It’s the Return of TRUE OR FALSE – OUR REGULAR FEATURE WERE 90 MINUTE CYNIC CONTEMPLATES RECENT AND UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE WORLD OF FOOTBALL AND GATHER THE OPINION OF THE CYNICS.
OUR QUESTIONNAIRE EXTRAORDINAIRE IS Chris Gallagher AND THE MEN BEHIND THE ANSWERS THIS WEEK ARE BRYAN MCMANUS, CHRIS Boud, Christian Wulff AND MARTIN FRIEL
1. The signing of Scott Allan by Celtic is a good one and he will thrive and develop at the club under Ronny Deila.
BRYAN: True – Tricky one as I haven’t seen enough of him to know how good he is but I have listened to the Scottish media from the time Rangers made their first 75p bid for the player and by all accounts he’s better than Messi, so that’s good enough for me. The good thing is he is a young Scottish player who clearly has ambition and desire to perform at the highest level, making the move could cause the Bhoy a lot of hassle from the morons that follow a certain Glasgow club so he also has a hell of a lot of bottle. I can see him taking over from Commons so its a good long term move for Celtic.
BOUD: True – Allan is a decent young player who has done well in the Scottish Premiership, Championship and in England. With the depth of talent in Celtic’s midfield he may not initially be a regular starter but with the number of games Celtic play in a season he will get a chance. That chance may come earlier than thought with a number of players playing below their best.
MARTIN: True – I don’t necessarily think Allan will be an immediate first team pick, but with time on his side, he could become a key player in future seasons. We are a selling club so it’s important to bring in guys that can be nurtured and replace those who will move on. We desperately need someone who can play that final killer pass against a packed defense. If he can do that, it’s a steal at £275k.
As an aside, I’m really pleased we signed Henderson up for a longer contract before moving on loan. It gives reassurance that the club see him as part of the future and not just a pawn in the transfer.
CHRISTIAN: True – Falling just down on the ‘true’ side, mainly because Celtic is still in credit from its evaluation of GMS and Stuart Armstrong as players good enough to go straight in and improve the club’s first XI; a decision not shared by too many fans or experts. If they’ve been similar thorough with Allan he is an intriguing buy in terms of his style and attributes. However, Celtic’s squad is very midfield centre heavy and at 23, Allan should be expected to make as big – and almost as quick – an impact as the two players that came from Dundee United in January. That will be a very steep trajectory for him and there is insufficient evidence from his career so far to conclusively prove that he can do it.
2. Ryan Christie has been linked with moves to Liverpool and Swansea in recent weeks, Celtic should nip in ahead of the EPL teams and bring another bright young Scottish player to the club.
BRYAN: True – Although it would raise the question “where would he fit in” Celtic have lost out on too many excellent young Scottish players in recent years so should be snapping up the likes of Christie who has the potential to be a tremendous player.
BOUD: True – As stated above Celtic aren’t struggling for numbers in midfield, however, Christie is a talent. At 20 years old and with one year on his contract now is an ideal time to bring him into the club. With Henderson [loan] used as a makeweight in the Allan move there is a some space in the squad, which Christie could fill. Christie also provides a decent replacement for any midfield departures we see in the coming transfer windows.
MARTIN: False – I admire him, but we don’t need to stockpile all Scottish talent. We’ve bought a lot of forward thinking midfielders during Deila’s tenure, forwards and left backs are more important than Christie right now. Wish him all the best though, he improved ICT no end when he game on in second half yesterday.
CHRISTIAN: False – If Liverpool and Swansea are about to sign Ryan Christie, I’m the fourth member of A-ha. As with all young, Scottish talents, especially the ones that have the modern mindset and skill set that fits into Celtic (and Deila’s) way of playing, the club should of course be monitoring Christie closely and not be afraid to pounce. But you also don’t want to pull the trigger too early. Before there is an outgoing or two in the already very crowded attacking midfielder part of the Celtic squad, there just isn’t enough place for Christie to ensure he is tested, played and developed correctly.
Even if Stokes and Derk leave in this transfer window, the prudent thing is to leave Christie in Inverness until at least January. At 20, he is only year older than Liam Henderson, a player at least as talented whom Celtic have now loaned out twice in a year to ensure he gets the right opportunities.
3. The Dundee Derby showed that the much maligned Scottish Premiership is in a healthy position and is a more honest and passionate alternative to the soulless EPL.
BRYAN: True – I suffered through the entire “Super Sunday” game last week and it was tortuous, there was more excitement in the first 10 minutes of the Dundee derby than the entire Stoke v Liverpool game. The Scottish game is on the up, teams are trying to play football and there is a lot of excitement in games as the league is so competitive. It is an abysmal state of affairs that broadcasting companies and the people in charge of the competitions treat the game with such a lack of respect.
BOUD: True – The Scottish Premiership has more than it’s share of issues but as a product it is hugely underrated, both at home and abroad. Whilst the unsustainable behemoth of English football bleeds talent and money from the game, the overinflated English market does mean Scottish sides are more likely to give young prospects a chance. The Dundee derby and Hearts vs St Johnstone match have already provided two cracking games and whilst the winners of the nations top league are an easy bet the rest of the league is one of the most competitive in Europe.
MARTIN: True – I think the Scottish Premiership is a good product in its own right. The majority of matches each week are difficult to predict, and we have a good churn of teams moving up and down the league (excluding Celtic). The league shouldn’t be compared to the EPL as the gulf in budget is ridiculous. We have a good league with some exciting games in Scotland, it just needs tv, radio and other media forums to talk it up more.
