Why on earth did we sell James Rodriguez?

Egil Olsen

Player Valuation: £8m
Except that as an attacker, what you do with the ball really is important. Quality, decision making and end product is really what separates the good from the top quality players. We’ve surely seen enough of the likes of Lennon, Walcott, Iwobi, Bolasie to know that runners without quality won’t get you very far. A team needs a balance between graft and craft.

Another point is that if you have a team full of runners, you want at least one passer to spot and release the ball for their runs.

Bottom line, we had no one in the squad bar James who is a creative passer. We let him go and kept a headless chicken like Iwobi. I don’t really have a problem with letting James go but if we were dead set on it then we should also have forced Iwobi out too and the money saved from both gone to a player who can spot a pass in the final third. We didn’t and are completely reliant on the counter attack as a result and are now playing Iwobi instead of James. The inevitable is now playing out and nobody can be pleased with that decision making by the club.
The point is that this is not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, it overlaps. As the game has evolved, you need to be able to do both.

Manchester United have constantly been exposed for just this against better opponents. Opponents have easily played through their first line of defense, which has led to them being outnumbered in the next phase.

Fortunately for Manchester United, it is not often that they meet teams that are significantly better in quality, but for us it happens quite often. Exposing Keane to many 1 vs. 1 situations, or in general, is not a good idea.
 

BigDuncTributeBand

Player Valuation: £8m
The point is that this is not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, it overlaps. As the game has evolved, you need to be able to do both.

Manchester United have constantly been exposed for just this against better opponents. Opponents have easily played through their first line of defense, which has led to them being outnumbered in the next phase.

Fortunately for Manchester United, it is not often that they meet teams that are significantly better in quality, but for us it happens quite often. Exposing Keane to many 1 vs. 1 situations, or in general, is not a good idea.
Yes, a team needs balance, that was my point as I said in my post, you need a mix of craft and graft. Our current team is lacking craft, we are one dimensional in attack so we don’t have that balance you speak of.

The fallacy in your post is two fold, 1) attacking players who have end product in the final third and also combined athletic ability don’t grow on trees, they are world class players - obviously you want both. We’re not in the same market as Man Utd, we couldn’t go out and spend £70 million on a Jason Sancho and he wouldn’t come to us anyway. 2) decisions aren’t made in a vacuum, we’re talking about the decision made in a very specific set of circumstances this past summer.

We chose to get rid of the one player with any end product in the final third without replacing him with another creative passer and instead thought Iwobi could just step in and do the job, a player with no end product by comparison - and out of the two, clearly the one that offers less. Cut our nose off to spite our face.
 

BigDuncTributeBand

Player Valuation: £8m
this is a point worth thinking about. Would you have rather seen James coming on against Watford or Iwobi? would you have rather seen James trying to create something to get us a point at Wolves or Iwobi? There isn't really a comparison.
Even if what half of the moaners on here say is true and James was a passenger, we replaced a very talented passenger who demonstrated a clear end product with an untalented passenger.
This 100% - in principle there’s obvious logic to moving on James but not if you replace him with Alex Iwobi. We’ve left ourselves massively short in the creativity stakes.
 

BigDuncTributeBand

Player Valuation: £8m
Bigger issue for me is Moise Kean. From the minute Carlo let him go to PSG, the lad was never going to want to play for Everton.

And the staggering thing is we gave Rondon a run of games but not Kean.
Another good example, can see the logic in looking to move him on but surely the club need to look at who is taking their space and whether it makes the squad/team stronger.

We replaced Kean with Rondon and James with Iwobi - that’s indefensible.
 

Egil Olsen

Player Valuation: £8m
Yes, a team needs balance, that was my point as I said in my post, you need a mix of craft and graft. Our current team is lacking craft, we are one dimensional in attack so we don’t have that balance you speak of.

The fallacy in your post is two fold, 1) attacking players who have end product in the final third and also combined athletic ability don’t grow on trees, they are world class players - obviously you want both. We’re not in the same market as Man Utd, we couldn’t go out and spend £70 million on a Jason Sancho and he wouldn’t come to us anyway. 2) decisions aren’t made in a vacuum, we’re talking about the decision made in a very specific set of circumstances this past summer.

We chose to get rid of the one player with any end product in the final third without replacing him with another creative passer and instead thought Iwobi could just step in and do the job, a player with no end product by comparison - and out of the two, clearly the one that offers less. Cut our nose off to spite our face.
I think if you look at xG, and the shot statistics, it's not too bad. I think we are a little above average.

I also think if you look at players like Gray and Townsend we can hardly call them world class players, but they are just as creative (effective) as JR, in addition to doing the job required without the ball. Do not think Manchester United were particularly interested in any of them.

But it's also the case, when you can get players like Gray and Townsend to produce the same as JR, but at the same time do the job required without the ball, why spend a lot of money on a player who does not, who struggles to get in match shape on a regular basis,and who costs significantly more?
 

Bedfordblue

Player Valuation: £8m
I'm not sure the current manager would have played him but another manager would have, I have no doubt about that. In that scenario, the stats are clear, when he played for us he was our best player. It is a moot point though because of Benitez.
Totally agree re Benitez not playing him, I more meant I think he wouldn’t have been available for more than 1 game so far, whoever the manager was, whether they wanted to play him or not.
As for best player on his day I agree with that also, he was head and shoulders above anything else’s we have, just his day wasn’t anywhere near often enough.
Also think when he did play the spineless wonders around him had even more of an excuse to hide and rely on him. Unfortunately I just don’t think he was compatible with our squad and finances regrettably.
 

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