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The greatest transfer of all time…
I have been super busy in work and life to get to write in to try and express my feelings towards how glorious of a transfer window this summer was as a United fan. It has been the best transfer window I can remember. The Falcon, DiMaria summer had a similar feeling of genuine stars arriving, but it didn’t feel as if they wanted it. This time is different.
It all started with Cavani signing a new deal. He wasn’t a 25 goal a season striker anymore. But he was a proper center forward, was doing the job, was what we needed and he cost us nothing. After that to me, was to fill the cb, cm and winger deficits in the squad.
Next came the Sancho saga #2. At this point I thought the Glazers would milk this cow for as long as the summer went on, again. It did take some time but in the end we secured his services for less than we offered last year. Young, exciting, tricky goalscoring winger who is English, and can play on the right? Yes please.
Then, out of the blue, came the Varane talk. It seemed and sounded real, but we United fans have been burnt before, so we watched with caution. And then it became real, bid accepted, contract talks and the deal took some time to get the formalities figured out, but seeing him suited up on game day one to a roaring Old Trafford was a spectacle. We just secured one of the very best defenders in world football, in his prime, for half a Van Dyke and less than a Ben White. Having a football director really made a difference, sorry Ed.
At this point I was as satisfied as a man having finished a two course meal. Pleased, but felt we needed to finish the window off on a sweet note and complete what was necessary, getting our dessert. Camavinga it seems was the choice but as we eventually saw, he went to Real.
News then started to filter through than Man City’s approach for Kane had ended and Ronaldo seemed like a logical choice. I for one, was not that upset, more realistic, in that where else could he feasibly go. Like seeing my good looking ex in a bar, on wrestling night and her seemingly wanting my flash rival over our former history together. It would sting but the less thought about it the better.
Then Friday happened and everything went in a direction nobody saw coming. He was back. The most talented footballer to ever wear the red shirt, the greatest goal scorer of all time, the only mortal to match Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo was back at Old Trafford. I was at a wedding jumping up and down like a school girl. We literally sold Dan James for more than we spent on Ronaldo. Glorious. Welcome done Ed.
Did we need him? Yes. Cavani is great, and will be for us, but he wasn’t going to get us potentially 30 goals this season. On top of that, his sheer presence will make the others better. Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford, Sancho and more have all been raised as kids watching this man dominate the world with goals, skill, discipline and a belief in himself that can only Ronaldo can combine.
Some will point out he is 36 and it is a short term option. The man out scored Lukaku in Serie A last season, the man is a pure specimen, dedicated purely to the sport. If Giggs can keep it going until 40, I’ve no doubt Ronaldo can, and if we have success with him over the next four years, this could be one of the all time greatest transfers.
Our attack is complete, our defense is compete, we have two solid goalkeepers and a lot of creative talent, all of which are fairly young and with plenty more youth talent in reserve. All we need is a midfield destroyer, and we have a compete team.
Literally the only thing I would have changed was Lingard and Jones out, and getting in a Saul/Bissouma. But at least I know what next summer/Jan’s plans are.
So, well done Ole and the rest. He has matched Klopp for his first 100 games and has been equally backed to build a team that can win, and I finally think, that is now.
Calvino(The rest of the window for others was equally spectacular)
How many times can one player be ‘announced’ at a club? Ronaldo is signing
Ronaldo is signing
Ronaldo has signed
Ronaldo has a new shirt number
Ronaldo has a walk around OT
I suppose those shirts won’t sell themselves.
Steve (I have a love and it never fades)
PS Does this mean that there will be no more protests against the Glazers? It’s all gone quiet – even though it was nothing to do with not having a team to challenge for trophies, ahem.
How to get the best of Ronaldo
Shaw, Maguire, Varane, Wan Bissaka
McTominay (or Fred)
Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba
This plays to Pogba’s attacking strength and threat, and does not compromise Greenwood, Fernandes nor Sancho.
If McTominay or Fred under-performs, then, in January, look for a world class defensive midfielder. This has always be the priory.
