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Why Lukaku v Kane is a fair debate
I have to respectfully disagree with Dylan Clarke’s assertion that Lukaku vs Kane “isn’t even a debate”. While I’m not going to make a case for which is better – they both have their respective merits and are different types of striker in my opinion – dismissing Lukaku entirely is incredibly narrow-minded.

There’s an old baseball analogy that springs to mind: if you have two batters that both get to first base – one with good form and one with bad -which do you choose? As the analogy goes, it’s the one with bad form, because imagine what he could do if you improve his form. Now, Dylan hasn’t exactly been shy about Lukaku’s supposed shortcomings, yet if you take a look at the ridiculous statistics of Lukaku detailed by this very site, you will see what an incredible record he has. If he can do all that with those flaws, imagine what he could do if they are worked on and eradicated.

Dylan also proclaims “There are much more accomplished strikers out there for the money United are quoted to have agreed to.” Really, Dylan? And who would they be? You couldn’t get Morata, Lewandowski, Aguero, Kane, Bellotti, Higauin, Dybala, Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Suarez, Griezmann, or Mbappe for anything like that kind of money, so who does that leave? Lacazette a couple of weeks ago, but that’s probably it, and I have no idea whether he is anything like as good as Lukaku.

Let’s be honest, any team would be delighted with having either Kane or Lukaku, so in that sense there isn’t much point in debating who is better. But let’s not pretend like Lukaku is some overrated one-season wonder. The supposedly vastly inferior Lukaku – because that’s what Dylan is claiming he is – has scored more Premier League goals than Kane over the last 5 years, despite playing for three different clubs. How do you explain that one of Kane is so much better that a comparison shouldn’t be made? The facts show that he is an extremely effective striker, and that is indisputable. If we do get him, even for the £90m that is being mentioned today, I would indeed be delighted.
Ted, Manchester

I am sure there is an age where people set their opinions and stick to them. This can sometimes coincide with a footballer’s development so you have people spouting opinions that are…… outdated. Sure, there was a time when they were fair. but that time has passed. That seems to be happening a lot with Lukaku.

Both online and in conversations I have heard him described as wasteful, limited/one-dimensional, flat-track bully, naive, no good against a decent defender…. the list goes on. Basically, Lukaku is just alright. The 24 year old reigning PL golden boot winner with 71 goals in the last five seasons (133 games), is just alright. Dan Storey can post all they stats he wants but it doesn’t matter. Because they have watched him. And he misses a few shots (60% shot accuracy, second only to Harry Kane over the last two seasons) and doesn’t covert his chances (25 PL goals from 86 shots last season so 29%. Higher than Kane, Aguero, Sanchez and Costa) And all he does is score goals. Except for being third in terms of how often he creates a chance. and second in goals + assists.

I could go on but will lose my point. I rate Lukaku, so I may be biased. All I ask is that if you are going to criticise a player can you ensure that your complaints are not based on data that is woefully out of date. Or that you are happy to say ‘He’s just not my type of player’. Because that is also OK. I never liked Vardy or  his style of play but I recognise it’s effectiveness.
Kev (Look, it’s a first world problem)

Uhm, thanks then, Dylan Clarke.

I reckon that Lukaku would have struggled to achieve what he has already…in average teams a lot of the time…if his finishing was “woeful”
Manc in SA (Think we will be just fine with the signing thanks)

Dylan Clarke has called Lukaku a decent finisher and a woeful finisher in the same mail.
Dave, Ireland

Why the Romelu hate?
Has there ever been a player as young and prolific as Lukaku, but hated more, despite no off field antics?

Looking through that list of players aged 23 and under its full of players who were absolutely loved at their clubs at that age. Regardless of Lukaku’s particular strengths and weaknesses it seems he cops so much flak. Even Everton fans (not just fat man scouse) don’t seem to love him or are really bothered that he’s leaving.

It seems to me that any other 23 (24 now) year old that with that scoring record would be loved at any other club. Did he once punch a granny I’m unaware of?
Andy K (I know he looks moody sometimes, but Ronaldo was a prick when he was young as well)

Fergie would have gone one better
Agreed, its not even a fair fight. Kane is the best striker in the premier league. 29 goals in 30 games is check mate all day long. The real issue here is why couldn’t Mourinho get Kane? If Fergie were still in charge he would have got his man – no question. Kane would be in paraded in a Utd shirt this summer no matter the cost.

Mourinho’s reputation is gradually diminishing and he just hasn’t got the same pull as Fergie. Utd are in the market for decent Everton players and that’s where they are at now.


Transfer inflation, ft. Gylfi Sigurdsson
It is widely acknowledged that transfer fees particularly to the Premier League have become wildly inflated.  For me this can be demonstrated beautifully with the example of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

In May 2012 Spurs paid around £9m for the then 22 year old Iceland international midfielder who arrived off the back of a good half season at Swansea having previously been Hoffenheim’s player of the season in the Budesliga.

After a couple of indifferent seasons at Spurs Sigurdsson moved back to Swansea as a 24 year old reputedly for a similar £9m fee (although this was part of a player swap).

Sigurdsson has now had another 3 decent seasons at Swansea and looks on the move again.  The difference this time his transfer fee has suddenly shot up to somewhere between £30m to £40m.  At this point I must admit that I don’t watch too much of Swansea but from an outsiders perspective he seems to have become slightly more influential but essentially the same player.

He is a good premier league player that 3-5 years ago would cost around the £8-10m bracket but now is suddenly a £30-40m player.  He has not become a world beater, he has not got any extra European experience, he’s not suddenly reached the peak of his career, he’s not won anything, he is not “English” or “British” or whatever is needed to fit the “home grown player” criteria, he’s not had a stunning Euro’s or World cup, he’s not even gone from being a player that needs to move from a lower middling Premier League club to a club that has aspirations to compete, he literally made that move in 2012 at a quarter of the price.

So why is there this sudden quadrupling of value, what is the reason?

There is no reason, just that all Premier League clubs are awash with cash and hence need to spend.

I don’t mean to pick out Sigurdsson, you literally could make the same comparisons regarding transfer fees for any of the big transfers (Lukaku’s goals to games ratio has remained unchanged while his transfer value has trembled, Lacazette would have cost Arsenal 50-70% less 3 years ago, Pickford has played around 30 premier league games yet commands a transfer fee of £30m).

Paul K, London 


Ed’s take
On the subject of Steve Mandanda
, it’s a fair call that we didn’t see the best of him.  However, that wasn’t entirely down to the player.

He was signed from OM last summer as part of Alan Pardew’s attempts to change the style of play to a more patient, possession-based, build from the back approach; key to this is a goalkeeper who is a good distributor of the ball, or at least, better at it than Wayne Hennessey.  The trouble was also that he was surrounded by defenders who weren’t all that comfortable passing the ball – I think an article by Peter G pointed out that Palace defenders played the highest percentage of long balls of any team, the natural instinct of the panicking defender in an out of form team.

Having got injured after a bad game in the autumn, he lost his place to Hennessey and never regained it, even under Sam Allardyce and in a side with Mamadou Sakho.  Rumours surfaced of a return to OM in January, but came to nothing, other than the same story re-emerging recently.  Mandanda’s participation in preseason training does suggest that Frank de Boer is planning to involve him and employ the same approach as the one Pardew intended, only there is slightly more optimism of it actually working this time.
Ed Quoththeraven

That’s the ticket
I’ll keep it short and sweet as it probably won’t get published.

I read Tom Reeds article this morning – “£92 On a friendly, You’re having a laugh”.

And was amazed at these prices for a friendly – having a laugh indeed.

So I had a look online for the tickets myself.

I am happy to report that I just purchased 2 tickets for the game in August for £24 each from the ticket master website.

Happy Friday All.
Joe (Don’t Mug Yourself) Croydon

(Ed – from the article itself: ‘A limited number of adult tickets at pitch level behind the goals at Wembley were available for £24, but the prices soon creep up to £45 for a raised seat at the back of the lower tier. Meanwhile, standard places behind the goals in the middle level are generally going for £58 while you can pay £92 for a viewing position closer to the halfway line in block 143. Those desperate to hear Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri shout sideline directives can splash out £129 for central ‘Bobby Moore Premium seats’.’

A short riposte to David, Brixton from the morning mailbox.

I’m sure Winty or a Huddersfield fan in the mailbox could give a better answer but from my outsiders view, much of last seasons promotion winning team was players on loan. Of the 9 signings so far this summer, at least two are players who were on loan last season being signed permanently (Mooy and Kachunga) and a third is a player being loaned for a second season running (Palmer). Of the remaining 6, they’ve signed a ‘keeper on loan to replace the ‘keeper they has on loan last season and other than the two forwards the rest of the players signed are from the Championship signed to add depth to a drastically small squad.

