‘Solskjaer f*cked it’ and more Man United reaction

Does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer … The post ‘Solskjaer f*cked it’ and more Man United reaction appeared first on Football365.

‘Solskjaer f*cked it’ and more Man United reaction

The Man United fall-out continues. Send your mails to theeditor@football365.com

 

High press trumps cash and flash
The defeats have been more telling than the wins. They highlight deficiencies at the losing clubs because they tend to be systemic issues, whereas for the winner, it could simply be a matter of getting it right on the day.

Barcelona have been losing their way for several years now. Just before Guardiola was appointed manager the club did a thorough review of why they had not been successful and put in place a mission statement – respect, effort, ambition, teamwork and humility – that the club used to rebuild under key leaders like Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain. In the early years Barcelona returned to a dominance they had not seen for a long time, if ever before. Now, though, they have reverted to the standard superstar dominated club, throwing good money after bad, in attempting to shore up the team, rather than refocusing on what got them there. The Barca shirt has been a huge advantage in attracting top players – but the sellers will want their pound of flesh. And Barca has wasted a small fortune. Not a surprise given that the key leaders left to go jump start the embryonic Man City rise to dominance.

Not only did Man City co-opt the team that turned Barca around but they eventually got the manager they had desired for years – Guardiola. One wonders whether City hired these men because they really wanted Guardiola versus truly running the club under a similar mission statement as the one they created for Barca. The recent financial shenanigans do support the idea of ambition but not respect, effort nor humility. They have splashed the case big time and it has won them several Premier League titles but has not won them the one thing they really wanted – even though the fans appear to have disdain – the Champions League. It provides a global stamp of greatness that even the financial mammoth that is the PL cannot. Unfortunately, great manager that he is, when it comes to the latter stages of the Champions League. How often has he beaten his own team by using strange tactics that stifle and confuse what is a great team? Clearly, he is not 100% confident in his game plan as the tournament progresses towards the final. With the pressure of having to really compete now for the PL, against a Klopp inspired Liverpool, City were banking on success in the CL while Guardiola is still under contract. He was open to extending when it was thought they may get banned but now…

That leads us to United. While Barca are in free fall, losing the identity that created them and City failing again, because of their manager’s predilection for fiddling with the team, United are in a wholly different category. Ole has done a great job putting round pegs in round holes after several rounds of managers du jour. He has bought in decent replacements lately and one stellar one in Fernandes. But it hides the fact that he really doesn’t have a style of his own to impose on the team and drive the hiring of new players. The focus in counter attacking covers over the lower quality of defence that doesn’t allow the high press used by most other top clubs. It means that in games against teams like Sevilla, United will always struggle. Fernandes has masked the team’s deficiencies by single-handedly making and scoring goals. They needed a different game plan, perhaps putting triangular pegs into triangular holes. United have become a one-man team. Next season teams only need to stop Fernandes to stop United.

While City still have a great squad and will compete in all four competitions next year and hope, yet again, that Guardiola simply lets his team play in the latter stages of the CL, Barca and United are still in flux. Barca going downhill, while United are going up. But neither are looking to compete well in their domestic league or Europe.

Teams like Leipzig, Bayern and Liverpool are showing that the current high risk, high reward, high press style is dominating Europe. It takes a lot of planning, coaching, training and courage to play that way, but when done well, pays off. It takes time too. Time that clubs like Barca and United (and Real) want to short circuit by flashing the cash. The question next year will be whether Guardiola’s style can still be relevant or does he think it doesn’t do well against the high pressing teams which forces him to change his plan and whether Barca and United are willing to invest more time to rebuild properly or whether they will continue to throw more cash around in the hope that something sticks.
Paul McDevitt

 

Solskjaer f*cked it
Plenty already said about United, but here’s my two cents. The sad fact is that the result on Sunday night was entirely predictable. The only thing I got wrong is that it was us who took the lead, but I knew Sevilla would take advantage of what was sure to be generous opportunities. The result was entirely right though. I’ve seen plenty of gripes that we lost to their only shot in the second half but that’s just bollocks. We lost simply because we were nowhere near good enough.

That being said, there were causes for complaint. Firstly, Sevilla should have been down to 10 men – Diego Carlos should have been booked for the shocker on Rashford which gave us the penalty, then his actual booking on Rashford on the halfway line. Secondly, the throw in. I just cannot get my head around why VAR has been told to ignore those sorts of calls. That, plus the goalkeeper coming off his line, are objective decisions which is the only type of call that you know VAR can get 100% right all the time. What’s the point of the technology if you don’t use it? But those two are incidental. The rest of the game was still poorly played out by United and we deserved to lose. That game was lost because of striker profligacy, defensive calamity, and managerial ineptitude.

