Man Utd did(n’t) cock up over Cody Gakpo because they’ve got Jadon Sancho

Man Utd winger Jadon Sancho shouts at his team-mates Credit: Alamy
Man Utd winger Jadon Sancho shouts at his team-mates Credit: Alamy

The Mailbox is split on whether Manchester United needed Cody Gakpo or not as we all drool over Casemiro. Send your thoughts to


Gakpo for the bench
I’ve seen a bit of panic on social media around us not signing Gakpo and it’s entirely unnecessary for four reasons. And those are Rashford, Antony, Garnacho and Sancho (once he’s back up to speed). Throw in Elanga and that’s five players competing for two positions, four of whom are superior footballers to Gakpo. Rashford is in the form of his life, Antony has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, Garnacho is a future superstar and we’ve all seen what Sancho is capable of. Where would Gakpo have fit into this scenario? On the bench,.probably. Man Utd is the biggest club in the world but we don’t have limitless funds for transfers, and that £50 million is needed to strengthen us in a more pressing area, and thats the central striker position. I wish Gakpo all the best but he has a fraction of the ability Memphis Depay had when he joined the premier League and we all know how that one turned out.

Quick one on last night’s game, how good was Casemiro? Have ever seen a defensive midfielder as accomplished in every facet of the game as he is? Because I haven’t.
Super Sancho


Glazed over
I have to wonder why Ian Watson was called upon to rush to the defence of the Glazers when their reputation was at risk due to liverpool snatching a target out from under their noses. It reminds me of last January with Daniel Levy fuming over missing out on Luis Diaz. I was under the impression that Man U would definitely go in for Gakpo, I was actually a little concerned about it because he seems to fit the bill for what they need. Then I was informed by F365’s Watson that in fact Gakpo’s 12 goals and 13 assists would not be welcome at Old Trafford because Ten Hag has at his disposal the perennially injured Anthony Martial and Jadon Can’t-Play-On-English-Soil Sancho.  And the final nail in Gakpo’s Man U dream of course is that he plays only on the left side and has to cut onto his right foot to be any good, ignoring him playing through the middle in the world cup (the thing that saw his value double, something that rarely happens to Man U players). Watson later admits that Gakpo is “versatile” but apparently that’s not versatile enough to do something he was trusted to do for his country at the world cup.

So in conclusion, this is another cock up from Man United’s Glazers, another missed opportunity that their rivals have taken advantage of no matter how Ian Watson paints it as a missed landmine. They need those goals and assists more than they need their owners to pocket another 80mil this christmas, they are one of the few teams that can afford this type of splurge to guarantee new quality and they aren’t doing it with a young player with his best years ahead of him. If I was a Man U fan I’d be furious at them for missing out on yet another top transfer target that looked to be exactly what they need, as a Liverpool fan I find it hilarious that we stole this one from them and as a football fan I’m in disbelief that anyone is trying to defend such a passive/incompetent transfer stance.

De Jong to City this summer you heard it here first.
Simon M, LFC


Casemiro and wandering full-backs
Well that was as routine a win as could possibly be. Which is a strange but welcome feeling. There is a good balance around the pitch but most notably in MF, brought about by the world-class Casemiro. His passing has surprised me the most, having not watched much of him at Madrid. He really fizzes the ball into feet, which helps speed the game up.

You can see the impact Ten Hag is having on individual players and his tactics are clearly starting to get through (good width, the FBs wandering inside ala Pep, pressing and passing). We are nowhere near the finished article but this was never going to be an easy fix. I worry we lack height sometimes which could mean issues with set pieces in defence and attack; a lot of teams will have 4 sometimes 5 big players whereas last night we had 2. That can make a big difference, so it was nice to see us try something different which came off for the first goal. That was our first goal from a set piece this season in the league – the teams above us have a lot more, ranging from 7-10. Although we have done well defending set pieces, so they must have a decent set up arranged to cover the lack of height.