CHRISTIAN: True: …but with some caveats. It showed that the SPFL is already a far better ‘product’ than its current pitiful evaluation by Sky and BBC and illustrated clearly how inadequate the commercial handling of the league is by the people in charge. However, the SPFL format, scheduling and general quality is still far from perfect and it’s through developing and encouraging modern players and tactics that the league can grow sustainable; more emotive aspects such as passion and honestly are not enough. And the EPL, while definitely now on a slight downward trajectory both in quality and suspense, will still throw up some absolutely incredible pieces of quality and drama this season.
It’s still a lot more attractive product, even to Scottish viewers. But the gap in funding between them is grotesquely large, especially when considering where 10% of Sky’s subscription money comes from and the disparity of BBC’s use of license fee money towards the two leagues.
4. Jose Mourinho’s criticism of his medical staff was a show of disrespect and a lack of class. The Chelsea manager showed how petty he can be in deflecting away from a poor performance.
BRYAN: True – Jose is the master of deflection but this time it has came back to bite him. The medical staff were doing their job and should not be criticised for it. Instead of just being humble and asking “what’s up doc?” Mourinho just looks like a Fud.
BOUD: True – Mourinho has been guilty of deflection before, but when it comes to players he has provided himself as folly for the media. Whilst he may have criticism of his staff this should be done behind closed doors with learning for the medical staff just as he would coach a player to improve his performance. If Chelsea expect to defend their title and fail to beat Swansea at home it is Mourinho who is due some self reflection.
MARTIN: True – Although I couldn’t give a toss. If Sky Sports News didn’t exist this would be a non event. Mourinho is a knob, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that he’s blaming someone else for a crap performance.
CHRISTIAN: True – The easiest question by far this round. It’s usually utterly pointless to try to analyse, dissect and disprove Mourinho’s opinions or try to make him acknowledge any kind of fault on his own part. That’s because they’re only deflection tactics, uttered solely for that purpose and admitting any error would just weaken the ‘under-siege’ mentality based on the mantra of ‘everyone is out to get us’ that he is (and Alex Ferguson was) such a frightfully good creator of. However, when he steps over the line so fundamentally as he has this time he deserves all the criticism he gets. If the FA had any backbone they would seriously question Chelsea’s treatment of its staff and the precedent it sets.
It must be easy for football clubs to think that they operate in a microcosm separated from rest of society, because in many regards, that it entirely true. However, even the world’s most famous football manager do not get to overrule basic medical decisions and the potential safety of his own employees because of perceived tactical gains. Mourinho has backed himself in to a very unattractive corner this week and if he is not careful this can be the beginning of the end of his second stint at Chelsea. That’ll be well deserved if he doesn’t soon see sense and backs down on this issue.
5. Manchester United have handled the David De Gea situation poorly and it will come back to haunt them later in the season.
BRYAN: True – United should have had De Gea on a long term contract a couple of years ago but have missed the boat, clearly they thought De Gea was going when they brought in Romero so treating the Spaniard in the way they are is poor.
BOUD: True – Van Gaal isn’t having the best of luck with Goalkeepers recently and the question has to be asked if he is at fault. Whilst Man U are within their rights to want a substantial fee (or Sergio Ramos) for one of the best keepers in the world, dropping De Gea from the team seems fool hardy. If van Gaal has any ambition to keep the player (which he should), he certainly isn’t going about it the right way. If they manage to avoid selling De Gea and the player runs down his contract he will be far less likely to give his all for a manager who has showed no faith in him in the opening weeks of the season.
MARTIN: True – United have alienated a guy that can walk away for free in 12 months. All the cards are now stacked in the buyers favour. Serious lack of foresight by United’s board and manager.
CHRISTIAN: False – No matter what, De Gea will not be at Manchester United beyond the summer of 2016 and he would not have signed a new contract with them before last season. The club is in its full right to squeeze every last euro out of Real Madrid if they want De Gea a year earlier. If he does stay this season, we’re likely to see a very quick return of form from De Gea; the closing of the transfer window often has such incredible healing powers.
The only part Manchester United has done wrong is not bringing in a better replacement than Sergio Romero. He will not gain them nearly as many points in a season than what a goalkeeper of the quality of de Gea (or Lloris, or Cech, or Begovic or – whisper it – Craig Gordon) would.
6. The signing of Dzeko for Roma is a pivotal move in Serie A and will see them challenge Juventus for the title right until the end of the season.
BRYAN: False – While signing Dzeko is a superb move they’ll have Szczesny in goal and 78 year old Totti as their creative force, they’ll end up 3rd. They do have a cracking home kit this year though.
BOUD: False – Whilst the cutting edge up front appeared to be the missing piece of the Roma jigsaw last season the addition of Dzecko (and others such as Salah) won’t be enough to cut the very sizable gap Juventus had over them last season. Whilst Vidal, Tevez and Pirlo wil be big losses for Juventus they have spent to lessen the impact of those departures. Roma whilst possibly filling a gap at the top of the field now have a gaping hole at the back with Central defenders Alessio Romagnoli (Milan) and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Lyon) having departed.
Also losing central midfielder Andrea Bertolacci to a resurgent Rossoneri may mean Roma should be more concerned with looking over their shoulders than chasing Old Ladies.
MARTIN: False – If Roma challenge Juventus this season it will be due to Juve failing to replace the talent they lost during the summer, rather than Roma signing Dzeko. Pirlo, Tevez and Vidal are huge losses to any side.
Khedira is a good signing to anchor the midfield, injury permitting. A lot is resting on Paulo Dybala shoulders to be the spark in Juve’s attack. I didn’t see much of him at Palermo, it will be interesting to see if he will hit the ground running in Turin. Mandzukic is a handy target man, but I don’t think his signing will replace the tenacity and drive of Tevez.
I expect Juve will walk the league if these three guys all click.
CHRISTIAN: False – Because Juventus is a far better team than Roma and Dzeko will not radically decreasing that gap.