You heard it here.
James How, Singapore
The Arteta style
Its been a while since I have written to these hallowed pages, mainly because as the years have gone bye I have adjusted to the reality and lost a lot of passion and zeal as the dream of League titles, 4th place runs and Champions league runs fade away but I still watch every match that my Dstv Subscription allows me to watch, still add to my collection of Arsenal Jerseys and Jackets every year in August either as unsolicited birthday presents or grudging purchases of habit. Today however I would just like to write about one Mikel Arteta and how completely out of depth as an Arsenal Manager he is.
I have seen Arsenal teams with the likes of Squillaci, Djourou, Almunia, Senderos , Denilson, Frimpong, Alex Song and many other players people would deem average and therefore excuse poor management because of an incompetent squad. Management is about drawing the best out of your resources and I think Arteta has no idea of how to draw the best out of his resources. Weak arsenal squads or B teams would trounce most bottom half teams under Wenger with handsome score lines even at his lowest.The likes of Walcott,Gervino,Song, Hleb looked like world beaters at Arsenal. Despite defensive frailties Arsenal teams under Wenger where competitive and Wingers like Lauren and midfielders like Toure where converted into defenders. A squad containing the likes of Aubameyang, Pepe, Saka, Lazazette etc is by no means a bottom half squad its a top 3-6 squad with the proper manager who can utilise them correctly. If you look at some of Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides and read out names of average players like John Oshea, Wes Brown, Darren Fletcher, Park Ji Sung etc and how he used to get the best out of them through proper organisation and management then you realise that its easy to blame a board and not look at an incompetent manager without a game plan. Arsenal went all the way to the champions league final with Flamini as a right back not this excuse of saying Cedric or Bellerin are not good enough. The management is simply not good enough because the team has no defined style of play.
Arteta has a squad that has visible strengths but he does not play to those strengths and instead insists on being City lite. Managed correctly we saw Chelsea move from 9th to the top 4 with ease and a Champions League victory whereas with Lampard they where hanging around the bottom half. Arsenal have had worse squads that made it to the top 4 because the team was properly organised to utilise the best of what it had and would win a lot of games against a lot of weaker sides. Arteta is being given an easy ride with blame being left at the hands of others but he has a team that at least should have a charector and ethos thats identifiable. No one can really tell how he wants to play and how does slow build ups help the Pace and trickery of Pepe, Aubameyang or the quick feet of Saka or Smith Rowe. How do endless crosses help the type of players he has? Whilst the owners will trust the process there is no process. Sometimes the one whole is greater than the sum of its parts with Arteta its clearly the opposite he makes Arsenal look like a lower league team and its clearly not the case.
For now we will trust the process because we have no choice but its quiet clear that the Manager is not good enough and the results are a factor of poor management not a poor team.
Farooq Ronnie Shumba (Hope doesn’t kill), Johannesburg
What’s with the Kane hype?
I thought I would give you my thoughts on England going forward and one Harry Kane, I don’t get the hype surrounding Kane, I realise he has a fantastic scoring record etc but every time I have watched him, he looks bang average all be it inevitably scoring a goal in the process of trying to look like Carlton Palmers slower cousin. I do realise I am in a very small minority here but for me a front three of Rashford on the left Sancho on the right and Greenwood upfront is the way forward, and yes I am a United fan but this doesn’t detract from what I am proposing a youthful front three with pace and skill to cause any back line problems, couple that with a midfield three of Rice, Bellingham and Grealish then you are looking at something special. We don’t need two holding midfielders we need to stop with the inferiority complex and go out and show them what kind of team we are and while we’re at it play some good football and not the safety-first tripe we are subjected to at the moment. Gareth Southgate seems a decent bloke but his reactive rather than proactive defensive first management is ruining the crop of exciting young talent he has at his disposal. On a slightly different note, has Pep beaten the shooting out of Sterling? a couple of time the other night Sterling found himself in good positions to at least force the keeper into making a save yet time and again he cuts back and forth looking to pass the ball rather than take responsibility and shooting. Have a great weekend everyone.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Southgate is ‘dross’
I think it was Megan who wrote a very good mail outlying how England have basically been a bit shit. I had to agree fully as I usually like to believe my eyes. What my eyes also noticed is what the defenders of this regime see- a losing semi to Croatia, a losing final to Italy. Both should be inferior, yet, both were considered better, and my eyes proved that was indeed true.
