Are Man United sacrificing the title to oust Mourinho?

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Now, as an observer it’s going to hopefully intriguing day, it feels like there will be a mad scramble by all teams least of all Man United. The measure to end the transfer window before the season begun seemed a little drastic to me when it was announced last year, especially after I read it was only applicable to the EPL.It seemed like the EPL was deliberately harming itself. But I read your article, on Richard Scudamore and couldn’t believe what I was reading. The issue, it seems was that clubs didn’t want to loose players to other premier league clubs.

Which begs the question, why not simply curtail the transfer between EPL clubs when the season opens but keep international transfers open? **Dave(What I’m I missing here?), Somewhere **

**No way, Jose **Anybody else get the feeling Man Utd are playing Jose? The management are probably sick of the turgid fayre on offer and have decided enough is enough, so they could be willing to write off a serious title challenge to facilitate having a change of lead man. Obviously paying him off wouldn’t look good (despite what the “popular” press think) and it would cost a fortune, so they might just have given him enough rope to hang himself.
He should keep them in the Champions league spots with what he has available, but would the lack of title challenge cause a massive dummy spitting? He’s got form for walking, which would save the club paying out his massive contract. Or am I giving SupertEd too much credit here? Ian, Stavanger.

**Did Chelsea shoot themselves in the foot? **Thibault Courtois moving to Madrid is surely partly the fault of Chelsea for loaning him out for so long. Three consecutive seasons in Madrid means it’s hardly no surprise he put down roots and wanted to return, albeit to a different team in the city.

Will this be a lesson to them so they stop perennially loaning out highly talented youngsters? Probably not, they will just loan them to different cities to prevent any loyalty or roots being put down. However, if they had given Courtois a chance sooner they might have ended up having him at his peak for longer. Joe, Midlands
**One Courtois point **Your piece on Courtois makes many valid points but misses one important point – he signed a contract for an agreed period of time therefore he should honour it. Players who don’t want to be at a club any longer have the right to not sign a contract extension (e.g. Alderweireld, Can) and leave for free – or the club have the right to try to sell them a year early – but the player has the right to stay and see out their contract – it’s all very simple really.

If I sign a contract with you for payment for providing an agreed service for a period of time – and then half way through decide I don’t want to provide that service any longer – you would sue me for breach of contract. I really don’t understand why clubs don’t do this for players going on strike – if one club did it then it might discourage other players from doing it (a fine of 2 weeks wages is of no impact). Similarly if a club tried to cancel a contract early without the player’s consent; the player has the right to sue the club.

Nobody is putting a gun to any player’s head to sign any contract – if you don’t want to sign for five years then don’t sign – some players want to have their cake and eat it – security of a long term contract in case of loss of form or injury – but then force a move if they feel like it. I think it’s honourable (albeit a little bit risky) for a player to run out their contract – they delivered what they said they would and as far as I’m concerned leave with good wishes – even if it costs my club a transfer fee.
It’s ok to express a desire to move – but to actually go on strike and withdraw services without some due cause is absolutely unacceptable. Alan (LFC)

Loved Steve’s article on Courtois. Have actually been quite shocked to see the amount of hate and abuse being directed by the vast majority of Chelsea fans on social media.
I however don’t blame him, I blame the club for being their usual last minute shambolic self. Think its been known for quite a while that Teebo wanted to move to Madrid. The fact that the club only woke up a few days before deadline day and were not prepared for this is appalling.

As for Teebo, the man wants to live with his children, how can anyone grudge him for that! He’s not moving for money, i’m pretty sure Chelsea would have offered him more than Madrid with their new contract offer.
I for one wish him well and hope he succeeds at Madrid. Niki, London

**Brighton early **Interesting that Sarah dismisses Brighton’s transfer business on the grounds that she couldn’t pick them out of a lineup.
Out of interest, this time last year would she have been able to pick out Pascal Gross, Davy Propper, Mat Ryan or Jose Izquierdo, all of whom were practically ever-present in a team that survived with games to spare?

She may not have seen anything of Ali Jahanbakhsh, Florin Andone, Yves Bissouma or Bernardo (and neither had I), but I’ll trust Paul Winstanley’s scouting team nevertheless, thanks.

