Cultured Footall #75
Pogback! Barcelona Finances Explained, Benfica's Academy & More
I take a lot of joy in trawling through the list of football transfers and coming across particularly left-field moves that I previously wasn’t aware of. This week’s pick: Aaron Connolly from Brighton to Venezia! Anyway, here are five other picks that you should be reading…
Our Common Future: On Football and Climate Change
By Sushain Ghosh for First Time Finish
It might be entertainment that brings joys to millions every week but football cannot shirk its responsibility towards environmental sustainability. And here’s how it can do so.
12 minute read
Transfer Gurus: PSG’s Luis Campos
By Jack Hobbes for Analytics FC
It has been a summer of change at Paris St Germain. There have been no glitzy transfers, as in past summers, but they did manage to retain their main star Kylian Mbappe when he seemed all but a Real Madrid player. Away from the pitch, they’ve cut ties with another manager and, significantly, appointed Luis Campos with the brief of moving away the previous policy of big name acquisitions. Having done exceptionally well at Lille with a limited budget, he seems to have all the skills needed to excel at his new club.
8 minute read
Pogback! Can Man Utd flop really rescue his club career at Juventus?
By Mark Doyle for Goal
Paul Pogba is a very good footballer. When the motivation is right, he can even be an exceptional one. But it is impossible to escape the truth that moving back to Manchester United when he did was the wrong choice both for the club and himself. Now he returns to a Juventus team in transition, a move that for all the hype seems at best a lateral one. There are plenty of reasons to feel that for him this will once more be a case of right club at the wrong time.
8 minute read.
Barcelona finances, explained: Can the club really sign players while chasing more stars this summer?
By Sid Lowe for ESPN
What’s going on at the Nou Camp? One day they’re begging players to reduce their wages, the next they're announcing the signing of (admittedly out-of-contract) players who they’ve clearly attracted at least in part by the prospect of big wages. How can that be? If you’ve asked that question, here’s a (possible) explanation.
9 minute read
Inside the Benfica Campus, one of the world's greatest football talent factories
By Matias Grez and Jack Bantock for CNN
“In the past three seasons, Portuguese giant Benfica has generated more than $200 million from the sale of just two players that came through the club's academy: João Félix and Rúben Dias.” That is the intro to this article and, frankly, you shouldn’t really need more to be compelled to read it.
6 minute read
Something Else We Loved This Week: Moment of Truth (Podcast)
There have been quite a few Fly on the Wall documentaries over recent years but those have tended to look at whole clubs rather than individuals. Moment of Truth is different: the focus of this new podcast are Karl Robinson and Paul Warne, managers of Oxford United and Rotherham respectively. And by going behind the scenes to the extent that this documentary does, the audience will get to appreciate just how hard a job everyone feels they can do - that of a football manager - is.
As per Simon Clancy, Writer & Executive Producer, Folding Pocket, says: “Most people think they know what happens inside a football club. Moment of Truth shows that they don’t have a clue. Paul and Karl allowed us incredible access to highlight just how pressurised the beautiful game is.”
Listen to Moment of Truth here or on all good podcast catchers.
Companion Reading: If you like Moment of Truth then you’ll probably also enjoy Michael Calvin’s award winning book Living The Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager.
Last Week’s Most Read: Forget traditional soccer positions: Inside a new approach that redefines roles
By Gab Marcotti for ESPN
On paper - and in the manner that the game has traditionally been seen - Trent Alexander Arnold and Aaron Wan Bissaka are both right backs. Yet, when you look at how they play, they interpret the roles completely differently. That is what Antonio Gagliardi has been doing and his analysis could provide the next big evolutionary step.