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Okay, here is the real response!
Haven't heard anything promising in the transfer news. Most of it is BS anyway, so I haven't really been giving most of it much thought. I mean, look at how we signed Herrera, there was almost no build-up to it this transfer window, it just kind of came out one day and the next he was signed. I don't think any of the papers will know anything, and if what they say overlaps with reality it'll only be a coincidence.
The Di Maria rumours aren't going away just yet, so if there is any kind of truth to that I'd be very happy to have him.
Agreed on Evra, definitely don't want him to leave now. It'd be my preference if he was named captain next season for 2 primary reasons. First of all, it helps link the LvG era to the SAF era, because for the past 2 seasons Evra was for all intents and purposes our primary captain due to how seldom Vidic was actually available to play. Secondly, even if he's only the captain in name and doesn't play every game, it will get us used to the idea of seeing whomever it is that LvG picks as his vice-captain wear the armband, and then it'll be a natural progression to see that player become captain in another season.
Imagine, for example, he made RvP captain this season. I'm sure quite a few wouldn't be too happy with that. But, if Evra were captain this season and RvP was only vice-captain, I'm sure most fans, if not all, would accept that. Then next season, after having gotten used to the idea of RvP being captain, fans would then pretty much universally accept RvP as captain. I think it's the best way to do it.
He'd also be great to have around for team morale, and to help Shaw develop. Plus, since Buttner's gone we'll need him for cover.
-- First comment --
Neuer definitely agreed with me lol. He was, in a word, pissed. It may seem like Germany has good leaders, but honestly I've seen this same crop of players get complacent and arrogant time and time again. It took Bayern 3 CL finals in 4 years before they finally crossed the line. Germany in the Euro started with a bang, said they didn't care who they faced out of Italy and England because they were relaxed about either team, then proceeded to play one of the worst games they've ever played. After a big blowout this crop of players is extremely liable to putting on a terrible performance. That's why I'm really scared about this final TBH.
To be fair though, they did win the CL after demolishing Barca. And if you think about it, it should really be Messi and Argentina who are scared of the Germans if you look at recent history, namely 4-0 vs Argentina in 2010 and the 7-0 semi-final over Barca (plus the 7-1 ass whooping they just handed out to Brazil).
Wow, I 100% agree with that paragraph on Messi. Well said, well said. It kind of sums up perfectly how I feel about him as a player, and I'm glad we're on the same page about him. Just out of curiosity (since me and Abz did this recently), who would you consider the best player of the recent past, say the last 15-20 years of football? For him, I think it was Ronaldo and for me it was Zidane without question.
One last thing I want to add about Shaqiri over Griezmann is that while both are still trying to fulfil their potential, the attractive thing about Shaqiri is that he's ready to step in now, which would be a huge plus for us. I don't watch enough of Griezmann to know where he is in his development, but I've seen Shaqiri for 2 seasons now and can confidently say he would undoubtedly make a difference in our first team if he played to his abilities. He might cap out at a 8.5/10 level, but he's already proven at every level of competition. I've seen him tear it up in the Bundesliga, the CL and the WC, and that's really why I him more than the others. He's got room to grow, but he's already at a level where he can be a star for us. So in that sense, I would disagree that the other players potential is more assured. They might have more potential, but he is more assured because he's already playing at a level befitting a top level club. Many Bayern fans have wanted him to play a much more prominent role this past season in the first team, which should be a good indicator of where he is in his development.
Like I said though, I have almost no experience in seeing Griezmann play, so I can't say if he's actually worse right now. I just know for sure that Shaqiri is ready to make his mark immediately.
Good points about the 4-3-3, but I have to say that if LvG is planning to use Vidal as a better De Jong, then I think it'll be a waste of Vidal's abilities. Perhaps instead he would want to use Mata in the forward 3, Herrera as the 10, Vidal as the 8, and Carrick/new-signing as the 6? I think that if it's true that we're going for Vidal, then this would be the best way to accommodate our players.
Good points about the double pivot. Nothing to argue against there. Strootman would be perfect for the 6, but I think Witsel would also be really good there. Have I brought him up with you before? I think he'd be a good summer target for us since Strootman is out with an injury ATM. He should be available, should want to leave Russia, and since he isn't moving from a top club the lack of CL football shouldn't be a problem.
