Gareth Southgate unleashed his inner Wenger last night and played a Carling Cup side against Belgium’s Carling Cup side. The Belgians won – unsurprisingly – and it’s all Mesut Özil’s fault; I’ve got the stats to prove it as well.
Was it was disturbing that Danny Welbeck didn’t start? Marcus Rashford bears the cross of being the ‘next greatest living Englishman’ but Welbz is more likely to shin it in. With Lucas Perez returning to pre-season training early so he can “impress” Unai Emery, Welbz no-show won’t make a good impression if Emery makes decisions on vacuous levels.
There is, of course, the small matter of Danno’s contract. It expires in 2019 – as does Campbell’s – and reports emerged earlier this year that he batted away the initial offer. That may prove his undoing. I believe we’re overstocked in distinctly average wide players: Welbeck, Iwobi, Perez, Campbell. Two of them – at least – ought to be shown the door. Despite a lackadaisical approach last season, I would persevere with Iwobi for another season, to see if Emery can coax the footballer out of him.
It is also telling that despite loan spells, Campbell and Perez are yet to attract permanent offers. Or if they have, those offers are the only ones in the history of transfers to remain entirely off the back pages.
Missing out on the England team despite being the second highest scorer in the squad must hurt Welbz. Like Jack, the lack of regular first-team football is damaging his international aspirations. Think about this for a second: England took Eric Dire to Russia instead of Wilshere. That’s how damaging it’s been.
Jacko’s talking Turkey about his future which is a strange move for a man who rejected a loan to AC Milan because he wanted to remain close to his family.
I doubt he is going to Fenerbahce; Ospina’s been going to Turkey every year since the 2015 Copa America and he’s still at the club.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the ‘British Core’ – whatever that was – isn’t entirely lost to the club. Aaron Ramsey “is enthused” about Emery’s arrival, suggesting that he was disillusioned under the previous regime without actually saying that.
The same article claims the deal for Lucas Torreira is all but done; powerful word ‘but’, especially in this context. However, with his agent and Sampdoria both telling the Italian press on a fairly regular basis that it is done, it’s hard to believe it isn’t done. Portugal could do us a favour by knocking Uruguay out of the World Cup, but I wouldn’t bet on it. And if they don’t, it will be Mesut Özil’s fault; I’ve got the stats to prove it.
Anyway, there’s a sense of purpose about the club, which is the key to a good start. Emery immersed himself in the squad for his interview(s) and knows much about the players already. Stats only tell him part of the story, he and his staff will see things through the training sessions and match reels.
Too much reliance upon stats is not good for the health: Luddites of the World UNITE!
The outgoings will tell the story of Emery’s reign, as much as the signings. Eight players are out of contract at the end of 2019; in all honesty, Monreal and Ramsey are the only ones I’d lose any sleep about leaving. That includes Jeff; it means he, Welbeck, Akpom, Campbell, as well as one of Cech or Ospina, are surplus to requirements.
We won’t lose all of them. One of Welbeck and Akpom will stay unless we have eyes on another prize.
Fickle Public Speaking
That can’t be ruled out. Ivan mentioned that they hoped other business would be concluded this summer and we assumed he meant Sokratis and Torreira. Perhaps they have other ideas as well. It would be curious if they acted mainly on the spine of the team without looking at the width.
The trouble is we don’t know yet how Emery will set the team up. The presumption is that he will use one of his previous systems but they may not be the case; he could just continue with a flexible 4 – 3 – 3. Who knows but the transfer business of the summer will tell us more.
Today is a ‘kicking your heels’ day at the World Cup which is a blessing in some respects. You can have too much of a good thing.