Tag Archives: Wayne Rooney

Arsenal correct to stop pursuit of Monaco star

£143,000,000 is a lot for any footballer. It is 66% more than the world record transfer fee that Manchester United recently paid for Paul Pogba.

For that price, you would expect Lionel Messi. Perhaps Neymar. At a stretch Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez. It is possibly a bit too much for 32 year old Cristiano Ronaldo.

In summary, for a world record price, you would expect one of the best players in the world. An established global superstar. Someone who will come in and win you the league. Will score near enough a goal a game. Will break all sorts of goal scoring records.

What you would not expect for that price is an 18 year old striker with just 19 starts in the French Ligue 1. But that is what Kylian Mbappe is set to go for.

Now there is no doubting his potential. He is an extremely gifted player with a bright future, if everything works out. But What Real Madrid and others are paying for is not an established star, but for what he might become.

There are a lot of obstacles from being a talented youngster to becoming a global superstar.

When you look at the winners of the Golden Ball since its inception in 2003, how many of the players have kicked on to become a truly global superstar.

Now I am not talking about just become a very good player, I am talking about becoming one of the best in the world. The level where you are being considered for the Ballon d’Or. That they are considered in not just the top 2 players in their position, but they are considered as one of the best players in the world, regardless of their position.

Of the 14 players to have won the Golden Ball, only really Lionel Messi has gone on to become a legend of the game. Sergio Aguero is borderline. I probably would consider him one of the greatest strikers of the last 8 years- although injury has probably held him back from reaching the top bracket.

Injury, one of the many things that can stop a player going from being a top youngster to a global superstar. What ha soften set the likes of Messi and Ronaldo apart is their fitness record. Over the last 10 years, Messi has averaged 50 games a season for the last 10 years. Ronaldo has averaged 50 games a year since he joined Manchester United, way back in 2003.

Since joining Manchester City, Sergio Aguero has averaged 40 games a season, and that is what has held him back.

The likes of Wayne Rooney & Cesc Fabregas have had glorious careers. But you feel they peaked in their early 20s and never really kicked on to be amongst the best global players of their generation.

Rafael van der Vaart ended up with a bit of a journeyman career.

Anderson, Alexandre Pato and Mario Balotelli all highlight that being a top youngster does not always guarantee being a top senior pro. All have had big money transfer. They are aged between 26 and 29 and should in the peak of their careers.

Anderson (29) is currently at Brazilian side Coritiba, on loan from Internacional. Mario Balotelli (26) is playing for Nice in France. And Alexandre Pato (27), plays for Tianjin Quanjian in China.

Isco is a slow burner. He took a bit of a wrong move joining Real Madrid, where he struggled to break through, but he is now flourishing. But I doubt if he will ever reach the level that Cesc Fabregas was at his best, let alone the level of a Xavi or Iniesta, and certainly not reach the heights of a Zinedine Zidane.

The likes of Mario Götze and Raheem Sterling have certainly not lived up to their big billing as a teenager. Gotze dumped by Bayern Munich after a big money transfer, Sterling just not pushed on since joining Manchester City. Renato Sanches and Anthony Martial are both in danger of following the same route.

Then you have Paul Pogba. A bit of an enigma. The current holder of the world record transfer fee. At times he is unplayable. A mix of strength and technique. But he has yet to do what Yaya Toure did. And is not yet fit to clean Patrick Vieira’s boots. For him to justify his transfer fee, he has to surpass these two players achievements.

So the road to stardom is not guaranteed for Kylian Mbappe. At £144m, Real Madrid, Man City, or whoever buys him, will be paying for what he might become. They are spending the big money on the basis that they hope he is a 50-goal a season man by the time he is 21. The heir apparent to Cristiano Ronaldo’s throne.

But he is not yet Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored just 15 league goals last season. He still has a long way to go. He is not the even the best striker in Ligue 1 – last season he finished behind Edison Cavani, Alexandre Lacazette, Radamel Falcao and Swansea flop Bafétimbi Gomis in the top scorer charts.