Rashford and Greenwood might as well have been absent, so little were their contributions. I know Rashford won the penalty but it’s hardly skill to get clattered while standing still. Granted, both have been criminally overused, but they both had presentable chances which they wasted. Martial was the better of the three but his wastefulness once again cost us. I’ve never been convinced he’s a striker and, despite his late season goals, I remain unconvinced. And what the point in keeping Ighalo on loan, if he can’t be used in earnest? Waste of his time and our money.

I see Williams getting a lot of grief, but I think that’s harsh. This is his first season in the team, he’s young and he’s still learning. For his part he mostly did well, despite being doubled-up on and getting dick all support from Rashford or Maguire. He’ll get better but he’s going to make the odd mistake and we need to live with that. The same applies to Wan-Bissaka. He’s still only in his second full season, so again patience is needed, and he was also getting overrun on the right, with no help from Greenwood or Lindelöf. Yes, he could have done better for the goal but again we need to show him patience.

The two villains of the piece are unquestionably Lindelöf and Maguire. Maguire, as captain, has absolutely no idea how to organise a defence, or even himself. He has zero idea about positioning and is regularly, almost always even, marking fresh air. Same for Lindelöf. They are too similar in that they are both sh*te and don’t know how to read the game. Maguire needs someone better next to him, which is a horrendous thing to say about the most expensive defender in history.

This result was eight weeks in the making, and almost guaranteed when Solskjaer flat out refused to use his squad at all during the final run-in. The players were burned out as long ago as the Southampton game but still we saw no resting or rotation of the team. That he then continued to keep playing the same 11 in pretty much every single match since then shows a limited manager who only has one plan; pick your favourite 11 and hope for the best.

And do not give me that garbage about not trusting the squad or that the players on the bench aren’t up to it. No manager in the world has 23 amazing players to call on – there are always times when you must play someone who isn’t quite as good as your first choice. The difference is that a good manager finds a way to use his whole squad without it drastically affecting the quality on the pitch. And I even saw someone accuse last night’s subs of doing “did sweet f*** all between them”. What were they realistically supposed to do in 3-9 minutes?

Yes, there is an obvious drop in quality outside the first 11 but not so great that you couldn’t use them at all. A fully fit substitute is a better option than any number of the players who were obviously out on their feet (AWB, Williams, Pogba, Rashford, Greenwood). But this main point is this; how are you supposed to encourage competition for places within the squad, when the squad players know that they aren’t ever going to get a chance until it’s dire straits? No, Solskjaer f*cked it. His amateur tactics and game management are the biggest limitations of this team and, even if we signed Sancho, next season is going to be no different.

We now have four weeks until the Arsenal game (12th September) where we will play a team on the up, and whose players are already two weeks into their holidays. Even if Woodward did a couple of lines of Colombia’s finest and got six new amazing signings through the door this week, the rest of the squad are so damaged by the end of this season that it’s probably going to take until Christmas for them to recover. If Solskjaer makes it until then as boss then it will be a miracle (for him, not us). So much work needs to be done; probably 14 players out on a combination of loans (Williams, Garner, Tuanzebe, Chong), and permanent (De Gea, Smalling, Jones, Rojo, Dalot, Fred, Pereira, Lingard, Mata and Ighalo). Which is too much business to do in one window (and who would want most of them?!) and too many players to replace, seeing as we can’t even get one done at the moment.

I’ve been saying it for seven years but United have once again proved that they love to miss as many opportunities for progress as they are presented with. And that is the new United way.
Ted, Manchester

 

What Man United need now
After comparing Bayern Munich’s game to United’s this weekend, I believe it should be a big reality check for ManU as to how far behind they are from the top teams.  If they want to be competitive going forward, they are going to have to buy a quality centre-back (and keep Smalling) and two new wingbacks and a new centre-forward.

These need to be top-class international players and not overrated and overpaid local players; we are already saddled with at least four of them in our current lineup.

I love Ole as a player and am rooting for him as a coach, however, the past few matches have clearly shown that tactically, he is very weak, which is a real concern going forward. Teams have already worked out how we play and there appears to be no Plan B at all.

A big negative from Monday night was firstly, not keeping Romero in goal, who has never let us down and really cannot be blamed if he wants to leave.

