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I hope Torriera outlasts Arteta
So Partey’s out. Xhaka’s made a u-turn but only after Roma failed to stump up the cash. Azeez and Lokonga are way too green and Elneny’s off form and off to the African Cup on Nations with Partey later in the season.
And there’s still no place for Torriera, who let’s not forget has never messed the club about, lost his mum in the past year, scored the winner in a North London derby and is still loved by the fans.
I sincerely hope Lucas outlasts Arteta – there is a player in there and I want to see him in the red and white again – far more than I want to watch Arteta’s dull style of football.
Arteta’s just Terry Neill in disguise, isn’t he?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Harry Kane saga
All the old Spurs players keep reminding us that “no player is bigger than the club” cos they’ve heard all the big clubs roll out that line over the years.
But in this case, Harry Kane actually IS bigger than the club! And I have a funny feeling Spurs are about to realise that over the next few seasons…😕
Just wondering what city have done to ire Dan so much in the mornings mailbox……they’ve remained silent on the whole Kane thing throughout………shame on them the bad b******s.
Paul (F**k spurs and F**k Harry Kane), Manchester
Is it sad that my first thought on hearing that Harry Kane had gone on strike was to contemplate how certain sections of the media would twist themselves in knots to still call him a hero?
Other than the cynicism, I have no idea how it ends – though the idea of City with Kane is terrifying.
Been thinking this for a while, but Dan repeating the conventional wisdom that Harry Kane has little say in the current proceedings in this morning’s Mailbox got me to write. Won’t debate the point too much, but I do think it’s quaint to suggest Kane has little power and his desires are “irrelevant” simply because of his contract.
The circumstances differ – Kane is in fact a much more valuable and important player – but the Cesc Fabregas-to-Barcelona transfer saga comes to mind. Sold in 2011, Fabregas was under contract until 2014,. Around 2009-10, when all the transfer noise from Barcelona began, Arsenal had 4-5 years to play for and every reason to feel they were in the driver’s seat to get a huge fee.
Now, Arsenal were and are a shower of a football club, but still, does any of the following sound familiar? A finance-conscious club in a phase of needing to balance the books a few years on from a large debt-financed stadium build; the club’s most valuable, but overworked and increasingly injury-prone asset wanting away; the transfer value of said asset dropping with each passing transfer window; the inevitable rethink and replacements required in his absence needing maximum funding; and the whole thing becoming a huge distraction for a club that needed to move on, while trying to maintain the payday of European football. Anything?
All I suggest is don’t dismiss player power, even when that player is under contract. Especially when that player is Harry f’ing Kane, one of the brightest stars in world football, but a rapidly depreciating asset nonetheless, and the club is Spurs, given what they as a club presumably need to do both on and off the pitch over the next few years. And don’t be surprised when he’s ultimately sold this summer at a modest discount to what Spurs claim they want.
A couple of letters in this morning’s mailbox were a little bit out of Simon Jordan school of football economics – sounding sort of right but actually missing a big point in both cases.
Dan’s email: Kane is under contract so ‘it is not in his hands’ – I remember hearing Jordan say this repeatedly earlier in the summer. It is true that footballers are like assets in the sense that they are ‘owned’ while under contract. But the difference is that they have agency – they have the ability to affect their own value by their behaviour. If you wanted to sell your car for £12k and someone offered only £9k, but then the car found out refused to start, the decision to sell or not would still be yours, but you would probably reconsider your price. But cars don’t have agency (except KITT obviously).
Curtis’s email on £100m players, worth, value and price: Price is what you pay, value/worth is what you get. If I paid £10 for a chair and it collapsed as soon as I sat on it, you’d probably say ‘well it turns out that wasn’t worth £10’. If I insisted ‘yes it was’, you’d check me for sharp implements and then back away slowly. Value/worth is also usually relative, no one is trying to define a £100m player, they are usually thinking what else you could have got for it (other players, a new academy etc) – Curtis says Maguire is ‘worth’ £85m because that was the fee paid. But that implies Maguire is worth more than VVD (£75m) and Robertson (£8m) combined – I’m pretty sure very few would agree with that statement. So I wouldn’t say it’s ‘nonsense’ to discuss the decision making of the buyers/sellers (on laptops in air-conditioned rooms) and the other stuff they could have done with the same money.
