Erik ten Hag will already be having doubts about Man Utd, while there are mails on Jesse Marsch, Liverpool fans and more…
Get your views in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Another summer of stagnation
Here we are again. Manchester United apparently interested in every player in Europe while buying no one. Still trying to prove their business creds by bargaining, not the football creds by stumping up the asking price. Feeding the gossip journos more than the fans. The new manager realising that Van Gaal was right, they are no longer interested in being a football first club, more in being a cost-cutting corporation. His first summer, and already he will be thinking “what am I doing here?”. It will now be blatantly bleedin’ obvious why the club is in decline.
If Chelsea is worth £4 billion, what is the value of United? Is it not enough to get the Glazers to sell and bank their profit? If only.
City transfer successes
Andy D, MCFC is very quick to claim that City’s transfer hit rate is high and he is right. City are an incredibly well run football club. Its not just about the money. They are not a club that has all the gear but no idea. However, they have loads and loads of money. He cites Mahrez as example of a successful transfer. Using Andy’s own source of Transfermarkt, Mahrez was a £61m transfer and last season played 28 times. He is a squad player. Every club outside of the state oil money clubs of City, Chelsea and PSG would think that £61m on a squad player is a failure. Sancho, Keita (54m), Pepe, Ndombele.
Same for another of his identified successful transfers in John Stones. There aren’t many clubs claiming a £50m CB with 14 appearances last year as a successful transfer.
Buy cheap, buy twice. The reason why Villa and Everton spend so much money net is because they can’t buy the best players for however much and if it doesn’t work out then just use them as a squad player and spend even more on a replacement. They buy a player because they think they are going to be right for them, find out they aren’t, and then have to sell them for less than they paid.
This is why Liverpool’s net spend calculation is changing. Five years of milking the champions league and premier league for all it worth combined with good purchases means that Liverpool no longer has to sell to buy. But it was continued success in the champions league and premier league as well as getting good money for Coutinho and Sterling (ta City) that has built that.
If Haaland doesn’t work out for City, you’ll just buy another striker and Haaland, Mahrez, Jones and Grealish can be a quarter billion bench buddies. If Darwin Nunez doesn’t work for Liverpool then there is a real chance that City win the league for each of the next three years in March.
Alex, South London
I actually thought the ‘bottomless money insulates a club from mistakes’ was so obvious that there was little point in sending the email. But football fans and their need to defend their clubs.
Andy D. If Pep Guardiola isn’t the best manger in the world, then he is in the top two. His hit rate in the transfer market is exceptional. But of course, city have been owned by Sheik Mansoor since 2008. Since then:
You turned yourselves from a mid table side to champions league qualifier despite signing Robinho, Jo, Adebayor, lescott and Santa Cruz.
You maintained top four and won a league under Manchini despite signing Nasri, Hargreaves, Balotelli, Rodwell, Garcia, Sinclair and Maicon.
Won a title under Pelegrini and maintained top 4 despite signing Jovetic, Negrado, Navas, Mangala, Bony and Otamendi before Guadiola joined.
Actually, even with this list, Man City have, generally, spent their money fairly well. The main difference between them and PSG is that City are, annoyingly, pretty well run. But they still make mistakes. Everyone does. Because transfers are hard, footballers are people, and sometimes shit just doesn’t work out. I say ‘ Such wealth makes those mistakes irrelevant’ and you respond with ‘yeah, well, we don’t make mistakes!’ Even if that was true, and it clearly isn’t, you confident you’ll never make one ever? Really? Of course not. And when you do spend way too much for way to little it won’t matter. This is an obvious point. Not an attack on you or you club. Just the way football has gone.
To contrast, I’m an Arsenal fan. And the reason we found ourselves with two eighth places finishes and not making top four last season is the legacy of our poor choices in the transfer market. From spending £170 million on Lacazette, Aubamayang and Pepe when they couldn’t play together, to giving Ozil that contract, to Mustafi being Mustafi, we made mistakes and we paid. We deserved to. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If Spurs or Liverpool fucked it like we did they’d be where we are now. If any other team in the league fucked it like we did, they’d be relegated or close to, like Everton. But not the clubs who have no financial consequences when they fuck up. That’s not really even an opinion. It’s just counting.
Andy D, we also have different definitions of paying for your mistakes. You site finishing 3rd because of Bravo. That doesn’t seem much of a cost. As for the champions league, you’ve made finals and semi finals, despite the lack of left back (does Zinchenko not count?). Making those stages of the competition is hardly failure. And are we sure losing was the left back and not Pep’s tactics and/or bad luck?
A question about fans…
I am a full-scale football (Liverpool) fan, but a small-scale football game goer (money, family etc). And so, this is a very small sample set, but I have an observation from the two games I went to last season. Liverpool vs West Ham in London and Liverpool vs Aston Villa at Anfield. I was sat in the West Ham end for that game, and the Liverpool end for the Anfield game. The contrast between the two sets of fans was really quite stark. The West Ham fans were very angry towards the Liverpool players, calling them all sorts of names, and often slagging off the west ham players. There were one or two positive songs for west ham players, mainly after they had scored, but I would say 80% of the chants were of a negative nature. The Liverpool fans sang close to 100% about Liverpool players, and nearly all of the comments I’d heard were positive. So….. my question to others, who have been to more games is this: are Liverpool fans more upbeat by nature (maybe explaining all of the “this means more”, best team ever etc), or are West Ham fans particularly negative? Or is it because West Ham were playing a so-called big club, and therefore that made them aggressive and fired-up? If West Ham play, say Peterborough, would they be cheery and supportive? If Liverpool weren’t playing well and winning things, would their fans be more negative and aggressive? Are other clubs more like Liverpool or West Ham? Or maybe both are at the extremes?