Another good mail pointed out the values of the English team players. Someone then pointed out that doesn’t count for much. Except for the fact it should. There is an English premium, but even with that, these are high quality players hitting high quality numbers.
The golden generation had immense talent but lacked balance. No left winger, Scholes being jammed anywhere, the Gerrard-Lampard double whatever you’d call it and no great center forward. This team has it all except perhaps a Scholes, but so many options in so many positions.
This is why I agree with the Southgate dislikers. He is dross. The football is awful, like so bad. Somebody compared him to Ole which made me giggle as I’m mostly happy with what I see in that regard. Somebody said Hungary are a good side. Against weak opponents he plays it safe, and against equal opponents, the same, and against superior, he goes full into the shell.
No risk, no reward they say..
The manager for this team, and that squad, is ol Juergen Klopp. Solid cb’s, check. Bombarding fullbacks, check. Tireless midfielders, check. Goal scoring wingers, check. Striker who can drop deep and link play, check.
This is a young team, with tons of options, and tons of ability. So why not pay heavy metal football? Most of the squads nowadays are playing high pressing games and if they get injured or out of form, you’ve got backups galore.
For those who still hold firm on Southgate, if this generation comes and goes, and there is nothing to lift, will it have been worth it? Belgium stuck with their man for years and next year is their last chance for a big one. Not many are holding their breath.
Look to the former Spain and the current Italy. Spain were without a title for a long time and decided to play their way and ruled a generation. Italy hired a great coach who understood their ways and have taken them to Euro 2020 champions and the international unbeaten record, in style.
This could be England, or England could end up with just as many trophies as they did ever since ‘68.
TAA in midfield
“Some people think he could be more influential in midfield. How is it possible to be more influential than Trent Alexander-Arnold? We use him as good as we can.” – Klopp
I do not want to add much more to this, but is this not the purpose of any player? To play in a position in which you are most productive? Why do some always go, “Oh imagine how good he would be in a different position!”
What other players do you think face such clamour from fans, urging a player to be played in a different position to which he is excelling in?
Very interesting mail this morning from Alan A about football boots and routines alike, growing up i have had my own fair share of football boots that i would wear be it whilst training for my local team or even just a kickabout with friends down the local park or wherever we could find an empty patch of grass, who needs goalposts when you have jumpers, hoodies, bags or anything that could be placed on the ground?
My most recent pair of boots i have purchased was back in 2014 i think and it was the Nike Magista, whether they are classified as yellow or green i truly have no idea, the colour just reminds me of a hi-vis jacket you would find on a building site so we can call it Hi-Vis instead, but as much as they are nice, comfy and do the job they hold no sentimental value at all, the pair of boots that do mean a lot to me are the Nike Total 90 III VT in burgundy from back in the early noughties, the best way of describing them is think of that classic Arsenal burgundy kit from their final season at Highbury, they are to me the perfect football boot in comfort, colour and style, my memory of which players famously wore them is a bit thin on the ground, i seem to remember Thierry Henry and Luis Figo but could be very wrong.
In terms of a routine before a football game, well i would usually do all the standard warm ups at home before being driven to whichever random park this week’s game was being played on, before that journey my routine or ritual was quite simple, nothing fancy like left sock first etc, it was simply put my gear on, have music on in the background, usually something by The Kooks or whichever popular indie band was trending at the time, get into the zone and hopefully not make a total fool of myself.
Now i come to think about it, was there ever a better era for football boot design than that early noughties period?
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod