Talk of United’s ‘soul’ is just guff
Guy S is back on his high horse spewing rubbish about what we were promised I’m sorry but we haven’t been Ajax for a long time sure that 2012/13 team cost 150m that’s partly because the market hadn’t become inflated by the latest Tv deal.

That team is famous for Utd having nicked one of our main rivals top striker for 24m how much would that cost us in today’s market we also still had the at the time record teenager and Guy S favourite rooney and british record defender Rio Ferdinand in our team as well as Nani and Anderson who cost 40m.

Before you get all high and mighty about our treatment of youth please remember this was the year we let Pogba go in the summer so our only internally generated youth in the first team was Evans and Welbeck .We even bought Zaha and Powell that year instead of using Januzaj etc.

The 1999 team was a one off and for all the talk about the 6 fledglings the rest of the team was arranged by nicking the best players we could find preferably from other teams in the league even the 2008 team carried on this tradition with the remnants of the fledglings taking a back seat to players mainly nicked from other teams in the premiership (tevez rooney,van der sar,ferdinand).

Point is we sold our soul a long time ago we have been about getting a team which can win which ironically is where I feel we are falling short by going after Spurs and Chelsea’s third best central midfielder.

By the way, I’m glad you’ve recovered from your obsession with Rooney by moving on to Harrop.

…So a few days after the United squad flew to America with eight players on board who came up through the youth ranks, Guy Shrimpton decides to finally unload his anger on Mourinho at selling Wayne Rooney and his “alarming runaway spending train”. He does know we have only brought in two players this summer thus far, regardless of value, and more players have actually left?

Fergie’s last team may well have cost less than £150m (although truthfully I haven’t checked this) but the vast majority were bought including DDG, Rio, Vidic, Valencia, Rafael, Rooney and RVP. Out of the homegrown players, only Evans started more than 20 games; ergo, it was a flimsy example.

Mourinho was criticised before he even started that he wouldn’t play Rashford. Now that this is shown to be nonsense, his detractors are shifting the goalposts whereby success doesn’t matter anymore; it’s all about raising children, as if we are actually following the progress of a primary school and not a football club. Mourinho has played youth, he played as much as anyone in the league did last season (if not more), and if they are good enough they will play.

Finally, Josh Harrop had a decent game in a dead-rubber match but now he’s the second coming of Giggsy. Note he is 22 this year and none of the previous managers thought he was even good enough to give a debut to. Plus Mourinho sees the players every day in training. Rooney has gone, so we are now witnessing the evolution of Guy’s ire towards Mourinho. God help us if Rooney scores a couple for Everton.
Garey Vance, MUFC

And more of a reasoned take
Whilst I, like all football fans, take great joy in seeing an academy graduate excel when given a chance in the first team, I think Guy is a little harsh in his criticism of United’s current model.

Promoting youth is fine Guy, but at the end of the day, on some level the kids have to be good enough to make it. There’s no point in keeping them just because they came from the academy and I’m sure Jose and others at the club monitor this very closely. You mention Harrop as an example, but it’s worth noting he may not have had the ability to force his way into contention. The footballing landscape has changed since the Class of 92 and with global scouting networks it’s harder than ever for a young academy player to break through at a big club, so that means fewer risks can be taken.

Also, if you look at the “heritage of the club” over the past 25 years it may actually surprise you. Naturally we can reference the Neville’s, Butt, Scholes Giggs and Beckham in 1992 but in reality that year was clearly an anomaly that is likely to never happen again, and certainly hasn’t happened since. However, in subsequent years the club hasn’t exactly had a conveyor belt of talent, and you yourself reference the need to break transfer records on multiple occasions prior to Jose’s arrival. Aside from Lingard, and Rashford in the current squad, Brown, Fletcher, O’Shea, Richardson, Rafael, Cleverley and Evans would be the pick of the bunch. In 25 years its hardly vintage. Worth remembering too that players like Keane, Evans, Welbeck, Drinkwater and Shawcross were all let go prior to Jose’s arrival. Not to mention that a world transfer record had to be spent to bring back a player from the academy that Ferguson let go primarily due to his personal dislike of an agent.

Daniel Storey wrote an informative article last season about the lack of teenage kicks on the Premier League. If you look at the teenage minutes played before the last game of last season, United (1924) sit second behind Everton (2140). Spurs gave 18 minutes to teenagers, Arsenal gave 1 minute and Chelsea gave none. But before you say that it’s skewed because of Rashford, I’ll say you’re right and that’s purely because he’s good enough. The same applies to Tom Davies and Everton. Despite your concerns, United are still one of the leading lights in academy promotion even under Jose, the problem is that it’s just in a more unforgiving environment. With six teams competing so intensely at the top you can’t afford to take a gamble on players like Chris Eagles and Phil Bardsley.

Am I a fan of all the exorbitant spending? No. Do I think it’s probably necessary? Yes, largely based on a lack of quality investment from 2007 to 2014. But I do feel at some point that this squad needs to be allowed to gel, I’m just not sure if that time has come yet. I’m sure you know that eveny competitive match day squad since 1937 has had at least one academy graduate. I hope, and believe, that this will not change any time soon.
Conor, Drogheda

Why water is wet
Ireland recently had a new Prime Minister appointed. He’s young for the role (38), the son of an Indian immigrant, and gay. The media, perhaps understandably, have been going nuts. He went jogging with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau (thankfully they bumped into some photographers on the way), mentioned Love Actually at 10 Downing St. and is generally seen as a breath of fresh air, the changing of the guard, and a “non-politician politician”. Whatever the hell that is. He has promised change, capital investment, openness, transparency and all that good stuff.