In regards to the proposed formation, a few points:
1. Vidic is gone lol. I think you're still coming to terms with the fact that our captain has somewhat deserted us.
2. I would not be comfortable with that midfield trio TBH, and I don't think it's something LvG would do. He often likes to have a more physical DM presence in his midfield trio, like van Bommel or De Jong. The only players I can see filling that role in our current squad are Fletcher (upon whom we can't rely regularly due to his condition), Fellaini (physically checks the boxes but he hasn't impressed at DM), and Jones (lacks the technical abilities to play in the midfield). Jones' lack of passing skills and such can be worked on though, and I think that energy wise and tenacity wise he is the best fit. I think that if he will ever be able to improve on his technical skills and passing, then it will be under LvG. Fellaini could potentially also do it under a good manager (like LvG :D).
Khedira is a great shout actually. The only, only problem I see with it is that like Vidal, it kind of suppresses some of his best qualities. He is so dangerous when he's given the freedom to push forward and get into the box with late runs, that if we shackle him into a 6 position then we will effectively be killing half his game. Like Vidal, if we play Herrera at the 10 then I'd be ecstatic about Khedira at the 8.
If I could have any player to fill that role, anyone at all, then I would want Lars Bender. If we need him to he can fill in anywhere in the midfield, but as a primary DM he would be an absolute rock for us. One of the best defensive minded midfielders in the game right now, young, experienced, technically astute, and just a powerhouse of a player both mentally and physically. If I had to compare him to one other player currently plying his trade it'd be a more defensive minded Schweinsteiger. He's my #1 fantasy pick for the position.
100% agree on Kagawa. I said something really similar to someone else quite recently. I can definitely see him being more of a direct threat and more of a forward under LvG, especially since that's more so the role he played at BVB. He scored 16 goals in his last season in Germany if I recall correctly, so if we can use him further up the pitch I think he'll start to really show us what he's made of.
Can't wait for the final, but at the same time I could wait forever. I'm in a strange place right now lol.
Can't write a full response right now, my soul's been drained by the matchup in the final. Losing to Messi would be the single worst moment of my life, the epitome of shame. Most of my closest contacts IRL place Messi upon a pedestal reserved for deities, and go so far as to name children in his honour (that's right, I know a kid named Messi, that's literally his first name). By losing to Messi in a World Cup final, the footballing representatives of my country, and the entire nation of Germany by extension, would the ones to validate the existence of all these mentally ill Messi zealots. Their collective mouths would run for years about this single achievement over Germany (they love to see Germany fail anyway), and they would rub it in until my heart proves too weak to accept more punishment at their hands.
Rather than suffering through years of ignominy it would be easier to just end it then and there. The cold nothingness of the abyss beyond life would be a nectar to me compared to the soul-crushing depression of living with that loss.
Perhaps I am being overdramatic (a lot), but this would seriously be the worst moment of my life until now, and probably ever.
Ohhh yeahhhh!!! Hell yeah I'm excited! Ecstatic! Overjoyed! Etc, etc.
Though I have to say that a 7-0 (8-0 if Oezil wasn't so useless at shooting) would have been so much nicer than 7-1. I'm being petty, but I hate that they managed to score one!
I wouldn't be too worried about the final. The boys will get over-confident, come in like they've already won the cup, play like amateurs and lose to whoever they face. I'm already mentally and emotionally preparing myself for a heartbreak of the worst variety.
Glad you enjoyed the debate I had with Trey. It was really refreshing to actually go back and forth about it, and I'm waiting to see how he replies to my last comment. What do you think of him strictly as a player though? I'm curious to know whether you fall more on my side of the fence or his.
Hmm... Interesting take on Shaqiri. I have to say that there could certainly be merit to what your saying, but I don't think it's because he never had the potential to achieve more than a "Lavezzi level" and instead because his career hasn't really taken off at Bayern like it should have. Back then, I believe we (United) were also in for him after he destroyed us in the CL, and if he'd come to us I think he would be in a much better place as a footballer right now. He has lacked consistent minutes for the last 2 years, and I think that has stunted his growth and prevented him from achieving the level of a Robben or a Ribery.
Though I do have to say that at his age he could still get back on track. It's more of a gamble now than it was 2 years ago, but I feel he could still reach that level if he starts to really find his rhythm. It will be imperative for his future that he moves this summer from Bayern, unless he's assured he will be given more consistent minutes from next season on. And to be honest, having a Lavezzi level player shouldn't really be such a bad thing when all you have are Valencias, Nanis and Ashley Youngs lol.
Good to know about de Vrij. Glad he isn't injury prone because that's exactly what we need. It does seem like the rumours have died down a bit recently, but we'd have had to wait until his WC was over before anything was finalised anyway.