In terms of new players, and the elephant in the room, Gakpo might be a good signing for Liverpool but he’s not what we need to focus our funds on at the moment. We have plenty of young promising wingers/forwards but we need a CF. Had we gone out and signed him I would be questioning the need for it. I would be surprised if we got a top class striker in January so we may have to keep our powder dry until the summer. I have seen enough to suggest we can compete for a top 4 place with this current squad.
Garey Vance, MUFC


Promising Man Utd
This was a great game from United and was very promising considering that we are missing a solid few players.

It was a great first half for United. The defence looked solid, especially considering that both Martinez and Dalot are out. Wan Bissaka had a good first half except when he fell asleep on the offside goal from Forest. Rashford continued his form with an excellent set-piece goal and assisted Martial. It seems that working with Benni McCarthy has really improved Rashford’s game which is great as I’ve felt that Rashford’s biggest issue the last few years was not being trained correctly under Ole where there was no improvement to Rashford’s game and Rangnick had no time with Rashford and also is not known for being a manager. There was not much to complain about in the first half but it is clear that this isn’t the final form of the United team and hopefully, we can get even better.

The second half was mainly about keeping the lead and we did that excellently. Shaw looked very comfortable as a CB and showed he can do a job if needed which is good to have. Wan Bissaka had a really good game and hopefully, he can keep it up as there is a player there just maybe not Manchester United quality. Casemiro continues to show the difference between good and world-class. It was an all-around good second half and gave us the opportunity to bring on players like Donny and Garnacho to get some minutes and still keep players fit for the next few games.

Overall, This was one of the better performances we have had this season and showed an all-round impressive team. Hopefully, we can continue this form especially when the rest of our team is back fit and also we need to make sure to use the January window to strengthen the team and need to do it fast especially after Liverpool swooped Gakpo which just continued to show United’s terrible transfer history with taking forever to buy a player that could be bought for 50 million less than we end up paying for them.
Max Of Whitegate


‘You let your country down’ nonsense
Three thoughts so I’ll try to be brief.

Drove from Bournemouth to Battersea for the game. Had those ‘Ben and Kammy’s Proper Football Podcasts’ on in the car. First up, Sam Allardyce.  And what a remarkable lack of self-awareness the man has. To listen to him, nothing at any of his clubs or England has ever been his fault. I am inclined to agree with him that a lot of criticism of his ‘style of football’ is unfair and he obviously caught lightning in a bottle at Bolton but seriously – no one is that perfect! Next it was Ellen White and you don’t need me to tell you that the contrast couldn’t be starker. From being banned from the boys league – by someone still involved in the FA no less – to getting a punctured lung from acupuncture supplied by a doctor ‘nearer her home as the club staff were so busy’ it really is a heartwarming story.

Next Stamford Bridge. It’s a bit tired now to say that Bournemouth do well there so it was no surprise when we didn’t. I go with my wife and mother-in-law and the women’s facilities were dreadful. The sum total of available toilets and female stewards for security checks was 2. Rightly Chelsea have been lauded for what they have done for the womens game but this was abysmal.

Quickly on the game, no quality from Bournemouth in the final third but what a player Thiago is. Only seems to have one functioning leg but positionally outstanding.

Fourth (yeah I know) – let’s not make this ‘You let your country down’ a thing shall we? I don’t especially rate Mount but singing it to him after a) his last meaningful contribution for England was earning a penalty and b) he has just scored against us seems a bit pointless.
Andy J, BH7


Nunez is exactly Cavani
I haven’t actually seen Nunez play, ever, but spending way too much time on this website I’ve read quite a lot about him.

Runs a lot, erratic first touch, random finishing, not so good at passing most of the time… That’s pretty much the perfect picture of a former great striker from Uruguay. This is exactly Edinson Cavani. Having lived in Paris for most of my life, I’ve seen a lot of Cavani, and watching him play was, most of the time, infuriating. Very average first touch, needed 5 clear chances to put one in, never assisted anyone, but boy did he run a lot.

At 23 Cavani was not the scoring machine everyone remembers, he averaged roughly one goal every three games for Palermo. Then, somehow, he managed to channel the chaos, still run a lot but run intelligently. If Darwin manages to follow Cavani’s model and evolve into a more intelligent player, then Liverpool might have a proper player on their hands.
Alex (still nothing clever to put in these brackets) Denpasar


Liverpool net spend
Garey Vance I get the impression the whole point of your email is to antagonise so here goes.

It is well known Liverpool have spent considerably less than those they are in direct competition with but it over time is getting more challenging to keep doing so and remain successful.

We can go into net spend – a subject that seems to be ridiculously ridiculed on here by the Twitter generation (If Liverpool sell their whole squad for £700m and buy a replacement squad for £200m do we ignore the deficit?) – but as a club Liverpool, rightly or wrongly sell to buy and have spent far less as result. In fact they currently sit 11th in the much mocked net spend table since Klopp joined the club.

I would hazard a guess that Klopp didn’t want to just spend spend spend to win things in 2016 – like many supporters I might add, but has probably realised it is very difficult to compete with the likes of City without it by 2022.

He can probably see like many, that the premier league clubs will all soon be owned by multi billionaires who see them as a play thing or bragging opportunity and trying to buy players to develop, nurture or reinvent is going to be nigh in impossible whilst simultaneously trying to compete.

It’s probably also fair to say if you are asked the same questions year after year you may change your mind. I sense he’s not the only football manager to do so.
Mark, so bored of football tribalism clouding people’s views.


Winning over fun
I read Ade’s contribution and felt depressed. Sport, football most of all, just misses the point at the moment in the main. There are glorious exceptions (looking at you, Baz and Stokes) but when the hell did winning “the thing” become the be all and end all. Isn’t it meant to be… fun? Dignified?

Thierry Henry won far less than other far, far less talented players, but he’ll always be remembered. There was joy. Ditto the 70s Ajax teams. Newcastle in the 90s. Shearer apart who can recall much of the successful but dreary Blackburn team, soulessly assembled just to win.

I get the players don’t care. But we’re not the players. Ade. You’re not winning. You’re watching. At least applaud teams playing well and not acting like arseholes. And it wasn’t mind games. He was a prick.
Stu, London 


World Cup winter break
Following on from John Nic’s article about the “winter break” for the World Cup, maybe it should be suggested that the quality of the latter stages of the tournament (and the Final) was probably because it was held in the middle of the European season, and so players were match fit, but not weary from the relentless grind of the leagues.

Just a thought,
Andy (don’t want to give FIFA any ideas about holding it in December again, though)


I’m sorry Johnny Nic, but by starting your missive with a diatribe on Xmas, not that it worries me one way or another, was simply to hide the fact you only had a bit of straw man argument to finish a light article. Almost like you had no time to complete it after a busy festive season.

Johnny Nic forgets the injuries that started mounting up prior to the World Cup, as games were shoe-horned in after a shorter than normal pre-season to fit the WC in.

Everyone knew the WC itself would not be what overworked the players but fitting all the other games in to make space in the calendar. And that it would be a bit of a pot luck on which player’s national teams would bow out early, meaning they would be less tired.

The reality is that it is a bit early to be lauding the benefits of the WC break, before we see the impact on players at the end of the season as we run them ‘hot’ again, post WC, to fit the rest of the schedule.
Paul McDevitt


Apart from the shocking misuse of ‘myself’ in the opening sentence, Johnny Nic’s latest displays his usual combination of elegant prose and fabulously wrongheaded content. Who are these people who predicted mental burnout after the World Cup? I didn’t read any articles about that. Nor did I hear any particular consternation about players getting injured or suffering from a World Cup ‘hangover’ whatever that is. In fact, it rather seems as though Johnny made these things up so he’d have something to write about. Still, he does write beautifully. Let’s blame ‘myself’ on the subs.

Happy Christmas.
Matt Pitt


The article Man Utd did(n’t) cock up over Cody Gakpo because they’ve got Jadon Sancho appeared first on