There is some serious misery from Arsenal fans…

Editor F365

There’s a real lack of optimism about Arsenal. Where will the goals come from if not Joe Willock? Mail thoughts to


Defending Arsenal and how markets work
Graham Simons’ mail made me laugh and illustrated a lack of understanding of how a market works. There is only one team interested in Joe Willock and they are only willing to pay 20 million pounds so he is worth 20 million pounds. Whether or not that is a good or bad price will only become clear with hindsight. I am happy we are taking a fee for a player we are not using while we can because he won’t sign a new contract and won’t play much. We are therefore right to sell and hopefully use the money on a player we need.

The reason why I consider this better business than previously is because last summer we kept Ainsley Maitland Niles and didn’t play him. Now nobody wants him, he won’t sign a new contract and will probably leave on a free, just like Eddie Nketiah who we should have also sold probably in January 2021 when teams fearing relegation always want a striker. Going back a bit Aaron Ramsey leaving on free was also stupid.

Arsenal are currently being criticised for selling Emi Martinez to cheaply last season but we only say this because he did well at Villa. However Arsenal sold Emi Martinez because he was the keeper we received offers for. There was no choice of which keeper to sell because we nobody made offers for Leno. I am happy they sold him rather than have him leave for a free.

Going further back Aaron Ramsey left on a free which frustrates me still. While Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi were sold for decent money with hindsight but nobody ever mentions the good business there.

Criticism of Arsenal is easy and justified but please choose the right things to do it about. I won’t even begin to talk about poor or over priced signings cough Pepe/Mustafi cough.
Croydon Gooner


No Arsenal optimism here
It is with fear and trepidation that I await the start of the new Premier season!

During the latter part of last season our defence was in good shape but we went out and bought White from Brighton; a fantastic purchase but not where our priorities lay.

We are utterly dependent on Leno staying fit as our back-up goalkeepers are just not good enough. Runarsson’s confidence must be shot to pieces and the two young goalkeepers vying for 3rd choice lack experience.

Mat Ryan was a very safe pair of hands and did very well for us during his short time on loan and had indicated that he wanted to stay, so why didn’t we keep him? We will regret not having an experienced back up keeper as we enter the new season.

In midfield Partey is once again injured and we are looking to cover the situation with Elneny and Xhaka (with hopefully Lokonga playing instead of Elneny). The talk is that we need to buy a better midfielder to support Partey yet for some inexplicable reason we are looking to sell Joe Willock to Newcastle! He is an excellent young talent who should be given an extended run in our first team and certainly not sold on the cheap. Newcastle will think that Christmas has come early if they manage to secure the deal.

I could go on, but suffice to say I have little or no confidence in Edu and Arteta’s transfer dealings and it seems a very long time ago that Arsenal was in the safe hands of David Dein and Arsene Wenger!

Best wishes to all at Football365.


…Graham Simons is right. On the evidence of our pre-season, we have lacked creativity and struggled to score goals so we then go and sell one of the few players who regularly scored when he played last season? Madness. What are Edu & the negotiating team doing? There are at least three players who were ‘definitely leaving’ who are still at the club, at least two who ‘want to leave’ who are still there. And one incredibbly talented English lad, who, just because his style of play doesn’t fit into the manager’s 4-2-3-1 gets sold to Newcastle. We’ll be fighting Newcastle for 15th place at the end of the season.
Exiled Gooner (Arteta will be gone by December)


Willock sale is odd
Don’t often comment on rival teams and their business because I am not entirely clued up on them as much as my own team, however looking over the Joe Willock situation it does seem quite a confusing affair as to why it has been sanctioned, so I took a look and did some digging and this was the conclusion I came to.

Joe Willock was part of a Newcastle side in which he flourished in their 5-3-2 formation, often playing in the left or right position next to the CM or CAM, feeding balls into whoever was up top for Newcastle usually Saint-Maximin or Joelinton, when looking over Arsenal under Mikel Arteta it seems he mainly plays a 4-2-3-1 system, so clearly there would be a place for Willock in one of those places, unlikely to displace Nicolas Pepe but he could certainly do a much better job than former Blue Willian who was seen on that left hand side, the only issue is the rotation due to the players that can play either side of the CAM, you do have Willian but being serious you have Saka, Martinelli and also Aubameyang who were all in those roles last season, it certainly is not an impossible feat to displace one of those but would be a challenge.

