Weird transfer XI – Some shockers in here!

There have been some weird transfers over the years. Some that just didn’t make sense at the time and seem even worse when you look back. Here are some that stick in my mind: 

GK: Edwin Van Der Sar – Juve to Fulham.

The whole thing was just weird. Clearly too good for them. Eventually made his move to Man U and won it all. What’s unreal is he was at Fulham for FOUR years. What a total waste of time.

RB: Mat Debuchy – Newcastle to Arsenal.

May not seem that weird but as a Newcastle fan, we couldn’t believe Arsene Wenger paid us twice as much as we did for him, to take him off our hands. He’s done nothing at Arsenal and none of us are surprised. Weird.

(I also have to mention Julian Faubert from West Ham to Real Madrid on loan. Very strange one)

CB: Laurent Blanc – Inter to Man Utd. 

Seriously this one was weird for the entire time he was there. He was clearly too old and contributed to Fergie’s worst ever season in the Premier League. So ridiculous.

CB: David Luiz – PSG to Chelsea.

This one was weird right? No-one could understand it. He then helped them win the league. So weird. He’s now not in the team. Not so weird.

LB: Mikael Silvestre – Man Utd to Arsenal.

I found this one just very strange. I couldn’t get my head around it. Fergie never sells to a rival, so he must have been past it, but he wasn’t that bad, which made it all just weird.

CM: Thomas Gravesen – Everton to Real Madrid.

Has there ever been a weirder permanent transfer? He actually played as well. Twilight zone.

CM: Edgar Davids – rocks up at Barnet.

This wasn’t a transfer and he was player-manager (kind of) but come on. Edgar Davids playing for Barnet? Weirdo.

CM: Ivan Campo – Real Madrid to Bolton.

I could have put Fernando Hierro in this team or even Djorkaeff but Campo was still in his prime and had only recently stopped polishing his Champions League medal. He would spend six years at Bolton. Six.

FW: Nicolas Anelka – Fenerbahce to Bolton.

PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea, wait what? If Anelka were to go for a job interview, he would need to explain the gap in his CV for that 2-year spell at Bolton Wanderers. How? Why?

FW: George Weah – Milan to Chelsea.

This was just weird. It’s like it never happened but it did and I for one can’t forget it. George Weah was a mirage, a mysterious idol to be watched only on Football Italia, winning World player of the year. Not struggling to play up front with Chris Sutton. No. No. No.

FW: Ian Rush & John Barnes – Leeds & Liverpool to Newcastle.

First off, these are two players so technically makes my XI a 12 man team. However, they came at the same time and given their ability at their respective ages, they just about make up one players worth.

As a Toon fan, I watched Kevin Keegan sign Ferdinand & Ginola in 1995 and almost won us the league. I then saw Kenny Dalglish sell them both in 1997 & replace them with over the hill Ian Rush & John Barnes. What? I know they say ‘sign what you know’ but this destroyed our team and put the club back for years. Perhaps forever. Why Kenny? Why? Utter nonsense.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

Advertisements

Mike Ashley: Lies, Damned Lies and Spending Statistics

Now that the January window has slammed shut, let’s take a look at how much clubs spent on their squad, and also net spend, for the season as a whole.
Net spend 2018

Newcastle Utd are the second lowest spenders with only £36 million being spent on permanent transfers. Only Bournemouth have spent less with £30 million.

Now, you could put the Cherries spend into context, in that they sold nobody and gave Defoe a massive contract & signing on fees for his ‘free’ transfer, so could be seen as more than £30m, but there we are.

If you look at Net spend (everyone’s fave) then there are 6 clubs below Newcastle in the “table” who themselves had a net spend of a putrid £11m.

They are Liverpool, West Ham, Burnley, Arsenal, Swansea and Southampton. Now, let’s look into that for all of two seconds.

Coutinho £146m, Ayew £18m, Michael Keane £30m, Oxlade-Chamberlain £35m, Sigurdsson £45m and Van Dijk £75m.

 

 

Each of those clubs had at least one major sale which drove down their net spend massively. Some had more than one.