Mbappe was level with previous top youngster Balotelli, Newcastle flop Florian Thauvin and Ivan Santini, whoever that is.

Would you be happy spending £144m on Balotelli, Thauvin or Santini? The answer would be no. You would be disappointed if your side spent anymore than £20m on those players.

You would not consider paying above £60m for Cavani. Arsenal signed the superior Lacazette for around £45m. And how much would you be willing to splash out on previous Premier League flops Falcao and Gomis?

So Real Madrid (or whoever go’s for Mbappe) is certainly not paying the £144m Mbappe as the player he is now, but as the player that Mbappe could become. And as we have established, there is no guarantee of a top youth player becoming a top player.

For someone like Arsenal, not signing Mbappe is the right move.

If he becomes a £144m player, then fair enough. We will all moan about how we could have signed him in 2016 for £265k – although I do not know why this criticism is always labelled at Arsenal, every club could have got him for this amount in 2016. Mbappe decided to stay. Arsenal did not miss out.

But if (for example) he stays at Monaco for a year, and he fails to score 30 league goals, would he still be worth £144m? Or would that price start to dwindle a bit to represent his true value rather than his potential?

And if he joins Real Madrid (or Manchester City, or whoever) for £144m, and flops, he will be available in a couple of years for half the price, or more. If he does not score that 50 goals a season, does not break into that top bracket, he will still be a top player, but his value would then represent what he is actually worth, not what he might be worth.

To finish, a story of a young lad from Chester. The year was 1997. He was just about to have his breakthrough season. He was just 17.

At 18 he had the world at his feet. He had scored 23 goals in 44 games in the 1997/98 season for his boyhood club. That summer he was to score a wonder goal for his country at the World Cup. He exploded into the world’s conscience.

What followed were 4 injury hit seasons, when only once did he play over 30 league games. He never once scored over 20 league goals, and by 24 his hamstrings were shot. His fitness did not stop him getting a big money move at 24 to Real Madrid. He lasted a single season before being sold to Newcastle. A talented player, but he could not get fit.

He ended up finishing his career at Stoke City.

At 18 he was expected to become a world great. Break every record going. Lead Liverpool to multiple titles. It is ironic that his only league title came at bitter rivals Manchester United as a bit part player. And whilst he won the Ballon d’Or in 2001 at just 21, you feel his career never reached the heights expected as a 18 year old.

Michael Owen could have been one of the greatest of all time. But he never lived to his potential.

At £144m, I would expect to be getting the real deal. Not some youngster with potential. Arsenal are best off missing out.



Should the top sides fear Everton’s spending?

Over £90m spent and the transfer window has not even been open a week. Everton have done some business. Some very expensive business. But should the top sides like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal fear them?

Whilst smaller sides might look at them in jealousy – they have outspent the likes of Liverpool, Spurs, WBA & Manchester City – is their big spending really anything to scare anyone?

Jordan Pickford is a very good young goal keeper. But at around £30m he is a massive signing. The second most expensive keeper of all time.

I would love Pickford at Arsenal. As 2nd choice keeper. This is a man who got relegated. Bottom of the league. 20th. He is not even one of the top 3 English goal keepers. Would he get into any top side? Probably not. Everton is his level.

Then you have Micheal Keane. A centre back. Released by Man U. Everton have also spent £30m on him. He ain’t no Rob Holding. Ain’t no Calum Chambers.

Being Burnley’s best centre back is like being Burnley’s fittest bird. It means nothing. A town full or rotters. £30m on Michael Keane? You’re having a laugh.

I have no idea if this is Keane, Klassen, Pickford or Sandro. Probably not Onyekuru though.

Davy Klassen is next up. Got a lot of goals and assists in Holland did Davy. Another £25m spent. But is he any better than James McCarthy or Gareth Barry? Probably not.

The Dutch league is unpredictable. Just ask Middlesbrough and Alfonso Alves. More recently look at Jordy Claise at Southampton. He can barely complete 90 minutes for the South-Coast club.

