Keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Where do Barcelona go from here?
Predicting the chain-effect of a world transfer
Well there you go. Barca have confirmed it and Neymar is off. And here I was getting annoyed at why every sporting website felt the need to tell me when and where Neymar was taking off or landing from (“he’s landed in Dubai”, “he’s on his way to Spain”). Well, guess that was important huh.
However, I think this is going to lead to a pretty big chain of events in the footballing world – because if there’s one thing you can be certain of (apart from the fact that Sturridge will get injured in gameweek 1), is that Barca are going to use that money and go buy someone. Each buy, in my mind, is going to have a pretty big impact to the title hopes of any club they come for.
Here are a few scenarios:
Option A – they go all out for Coutinho. There’s going to be haggling, but clubs like Barca / Real always get their man. And in this case, they surely will. What’s Liverpool going to do then? Maybe splurge and buy Keita and Van Dijk? Possible. That won’t address the gaping hole Coutinho leaves though.
Option B – they go for Sanchez. In my mind, this makes a lot of sense. He’s as close as a like-for-like replacement as possible, a much better player than when he left, knows the club, and will get guaranteed playing time. Oh, and its a step up than ManC or whichever other team is linked to him now. Obviously, Arsenal’s worst fears will come true then, and they’ll end up 7th (#kneejerk).
Option C – go for the future best players – Dybala or Mbappe. Both potentially fill the need. Dybala is already established while getting Mbappe could prove to be a statement for the future (while one-upping Madrid). Or, go for the win and get both? You probably could with 220 mil.
Option D – go for the raw, young talent, and put up money for Dembele at Dortmund, Lemar at Monaco (probably not as good) or Keita at Lazio or someone similar.
Any of these can happen (I’m pegging for Dybala – I like him for Barca), but it’s interesting to think of the devastating effect any of these options would have on the clubs they target. Arsenal, Liverpool, Dortmund, Juventus can all expect their title ambitions seriously derailed if this happens.
More interestingly, who will they replace them with?
RJC, MUFC, Chicago
And who do PSG sell now?
Two things appear obvious in the Neymar deal. The first is that clubs have clearly found a way around financial fair play. PSG revenue is just shy of 600m. To then spend the best part of £250m for the initial year of his deal, almost half of their revenue, on one player, shows the system has been broken. All of Europe’s clubs are spending like there’s no tomorrow and I suspect there will be a review of what financial fair play is.
The second is that PSG will have to sell. Whether for financial fair play or due to not starting, someone will go.
If they play either 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, you imagine Cavani and Neymar both start. Di Maria, Draxler, Matuidi and Verati are the likely supporting cast. That leaves one of: Lucas, Rabiot, Jese Rodriguez or Hatem Ben Arfa are unsure about their starting spot.
The first two could all do a job for a top 8 team and I suspect they will be itching for a move now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsene goes in for Rabiot if his Lemar pursuit fails. And I for one would welcome this swap.
Or maybe someone like Verratti goes to ensure the squad is more balanced. I bet he tackled Neymar once and now he won’t play with him. This transfer speculation lark is easy.
Rob A (PSG to the semi-final stage now) AFC
Maybe football isn’t breaking, but changing?
I thought the ninnies told us that the Pogba deal was the end of the world, but now they’re telling us that actually it’s the Neymar deal.
I’m beginning to think that there’s a group of people who take pleasure in boring us with their view that football has gone mad every time the transfer record is broken.
The big question
Can he do it on a cold rainy in….Calais?
Clint Dempsey (not that one)
Football’s money does my own life feel worse
I’m on my way home and whilst reading about the Neymar deal I can’t help but consider the detachment football has from real life. I look at my situation and compare the two worlds. I recently had a breakdown that led me to being signed off work with depression for two weeks. I am in the process of being “assessed” for counselling and have been at work for four days. I was promised lots of support but today that support appears to be fading already. I feel sick and my head is thumping.
I look at the financial situation that my wife and I are in and whilst we are ok, we will never be in a position to own a home. I wonder if I will ever be able to provide for my wife and son the way that I want to. I yearn for a life that is less stressful but I can’t see a situation developing that will bring me the security and happiness I want to provide my family with. I then consider the fact that I am not alone and whilst my struggles are causing me a lot of sadness, there are others in worse situations than me.
