Pulisic > Sterling, and job done already by Liverpool in replacing Salah, Mane, Firmino…

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Jurgen Klopp congratulates Darwin Nunez after the striker scored his first Liverpool goals. Credit: PA Images
Jurgen Klopp congratulates Darwin Nunez after the striker scored his first Liverpool goals. Credit: PA Images

It’s a bumper Friday morning Mailbox, taking in Liverpool’s front three, Sterling being a downgrade on Pulisic, England women, Man Utd and much more.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

 

New era for Liverpool’s attack
Like I’m sure very few sane people, I’ve been watching a little of pre-season (although not the training session v ManU, I’m not a Spud), looking for those green shoots to get hopeful and optimistic about after a pretty sombre season where we only won 2 trophies and the loss of two bigger trophies already buried under terrible negativity.

I think about what might be this season and the chances of us closing that 1 point gap.

After watching the lads play, I think we may have the new Salah, Firmino, Mane three ready to go. Maybe that’s bold but the skill, speed and fluidity of Salah, Nunez and Diaz together is very exciting. This is what was meant to be. They are aware of each other and they all look sharp and hungry. Watching them play each other in, being aware of each others runs is just delightful. I know it was “only” Europa League semi-finalists and Champions League qualifiers RB Leipzig in pre-season but it something of the Salah, Firmino, Mane counter vs “only” Bayern Munich back in the day. I just hope beyond hope that our Portuguese striker, Jota, doesn’t break up something that is working. Be great to add Anthony into the mix, but with Carvalho, Elliott and Gordon, I’m not too bothered about that.

Fabinho has looked perfectly decent, fairly solid if uninspiring – I still hope to bring in one or two of Bellingham, Asensio and Barella, but if we only have to rely on our current incumbents that now include Jones, with the likes of Morton, Clarkson and Musialowski providing cover, that will give us enough. But to be honest, in a year we probably won’t need additions. Yes I know everyone always mocks LFC fans bigging up the quadruple challenge, but this is not without cause. If you’ve watched the players in question, you might change your tune. Ask Bolton fans what they think of Bradley while Balagizi speaks for himself.

You may notice I didn’t mention Van de Beek. It’s not accidental, we’ve done nothing to suggest we’re interested. He’d probably pop up in exactly the same positions as Milner, you can’t have them both , sitting in each others chair.

Final note, what the f**k Angelino? City have spent nearly a gazillion pounds in search of a left back, if you’d have been any good, you could have saved them that and let them spend it on centre backs.
Madwolf

 

…I do hope the Liverpool fans who were recently trying to extinguish our embers of hope, temper their collective pant-wetting over Nunez scoring 4 (penalty, decent finish, tap in, keeper mistake) against Leipzig‘s second half reserves. “It is only preseason remember”. Although I can see my phone is already lighting up like one of Castro’s cigars with messages from the scouse brethren, so apparently not.

Somewhere out there, in a parallel universe, there’s a United fan called Gregory Whitehead (or should that be Blacktail?) dubbing him Darwaflop Nuneflop. One for the long time readers around here.
Garey Vance, MUFC

 

Step up with Sterling?
It’s a little bit surprising to read that Sterling is a huge upgrade on every other forward in the Chelsea lineup. I understand the statistics, but also the situations. Sterling played in a team where my eyes told me he underperformed albeit not to the level Grealish did. Pulisic plays in a team where the forward line wasn’t set up to focus on his strengths. My contention is that if Pulisic had gone the other way in the deal, you would see him surpass Sterling’s numbers from last season with ease. I don’t know if it’s English bias or this thinking that American soccer is still agricultural, but for me Pulisic is currently a step up on Sterling and has the potential to be two or three steps up with a good run of games under a manager who gives him a run of games to build confidence. At 23 years old, he’s one of three or four players (Saka, Son, off the top of my head) that I’d love to see at Liverpool where I think he’d improve an already quite decent front line.

And for the record, I don’t hold any grudge against Sterling for leaving Liverpool when he did. Any of us would have left the dumpster fire that was Liverpool at that time. And besides, bringing in Mane in 2016 after Sterling left in 2015 is possibly the single greatest upgrade in a position in Premier League history. Going from a player with great pace who could get in all the right positions to one who could do that and score with the added benefit of pressing properly leaves little room for wondering what might have been had Sterling stayed.
Niall, Annapolis

 

Lingard at Forest
Re Lingard I’d make a few points

1. We’re covering Dean Hendersons entire 100k pw salary apparently. Also signed a striker for 20m and a RB for near that from Liverpool so would be mildly surprised if 35k pw stood as highest earner.

2. Theres a massive jump in logic being made here. Lingard wants 180k pw. Forest have made a lucrative offer. Those two statements don’t mean Forest are offering him 180k pw.

3. Beyond that, theres not really any point considering that Forest could do the continuity route when we had loanees filling crucial roles at LB, RB, CM, CAM and ST. The squad was going to be in a state of flux regardless.

Not necessarily a fan of Lingard, though I would point out theres a lengthy article on the Athletic about how Middlesborough viewed Spurs’ latest 20m signing as a disruptive influence…
James

 

Lingard next? Five players who became their Premier League club’s highest earners this summer

 

Morons gonna moron
Your headline asks “What more must England’s Lionesses do after Spain thriller to silence the morons?”

Nothing. It’s not their job to silence the morons. Morons will be morons. May as well ask the Lionesses to teach penguins to fly.

I rarely watch England ‘s men play because – honestly – most of the matches I have watched are dull. But I’m loving Euro 22. It’s properly entertaining, skilful and lacks the macho b******* that plagues the men’s game.

Keeping the morons out can only do it good. In fact, is there anything we could do to offend them so they get lost from the men’s game too?
Graeme, Northumberland

 

…As a football fan, I am nowhere near as interested in international tournaments, regardless of the genitals of the people playing it. 1990 and 1996 were the peaks for me. Okay, the Owen goal against Argentina was a bit special too, but it’s been downhill all the way since then from my perspective.

I watched the England/Spain game last night, having shown little interest in the tournament so far, and without trying to be PC, I was genuinely impressed at the quality and fitness levels of the players. So can we stop comparing it directly to the men’s game that has evolved to a higher level because that’s where the sport has been concentrating on since forever? It will take time for the women’s game to catch up, and from a power, speed and strength perspective, it never really will because of the obvious gender differences.

But look at tennis – the women’s game is far more established, and the quality is amazing. This will happen with football, given time. Some of the touches last night were as skillful as you will see on any pitch anywhere played by anyone. The movement was terrific at times, and it is obvious that the quality of the women’s game has developed massively in the last decade or so.

It’s not entirely there yet, but it will be. The current England team would be giving a man’s team from 30 years ago a proper game because they would have higher fitness levels and could sustain a higher intensity.

Yes, some of the games haven’t been of the highest quality, but that happens at every major tournament, regardless of the gender of the players, and the cricket score results will be more common because not all countries can afford the same levels of professionalism, but that will settle down too in time.

And as for those making the oh-so-obvious comments about women’s wobbly bits – why the f*ck do you feel the need to do this? All it does is show that the closest you get to those wobbly bits is on a screen. Stick to QAnon, or wherever it is incels hang out these days. Ask Ken – he’s bound to know.
Mat (if you haven’t got anything nice to say then maybe STFU?)

 

Not for everyone
Morons, dickheads, trolls, sexists, and misogynistic idiots. Actual words in actual articles I have read in the last week to describe people who aren’t fully behind Womens football. This is the world we live in now. Go against the woke, the hipsters, the liberal dandies and the John Nicholson’s of the World and it’s open season. We can’t all like the same thing and just as I would not cross the road to watch a game of Tennis or Golf, I would be the same for Womens football. It is the same ball and that’s about it. It most definitely is not the same game. So, this means its fine that I am subjected to all kind of baseless insults

It costs less to get into a top flight women’s game than it does a team I regularly watch in Step 8. If they truly believed it was that good, Clubs would try and wring as much out of you as they could. God knows they have no trouble fleecing fans at every turn but they know 5 or 6 quid is about right, and that’s because the product really isn’t all that. Women want parity of earnings but their version doesn’t and will never generate the same kind of income. Before you bang on about what goes on in the States, I live in England and it will always be the case here. I am sure they would have a point if, for example, the top face value ticket for their FA CUP was £400 and an advert during half time came to £500k like it is for the real Cup Final. Now referred to as the Mens FA Cup Final of course.

In short if you enjoy it, I’m happy for you, it’s not for me and that should make you happy for me. Unfortunately, life in this pathetically fragile and increasingly confusing society doesn’t seem to work like that anymore and I think that’s the biggest disappointment in this whole debate.

Best,
Paul Williams

 

Cringing for England 
Enjoying the Euros so far. However is the whole naming your team the “Lionesses” just a bit cringe. Also the Beeb commentary on the England games is a very patronising, even the female commentators.

Small gripes though. Overall I think the tournament has been a roaring success
Aidan Boyce, Wexford – (Hopefully Republic of Ireland will be in the next World Cup, looking good for as play off spot)

 

Optimism around England and United
A couple of things for you, last night watching England out Spain the Spanish with their wonderful game management, winning soft freekicks, winding up their opponents and generally making them self combust was glorious to watch, Gareth Southgate could take a few pointers from the Ladies team.
And on to a slight retort to the mainly Liverpool fans trying to belittle United fans optimism at how Ten Hag has got the players performing in pre-season, having watched the 3 games United played at a higher tempo, the front 3 looked like gelling really well and the high press was great to watch. Yes it’s only pre-season and yes you don’t read anything into the results but pool fans it wasn’t the results Badwolf and myself were pleased with, it was the fact the team looked like they had actually been coached, the fact the team looked like they had a plan other than go and score some goals and the fact players who couldn’t be arsed to run under previous managers ran themselves into the ground. So forgive us our optimism for looking forward to seeing how this pans out I mean for 30 years you told us it was your year so give us our little sense of optimism please and no we’re not saying it’s going to be our year just hoping it’s going to be a better one which doesn’t make our eyes bleed.
Paul Murphy, Manchester

 

…Thought I’d try and put some realistic yet hopefully only slightly rose tinted specs on for the season ahead but I am definitely not in the camp that Utd even have an outside chance to win the title, anyone who seriously thinks that is bonkers and deserves the ridicule they’ll get from our scouse friends. Despite Utd hopelessly flirting with De Jong, they have got some business over the line so it’s worth comparing what they have added compared to what they’ve let go. I’m just looking at premier league stats for this exercise, cups confuse the issue unnecessarily.

In terms of who they let go, 4 squad players have gone, Matic, (16 starts), Cavani (7), Lingard (2), Mata (2), a combined 27 matches across these players. You’d have to say these won’t be missed. Then we have the almighty Pogba. Great player when he wants to be but he did only start 16 games for utd last season so isn’t exactly going to leave a gaping void by his absence. The only one of those leaving that I’m sorry to see go is Cavani – a class player who gives everything for the team but unfortunately didn’t play much last year due to injury and Ronaldo being first name on the team sheet, good luck to him. All in all, that’s just 43 starts we’ve let go.

Where Utd struggled the most last season is in defence. We had 7 players who started 18 or more games. Maguire (28 starts), Lindelof (26), Varane (20), AWB (20), Dalot (19), Shaw (19) & Telles (18). None of them shone and there was a notable shift in personnel preferences between Ole & Ragnick which for the record Ole was the one who got it right. AWB & Shaw are streets ahead of Telles & Dalot and it will be interesting to see who E10H prefers. However, that question may never be answered as Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia are thrown into the mix. While I believe the latter might have to prove himself to be considered above those more established names, the outlay for Martinez suggests he’s not been bought to pick up splinters in his arse. Lindelof and Varane should be worried about playing time and Maguire should hopefully see this as the motivation he needs to improve his Utd performances. With this added quality I can see the defence improving and slight improvements in defence can make a big difference to the whole team.

In midfield, we have been a bit short of options and with Pogba only available for 16 games we are over reliant on McFred. I rate both those players higher than most and we could start to see their full potential if the back 4 is more solid. Both can score goals so removing some of their defensive burden would see more attacking threat. Martinez also offers an option in place of either should E10H see fit although if he’s as good as he’s made out to be he should be in his preferred and best position in central defence. The real boost to the midfield is Eriksen. A player able to add solidity/ calmness to the middle of the park whilst also offering creativity is what Utd have needed for some time. Bruno is a fantastic player but he needs to be part of a front 2 or 3 and given license to roam – Eriksen may allow that to happen without leaving the middle of the park too empty. In addition, we have Zidane Igbal, Charlie Savage and James Garner who should be the bench warmer replacements. If one of them can make the step up this season, just to replace the contribution offered by the departing Matic/Lingard that would be a huge boost to the squad. With all of this I see the midfield as a definite improvement on last year. With De Jong or Neves or A N Other this could be significantly better. I’d also love for Donny to finally come good but will keep my expectations in check there.

On the wing, I do feel that with Sancho, Rashford and Elanga we have some quality players. Rashford in particular seems to be a feel good player, he was rubbish in the end for Mourinho, great for Ole and then tailed off. He never rseemd to buy into Ragnick (nor did anyone else) so maybe this is the fresh start he needs. Elanga has been a breath of fresh air and Sancho should hopefully kick on from a difficult first season. None of these individually are likely to contribute 20 goals a season but getting them back to chipping in around 20 between them for the season is very achievable and would be a huge step up on last season. Martial in my mind is still a winger but I’d rate him below these 3 mentioned.

