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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp should be Prick of the Year

Below is a summary of the full article. Click here for the full version or go back to LFC Live.net

Send your thoughts on Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool or anything else to theeditor@football365.com…

Time to take responsibility
So, that was pretty awful. I have watched a few abject performances by Liverpool this season, often banging our foot against the defensive wall of a club in the lower reaches of the league, outrageously refusing to come forward from their tight, sensible shape and unreasonably content to simply create chances from knocking a long ball over the top of our often static defence.



This was different though, this was like Chelsea but much more comprehensive. This was us being comfortably outplayed. This was a European heavyweight bullying us. This was an emphasis of all our flaws in one chilling game.



Firstly, we didn’t have a shot of any kind in the first half. Nothing. It made for painful viewing. We looked nervous, yet there wasn’t even a crowd. This wasn’t facing an on-form Bayern and fearing a hiding, this was an under strength and ageing Madrid team who have already lost twice this season to Shakhtar Donetsk. We were in their training stadium for heavens sake. Instead of coming out the blocks and hounding them a la 2019/20, this was timid and slow and errant.



Jurgen got the tactics wrong. He got the selection wrong. Zidane created a platform for his team to perform and they dragged a performance from their own adversity. They lost their two starting centre backs too remember, and only in the week leading up to the game, yet Zidane shuffled his pack, adjusted his formation and got the performance. Jurgen is a great coach and has justifiably earned a lot of credit with fans, but despairingly clawing for excuses is not a good look. We have to start taking responsibility. We have to start addressing our issues. In January we could have put this down to a blip. In February we could argue our defensive injury crisis was coming home to roost. We are in April and if Everton win their game in hand will be 8th in the league. We are about to crash out of the Champs League and yet I see little acknowledgment from management of the systemic failures that have got us into this position.

I wrote in a few months ago (before it was hip and cool) to highlight Trent’s defensive frailties. Not to admonish the player or accuse him of not trying, but to realise what weaknesses he had are now being ruthlessly exploited. Where TAA was afforded the space to hurt teams as an 18/19/20 year old, teams have subsequently worked out how to reduce his impact and take advantage of his offensive positioning and lack of natural defensive nous. He may well improve those weaknesses and bounce back a better player, but more obviously there is an argument to move him into a new midfield position where he can once again maximise his technical and creative excellence whilst creating a new headache for opposing managers to work out. It has always seemed a more natural fit, being part of a back 4 requires defensive skills Trent may never develop, a deep playmaker role can utilise what defensive skills he has developed whilst letting his attacking threat flower. It can’t be this season though, we don’t have the quality in reserve at RB and Trent needs a pre season and time to adjust. Perhaps Jurgen needs to make the decision now though, so he can plan for additions in the summer and a review of his formation. If he doesn’t and Trent cannot improve his weaknesses sufficiently, it won’t be just England dropping him.

I could write a whole email on the transfer fiasco around not bringing in a pacey CB to allow us to continue with our preferred high line. That we didn’t should have required an adjustment, perhaps even a change in formation, something, anything to mitigate our obvious deficiencies. That we have ploughed on regardless, despite increasing evidence it was not working is verging on embarrassing.

This is about more than losing VVD and Gomez. Our front 3 have toiled and our midfield often been rudderless for some time. There is likely myriad reasons, some associated with moving Fab and Jordan into defence, that doesn’t account for everything though, far from it. Our mentality has gone from iron willed to wet paper weak. A club record home unbeaten streak to club record losing streak, back to back, is an unacceptable extreme and can’t just be dismissed. There is more going on here. These are issues 2 injuries should not generate. If VVD and Gomez come back and we instantly return to the team of old then we must review how we could allow our team to be so easily reduced by this magnitude by losing 2 players. No team should go from world beaters to Europa League candidates with 2 players missing. And if so, then you better bloody well have equivalent backup to cover that eventuality.