Especially when the alternative is spending way over the odds for ‘name’ players who are over-rated, past their best, injury-prone, have poor attitude, or a combination of the above. Benedict, Sussex
**Mind the points gap **I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been saying that one of the reasons they can’t see Manchester City losing the title this season is that they can’t see Manchester United and Liverpool closing gaps of 19 points and 25 points respectively. I would like to point out that luckily for these teams, they do not have to close any gaps as each team starts the season on the same amount of points.

Yes Manchester City finished the last round of Premier League fixtures with a 19 point lead but they will start this round with a 0 point lead. Any team just needs to secure 1 point more than Manchester City over the next 38 games (or finish level with them and have a better goal difference) to be above them in the final league which is an awful lot easier to do than closing a 19 points or more gap.
If a particular season’s winners was based on the points total of previous champions then Manchester United would have won literally every single Premier League title as they have had more total points than any other team at the end of every PL season. Fortunately this is not the case as that would be ludicrous.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that Chelsea were excellent in winning the title in 2016/17, securing 93 points (just 7 points less than City managed last season. In that season, City finished 15 points behind Chelsea. Last season, Chelsea dropped 23 more points and Manchester City gained an extra 22 points. If Manchester City dropped 11 more points this season (less than half the amount Chelsea dropped) and current 2nd favourites Liverpool gained an additional 15 points (7 less than City gained) then Liverpool would in fact finish above them. This may seem unlikely but is definitely possible based on evidence of previous seasons.

There are many reasons why City are rightly favourites to win the league this year. The now non existent gap from last year is not one of them so I wish people would stop mentioning it. Rob CCFC, Cork
**Navas anti-virus **Real Madrid signing of Thibaut Courtois is a huge disservice to Keylor Navas and his wonderful contributions to the club. Is he actually better than the Costa Rican?

A summary of this act: being valued is greater than great performances. Keylor Navas has lived all Real Madrid’s life knowing that the club doesn’t value him at all, but despite that, he still performed admirably amid fear of rejection and not-good-enough.
This is not quite the Germany-Ozil situation, but I think Madrid treated Navas with …and DISRESPECT. Apart from being a professional footballer, he’s like every other human being. Show him some love.

I doubt if Courtois can replicate what this guy has done in Madrid. He will stink out the place, and Navas would dethrone him in no time. Sage Humphrey (Rose flowers for Sarah, she said many nice things about Arsenal in those predictions)

**FAO: Red Ted **As a United supporter from the Busby days, I’ve known a lot of “Teds from Manchester” over the years. Every team has them and they manifest in business and all other walks of life. They are essentially risk avoiders, too timid to risk the disappointment that comes when more optimistic dreams are

unfulfilled. They call themselves “supporters” and in their heart they probably are but by setting low expectations and constantly criticizing “their club” they buffer themselves from disappointment and in the end get a perverse pleasure when things go wrong from being able to say “I told you so”.

Ted, it’s a safe and secure place for you to be but I want you to understand how much your cutting yourself of from the unbridled joy that comes when your team meets or exceeds your wildest hopes and dreams. As United supporters we’ve had way more than our fair share of those. I don’t know when exactly they’ll return but I know without a shadow of doubt that they surely will and I’m happy to believe it might just be this year. In consequence I don’t rule out the possibility of every one of your pessimistic predictions being wrong. (I’ve kept them. So we’ll see!)
In the meantime, life’s short.

Let go and try to enjoy this season as if it were your last.
Warm regards, **Dave Mack. **
**Would you wish relegation on a rival? **I know, most would say yes in an heartbeat, but if you think about this you might probably end up saying no. Recently it seems two of the most talked about issues in the EPL is Jose and Newcastle utd. One thing i noticed is that compared to any write up or articles about any other clubs, when it comes to Newcastle Utd all the hate and rival bashing and banters are all put aside (if you doubt me just look at a top 6 or Everton article comment section then compare and contrast with a Newcastle Utd write up comment section).

One of the written rule of football rivalry is laughing or making fun at your rivals when they’re down or in a mess. In 2010, Man Utd vs Leeds Utd FA Cup game, the media hype around it was huge due to both clubs past and present history (had no idea Leeds used to be a top side before then), they are other similar examples of clubs like Leeds Utd in the lower leagues.

