Rashford is the Shaqiri of the Man Utd title challenge

Date published: Wednesday 4th August 2021 9:55 - Editor F365

Rashford Shaqiri

Send your thoughts on Rashford and more to theeditor@football365.com.


Xherdan Rashford
JB – Rashford wasn’t great last season… that’s widely acknowledged I think, including by United fans, including the press, including the England manager (who dropped him from the first 11).

He still got 11 goals and 9 assists though, so hardly disastrous, and still made an important contribution despite being injured (you’re admitting he’s injured now, I trust?). No United fans I know, the press or otherwise have been making out that he’s as good as Lionel Messi…

The glowing coverage of him in the press has been entirely non football related, and well deserved.

Your particular criticism in the last few days has transformed from “club are clearly pretending he’s injured, why aren’t they being called out” to “…what’s that, shoulder surgery? Erm… my point was always that it was disgusting he didn’t have surgery at some arbitrary point in the past when I’ve decided it would’ve been better for his team…” to “…I was criticising him purely on football terms, you just can’t handle the hard truth…” It’s like some bizarre attempt at mass gaslighting the mailbox which, you know, doesn’t work when your previous different stances are written down…

But fair enough, let’s address the newest version of your criticism of Rashford. Is he good enough for a team with title aspirations?

Well, he had 11 league goals to, by way of example, Sadio Mane’s 11, or Roberto Firmino’s 9… despite playing much of the season with having a definitely real shoulder injury, and having six years on either of those players in which he could realistically expect to improve while the only way for them is down… not reading much about Klopp’s plans to ruthlessly replace them mind.

United in the meantime, have shunted Rashford out to wide right to accomodate Pogba and have spent over £100m on options that are likely to compete for Rashford’s starting place now or the future in Sancho and Amad, as well as Greenwood coming through…

So, I absolutely would have Rashford in a squad competing for top honours but, here’s the thing, he’s probably not the Mane, he’s the Shaqiri – and if you can win the league with Xherdan effing Shaqiri as your back-up forward, Rashford is just fine, thanks very much. So keep frothing at the mouth making up nonsense about how you’re just making a point about how a top team needs to be ruthless but, from what I can see, that’s exactly what United have done!
Andy (MUFC)

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The mark of someone who does hate others, as in a bully, misogynist, racist, etc, is to claim that everyone else has misunderstood them. In his riposte JB claimed that everyone else brushed over the ‘facts’, which meant putting whatever subjective opinions s/he has on the highest pedestal. “How dare you argue with me, I have presented the facts.”

The reality is that you are entitled to your opinion, but it is only an opinion, and not fact. That others, many others, saw it in a different light is telling.

Every day players and clubs have to navigate the tricky game of every word being parsed and picked apart with someone looking for the worst possible interpretation solely to jump on them. Sure footballers of Rashford’s ilk are well paid as are senior members of the club’s staff. But to spend so much time trying to find something awful in Rashford’s need for surgery was way over the top and NOT fact based. You, as no one else in the public, had any idea of the specifics of the injury or surgery that might be required. Where you did have an opportunity to use data, you chose to provide a personal and subjective impression of his performance that was easily countered with facts.

So don’t come across as a victim, of being misunderstood. People clearly understand you very well.
Paul McDevitt


Mediocre Xhaka
So Granit Xhaka is staying at Arsenal. At 28, he’s in his peak years as a central midfielder.
Captain of his country and available for a reported 20 million or so. Yet only one team has bid for him, and a low ball offer at that. Xhaka is slow and predictable. Jose Mourinho teams are slow and predictable. It’s a perfect match and I’m gutted it is not going to happen.
To be honest, Serie A would have suited him more, where his lack of athleticism would be less exposed.

He has been better under Arteta, but the fact none of the other top teams are in for him speaks volumes to me. He’s mediocre.

We all know what he’s good at: A high percentage of final 3rd entry passes (usually teams are well set up by then). Zipped balls into attackers when he’s given time.

His leadership is overrated. Remember, project youth never finished lower than 4th, I think I prefer talent over leadership.
We’ve never finished in the top4 with him as our number 1 midfielder.

I’m so tired of the slow build up play, which as I said, allows teams to set up and get organized. It’s usually slow build up play because he literally has no mobility. He can seldom drop a shoulder to send the pressing player the other way. His dribbling ability is non-existent, nor is he any good on the half turn. He is so easy to close down and turn back the other way. So passes go backwards and sideways and we start again. When the play is in front of him, he’s generally fine. Though still prone to a sideways brain fart pass which is intercepted by an attacker.