In attack is where we haven’t made any forward (excuse the pun) steps – we’ve gone slightly backwards with the loss of Cavani. At the start of last season we had Ronaldo, Cavani, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford, Sancho (I know I’ve mentioned them as wingers). On paper that was some attack. However, only one of them had a good season. Now, if I ignore the wingers that are mentioned above, we are left with Ronaldo and Martial. Not as formidable and might actually not be a bad thing. Trying to shoe horn a bunch of out of form strikers into an attack is not ideal. If Ronaldo plays the majority with Martial as backup/sub then maybe we can get the wingers and midfield doing their job of supplying the attack. We’d also need to realise that Ronaldo cannot be the only way to score a goal, that makes us too predictable and too easy to defend against. The best premier league teams ever have always had free scoring midfielders even when they’ve had great strikers as well and often more than just one. Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Pires, Ljunberg, Lampard, Gerrard, Mata (Chelsea version), Robben, Duff, Hazard, De Bruyne and pretty much all of City’s current midfield. Liverpools current team seem to be the exception to the rule whereby most of their goals do come from the forwards.

All in all, I do think Utd are in a much better space than the end of last season – they couldn’t possibly be worse. Defence and midfield has definitely been improved and could make a big difference. Ronaldo will score goals if he stays, Martial probably won’t so signing a striker would give us a big lift and an extra midfielder would add depth and options. Even with that our realistic aim for the season would be that 4th placed trophy we used to laugh at Wenger for coveting so much. However, if we successfully bring through some of the youth in the squad, introduce a recognisable playing style and find more ways to score than just CR7 then we might be in a position to build from there the following season. If only someone had though of that in any of the years since Fergie left (I’m available for a job, preferably working remotely at first).

Ultimately, I think that when fans get carried away they are looking at a possible strongest XI that could be named. Unfortunately, in terms of challenging you need the rest of the squad to be almost as good so that when you have injuries or need to change formation or keep the team fresh there is not a noticeable change in quality. Having a squad of quality with interchangeable players also makes you more difficult to plan against as you’re not quite sure exactly who you’ll face. That is where Utd still have a lot of ground to make up on City & Liverpool. Our 1st XI still doesn’t compare to them and our second XI would get beaten at least 5-0 by theirs every time. Fixing Utd is a long term project that only starts when all involved are in it for the long haul and not attempting a quick fix that just isn’t possible.

I am however starting to look forward to the season with some hope at last…
Jon, Cape Town (it’s going to be weird with a world cup in the middle of the season though)

 

…Whilst I completely understand opposition fans enjoying United’s continuing melee and our fans perceived optimism (especially the scousers, who have a whole 30 years to make up for), I thought I’d give you all a perspective from the spiritual heartlands. Essex, you say? So funny. No, from the achingly beautiful and cosmopolitan city of Salford. Contrary to popular belief, Old Trafford is actually in the City of Manchester, and not Salford (I’m looking at you, City fans) but I could chuck a stone and hit Murtough’s office window whilst sitting on the khazi, so I know what I’m talking about.

Contrary to popular belief, Ronaldo is not our all-conquering hero. He plied the best years of his career at another club so, while we wish him no harm (take note Liverpool fans), we still would rather he bugger off and take his Just For Men with him.

I don’t know a United fan who’s happy with the Glazers. Whilst most agree, popping up at director’s houses, stopping games, breaking into our own stadium and maiming members of our fine constabulary is most definitely not the way forward, most would have them out quicker than a brick flying through a coach window. Unfortunately, they’re well within their rights to treat United as their personal ATM, so we’re mainly stuck with bitching and moaning. Which we’ll do until they bugger off, so get used to it.

Is Ten Hag the answer? A great man once wrote, “If not Ten Hag, Ten who?”. For the first time in a long time, it feels like we finally have a coach. It’s early days but the signs are good. He seems laser focused, knows exactly what he wants to do, and has the authority to do it. Player power seems to have been confined to the bin, and most fans are very happy McClaren’s back. Player’s abilities are being talked about in more realistic terms, and players are being brought in with specific roles in mind and, crucially, the ability to carry out those roles. Apart from his alarming reliance on the Eredivise, and his reluctance, bordering on complete refusal, to work with Rangnick, things seem to be going in the right direction, and there’s a sense United are at least attempting to get their shit together and behave like a professional football club. We’ve become a wary bunch now. We’ve been here before. Whilst most of the cast members that made Maguire the most expensive defender in world football have been moved on, those replacing them need to prove they’re the second coming of Fergie and Gill before we can ever learn to trust again. Judging by pre-season, the players seem to be responding so fingers crossed. As the saying goes, let’s suck it and see.