Personally when you have a talent like Joe Willock on your books you certainly should do your best to fit him into your side, whether Willock would be happy with a rotational role is another question, however I can understand the frustration Arsenal fans are currently feeling right now with his potential sale especially for what feels to be a bargain fee for Newcastle, since i mentioned him another player who seems to be an exciting talent is Gabriel Martinelli, whenever he plays he causes nightmares for the opposition and any Chelsea fan can testify that, he did start last season off with that knee injury but I hope to see more of him in the upcoming season because i know many clubs would love to take him and bring him into their squad.
Mikey, CFC


Wet Tuesdays in Stoke?
Any suggestion that Messi needs to play in the PL specifically to prove his quality is nonsense. As has been pointed out, he has an excellent record against elite English teams already. He doesn’t need to kick another football again in any league in any nation to prove his quality.

Having said that, the news that he’s almost certainly going to Paris left me a bit deflated. While I suspect there is no other club who would contemplate matching the remuneration I imagine he’s about to receive, there would have been a queue of clubs in England and Italy who would still kept him him one of the best paid players in the world.

Messi playing in Ligue Un every week is like hopping in your Bugati to pick up the shopping at Iceland… its gaudy, and a waste of his talents.

Personally, I think he’s read the Mailbox and all that talk of wet Tuesdays in Stoke has got to him. He’s leaving Barcelona (640mm of rainfall annually on average) for Paris (641mm). He’s obviously too much of a coward to play in a place with a challenging level of precipitation like Manchester (867mm), Turin (1000mm) or Milan (1100mm!) – the absolute fraud.
Andy (MUFC)
P.s. how does the North of England have such a bad reputation for its whether, when seemingly, Northern Italians have to practically swim to work every day…

Lionel Messi


‘Testing yourself’ is not a thing
Good point from Paul yesterday about one club players, who are normally lauded for loyalty, rather than criticised for not testing themselves. I’d like to add something to that, and ask about the very concept of ‘testing yourself’. I don’t understand why it is so often used as a stick to beat players with, because ‘testing yourself’ is not a thing.

There are four common reasons a player moves clubs. There’s money, the chance to win trophies, or moving to a more prestigious club. Sometimes these 3 go together. Then there’s moving because you’re out of favour, which is where you tend to drop down to a lower level. What is not a thing is players leaving a club where they are happy and winning trophies to ‘test themselves’ in another league. It doesn’t happen.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some of the greatest footballers of the 21st century.

Zidane: Moved to Juventus because it was a step up. Then moved to Madrid to be part of the Galactico era. Money & more chance of trophies. Not to test himself.

Xavi: Barcelona his whole career, then moved to Qatar for the money.

Iniesta: See above, but replace Qatar with Japan.

Henry: Left Juventus for Arsenal because he was unhappy. Then moved to Barcelona as a step up, to win more trophies. Moved to MLS for the cash.

Ramos: Moved to Real Madrid, then only left when he was past it. Felt no need to ‘test himself’ in England, Germany or Italy.

Ronaldo (the other one): Moved around for various reasons. Mainly money and the chance to win trophies. Again, at no point did he move to ‘test himself.’

Ronaldo (that one): Moved to United as an 18 year old, then Moved to Real Madrid to join his dream club. Once past his peak, moved to an utterly dominant Juventus side, a step down from Madrid.

Buffon: Quite happy to stay at the club he loved. Until a move to PSG for some money.

Philip Lahm: Played at Bayern. Happy to stay there.

Suarez: Stepped up from Ajax to Liverpool, then stepped up again to play for Barcelona. Again, his dream move. Left when he wasn’t wanted,

I could go on, but there is a common theme here for most of these players and almost every other of the game’s elite players. They either stayed at the club they loved, a la Lahm, Maldini or Buffon or they moved up until they played for one of the 2 most prestigious clubs in the world: Barcelona and Real Madrid. These players then stayed there until they were no longer wanted.

What they don’t do, and what no player has ever done, is randomly leave a highly successful club to ‘test themselves’ in another league. Seriously, can anyone give me an example where this has happened? Where a player has left a dominant side, as Messi would have done, purely for the reason of getting to play in a different league?

To finish, this has nothing to do with Messi v Ronaldo. I couldn’t care less who you think is the better player. But what is incredibly stupid is to criticise Messi for not moving to ‘test himself’ when this is not something that players ever do.
Mike, LFC, London


Messi deal in the stars
I am no clairvoyant but this deal was in the cards from a while back. This deal was done verbally months ago.

Messi wanted Barca to sign back Neymar, it didn’t happen.

Barca sells Suarez for no apparent reason, but yet signs Greizmann for a silly amount and high wages. I don’t think many people would choose Greizmann over Suarez.