Whereas Newcastle didn’t. They sold their prized assets last season after relegation. The only option they had this year was to spend.

To put this into some context, if you look at fellow promoted teams in Brighton & Huddersfield who also have no prizes assets to sell.

They spent £57m & £49m respectively, with total net spends of £57m & £43.5m. This places them 5th and 8th in the net spend table.

This is where you would expect them to be given their lack of selling power. Brighton sold nobody for eg.

All of this means one thing. Mike Ashley has drastically under-funded his business that he is supposedly looking to sell.

To the point that if NUFC were to go down, it will be worth half as much and he will have cost himself millions.

He will also be unable to receive the total amount he has invested in his time at the club. Around £250m. So he will have lost money if and when he sells.

In the last two occasions that NUFC have gone down, he has been obliged to pump in his own money into the club to keep it running. The only time he has ever spent something himself.

“Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has loaned the club £33m to help it cope with the effects of relegation. … The £33m loan has been made available through St James Holdings Ltd” – The Chronicle, 6th Jan 2017 

So even if he doesn’t sell, he will cost himself millions by needing to spend to keep it running and there is no guarantee the club will bounce back up.

So to conclude, not only will relegation mean the business he is trying to sell will be worth half as much than if it were in the Premier League, but it will cost him a fortune to keep it running…again.

People say Mike Ashley is a sound businessman. They base this totally on his supposed wealth and Sports Direct.

When it comes to running a football club, he is arguably the dumbest owner in football history.

At least when other idiots make mistakes, they sell up and leave. The bloke has been here for 11 years!!!

He has learned nothing over that time. Nothing. What kind of a moron would act the way he acts over and over again? How dumb can you be?

For the record, Mike Ashley has an average spend of £4.5million per season on the team. Which is never going to be successful. Ever. Talk about running something on the cheap.

He said if he couldn’t find a buyer before Christmas he would invest in January, he lied. He spent nothing.

He said he turned PCP’s £250m offer for the club down because he has other people willing to pay the £350m. He lied, he doesn’t.

The man is a compulsive liar and has been proved to be so in court when Keegan took him to trial.

Yet, amongst all of this, his chosen mouthpiece in Sky still hire people like Craig Bellamy, Simon Jordan and Dennis Wise, plus others, to tell the viewing nation he has done a great job and that they really like him.

It’s a disgrace that this man isn’t known throughout the world of football for exactly what he is. A liar and a terrible football club owner. One of the worst, if not THE worst in history.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

The problem with English players is they aren’t foreign enough…

One thing I have always said, and I am in the minority (but I like that), is that a problem the England football team may have is not with all those foreigners coming over here, it’s that our own boys don’t go over there.

Think about it. Some of the best players that have ever played the game, especially in recent years, leave their own country and play abroad. Often over here. Then represent their country proudly and win the World Cup or Euros or Copa America or whatever.

Perhaps the reason why these players are so good is that not only do they learn the culture and style of their own domestic game but they also add on top of this, other countries culture and style, making them a better all round player and a better all round human being.

Let me give you two modern day examples:

Let’s also use the FA 4 corner model of developing players. Technical; Physical; Psychological; Social.

Cristiano Ronaldo – grows up in Portugal. Learns the technical side of the game, learns all the ins and outs of his countries football culture, socially and psychologically.

Goes to England. Learns the physical, end to end all out action side of the game. Learns Socially the complete difference with his fellow players and also the manager and the press. Becomes a much stronger Psychologically.

Ronaldo

 

Goes to Real Madrid in Spain. Again, different culture, similar to Portugal but still different. Real Madrid is a different culture in itself. Technically outstanding. Physical specimen. Psychologically dominant. Socially superb.

A World class player moulded by the different countries and their domestic football as well as the culture of the countries themselves. Each has their own challenges to overcome.

Ronaldo is the extreme example of what can be achieved when you leave your own backyard and see the world.

This is, in my opinion, a key factor in why England fail at major worldwide tournaments. Their players just aren’t developed enough.