Yet after mere weeks in charge our new leader has, to much scratching of heads, steadfastly avoided questions in parliament and his one achievement thus far has been to circumvent the rules and rush through the appointment of a colleague to the judicial bench. Of course it came as no surprise to those of us who took a fleeting glance at his track record of under-achievement as a staunch member of an establishment right-wing party.

Which brings us to Guy S, Jose and the soul of Manchester United. Mourinho has a history of cautious, pragmatic football, never EVER trusting youth and spending oodles and oodles and oodles of money. Oh, and winning trophies. Whatever promises he made – forget them. United doesn’t have a soul, and if it did it’d probably scream “We like to WIN”. Beyond that the once hallowed, now sadly defunct, United youth setup is to be ignored.

At the end of the day we’re all doomed to be the men and women that we are. Varadkar will achieve little and change nothing. Mourinho will spend bucket-loads on big players, ignore youth and, in all likelihood, win something before leaving in a spectacular implosion of controversy and sour grapes.

In other news – water is wet.
Stephen, Dublin

Why hasn’t John Terry been knighted?
As a boring summer without any meaningful sporting action meanders on, I find myself stuck in the blanket coverage of grass wiff-waff. The coverage of Sir Andrew Murray has begun to grate. The overly exaggerated injury, the pining for support from a loyal band of non-sports fans, one thought above all else struck me once again.

F*cking SIR Murray? What the absolute f*ck? He’s just been a bit good at tennis and he gets a knighthood ffs. Even he looks embarrassed to hold the title. For what reason should any sportsman or woman be knighted before the end of their career.

Does Lewis Hamilton deserve a knighthood? By this reckoning, Wayne Rooney definitely should have one for winning the champions league. What about the personal achievements of Michael Owen (Ballon D’Or winner)? You could even argue even John T*rry has seen a career as successful as this young lord.

It took years for the government to adequately recognise the 1966 World Cup team, many posthumously, yet the winning of a couple of tennis tournaments is worth the same? Or riding a bike under suspicious circumstances? What absolute guff.

Roll on the bloody football.
Ben (I own land in Scotland, does that make me a lord?) MUFC, inverness

Thoughts on Liverpool vs Tranmere
Somewhat excited that the season is drawing ever closer. Liverpool played in a friendly tonight and I was reminded that a central midfielder may just be a lot lower on Klopp’s priority list than many think.

Grujjic was quite excellent, and he also showed flashes of this as he returned from injury towards the end of last season. I think a midfield trio of him, Henderson and Lallana would have immense intensity and work rate. That’s also ignoring plans to field Coutinho in a deeper role this season. The team should be flexible enough to play 4-3-3 or a 4-4-1-1 with a diamond midfield. I think the former will be the choice against the big teams whilst the diamond will prove handy when teams want to sit deep and see if Liverpool can break them down.

This just leaves our defence in need of improvement. I think Mignolet did enough in the second half of the season to justify another season between the sticks. I doubt Sakho will be able to make peace so with him the question is simply how much money we can get for him. A centre back pairing of Matip and Lovren will be pretty good but if VVD were somehow pushed over the line I think he would be very good. Clyne left a bit to be desired but I think this season could see Alexander-Arnold given the chance, either at left or right back, and I think he has the potential to be superb. Milner is going to be 7/10 every week and will hopefully bag a load of penalties again.

It’s impossible to predict the top 4 right now with so much business still to be done but I am hoping that Man Utd and Arsenal don’t push too many more deals over the line. City still need to fix their defence or the same issues from last season will persist. If anything their bargaining power has been weakened as three full backs are gone and so everyone they speak to will know they can be held to ransom. Spurs are in a tough spot because they can’t obviously strengthen their first XI but staying still could mean moving backwards when you consider the good business done already by those around them. Chelsea will be immense defensively but should Costa leave without a suitable replacement that could spell trouble. Or Costa could stay but there’s always the risk that his volatile relationship with Conte could fray further, bringing about a negative feeling in the dressing room as I think Costa is quite a popular chap behind the scenes.

Not much longer to wait…
Minty, LFC

Why hasn’t Sanchez used the Webster ruling?
In these times of inflated transfer fees I’m curious more players aren’t interested in activating the Webster ruling. Copy/paste from wiki –

“Specifically, it states that any player who signed a contract before the age of 28 can buy himself out of the contract three years after the deal was signed. If he is 28 or older the time limit is shortened to two years.”

Sanchez having served 3 years of his contract could buy himself out of his last year of his contract if he wanted to move. £140,000*52 = £7,280,000. So why on earth is he worth 10 times that to Man City potentially? Is it because the agent would prefer a bigger slice of a bigger transfer fee? Maybe out of loyalty to Arsenal? If Man City genuinely wanted him they could offer him £10,000,000 signing on fee and cover the cost and still save millions. Maybe someone more clued up can shed light on this ruling?

Overlooked players this summer
Following the recent mails about the wealth of elite strikers who are ‘available’ this summer, I find it hard to understand why so much focus has been on just a few of them – mainly Lukaku and Morata.

For instance, I have barely seen any Icardi gossip – another 24 year old with a very similar scoring record to Lukaku in the last few seasons.

And why so much fuss about Belotti and his mammoth release clause, but less so for other promising strikers like Timo Werner?

Andre Silva was signed by Milan for £30m or so – I suspect this might turn out to be a bargain when compared to the going rate for players with his kind of talent.

Any other players Mailboxers feel are being overlooked this transfer window?
James Bruschini

A Pulis panic
Can we just have a moment of silent concern please for Tony Pulis? Far from stocking his team with centre backs, West Brom are currently down to just:

Jonny Evans: brilliant, laughable that United sold him for £6m. (Reportedly) wants to leave.
Gareth McAuley: 38 years old.
Craig Dawson: has to play right back every week.

Let’s not even get on to our only two central midfielders. Is there a helpline for him?
Andy, WBA