‘Unique’ Arsenal now have major pulling power in the transfer market…

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The Mailbox suggests Arsenal have as much clout in the transfer market as almost anyone else in Europe. Also: Klopp, Spurs under Conte, Celtic in Europe…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

 

Arsenal have major clout
I get where John is coming from regarding losing star players for Arsenal, especially if you view what the club is doing through a Ajax/Dortmund/Porto lens, but I think the risk is overstated.

Arsenal are one of the ten biggest teams in the world, playing in the richest (by far) league in the world, owned by the 2nd richest man in the Premier League (4th richest ownership group) who has a track record once his teams are on top to aggressively pursue deals to keep them there.

The club also has a phenomenal opportunity to grow in commercial markets, a unique brand that still has huge global reach thanks to success in the past and now potential in the future.

Maybe Barca/Madrid retains some primacy (although one is a clear basket case one jenga piece from complete collapse) but who cares about La Liga? Not the world (much). PSG? Nah. Bayern? They don’t have the cash. The draw (and cash) is increasingly the Prem and you see players looking that way more and more.

It could all go tits up for sure, but this season could be the springboard to get Arsenal in the big time and we have the cash to splash on our young shiny players. We may need to sell one of them, but we had Ozil and Auba on £350k apiece in the Europa League, why couldn’t we bump Saka, Martinelli and Jesus on £200k each in the Champions League?

As a great man once said “Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling”.
Tom (not Hardy, sadly) Walthamstow

 

First dates
John Matrix AFC, you’re on a great first date. You’re really clicking, everything seems to be going well and you can see a future here. Naturally, you immediately go into toilets and start rocking back and forth in the foetal position worrying that your date is going to jilt you at the altar, leaving you for your sexy Spanish neighbour.

Or, maybe not. Maybe you enjoy where you are, knowing that a million different things could happen between now and then, including the second half of your date being absolutely terrible and/or trashed by an intense, robotic Norwegian waiter. I’ve lost track of the analogy now but basically, let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
Amro, Irish Gooner (not saying you’re wrong, just I’d prefer to live in denial for as long as possible)

 

Spurs survey
I’m genuinely interested in what Spurs fans of a certain vintage think of Conte’s football.

Despite our decades under Wenger, playing football the right way has never been a mantra associated with the Arsenal. We’ve been called lucky and boring, but it was only under Arsene that the beautiful game materialised.

But these days Arsenal do appear to be living up to our motto – Victoria Concordia Crescit – Victory Through Harmony. Gone is the infighting between Wenger Ins and Wenger Outs replaced by a fanbase united under Arteta – with the exception of Stewie of course.

But as all good Spurs fans know – their club’s motto is To Dare is To Do. I just don’t think there’s much daring going under Conte. Are Spurs fans happy with their lot so long as they get the results? or does it all leave you longing for Poch where you were always on the front foot?

It feels like Gooners have got their Arsenal back. Do Spurs want their Tottenham back or are they happy with this new one – Conte’s club?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

Where’s the love for Lucas? 
I find myself a bit perplexed about all the heat Lucas gets by Spurs fans online.

For sure he has his limits as a player. His touch is often erratic, and he just lacks that final bit of quality & guile to establish himself as a solid starter on a CL level club. On the positive side, he’s an incredible athlete that always works hard on the defensive side of the ball and also puts a lot of pressure on backlines with his speed and willingness to attack defenders directly (he’s also sneaky good in the air).

Yet, if you were to look at my Twitter timeline last night, you would’ve thought the man was Judas Iscariot himself. The cries for him to “get out of my club” were pathetic. The writer/blogger types particularly despise him, which I have a sneaking suspicion has something to do with Lucas’ political views (which contrast sharply with those of most writers/bloggers that tend to lean left).

Interestingly, the views of this subset of Spurs fans conflicts with every manager we’ve had in his tenure who have trusted him with a significant role in the squad, and nearly all ex-players turned pundits who tend to frame him as a real “impact player”.

Yes, Lucas should not be in the starting eleven (when everybody is fit) nor is he a long-term building block for the club. But he is a very solid rotation player and put in a real shift last night (and should’ve had two assists but for lack of finishing) despite being out for nearly the last two months. FFS, what else were we supposed to do last night? Trust an unproven 21-year old kid (Bryan Gil) that had one nice cameo (which btw was at home and in a game state where we were applying all the pressure) in that atmosphere? Complete nonsense.