An example of what a domestic player can achieve is Gareth Bale. He was a truly wonderful player at Spurs. But look at him now. He is an absolute beast of a player who can take Wales to the Semi-Final of the Euros.

Technically great. Physically he has got better at Madrid. Psychologically much stronger now than when he left. Socially almost a different person.

Bale

Where as England were dumped out of the Euros by Iceland. A nation who shouldn’t really be on the same pitch never mind knock them out. Who is Iceland’s star player? Gylfi Sigurdsson. A player who has left his domestic land and developed abroad in England. Thier are hundreds of other examples.

So to conclude this seminar. If England want to have a truly world-class team, then don’t you dare blame the foreigners coming over here, blame the English players for not going over there!!!

Get out of your own domestic safety net and grow as a player somewhere else. Grow as a man in another country. Learn another way of playing. Develop yourself in each of those 4 corners I mention.

Imagine an England XI with 2 players playing in Spain, 1 in Italy, 2 from Germany, 1 in France and the rest from Man Utd, Liverpool etc. Imagine how good you would expect that team would be…..

The Ginger Pirlo

The shocking truth behind the failed Chelsea’s Kenedy deal. It’s totally unacceptable…

Charnley

As a Newcastle fan it is obvious our window was beyond a joke built up of lies and misery. However, I just want to make clear to everyone how either incompetent our administration is or how scumbaggery they are towards our official ‘UEFA Elite Coach’ Rafa Benitez. Or perhaps they are both.

We had in place a deal for Chelsea left back Kenedy sorted TWO WEEKS AGO but it could only be finalised once Chelsea brought in a first team wing back themselves. Fine.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was their first choice but that fell through on Deadline Day morning as he joined Liverpool. So, my amazing club concluded that the Kenedy deal was off.

Now, this is where some serious explaining needs to happen as at 2.30pm Chelsea agreed a fee for Zappacosta in light of missing out on the Ox. The whole football world knew this as the fact he had Costa in his name brought great attention. So, the Kenedy deal to NUFC is back on right? Apparently no.

Despite there being a good 8 hours or so for Newcastle to get in contact with Chelsea and sort out arrangements for Kenedy making his way to the North East in anticipation of Zappacosta signing, which in turn we could confirm Kenedy…Newcastle Utd announced at 7 pm that they had shut up shop with no more business for the day.

Apparently no. Despite there being a good 8 hours or so for Newcastle to get in contact with Chelsea and sort out arrangements for Kenedy making his way to the North East in anticipation of Zappacosta signing, which in turn we could confirm Kenedy…Newcastle Utd announced at 7 pm that they had shut up shop with no more business for the day.

Are you having a laugh?
Rafa Benitez has woke up this morning to a first team that is minus a left back. A left back that he had lined up a fortnight ago. Chelsea have their new wing back in place to make the deal happen, so why don’t we have it?
This isn’t due to time restraints as Zappacosta was in place many many hours before the window was due to shut. If Zappacosta deal somehow fell through, then Kenedy would too. That’s fine.
But to not have Kenedy at the training ground last night with medical done just waiting for the nod from Chelsea after Zappacosta was confirmed is totally unforgivable for its senseless incompetence.

Newcastle Utd is ran by con men who should be nowhere near the positions they hold. A 15-year-old boy addicted to Football Manager could conduct transfer activity better than them.

Or maybe it’s down to they just don’t want to bring any much needed new players in. That means spending money. Which we all know Premier League clubs don’t have….?

So in which case…what are you doing here? Get out of my club. What possible enjoyment do Ashley and his administration get out of it? Name me one thing? Shambles.

Once Rafa walks, everybody else should too.  Fans first, then Ashley will follow. It’s the only way to get rid of him. He isn’t interested in owning a club with an empty stadium. He will sell and we can finally move on.

The Ginger Pirlo.

We need to talk about Rafa…

My thoughts on Sunday’s game are similar ones to those I have had over the past year watching Rafa Benitez’s team. We lack depth, we lack width and we lack movement off the ball whilst in possession. Pretty much the absolute basics of attacking play. Rafa may (rightfully) moan about missing out on specific transfer targets earlier in the window but this does not explain his needlessly negative strategy, line-ups and substitutions.