Jurgen once said that Liverpool were not the best team on the planet, but that we could beat the best team. I think he prided himself on maximising the qualities of the players at his disposal to make them greater than the sum of their parts. The awkward reality is we are now worse. Look at FM or FIFA to see the relative attributes of our players. We are losing to teams worse than us. Regularly.

This was a chastening defeat on the biggest stage, it is time we started learning from these lessons, started taking some responsibility, so that we might come back stronger in the future. Refusing the evidence manifest and blindly pursuing the dream of what once was is negligent and self-sabotaging. We are not last seasons team, accepting this reality might allow for something better next season.
Ed Ern

Klopp should be Prick of the Year
It’s pretty hard to be a manager of a club when things just don’t seem to go right, but Jurgen seems to have a fascination with blaming everyone and everything other than himself and his players for their despicable performances.

The icing on the cake last night was his rant against the referee after losing to a Madrid team without their best defenders. It’s ironic that this site called Ole a conspiracy theorist, and yet they give Herr Klopp a pass.
Ryan B

Klopp is the problem
I don’t understand why a coach would change a winning team, especially by starting with Keita. That is my main frustration with Liverpool,  I believe if Klopp had started with the team that beat Arsenal,  the results would have been different.  The TAA problem of not being a defender has always been there,  he is not a marker,  if Klopp continues using him in that position,  then there shud be someone who is always ready to cover for him. I also think Jota is very good coming in as a substitute.

Regards,
Max from South Africa

What we learned…
What did Liverpool learn last night?

Balls over the top are a huge weakness, say what you want about Zidane but he had kroos play way deeper than normal knowing that his passing range could hurt us over the top and he’d be tucked away from out usually hard working midfield, totally negating their effect. And it worked repeatedly in both halves, I imagine villa will do the exact same. We SHOULD have learned this lesson earlier in the season as it’s been done multiple times. Sadly, we still haven’t.

Trent has little to no value as a right back in games with decent attackers. Sure the midfield and CB can cover for him against weaker attackers but with decent ones with good movement he’s a training cone. The case to move him to midfield gets stronger all the time, use that passing range, take him away from critical areas and there’s a bigger margin for error there thanks to fabinho. Also with Gini leaving and surely milner being replaced seems like a good time to move him to midfield.

Firmino can’t be replaced. Even Liverpool’s own fans are on firmino case about not scoring but his critics always forget how big of a link he is between mid and att, how much he holds and controls the play and also how much pressing from the front he does. Jota is no firmino – but he can do all the things mane does…

Mane needs to be left out for a while. His form has been bad for long enough that it’s starting to look like a decline in talent rather form now. Jota is in good form and in fact does the same exact thing mane does. Seems like a no brainer.

Keita time is up. Its been almost an entire youth career since he joined and he still offers little when he is actually able to play (which is less often than Darren Anderson) I think they’ve held for so long because they didn’t want to admit they fucked up on this transfer. Its cool guys your record is solid take the hit to your pride and sell him somewhere he might succeed, it’s clear that isn’t here.

Our makeshift CBs made mistakes that makeshift CBs make in big games with pressure. No surprise and (from me) no blame. Its not their fault their first time in this position just happens to be an occasion with our whole season resting on it. The experienced players fucked up three trophies before actually winning one. Losing is part of learning, let’s hope they learn.

Klopp needs to start adjusting his tactics to his personnel because it’s now almost a full season of trying the former and it’s fairly clear that at least in some games, it doesn’t work.

Its a bad year all round for us and I can’t help but feel after boasting about our back to back successes we’re gonna eat a big plate of shit while we piss about in Europa League next year which will simultaneously ensure we don’t win the league either. We also need to replace or add some players this summer which will be harder to losing the prestige of champs league footy and also having our already modest budget slashed by missing champs league.

No we won’t get a big budget based on the new hundreds of millions investment in FSG because that’s not Liverpool’s money, that’s for all FSG projects. Red Sox is arguably more profitable I’m sure the bulk will go there.