I wrote in on Harry Kane before (pre Euros) where I said that Kane will have traditional media on his side and more bargaining power because of his status as England captain. It is pointing the obvious, but he wants a move. I can understand Levy’s position in wanting to keep their best player, and the contract, and how difficult he would be to replace but I can’t see how it will be worth it. Or for Nuno. Nuno is going to be the one who has to work with an unhappy player, and he’ll be the one asked about Kane after every press conference. It’s the one thing that seems to irk even the most amicable of managers: repeated questions about the same player. Will every goal Kane scores have a hidden meaning? Will every bad game have a hidden meaning? It’s a circus when this happens and will only be worse for a player of Kane’s stature. I personally don’t think any club should keep an unhappy player. Even if Bruno came out and publicly said he wanted to leave and didn’t turn up to training I’d say sell him.
If the report that City won’t go over 130m is true, I’d take it. Spurs have holes in their squad. I know this sounds a weird way to judge but I’d be thinking in league position. If you expect Spurs to finish 6th, could they still finish 6th without Kane but with a better right-back, good striker, and a right winger? If they buy really well could they even finish higher, being a better all-round unit instead of relying on Kane and Son scoring? And it’s also worth saying, if they keep him and he doesn’t perform to his usual standards, then where are they more likely to finish in the league?
To my memory, keeping a player that wishes to leave only works well if there’s an understanding and agreement in place and honoured: Ronaldo at United, Chilwell and Mahrez at Leicester. Coutinho dipped when he didn’t get his Barcelona move when he wanted, Erikson with Spurs.
But the biggest question is the one I said above. If Spurs have say 40m to spend in the transfer market, and sell Kane for 130m, would 170m of new players get them to their expected league position or higher, or would keeping an unhappy Kane actually give them a lower league position and a season of media circus?
Jacky Boy and England’s worst performer
Watching Jack Grealish going up to the Villa fans in a training session, shows just what a genuinely nice guy he is. He seemed a little embarrassed at just how much the people there love him. Very humble, looked very shy. “Do you really wanna go to a club that was formed 10 years ago?” was just classic.
Each to their own and all that, but football has changed so much in monetary terms that really, is going to a club to win things the be all and end all now?
Yes, I’m sure they’d love to get their hands on titles, like anyone but is becoming a club legend more than enough?
I’d love to see Jack rock up at Old Trafford, drape the #7 around his shoulders and show Pogba how it’s done but, you know what? It would be great if Jack stayed at Villa. He is obviously idolized there, the fans love him, club loves him and even opposition fans don’t really have a bad word to say about him. He is one of those players that you cannot not like. Going to City, or Utd for that matter would change that.
Seeing Jack in anything but a Club shirt in Villa colours is just wrong. Stay at Villa Jack, be the big fish, be the main man. Don’t become a Pep Puppet, I honestly think going to City will ruin him.
Now for the complete opposite, Harry Kane. England’s worst performer at the Euros. Anyone who says otherwise must have been blind drunk. Harry Kane was awful and I think he knows it. Which is the reason why he decided to go AWOL on his first day back at Spurs. You know, the Spurs that made him, the Spurs that gave him his career, who made him Captain, made him a millionaire. Spurs who gave him an amazing contract that he happily signed.
I think he knows that he is 1 injury away from being crocked, he literally has no pace and as the game is getting faster, Kane will be left behind. So he is looking for the big pay day before he eventually declines to becoming a bit part player.
I think the way that contracts are now, it is making them pointless. Players can just go on strike, not turn up etc. A fine is nothing to them and I do think that if a player hands in a transfer request, then a huge penalty should be handed out. Minimum release fee’s could be a way to go, but I’d also add on top the total cost of the contract remaining. So if a player is on 200k a week with 3 years left, with a minimum release fee of 50 million, then it’s 50 mill plus 31 mill contract fee. How about for rogue players, a non compete clause so if they want out they cannot remain in the same league? I don’t know what the answer is but players are now bigger than the club the play for yet are merely a paid employee. Like I said, no idea what the answer is, but players can’t just up sticks and want out.
