Calcio Bag - June 29th, 2018
We are back for another edition of the Calcio Bag! We have some great topics this week, including Chelsea, Milan and World Cup talk. If you have any questions, please feel free to tweet at me or DM me (@CPerfetto11) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Reminder that these are just my thoughts and opinions, so please don't take anything as truth or fact. Thanks for reading and if you enjoy it, please share and get the word out!
"Why do you think Chelsea to Sarri is being held up?" - Ezekial via email
This is a great question, Ezekial, and a complicated answer. The reason I believe the deal is being held up is because of finances. There are two parts to this situation. The first is Antonio Conte leaving Chelsea. Conte has a pretty big buyout clause in his contract, which I've read is anywhere in the range of 8-11 million pounds. Chelsea no doubt are having a hard time swallowing the fact that they have to pay that kind of money to have Conte leave. In addition, to paying Conte, they also have to pay Napoli in order to free Sarri from the club. There was a buyout clause in Sarri's contract, valid through the end of May, but that was obviously not activated. I don't think this part of the deal is as complicated, however, as Napoli will not want to pay Sarri and Ancelotti and keep both on the books, so Napoli will probably let Sarri go for cheap. My guess is that the Conte situation is what is really holding the deal up at the moment. There are three issues that are holding this deal up at the moment: Conte's contract with Chelsea, Sarri's contract with Napoli, and Sarri's eventual contract with Chelsea. Reports seem to indicate that everything is moving in the right direction, and the deal should get done eventually.
"Will Sarri work at Chelsea?" - Anthony via email
Let's keep going with the Sarri/Chelsea theme. Unfortunately for Chelsea supporters, my answer here is no. I would love to be surprised, but I just don't see it. Sarri took at least a year to fine tune Napoli and get them playing the way he wanted, and Chelsea normally don't have patience with managers, so I can see him being axed before he could really implement his style. As soon as he comes in, you would need to purchase players that fit his style, and he would need time to train them and get them playing that way. It would be similar to Pep Guardiola's takeover of Manchester City. Chelsea might be willing to show patience and give him a year to get going, and then judge him off of the second year, but there is also another issue. Chelsea have a deeper squad than Napoli did under Sarri, and he was very poor at rotating his players. This wasn't a huge problem for him at Napoli, but at Chelsea there are bigger names and it might be a real problem if he doesn't rotate players. Chelsea players have been known to cause managers to get fired in the past, so if he doesn't rotate and play everyone, they could force him out. I think a lack of patience at the club and his lack of rotation spell doom for his tenure at Chelsea.
"What does Milan's FFP penalty mean for the club?" - Timmy via Twitter
So I was going to write a separate piece on this, but I figured I could just explain it here in the Calcio Bag. There were rumors that Milan would be banned for two years from Europe and also be fined 30 million euros. It seems from UEFA's statement that the only penalty is a one year ban and no financial penalty. They were set to play in the Europa League this year, and now they will not be (unless the decision is overturned on appeal, which is possible). It is embarrassing for the club, but I don't think it will affect them too much to be honest. Financially, the Europa League does not produce the same revenue the Champions League does, so there will not be much of an effect there. As far as players wanting to leave because of this, I think if it was the Champions League that they were missing out on they would want to leave, but the Europa League doesn't produce that sort of prestige, so I don't think players will vocally want to leave. Now, players will probably have to be sold for financial reasons, but no Europa League means one less competition; therefore, Milan can sell fringe players for finances, keep their best and most solid, and only focus on Serie A next season. Why would it hurt them? Well, they will likely have a smaller squad, and the players will not play in multiple competitions and get used to playing midweek. This could hurt them in the long run. It definitely gives them a black-eye and is embarrassing for their reputation, but as far as actual effect and operations, I don't think it is really that bad for the club. The fans and the club should be more concerned with the ownership situation. It is apparent that the owner has a hard time meeting the financial demands of running a club like AC Milan, and that will catch up with them eventually.
(Wow - this was an overly optimistic take on the UEFA ban)
"Was it smart for England to finish 2nd in their World Cup group?" - Phil via Twitter
This is actually a very interesting question. I don't think England purposely threw the game in order to finish 2nd in the Group, but it definitely was a hot topic. So for those who don't know, finishing 2nd meant a Round of 16 match-up against Colombia, but a potentially easier quarterfinal match-up against Sweden or Switzerland. Finishing 1st meant playing Japan in the Round of 16, but a likely quarterfinal match-up against Brazil. So what to do? Well, for me personally, I would have tried to finish 1st in the group. You can only play the teams in front of you and Japan is an easier match-up on paper than Colombia is. You can't worry about the quarterfinals until you get there, and who knows, maybe Mexico beats Brazil. They beat Germany already, so it isn't out of the question. If I were England, I would have tried to win the group. To win the competition, you are going to have to beat the best teams along the way and you can't be scared to face them. The way it stands now, England's road to the final would be Colombia, Sweden/Switzerland, then potentially Spain/Croatia in the semifinals. As you can see, no path is easy at this point, and I would have taken the first round game against Japan.
"Who is the favorite for the title going forward?" - Pete via email
When talking about the favorites, you have to discuss Brazil, Spain, France and Argentina as they are the top teams going into the tournament. The thing is, none of them have looked particularly impressive. Spain tied Portugal 3-3 and tied Morocco 2-2 in a game they could have had to win. Brazil, although they play very well and attack a lot, have not been overly convincing. France has been winning but their style has been very defensive and unappealing. Argentina, well they were on the blink of elimination.
The most impressive teams for me at this point in the tournament have been Croatia and Uruguay. Croatia has looked very good in all three of their games, and they have shown that they can both attack and defend and are very balanced. Uruguay struggled in the first game against Egypt, but are really growing into the tournament and dismantled Russia in their last game. Momentum is a big part of the tournament, so teams that grow and get better as the tournament goes on, usually do very well. Both teams have tough Round of 16 ties (Uruguay-Portugal, Croatia-Denmark), but they would be my top picks to make a deep run at this point.
(I know, I left out Belgium. They could be considered a favorite but I do not trust Roberto Martinez at all).
Thanks again for reading. Thanks also to those of you who have submitted questions, couldn't have done it without you. If you have a question, please tweet it to me @CPerfetto11 or email email@example.com.