This age long Newcastle Utd marriage with Mr. Ashley has made it impossible to hate them, and i believe it had united other club fans to see Mr. Ashley as the villian instead of Newcastle Utd, so it got me thinking will i want any of the top 6 rivals as a Man Utd fan to get relegated? Hell naw! because even though all respective fans comments can do our respective heads in, the competition and unpredictability is what makes it special.

As a Man Utd fan the least i can want for Liverpool is for Kloop to get itchy feet, end his Liverpool marriage and decide to go back to B. Dortmund, China or anywhere, While Man City is for the Sheikh to get bored, Arsenal are on the right track (private ownership). Would like to know what other fans think on this issue? E.N.A – NIGERIA (If completed i wonder how A.

Bilbao will spend all those Kepa cash, if they can’t buy from outside their region)
**Loris, Loris love **Just wanted to add, through all the excitement for the league to start etc, that last night when Loris Karius came on for Liverpool at Anfield he got a big cheer and a lovely reception.
Somehow the real humans who go to matches recognise that these kids are only human and sometimes need an arm around them, even if they are overpaid what have yous. So to those at Anfield last night; I tip my hat to you all. Football fans (not the twitter ones) in general can be an awesome bunch. Minty, LFC

As is traditional, tell me who will win the league.**
Liverpool, it can’t be Manchester City because only Fergie’s United could win back to back in the Premier League. City still have Otamendi in defense for some reason and sprinkled glitter rather than add steel to their squad. Klopp has attacked his squad’s weaknesses and all signs point to them, plus he always beats the big teams and his new team should fare better against the smaller ones.
And the rest of the top four, in order.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United.
Tottenham think they can not strengthen and yet run their players into the ground, and freeze them into submission if they don’t re-sign. Doesn’t sound like an employer building for success long term and now that the novelty has worn off, the press won’t love them as much as they settle into sixth.
And who are going down, down deeper and down?
Going with Sarah that it will be Cardiff, Brighton, and Southampton in that order of confirmation.
Which club will be a pleasant surprise?

Fulham, Everton, Watford, all for being rather likable and beating Manchester United in the final minute of an assortment of low scoring games and Arsenal in a similar collection of high scoring ones.
Top scorer, please?
Salah.

If you say, Harry Kane, then you’re saying you expect Tottenham to repeat last year’s success, which they won’t, and because I assume he has been forbidden to swear upon the life of his newest child.
Not Aubameyang because that’s hasn’t been Arsenal in a long time and the last time they had the top scorer, they had to quickly get rid of him.
**Which new signing will make the most positive difference to their club **Alisson because it turns out goalkeeper is the most important position and not having one can prove a hindrance to winning.

And which one will turn out to be a massive flop?
Sokratis, because although he is obsessed with defending, he will be the only one and that’s before he contracts Arsenalitis and his lack of pace is severely exposed repeatedly in many games, oh and then he gets injured.

Richarlison because ridiculous fee + midtable club never quite works out and Everton already had one of those in Sigurdsson.
Morata will confirm that he was already a flop last year and is just transitioning into this season as a consistent flop, an Alvaroflop Morataflop.

**Who will turn out to be a shrewd bargain? **Has to be Shaqiri. Had a great World Cup, working with Klopp, a fellow psychopath who speaks something sounding like German, looks like a Simpson’s character. Bargain in every way.
**Who will be named the PFA Player of the Year? **Salah again. If Ronaldo and Henry can do it twice, so can he. It can’t be a Man City player because it seems nobody in the PFA really likes them.

**First manager to leave their Premier League job? **For fun, I will say Mourinho. A terrible preseason causing questions to be asked already, nobody really wanted him there and nobody really wants him to stay, didn’t guarantee success and will want to leave on his own terms before he lets someone like Ed fire him.

Pick the Champions League winner for the European football fans.
Real Madrid. A hungrier team, and manager, all out to prove they don’t need Ronaldo.
Juventus will be sucked into the Ronaldo ego black hole and not have the resources to support their own imploding gravity (almost sounds like science).
Can’t be Man City because the image of Guardiola in a V neck sweater nursing a bottle of water in the dugout after an Otamendi backpass and John Stones-Ederson collision seems more likely.

**And finally, what are you most looking forward to about this coming season? **Paul Pogba leaving United so we can stop hearing all the debate about if he’s good or not, plays in the right position or not, has the correct hairstyle or not.
Also, the transfer window has yet to “shove into a closed position with force and noise” so still has some insane figures to sicken us with. That should be fun.

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