Before I go off on a possible rant I would like to make one thing perfectly clear, we are not a bad team. Don’t buy into the mainstream football media’s avalanche of misery they insist on piling onto our club whenever things don’t seem 100% right from the outside looking in. We were not outplayed by Huddersfield, much like we weren’t outplayed by Spurs last week when 11v11, and apart from their goal, the newly-promoted side hardly made a dent in terms of hurting our back line.

Out of both sides, it was us that had the biggest chance of the game when Ayoze Perez blasted over when completely unmarked from about 8 yards out. Substitutes Joselu & Murphy had opportunities to have a clear shot on goal but failed to make the most of them. Out of both goalkeepers, it was Huddersfield’s Jossl that had to pull off a fingertip save to keep out Ritchie’s effort in the first half. If that chance, or any of these chances, go in then it’s a different game and likely different result.

Mooy

Now that the positives are out of the way, yes, they were positives honest, there is a big elephant in everyone’s room on Tyneside that nobody wants or is prepared to talk about. Some refuse to even acknowledge its very existence under any circumstances mainly due to bigger worries and concerns. However, at some stage, this has to be discussed and looked at. At some point, we need to talk about Rafa.

Amongst all the lack of transfers stuff & the Mike Ashley stuff and whatever other stuff fans want to talk or moan about, there has been one massively concerning issue that has been staring us all in the face over the past year. Rafa Benitez’s overly cautious and needlessly negative approach to our games. More specifically his tactics and use of the personnel he has at his disposal. Do we lack some quality? Yes. Do we have any quality? Yes. Is that quality being used in its capacity? No.

How we managed to win the Championship was quite remarkable to be perfectly honest. You can count on one hand the amount of games where we actually looked impressive and destroyed teams that were below our level. No one can say our Championship season wasn’t one hell of a long struggle. Some say, ‘well that’s the Championship’, maybe.

Ritchie

The more accurate thing to say, however, is that we caused our own frustrations by not going about our business on the pitch anywhere near as positively and ambitiously as we should have. Wingers dropping deep and always coming short. Full-backs chained to the halfway line and unable to get forward. Both centre midfielders dropping deep right in front of our centre-backs. It’s needless and it’s wrong.

Against Huddersfield, these demons in Rafa’s philosophy raised their ugly head once again. 99% will put this down to ‘lack of quality’ or ‘they need more players’. I am telling you now, even with new and/or better players that won’t dispel the demons. The football club needs to change its philosophy when it comes to being cheap in the transfer market. But Rafa also needs to change his philosophy with the players he has. Neither are good enough at the moment.

Follow on Twitter @ToonBano

The truth behind tactical Transfer Requests: They don’t always come from players!

“On most occasions transfer requests don’t come from the player, they are instigated either directly or indirectly by the player’s club”

We live in an age where players look to demand transfers and force their way out of their current football club to go to another, as player power rules all and contracts aren’t worth the paper they are written on. They do this by issuing a transfer request to the shock and dismay of their club. Right?

Wrong. On most occasions transfer requests don’t come from the player, they are instigated either directly or indirectly by the player’s club for a couple of reasons. The main one being when a player signs a contract with a club they (somehow) have a ‘loyalty bonus’ within that which is paid out to them if they were to leave the club before the contract expires. Mental, I know.

Now for a club to get out of paying such ‘loyalty bonus’ the player himself needs to show a distinct lack of ‘loyalty’ by doing something like issuing a transfer request to enforce a transfer away from the club. Once this is in place the club don’t have to pay him squat in any ‘loyalty bonus’ and save themselves millions of pounds.

The other reason a club will want their superstar, or not, player to hand in an official transfer request is accountability. We all here fans & pundits criticise their clubs when they sell a big player as they wanted them to stay.

Remember Liverpool making a huge mistake selling Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid? Fans and experts alike will still tell you today that it was. The fact is, the only mistake Liverpool made was to not get Xabi Alonso to make his desire to join Madrid public and officially request a transfer. If they had, then this myth that Alonso had any remote chance of staying at Anfield wouldn’t exist.