Interesting read regarding does it matter if clubs get their transfers done early in the summer or not. I’m sure managers and fans would like all the new signings in place by the start of pre season training. It has always made me wonder why there is a mad scramble for clubs to sign players when we hit August and the window is closing. Many factors dictate why this is. Players on holiday, summer tournaments etc probably slow the process. The main factor’s though are usually posturing from clubs, and the market is ever changing. A player not available in June may become available in August for example. The biggest factor is usually posturing, the clubs haggling over the fee for a long time. The selling club want the best price, and to get their own transfer targets lined up, and don’t want other clubs knowing they have just had a big cash injection. The longer it takes for the two clubs to come to an agreement, the longer it takes to sign the player. Liverpool for example, wanted Darwin Nunez. Knew he was the only major signing we need, and Benfica were willing sellers at the right price. Liverpool paid the required fee after a little haggling and the deal was done quickly. Man Utd are reportedly trying to sign Frenkie De Jong. They and Barcelona are struggling to agree a fee. This is probably a two fold issue. Barca want more than Utd are willing to pay, and also with their financial issues, don’t want other clubs knowing they have more money following a big sale, so want their own signings completed first. Will the deal happen? Most likely, eventually. It’s just more complicated than the mentioned Nunez deal.
With transfers it is all of course more about how the players signed work out more than when they are signed. Last summer Chelsea signed Lukaku, Man Utd signed Ronaldo, Varane, Sancho. All were on paper excellent signings and would take those clubs on to another level. The fact they all turned out to be varying degrees of disasters is more important than when in the window they were signed.
The news that Man City have agreed personal terms with Marc Cucurella but have not agreed a fee with Brighton has left me a bit confused. Hoping the Mailbox can shed some light…
I thought transfers involved one club bidding a certain amount of cash for a player, the club receiving the bid accepting the offer, then contract negotiations begin. Maybe I’ve been playing too much Football Manager.
Tapping up I understand is negotiating personal terms without the other club’s knowledge. What do you call agreeing personal terms when no bid has been accepted?
Purely sending this mail in the search for clarity and enlightenment. Nothing to do with sour grapes that one of Brighton’s best players is being bought by the oil merchants.
Re: Andy’s mail this morning on Jesse Marsch and the Board and i have to respectfully disagree with him. I won’t get into the debate on the rights and wrongs of Bielsa leaving as that one’s been done to death and still rumbles on amongst the fan base.
What i’m more interested in is the complaints over recruitment and the board. I know football fans have a sense of entitlement and we all back our teams but we need to accept a few things:
1) Our problems this year were 100% due to having a small squad that couldn’t cope with injuries. Therefore we need to increase the size of it.
2) We are in a decent position financially (which is the board’s doing whether anyone likes them or not) but we aren’t rich relative to any other clubs so we can’t just go throwing £40-£50m quid out on players. Why do people want us to start gambling again? Everton were a couple of wins away from a financial meltdown, they might still be. Why do we want that?
3) We aren’t top tier. We used to be, maybe we will be again, but right now we’re a club playing in (arguably) the best league, but we just avoided relegation, so that makes us less attractive. I saw a couple of our fans laughably suggesting one player would want to choose us over Milan!
4) The new recruits actually all look fairly good, writing them off already is ridiculous.
So taking all the above into account, this notion amongst some Leeds fans that we should be spending huge money on players and many have talked about the Board spending any money we get if Raph or KP leave on a like for like cost and skill level replacement is just absolutely moronic. We could buy someone for £60m and then they get injured. You can do that if you’re Man City and you’ve got an elite team across all positions. Before we start trying to that how about we just get a really solid team first, with the right number of players.
Also again, we nearly got relegated, i’d take a couple of years of “stagnation” in the premier league first. Stagnation is another mans consolidation.
Dave, Leeds fan in Warwick
World Cup opening match…
I just read Ian King’s article about Brazil.
One thing that never changes is that it doesn’t feel that the World Cup has started until Brazil play. Surely it’s time to change things? Rather than the first game always involving the hosts or holders, why can’t FIFA come up with a format where the first game always involves Brazil?
Newsflash: Brazil are ALWAYS World Cup favourites with the bookies. And England are ALWAYS second favourites. That’s because bookies set odds based on what they think the market will think will happen, not what they themselves think will happen. Brazil always get heavy bets on them because of their glorious past history, England because of sentiment. It would be a disaster for the bookies if either did win, which is why the odds they set aren’t that good relative to their real chances.
For an example, in 2010 Tony McCoy was on a horse called Don’t Push It for the Grand National. He was miles and away the most successful jump jockey of his day but had never won the National. Money started piling on him because 40/1 seemed very generous, then the hype started ‘Could this finally be McCoy’s year?’ and loads of occasional punters got a whiff of it until the odds came down, down and down until Don’t Push It went off as favourite. He won and it was the worst beating the bookies ever took.
Andrew (It’ll be Germany again, actually) Warmington, THFC
Man Utd sink to new low…
I am sick of seeing various reports from ‘Man United sources’ about how they ‘pulled out’ of the race for Darwin Nunez or that the Benfica president had food poisoning and meeting got postponed. We know it’s all horsesh$t and that the player just didn’t fancy them. Even Christian Eriksen is flipping a coin to decide on whether he signs on for Brentford or Utd (tough choice I know).
Just face it…Utd are not the prospect they once were for world class potentials/players, and it’s ok…there are plenty of mid table players out there…
Paul (LFC Sydney)
Oxlade- Chamberlain doing as he does (not that he has any say in it) = David May, happy to play a bit part but still collecting medals.
Sarn Smith. ( leaving Arsenal for more game time worked well).