Let’s have your thoughts for tomorrow morning’s Mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org…
Money is all United can offer this year
Despite being linked to half the professional players in the world. I believe Manchester United will struggle to get top signings this years:- The prestige of playing for a club like United is nullified by the fact that they only have the Europa League to offer. Given the travails of the last few years, there’s no guarantee if they will qualify for CL even next year. 2 years is a long time in elite sports particularly for players in their prime.
– Their scouting and negotiating network remain extremely weak. Bloated network that recommends different signings with the results they can’t agree on who to sign. Woodward consequently and also due to his own impotence in the area, wastes time running after targets that are unlikely to join United or are not the right fit. A Director of Football is desperately needed to sort this out without which United will continue to have poor transfer dealings.
– There is no elite coach who can lure top players to United. For all his drawbacks, Jose Mourinho was a top coach with an indisputable record for winning trophies. This is as much a pull for players as the prestige of the club and its history. OGS just does not have that track record or experience to be considered an attractive proposition for top or even young upcoming players.
The only thing United have to offer if money, money and more money. That is all they can offer. Money and little or no sense.
Romelu to the Hawthorns…
Lukaku is unconditionally loved at one club in the UK. West Bromwich Albion. We know how good this man is. We saw it with our own eyes. Goals are the most important currency in football and he scores them. Anything else is just Jeremy Corbyn fans banging on about increased vote share in 2017. Every Albion fan would take Lukaku back in a heartbeat and such is his quality he would promote us and keep us mid table even with our depleted and ageing squad. It broke our hearts when instead of paying £6million to bring him back on loan for a second season, we instead spent it on Victor Anichebe. Like properly broke our hearts.
Baggies fans will root for Lukaku wherever he goes and shame on those fans that are so spoilt that when they have a talent in their team like this they cannot see it for their own sense of entitlement. Come home Romelu. I mean you can live on £150 a week can’t you?
Ben The Baggie
Keepers on lines, please…
There were a couple of posts in the morning’s mailbox both saying they didn’t mind keepers leaving the goal-line for penalties. I’ve always found it very annoying when keepers move forwards, and if the rule about booking keepers who encroach is going to be applied across all competitions and forms of football then I’ll be a very happy little pedant.
It’s basically the same thing as a defender leaving the wall and charging down a free kick from close-range, or the wall shuffling forwards by a foot or two – which was deemed a serious enough problem for refs to now carry a can of what Phil Neville once called ‘imaginary spray’ during a co-comms gig. If the keeper’s on the goal-line then to save a perfectly-placed penalty (in off the post, and assuming no curl or swerve since not many players Roberto Carlos a penno) they’ll have to reach 12 feet from the centre of the goal. A six-foot keeper with a 2.5-foot arm (just measured my arm to see how long it is) attached five feet up their body (also just measured the height of my head and neck) gives a total reach of 7.5 feet, so to save the perfect penalty they’ll need to dive 4.5 feet. If they’ve moved forward a yard then to intercept the trajectory of that same perfect penalty it’s only a dive of 3.5 feet. Two yards forward and it’s a 2.5-foot dive, making reaching a ‘perfect penalty’ almost twice as easy as from the goal-line. Leaving the line doesn’t look like much, but it gives a sizeable, and unfair (in the rules of the game) advantage.
Of course, this might also be a result of having supported England since 1996 and having an ingrained hatred of keepers saving penalties.
Dan, (why doesn’t anyone put Panenkas into the top corner rather than down the middle?) Brighton
Quick point on the VAR debate
Calum, Ayrshire states in his last sentence that a return to the old ways would make match fixing easier again.
That is incorrect. Having a ref sitting in a box checking “everything” just in case, is definitely a much easier way to fix a result. Retaking pens is clearly a brilliant way to fix things to correct the right result. VAR is even better for affecting what’s known as “spot fixing” (thanks Cricket) on in-match events, e.g. number of yellow cards in a match. If you are going to accuse FIFA of conspiring to make match fixing more easy, then this system is the perfect way to do it.
I broadly agree that FIFA could have implemented the system used in rugby or even better, that used in Field Hockey and Tennis, where players have to choose when to review events. These systems would reduce the chances for corruption by officials.
As Spain has proven recently, match fixing is widespread, commonplace, and rarely stopped. There is no incentive for any of the parties involved to crack down properly.
Every article complaining about VAR says the same thing:
VAR will ruin the game by constantly overturning decisions based on stupidly minor offenses.
The solution to a system that accurately registers stupidly minor offences is to remove the damn offences, not remove the accurate system.
Pretending that ignoring the offences most of the time unless the on field referee randomly decides to enforce them is somehow logical is insane.
Either the players adjust to actually playing the game as the laws dictate, or the laws should be changed.
Accurately interpreting the laws through VAR is an advance and makes the game fairer.