Why was Rashford not substituted at halftime? He has been off form for so long now and at times looked totally disinterested. To say after the match the players are tired … well, why wait for the 86th minute then to make your first sub?

I believe it is time to make tough and difficult decisions with coaches and players if we want to be competitive at the top level in years to come … finishing in the top four of the league seems to be our main goal since Fergie left and that is not good enough for Man United.

Come on guys.
Paul

 

Actually…
Man U need depth/to spend money as a result of the Sevilla game. What a complete load of sh*t.

Luuk de Jong wouldn’t get on the bench of a top 10 Premier League team. Ever Banega was great, but 32 and hardly pulling up trees. Jesus Navas is 34. I don’t think any United fan would trade Martial/Rashford/Greenwood for Ocampos.

If you combine the transfer fees of Pogba and Maguire you’d buy the entire Sevilla squad and then some.

They lost a game they probably should have won. Chill the f*ck out. It’s lazy punditry to say “well that’s why you have to buy more players” – this Sevilla side was assembled for next to money and they won. Sometimes it’s not about the money.
Simon (going for a double), London

 

Opinions/assholes
Dave in yesterday made some claims that he probably thought the current post-truth reality we live in made him safe to make.

Not while I’m around, David.

“Man U only played the first 10 mins of each half then Seville took control”

Seville had the majority of the possession the entire game. That’s how United play.

“Seville controlled the midfield and the wings”

No, they didn’t. The heatmaps show that United dominated both wings, and the vast majority of the game was played in Seville’s half.

“Both teams played 4-3-3”

No they didn’t. United played 4-2-3-1, as they have since the restart.

“Ever Banega was the best player out there”

No he wasn’t. Bounou,(7.83) Reguilon, (7.62) Navas (7.43) and Suso (7.33) all performed better for Seville than Banega (7.22).

Paul Pogba (8.37) was the best performance overall on the night. Fernandes (7.44) and Greenwood (7.22) were also better than Banega.

“Man Utd the team were totally outplayed”

How? I mean.. how do you watch that game and reach that conclusion?

Shots:
Seville: 9
United: 20

Pass success %:
Seville: 86
United: 85

Successful dribbles:
Seville: 14
United: 24

Corners:
Seville: 3
United:4

Dispossessed:
Seville: 17
United: 9

Seville’s (factually) three best players were their 2 fullbacks and their goalkeeper. That’s their defence, fact fans.

United’s (factually) three best players were Pogba, Fernandes and Greenwood. That’s their attack, fact fans.

The heat maps are crystal clear in that the vast majority of play was in the Seville half or just over halfway.

United win that game 7/10 times it’s played, but the possibility of the 30% is why knockout football is so exciting.

Anyway. It f**ks me off when people present opinion as fact, particularly when the facts are so readily available.
Tim Sutton (Ashley Young at fullback probably wins that game for United)

 

Lay off Rashford
Regarding . This is the problem with English players. You all hype them up way too much and then bring them down twice as hard. I always thought Barkley was a decent player but people overhyped him far too much. Same with Dele. He was linked with Madrid two years ago and now people think he’s terrible. Madison and Grealish will be next or maybe even Trent if he plays poorly for a few games.

Anyways, on to Rashford. People seem to forget.. Hes only 22. 17 goals and 7 assists this season is a good return for a wide player. I dont know where you got the figure about him only scoring 8 goals from open play. He has scored 6 penalties this season. The part about him not improving in 4 years either just is absolute nonsense. He has got double figures in the league now the last two seasons. It took Sterling to the age of 23 to do that and now look at him. Rashford is evolving and has improved his eye for a pass and hes by no means selfish. Hes very much a team player. This is modern football though. Everyone looks to your most recent game and that’s what you’re judged on. I would expect Rashford to maybe hit 20 goals when hes 25/26 but even still it’s a very difficult thing to do. Rooney only did it twice in his entire career. Rashford has a lot more to his game than just goals. Hes become a very well rounded player and seems like he has the attitude and determination to keep improving.
Dion (Arsenal)

 

One-legged ties? Not for me…
This is in response to advocating for one legged ties in the Champions League. Johnny’s article makes some good points and I enjoyed reading it, however I fundamentally disagree with his conclusions that one-legged ties are better than two-legged ties – and I don’t believe that I am anti-football.

First off, a caveat, this season’s one-legged ties clearly make sense for the times we live in and have been really good. My argument is that they would be damaging in the long term.