Its not over yet and as we have proved before we can stage bigger comebacks than this…but that’s when we can actually win games at home and I imagine villa are gonna remind everyone we really struggle to do that without a crowd, or other teams find it easier to win at anfield without a crowd. Take your pick.
Lee

The gift of baldness…
I heard this phrase once in a podcast (where else?) and thought, thats interesting.

The speakers point was that if it wasn’t for his baldness at a young age he would’ve been distracted by his appearance and would’ve missed out on the study and the writing which made him a world renowned author and public speaker, and most of the people he knew were now bald as well so who cares anymore.

Liverpool I think suffered a terrible night last night but also if they look closely they also received the gift of baldness.

Sometimes its that mirror in the supermarket with the strip lighting, or the airport toilet, or the mirror in the elevator or the changing room in the clothes shop, but no matter the circumstance, there it is in front of you, skin where skin should not be. Your mind recoils in horror, your self delusion stares itself in the face, you deny and move on or you slowly accept and adapt.

Trent at right back was exposed as Liverpools bald spot last night. Jurgen has been attempting the combover of cover with Joe Gomez and Hendo gainfully pulled across and back to disguise the sight. Many Liverpool fans defend the illusion with all their fury, while some other (enemies!!) point out the reality like Gareth Southgate and neutral football writers.

Trent is not a right back.

It was an interesting adaptation and Klopp a very clever coach to come up with it. It played a large part in delivering the Champions league and first league title in 3 decades, credit where credit is due.

But now the bald spot has been seen it can never be unseen.

Every top level club (and plenty of lesser clubs with a speedy direct left winger – Ollie Watkins anyone?) can and will target this weakness in Liverpool’ team.

Its time to get the clippers out and level the playing field so to speak.

Trent is a sublime footballer with real football intelligence and a wand of a right foot. He came through the ranks as a midfielder and is destined to move back there in time.

That time is now. Hendo is out, Keita flatters to deceive, Thiago is gifted but too slow and is not made for this team or league. In Curtis Jones and Trent we have the makings of a sublime future midfield to replace Hendo and Gini when they leave, lets start blooding them in. Please don’t sign anymore midfielders next season Jurgen, lets trust what we have and develop these two young scousers to be the players they can be. Either trust Neco Williams at right back or if not sign a long term option there (who can defend and is not as offensively minded) and let Trent and Curtis run the show from midfield.

Not everyman looks good with a shaved head, but no man ever does with a combover. Jurgen has experience in this area and has realised a nice but expensive solution on this own pate, I trust him to sort it out.
Dave LFC

Trent, Ramos and Alves
Dear Editor,

In late 2006 a Spaniard became my flatmate. We watched a ton of PL and La Liga games for roughly 3 seasons. At that time, Ramos and Alves were seen as the best right backs in the world. What was hilarious was how terrible they were at defending. Absolutely hopeless. Always committing tactical fouls and last ditch slide tackles because they were in the wrong place. They were good at both these things because they had to be. Ramos, famously, has a temper and racked up 4 red cards in his first year at Madrid. As they played more games at the highest level for club and country, their defending improved markedly.

While I understand the whole point of professional sport is to enjoy the weekly stories, dramas, and chaos of it, I think with Trent some perspective has been lost. He is a truly excellent footballer. Your piece even highlights his astonishing crosses in the second half against Madrid. On Saturday against Arsenal, he was playing his cross field balls to Robertson with his left foot! He will continue to improve his distribution. More importantly, whoever he plays with in a back four, his defending will improve like Ramos and Alves. He will undoubtedly have an astonishing career. If he wants to follow Ramos he should even retain his temper, his edge, his bite, even though Klopp hates it. Whatever the rest of the team does, Trent could become this decade’s best right back, like Alves. Or he could move position and dominate that for ten years, like Ramos. Either way, it’s going to be fun.