Yeah I didn't mean to across like I believed those players would necessarily clash with LvG, but rather that they are the only ones I see as having a chance of clashing with him. I agree with what you said about Evra, and, provided he stays with us, I think he'd have too much respect for LvG to clash with him. Well said about Rooney, I think you summed it up nicely.
Germany finished their semi, now it's time for Netherlands to do their part. Neighbours must unite in the WC final!
Unreal... Just unreal... The euphoria is overcoming me...
You don't think Shaqiri has enough potential? I'm a little surprised because most people think he has a very bright future and loads of potential, but you must have your reasons based off what you've seen. I have to disagree with you here, as I do fall into the camp of people who think he can become a world class player. We'll have to wait and see what happens.
De Vrij has been impressive and I'm glad we've been linked with him. Do you know anything about him being prone to injuries? I'm curious to know because although he is a great looking talent, we don't really have room for another injury prone player. If he is injury prone, I think we might have to look elsewhere.
I can definitely see Strootman being LvG's top target for the midfield anchor role. It's too bad he got injured, but at least his stock hasn't increased at the WC, so, you know, silver linings and all.
You're right that we have a lot of attacking talent and don't particularly need anyone, but I have to say that thinking about it more I think that I do want a true winger to give us more options out wide. From the players we have the only ones who can play more like a true winger are Januzaj, Zaha, and Valencia. Valencia has been average at best for 2 seasons and to me looks destined for RB or RWB, Januzaj is not the quickest runner and looks better coming inside, and Zaha hasn't proven himself. I would be happy with any one of Griezmann, Depay or Shaqiri here.
LvG's GK swap was, in a word, badass. I couldn't believe he had the audacity to pull such a stunt, and then when it worked he was vindicated. What a manager! I can't wait to see him at the touchline, commanding the troops to victory and success. I can definitely agree with the togetherness, but he may first need to weed out the "bad eggs" to get that spirit. From what I know, he usually achieves that team spirit with the younger players, and sometimes clashes with the more established stars. If Rooney, for example, doesn't really buy into his managing style or philosophy, there could be some friction between the two. Out of all our players I can see Evra and Rooney being the only ones who might clash with LvG though, so we should be fine. Don't think Evra will BTW, I just think the possibility is there.
Great predictions, and I fully agree, on paper at least. Objectively the only logical choice is a Germany vs Netherlands final IMO, but I have a bad feeling it won't turn out that way. I think either one of Brazil/Argentina, or both, will definitely be in the final. If I had to pick one prediction to go with it'd be Germany vs Argentina in the final.
Disappointing indeed. To be fair to France though, they did have a number of decent opportunities, it was just that Hummels and Neuer were on top of their respective games. Germany did sit back a bit, but they didn't forsake attacking entirely and could have ended with between 1-3 more goals had the finishing not been so very poor. Schuerrle in particular took some horrible shots.
I was glad to see that the team had a solid defense for once, and Boateng and Hummels were far more suitable for holding the high defensive line (when they did hold it) than with Mertesacker there, so that was good. Seeing Lahm at RB and Khedira joining Bastian and Kroos in midfield was also exactly what I wanted to see.
All in all it wasn't the kind of overly exciting match I was hoping for, and the teams performed below expectations, but I would say that despite that disappointment it was still a pretty good match. I can understand how France didn't want to push too hard for the goal, because they weren't desperate until the end and pushing too hard they would have opened themselves up for the counter.
Griezmann looks like he has a big future. Very quick on and off the ball, good shot, good movement of the ball. I agree that he needs to move to a big club to really take his game to the next level. Not sure if I'd rather have him instead of Di Maria, because we have promising youngsters who can play wide (Januzaj, Lingard and Zaha to an extent) but we need someone who is ready to make a big impact now. I wouldn't be upset if we got Di Maria as our wide man, but I would probably be more happy with Alexis Sanchez. I've actually been a bit of a fan of Di Maria's for a while though so I would still be happy with him.
In terms of exciting talent, I really wanted to see Emre Can at United, but Liverpool (of all teams!) got him. Christof Kramer is another talented young midfielder who could become elite in the future. For young wide players there's Max Meyer, though I think he's more suited to a central role, and Julian Brandt. Both are very mature for their age and great on the ball, but both are contracted to their respective clubs until 2018/2019.