Suarez then joins Atletico Madrid and wins the League with them.

Surely, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Did anyone really think he was going to Man City, even Pep said he hopes he never leaves Barca.

Messi is about Messi and has jumped the Barcelona sinking ship.

Can’t say I am sad over their pending decline, all great things must come to an end.
Christian Gooner Toronto


Mailbox corrections
While reading the mailbox recently, I came across an email that stated that when players transfer, the selling club pays the remaining salary of the old contract to the player. This isn’t true, right? When the player is transferred, the buying team pays a fee to the selling team, and the old contract is terminated. A new contract is then agreed with the buying club. Players would be pushing to be sold much more frequently if they stood to basically earn two salaries upon transferring.

In another email, someone stated that the U.S.- Australia Women’s Olympic game was for the gold medal. It was for the bronze medal. Canada beat Sweden in the gold medal match.
Nathan, Newark


Joe and Richard M from Monday’s mailbox questioned Chris NZ and his claim that ‘when a club sells a player, they pay out the remainder of that player’s contract to the player’. I actually think Chris is right, for two reasons.

Firstly, it’s discussed in I AM THE SECRET FOOTBALLER (Chapter 6, page 197 in my copy). And I quote:

“Financially, there is a fortune to be made in the Premier League just by moving clubs, and it works like this: as long as a player doesn’t officially ask to leave his current club, he is legally entitled to the remainder of the value of his contract (this is nullified if you hand in a transfer request)”

… the author then goes on to discuss a situation in which he was being sold …. “The sticking point was that I was earning £1.4 million a year and had about 12 months left on my current deal. We entered into negotiations in which I told them how happy I was at the club and how I didn’t want to leave. Eventually we settled on a severance fee of more than £500,000 to be paid quarterly over the following year.”

Secondly, and most of all, it just makes sense that the club would have to buy out any player’s contract that they intend to sell. All contracts, in whatever type of business you can think of, are a binding agreement between at least two parties. If a club accepts a hefty transfer offer, they are unilaterally looking to break the contract that they signed with the player (by exiting the agreement early). In that situation, the player is entitled to point to his contract and say: “fine, but note how you promised me X amount of money spread over Y amount of time”.

What’s the solution? You settle the contract early by either paying out its full value or by reaching some sort of compromise figure. For the secret footballer above, it was about half of the remaining value. I imagine Wayne Rooney waived the last year of his contract entirely when United said Everton would take him on a free.

Say what you like about Levy, he has to factor this into his pricing of Kane. Assuming that City come calling and Kane hasn’t been stupid enough to hand in a transfer request, Levy has to protect Spurs from that brother-agent of Harry turning around and saying “what about the £30 million due to us over the next three years from this contract you wrote?”.
Richard, Brighton


Howay the Bay
The e-mail from Graham, LFC regarding taking his young son to his first match, and how it has recharged his own passion for football, is very similar to my own experience over the last few weeks.

My 9 year old son loves playing football, both in the garden, in the park and for his local team (come on Great Park Juniors!!), watches loads of clips of football on You Tube and plays many a game of FIFA but has never really watched a full match for 90 minutes, except for on TV and even then he has You Tube on at the same time.

I had taken him to watch Newcastle United when he was 6 but we left after 20 minutes as the crowd was to big and he just could not settle.

Roll on to a couple of weeks ago when we stayed on after his team’s training session to watch the senior team play the last 20 of their match. After standing and watching a couple of goals go in he asked if we could go see a full game together.

So I took him to watch Whitley Bay FC play and he loved every minute of the experience. The end to end action, watching players give it all for 90 minutes, the hard (but mainly fair), tackles just had him glued to his seat for the full length of the game. Even though Whitley lost 2-3 after going 0-3 down he could not wait to see more football.

So we followed this up on Saturday with a trip to St James Park to watch the Newcastle United friendly against Norwich City.

Watching my son going crazy when Newcastle scored, watching him take in the size of the stadium, asking questions to me about football in general and just getting caught up in the moment has given me a reason to start going back to watch live football.

The cost of seeing Newcastle play is a bit too much for us to go to every home game, but Whitley Bay will be getting an extra two fans every time that they are at home.

Howay the Bay.
Ginger Hammer, NUFC and WBFC


Not taking that
John, Shropshire, even as the opposite of a 90s teenage girl I can only say you’re having a laugh mate. Robbie and Gary? That Gary? Mark and Jason, sure, maybe even Howard, but Gary? Behave yourself.
DF (E17 fanboy)