Which brings me to my final point. I love you Brother BadWolf, and respect and rejoice in your enthusiasm and optimism but, and I say this with peace and love, peace and love, please tone it down. Comparing Martial, Rashford and Sancho to Rooney, Tevez and Ronaldo, although wonderfully optimistic, is like comparing Liverpool to City. One’s OK, but the others are winners. For what it’s worth, the feeling is Sancho will fly now given a decent coach, Martial will do a Martial, and it all depends which Rashford turns up, the footballer or MBE. Pre-season, although meaningless, has given our lads the chance to play like a unit and put into practice our manager’s philosophy. Only time will tell if Fernandes can stop sticking his titty lip out, or De Gea can play out from the back, or van Beek can play football but, until proven otherwise, let’s be cautiously optimistic.

If not, what’s the point? It’s not like we’re falsely proclaiming we’re world class, getting giddy about a quadruple that was never going to happen, or demanding opposition fans LOVE OUR TEAM. Now that would be ridiculous.
Our Kid, Ordsall

 

Ranking revisited: Assessing Man Utd’s squad on how central they are to Erik ten Hag’s plans…

 

Predictions season
Think it’s a bit early for season predictions given we’ve several weeks away but there are a few things I’m already looking forward to. I’ll forgo the United ones as the self-appointed mailbox fun police have already clamped down on any excitement for our upcoming season:

– Awoniyi at Forest could be a really special signing. His size and power should make the switch to the Premier League fairly comfortable and if he can come anywhere close to replicating the 20 Goals and 5 Assists for Berlin last season then he’ll be a bargain at £17m.
– Also at Forest can Neco Williams replicate the attacking contributions of Djed Spence. Forest have paid a lot of money for what is basically a good youth prospect after an impressive short loan at Fulham. Seems likely Forest will continue with a wing back system so he should see plenty of the ball but has big Spence shaped boots to fill and little time to bed in. Could be great though.
– Sinisterra at Leeds looks like an exciting player. Only caught glimpses of him in the Europa Conference last season but always looked threatening. A left sided attacking winger who loves to dribble and shoot. 37 goal contributions in 49 matches last season is impressive and he looks to be the perfect replacement for Raphina. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of the big clubs bidding for him next summer.
– Chelsea switching to 4 at the back, this may not happen but Tuchel has made comments alluding to a formation change, think it will depend on what CB’s then can get in. Their current 3-4-3 has always struck me as more of a ‘horses for courses’ approach than Tuchels preferred system but if he does move to a 4-3-3 I’m interested to see if James and Chilwell can replicate their attacking output. We can then get a proper comparison between these two and Trent / Robbo as the systems will be very similar.
– The return of Mitrovic. Just seemed petulant and slow last time he was in the Premier League but Marco Silva has obviously found the right formula to get the best out of him. Goal scoring record in the Championship promises big things this season though losing Carvalho to Liverpool may effect his supply and space. Fulham look a bit like Leeds when they came up a few years ago which was a lot of fun, a repeat 7 goal opening fixture against Liverpool with a few Mitro goals would do just nicely.
– Haaland, of course. Even though he’ll be playing for them lot I can’t help but be excited to see him in the Premier League, a proper superstar who still hasn’t peaked. I don’t think Pep will bed him in slowly like he usually does with new signings, more likely he’ll be sat down every 5th / 6th match. Can he meet expectations? Probably, which is scary considering the hype.
Dave, Manchester

 

 

… I’ve never had a go at the preseason predictions so I throw my hat into the ring completely untarnished by previous failings:

1st. Man City – can’t see past them for next season. Haaland will score 20+ goals but only manage 12 games. He’s an animal, fragile, but an animal. They will win the league with boring efficiency.

2nd. Spurs – I reckon Conte will have them whipped into shape with a Kane, who will start the season actually wanting to be there. Spurs 2nd? Really? I think I might be dehydrated.