Kevin de Bruyne is impressive, but he just signed for Wolfsburg. I thought he wasn't given enough of a shot at Chelsea. Shaqiri is looking to get out of Bayern, and while Liverpool looks like the likely destination I think we might be able to highjack the deal. I would love to have him at United, having seen him play first hand plenty of times. Powerful, skillful, tenacious, talented, that sums him up. Oh, and he's ready to make a big impact right away :D
From the younger players we could target, Griezmann/Depay/etc I think Shaqiri makes the most sense. He's experienced in the CL and in the international scene, he's played at Bayern and proven himself to be capable of hanging with "the big boys", and while he's ready to jump into the team and be a star immediately, he also has plenty of room to grow.
What do you think? Any other players you want to see us target besides Griezmann? Predictions for tomorrow?
I'm going with Belgium and Netherlands going through, for a mostly European semi-final. That would be epic!
I would think that the Glazers are indeed scared of missing out on the CL for another year. I think it probably was what fueled both the decisions to sack Moyes and to sign LvG, an experienced, proven manager who's expertise is in rebuilding sides.
I would have really wanted Kroos before we got Herrera, but now it would create an issue of where to play him. We could do, for example, CDM-Kroos-Herrera, but then we'd have to play Mata in the front 3. It could work, but if we wanted Kroos I think we should have gone for him before Herrera. I would never be mad if we signed him though (at us at least, I'd be furious with Bayern) because he's one of my favourite players.
Reus, agreed. It's impossible not to love his style. Oh how I wish he was at the WC...
Before this WC I would have agreed that he'd definitely play a 4-3-3, but he's shown himself to be an astute transformer of formations. His team changes shape throughout a match fairly often, so I think there might actually be a good shot of seeing Carrick at CB at some point in the season. Anyway, he certainly is limited, as you said, by the personnel available to him with the Dutch national squad, so we'll have to wait and see how it goes.
TBH CM was a little bit of a problem area at the beginning because Khedira and Schweinsteiger were still recovering from injuries, but both can be counted as nearly fully fit at least by now. It made sense to play Lahm there initially to allow the two to ease back in (the backup options are both inexperienced: Matthias Ginter and Christof Kramer), but now that they are both ready to play 90 minutes he needs to move him back. It's so frustrating!
Lol thanks for the compliment on the formation. I'm with you on counter-attacking football vs possession. Germany are probably more suited to a Klopp style system. It's not that the players are bad at possession football, it's just that playing possession football for the sake of holding possession has become obsolete. The big problem for me is that Loew and Pep completely forsake counter attacking and only play possession football, even when the opportunity is right there for the counter. The players would rather slow down play and try to break down an organised defense than to go for the jugular with a counter. If there was a better mix of the two I think it would be better.
I'm so excited to watch the game, even though I think we'll lose. At least if we go out it'll be to a team I really like, and not something like Portugal, Italy, Brazil or Argentina. If Germany is in the final they're obviously the team I'm rooting for, then comes France, then Netherlands, then Belgium (if they make it), then Colombia, and if none of these teams make it I won't really care about the final at all. After Netherlands the interest factor really drops for me, because it then goes from teams I really, really like to teams that I just enjoy watching. Best case scenario for me is a Germany-Netherlands final, second best would be France-Netherlands. As long as someone from Europe takes it I'll be satisfied though.
One trick pony, I like that. I think it perfectly sums up what Guardiola has done at Bayern so far. We'll have to see if he keeps up his new formation next season, and if he does then it won't be warranted anymore. But I have a feeling more Barcelona football is in store for us next season from Bayern. Yayyyyy!!! *Sarcasm*
25m for the rest of the summer would pretty much reduce our options to unknowns. Can't say I agree with that limit TBH, I think we'll end up spending much more than that. I can see one more expensive signing coming in and then the rest, however many it ends up being, will be of the more bargain-bin variety.
With both Vermaelen and de Vrij coming in (if it turns out to be correct of course) I think LvG will be looking to play a 3 CB setup, such as a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3. I was thinking, if he does go this route, that Carrick would make for a good ball-playing CB for us. In a 2 CB setup he isn't good enough defensively for it, but with 2 players supporting him I think he could be fantastic in the role. He also lacks in mobility, making him a difficult inclusion in the midfield, so it might be a natural progression for his career to go that way. What do you think?
I was actually thinking maybe Arsenal would miss out at first, but I refuse to count them out of getting their trophy (4th place lol). I just can't wait to see us in action under LvG!
I know that I might be underestimating Germany, but I just see too many weaknesses in the style we use. The midfield lacks energy, pace and muscle, the back line is slow and 50% out of position, they are forced to hold too high a line for the players we use (Mertesacker in particular), our front 3 lacks a natural striker, Mueller is the only natural goal scorer in the starting 11, we don't look to counter and instead slow play down, we don't attack in numbers because our FBs aren't mobile enough to get up front and help then get back and defend, etc.