Have any other Spurs fans noticed this as well? Do supporters of any other clubs have players that they feel gets similar unwarranted treatment?
Brad, THFC supporter state-side

 

Scottish teams in Europe
I have two main questions which, I tell you now, will have some Scottish and Irish fans (amongst others) spitting their morning brew at the screen. I ask that you bear with me as, firstly, I am most assuredly not trolling and, secondly, that I am genuinely looking for reasoned, balanced replies.

What is the point of any two SPL teams being awarded CL places from this point onwards?

Yep. Now wipe your screen.

Secondly, can Scottish football, the producer of so many legendary players and managers, ever be brought to parity with the English Leagues again?

I think I’m right in saying that Rangers yesterday were proclaimed as, officially, the worst team ever to play in the CL. Swiftly followed last night by Celtic getting a 5-1 kicking from Real.

For comparison, Celtic finished their group with two points, Rangers with none and Maccabi Haifa with three.

Why can’t the Scottish Leagues attract the same level of investment that the English and Welsh Leagues can? Why would the likes of Abramovich and the ‘Petrol States’ buy City and Newcastle but not Celtic or Rangers?

The latter both have a rich history and can’t be classed as inferior in any sense so what gives?

And for those that would, to enable a level playing field, suggest that either Glasgow team should be admitted to any of the top four English leagues, it simply can’t happen. That is, not without some seismic national rule changes. Because you can bet your mortgage that any two teams consequently displaced would sue the sh** out of the relevant football authorities accordingly.

F365’ers, I welcome your replies, excluding the usual septic nonsense in the comments section of course, and am intrigued as to whether anybody will be prepared to address the genuine Celtic/Rangers ‘elephant in the room’.

Again, what will it take for Scottish football to develop?
Mark (Told you before. This Alvarez kid is under Haaland’s radar. But folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet). MCFC.

 

Celtic and slow-mos
Watching Real Madrid – Celtic, I assume the 1st penalty was correct according to the current handball rule, so I’ll skip that one. My gripe is with the second one. The referee lets play continue, because she (yes, she) was well aware that a ball struck from half a yard away at full speed could hit any part of the opponent’s body. If it happens to hit your arm, that’s purely accidental and shouldn’t be punished. The VAR, sitting in a comfy office somewhere, thinks differently. They see the ball hit the defender’s arm and think penalty. The ref is sent to the screen to have a look and gets to see 2 slow-mo replays. I repeat 2 SLOW-MO REPLAYS!!! She sees the 2 slow-mo replays and awards a penalty. How is it possible that she isn’t shown the incident at normal speed? How is it possible that she doesn’t ask the VAR to show her the incident at normal speed? Or…do people genuinely not understand that slow-mo distorts reality? Now that would be tragic.
G Thomas, Breda

 

Crooks and Qatar
Just picking up on Ed Quoththeraven’s note. He is 100% right that the Acknowledgement of Country is largely symbolic and does not make up for centuries of mistreatment of the indigenous population which, very sadly, continues today. It is a small gesture, part of a number of actions, which most Australians hope lead to a more equitable society. We have a ways to go yet, but we’re trying…

But Garth Crooks, what a tool. To repeat the arguments made by a bunch of folks far smarter than both Garth and I – these players were not directly or indirectly involved in selecting Qatar as the host for the WC, and can’t be expected to sacrifice the opportunity to represent their country on this stage. Going to Qatar – and using their platform to call attention to the steps all right-minded folks hope Qatar make (giving immigrant labourers basic rights that we take for granted, and eliminating the discrimination that LGBTQI+ people face on a daily basis) is a far more reasonable approach

Lost in the what-aboutery bullsh*t was their acknowledgement of the power of football’s spotlight and the progress made in the past few years – leading to Qatar being far more advanced on these issues than their Middle-Eastern neighbours.