We sit here as I type with Philippe Coutinho and Virgil Van Dyke wanting to move to bigger football clubs but both of their respective clubs have issued unwavering statements categorically stating ‘he ain’t leaving, no matter what’. Since both statements were released to the media, sure enough, the player’s agent have released their own ‘statement’ of sorts with official transfer requests.

Now, if and when Coutinho and Van Dijk make their moves before 1st September, not only will Liverpool and Southampton have made an eye-watering amount of transfer money, they will have saved a few million by not having to pay the player his ‘loyalty bonus and also NOBODY can criticise the club for not trying to keep the player. It seems to be a win-win for everyone involved, although that isn’t necessarily true.

The party which will have a cloud hanging over them will be the player. Liverpool fans are already burning their Coutinho shirts as we speak and Southampton fans will never name their child Virgil if they were for some reason thinking about it. Plus, they also miss out on a few million of a loyalty bonus but the dent in reputation will hurt more than in their hefty pockets.

Have a look at the criticism Chelsea have received by selling Nemanja Matic to Man Utd and the constant questions Antonio Conte has to answer for his clubs ‘strange’ behaviour. The fact is, Matic wanted to work with Jose Mourinho and Chelsea had already replaced Matic with a younger player in Bakayoko weeks previous.

Now if Matic had handed in an official transfer request, would Chelsea be receiving any criticism? Doubtful. Would Conte be needing to defend his clubs actions in selling Matic to a rival? No. With all this in mind, it makes you actually wonder why the club didn’t go down the tactical transfer route to save them the trouble. Perhaps they did but the player refused.

Gary Neville has questioned Chelsea’s decision to allow midfielder Nemanja Matic to join title rivals Manchester United this summer.

The Premier League champions sanctioned the Serbia international’s departure to Old Trafford in July for a fee of £40m.

However, the Sky Sports pundit has labelled the sale “strange”, especially given the role Matic played in helping the Blues win the Premier League last season.

Football is a dirty business at times. We all know that player power rules football. But the factor of an official transfer request before any deals go through actually puts the club in a very controlling position.

They can sell a player, potentially destroy his reputation (at least with its own fans) and keep their own reputation intact by avoiding any potential criticism for lack of ambition or being a sell-out. The player issuing a transfer request gives them ‘no choice’ at the end of the day. No responsibility.

In some instances, like the Andy Carroll £35million transfer from Newcastle to Liverpool in 2011, the club rang Carroll up as he was already on his way to sign for Liverpool (in Mike Ashley’s private helicopter!) requesting that he handed in a transfer request otherwise the deal was off!

Carroll didn’t have much choice and did as he was asked which saved Newcastle a couple of million quid by avoiding paying his loyalty bonus but at the same time destroyed the local lad’s reputation with some Geordies that will never be fixed.

So the next time you see a player hand in a transfer request ask yourself why? Is it him throwing his toys out the pram and demanding a move or is the club forcing it upon him?

Follow The Ginger Pirlo on Twitter @ToonBano

Rafa Benitez confirms he is “not happy” at Newcastle at the moment

It’s Premier League launch day and one of the several guests in attendance is our very own ‘special one’ Rafa Benitez. As the standard procedure, he has taken part in several interviews for the likes of Sky, BT Sport, BBC & TalkSport with the main talking point being the seeming lack of spending and investment in the squad over the summer.

Rafa seems more than happy to talk about it and hasn’t held back in what he thinks. On Sky Sports this morning he blatantly made his stance be known to the world by categorically confirming he is “not happy” with Newcastle’s transfer business thus far and hopes to bring players in over the coming weeks.

 

Rafa is a very political manager who uses threats and concerns through the media in order to strengthen his own hand with certain issues he has with his club, usually transfer business, and has done this throughout his career.

How his latest comments will go down with the club executive Lee Charnley and owner Mike Ashley no one knows for sure. Will it inspire Charnley to get his finger out? Or put his back up? We will find out in due course but one thing is for sure, Rafa is not happy with his current squad and wants the whole world to know that ‘fact’.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano