Silly season has started and as I’m reading through mails, tweets etc. where fans are asked for their transfer wishlists for their teams, it grabs me how much football fans just parrot what they have read in the media.

My United wishlist does not include Moratta, Belotti, Ronaldo, Bale or Lindelof.

Don’t get me wrong, I would been very happy if any of the above signed – except Ronaldo, I don’t want him to return and potentially ruin what was a good thing.

But does any Manchester United fan crave the signature of Victor Lindelof, I’m sure he’s a good player but the vast majority of us had no idea who he was this time last year and now he’s on the top of all Utd fans wishlists just because the paper’s say we want him.

Did Liverpool fans believe they must have Keita, Salah or Martins before they read that they did.
Ryan (MUFC – Van Dijk, Gaya, Alaba and Kane by the way), Whitehaven

A mad United transfer plan
I understand that there are a number of factors to this namely, Costa’s relationship with Mourinho, would Chelsea sell to United again, etc. But I think it would be a good move for Man United to buy Diego Costa now and possibly swap him for Griezmann in the January transfer window?

A win-win for everyone (Until Costa tackles Conte at Old Trafford and gets sent off). United get their striker to fill an Ibra shaped hole for now and Griezmann in the future, Chelsea get rid of their problem, Costa gets to play football for 4/5 months and gets his dream move to Atletico Madrid, Atletico keep Griezmann for now and sign one of their own in January and lastly Griezmann gets to stay with Atlectico for now and gets to leave in January without being disloyal.
Thavz, MUFC, South Africa (It won’t happen but it is a great idea!)

Too early to praise City
Matt Stead wrote an interesting piece on City’s successes so far in the transfer market compared to Liverpool/Man United’s failures. I think his piece misses one crucial point. Manchester City, backed by an owner with unlimited resources, and complete discard for FFP in last couple years, can throw money at any transfer target and get a deal done. Other clubs in England, such as Liverpool, Arsenal, even Manchester United and Chelsea in recent years, are run more like a business where financial planning is important. They need to structure deals with deferred payments/earn-outs and other more complex clauses because they can’t rely on an unlimited piggy bank- they have finite cash on their balance sheet. By definition, this makes transfers more difficult to conclude easily, as each transfer affects availability of cash for another transfer. So comparison is not really apples to apples here in terms of management.

Yours Truly,
Sandy (MUFC)

After getting over the typical obstacle course of Liverpool signing a player, which hit a new low with VVD, I accepted (begrudgingly) the reasoning. Liverpool have been in the headlines for the wrong reasons as of late with regards transfer bans for youth players. I’d imagine John Henry and Fenway panicked and that was that. Personally I’d love to see VVD at Liverpool. I think himself and Matip would form an excellent partnership. Yet, he was ridiculously over priced. I’m aware that, it’s the market nowadays but still… anyway who’s to say it’s over? These summer windows produce a saga. Don’t be surprised to see the player put in a transfer request. Salah’s transfer is more grating as it seemingly is an argument of €5 million or so and it should’ve been completed. Still this is Liverpool, things are never done the easy way.

I read Matt Stead’s piece with surprise. If he were to just question Liverpools ability with regards transfers in general, I’d have agreed with him. Yet, I believe the transfer window has only opened. Surely the reasonable approach would be to wait until August before an article like this? I have been impressed with the efficiency of City’s transfers but would also argue that City have far deeper pockets so combining that with Pep would easily get the job done. Klopp will undoubtedly be frustrated with this but I’m reserving judgement until August. I think Matt should do so as well.

Kind Regards,
Miguel Sanchez, LFC, Eire (Tah would be a good option for centre half)

I’d like to ask the mailbox contributors yesterday who were so apoplectic over the failed VVD pursuit from Liverpool a genuine question. How long have they actually been following Liverpool FC for? Just focusing in on the PL era we have been quite the basket case when it comes to transfers for a quarter of a century now and it seems we are getting worse, not better. Every single manager can be characterised by awful, awful transfer decisions. Souness selling Beardsley and spending big on dross. Though to be fair he did sign Rob Jones who but for injury would have ensured Red Nev never got an England cap. Houllier’s unfathomable decision to not sign Anelka favouring instead Diouf. Kewell, Diao, Kirkland… Take your pick! Charlie Adam and Coates, Carroll… Clearly even King Kenny wasn’t immune. And where to begin With Mr Veneers…?

Indeed, in summary, the only thing that surprises me at how badly we f**k up and spend big on dross is that people are actually still surprised. Mourinho may well have spent 1.08 Billion in his managerial career but I’ll wager he spent it mostly rather well. Us? Not so much… To get rinsed in the transfer market is very much the Liverpol way.

I’d love to know what really went on With Sakho.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC


Some thoughts from Stateside
Two quick points from the U.S.-T&T World Cup Qualifier I went to last night at one of the nicer MLS venues.

Christian Pulisic is the real deal. His movement and pace make him a special player where the only unknown is whether he possesses the Ronaldo-esque (or Jordan-esque if you prefer) commitment to training and being the absolute best.