Johnny argues that two-legged ties favour the richer teams and, to be honest, this is probably true. However, I would argue this is a consequence of the two-legged format rather than the whole reason for implementing the format. Call me naïve, but I believe that Uefa want to see attacking (as opposed to wealthy) teams thrive and this is the logic behind the current two-legged format. Attacking teams are not always wealthy (though, admittedly, they often are). My primary argument against one-legged ties is that in the long term, they would lead to negative football, teams sitting back and playing for penalties. Two-legged ties do not eliminate these tactics but they do make it a lot harder as you have an extra 90 mins and the away goals rule. Take a World Cup or European Champions as examples, how many one-legged ties go onto penalties? How often do we hear that it (penalties) is such a cruel way to lose a match?

The current Champions League format has been used exclusively between 2003-04 (when they got rid of the [awful] second group stage) and 2018-19. In those 16 years, each year there was 14 two-legged ties played (8 round of 16, 4 quarter finals, 2 semi finals). In these 224 ties, do you know how many have gone to penalties? Nine. By contrast, in the same time frame, four of the (one legged) finals have gone to penalties. I just think two legged ties are the fairest way to conclude whether Team A is better than Team B or vica versa. It’s also better for fans, as you get a home leg where your fans can make a difference (and no, I’m not talking about a brick through the window of the opposing team’s bus). One legged ties mean neutral venues, would you honestly trust Uefa to choose neutral venues that make sense and provide reasonable ticket allocations? Going by the fiasco that fans of Arsenal and Chelsea endured at last year’s Europa League final, I would say no.

Finally, are two legged ties really boring? Have we such short memories that we have already forgotten City vs Spurs, Ajax vs Spurs, Barca vs Liverpool last year? These were all incredibly – jump out of your seat and laugh out loud – exciting, an absolute whirlwind of joy, despair, tension and, yes, jeopardy. The Champions League has provided and abundance of this type of entertainment over the years. As good as this year’s vintage has been (so far), for me it hasn’t provided more excitement than previous years (maybe our perspectives are warped given what we’ve had to endure over the last few months?), and to be honest I don’t think it will. We don’t just see this in the Champions League, how often do we get a League One playoff tie that goes a bit mad in the second leg and provides wonderful entertainment? In my opinion, two legged ties are just more exciting.

In summary, the Champions League has its faults and I agree with Johnny that more could be done to ensure that the less wealthy teams have more opportunity than currently exists. However, not at the expense of my beloved two-legged ties.
Ciaran H

 

…Johnny Nic… Where to start?! Once again, it’s obviously a socialist crime if the biggest, best, richest clubs end up winning the Champions League. The clue to this competition is in its title, Johnny. Those which take part are the best their leagues have to offer, the Champions…

So it’s all ‘rigged’ is it Johnny…? Like every sport in the world which has a ranking system. Every tennis tournament, rigged. The World Snooker Finals, rigged. Rugby World Cup, rigged. The World Cup, rigged. We’ve been doing it like this since before the big money of Sky came along in the 90s. The fact is, people have always wanted to see the best in the final and keeping them apart through a ranking system is the fairest way to do it.

The massive assumption Johnny makes is that the ‘smaller’ teams want to face each other in the hope of getting further in the competition. Do they? For some, playing at a full Bernabeu or Anfield will be their own ‘final.’ I’m sure they’d rather play in two huge stadiums and have these ‘big teams’ come to them, than go two more rounds against lesser known teams before losing to Sparta Prague in the third round.

Johnny states to reach and play in the final a side will play 13 games. “It’d need juggling a bit to make the numbers work, but it’s very achievable.” You would need to juggle, Johnny, 8,192 teams in the first round…

“Do they think there is anyone watching the dead rubber games in November and December? No.” Err, actually, yes. How many dead rubber games were there this year? I don’t recall many. “Making all ties single-legged, win and you go through, lose and you’re out, would boost the audience hugely.” No, it wouldn’t. Whilst your ‘addicts’ (as you call them, Johnny) might be tuning in, others would not to watch Lyon v FC Copenhagen in a semi. I had no skin in the weekend’s fixtures, I support Liverpool, but seeing Bayern tear Barca a new one was brilliant and Pep bottle another campaign was brilliant football.