3rd. Liverpool – I envisage Salah becoming disinterested in passing the ball (even less than normal) after Nunez squanders chance after chance (mailed in before Nunez scored four against Leipzig – MC). Diaz will be their most important player this year. Midfield will be lacking. They’ve bought a few cheap players though that they’ll be able to sell next season to cover a few weeks of Salah wages

4th. Chelsea – They’re the new Arsenal now. Skipping years ahead and buying Citys unneeded players. Koulibaly will be average at best and commentators will talk about what a shame it was he didn’t come to the Premier League in his prime, because what else would you be doing with yourself if you’re not playing in the Premier League??

5th. Man Utd – All the good preseason vibes will transfer into a blistering start to the season with many online experts (F365 mailboxers) tipping them for the title, only for Ronaldo to decide he needs his slice of the pie and return to action. Unable for their new found pressing game, Ronaldo “drags” them to 5th. Somewhere in the relegation zone, Lingard dabs a sad dab in their honour

6th. Anyone – Not Arsenal though

I was gonna do a relegation prediction too but felt Frank Lampard has enough to be worrying about in preseason without adding my musings to the pile. Hi Frank!
David (Thirstily), Ireland

 

Stewie so wrong
Stewie’s latest essay is highly amusing as usual. This guy should be a politician. He is skilled at mixing the truth with the untruth to help massage an argument to his way of thinking. People like him are highly persuasive until you delve deeper into what he says.

Yes there is no doubt Arsenal bought poorly towards the end of Wenger’s reign and under Emery (who Stewie loves but fails to mention here), however this was not Arteta’s fault. Arteta inherited a poor SQUAD which did not conform to the way he wants to play. Even with this squad he adapted his preferred style of play and with a Conte style defensive system he ended up winning an FA cup -Yes Stewie. Spurs have finished above Arsenal but they still have not won anything.

Arteta knew it will take time to get to the position where he wants to be. He looked at Klopp (He has always referenced Klopp) and the way he built his team over a number of years and he decided that this was the way he wants to go – purchase young good players and coach them to a position they could do something.

To achieve this he basically has to buy a NEW team and potentially new squad. This costs money. This idea of net spend is ridiculous as you can’t get rid of bad players for good money and to get a good team you have to spend. The amount you spend depends on the position you are starting from. Conte for example does not have to spend £100m on a new striker. He inherited two of the very best in Kane and Son. Arteta did not have this luxury. A disinterested Aubamayang and past it Lacazette is what he got but at least he got the former performing to win the Cup.

This takes me to Stewie’s point about Man City and the like. City and Chelsea are able to sell good players they don’t need as they are now reaping the benefits of all those years of purchasing players with the money they have. I have always said. The advantage of the petrol dollar and oligarch inflated clubs is not just that they can purchase players at inflated prices but the fact that if said purchase does not work they simply move on to the next. Chelsea for example have a litany of players they have wasted money on – Drinkwater, Bakayoko, etc. Man City have theirs too. Alternatively if you purchase enough young players you don’t need sooner or later you can sell the good ones at good prices. The fact that you don’t need them simply emphasises the strength of your squad. You can’t keep all good players.

The purchase of Zinchenko and Jesus are not backward steps for Arsenal. These are young good players who may get even better with regular playing time and good coaching. It’s a shrewd move from a coach who already knows them. Also the top players will choose elsewhere instead of coming to Arsenal so it is a good move to create your own superstars instead. Arteta has already done well with Saka, Smith Row and Odegaard.

Personally I like what Arteta and Edu are trying to do. I just hope the more sensible Arsenal fans give them the time they deserve.
Michael O, Chingford

 

…It must be a miserable existence being Stewie Griffin. Seeing no joy in the rise of Saka, ESR and Martinelli. No joy in our putting out a team with an average age of 23. I wonder if he even enjoys football at all. I don’t know a single Arsenal fan (and I know MANY) that are even in the same book as Stewie, let alone page. We aren’t perfect, but we are on a steady ascent, and there is hope. At least if you’re not Stewie.

Sure, we have had rank financial mismanagement for years, yeah we have made some very questionable signings. But the idea that buying two 25 year olds who have won the league 4 times each, and who are hungry to prove themselves is demonstrably NOT bad business. £72 million for Pepe, sure, bad business, but not for those lads who have played a total of 3 pre season games between them. I’m glad Stewie, with his crystal ball, has seen us beaten by Spurs (the second highest spenders of this transfer window so far), I for one don’t see it that way.