Thanks,
Hamish (10 years of brakcets and now nothing?), London

Trent, Klopp and the MF narrative
I think you have overreacted a little bit here F365 – the hatchet job on Trent and Klopp is only partially justified – Klopp definitely contributed massively to a dire first half so fair play there (your analysis is spot on in terms of where he made the mistakes), he should know better, but Trent is still only 22 – of course he is going to have rubbish games! Move him into midfield or sell him? Never mind facepalm, that is smash the laptop into the forehead stupid.

I actually thought he was younger than that, so not a direct comparison with Mason Greenwood (19, very different position too obvs) but why aren’t they treated with the same expectations and pressure that goes with it. What was Trent doing when he was 19? Oh yeah – getting to a Champions League final. Then winning the next final. Then winning the Premier League. Is Greenwood on the same curve? Time will tell, but he seems to be focussed more on getting into trouble (no issues with that by the way – he’s young) and fighting his way back into the team. I don’t recall Trent having the same difficulties – it’s been all gravy and positive progress for him up until this, an utter and absolute nadir of a season for Liverpool, not just him. Like I said – 22 – he is allowed to be rubbish every so often for a good while yet. Let’s wait until he is the same age (27) as Robertson before we expect the same levels of consistency.

Perhaps Saint Marcus of Rashford is a better comparison at 23? He has more successful campaigns against child poverty (and good on him for doing so) than trophies.

But yeah, it’s all Trent’s fault, let’s pile on the poor lad and slap Gareth Southgate on the back for throwing him on the scrap heap at 22. Nice one. We definitely need less creativity at full back – all the best international sides have proper defenders there who don’t create anything don’t they? That is the modern game right? 4 cloggers at the back and some fancy pants up front? Simples.

As for Klopp’s comments – he’s not trying to create more pressure for Trent, he’s trying to build up his confidence in a season when he’s had Covid and lost all of the playing partners and leaders around him. Of course Klopp is trying to make him feel better and increase his confidence levels – this isn’t Johnson-esque levels of boosterism based on utter lies – this is Klopp doing his job with a young player suffering a dip in form. What happens to those comments as they are regurgitated for clicks, eyeballs and ad revenue is not Klopp’s responsibility.
Morgan (won’t somebody think of the children?) Goford

More TAA…
As I can see from the this morning’s mailbox Trent Alexander Arnolds ears must need a healthy dose of Aloe Vera given the burning they must be suffering since last night. Boy, that wasn’t good.

My issue with him for a while now is that he seems to have bought into the hype of him “revolutionising” the right back role into that of a “playmaker” Who grows up wanting to be a Gary Neville and all that stuff. The point is that he doesn’t take his defending seriously enough, it doesn’t interest him. He almost looks bored having to defend. I saw a clip on Twitter last night of Jamie Carragher providing analysis on whatever channel he does the champions league and he said the same, going into detail about how his defending stance is so poor. That is not good enough.

Yes, I know that there is undoubtedly an element of risk and reward and we have benefited greatly from that over the past 3 years but he is a right back and he has to reat the defending side of that with respect. Yes there will be times that he will be caught out of position and that is fine given the teams attacking mindset but there is no excuse for not sprinting back. It really really annoys me when I see him jogging back. His aforementioned stance when defending one on one is laughable and very amateurish. An awful lot of goals that we have conceded have come from that area in between RB and CB. Why haven’t near as many come from the other side? Because Robertson is willing to do the dirty work and track the attacker whereas TAA is not.

He only has to look over at the other side to see a full back who can balance both. Admittedly Robertson has also dropped off considerably as the season has progressed but he has shown how you can take both area’s seriously. If he is caught up the pitch, he sprints back. He will always track a runner and give his defensive partner protection. When defending one on one his stance is that of a lion ready to pounce, not standing up back straight like a training dummy. Yet, all the while he offers an attacking threat.