Henry Onyekuru is the type of bloke that sent every club in English football an Email about his uncle being worth billions and if you click this link you will get 10%.

Everton clicked the link and ended up spending £6.8m, whilst Onyekuru will be no where to be seen. Talk about a 419 scam.

Sandro Ramirez, in fairness, is a good value signing. But people are comparing him to Kylian Mbappe? Give it a rest. The last young Spanish striker to join the Premier League was Xisco. He is still trawling Geordie night clubs asking lasses to let him see their thong. He is 31.

Whilst Everton’s early moves to spend near enough £100m, it has to be remembered that Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkely are going to leave the club. And none of those joining are anywhere near as good as the outgoing duo.

And now I read they might get the over weight granny-shagger on a free transfer.

Nothing really to see at Everton except for a lot money spent on a lot of tripe.

Lukas Podolski – Like a brand new signing

Before the Southampton game, Arsene Wenger came out with quotes which he has since be mildly derided for:

“I think we can win the title without signing a striker”

He went on to explain his thinking, that deals for top players in January were hard to complete (true) and that the imminent return Lukas Podolski made “it less critical to sign a striker.” A discussion with myself and friend of the site, AFC_Glen pursued, and it got me thinking. And as I began thinking, I thought some more.

Where I ended up was an interesting place. My thoughts about the striker went down 2 tangents. The first thought was ‘What top strikers are out there who are better then Oliver Giroud & gettable in January’ and the second was ‘If we are looking for someone to be back up for Giroud, is there anyone out there better then Podolski?’

For me, the strikers we are chasing fall in to 2 categories. In box 1, we have top draw, marque, better then Giroud, 1st choice strikers. these are the likes of Wayne Rooney, Luiz Suarez, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema. In the 2nd box, we have players who can play 2nd fiddle, back up, or at most challenge, Olivier Giroud. The likes of Alexandre Pato, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Javier Hernandez.

A striker is defined by the goals he scores. So for a simple comparison, I worked out their career stats, games per goal, for all club competitions:

Games per goals

Now this simple task highlights what I wan mentioning earlier, about the 2 boxes. To the right of Giroud, you have 4 strikers who are better then him and have the statistics to prove it. to the left, you have the strikers who are either not as good, or at best would challenge him for a 1st team place. The only anomaly is Edin Dzeko, this can be explained by a prolific spell in Germany, where he  averaged 1.67 games a goal. In England, he averages 2.56 games a goal, the exact same as Giroud.

The point I am making (hopefully) is that we have 2 choices. Firstly is to buy someone better then Giroud. Rooney, Benzema, Suarez or Lewandowski. Now whether these players are available, and in January, is another debate. They are clearly better, both in ability and statistics, then Giroud.

If we are looking at the 2nd option, a player to compete and provide competition for Giroud, the question then arises, do we actually need anyone, or is Podolski able to do that job?

Podolski averages 2.58 games per goal. Mario Balotelli the exact same amount. Is it worth going and spending £20million+ on Mario Balotelli to get someone who, statistically, is no better then Lukas Podolski. Moving down the list Pato averages 2.51 and Hernandez 2.46. Again, is it worth spending £10-15million on these in January, are they any better then Lukas Podolski?

Personally, I think if we can not get one of the top 4 whom I mentioned (Rooney, Suarez, Benzema, Lewandowski) then we are better ‘keeping our powder dry’ and waiting until the summer when they may well be more available.

The strikers in the 2nd box are no better then Podolski, a man, remember, who has 46 goals in 110 caps for Germany. That would make him England’s 3rd all time top scorer, had his parents decided to emigrate to the UK rather then Germany when he was 2.

So back to Wenger’s quote, that it is “less critical to sign a striker” now that Podolski is back. I feel this is the truth and, unless a top draw striker is available in January, we can win the league with Giroud, Podolski, Walcott, Bendtner & Sanogo as our striking options.