I noticed in his ‘signing average brazilians’ he didn’t mention Martinelli or Gabriel M, is that because he knows his argument is horse sh*t. I appreciate Stewie is good value for F365 because he spurs people like me to write in response, but he doesn’t half talk a load of old bollocks! If he isn’t excited by the players we’re signing, he’s fine to go support Spurs or any other team. I’m pretty certain I can say with confidence that Arsenal fans don’t want him, let him be someone else’s problem.
John Matrix AFC

Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus (l) celebrates with his colleague Eddie Nketiah. Credit: PA Images
Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus (l) celebrates with his colleague Eddie Nketiah. Credit: PA Images


Arsenal, Spurs and transfers
thayden, it should have been obvious with the anecdote about Bill EFC and my father that I was clearly not annoyed by “bookmaker odds and agent talk” but by people walking around like absolute imbeciles – which just so happens to be exactly what you were doing with that email.

I literally don’t understand why you people don’t just go online and look up relevant actual facts instead of living within the subpar logic of your personal reality. The odds were never my favorite indicator of anything – it’s clearly expressed in the email that actual reporting from trusted sources is my favorite indicator of things. Jesus and his agent have said multiple times he wants more playing time so he can grow (he’s only 25 and there is a WC coming up) and Arsenal seem a perfect fit because he loves the players we have and feels like he can become a legend by returning the title to Arsenal. Sure, you can go ahead and just assume he has no integrity whatsoever and just doesn’t want competition. Maybe that is part of it – who knows. But again, remember what I said about players actually being complex human beings instead of some sh*thead who lives inside your head doing things totally up to your imagination.

Also, why would he go to Tottenham when he clearly said he wants to be the first choice striker somewhere. Yes, what a coward for not wanting to try to go take Harry Kane’s spot when he can just walk into the first team of a club that arguably is a better side anyways. Again, who knows for sure if Spurs were interested. i’m sure they were in the sense they just called his agent. It was probably a short conversation. There’s nothing wrong with that – you’re right, us signing Jesus may not at all be any indication of our transfer allure vis-vis Spurs.

But here’s what is. Spurs signed Bissouma. Given our pursuit of Martinez; our subsequent capture of Zinchenko (we want a LB/CM like Cancelo) and the fact that for whatever random reason we just haven’t bid for Tielemans even though we clearly could have at anytime and most likely gotten a deal done (again, according to all relevant and relatively trusted insider sources some of which has shockingly appeared on this very website); and our links to various CMs who, like Bissouma, we’ve been linked with in the past there would be some strong indications Bissouma was a lower transfer priority for us, possibly by even a significant amount.

Similarly strong indications with Richarlison – whom you signed for 60 million by the way. We were busy trying to purchase the better player in Raphinha (for cheaper than 60) while Spurs pushed that transfer over the line. Note there was no serious contention from Spurs for either Martinez or Raphinha – actual reporting on Arsenal’s very close pursuit of Martinez can be found with a simple Google. According to Ben Jacobs he personally called Arteta to tell him he would join United (who paid way more than we ever would have for a non-guaranteed starter) and Fab Romano repeatedly said up until the very end that Arsenal were very much in it.

Again, the point of my email was very explicitly to ask why the betting public is betting on certain players to go to Arsenal. I literally explicitly tried to avoid linking the odds with transfer allure if you could actually pay attention. The implication to more astute observers was obviously this – the transfer allure rankings were sh*t when they were first published and even more so now. Furthermore, it seems to me players still want to come to Arsenal over Spurs because why wouldn’t they. Only Conte can sway things in the other direction but we’ll see how that plays out. So far, not an advantage. And the clock’s probably ticking on him. Also, clearly Man United should not be in the top 10…

I really think people overrate how far Arsenal have fallen in terms of prestige amongst the global player base – this much is obvious. Arsenal definitely have earned their banter club status, however, so it is what it is. Recency bias definitely matters in terms of players looking at a club’s success but many of them are obviously forward looking as well. And Arsenal are obviously still a massive club.

Anyway, hope that was helpful. Really shouldn’t have been that difficult to conceptually parse through my email. Let me know if you like…ever need help with your homework or something.
MAW, LA Gooner
PS: There is a slight indication in a mail I sent earlier that may or may not get published in which, at a certain point, I assumed a certain thayden was a Spurs fan. I realized a lot of times it is easy to make assumptions about fanhood, particularly for people who don’t sign off with the club they support (cowards), and really…the aforementioned people should just be banned from the mailbox unless they have something positive to say (except Stewie). No tribal bashing without showing your flag.