TAA is an incredible player. Any suggestions of him being sold/dropped are nonsense but he does have a problem that only he can address. Does he want to be a serious right back who will care as much about clean sheets as he does assists? Because at the moment I know which one he values a great deal more than the other.
Jamie, Ireland

The Liverpool press
I must say I think the problem with Liverpool’s defence last night wasn’t so much TAA, but the midfield. TAA and Robertson have the way they’re instructed to play, pushing up with Fabinho dropping back to form a high back 3. However, as evidenced a number of times this season, that doesn’t work if the midfield and strikers don’t press. Keita’s press was all wrong – it wasn’t a surprise that he was hooked before half time – and it became clear after a couple of minutes that the lack of Firmino to occupy Kroos was going to cause a problem.

Giving someone that good (I was at Anfield for the 0-3 in 2014 and he was different class) all the time in the world to play passes over the top meant that, with a high line we were always going to be in trouble (see the Villa game for another example, where Grealish was given all day to pick passes) Yes, he was clearly discombobulated and I’m not going to say he wasn’t bad last night, but I think the whole defence got hung out to dry by the midfield. They were put in the impossible position of having to play a high line to make the system work, but offered no support to stop the long balls over the top. That’s the thing we need to fix for the second leg, though it’ll probably still be beyond us as they can pick us off on the break.
Tom, Andover

No comeback this time
A very disappointing and deflating night. Every football fan dares to dream and holds onto even the most unrealistic hopes, so I went into last night’s game believing we still had a chance of Champions League glory. It wasn’t a big chance, but it was a chance. That hope has almost gone.

There will be lots of talk of comebacks and indeed we hadn’t even reached the final whistle before the commentators began talking of the Barcelona game. However, it’s important to remember the context of that game. In the first leg, Liverpool were a real match for Barcelona, undone only by the genius of Messi. Liverpool had more possession and more shots and felt extremely unfortunately to be on the end of a 3-0 scoreline.

The complete opposite is true of the Madrid game. We were dominated for almost the entire match, barring maybe 10 minutes at the start of the second half. In contrast to the match at Camp Nou, it feels incredibly fortunate that we only lost 3-1.

Football is football and so nothing is impossible. However it is going to take every one of those players to revert to 2019 levels and I don’t have a great deal of hope of that happening.
Mike, LFC, London

Arsenal were bad but not that bad
In the wake of the Reds’ loss to Madrid, Carey (frustrated Gooner) Yiembe asks if Liverpool were really that good against Arsenal or was Arsenal really rotten to the core.

The presumption here of course is that teams perform consistently. Clearly they do not, and cannot, particularly if they play twice in four days. For Arsenal fans who excoriated the team for that performance, and now double down because of this Champions League result, may I suggest an alternative perspective on that 0-3 defeat.

I watched the game after knowing the result and my initial reaction was that we weren’t that bad. Liverpool pressed us relentlessly all over the pitch (and I think paid the price somewhat last night) and we never got going. Still we were never really carved open and the goals were preventable. With some luck we might have escaped with a draw. So short answer is Liverpool were good but not that good and Arsenal were bad but not that bad.

I guess this isn’t going to be a popular view (in life most things are a bit ‘meh’) since there are so many strong opinions out there. I like to think though that most of us are a bit more balanced.

Is Arteta the worst manager ever or the right man for the job? “No”, and “I don’t know but I’m willing to stick with him for now”. There have been encouraging signs and a sense of identity we never saw with Emery (who was never that bad either).

Is Arsenal still a big club? Rather more complicated question that I think depends on what you want the answer to be. You will find good arguments either way. My answer to this question is connected to another.

Are the owners good for the club? Perhaps they mismanaged it for a while and we’re going to be paying the price for some time to come, but they have sanctioned two of the largest transfers in recent times. That is a sign that there’s ambition and they’ve backed it up. Though you can spend your way into the Championship.