The fact that some people think he’d be hard to replace – after 5 years of evidence to the contrary – baffles me.
I realize it’s not all on him, far from it, he’s a tidy midfielder and solid (mediocre) on his day, but a step well below what we need.

I’m not sure what the answer is now. Graham Simons thinks it’s Torriera, perhaps forgetting that Torriera never truly settled and allegedly asked to leave. I’d be happy to give him another go, but  Arteta only wants players who are all in for the project, and so do I.

If  Arsenal are serious about finishing in the top 4, they need to move on from Granit Xhaka. That, sadly, doesn’t look to be happening. So 5th-8th it is then.

Every time I think he’s leaving he ends up staying, like the turd that won’t flush.
Strevs, AFC, Canada (Hoping Lokonga ousts him by seasons end).


Transfer fees and wage caps
It sounded good but it doesn’t really work for me. Without transfer fees and with wage caps, you would see an enormous amount of money leave the game.

I am a United Shareholder and I receive dividends each year. I would expect to receive a lot more if United annually did not have to spend 100M and could continue their growth model whilst also paying the same amount in wages.

Wages too would have to go up if there where no fees, and agent fees would balloon higher than they already have.A salary cap would be in place yes, but surely if Man United can make 20m a year in selling Rashford merchandise, they would have to pay some of that to their player.

United could use some of the money to develop local institutes but then where does that even start and end? Do we just use the money to make more clubs and dilute things further?

Contract expiring free transfers will become way more of a thing as the best players nowadays find it tough to get a move when they want and the buyer finds it tough to pay for them, and their wages, and their agent. Mbappe is a great example of a player who wants to go, but he won’t have a choice until he does.

I find if you could only transfer at the end of a contract, contracts would be way shorter, and players would move less often, therefore creating more of a stifled atmosphere and all round standards dropping.

The ESL wants to be the European version of the NBA and it sucks. Juve, Real and Barca are realizing that the unfair economic practices of old are no longer working in their favor and need a mechanism to compete with the far more successful Premier League(Financially)

Conclusion? Let’s the clubs spend what they have the means to. The rules in place to safeguard overspending could use further strengthening, Barca et al can learn not to spend over 100m on players that they don’t need. Their leagues (La Liga, Serie A) themselves can do some soul searching and figure out how to get more revenue.

Plus, as a small club, receiving a large sum for a player can make or break them. It can even spark a rebuild of necessary talent or simply just keep the club afloat.

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Curtis said a transfer fee should be whatever a club values them at. This is a little yes and a bigger no.

Spanish clubs give all of their players release clauses. They generally put it at an unreachable sum, if they are a Barca, and some put it at a more realistic price, usually from the agent and with a smaller team. In the latter scenario the club cannot do a thing. They want a player and he will come, but only if the player can have an exit fee that is suitable and fair.

Look at the financial crisis hitting clubs because of the pandemic. Clubs have to sell valuable assets because of their financial constraints. Inter finally became Champions again and are forced to sell some of their stars. Granted, they are setting the price, but the price is all relative to a) What the paid for them and b) How well they have performed since then. IE- Hakimi, bought for 40m, played amazing, sold for 60m.

Now, let’s look at a situation in which the seller is less successful. Barcelona have given ludicrous contracts to players and spent way over the odds on players they thought they needed. Barca have set prices, even lowered them to less than market value and still people aren’t biting. People know of Barcelona’s situation and know they can milk them. Barca will not receive what is fair in their scenario.

That too, when PSG came and messed the market up. Generally prices raise over time, gradually. The Neymar and Mbappe transfers really messed with the market, up until then, the 100m mark was the price for a top level player. Barca thought 220m was too much, and I am with them on that,but it was somehow was not. After that, everything went up, and seeing as the world knew Barca had it, the selling clubs increased their prices. That is why you had Coutinho move for such a silly sum, Dembele too. If you have players who are better than those two, and many many teams do, you too would then raise the cost of your players values.

And that’s just costs, you can also factor in competition, like your Robertson transfer, he was too good to be in the Championship but still relatively unproven in the Premier league to command a high fee.

Your contract length is massively important to a players cost, as we are seeing with Kane and in reverse, with Varane.