 

Pre-season musings
First, if Forest decide to pay Jesse Lingard 180K a week, they deserve to go down due to sheer stupidity. There is no way on this planet that his performances over the entirety of his career merit anything approaching that figure. Only in the bubble the Premier League could a player of Lingard’s stature think he’s worth it. I understand the whole last big pay day angle but seriously, that number is ludicrous. Let’s say they offer him 180K over 4 years. That’s close to 40 million quid, and like most contracts it will probably contain some sort of year on year pay rise. And what if they go down, which is quite probable? They’re stuck with him. Forest would be much better off taking the Norwich approach of accepting they will probably struggle and using the boon of Premier League sensibly to ensure the future of the club, not wasting it on an unreliable and seemingly deluded Man United cast off. Imagine how the current Forest players would feel? I think someone in the mailbox mentioned their current highest earner is on 35K a week. It would either shatter morale or bring them closer together as they collectively knock on the manager´s door and ask “what the actual f**k”?

Second, Everton are f**ked as well, or at least they are going to struggle. Read an “in depth” interview with Frank Lampard on the Athletic the other day (got a deal for a subscription of 1 euro a month, not sure it´s worth it otherwise). The only mention of anything tactical or about style of play was when he talked about the right attitude when pressing or defending in a block. Maybe I´m just overly cynical but this line made me laugh: “I´m more about principals than whether it´s a back three or back four.” No wonder Seamus Coleman looked so uncomfortable when Frank declared him the best man he´s ever met. To be fair, there was talk about sorting out the academy and underage sides about which I know nothing so maybe there´s more to him, but to me it seems that while he a nice enough guy, he is full of hot air.

Lastly, I can´t wait for the season to get started. I´ve seen a little of the Euros which has been great but I´m intrigued by the goings on in the league this year. Which verson of Spurs will we get? Will Darwin Nunez be brilliant or shit (there is no middle ground, remember)? Can Ten Hag make Man U remember how football works? Will Mikel Arteta´s hair ever change shape? Roll on August!
Alan (has anyone noticed Gary Neville has gone quiet? Maybe he realised it was time he shut up for five minutes).

 

Old man yells at cloud
Lately on these pages I’ve seen a trend regarding the telling of the current state of Man Utd, saying “they’re coming off their worse season in premier league history.” I’ve seen it referred to quite a few time, but, it’s just not true, is it? If you want to say they’re coming off their worst points tally in a prem season, or their second worst placed pl season, then yeah, go for it. But they aren’t coming off their worst season. I bring this up because quite alot the narrative is “Manchester Utd, worse than ever”, which is a purposeful ‘atmosphere quantifier’. It’s lazy, if you’re going to write a doldrums article about the red side of Manchester, starting it off with unmotivated and passive air wank commentary just ruins the article for me, or piece in a top 10 list or whatever. It just tells me that what I’m going to read isn’t going to be worth it’s salt. It just feeds the false belief that Man Utd have never been lower, that’s not true. With this selected negativity lobbed at them it’s no wonder they buckle under the pressure. Being told that you’re worse than you are is frankly bullying. Give a fair assessment and you’d be saying “joint 2nd worst season” or “worst points tally”. But those are pretty wordy, and they don’t immediately do the work of establishing that this is going to be a doom and gloom kind of vibe. It’s just hitting fast forward to where you want to be and expecting people to go along with it. Now F365, I love you dearly, but you’re in danger of getting into that period of existence that Simpsons did in the early 00s, where you watched this brilliant show every week that was a part of the culture you were in and it was so consistent you didn’t even fathom not watching it, and you just kept watching it before gradually noticing that “wait a minute, this is abit shit now”, and being right about it. I probably watched seasons 10 through 12 without really thinking about what I was watching, but eventually in that time frame I sussed on to how bad it had gotten, and lazy too. F365 is still rather good, but so was Simpsons until about season 13, by that time all the good left. You’re currently like season 10, still very charming but getting lazier about it’s storylines, in this case “Man Utd coming off their worst season”. We can discuss it, because it’s their worst points tally, but the reason you say the former and not the latter is nobody cares about points as much as they care about narrative. I’m glad that you haven’t stopped to making up new things to get emotional over, people don’t get emo over points accrued, but it’s a lie the one you go with. Say “one of their worst seasons ever” even, but not worst season ever. It’s misinforming the public, and on a site that often speaks about being better people (like, literally right now regarding the women’s game), claiming an atmosphere that simply isn’t true for something else is pretty much the finding a reason to stick to the ground and not move mentality that is pretty much the bane of all discussion.
Dave (doesn’t want F365 to go the way of the Simpsons), Dublin

 

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