I then come back to this Neymar deal. This f*cking ludicrous deal. £196m for one player. Who then gets £650k AFTER TAX. Whose new club will gleefully announce it all without a care in the world. Who will then whore it all out with replica kits, all kinds of Neymar branded crap and inflated ticket prices so “fans” can catch a glimpse of their idol for 90 mins. People will even try and convince us that this is all good.
I think I am done with football. It’s moved too far away from us normal folk, into some weird grotesque world. I can’t see it as an escapism anymore. The money flowing through it just makes my life feel worse.
I hope I’m just being melodramatic because I am feeling pretty shit right now and that come the start of the season all will be well again. But right now football, I fear you and I are over.
Anon, West Sussex
We all need to save our money better
Before noon of every single day of his new contract, Neymar will make more than my annual salary. This is going to make waking up tomorrow particularly difficult. I think I’ll bring my lunch from home and skip Pret.
Andrew (Not a footballer) – London
Liverpool preseason thoughts
Long time reader, first time mailer and all that. Few thoughts on Liverpool’s pre season of what i have seen.
1. The front 4 of Coutinho, Mane, Firmino, and Sarah looks frightening. With Phil playing more centrally, he is on the ball far more often allowing him to feed balls to Mane and Salah. Then got Firmino with the interlinking play is just devastating,
2. Everyone is saying about Liverpool investing into a Giroud-Esque kind of player. Liverpool have already done so. Dom Solanke is that man. Despite being only 6’1, he is a bit of a powerhouse in the air.
3. Daniel Sturridge’s legs are officially made of paper, but sure as hell he can finish.
4. Alberto Moreno has decided to show up the penultimate pre season game so he won’t be sold this year.
5. Joe Gomez has shredded some hella weight. He was looking rather sluggish during the end of last season. He is looking a lot more agile.
Not sure on the point of this mail, but my overall view on Liverpool this season, is they are 1 top quality centre back and central midfielder away from a top 4 finish and good champions league run. A back up winger wouldn’t go amiss neither.
Ross (Just outside London) Essex
Are these preseason games the most important of the season?
Now they seem to have mostly finished for the summer, I’ve been thinking about the “summer tournaments / worldwide marketing opportunities” (delete as appropriate) that many sides have jetted round the globe to take part in this summer.
We often scoff and say these games mean nothing – and while it’s true to a certain extent, you certainly shouldn’t be predicting who will win the League based on who won the Premier League Asia Trophy or the Emirates Cup – I actually wonder if in another sense these games are some of the most important a club plays all year.
If we accept that the floodgates are well and truly open and football is now about marketing and your club’s place in the worldwide landscape, then surely your performance in a “meaningless friendly” in front of 80,000 Asian / American / Australian fans is a major part of a club’s marketing strategy.
After all, if you’re a Chinese football fan who just saw Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-0, And whose merch would you rather buy on the way out of the ground? And more importantly, which side are you more likely to want to watch for the season ahead? As the Premier League extends its reach around the globe, the performance of its sides in these games is genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attract a new generation of followers.
This feeds back into the club’s desirability when brands are looking for an official washing liquid partner, making the club more lucrative as a result.
Ultimately it’s just further proof that football long ago stopped being “the people’s game” and is now mostly an exercise in brand extension.
Ben, AFC (Didn’t even bother mentioning FFP as it would have been impossible to type with a straight face)
And they do have their place…
Just home from Munich where I took my 6 year old lad to his first Liverpool match. Proper good day out. We watched most of the Napoli v Athletico match first and then watched Liverpool put in a really, really good display against Bayern. Yes, it’s pre season, no it doesn’t mean an awful lot, but he loved it and I loved sharing it with him and I just fell back in love with football again last night.
He wore his shift home with a massive smile plastered across his face having refused to take it off last night and it reminded me of me when I used to just enjoy the football.
€75 for both of us for two games of football by the way. Not bad, eh?
I love a good prediction, hold on; let me just wet my finger and stick it in the air…
Man City to win the league. Gabriel Jesus terrified me when they signed him last Christmas, injury robbed him of the chance to shine but I think he will score plenty of goals and win one of the young player or player of the year awards. I also see the painful full back problem solved with an astronomically expensive salve and depth in all areas. I think Pep has enjoyed creating this squad and moulding it to the type of football he wants to play.