Just my tuppence worth but I’d hardly call it being disloyal to the team that got them up.
Martin (Warrington)


European travels
First off, not sure if this is where I send mails intended for the mailbox so apologies if I have sent this to the wrong place!

In reply to John H, a Colu fan most of the year about the fate of teams from lesser British and Irish league systems in Europe I just wanted to say how nice it is to see my team (Linfield) being mentioned on F365 (and in a positive light too!) and I thought I would provide a few facts and figures.

In recent times only clubs from the ROI have managed any kind of decent run in Europe (Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne) and the most that fans can realistically hope for is a draw against a big side giving a good pay day.

Linfield are due to play Celtic in a game that has been surrounded by, at best sensationalist articles, and the blues can hope to net around £1,000,000 over the tie. (An average annual budget for the league would be around £400K)

It wasn’t always like this…

Back in the day, the teams of the Irish league were generally quite competitive in European competition with Glentoran being the first side to go out on the away goals rule in 1967 to none other than the mighty Benfica. Eusabio (never heard of him?) scored a late goal to salvage a draw in Belfast after a 0-0 draw in Lisbon. Incidentally, Glentoran are the first British team to win a European trophy, the Vienna cup, all the way back in 1914. Sadly, as UEFA didn’t exist at this time, the trophy is not officially recognized.

In 1967 Linfield reached the quarter finals of the European cup, eventually being put out by CSKA Sofia, a little known Glasgow side named Celtic went on to win it that year.

Linfield also went out on away goals in 1970 to the great Manchester City side. A 2-1 win in Belfast for the blues wasn’t quite enough, although the City manager at the time mistakenly thought his team had just been dumped out of the cup!

There are of course many other results and cup runs worth mentioning but as I am expected to do at least some work I will leave it here, also I can’t be arsed looking them up.

Hoping this random football knowledge makes your Fridays that little bit better.
Steve (Audaces Fortunas Juvat) Belfast

In response to ‘John H, a Colu fan most of the year’, I too take an interest in a few unusual teams in the early rounds of European qualifying. It’s highly likely that nobody remembers a mail I wrote a couple of months ago about Lithuanian football, but this year they’ve had three teams competing in the first round of the Europa League qualifying.

FK Atlantas Klaipėda unfortunately lost 8-1 on aggregate to Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan where Andrey Arshavin scored a brace (speaking of irrational footballing favourites, love that man), FK Sūduva Marijampolė beat Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus 2-1 with an injury time winner after a goalless draw in Belarus and FK Trakai beat Scotland’s very own St. Johnstone 3-1 on aggregate after an impressive 2-1 away win, ending both legs with 10 men and still managing to progress! I’m not a Scottish football expert (or a Scottish football anything at all) but the last one seems like a particularly impressive result given the relative footballing pedigree of the two nations.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a live video source for any of the three matches but I’ve seen the highlights and both Sūduva and Trakai seemed like they progressed on merit, looking forward to seeing how they get on in the next round!
Ashley, Burnley

A tip for Liverpool
Has nobody at Liverpool tried “Red Bull, we’ll give you Ings”?


Bravos all round
AC Jimbo, Gazzetta Football Italia, Johnny Nic’s magnificent piece on it

Happy Fridays all…
Gregory Whitehead, LFC


This went way too far..
Bernard MUFC, you’re not the first person to write in about our favourite American correspondent, and luckily for us he’s actually replied with quite a lot of detail…  in-fact if you were so minded you could, from the info he’s given, quite easily find lots of pictures of him (as well as his email and phone number?!).

Obviously only a loon would do that so of course I haven’t but if I had, I would have found out that by all accounts he’s the type of cool college professor of 80’s/ 90’s movies who has lectures on why the books they’ve been reading are crap.  They type of professor who gets feedback on like:

“Goldstein is pretty awesome. He tried to make the papers for CWS interesting and will meet with you as many times as you want to perfect them. I think he really helped me improve my writing.”


“He is really energetic about this class. It’s pretty easy but I’d suggest keeping up with the reading, he totally knows it when you don’t speak up because you haven’t read. He’s a cool dude though. Take a class with him at some point.”


“I loved Peter Goldstein. Had him for Brit Lit. He’s a pretty wacky dude and rarely gives out anything less than a “B” if you show up and raise your hand with an insightful comment here and there. He’s old, but I found him to be incredibly sexy LOL. I think a lot of chicks do…TAKE HIS CLASS! : ) It’s fun + you will learn something new!”

Matt, AFC