Dearly departed Wenger
Emails like the farce from Joe crack me up. I agree with the premise of Arsenal having a lot more to spend than £40m but, the detail of Joe’s email reads like a loving piano concerto to his dearly departed Arsene Wenger! A few points:
* Joe claims “towards the latter years” Arsenal was a club that qualified for CL without competing for it. This suggests Arsenal previously competed for it: they did not. One final in 2006, never won it and Wenger’s final eight seasons saw eight consecutive last 16 humiliations. Fake News
* Joe reckons top players were willing to join a “legendary manager”. Yes, I remember that Galactico Vinedine Vardy desperately jumping ship to play under this “legendary manager”! Oh wait, not even Vardy wanted to play under Wenger did he? He preferred Ranieri at Leicester! So I’ll raise you your Ryan Fraser. And I won’t mention that time Juan Mata was sitting in a Valencia airport having promised to sign for Arsenal and instantly jumped at the chance of joining Chelsea instead! Revisionist rubbish to suggest top players previously wanted to join Arsenal. That’s not been the case for well over a decade. Not even Demba Ba wanted to join Wenger.
* If you want a summary of the weak loser mentality that infects Arsenal fandom, see Joe’s charity appeal for Mesut Ozil. “Emery has isolated the biggest star”. Yes, that would be the same “star” who with 6 months left on his previous contract had just one offer from mid-table Fenerbache. The “star” who has less assists than both Liverpool full backs despite being a number 10. The “star” who hasn’t managed double figures in league goals in over 5 years. The “star” who strolls off the pitch in a European final his team is getting spanked in 3-0 and he’s been s***. The “star” who hasn’t put in one performance away at a top 6 side his entire time in England. Yet, Arsenal fans expect this workshy joke to get special treatment! Contrast with how Liverpool or Citeh fans would approach Ozil? They would run him out of town with that work ethic – he’d be nowhere near their squads in the first place anyways.
So let’s not beat around the bush here as Joe, and so many other MAGA (Make Arsenal Great Again) Wenger cultists do. Arsenal’s issues didn’t just happen overnight. Some of us predicted them way back in 2006 when Arsenal finished 24 points behind Chelski but the fans wildly celebrated finishing 4th. We warned you when Cole, RVP, Cesc, Nasri were all sold to domestic rivals, the cash was pocketed, but the departed were blamed as the bad guys (they weren’t, they were ambitious). Emery didn’t stick Arsenal in the Europa league, the previous manager did. Emery didn’t oversee an insane galactico wage bill where a load of overpaid dross can’t be shifted – it was that (still unemployed FYI) “legendary manger”. Emery didn’t tarnish the Arsenal brand with 8-2 thumpings and 10-2 CL batterings. We all know where the blame lies.
Oh and if you want to have a pop at Emery for his treatment of Neymar? Well, a year after Emery has gone, the PSG President has now come out and said he wants to get rid of Neymar because he is a cancer on the dressing room. So Emery knew what he was doing then eh! Of course, “legendary managers” usually just hand those cancers a £350k p/w contract. Right?
Stewie Griffin (This is the Arsenal MAGA equivalent of Trumpists’ “I blame Obama for today’s bad weather!”)
Duopoly, I don’t think so
The morning article on the new duopoly while it has some solid reasoning, may be a little to premature. Yes, City and Liverpool are as strong as ever but as the summer is going the middle table clubs are strengthening, and all of them possess managers, just as good as the top six managers.
This all points to a more competitive season where the middle table clubs will surely give more than this season, I hardly see it being another season where the league leaders will run away with it.
This same paper also claimed it is too early to judge the summer for various top six clubs, and thus it would not be right to already claim that Spurs, ManU or even Arsenal are out of this race. As a Chelsea fan I just don’t want to give myself so high hopes, there is more joy in overachieving than just achieving your goals, that’s why I don’t want to put us up there with the rest.
Vashow, Kenya (CFC)
Planning for the post-Emery era
Arsenal do have a plan. It remains to be seen whether it’s a good plan but there is a plan nonetheless. And it centres on youth development.
Freddie Ljungberg has taken the step up to act as a conduit between the youth team and the first team. There is some serious talent in that youth team and the club will no doubt want to ensure some of them break into the team so we don’t have to fill out our squad with the likes of Jenkinson and Mustafi.
I could be wrong but I think the last England international to come make the step up from youth team to Arsenal starter was Kieran Gibbs, which brings us to the other appointment.
Steve Bould was the man that developed Gibbs and readied him for the first team. I saw him play in the Carling Cup and again when he was a first team player and in all honesty it seemed as though he regressed – that all the good habits he learned under Bould had gone out the window and he was now a Wenger defender – bereft of any ability to defend.
Arsenal now have both Bould and Metersacker working with those young players – what would we give for a young player that’s a hybrid of the two?
The approach has sort of worked before as youth project 2 involving the likes of Cesc, Reyes and RVP won us continued Champions League football, while youth project 1 gave us our greatest moment ever when Rocky, Adams, the Merse, Davis and Thomas broke through into the first team.
I’m not optimistic for next season but it sounds like the club are planning for the post Emery era into the 2020s under Freddie.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London