Darlington Nagbe is the best player I’ve ever seen live and I’ve seen a good number of live EPL games. Once the U.S. understands that Michael Bradley isn’t a holding midfielder, the Timbers star is more than ready to take over the role and give the U.S. attackers a base from which to build. If the U.S. play Nagbe behind a front four of Altidore, Wood, Pulisic, and Morris, I can’t think of any reason the U.S. couldn’t expect to make a quarterfinal run in Russia.

Any team looking for the next great player should go with Pulisic, but any player who saw what Kante meant to Leicester and Chelsea should seriously consider Nagbe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such intelligent breakup play and starting attacks with incisive passing. Understood it’s T&T and we’ll see on Sunday when we visit the Azteca and play a quite wonderful Mexican team, but I wanted to share my impression of Nagbe specially before that game to encourage people to watch him.
Niall, Denver

England should have tried Gegenpressing
In response to Paul’s email.

The problem with the England football national team is the same as the Pakistan cricket team, there is no evolution and they always look to Imitate what’s working so they are always behind the curve in terms of their strategies.

When tiki taka was the sh*t, England tried imitating it than working out a way to counter it. English football has always valued speed and strength.

Evolving into a pressing /counter attacking team rather than trying to dominate possession would have been the way to go.

Screw the 4-2-3-1, for the 2006 world cup England should have shown some innovation and gone with a 3-4-2-1.

Ferdinand, Terry and Campbell at the back is as good as it gets. You get Carrick and Hargreaves in the middle – you task Hargreaves with the additional task of protecting the right side with Beckham playing as a RWB/RM on that side.

On the left you have Ashley Cole who you can trust with that side of the pitch. You play Gerrard in front of him so when Gerrard drifts in there is still someone reliable on the left (with the added protection of a LCB in the 3 at the back in case Cole is caught off guard)

Lampard plays in the two behind the striker in the Delle Ali role. As a RAM on paper but he will really play in the middle almost as a second striker. Gerrard may be a scorer of great goals but Lampard is a great goalscorer.

This would mean playing either Owen or Rooney up top – neither of them ideal for the role. Rooney wasn’t really fit that world cup so you are left with Owen. In an ideal scenario you would have trusted Rooney to be the player we all thought he would be and played as the perfect number 9 (he was pretty good that year in that role till he got injured and got rushed back).

Or rather than Walcott – they should have taken Heskey to do a job at the front for the big games. He could have held up the ball till Gerrard and Lampard joined in.

You have Beckham and Carrick feeding in balls from the deep to the attackers.

You can replace Beckham with Lennon when chasing a game.

9 times out of 10. I don’t see this team losing to Portugal in the first round.

They would have lost to France in the next round though so really, much ado about nothing.
– Shehzad Ghias, mufc, Karachi

Last first touches
I hope I’m still in time for this. But this first touch from the mercurial Cassano is beyond audacious.

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Agneya (That touch from Giroud..Woof!)

A discussion on the best first touch cannot be complete without mentioning the great Ronaldinho. There are literally hundreds of videos on youtube demonstrating his insane ability, but here’s a bit of a montage, including a touch with the back of his head/neck (2m58s).

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If that’s too long for you, here’s an example of the kind of first touch that was bread and butter for him.

His career petered out too soon, but has there ever been a footballer with more raw natural talent?
Jamie, LCFC


Good to see some non- Premier League examples of this.

I was of the Italia 90 generation, titllated by the skills of amazing players that I would sadly never get a chance to see the majority of in their pomp. But it wasn’t the traction engine-like foot of Enzo Scifo, or the ‘yes…yes…yes, yes…YEEEEEEES’ stylings of Austria’s Andreas Ogris that made me look down at our English players, love the foreigns and unwittingly become some kind of precocious, pre-pubescent football hipster. It was this goal by Dragan Stojkovic.

As an ardent Citeh fan in that era, I just couldn’t have imagined David White having the imagination, let alone the technique to pull that off.

The fake to shoot, the effortless control, enabled the casual rolling of the ball into the net. All, as if it was just the obvious thing to do. But the quality of that first touch was key.

And on the subject of technically gifted players, Bernardo is the heir to the Silva throne, so delighted that Citeh have him. Very exciting bit of business.

We still need to look at the defensive half of the pitch though, please Pep.
Nick, Citeh fan in Chessington

One of my friends, watching the World Cup in 2010, said that Dirk Kuyt had undeniably the best touch in world football. No sarcasm, no irony, no caveats. Just the iron clad belief of a Liverpool fan.

Sadly I can’t find any videos to prove otherwise, but needless to say I’ve never let him forget it.
Tom, West Hampstead

Some great suggestions on players with the best first touch. Building on the idea, could any mailboxers compile a “best first touch” eleven? Here’s my stab at it –

4-4-2 (diamond)

F. Barthez
D. Alvez
F. Hierro
A. Nesta
P. Maldini
P. Pogba
A. Pirlo
R. Pirez
Z. Zidane
D. Bergkamp
D. Berbatov

Source: http://www.football365.com/news/mails-a-crazy-united-idea-involving-costa-and-griezmann