Rash judgement: tWho wants Rashford when Welbeck is free?

June 19, 2019
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We should be bored of the Rashford to Barca story that pops up every few weeks. Does any reader of these sporting sites believe that a club like Barca would seriously be in for a guy that scores a few goals a season? He’s a 20% upgrade on Danny Welbeck. He’s a good player but surely it’s just his agent trying to get a massive contract out of Ed. To be fair I reckon he’s the only one that will fall for it and will pay him £300k a week by the time the season starts. Watching the goings on at United these days is just delicious

Don’t blame it on Traore

I know a lot of people are a bit antsy about all the Pogba stuff at the moment but can we leave Djimi Traore out of it, he may not have the quality of a Maldini or the feet of Ronaldo but what he did have was a backbone, a willingness to try his best, put his body on the line and be a team player, they all seem to be things Pogba is missing. And of course the champions league medal too!

The real Big Six

Bye-bye, Big Six? Unlikely. Plus, we all know the real “Big 6” are Man U, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Blackburn and Leicester.

Adam H, CFC

Italian jobs

Interesting question from Steve, Belfast, about Italian football merry-go-rounds. Having followed Serie A since the 80s, it never struck me as an oddity, it just was. Certainly it’s not a new phenomenon, for example in the 80s Aldo Serena played for Inter, Milan, Juventus and Torino, Virdis played for Juve and Milan, Zoff and Altafini swapped between Napoli and Juve, and I’m sure there are many more examples. It certainly accelerated in the late 90’s and early 00s, when player merry-go-rounds between clubs were used to inflate everyone’s accounts. Milan and Inter were primary culprits, though everyone was at it (and Inter, being Inter, managed to give Cannavaro for Carini, Seedorf for Coco and Pirlo fur Guglielminpietro). Basically clubs would do a player swap of players whose book value was, say, E10m, and value the swap at E20m. Then they would write a E10m profit into their Profit&Loss for the sold player, and enter the new player as a E20m asset in their balance sheet to replace the previous E10m player. Of course the extra E10m was purely fictional value, and the artificially inflated balance sheets were just papering over the cracks. Of course in the end it all came crashing down, with Lazio, Parma, Fiorentina and Napoli among the victims.

That particularly Italian pragmatism that meant that no club or player would turn down a good enough offer simply because it came from a rival. When news came out of Roberto Baggio’s move from Fiorentina to Juventus, for example, Fiorentina fans turned the streets of Florence into a riot zone for two days. The Fiorentina directors, shrugged, looked at the number of zeroes on Juve’s cheque, and went ahead with the sale anyway. The same professional mentality is with the players and coaches. Sure, they have affinities with clubs, but they are paid to do a job and will do it wherever they see professional opportunity. Long before Conte, Trapattoni had swapped Juventus from Inter, making the transfer directly rather than going via a third club. Trapattoni had come to Juve directly from Milan, and after his spell at Inter went straight back to Juve.

Incidentally, I find it curious to see the usage of “Internazionale” or “Inter Milan” and “AC Milan” to identify the milanese clubs. In Italy no-one uses the “AC”, everyone knows that’s who you’re referring to when you say “Milan”, just like everyone knows that’s who you’re referring to when you say “Inter”. Neither needs any additional qualifier.

James, Switzerland

Arsenal have caught on to Moneyball

I watched the film Moneyball a few weeks back, about a baseball league team manager who hires this young economics whizz who creates a computerised databse which identifies undervalued but over performing baseball players. The premise is that although non of them are outstanding players, collectively they would rack up significant runs to win baseball games.

As an Arsenal fan (and a strong advocate of firing Stan and Josh Kroenke into space) I fear this is exactly the model that Arsenal are now built on. Forget any high profile players, period. Any player who is a drain on the wage bill, remove. And only get in the cheapest, but under valued players out there.

Although I am very, very skeptical of this model, I am warming to the idea that at all times, Arsenal players will be running around the pitch holding a baseball bat. The beautiful football may be gone, but now so has the soft underbelly of Arsenal Football Club.

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