Keep your emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Take that, Barcelona
First time writer, so I’ll not run before I can walk. I’ll simply confine myself to asking…
Does this make Barcelona a ‘selling club’?
John (I’ve rehearsed this bracket thing in my mind a 1,000 times, but blow me I’ve got nothing) Caterham
OK, so is this the thing that shows football has gone?
If Neymar to PSG for 198m goes ahead, which it looks very likely now that it will, then it will be a confirmation that football has completely lost touch with reality.
People might say ‘oh but the same thing was said when the 1st Million pound player was signed’. However even if you take into account inflation, a million pounds in 1979 would only be 5.3 million in today’s money (according to the first inflation calculator I came across on google).
That would barely buy you a decent League One player now. When AC Milan signed Gianluigi Lentini in 1992 for a then world-record fee of 13 million the Vatican issued a statement saying that it was ‘an offence against the dignity of work’.
In today’s money that deal would be around 25.7 million, which would barely get you half of Kyle Walker in the current transfer market. The amount PSG are spending on Neymar actually outranks the GDP’s of the bottom 6 nations of the UN’s GDP rankings.
Is this all a big mistake?
I am sure you will get a lot of these now the news has broken that Barca have given him permission to leave but is Neymar making a mistake by leaving?
Zlatan went to PSG, scored a bucket load, won the league, did ok in the Champions League and at the end of it all he didn’t get a sniff at a Ballon D’or which is surely the only reason for Neymar to leave an incredible Barca side.
The alternative view is that Barca are making the mistake and should have sold Messi to Man City because he is hogging the wages and stunting the growth of Neymar to take over the mantle of the club for years to come!
I think it’s Barca making the mistake!
They’re coming after Coutinho, aren’t they?
Seems like Barcelona will now up the pressure on the Liverpool for Coutinho. If we are to sell him I don’t think we should accept less than £150m. We know Barcelona have the money now. £100m has been talked about but you can’t tell me Coutinho is only worth half of what Neymar is. Yes, Neymar is better but double the value? Nope. 75% sounds about right.
I’d still rather keep him as I can’t see who would replace him but if he’s got to go, let’s get every penny we can.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
More Premier League predictions
Good shout from Dave, London in the morning mailbox about some bold pre-season predictions. Naturally, these could all change if/when some signings go through but let’s give it a lash.
1 – An English side win the Champions League. Tbh, I hadn’t given this one much thought until Dave mentioned it himself but he makes good points. Add to the fact that there could be 5 English sides in the group stage if Liverpool make it through the qualifier and there is a huge chance that at least one of these could go the whole way. I reckon Chelsea, City and United have the best shot, but it could come at the expense of league form.
2- Chelsea to tumble, then recover. I was going to be more vague with this and say that one of the top six would start slow before recovering but I’m gambling on Chelsea. The squad just seems short in numbers in some areas and I think they’ll drop some silly points here and there between now and Christmas. But, Conte will recover with an excellent second half to the season and they’ll be in the top 4 come May. They won’t retain the title, though.
3 – Everton to take a while to click. See also: West Ham. These two have bought (in general) well but I think it won’t click right away. They might get some decent early season results but I reckon it takes until Christmas before they really start to gel. Both should make for tough propositions afterwards though. I can’t see either in the top six unless one of the top six goes all pear shaped. (see point 5…)
4 – Newcastle to start very strong and then slip slide their way back down. I think Benitez will make them very tough to beat and they’ll get some good results but once they hit the mid 30s, the foot will come off the pedal a little and they’ll finish lower mid-table.
5 – This one pains me – it all to go tits up at Liverpool. I just can’t help but look at that squad and worry. The club clearly identified a need for a CB and CM but failed (so far) to get their targets and has decided not to pursue another option but the squad is so, so short in some areas. I mean, there’s a genuine chance of players like Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Grujic and Woodburn playing significant minutes this season in the league and/or Europe and I really have my doubts about them all. Potential, for sure, but are any capable of playing week in week out if needed? Origi is further in development than all of them and he’s nowhere near first team standard. We may well start at a canter but fatigue and injuries were bad enough last season. Add a few extra games and it all looks hairy…
6 – Burnley to go down without a trace and Dyche to blame them foreigns. Okay the second half of that was in jest but Burnley look like they might struggle to me. No Keane means the defence is weaker and no replacement yet has me a little worried. They ended last season very badly, something which seems to be forgotten by most people, and the away form was so bad that dropped points at home are a complete disaster, which puts immense pressure on every game. I like Jack Cork, but Walters and Bardsley are not Premier League standard.
7 – Leicester to do just fine. I’m actually quite intrigued to see how this goes – I think they’ve bought well and ended last season well. Iheanacho could add goals if he can displace Okazak and Ndidi and Iborra looks tough as nails. No room for Drinkwater? A little soft out wide if Mahrez goes… I guess that’s why I think it’s ‘just fine’ and not ‘title challenge’ again.
8 – City and United to set the pace and not really let up. Yep, sadly. City to win it, I think.