This unless-you-are-perfect-you-can’t-comment stuff is as stupid as it is irrelevant…

And finally indoor cricket – scraping the barrel…
Simon (Arsenal, and everyone who isn’t PSG / ManC / Newcastle are feeder clubs), Formerly of London, Sydney

Klopp speaks on Liverpool Credit: Alamy
Klopp speaks on Liverpool Credit: Alamy


Different game
I have been part of f365 for more than a decade, as every contributor can attone, some of them get in, and some of them don’t, it is what it is. 7 or 8 years ago I lauded Liverpool for hiring Klopp, not because he was the best manager, but because I believe he would achieve greatness if he didn’t loose his best player every off season. Dortmund literally sold their best players every year.

The likes of Hummel’s, Lewandowski , Gotze, Kagawa, the list goes on. In my opinion, Klopp was playing handicapped every year. At the time, Liverpool had shown a temerity to play hard ball when it came to selling their best players. The likes of Suarez and Torres had a hard time exiting the club. Even Raheem Sterling, whilst young and demanding a move, the saga became a fiasco. Liverpool were not going to let a European giant just walk all over them.

In my opinion, now Klopp could build a team over a few year, with the security that it wasn’t going to be torn apart every summer window. 90% of his players were going to be there the following season. And he did exactly that, he built a team that was a force both in Europe and the EPL

My counter point is, Liverpool were very much middle of the pack, occasional cup team, before the Coutinho money. The investment of that money made a huge difference to the squad and helped push them over the line. In the champions league the first year, and the league in 2020. In a position of strength, they failed to invest and they stagnated. Man City have kept buying, and they don’t buy to develop, they buy some of the best talent available. Man City don’t go shopping at Leicester to get Iheanacho, they go for the best talent there, Mahrez. That’s what they did, while Liverpool persisted with Mane, Firmino and Salah.

In midfield, Liverpool persisted with Henderson, Fabinho, Milner and whoever felt fit enough to play, meanwhile City just kept adding to the squad, so much so, it’s almost like they rotate every week. The only guy I can name that plays when available and is considered the best in the league, Kevin de Bruyne. In defence, ever since Kompany left, I don’t even know who plays there anymore. Maybe Walker and Stones are names that come up, but all I know is that they have bodies and bodies that are very capable. Liverpool are always an injury away from disaster.

So who’s fault is it? It can’t be Klopp, his temerity to acquire and develop unknown talent is well demonstrated, so I don’t believe FSG would have told him they want add a midfielder to shore up the center, and his response was no. He approved the purchase of Minamino, so clearly he wasn’t the one blocking purchases. FSG are not money washers the way Qatar is, they spend what the club makes while getting paid for managing the club. They a literally getting paid to manage Liverpool.

Incidentally, people who work at these type of jobs , make that kind of money. I’d urge anyone complaining about FSG heads, to check the salary of their contemporaries at Man U, Arsenal , Chelsea. Their salaries are very comparable. The biggest difference is that some airline , for whatever reason decides to give Man City, 300 million every year. Are they the most popular club in the world, No. Have they struggled to fill up their stadium? Yes. However, a CEO sat somewhere decided , a football club that has average followers, is worth giving 300 million sponsorship money. And that’s Qatar, Newcastle with Saudi money, it’ll be 700 million from a mobile phone company. I shudder at the thought, they will rule for decades. Newcastle have an actual global fan base as well, they won’t have the problems Man City had where people asked how they made money with half filled stadia.

In conclusion, I don’t think Klopp is to blame, or FSG is to blame, both camps played the hand they were dealt, they just happened to be sat at a table where the dealer was compromised and the opponent had bag loads of cash. What has happened is that Liverpool have returned to the regularly scheduled programming. That is, they will challenge for cups, but unless they get a new huge injection of cash like they did with Coutinho, they are more or less Tottenham, with a bigger fan base.
Dave(When they say ALL IN for 50k, and you are worried about your son’s 5k school fee, it’s time to fold, Sorry pool fans), Somewhere

 

The Old Baby
The only thing funnier than Juventus praying for another goal from the mighty Maccabi Haifa was the mental image of Andrea Agnelli throwing histoys down, stomping away and screaming: “I didn’t want to play with you losers anyway! I’m going to create my own league! With Barcelona! And Atletico Madrid! And you’re not invited!!!”

Still chuckling,
Mario Pulver

 

Where’s Phil?
I am absolutely gutted that Southgate was able to name a 55 man squad and Phil Neville didn’t even make the cut!!
Northern Spur

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