When will we get back our top-4 trophy? I reckon it will take at least two more seasons. Much will depend on Arteta’s learning curve (if he’s still around), the summer clearout, and Project Youth Part Deux (inevitable really given the state of football finances).
Tired (of hyperbole) Gooner



Wrong analyis
Rio is right and Minty is wrong. When Villa caught Liverpool, they disposed Liverpool and moved the ball forward very quickly, quick long ball counter attacking so to speak with Liverpool very high, all v v quick. And by the way, three of Villa’s goals were deflected long range efforts that day but no matter….Last night, for both goals originated by Kroos, Kroos was scanning the pitch, no one around him, ball at feet, with time,  assessing the best ball to play. The defenders had the time to see this, to anticipate the danger, and Rio is absolutely correct to say that the defenders had time to anticipate that a long ball was likely coming over the top, and as such should have backed off and been in a better position to challenge the run of the forwards when the ball came. Very good analysis from Rio  –  spot on actually ! The Mojo is gone from Liverpool and it might take a fairly drastic change to get it back – read into that what you will !
PK – YNWA

Summer ins and outs
Lots of talk among the Spurs fans I know of who should leave (unsurprisingly few players avoid at least one persons list) and who we should buy.

I’m not going to go to deeply into who we should buy outside of PL players I like:

SELL (this is a list which is made up of wants and frequently reported)
Foyth – reportedly £13m
Winks – £20m
Sanchez – £20m (at a push)
Aurier – £15m
Doherty – £10m
Sissoko £10m
Lamela £15m
Dele £30m
Dier £25m
Lo Celso – I just don’t see it working out £35m

I don’t believe we’l sell nine players but wouldn’t be too surprised if five or six leave. I’m going to suggest that leaves the club with an estimated £120m to spend from player sales plus the reported £30m available.

Ins
Lampty and White from Brighton are both very talented and fit in with our need for centre half and right back. Konsa (Villa) Phillips from Leeds are fantastic. That covers two centre backs to have alongside Rodon and Alderwerield, and a further midfielder to play alongside or in rotation with Hojbjerg.

Then the big signing; there’s no way anyone gets Grealish for anything less than silly money, so I love Neves at Wolves, and would like to see a scenario where Doherty returns to Wolves in exchange for Neves and money.

I don’t know enough about European football anymore so haven’t added anyone from the continent. I should also add that those players might well exceed £150m. Perhaps Kane will leave and we’ll have ALL the money but I hope not!
Dan M

We don’t need to talk about Kevin
We do, but first thing first, Andy Townsend is a bellend . I get it that commentators have to be opinionated in their commentary of the game but to flat out say that Ederson kicked Bellingham is just ridiculous and thereby insinuating dortmund had a legit goal disallowed is a bit too forward for one who should be on the fence. I’ve watched the replays tons of times and i just don’t see how Ederson wasn’t fouled.

Ederson is in the process of controlling the ball and gets closed in by Bellingham (Freeze Clip) two things stand out for me , Bellingham raises his boot to block the shot with his eyes looking away from the ball a fraction before touching it and Two;  Ederson who is technically in possession kicks into his boot studs.

Any challenge with studs first is dangerous and i don’t gets why this isn’t being taken into account. A half lunge with boot extended to make a challenge  even more so. For me Clive i firmly believe the Ref got the call right and it might be called soft but still a good call. I get it that neutrals favour underdogs but come on man, this is City we are talking about and there aren’t enough neutrals whenever they are involved. (Log on to twitter if you want to know more)

Then again great football game. Credit to Dortmund for giving it a go away from home. And thanks to Halland for the comical touch when flinging of Dias. Kevin De Bruyne.

Is one for the big nights isn’t he, outstanding performance and an immaculate player.
Mohashu , Nairobi (shame f365 wont let me upload the relevant GIF to accentuate my point)

John Nicholson’s article about Haaland
Hello,

As per usual after reading John Nicholson’s article, I kinda agree with the basic sentiment behind it, but on a practical level I get irritated and confused about what he actually wants to achieve.