I’ll leave it there, sure. Plenty more to say but a lot of ifs and buts already.
Kevin, LFC, Ireland
…I don’t think either Klopp or Guardiola will be gone by the end of the season, in fact I suspect that both of those teams will be contenders for the title at the business end of the season. Liverpool are only a proper centre-back signing away from having a very good team indeed. Obviously if Coutinho leaves then they’ll have a bit of a problem, but I reckon they might be able to hang on to him for one more year. If they get a full season out of Mane, and Salah comes close to replicating his Roma form, then they really do have a good shot at it. City should not be written off either. Their attacking options are formidable, and the three full-backs they’ve signed are definitely upgrades on last season’s options, as is Ederson an upgrade on Bravo. Again, they possibly need another centreback, but they really won’t be far off in my opinion.
I think if anyone might struggle then it could be Chelsea or Spurs. Spurs’ season will totally depend on their usual late-window transfer business, but to my mind they are about 2 injuries away from having a tough season. If Kane and Alli both picked up serious injuries, which is not beyond the realms of possibility, then they would struggle. I know that any team would struggle without their two best players, but to me Spurs’ main weakness is squad depth – if they go and get a couple of really good alternatives in those two positions (better than Jansen and Sissokho at least) then they’ll be fine.
But I think there is (or at least should be) a fair amount of pressure on them to win something; there’s only so long you can be talking about potential before it needs to be realised. Chelsea seemed to have a relatively injury-free season last year and no European football on their plate, so they also need a few more in to cope with those demands. I think that the bigger issue is the unnecessary situation with Costa.
While I don’t necessarily disagree with the decision to replace him, it seems to have been done in a rather underhanded way, which could upset the squad harmony, and they are putting a lot of pressure on Morata hitting the ground running to replace him. I’m not saying they’ll capitulate this season, but I think it was a needless risk to take.
The Serge Aurier rumour seemed a bit ridiculous at first, but there might be some logic to it. We haven’t been linked with right-backs at all (Fabinho was being touted as a DM), so it came a bit out of nowhere. He doesn’t seem like a Mourinho player, and he’s not exactly a marquee signing so it doesn’t seem like a Woodward transfer either, plus he’s had his off-field problems too. But because of this, it seems like there’s more to it than simple 2+2 journalism and rumouring.
The only way I can think it makes sense is if Fosu-Mensah or Darmian are leaving the club, or if Jose’s planning on pushing Valencia back into a more attacking role. Most of our attacks last year came down the left and middle, so maybe that’s how we plan to address that issue. I won’t be bothered either way if this deal happens or not, but it’s certainly an interesting one.
Some European predictions, which is nice
Seeing as we’re all getting our predictions gloves on with everyone focusing solely on what will happen in the EPL, I decide to be a bit different by predicting the winners in Europe’s other top leagues and competitions. So here we go
1. Spain: With Barca likely to lose Neymar, a not too strong squad and Athletico still trying to settle in their new stadium, Madrid has never had an easier shot at winning LA Liga back to back. Although losing Moratta and James, 2 good squad players who contributed to their cause last season is likely to hurt them, Zidane has shown his ability to rotate effectively and might still bring in Mbappe before the market closes.
2. Italy: Juventus are likely to pick another Scudetto. Although it won’t be so easy with AC Milan’s new found riches, they’re still the most settled and complete squad in Italy. AS Roma and Napoli might still throw in a little challenge but Roma’s squad of last season was their strongest in a while and two major parts have been removed so they’re likely to cool off a bit.
3. France: If PSG get Neymar then we can as well hand the title over to them in August. Monaco might still prove a bit resilient but you don’t lose 3 MAJOR (with a great emphasis on MAJOR) players and still play at the same level and intensity as your previous season.
4. Germany: LOOOOOL let’s move on
5. UCL: Man City might have a shot this season but PSG will be a stringer force with Neymar and you can never tell so I think we’re finally going to have a French team winning the ultimate trophy.
6. Europa: This was the easiest to predict and I’m going with Bayern. Reason being that they’ll be so gutted at the realization that they don’t have to torment arsenal and then intentionally finish 3rd in their group, play their way to the final, and win the trophy after beating arsenal 55-2 after which Wenger extends his contract.
Eseosa (AFC) Lagos
Why preseason is meaningless
Perhaps i’m just saying this out of desperation, after watching Man City utterly destroy Spurs in one of the most one-sided games i’ve ever watched. However, let me take you back to the pre-season before the 2008-09 season.
Spurs, managed by exciting new coach Juande Ramos, played eight friendlies, winning seven of them including comprehensive defeats of Celtic and Borussia Dortmund, followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Roma.
If you don’t know what followed, ask Harry Redknapp. If you really pushed him, he might mumble something or other about 2 points from 8 games.
Just a reminder that pre-season friendlies tell us very little about competitive performance.
At least I damn well hope not.
Rob Davies, THFC (Would still rather sign nobody than make Ross Barkley the club’s best-paid player)