The semi-final last year between Barcelona and Liverpool was the best 180 minutes of football you could ever have wished to see. Johnny’s argument has more holes than a Swiss cheese and I for one can’t wait until the CL and two-legged ties return.
Steve, Cirencester, LFC

 

Arsenal (verb)
All hat, no cattle

Evidence
1. Publicly negotiate a salary cut for players on the basis that no one gets fired – then fire 55 employees

2. Make a record signing ( vs. Sarr £27m), does not hit the ground running (may yet do), investigate the transfer, fire the head of recruitment.

3. Sign Ozil on mega wages, cant shift him, lose a PR battle against him because he called out a lack of faith r.e. taking a pay cut and it actually resulting in Arsenal staff keeping their jobs

4. Need signings to try and keep our only world class player – sign a 32 year old winger

5. Have a completely unbalanced squad where our best left-back has to play centre-back, have about 30 wide forwards, two centre-forwards, two central midfielders (excluding Guendouzi because Arteta does – and one of whom is on loan)

6. Fire the Manager, hire the U23 coach, don’t give him a support structure, get called out by said club legend for being half assed

That’s just the last nine months. Yeah Arsenal fans need to own their toxicity (and we really do), but it is hard to not be a little bit pissed off when most stuff the club does at the management level is awful. Arteta is doing great, has a vision and has communicated it effectively, but the gap between Arsenal and the big 4 is fairly wide. Can we try not being sh*t for a while?
Simon (rolling the dice on 2), London

 

Man United v Arsenal
In reply to Iyanu (Glass 1/4ths full) Nigeria regarding which team’s season was better:

Cognitive science has proved that the human brain distorts even hard facts to support its own narrative and agenda. The brain will ignore all evidence to the contrary, use only selective data to support its predetermined views and bias and goes at extreme lengths to do this (if needed, it will even make up stuff and believe its own constructs to be real).

If the human brain does that with hard facts, you can imagine how much it weasels its way to its predetermined conclusions when there isn’t even an objective yardstick to measure against. Like in this particular question, or any alternatives of it (e.g. which is worth more: winning the CL or the PL?).

In this particular example, if the roles were reversed, ManUtd fans would goad Gooners for their imaginary “Top4 trophy” (as they did for years) brandishing their real FA Cup in their faces. Yet now they are absolutely convinced a Top4 finish is worth more. With equally impressive skills in mental gymnastics and selective amnesia, Gooners now laugh at the imaginary Top4 trophy they held so precious for years, simply because that’s now ManUtd’s and not theirs. Now the Gooners are the ones pointing to actual physical trophies instead, because now that’s the one they have.

In short: The team you support had the better season. And that’s a scientific fact, not an opinion. Case closed, anyone saying anything else is simply their biased opinion, not a scientific fact (or is it?)
András (actual scientist) Sweden

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Top ten worst current club record signings

Some club record signings … The post Top ten worst current club record signings appeared first on Football365.

Top ten worst current club record signings

Obviously these are not the worst players…but these are club record signings that have so far not proved value for moolah…

 

10) Sebastien Haller (West Ham)
Carlos Bacca, Alexandre Lacazette, Maxi Gomez, Yissam Ben Yedder, Moussa Marega…and you can add another 15 or 20 names to a list of strikers West Ham have targeted in recent years as the east London club gave up on the ambition of actually winning trophies and decided that spending £40m-plus on a striker would automatically parachute them into the orbit of the bigger clubs.

Eventually they found a player willing to make the switch and a club (Eintracht Frankfurt) more than willing to take £45m for a striker who had cost them £6m just two years before. Perhaps they knew that without the departing Luka Jovic, Haller would go back to being just ordinary. Particularly when he was taken out of a strike duo and then asked to play as a lone striker and do the incredibly English job of ‘running the channels’. He ended the season with seven goals, a job as back-up to utility man Michail Antonio and the real prospect of leaving for Monaco after just one underwhelming season.

 

 

9) Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)
Paul Merson had accused Everton of “spoiling the transfer window” when they agreed to pay Watford £35m – which could yet rise to £50m -for Richarlison in the summer of 2018, but history will judge that signing a little kinder than the £40m Everton threw at Swansea for Gylfi Sigurdsson the year before. It’s not that the Icelandic midfielder has been terrible; it’s just that he has been so extraordinarily ordinary that he has come to represent .

Everton fans are not divided on Sigurdsson; to a man, woman and child they think he is a waste of space. Not even the memory of last season’s occasionally brilliant free-kicks can save him now.

