remedy that come January.
Here’s hoping it hasn’t cost us much before then (Like signing Bruno in January turned out to be six months overdue).And secondly, Arsenal spending all that money, Literally being the highest spenders in all of Europe and still not making one signing that truly excites and all of these despite not being in any European competition. Arsenal always seem to find new ways to drag themselves down.
Thirdly, I bet this year’s title race will be the most exciting one we have seen in a long while
Emmanuel (I so wish OGS can finally shut up all doubters this season) Lagos
P.s. I haven’t written in for a very long time, I always wanted to make a grand return (Ronaldo,Lukaku), but I guess I will take what I get (Griezmann)
Tim Sutton asked why United didn’t go in for Saul to get him ahead of Chelsea.
Well, has he actually seen Saul play recently? That’s not actually a rhetorical implying he’s gone bad, because I actually haven’t seen him play recently, through a combination of the fact that I don’t get to watch a huge amount of Spanish football and, even if I did, and Atletico were on, last season there was only like a 50/50 chance he was playing, and then a further 50/50 that he only got a quick run out as a sub.
There may be good reason for that, injuries, the fact that even though he’s still pretty good he’s been superceded by better players, or doesn’t suit the system, or whatever. But taken in isolation, the fact that Atletico – who rated him so highly they gave him a 9 year deal not so long ago – wanted rid is a massive red flag.
Now, for Chelsea I think this makes sense. Their starting midfield consists of two of the best three players in world football right now but lacks cover. So a player like Saul signed as cover makes alot of sense, even if it turns out to be a punt that doesn’t work out.
United have a different (and more significant) problem with their midfield. They don’t need a player who, for whatever reason, only got to start a quarter of his team’s games last season. They need a top class holding midfielder. Again, I really haven’t seen enough of Saul recently to reach a conclusion, but does he fit that description anymore (if he ever did)?
So, having failed to secure a first choice target, it makes sense to muddle through for now with the guy who currently starts for Brazil, even if he has had a sluggish start to the season and even if, ultimately, he needs replacing when the right player comes along.
I don’t think it makes sense to sign a succession of not-quite-right players. That’s what United have done for years. United have plenty of options in midfield, and probably at least one needs to go before they sign their “forever” holding midfielder. its just that they aren’t quite as good as we’d like unfortunately…
I don’t think the opportunistic decision to buy Ronaldo has any bearing on a bid for a midfielder. Ronaldo is both a commercial boon and one of the best goalscorers in world football – better than any other player vying for his place. I don’t think the competition point is such a big deal, except for Edison Cavani, who probably won’t get a game anymore (almost cruelly, after they talking him round to staying on a year). I don’t think they’re dipping into next season’s midfielder transfer fund for it.
Also, not sure Edwin Abrose’s prodigal wife analogy is appropriate re Ronaldo. “Welcome home” is marketing schpiel, but the fact is he was a professional that United retained to provide a service in exchange for money, whose registration rights they then sold for a world record sum. It was a professional arrangement and he left on, and has maintained, good terms and they have now retained his services again, and are quite pleased about it. I hope to God that doesn’t translate to other mailboxers’ marital arrangements.
I saw that the mailbox from earlier was titled ‘Why did Manchester United not hijack Chelsea’s great move?’. I was surprised the editor thought it a provoking question. The Editor even said ‘It is ‘astonishing’ that Manchester United let Chelsea have a free run at Saul Niguez. This Cristiano Ronaldo move is going to haunt them.’
Well, our friends at PlanetFootball showed clearly why. In a comparison of 8 midfielders, 7 at the club (and Saul), he is worse than everyone except Fred (!) in goals/assists per 90 minutes, dribbles less than Lingard, Scott McTominay and Fred (!) and his passing accuracy is behind Donny (hello from the bench), Scott and Fred (!).
Manchester United didn’t need Saul, they needed to get Van De Beek onto the midfield and write off the 52M we paid Shakhtar for Fred as bad debt.
Tim Sutton thinks it’s ‘astonishing’ that United didn’t get Saul over Chelsea. I think such a hyperbolic reaction is related to what I would call the ‘Football Manger’-ification of football fan’s brains.
Obviously, he would have been perfect for this United team. But the gap between that truth and the mechanics of actually getting him to sign are another thing. It seems he had two options, and from a footballing perspective, Chelsea are obviously a better option at the moment – European Cup winners, more experienced coach, more evenly balanced first 11. London versus Manchester is an always an element. Better wages and under the table dodgy payments a la Manchester City too perhaps. Bottom line is – A huge human element goes into these decisions, it’s not the matter of just clicking a few buttons.
Pablo, MUFC, Dublin
Manchester City are transfer window losers?
You put Manchester City as transfer window losers, which is a strange take. City bought one of the best young English players available for a net spend of around 60million. Maybe that alone doesn’t necessarily put them in the winners column, so I have to wonder what would. Would they have been winners if they had relented and paid Spurs 160million for Kane? Would they have been winners if they had taken Ronaldo or Messi and obliterated the club’s pay structure on an ageing superstar with no residual value?
They have a team that won the Premier League by 12 points last season and added an extremely talented winger to the mix without upsetting the balance of the team or the dressing room chemistry. What losers they are.