Liverpool second. I’m a fan, which means this prediction is especially meaningless. Regardless, my heart is whispering that our ruthless victory over Bayern in an empty pre-season friendly foreshadows Champions League success, my head on the other hand, is screaming about a lack of reinforcements in vital positions and woeful inconsistencies against deep lying defences. Shut up head.
Spurs and Chelsea for Champ League spots. I’m a fan of the Spurs model and I enjoy watching their young English contingent play, however a mailboxer pointed out that Spurs squad is particularly susceptible to key players being injured and I am inclined to agree. Kane, Alli and Eriksen are vital, if any/some of these get injured long term I think they might struggle to keep pace with the top sides. Chelsea have probably improved but might lack some of the hunger that will be burning through the other top 6. Costa’s treatment is apt for such a ginormous b@stard but foolish from the club’s standpoint.
Man U and Arsenal 5/6th. I don’t get it. Really I don’t. But then I don’t get a lot of things so that doesn’t mean much. Everyone is tipping Utd to waltz up the table. I see their squad being marginally stronger than last year. I don’t think Lukaku is an upgrade on Ibra. I think Lindelof could be a decent signing and a general improvement and I think Matic is a solid player who Jose likes. That doesn’t make up 24 points and it doesn’t solve Utd’s biggest problem of scoring goals. But what di I know? Arsenal could well prove this prediction very wrong. I think Ozil and Sanchez are world class and adding Lacazette looks potent, its the rest of the team that seems under strength to me. Arsene has evolved in to a stereotypical old ditherer, unsure of his own tactical masterplan and offering little strength in leadership. While he stays Arsenal appear to have a distinct lack of inertia.
Everton / Southampton / Leicester for the top 10. Everton will be aiming for higher and could well get it but perhaps lack a real outstanding talent of the standing of Pogba/Coutinho/Hazard/Ozil/Kane/Aguero. Who knows though with more activity left in the transfer market perhaps that will change. Leicester and Southampton are probably more focused on keeping their best players but doing so will encourage them to aim for Europe.
Burnley / Brighton and West Brom to go down. Burnley and West Brom because I would like to think that there is an eventual comeuppance for appalling football played with a focus on physically intimidating the opponents. Maybe that’s harsh,I have little to base that on as I try and avoid watching their games due to said appalling football. Brighton because one of the newly promoted teams have to go down right? It won’t be Newcastle under the Rafalution and Huddersfield have Jurgen’s close personal friend David Wagner, so they’re out.
And yes things got a little tenuous at the end there but I find a good splash of guessing helps to fill out season predictions.
On Kroenke (and Portrait of an Icon)
I was gutted to see the 1,000 copies of Portrait of an Icon book had already sold out, but was encouraged the publisher was doing another run. It’s a great cause you’re supporting and commendations to Daniel, the publisher, illustrators and all involved in raising these funds. Looking forward to having it on the coffee table.
On an entirely unrelated note, are the people seriously asking Stan Kronke to leave/sell his stake in Arsenal due to his connection to a subscription hunting channel? Roman Abramovich is guilty of bribary, blackmail, theft and fraud. Sheikh Mansour has lead a regime with an abysmal human rights record and maintains the illegality of homosexuality in their emirate. I could continue to discuss the various other dodgy Premier League team owners but that could take some time. People seriously need some perspective.
And please stop saying he’s endorsing the hunting of endangered animals. Neither lions or elephants are endangered, with the latter actually occasionally culled due to overpopulation and their large environmental impact. I’m not endorsing bloodsport, but just view this as fairly mild on the spectrum of global issues at the moment and find the reaction ridiculous.
George (Football can’t come soon enough) AFC, Wellington, NZ
(The latest I can give you is that the Portrait of an Icon book should be available to order again from next week (we’ve asked for a lot more copies!) and that those orders should come through by beginning of September. Pre-orders already made will go out on launch date. Thanks for your patience – DS)
Anti Man United bias
United’s team bus was clamped in Dublin today.
Tenner says it was a Liverpool fan that did it.