 

8) Paul Pogba (Man United)
He’s not ‘lazy’
and he was nowhere near the worst player on the pitch against Sevilla, but it’s undeniable that Paul Pogba has not delivered what Manchester United might have expected for £89m. We can debate all day about whether they should have reasonably expected one brilliant player to turn a good side into a great one, but neither player nor club has been truly happy in this marriage ever since they ignored all sensible advice to never, ever go back.

Pogba attracts so much criticism for his lifestyle, his manner, his wages, his hair, his price tag and frankly his colour that we have perhaps always erred on the side of defending him in the strongest possible terms, but the truth is that he we have seen only a fraction of his talent at Manchester United. We wanted more.

 

7) Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)
How would you feel if you read that into your signing because no reasonable person can fathom how you could possibly cost £72m? That has got to smart a little. Five Premier League goals and six assists is not a disastrous return for a first season in English football but it is not the expected return on a club-record £72m. For £20m it’s not bad – and with that number as Arsenal last summer – but Arsenal will have to keep paying for Pepe whether he gets better or worse over the next five years.

But then there’s this…

And he was .

 

6) Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich)
We’re grasping at straws here with Bayern Munich, but it’s only by being so bloody good and destroying Barcelona 8-2 with a starting line-up that cost less than 100m Euros do they escape censure for the occasional piece of terrible transfer business. Top of such a list is the ludicrous signing of French left-back Lucas Hernandez for a figure (80m) that made him the most expensive player to ever grace the Bundesliga.

Now? He is a bench-warmer ( is not for shifting) and being linked with PSG, which has somehow become the safety net for every expensive player who fails at another super-club. Bayern should be thoroughly embarrassed as they lift all of the trophies.

 

5) Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham)
Nobody will be at all surprised if Tanguy Ndombele becomes a brilliant, brilliant footballer again at another club. He could become the lynchpin of the Inter midfield or even the driving force behind Barcelona’s revival, but it has not worked at Tottenham. Not at all. Perhaps he is not ready for English football or perhaps English football is not ready for him, but he is certainly a terrible fit for a Jose Mourinho team, no matter how many times he makes him run around the park.

Mourinho is making all the right noises – “Football is full of players who have made difficult starts and then ended well. When Luka Modric arrived at Real Madrid after six months he was labelled the worst signing in their history. A few months later he was a champion, then a few months later he was European champion and then a few months later he was voted the best player in the world” – but still rumours persist that Spurs would be for less than the £55m they paid.

 

4) Joelinton (Newcastle)
One day, somebody at Hoffenheim needs to tell the story about the day Newcastle bid £40m for a player who had cost them £2m just four years before. Somebody needs to walk us through the reaction – presumably laughter resulting in heavy, unbridled urination – in the office when that fax came through offering £40m for a forward who had scored seven Bundesliga goals the previous season. The punchline? The famous Newcastle No. 9 shirt.

“He’ll need a bit of luck along the way but he has the potential to be a top-class centre forward and we are delighted to have him here,” said Steve Bruce. Presumably all that was missing was that ‘bit of luck’ as the Brazilian (really?) scored just two Premier League goals and rarely wobbled over the line into competence as a striker.

 

3) Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
While 52 goals in 64 Serie A games does not sound like failure, this remarkable transfer need to be put into the context of a £90m Italian record fee, £500,000-a-week wages and minimal sell-on value, making it utterly unsurprising that the club is seemingly to recoup a fraction of that massive cost.

Juventus bought Ronaldo for two reasons: To sell shirts and to . They did not need Ronaldo to win Serie A – and the sacking of Maurizio Sarri is a clear indication that domestic triumph is not even close to being enough – so all that money ( put the final figure north of £300m) was being channelled towards a) becoming the best in Europe again and b) boosting the club’s commercial ventures. Only one of those things happened and that’s simply not a good enough strike rate for such an outlay. It’s not 52 in 64, put it that way.

 

2) Kepa (Chelsea)

It turns out that just, you know, spending a lot of money on a goalkeeper is not enough. Damn you Liverpool for making it look so bloody easy.

 

1) Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)
Barcelona have got it wrong, then more wrong and yet more wrong again over the last six years…

…and there’s a place for them on a list of the worst second and third most expensive players from each club, but this particular list is about record signings and Coutinho has been a rotter. Their pockets plumped with cash from the sale of Neymar, Liverpool saw the wounded but flush Barcelona coming and sold them a very good player for the price of a superstar. Well done them. And shame on you, Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Coutinho is on the verge of winning the Champions League with a club that does not want him either. Come to Arsenal, fella; you are .

Sarah Winterburn

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