So massive respect for Jack for the way he is dealing with it all. He’ll probably go to City, but at least he is looking like he’ll do it in style and not like the over grown child that Kane seems to be.
Mike (Be like Jack, show some damn respect to the people who made you what you are)
Marcus Rashford – the average player
In every WhatsApp group, there’s usually a person who spouts the absurdly contrarian view and hogs the conversation as everybody tries to reason with him or her. JB is that person for the mailbox, apparently. But I’ll bite on the point of Rashford being an average player.
Rashford is 23 years old going into the 21/22 season. In the past 3 seasons he has scored 10, 17, and 11 goals, despite having had injury periods in both seasons that have kept him out of 8-10 games. For reference, Andy Cole’s best seasons for United had him scoring 15, 17, and 19 goals. Solksjaer’s best 3-year return is 12, 10, and 17. When Rooney was the same age as Rashford, his last 3 seasons had returned 16, 14, and 12 goals. Or Sterling’s return at the same age was 6, 7, and 18 goals. Mo Salah had scored 17 goals in 76 appearances across Basel, Chelsea, and Roma in the 3 years up to turning 23. So yes, if Rashford is an average player, he’s much like these other average players, whatever happens in future.
Let’s put it to one side that most of the others such as Sterling, and Rooney played for fabulous coaches in settled teams that were blowing most other teams away, and enjoying plenty of rotation, and accompanied by other in-form strikers so they were rarely the sole focus of opposition defences. And let’s put aside the human being that Rashford is. Or that his assist rate is comparable to Mo Salah and Sterling’s current assist rate in the Premier League.
Yup. Bang average.
Ved Sen, MUFC
Stale Premier League
With only 2 weeks to go until the new season it is quite remarkable how relatively stagnant the transfer market has been across Europe. Essentially the only place with any money is the Premier League, the rest of Europe seems to be looking at creative loans with options/obligations to buy or free transfers or simply trying to balance the books any way they can after 18 months of covid effected football.
The only way to make any move in the window seems to be to sell to a Premier League club. Lots of clubs are having to make do with what they have – which certainly puts a lot more pressure on the coaching staff to improve their squads on the training pitch rather than the transfer market.
It is also noticeable that without much business coming from Europe that some of the top clubs in the Prem are struggling to shift their unwanted players, almost universally sitting on high wages. You only had to look at the squad lists from the Arsenal v Chelsea friendly at the weekend to easily count 6-7 players from both sides who they would happily move on if there were willing buyers. It leaves these clubs with a decision:
a) get rid of these players at any cost, even if it is for free or a vastly reduced transfer fee
b) send them on loan – kicking the can down the road
c) put up with them in the squad draining wages and in some cases morale
This is where any club with a stable squad or infinite resources has a huge advantage and I’d expect them to flourish again next year. Of course in terms of the stable squad that is due to their own good transfer dealings in the past.
In short, I can’t see much shake up in the Prem simply because most teams have pretty much the same squad as they did last season. Or perhaps I’m wrong and we’ll see a absolutely bonkers end to the window where every team who has so far been waiting for someone else to blink eventually panics and goes all in knowing the pressure is on to sh*t or get off the pot!
Too late for wage caps
Andy (MUFC) made valid points regarding John’s article on wage caps and abolishing transfer fees. John should realise that not only has that ship sailed but he is now stalking his childhood sweetheart on social media, and looking at photos of her happily playing with her family on a beach.
Introduction of wage caps needed to be made when football became professional and has to be international inforced. Rugby introduced wage caps but suffered because players could play in France and earn 10 times the money and it was only the threat of never being able to play for your country that stopped the best players walking out.
And where do you cut the wage cap, are all clubs expected to be allowed to pay the same? If you could earn the same money tearing up the championship as fighting tooth and nail in the premier league and playing in Europe then wouldn’t some players go for the easy life? Just look at the big names that have gone to play in the USA or China for final pay offs for their last few years.
As for transfer fees and shorter contracts, it would reduce the incentives for player development and clubs funding youth academies. Why would clubs want to spend millions on youth development, where match day revenue is basically mum and dad, if a player can transfer for free as soon as a bigger club comes calling. The transfer fee is partially compensation for clubs paying for the coaching and development. Which is why many transfers also including selling on fees. We don’t have a collegiate system that would support and fund youth development.