Honestly though, we could fix almost all of this with 3 changes to the starting 11. Khedira in for Mertesacker, Durm/Grosskreutz in for Hoewedes, and Schuerrle in for one of Oezil/Goetze (Oezil is my preference to be benched). The starting 11 would then look like:
Lahm - Boateng - Hummels - Durm/Grosskreutz
Schweinsteiger - Khedira - Kroos
Schuerrle - Mueller - Goetze
That starting 11 could probably beat any team in the WC. It fixes the lack almost all the problems I listed, and I would say it's even the most sensible 11 we can field, especially when you consider that Reus was supposed to be in our WC squad. Why does Loew think he can replace Reus with Oezil or Goetze? He's a completely different type of player. The only players we have in our squad that offer a similar directness and aggression he brings are Podolski and Schuerrle, and of those Schuerrle is the natural choice. If Germany doesn't end up putting this team out then I think the victory can only be credited to the absurd quality we have individually. That is literally the only thing I can see pulling us through this quarter-final if we set out the way we've been playing up until now.
In regards to your last point about Guardiola, yes I definitely think he is a bit of a parasite for German football. While he was gone his style of football went from being on the decline to becoming completely obsolete. You're 100% right, IMO, about the year off having hurt him and his brand. If it was up to me he'd have been sacked right his season after that pathetic display against RM. Dortmund should have thrashed that team, and would have if Mkhitaryan would have finished any of the countless chances that fell his way, so how did Bayern get royally thrashed by RM?
There is a bit of hope though, in the very last game of last season he set the team out in a 3-4-3 formation. It was really effective and BVB were devoid of options, having no idea of what to do against it. It was a defensive wall of a formation with Boateng-Martinez-Dante across the back line. It still needs some tweaking, but it showed a lot of promise.
In terms of the NT though, I don't think there will be any voices of disapproval while Loew is in charge. He seems to believe himself to be an artist of the game, and he loves Pep and his style. I hope he's out after this WC, regardless of whether he wins it or not. With the quality of players at our disposal we should be rolling over most teams with no problem, yet we look nowhere near as good as we should be.
Forgot to respond to your second comment!
I have no faith in Germany right now, solely because of the coach. His 4 CB system is borderline retarded, and his insistence on playing both Goetze and Oezil while Schuerrle is on the bench is also astounding. With the lack of a true striker we need more forward minded players who will take chances, and he offers that while the other two don't.
France will bully our wide areas, and unless Loew decides to finally play some FBs I think France will end up having a fairly easy game. It's rather depressing lol.
That'll be good if Strootman does come back in time for LvG to assess the situation. I would love for him to join us in January. Below 25m pounds? We'd probably have to look at the Bundesliga or one of the non-big leagues to find someone in that price range. From the Bundesliga, Granit Xhaka, Lars Bender (maybe) and Christof Kramer spring to mind. I would have loved to sign Emre Can but Liverpool got their claws on him first.
If Jones' is to be fully utilised in a CB role then I think we'd need a 3 CB setup to give him the freedom to burst forward and join in the attack. You're right that he needs to be better at moving the ball, but I think that because he's young LvG can give him the guidance he needs to at least become adequate at it. If the team sets out in a 4-3-3 I'd rather see him in midfield, but if we go the 3-5-2/5-3-2 route then I think he'd be better as a CB.
Yeah Hoewedes is not really having a great WC. He is out of position in a ridiculous climate though, so I think we shouldn't be all harsh on him. Another problem is that he's been pinpointed as the weak link of the back line by every team Germany have faced, so nearly all attacks come down his flank and he has to work really hard. It was pretty funny in the Algeria game actually, because while Mustafi was on nearly every attack went towards his side, then as soon as he came off and Lahm moved back to RB Algeria focused on the Germany's left.
According to Jake Brigance, who's friend works at United, we're signing de Vrij and the Verminator. He was right about Shaw before, and Jake told me that he was right in the past as well, so I think it's a trustworthy enough source. He said that in total we'd sign 6 players this window, but he won't be able to disclose who the last 2 are because the deals could still fall through.
Top 7 is too hard to predict, but I think we'll be back in the top 4 no doubt. I think Chelsea will win the league, we'll be second, City will be third, Arsenal 4th, Liverpool closely missing out on CL football at 5th (because they'll be competing in the CL as well), Tottenham will be 6th and Everton 7th.
Anything could happen of course, but I think it could turn out that way. I think we will do exceptionally well next season. What do you think?