Your relationship with the club is important too. Many teams bought Balotelli for cheap as he was a disrupter(Unless your Liverpool of course) or Di Maria, where we really should not have gone for him as his heart was set on PSG, took the risk and it didn’t work out at all. United had to sell, as he wanted to go, his form was off, it was best for all involved, and United made a loss for their mistake.

You have to check the market for age, contract, position, and how many players are out there to even purchase. I doubt clubs just arbitrarily throw out a ‘White is worth 50m cause I said so’. Brighton will determine what is the value of an English international, 23 years old, with premier league experience, not much young conception for his place, and the fact that they rejected 35m last summer and he has improved since then.

Lille bought Sven Botman for 8m euros, and now, after a stunning year, he is worth 50m pounds. Did Ajax get it wrong? Are Lille getting it wrong? Or was in that a player of his experience, age, contract length, was sold for a fee that was reasonable, and the buyer saw potential at a good price, and after his performances and improvements in becoming a Ligue 1 champion, he has now increased his value? I would say he has indeed done just that.

Conversely, Newcastle bought Joelinton for for 40m. This was outrageous as absolutely nothing about him met the criteria for a fee that high except maybe his age. Benitez knew this and resigned.

United were guilty of the same when they signed that former homeless guy named Bebe for 7m off the word of Carlos Quiroz? He was bought for like 70k a few months before. Sometimes you just get hustled. *cough Barca, cough

Ultimately it will come down to your clubs ability to do their due diligence. Failure to do so will generally result in a loss, either to or from your club.
Success in doing so, like Dortmund can attest, can give you the power to reject 130m bids.

So is Jack Grealish worth 100m? Undoubtedly. He scores, he creates, he dribbles a lot, he is young, a leader and English. He was the third highest rated player in the league last year, and looking at the company he is up their with, and their costs(Kane, KDB, Fernandes) coupled with the fact, that every year he has gotten noticeably better, then I, like Pep, would agree he is worth 100m.
Calvino (You are worth what the market says your worth) 


In response to Andy, I think that was exactly JN’s point but his focus was on the transfer fee- you handed in your notice and left, Tesco didn’t have to buy your rights. The normal working world doesn’t have transfer windows, but nor does football really- the transfer window should really just be renamed the registration window, as that is all it really is: a league set deadline for registering players for specific competitions. Making it more like the real working world wouldn’t mean changing transfer timings, it would just be up to the player if they wanted to move mid-season and not be eligible to play…. The downside would be that players could also then be given their notice period and let go much more easily.
HW, Forest Fan


Contract villainy
It’s funny seeing mails on how players signed a contract and must honor it. If said player asks to leave while on contract, he’s a bad guy. But surely this must also apply to clubs too, no?

Barcelona is currently freezing out Umtiti and their youth player because one refuses to leave and the other doesn’t want to renew with a year left.

Man Utd fans all want to do away with Pogba and say they would gladly accept 40M from PSG but Pogba is still under contract.

There are other examples of clubs trying to move on players when they do not want to leave, yet people don’t point to the contracts the player have with the club (Ozil anyone?). So clubs can be ambitious and kick out a player but players are villains when they want to do the same thing for the same reason?!

Nelson (Yes to player power!), Lagos


Mid-table Villa
Jack Grealish stays at Villa : Villa finish mid-table
Jack Grealish leaves Villa : Villa finish mid-table

100m? Seems a no brainer to me. Just don’t blow the money a la Bale.
Adam Halliday, Villa Fan, Saigon Lockdown

Villa Grealish F365

Jack Grealish


City botch
Forget Kane bottling his move away from Spurs, I really think Citeh have botched the window so far..

I know we’re not privy to whatever is going on inside the camp but surely the wise thing to do would’ve been the following :

– Kane desperately wants out of his club and he’s a class striker
– City need a striker
– Negotiations with Levy are difficult yes, but just go after Kane at the start of the summer and pay the asking price and get Kane with minimum hassle

Instead, City have shifted their gaze from Kane to Grealish and might end up getting neither.

Yes, Jack is an incredible talent and would benefit City immensely but the Kane signing makes more logical sense and makes them automatic title favourites, no?
– Sid (Bangalore, India)


Citizen Kane
The worst thing about Kane possibly signing for City?

All the Citizen Kane headlines that undoubtedly will follow.
Stijn, Amsterdam 

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