The recent trend of power and money concentrating on the hands of fewer and fewer people who talk of charity (in different forms e.g. basically all the IT-billionaires) yet refuse to pay taxes is a worrying and abhorrent trend especially when at the same time many are finding it ever harder to cope. Same argument can be laid on the football environment where the mega clubs are ever more powerful while clubs below seem to suffer especially now when clubs can’t sell tickets to matches. So the basic sentiment (I guess) John is after is noble and good.

However, in my opinion the solutions and notions he offers are confusing, illogical and simply wrong. First of all, does he suggest we shouldn’t have transfers at all? That’s actually an interesting thought experiment. The next Messi starting his career in Swedish 4th division and plying his trade in there for his whole career bringing perhaps Swedish football huge benefits when people flock to see the man who scores 150 goals in a season. There is just one little but. What about his right to play where he actually wants? Isn’t that something we would be horrified by? Forced labour. Either you play at Skåne FC or you don’t play at all. No matter if you have a terrible boss etc. No need for clubs to treat their players well or even pay decent salaries as they have no options.

So I guess that is not something he is after. Which brings us to the crux of his argument, money. Of course it’s absurd. A player costing 100 million or 200 million is just silly. But what of it? How was it different when top players went for 20 million, or 2 million? What would actually change if the Haaland transfer fee was 10 million instead of 100 million? A mega rich club would pay less to a smaller club for their star player. Isn’t it the one actual effective trickle down effect football economy has? Think of Southampton getting all that money from Liverpool from various players and the same thing happening to the clubs Southampton bought the same players originally from. And if Liverpool sells Coutinho to Barca for 140 mill, PSG buys Neymar for 200 mill and Pool would buy Mbappe for 200 mill so what? What’s the actual difference if zeroes would be taken off from the transfer fees?

Then there is the salary and the agents. Absurd again, but do you honestly think if top players would earn 25 000£ per week instead of the 250 000£ they do now, it would affect the ticket prices or the TV fee? That the clubs wouldn’t have enough accountants to fill all the coffins and they would run out of space in their offshore bank accounts? Isn’t it better that from the huge amount of money that gets poured into football by us gullible fans, the actual stars of the show get at least a decent chunk of the pie instead of it going all to the owners from the US, Middle and Far East? It’s at least better for the economy since I would guess the players spend it quite a lot in the country they are living in and hopefully many of them actually pay their taxes.

And then Haaland. I don’t know him personally, but what I’ve gathered, the boy is quite focused on playing football. He probably eats cereals in the shape of footballs in the morning and watches old top players and attackers in his free time from his stadium shaped home theater. Are you suggesting he should start taking care of the complex transfer shenanigans personally? To negotiate with his club and the clubs he feels are suitable for him after Dortmund? I wouldn’t personally sign a contract at that level without the help of a lawyer at least. And it’s the agent’s job to find the possibilities Haaland is looking for. Which clubs can afford him and what do they have on offer for him.  And as he has probably made a long term plan that ultimately aims at playing at the very best club, there is nothing wrong morally either. I could bet my house on the fact that Dortmund has known since day one that Haaland will not stay and is there to develop while Dortmund benefits from it both financially and on the field. It’s win-win for both parties.

Sadly I don’t really have any solutions, but I would rather look into the loan system. Top clubs shouldn’t be allowed to hoard hundreds of young players and loan them picking the few special talents that emerge. Setting some sort of max number of loanees a club can have could be a start.  Or maybe setting a higher age limit to transfers between countries (there is the problem of freedom of movement and labour again though…). There were some very good mails in your esteemed mailbox about it a few years back, but I can’t really remember the possible solutions anymore. Also ensuring the club owners pay taxes to the country the club is in, would be fantastic. Then the huge amount of money gets into society and in your case, Saint Boris can justly share it with those that need it the most…
Matti Katara, Finland


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