It’s a good idea but fundamentally flawed, as long as fans are willing to pay and clubs can earn commercial contracts based on big name players and on field success, then wages caps and removing transfer fees can never happen.
Blue Chelsea Blue
Just who do spurs and their fans think they are? They are the first side to try and pay £4 for a player yet try and get a billion out of everyone of there’s and then kick off at hero’s when they want to league. No doubt kane leaving will hurt them, he’s one of the best strikers in Europe, but do they forget the 6-10 weeks he misses each season? Do they forget the reason he probably wants to leave is because they don’t challenge for trophies ever (champions league final aside which they’d lost after 117 seconds). They aren’t a big club, they are a stepping stone to a big club. Fantastic stadium yes but other than that and the fact London is the capital what pull do they have? From the outside don’t appear to be ambitious, a player never looks up and says I want to go to Spurs, doesn’t happen. Don’t sign elite players and fair play to them keeping the business model in place but do they really expect people to want to stay there? I just don’t get it, this Romero should’ve been signed weeks ago but they won’t pay the fee, and when he kicks off in training it will be fine, but one of their players does it and he’s the devil. Never known a club have double standards. I’d say send this email back to me when they win the league but hopefully I’ll be dead in 237 years. Can’t wait for some abuse and I’m not even a Gooner xx
The Plough, Sheffield
The Plough is a pub opposite the world’s oldest football ground – Sandygate, home of Hallam FC – where the rules of football were first drawn up. It was bought by a development company who have systematically destroyed the place inside and out, although the building is still standing. The developer applied on numerous occasions for planning permission to flatten the place to build a block of flats but has been denied on numerous occasions by Sheffield City Council. He has now appealed to the Secretary of State who will have received an avalanche of submissions from local people and some local football historians requesting the denials are upheld.
I have tried to generate interest from the FA, from the BBC, from “celebrated tv football presenter” Dan Walker who lives close by and loves a worthy cause, but all to no avail.
It’s funny when you read some of the tripe that passes as informed comment, often in this mailbox, that nobody has any interest in preserving the history of the game, but is so vein throbbingly vocal when it comes to Klopp v Ole or Kane’s training attendance.
I think some things are a bit more important, but clearly not newsworthy.
Be surprised if you print this as it doesn’t mention Grealish. Oops!
Bladey Mick (football – better than a block of flats)
Lessons from The Hundred
I was interested to read the email in Monday’s mailbox regarding the idea of staging back to back games featuring the respective women’s and men’s teams. This is not a new idea as here in Brisbane, it was a relatively common occurrence for my family & I to watch the Brisbane Roar women play a W-League match followed by the men’s team playing an A-League match as a double header at Laing Park which is a 50,000+ capacity stadium.
That was up until around 3 years ago when the Brisbane Roar women’s team were shunted off to play home games at two smaller stadiums (5,000 & 9,000 capacity). This was met with uproar and many complaints. Up to then, my family & I loved to watch double headers at Laing Park where we would watch world class football – and then watch the men’s team play. Given that we regularly saw the likes of Sam Kerr, Hayley Raso, Claire Polkinghorne et al play at Laing Park, we literally saw the best players in the world. By contrast, we then were able to see the Brisbane Roar men’s best players such as Corey Brown, Jamie Young and Henrique – no, me neither.
Although neither the Brisbane Roar women’s or men’s team attracted huge crowds (indeed, the men’s team no longer play at Laing Park either), it’s a real shame that the double header construct is no longer used and it seems a missed opportunity to promote women’s football. This is especially pertinent given that the next Women’s World Cup (2023) will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand – and yes, Laing Park in Brisbane will be one of the venues for the tournament.
Phil (exiled in Brisbane) Chiz
Fantasy Football – Premier League
Following good participation in the Euros FF, I’m setting up a FOOTBALL365 FF league via the Premier League – Official App, available for download via Play Store, etc.
For those interested in joining, once you’ve created your account and picked your team you can enter the league via THIS link.
Only 10 days to go guys and gals.. get your teams in!